×

Out of Reach: Hanover Falls in D-II Semifinal

  • Hollis-Brookline's Elizabeth Bonnette tips the ball out of the hands of Hanover's Madison McCorkle during the Division II semifinal in Manchester, N.H., on March 8, 2018. Hollis-Brookline won, 52-37. (Alan MacRae photograph)

  • Hanover's Charlotte Johnson makes her way around a Hollis-Brookline defender during the Division II semifinal in Manchester, N.H., on March 8, 2018. Hollis-Brookline won, 52-37. (Alan MacRae photograph)

  • Hanover's Frances Taylor is fouled by a Hollis-Brookline defender while taking a shot during the Division II semifinal in Manchester, N.H., on March 8, 2018. Hollis-Brookline won, 52-37. (Alan MacRae photograph)

  • Hanover's Madison McCorkle navigates her way to the bucket during the Division II semifinal in Manchester, N.H., on March 8, 2018. Hollis-Brookline won, 52-37. (Alan MacRae photograph)

  • Hanover's Lois Schwarz looks for a way around Hollis-Brookline's Amanda Goclowski on her way to the bucket during the Division II semifinal in Manchester, N.H., on March 8, 2018. Hollis-Brookline won, 52-37. (Alan MacRae photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Hooksett, n.h. — Hanover High’s girls basketball team never got its offense off the ground on Tuesday night after a strong first five minutes. It also missed key shots down the stretch against defensively stingy Hollis Brookline in the NHIAA Division II semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University.

The result, a 52-37 loss, stopped No. 7 Hanover’s run at its first state title since 2008 in its tracks. It was the Marauders’ second loss to Hollis Brookline this season and their lowest offensive production in a month.

“We had turnovers when we shouldn’t have, we missed some shots,” Hanover head coach Dan O’Rourke said. “They got a little separation from us. If we could have just hit a few shots … it seemed like whenever we got one of those turnovers, we couldn’t convert.”

No. 3 seed Hollis, which improved to 19-2 this winter and is the only top-four seed remaining a D-II bracket littered with upsets, will play No. 13 John Stark in the D-II title game on Friday at SNHU after the Generals (12-9) defeated No. 8 Bishop Brady, 47-44, in Tuesday’s other semifinal game.

The Cavaliers return to the title game for the second straight season after falling to Lebanon, 44-35, one year ago. It is John Stark’s first title appearance since 2003.

Hollis’ Brodie Kelley led all scorers with 18 points and gave Hanover plenty of trouble in a size mismatch inside the paint that favored the Cavs throughout the game. Joanna Balsamo also added 14 points for Hollis, which had held Hanover to a season-low 28 points in a 46-28 win over the Marauders on Jan. 26.

“I think the mismatch that was hurting us was (Balsamo),” O’Rourke said. “She’s tough. … That was the one kid we were struggling with.”

Junior Lois Schwarz led the Marauders with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Sophomore Bella Bardales netted eight points, and sophomore center Frances Taylor finished the game with six.

“(Our offense) was kind of stop and start,” said Taylor, who played 23 minutes and said the environment at SNHU took a while to get used to. “Everybody played really hard. ... I just wish I could have made all my foul shots and put those layups in the basket.”

Hanover held momentum early, building a 9-4 lead midway through the first quarter with a quick six points by Bardales. But Hollis answered with a 6-0 run to end the quarter, thanks in large part to four Hanover turnovers on its offensive end of the floor.

The Cavaliers led, 10-9, headed into the second quarter and extended to run the 15-2 before Hanover’s offense once again found its groove. The Cavs never looked back, extending the lead to 10 points midway through the third quarter and 13 points midway through the fourth.

“The first five minutes, we were great,” O’Rourke said. “We knew they have the big, they outlet far and get some easy hoops. So we were hoping to get our three guards (Schwarz, Bardales and Maddie McCorkle) back. We have very aggressive guards; they go after the ball. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get back in time.”

Hanover cut the deficit to five points just after halftime but never got closer.

Hollis outrebounded the Marauders, 44-37, and finished the game with a 9-0 advantage in blocks. The Cavs also scored 14 points on fast breaks, several times catching Hanover defenders shorthanded on rushes up court.

“We just never got in a groove,” O’Rourke said. “The other night against Lebanon (Friday’s 53-46 quarterfinal victory) we played the game of our lives. We moved the ball effectively, we hit five 3-pointers, we had the inside game going, had great defense. Tonight, we didn’t get it going.”

Hanover finished its season 15-8 overall and graduates only senior Emma Burwell from its roster, which is made up mostly of underclassmen. It also played without junior guard Diana Schwarz, whose season ended in December with a knee injury.

But it’s the emergence of younger players such as Taylor, freshman Charlotte Johnson and sophomore Anna Kirkpatrick — who combined for 45 minutes of playing time against Hollis — that has O’Rourke and his team looking forward.

“Every year, we’ve been better,” said O’Rourke, whose team lost in the quarterfinals last season. “We have 10 underclassmen ... I am excited. I told them in the locker room I couldn’t be more proud of the team. They fought to the end.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.