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Hanover girls squeak past Lebanon in first meeting of season

  • Hanover's Jane Lackley drives for the hoop and into the defense of Lebanon's Clara Smyrski, left, Catherine Cole and Sally Rainey in the second quarter of their game in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 23, 2021, as Mary Rainey (15) watches. It is the first of two games between the teams this week, their first meeting of the season. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Sally Rainey shoots through the defense of Hanover's Amina Ajwang (10) and Sydney McLaughlin as Lebanon's Ella Longacre stands by for a rebound in the first half of their game in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 23, 2021. Hanover won, 29-28. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover girls basketball coach Dan O’Rourke speaks with his team between the first and second quarter of their game against Lebanon in in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 23, 2021. Hanover won, 29-28, in the first meeting of the teams since their semifinal game last season. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Caroline Adams, right, gets a pass away before the rushing defense of Lebanon's Mary Rainey in the first half of their game in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 23, 2021. Hanover won, 29-28. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 2/23/2021 10:06:53 PM
Modified: 2/23/2021 10:22:36 PM

LEBANON — Jane Lackley transferred to Hanover High from Woodstock High last year for a greater academic and athletic challenge. She can consider herself sufficiently tested.

The junior center picked up the slack for a struggling offense, scoring a team-high 12 points and adding eight rebounds in Hanover’s 29-28 knock-down, drag-out girls basketball win over Lebanon on Tuesday night at Lang Metcalf Gymnasium. The last of Lackley’s six baskets tied the game at 26-26 with 3:50 to play. Junior Melissa Whitmore’s 3-pointer a minute later put the Marauders (12-0) ahead to stay.

Late defense helped Hanover to offset a near-saving performance from Lebanon guard Catherine Cole, who opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back triples to give the Raiders (8-2) their last lead of the night.

“It’s a lot higher level of play here, and it took me a while to get adjusted to that,” Lackley said after her most prolific game as a Marauder. “I love being on the team now. This is a great group of girls. We have such an amazing camaraderie.”

The first of two meetings between the longtime NHIAA Division II archrivals this week squarely belonged to the defenses.

Lebanon all but shut down Hanover sophomore guard Stella Galanes, who entered the night ranked second in Upper Valley scoring at 20.9 points per game, and kept Whitmore (15.6 ppg) in relative check. Cole almost single-handedly carried the Raiders, whose energy level on defense matched the challenge at hand.

“Our biggest goal on defense was we didn’t want to get beat down the floor,” Lebanon coach Emily Kehoe said. “I didn’t want easy layups to happen. … I don’t think we had easy baskets that led into them going on big runs. My biggest thing was, hey, if we can pack the paint and force them to shoot outside, then good things will happen.”

Kehoe’s only moment of doubt came inside the final minute of the third quarter. Hanover’s Caroline Adams had just rebounded an Ella Longacre miss and sent a long pass to Charlotte Johnson in the left corner of the Lebanon end. Johnson found a cutting Galanes for an easy transition layup and a 24-19 advantage, matching Hanover’s largest lead to that point.

Even with about 20 Lebanon parents in attendance, Kehoe’s timeout message couldn’t have been missed by anyone. “Don’t you dare give up!” the first-year coach admonished her squad.

The Raiders didn’t. Sally Rainey hit a free throw to end the third and assisted on both of Cole’s back-to-back threes to open the fourth for a 26-24 Lebanon edge.

“Lebanon, I thought, outhustled us, played with confidence, played with intensity and pushed us to the limit,” Hanover coach Dan O’Rourke said. “We struggled to match all those, but in the third and fourth quarter, I thought we really stepped up our defensive intensity and especially our rebounding.”

Cole’s trifecta with 5:35 to play would be Lebanon’s last field goal. The Raiders went 0-for-9 the rest of the way, with no second-chance opportunities.

Lackley converted a Whitmore feed on the right blocks for the 26-26 tie, and Whitmore (10 points) canned a Johnson-fed 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:53 left to put Hanover ahead to stay. Whitmore had two blocks in the final minute, one on Rainey after the Lebanon captain intercepted an inbound pass for Whitmore at the other end of the floor and the other on the first of two Cole bids before the buzzer sounded.

Without Lackley’s input, it would have been a different story for the Marauders.

“I struggled a little bit; I missed a lot of shots,” Lackley said, “but I think I also took some good shots and made a couple of key baskets. I didn’t play my best, I felt a little flustered a lot of the time, but we pulled out the win and that says a lot about our team.

“I’m ready to play them on Friday.”

Free Throws: Lackley averaged 10.9 points per game as a freshman at Woodstock two years ago, scoring a career-high 22 points in a Feb. 2, 2019 win over Twin Valley. She commutes to her Hanover classes from Woodstock, she said. … Galanes struggled with her shot all night and finished with a season-low four points. The shooting guard had hit for double figures in her previous 20 games prior to Tuesday. … Lebanon’s defense held Hanover (68.2 ppg) to nearly 40 points below its season average. … The rivals meet again in Hanover on Friday.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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