Front and center: Simmons steps up for Hanover boys hoop

  • In a gym without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanover's Jacob Kubik-Pauw takes a shot over the defense of Kearsarge's Sam Carl in the second quarter of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2021. Hanover won, 45-35. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • As Kearsarge coach Nathan Camp, left, gives encouragement to his team, Hanover's William Cahoon breaks through the full-court defense of Kearsarge's Adrian McCarthy in the first half of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2021. Hanover won, 45-35. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kearsarge's Chris Stanchfield uses his elbow to create space over the defense by Hanover's Brett Simmons in the first half of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 6, 2021. Hanover won, 45-35. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/6/2021 9:33:20 PM
Modified: 2/6/2021 9:43:50 PM

HANOVER — Brett Simmons often watched Charlie Adams take over games in the fourth quarter last season.

Simmons, then a rotation player, would see the 2019-20 NHIAA Division II player of the year click into another gear when the Hanover High boys basketball team needed a score late in games.

On Saturday afternoon, Simmons went from understudy to lead actor. Missing second-leading scorer Jordan McConnell, Simmons netted eight of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Marauders to a 45-35 victory over Kearsarge.

“He’s one of those kids who really stepped up and is playing well, doing something we were hoping he would do,” Hanover coach Tim Winslow said. “He’s your typical senior, who now with three weeks to go in the season is really starting to play the way we would’ve liked a while ago. He’s been working hard; the effort shows.

“I don’t think the (more) minutes hurt, but him just making some shots (helps). He’s been really doing that in practice, talking to him about it. He’s been shooting the ball better. ... He’s playing really well.”

Entering the fourth quarter tied at 28, Mason Gantrish hit a trey to give Hanover (4-1) a three-point lead it wouldn’t lose.

But it was Simmons who put the game out of reach, going on his own 7-0 run over a two-minute span. First he knocked down a jumper to stretch the Marauders’ lead to four points. Then teammate Colin Pierce took a charge and, on the ensuing possession, Simmons added a basket.

Kearsarge was forced to take a timeout to stop the bleeding. On the next Hanover possession, Simmons came flying off a screen at the top of the key and knocked down a 3-pointer, making it a 38-29 game.

For Simmons, the fourth-quarter performance outmatched last season’s high of six points. He also scored all of Hanover’s 10 points in the first quarter. Even entering Saturday’s game, the senior guard was averaging only two points per game.

Max Galbraith had a quick steal near midcourt and dished out an assist on the fast break to Indigo Coylewright, who converted a layup with contact with 2:03 and to seal the win. Hanover outscored Kearsarge 17-7 in the fourth.

“It’s definitely a different game, seeing these guys go from JV to varsity, but a lot of them are stepping up,” said Galbraith, who is the only returning starter from last year’s squad. “Brett’s been behind Charlie (Adams) and Nolan (Gantrish), like me, and I think it is our time now.”

Kearsarge and Hanover are two teams familiar with each other. The Marauders bounced the Cougars from the opening round of the D-II tournament before COVID-19 called off the rest of the postseason last winter.

Even though Kearsarge has dropped down to D-III this season, the two teams played even basketball through the opening two quarters. The two were tied 10-10 after one quarter and 19-19 at the half.

Coylewright finished with five points, and Galbraith had four. Trevor Pierce and Will Cahoon each had four points.

Kearsarge’s Sam Carl scored a team-high 16 points. Cougars coach Nate Camp said his team committed 21 turnovers and didn’t rebound enough to pull out the win.

“To be honest, this is good,” said Camp, whose team is now 6-1. “Our guys need to get tested. Winning or losing at this juncture of the season, with it being an open tournament, we need to just get better each day. This will hopefully get us better to know we didn’t rebound today, offensively or defensively. That was the difference, usually we’re the ones getting the seconds and the thirds (rebounds).”

Winslow is starting to feel like his team is becoming stable. He’s had to rebuild a roster that lost nearly half of its players from a year ago. Now, Winslow said this group is starting to understand his system.

“This season might be a bit of a blessing in disguise, because we’ve had a lot of time to practice,” Winslow said. “But our kids, you can really start seeing it. In the last 7-10 days, our kids are really starting to understand what we’re trying to do. They’re really playing it the right way. We’re still a really young team, but they work hard every day. It’s really a great group.”

Notes: The Marauders were without McConnell, who is listed at 6-foot-10, because he sprained his ankle in gym class. Winslow is hoping he will return next week. ... Hanover opted to not put the bleachers down, and the gymnasium felt very empty. ... Games are not started by tip-offs but an inbound pass. ... The Marauders visit Stevens on Tuesday night. ... Kearsarge travels to Lebanon on Monday.

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




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