Hanover and Lebanon. One of the biggest rivalries in the state of NH. On Saturday afternoon not only did the 2 rival schools square off in a boys/girls double-header but they also managed to raise money for breast cancer at the same time. It was a packed house at Hanover High School, where the "Hoops for the Cure" fundraiser took place.
As for the game, it was a match-up of 2 even teams. Hanover was 6-2 going into this game, while Lebanon was 7-2. But Hanover ended up winning it going away, behind a game-high 28 points from senior guard Sam Carney (what was I just saying about star basketball players who are better at other sports?!).
Lebanon actually came out of the gate as the sharper team. The Raiders went on a 9-2 run early to take an 11-6 lead. Sophomore guard David Hampton continues to show that he is one of the best shooters in the state. Hampton knocked down 5 three-pointers on the game, finishing with a team-high 19 points.
Hanover answered with a 6-0 run of their own to take a 12-11 lead early in the 2nd quarter. From there the teams went back and forth trading the lead. Lebanon guard Kyle Farr made a nice drive and dish play, finding Alexander Morrill inside for the layup which put the raiders back on top 13-12. Carney then came down on the secondary fast-break and drilled a nice-pull up jumper from three point range as Hanover then started to take control of the game as the 2nd quarter went on. Hayden Pressey-Murray then hit a three of his won from the corner and just like that Hanover took a 24-16 lead with 2:40 left in the 1st half. The Marauders were doing a very nice job defensively. Hampton was getting his points, but nobody else on Lebanon was able to get going. Towards the end of the half a pair of Hanover players teamed up for a big blocked shot inside, and they took a 31-22 lead into the locker room (Carney scored 18 of those 31 points).
In the 3rd quarter Hanover increased their lead to 39-28, but then Lebanon answered back with a 7-0 run which continued into the start of the 4th quarter. The Raiders were now only down 39-35 with still plenty of time left. Hampton continued to play well. Sophomore forward Matt Cowles, who only played about a minute in the 1st half, played well in the 2nd half, as did Mark Davidson.
"Cowles had 10 rebounds in the 2nd half" said Lebanon head coach Keith Matte. "I told him after the game that he played well for us."
Hanover Depth Paid Dividends
Lebanon closed to within 4, but the rest of the game was dominated by Hanover. They went with an 11 player rotation, and that depth paid BIG dividends down the stretch. While Lebanon was getting tired late Hanover was excelling. The result was a 12-0 run by Hanover. In addition to Carney and forward Daniel Gorman (11 points), Roland Hermann-Stanzel is one player who definitely stepped up for the Marauders late. He hit a clutch three-pointer which made it 48-35 with 5:50 left in the game. Hermann-Stanzel then made a big play on defense, drawing a charge on Cowles. Coach Matte then picked up a technical for arguing a call.
"I can't remember the last time I got a technical" said a frustrated Matte after the game. "I might have only gotten 1 other one in all my years coaching."
Gorman, a 6'3" junior, then made a nice drive and finish which capped the 12-0 run and made it 51-35 Hanover with 5:00 left. Lebanon got a tough call late as guard Tyler Silver attempted to draw a charge on Hermann-Stanzel. Silver was there, he had position. It definitely looked like a charge. But he didn't get the call. At that point it was likely too late for a Raiders comeback though, and Hanover was able to avoid getting swept in the girls/boys double-header in their own gym.
The Bottom Line
It's time to give the Hanover boys a little respect. Their 7-2, yet nobody seems to be talking about them. They're a solid team that plays hard and plays good team basketball. They're good defensively, they're well coached and they have a got-to guys in Carney (headed to Ithaca College next year to play football) who can carry a team. Are they an elite team? Are they a D-II contender who is up there with Milford, Portsmouth, Pelham and Souhegan? No. They're in that next tier of teams after that, though.
Lebanon started out the season 7-1, including wins over Pembroke and Bedford. Plus they took Souhegan to overtime over the holidays before falling in a thriller. 9 days ago I thought they were right in that next group of teams after Milford. But since then they have lost to Oyster River by 15, and to Hanover by 13. So maybe Lebanon isn't a top 4 or 5 tam in D-II. But let's remember that this is a team that graduated their ENTIRE starting lineup from last year's team, including Class I Player of the Year Jake Woodward. They have only 1 player on this year's team (Hampton) who was a regular contributor a year ago. Farr, Cowles, Davidson, Silver. They were all playing JV last year.