Marauders Put Dominant End to Raiders’ Home Dominance
Hanover's Lexie Hamilton passes the ball downcourt over Lebanon's Lindsey Clark, right, during their game in Lebanon, N.H., on December 20, 2013. Hanover won the game 61-43. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon — There were two minutes left in Friday night’s Wechsler Cup girls game when Hanover High point guard Lexi Hamilton inadvertently ran into the scorer’s table while chasing a loose ball out of bounds, dislodging a placard from the structure and sending it crashing to the floor. So, too, went Lebanon High’s home winning streak.
The rival Marauders built a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and never wavered, winning 61-43 to end the Raiders’ amazing 87-game home winning streak dating back to 2006. Defending state champion Lebanon was out-hustled at times as the athletic Marauders shot better than 50 percent from the floor (23-of-41) and held a 19-17 rebounding advantage.
Marauders’ junior shooting guard JJ Daniell scored 16 of her game-high 25 points in the second half as Hanover’s lead grew as large as 24 in the fourth quarter. Hamilton added 15 for the Marauders, who squelched a 9-game losing streak against the Raiders (1-2) dating back to the 2008-09 semifinals. Lebanon had won eight regular season games and one playoff contest during the run, which came after Hanover ousted Lebanon in the playoffs for two straight years.
“It’s such a big rivalry, you never think you’re going to come in here and win by a blowout,” Hanover coach Dan O’Rourke said. “Whenever we play here, our hope is to be up by a point at the end of the game. It’s a challenging place to play, but we got into a bit of a groove in the second quarter and got some breathing room. That was huge for our confidence.”
Hanover (2-0) was awarded the Wechsler Cup, given in honor of late Upper Valley philanthropist and athletics supporter Jim Wechsler. It was the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader at Lang Metcalf gym.
The teams traded blows early, with five lead changes in a turnover-ridden opening quarter. Samantha MacDonald (10 points) and Lindsey Clark scored two quick baskets for Lebanon, but Hanover answered with a dish-off for two from Hamilton to Eileen Daly (six points, five rebounds), a Holly Schlosser free throw and a layup by Daniell. MacDonald scored two more to regain the lead for the Raiders, but Hamilton hit from deep to give the Marauders a 12-10 lead after one.
It was the first of a barrage of baskets from downtown for Hanover, which scored the first 11 points of the second quarter to cap a 14-0 run. After senior Molly Cornell assisted on Daniell’s layup, Daniell, Christine Croituro and Hamilton all sank 3-pointers in a span of 23 seconds to suddenly give the Marauders a 23-10 advantage.
“It was ‘pick your poison’ with them tonight,” interim Lebanon coach Rob Marsh said. “We came out in a half-court trap, but their guards are so athletic they broke it down pretty quick. Then we went into a zone to try to force perimeter shots, and they buried them.”
Lebanon freshman forward Joslin Wainwright (team-high 11 points, four rebounds) hit an offensive putback and a pair of layups in the second quarter to help the Raiders stay within striking distance at halftime, 28-18, and Lebanon cut the lead to six with a 6-2 run to start the third quarter. Raider senior Mariah Ramos hit a pair of jump shots, sandwiched around a steal by MacDonald that set up a layup by her sister, Kendra MacDonald, to make it 31-24.
“In the first half, we were a little overzealous and had too many turnovers, but we came out in the third quarter and, after that little run, we thought it was still anyone’s game,” Marsh said. “We just couldn’t put it together fully.”
Daniell took over from there, scoring eight during a 12-3 Hanover run, including a fast-break layup after her own steal, a jump shot and a layup on which she drew a foul but couldn’t convert the 3-point play, giving the Marauders a 15-point cushion. Hamilton kept the hurt coming for Hanover, draining another 3 in the final seconds of the third quarter to make it 47-31.
“JJ and Lexie both played high-level AAU ball and came in with high skill levels this year,” said O’Rourke. “JJ’s athletic and quick, and Lexie sees the floor really well and is an excellent passer.”
A steal and fast-break layup by Cornell built Hanover’s lead to 24, 56-32, with six minutes left.
The Marauders had six turnovers in the fourth quarter and Lebanon went on an 8-2 run to get a bit closer, delaying the Hanover student section’s “I believe that we have won” chant until the final minute.
The teams play again in Hanover on Feb. 12.
Free Throws: Daniell’s night came one game after she scored 26 in Hanover’s season opener against Goffstown. ... Lebanon interim athletic director Linda Preston read a tribute to Wechsler prior to tip-off. ... The Raiders’ 43 pointers were fewer than their output in any game last season... Lebanon 1,000-point scorer Moriah Morton, now a freshman on the Dartmouth College women’s basketball team, was in attendance, along with Emily Kehoe, who scored 15.0 points per game for the Raiders last year and now plays for St. Joseph’s College of Maine. ... The teams combined for 17 turnovers in the first quarter, 10 by Hanover. ... Lebanon shot 19-of-47 from the floor and hit just 5-of-14 free throws. Hanover hit 11-of-18 free throws to complement its solid night from the floor.
Jared Pendak can be reached at email@example.com or 602-727-3306.