Lebanon Boys Basketball Gets a Dose of Revenge Over Hanover
Lebanon’s Dominick Morrill takes a jump shot against Hanover in the annual Wechsler Cup doubleheader yesterday in Hanover. Lebanon won, 40-33. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover’s Liam Gantrish looks for a hole past Lebanon defender Kalin Sou yesterday in Hanover. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — As much as it hurt to review last year’s playoff loss to Hanover, Lebanon boys basketball coach Kieth Matte felt obliged to in preparation for yesterday’s season opener with the Marauders.
What he saw on film from last year’s quarterfinal wasn’t pleasing for Raiders’ fans — a quick 14-3 lead that evaporated just as quickly into an eventual 42-37 loss — but there would be no such fate for Matte’s troops yesterday.
In front of a packed Hanover High gym in the annual Wechsler Cup game, the Raiders jumped out to a 16-3 advantage and withstood several Marauder rallies for a 40-33 win.
Lebanon senior David Hampton led all scorers with just 14 points on a night when both teams had difficulty shooting.
Hampton didn’t reach double figures until sinking five free throws in the final two minutes as Lebanon shot just 9-of-43 from the field and Hanover 10-of-46.
With boisterous student fan sections on both sides, the teams exchanged 3-pointers in the first 30 seconds — Hanover’s Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris hitting a bank shot from downtown and Lebanon’s Dominick Morill responding from beyond the arc moments later. That sparked a 16-0 Lebanon rally that included nine of Morrill’s 12 points and a Hampton 3 with 40 seconds gone in the second quarter to make it 16-3.
“We came out really hot and had a lot of adrenaline,” said Hampton, a fourth-year varsity player who now has 832 career points. “It was a crazy atmosphere. There’s nothing like it. If you can’t get fired up for that, you shouldn’t be playing.”
Lebanon finally went cold from the field and Hanover, which held a 31-23 rebounding advantage, was able to gather loose balls and cut the lead to seven before halftime.
Junior Noah Huizenga’s bank shot was Hanover’s first points in almost nine minutes and started an 8-2 Hanover run that featured Rothwell-Ferraris’ final two field goals of the game and a layup from Liam Gantrish (seven points) to make it 18-11.
“Basketball is a game of runs, and we had ours early,” said Matte, whose club wrested the Wechsler Cup back from the Marauders following Hanover’s win in Lebanon last year. “Hanover’s got good players and trust me, we weren’t thinking it was going to be easy after we were up 16-3, not after (last year’s playoff game).”
The Marauders brought it even closer in the second half, matching Lebanon basket-for-basket until Marauder junior Evan Greenwald scored three quick free throws off the bench to make it 25-20.
After Lebanon’s Dylan Drew put back his own miss to end the third, Hanover’s Rocco Linehan picked off a pass on the first possession of the fourth and finished the coast-to-coast run with an underhanded layup to make it 27-22.
With both teams in bonus foul trouble, Shepherd sank four straight free throws for Lebanon to put the visitors back ahead by nine, and Morrill all but sealed it with his third 3 of the game to make it 31-23 with four minutes left.
Lebanon slowed down its offense and Hampton went 5-for-7 from the free throw line in the final two minutes.
“To me, Shepherd’s four free throws were the pivotal moment in the game,” Matte said. “Not only because we needed the four points, but because it showed that we could have composure late in the game when we needed it. So that was big for us.”
Both teams are back in action Tuesday, Lebanon (1-0) taking on Souhegan while the Marauders (0-1) visit Plymouth.
Free Throws: Lebanon senior Mat Cowles served the first of a two-game suspension. He was disciplined for leaping a fence to enter the baseball field at the conclusion of Lebanon’s loss in the D-II final in Manchester last spring. Cowles scored 9.2 points per game last year. ... Referee Bob Nelson was knocked off his feet during a collision as Greenwald and Hampton dove for a loose ball. Nelson ruled it a jump ball. ... Former Newport coach Roger Carroll presented the Wechsler Cup to both Lebanon teams after their wins.
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.