Hanover 44, Manchester West 30: Bears give Blue Devils first loss of season

After their win with Manchester West, Hanover celebrates in the locker room on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

After their win with Manchester West, Hanover celebrates in the locker room on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — Jennifer Hauck

Hanover's Beckett Sobel takes the ball to the basket with Manchester West's Will Tanuvasa and Max Sosha defending on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hanover's Beckett Sobel takes the ball to the basket with Manchester West's Will Tanuvasa and Max Sosha defending on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Hanover's Wyatt Daigle looks to pass during the team's game with Manchester West on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30.  (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hanover's Wyatt Daigle looks to pass during the team's game with Manchester West on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hanover boys basketball coach Ben Davis talks with his team before the start of their game with Manchester West on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hanover boys basketball coach Ben Davis talks with his team before the start of their game with Manchester West on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Hanover, N.H. Hanover won, 44-30. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photos — Jennifer Hauck

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 01-13-2024 4:07 PM

Modified: 01-16-2024 1:54 PM


HANOVER — The Manchester West High boys basketball team arrived here undefeated but left unhappy Friday, after falling, 44-30, to Hanover during a clash of NHIAA Division II teams.

Jaysen Oriol, the Bears’ agile post player, scored a game-high 16 points, many of them on deft layups, and the hosts’ absolute commitment to defense allowed them to limit high-flying guard Max Sosha, averaging more than 30 points per game, to just eight.

The lanky senior, who has one arm and most of one leg covered in tattoos, didn’t play during the fourth quarter after his team managed just three points during the third stanza and fell to 6-1. Hanover received seven points from Christian Blix, six from Roy Lucas and five each from Ryan McLaughlin and David Frechette.

“Our goal was to limit a really explosive team and to take care of the ball so they couldn’t get out and run,” said second-year Hanover coach Ben Davis, whose 7-1 team endured an 11-game losing streak last season but is now second in the division, trailing only Pembroke. “We wanted them to have to play in the half court against us, because that gave us an advantage.”

Hanover didn’t allow Sosha comfortable paths to the rim, limiting him to ineffective outside shooting. He missed his first four shots and made only two of eight before halftime, finishing 3-of-12 from the field with a pair of three-point buckets.

The Blue Knights never showed much fire and appeared downright disinterested at times.

“We wanted to make (Sosha) a jump-shot shooter,” said Davis, whose squad trailed, 11-10, after a quarter but led, 24-20, at halftime. “Dave Frechette, who we always give the toughest matchup every game, he’s done an incredible job all season.”

Frechette noted that defense was how the Bears escaped last year’s rough start to finish 5-13 and narrowly miss the playoffs after winning five of its last seven games.

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“It’s translated into this year,” he said. “I get excited to guard good players, and we game-plan a ton for them. I know exactly what they’re going to do. Sosha got frustrated tonight, and I love that.”

Hanover scored 12 of the third quarter’s 15 points and closed it with a McLaughlin 3-pointer that served as the dagger.

The Bears visit Pembroke on Monday.

“I told the guys after the game that tonight was a culmination of the work they’ve put in the last two years,” Davis said. “It’s been built over time and sticking with things after our hard start to last season. We came into this season really believing that we’d have success.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.