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Raiders knock off Hanover in D-II girls basketball semifinals

  • Hanover freshman Stella Galanas is fouled by Lebanon sophomore Catherine Cole in the NHIAA Division II semi-final game at Pinterton Academy in Derry on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Hanover senior Willa Parkins grabs a rebound away from Lebanon defensemen in the NHIAA Division II semi-final game at Pinterton Academy in Derry on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Lebanon sophomore Molly Smith drives past Hanover sophomore Melissa Whitmore in the NHIAA Division II semi-final game at Pinterton Academy in Derry on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Lebanon senior Megan Gradijan drives past Hanover freshman Bella Bardalas in the NHIAA Division II semi-final game at Pinterton Academy in Derry on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Lebanon senior Rebecca Wright navigates around Hanover sophomore Melissa Whitmore in the NHIAA Division II semi-final game at Pinterton Academy in Derry on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Hanover sophomore Caroline Adams looks for a teammate to pass to in the NHIAA Division II semi-final game at Pinterton Academy in Derry on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/11/2020 10:21:54 PM
Modified: 3/11/2020 10:21:41 PM

DERRY, N.H. — Down 11 points entering the fourth quarter, the fourth-seeded Lebanon High girls basketball team rallied to knock off No. 1 seed and archrival Hanover, 60-56, on Wednesday night at Pinkerton Academy’s Hackler Gymnasium in the NHIAA Division II girls basketball semfinals. 

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Dartmouth’s Leede Arena, but was moved due to spectator restrictions because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The victory advances the Raiders to Saturday’s state title game at the University of New Hampshire’s Lundholm Gymnasium against No. 3 Spaulding. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.

Lebanon’s Becky Wright scored 16 of her 32 points in the final quarter, shooting a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.

Hanover (21-3, 20-1) had swept the regular-season series between the two teams entering Wednesday night. 

“That’ll go down as one of the better tournament games,” said Lebanon coach Tim Kehoe, who is in his 29th season as the bench boss for the Raiders. “I think our kids really hung together, stayed tight and kept plugging along. 

With 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Hanover’s top-scorer, Maddie McCorkle, went down with an ankle injury. The senior guard had 14 points at that time and finished the game with 16 points. 

Despite playing through the injury in the final stanza, McCorkle’s injury was noticeable and slowed down the Marauders’ offensive attack. 

Lebanon (18-4, 16-3 overall) made use of the advantage. The Raiders outscored their rival 25-10 in the final quarter. They started the quarter on a 10-2 stretch to bring the deficit within three points. 

Then Wright knocked down two free throws to cut it to 48-47 with 3:40 to play.

Hanover then turned the ball over and Wright was fouled again, sinking another pair to give the Raiders their first lead of the contest. 

“It’s part of the game,” Hanover coach Dan O’Rourke said about McCorkle’s absence. “I was more impressed that 99% percent of kids wouldn’t keep going, but she found a way to."

Lebanon held a 55-53 lead entering the final minute of play, but the Marauders tried to pull off a final rally, sending the Raiders to the free throw line four times.

Entering the fourth quarter shooting 5-of-12 from the charity stripe, they finished the fourth quarter shooting 15-of-19 and 5-of-8 in the final minute of play. 

Megan Gradijan added nine points for Lebanon and Isabelle Fabry had seven points. Hanover freshman Stella Galanes had a team-high 18 points.

“It feels good to get back (to the title game),” Kehoe said. “It’s one of those things I’ve never taken for granted. I’ve been to the finals 11 times and every time I go I know there’s a chance I won’t get back.”

NOTES: The Raiders last made the state championship game when they won in 2017. … O’Rourke will lose five seniors: McCorkle, Anna Kirkpatrick, Johari Ajwang, Isabella Bardales and Willet Parkins. 

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnew.com. 




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