In a close, back and forth battle it was defense and clutch shooting that was the difference for the Hanover boys basketball team. Hanover played tough man-to-man defense all game, especially in the 4th quarter when they only gave up 6 points. In the 4th they also got a pair of clutch 3-pointers, one by Jon Flory (8 points) and the other which was a dagger by Rocco Linehan (13 points). As a result, Coe Brown led 29-28 after 3 quarters but it was Hanover who prevailed 42-35 to earn a solid road victory in Division II.
Both teams now have identical 5-3 records on the season, so this game could end up being crucial when it comes to tournament seeding in D-II.
"Our defense has been really good the last few games" said Hanover head coach Tim Winslow. "We held Plymouth (who was unbeaten going in) to only 30 points and now this. Reisert didn't play that game for Plymouth but still we've been really stepping up on defense. We have good size with Ben Lynch who's 6-foot-6, plus Jack Cavallaro and Noah Huizenga. Those guys aren't just big but also they're quick and athletic."
Coe Brown led 29-28 after 3, but Hanover was simply the better team in the 4th quarter. Huizenga hit a turnaround baby hook shot in the lane to give the Marauders the lead back, 30-29. Then after Coe Brown knotted the score 30-30 with a free throw John Flory hit a big 3-pointer against the Coe Brown 2-3 zone defense from the left wing. That put Hanover back up 33-30 with 5:18 left.
Then came a key sequence, as Coe Brown was going hard to the rim and getting some good looks inside but they weren't falling. They missed a pair of shots in close, then Hanover got the rebound and quickly pushed it back up the floor. The Marauders missed a layup but Cavallaro grabbed the offensive board and makes the and-1 put-back. His FT is good, and it's 36-32 Hanover with just 3:38 remaining.
Then came the dagger by Linehan. Now trailing 36-33 with the clock ticking away, the Bears started to press full court and really turned up their pressure on defense. Hanover was just barely able to get the ball across half court before being called for a 10 second violation. Once they got it over the threw a pass cross court over to Linehan, who buried the shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the corner to put Hanover up 39-33 with under 2 minutes left. The Marauders hung on from there for the 42-35 win.
Hanover came out firing with a 15 points 1st quarter. Flory hit a 3, and Linehan connected on a nice turnaround bank shot from 15 feet. Hanover also looked strong in the 2nd. Scoring was slowed to begin the quarter, then Luke Zollman hit a baseline jumper for the Bears. Cavallaro and Lynch both scored inside, then Linehan hit a 3 to cap a 7-0 Marauders' run as it was now 22-12 Hanover.
Coe Brown answered, as Erik Rolser hit a big 3-pointer off the catch from the left wing to get his team back in it, now trailing 22-17. Tim O'Rourke drilled a jumper from just inside the 3-point line though to put Hanover back up 9. Coe Brown responded with a steal and layup on the other end by Spencer Nowland, and it was 24-17 Hanover at halftime.
Flory sat the whole 2nd quarter with 2 fouls, and he picked up his 3rd foul early in the 3rd quarter. Coe Brown took advantage, as they outscored Hanover 12-4 in the 3rd quarter. Zollman went inside for 2, but then Dom Linehan answered with a floater for the Maruaders. Then Nowland rattled in a 3 for the Bears, followed by a runner in the lane by Adfam Edin to cut the Hanover lead to 26-24. Cavallaro quickly countered with a layup on the other end to make it 28-24.
Then Nick Rolser really started to be more aggressive offensively, attacking the basket and either scoring or getting fouled. After a strong finish by Rolser Coe Brown had taken a 29-28 lead late in the 3rd quarter. Then on the other end Edin stepped up on 'D' and drew a charge. Hanover had gone ice cold offensively in the 3rd quarter.
"We didn't do well at penetrating their zone" said Coach Winslow. "We were doing too much passing it around and not enough attacking."
Meanwhile Coe Brown head coach Dave Smith had to be please with how his team was coming back. These are 2 very good coaches, and ironically they were wearing nearly identical outfits! Then came the 4th quarter, when Hanover took control of the game back, but you already know that by reading above.