New Center Gives Lebanon Girls Basketball Team New Hope
A referee jumps in as Hanover’s JJ Daniell and Lebanon’s Heather King wrestle for a loose ball. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon’s Vanessa Fleury looks to pass over Hanover’s Holly Schlosser. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — When would-be starting center Trina Scheie elected not to play for the Lebanon girls basketball team this season, sophomore Vanessa Fleury was thrust into a starter’s role.
Yet instead of making a hole in the Raiders’ lineup, Fleury’s presence has helped make Lebanon whole.
The 6-footer who spent most of last season with the jayvee team, has made key contributions during the early season for Lebanon, averaging 8.7 points per game while playing strong defense. She scored a career-best 10 points, pulled down three rebounds, had a clean block and added a steal in the Raiders’ 59-34 win at Hanover last night.
“She’s worked really hard and come a long way in the last two years,” said Lebanon coach Tim Kehoe, whose team improved to 3-0. “She’s one of the kids who’s learning every day and always wanting to get better.”
Fleury showed moved well while scoring on layups in the paint off feeds from teammates Heather King and Jennifer Laramie in the first half, then stuffed in a put-back in the second.
Encouraged by Kehoe to shoot when she has the ball near the blocks, Fleury needed to be reminded as much after grabbing an offensive rebound in the second half and passing the ball instead of putting it up.
“By and large, she’s learning to be more aggressive,” Kehoe said. “This was a good game for her. For the most part, when she got the ball low, she was putting it up and that’s what we needed.”
Fleury’s contributions were part of a complete game for the Raiders, who received at least eight points from five players in the rout.
Emily Kehoe scored 17, Samantha MacDonald had 12, Moriah Morton nine and Heather King eight for the Raiders, who led by as many as 34 against the youthful Marauders (0-3). It was a season high for MacDonald, while Morton and King were held to their lowest point totals of the year.
Junior Jennifer Laramie (four points) also gave the Raiders a spark of the bench with strong play on both ends.
“We needed players like Vanessa and Laramie to step up, because we were a little flat defensively at times,” Kehoe said. “Emily, with 17, did well, but I thought Moriah struggled offensively and we had other girls step up to help.”
Freshman Lexi Hamilton scored a season-best 17 points for Hanover, though she was forced to the bench with foul trouble in the second quarter. The Raiders went on a big run in her absence, outscoring the hosts 24-0 in the period to waltz into the locker room with a 37-10 lead.
Hanover had trailed just 11-10 following a 7-0 run, capped by Eileen Day’s layup with 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
“What turned the game around was when Lexi had to sit in the second quarter,” Hanover coach Dan O’Rourke said. “She’s a calming force for us and we need her on the court to be successful.”
Three-pointers from JJ Daniell and Hamilton helped Hanover score the first eight points of the second half, but Lebanon responded with a 17-0 run to finish the third quarter and give the Raiders their largest lead, 53-18. Five Raiders scored during the rally, including Laramie’s two baskets and a long ball from King on MacDoanld’s assist.
The Marauders outscored Lebanon 16-6 in the final quarter, giving O’Rourke hope as the season moves along.
“We’re probably the best 0-3 team in the state,” he said. “We outscored them (24-22) in the second half and I thought we played really well in stretches. We just had too many turnovers (15) and shot ourselves in the foot with miscues. But it’s a long season and we continue to improve.”
Free Throws: Proceeds from both games benefited the Jim Wechsler scholarship fund to help underprivileged athletes attend summer sports camps. ... It was Lebanon’s seventh straight win over its crosstown rival, dating back to Hanover’s 36-30 win in the 2008-09 Class I semifinals. ... Hanover had a 28-19 rebounding advantage, led by Hamilton’s eight.
... Lebanon shot 14-of-28 in the first half; Hanover was 3-of-24.
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.