You know you're an elite team when you go on the road, against a program that is 7-1 heading into the game and has a rich tradition of winning girls basketball games, you beat them by 26 points in front of a packed house and consider it a disappointing game for your team. That's exactly what happened on Saturday afternoon in Hanover, where the Lebanon High girls basketball team continued their undefeated season with a convincing 50-24 win vs. Hanover.
"It wasn't our best game" said Lebanon coach Tim Kehoe. "Defensively we did a pretty good job but on offense we struggled. Four of our top players are only sophomores. I don't think many people realize that. We're a young team."
Lebanon dominated this game from start to finish. Hanover led 4-2 early, but a three-pointer by senior guard Sara Romano capped an 8-0 Lebanon run. The Raiders led 15-4 after the 1st quarter and never looked back.
After another three by Romano the Raider's lead increased to 16 points, as they led 20-4 early in the 2nd quarter. Hanover was having a lot of trouble with the Lebanon full court press, often times not even getting the ball across half court. 5'10" sophomore forward Trina Scheie was all over the place, making plays, wreaking havoc on defense and forcing a number of Marauder turnovers.
Hanover is a scrappy, hard nosed team though, and they were able to hang around in the 2nd quarter behind the strong play of Kate Gautier (8 points) and Emma Rosen. They went on an 11-4 run to cut the Lebanon lead to 24-15. That would be the last time all game though that the Marauders would be within single digits.
In the 3rd quarter Rosen (7 points) made a nice drive and and-1 finish. It was Lebanon 31 Hanover 20, and that's how the score remained for over 6 minutes. Lebanon went up 31-20. The score literally stayed that way for 6 straight minutes. That's right - 6 minutes and neither team scored a point! The game got sloppy, and nobody seemed able to find the bottom of the net.
From that point on, it was only Hanover who was unable to find the bottom of the net. Lebanon went on an 18-3 run. The Raiders would have dominated even more, but Scheie shot just 5/14 from the foul line.
"Trina is actually a 70% free throw shooter" said Coach Kehoe. "I think that after she missed a couple it got in her head a little bit. It was just one of those games."
It was a team effort for Lebanon. They have an 8 player rotation, and all 8 girls play hard and as a team. 5'9" junior forward Colleen Taylor (7 points) hit a three from the corner. Then 5'8" sophomore guard Moriah Morton (11 points) got a steal and then and-1 finish on the other end. Morton was exceptional on both ends of the floor, especially in the 2nd half.
Also playing well for Lebanon were Taylor Friedman, Emily Kehoe, Colleen Gilliat and Pete Kauer.
Coach Kehoe Has Quite the Resume
Lebanon head coach Tim Kehoe doesn't get nearly as much recognition as he should. Kehoe has won 3 state titles at Lebanon. He's coached the program for 19 years, and the Raiders have made it to the quarterfinals every year during his tenure. They went undefeated last season before losing in the championship game in a heart-breaker to Kennett.
The Bottom Line
Lebanon didn't fully pull away in this game until the 4th quarter. For the most part Hanover was able to hang around and stay within 10-15 points of Lebanon. They played well, but with the way the Raiders have been blowing teams out all season this wasn't their best game. They are still one of the favorites thought to win the girls D-II title. This upcoming Wednesday night in Amherst, Lebanon takes on Souhegan in a match-up of the division's 2 best teams.
As for Hanover, they are in a down year compared to how good their program has been in the past few years. Still, a 7-2 record isn't too bad for a team in a down year. The Marauders are a well coached, scrappy team. They aren't one of the elite teams in the division, but they still could end up with a top 8 seed.