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Raiders Sweep Hanover a Second Time

  • Lebanon's Rebecca Wright is hugged by teammate Leah Mayes, back to camera, after they defeated Hanover, 42-30, in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2018. It was Lebanon's second win between the two teams this season. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon head coach Kieth Matte speaks with his team during a timeout in the fourth quarter of their game with Hanover in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2018. Lebanon won, 36-21, their second win between the two teams this season. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Charlotte Johnson, right, is called for a reaching-in foul on Lebanon's Sally Rainey during a full-court press in the fourth quarter of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2018. At left is Hanover's Maddie McCorkle. Lebanon won, 42-30. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Wade Rainey drives for the hoop on Hanover's Caleb Putnam in the second quarter of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2018. Lebanon won, 36-21. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Hanover — Rebecca Wright and Chris Nulty led Lebanon High’s girls and boys basketball teams to a doubleheader sweep over rival Hanover at the Marauders’ gymnasium on Tuesday night.

The Raiders, coming off of dual state championships in NHIAA Division II last winter, held their neighbors in check in two low-scoring, defense-minded affairs. The Lebanon girls (14-3 overall, 12-2 state) held injury-ridden Hanover to a scoreless second quarter for their fourth straight win, 42-30. The boys (10-5, 9-3) outlasted the offensively slumping Marauders, 36-21, having won five of their last six contests.

Lebanon’s boys have also won 12 straight against Hanover. The Raider girls extended their win streak over the Marauders to six games; Hanover’s last win over Lebanon came in 2014, a 40-39 decision.

Wright, an up-and-coming sophomore, led all scorers in the girls game with 15 points, eight of which came in the second quarter. Lebanon, which played only Wright, Leah Mayes, Megan Gradijan, Anna Wolke and Sally Rainey for four quarters and did not substitute, outscored the Marauders, 12-0, in the second stanza, and took a 26-9 lead into halftime.

“I think that’s the first time in 27 years that I didn’t sub a kid in,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Kehoe, who was dealing with a shortened bench due to injuries and illnesses. “The first half was probably the best half, in terms of sharing the basketball, that we’ve had all year.”

Wright, a Weathersfield, Vt. resident, has seen increased attention from opponents following a breakout freshman season last winter. She leads the Raiders with an average 19.0 points per game and has scored double digits in every game so far this season.

“I feel like this year I’ve gotten stronger, I’ve improved,” said Wright. “I played in the spring and summer, so that definitely helped. … This year, I’m definitely a lot more comfortable. I came from a small school. Playing in front of big crowds, I was nervous. I didn’t know the intensity. This year, I’m ready for that intensity.”

“I think Becky is, without question, the best player in our division,” Kehoe added. “She commands double and triple teams every single night. … Becky did a nice job getting the ball in, and then kicking the ball back out when there were double-teams. When there were one-on-one opportunities, she just turned and scored.”

Hanover pressed and fought back in the third quarter, outscoring the Raiders, 15-5, after the break thanks to key baskets from sophomore Maddie McCorkle and junior Lois Schwarz. The Marauders’ surge cut Lebanon’s lead to six points early in the fourth quarter, but Hanover couldn’t complete the comeback.

“We’re never going to quit; the kids played really hard,” said Hanover head coach Dan O’Rourke, who was missing junior captain Julia Golder to an illness. “We said we were going to leave it all out on the floor. We got it to seven at one time, but just couldn’t close the gap.”

The loss snapped Hanover’s three-game winning streak, dropping the Marauders to 10-3 in the state and 11-5 overall.

Lebanon’s boys shot six 3-pointers and emerged victorious from a game as low-scoring as the girls’ contest, holding the Marauders to a season low.

“It was hard to score; they’re good athletes,” said Lebanon boys head coach Kieth Matte. “It’s tough to score, therefore you have to play great defense, too, to beat them. They had a bad shooting night; we had a so-so shooting night. Every 3 was just so critical.”

Senior Chris Nulty has emerged as Lebanon’s playmaker this season following an exodus of experienced talent from last year’s championship-winning squad. A Hartford High transfer, averaging 12.3 points per game this winter, led the Raiders with 10 points against the Marauders in an offense that largely flows through him.

“On the court, it’s been a lot different,” Nulty said. “I had to get in a lot better shape because I have a much bigger role. Last year, I just sat in the corner, hit 3s and got rebounds. This year, I’m more of a point guard. I have to find guys and make sure to get guys involved.

“They play really good defense,” he added on the Marauders. “That’s always a challenge. … They play championship defense. Really low-scoring. It was a battle.”

Lebanon’s boys dropped three 3s in the first half, holding the struggling Marauders — who are without starting point guard Charlie Adams for the rest of the season with a broken thumb — to nine points in the process. The Raiders led, 23-15, headed into the fourth quarter.

“It’s a tough loss because we have to replace 28 minutes of basketball and the guy who ran the show,” said Hanover head coach Tim Winslow on his injured point guard.

“But our defense might be better than it was a week ago right now. I really do. … I thought our defense was phenomenal. We made them work for every basket.”

The loss was Hanover’s fourth in a row, and drops it to 7-7 overall and 4-7 in the state.

“This is an opportunity to see who we are,” Winslow said.

All four teams play again on Friday, with Lebanon taking on Manchester West and Hanover battling Plymouth.

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