Hanover boys outpace Mascoma in basketball season opener

  • Gabe Rock, of Mascoma, right, passes to teammate Zach Thompson as Jordan McConnell, of Hanover, second from left, collides with Michael Loynds, of Mascoma, center, during their game in West Canaan, N.H., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Colin Pierce, of Hanover, is at left. Hanover won 60-40. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 1/13/2021 10:05:23 PM
Modified: 1/13/2021 10:05:17 PM

WEST CANAAN — With more than two decades of varsity basketball coaching under his belt, Tim Winslow can honestly say he’s never had anyone on his team with whom he can see eye to eye. That’s not the case anymore.

Freshman Jordan McConnell and junior Kevin Pillsbury will be a big part — literally — of Hanover High boys basketball this season. As they develop, the Marauders showed in a season-opening 60-40 win over Mascoma on Wednesday night that they still possess the guard strength that’s been the program’s calling card the last two winters.

With Jacob Kubik-Pauw, Max Galbraith and Brett Simmons whipping the basketball around the Mascoma defense, Hanover (1-0) owned a 16-5 lead after one quarter and gradually extended the advantage the rest of the night. Another guard, junior Evan Yang, came off the bench to share scoring honors with McConnell, a 6-foot-10 forward, with 11 points apiece. Pillsbury, a 6-5 junior forward, contributed nine points.

“It’s finally happened where I have a player I can look up to, yes,” the 6-foot-6 Winslow confirmed after the victory. “The thing that we have to get used to is, in the past, we’ve had Charlie Adams to really kind of run the show. We’ve got multiple kids who can do it this year. We have a bunch of kids who can be that person. We still have to get better at it.”

Winslow is working with something of a clean slate this season, having lost all five of his starters from an 18-3 team that was bound for March’s NHIAA Division II quarterfinals when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Adams, the D-II player of the year at 15.3 points per game, graduated with Nolan Gantrish (13.9 ppg) and Joe Brennan, while two other pieces — guard Hank Pikus (13.1 ppg) and athletic big man Jai White (12.6 ppg) — left for prep school opportunities.

Against the speedy Royals (0-1), Hanover showed it could still rely on its guards for offense. The visitors never trailed after Galbraith, a junior, scored on a spin move for a 4-2 lead midway through the first quarter. The Marauders shot better from 3-point territory (4-for-15) in the opening half than they did at the foul line (0-for-4) in building a 28-15 cushion.

Mascoma junior Ben Seiler led all scorers with 18 points.

“It’s good to play somebody besides ourselves,” Mascoma coach Silas Ayres said. “It’s a tough matchup for us with their size, and we knew that coming in. I thought we were getting good shots, for the most part. We forced it a little bit, played a little selfish. I thought when we made that extra pass, we got good shots. Just had a hard time hitting the good shots.”

McDonnell and Pillsbury give Hanover the kind of baseline height they’ve rarely, if ever, had. It made a difference in the opening half; the Marauders owned a 26-13 advantage in rebounds, turning many into second-chance points.

Galbraith’s spin-o-rama kicked off a 12-3 run to close the first period. The junior contributed four of his 10 points in the burst, and Yang sank the first two of his three 3-pointers for the early double-digit lead.

McConnell grew into the game, getting five of his eight rebounds in the second stanza and hitting a nifty elbow jumper to check a Mascoma comeback attempt. The Royals couldn’t match McConnell and Pillsbury (six rebounds) on the glass; Hanover finished with a 47-22 rebounding advantage.

The Marauders sank 190 shots from beyond the arc two years ago just to stay competitive. With White manning the middle, Hanover required only a paltry 158 3-pointers last winter. Winslow’s bunch still has range, but his newfound size will ultimately play a role in his squad’s success.

“Two year ago, we were trying to score 100 points, or at least take enough shots to score 100 points,” Winslow said. “Last year, very similar; we wanted to push it up, and we wanted to get after it. The difference between this team and those teams is we still want to push it up, but we want to defend.

“If we’re going to win games this year, we need to do what we did points-wise tonight. We need to hold our opponent to 40. We’re not going to score 60 points on average; if we average 50 points, I’ll be very excited.”

Free Throws: The contest went just 37 seconds before referee Brian Pond had to halt the action to replace his electronic whistle, which failed him on his first call of the night. Welcome to pandemic basketball, folks. … Mascoma has gotten into the cardboard cutout business, with about two dozen pictures of family and staff members tucked into the first two rows of bleachers. Included in the gallery: an image of a rather young Tom Selleck. … Seiler entered the night 250 points shy of 1,000 for his career. When the junior reaches the milestone, he’ll be the first Royal to do so since Alex Schwarz did four years ago. … The Marauders claimed the junior varsity contest, 51-43. … The teams meet again on Friday in Hanover.

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




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