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Hanover, Lebanon split Wechsler Cup twin bill

  • Lebanon celebrates their 60-53 triple overtime win over Hanover in the first of two games between the schools in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 5, 2019. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Wade Rainey (22) is fouled by Hanover's Jeffrey Holt in the first quarter of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 5, 2019. At right is Hanover's Nolan Gantrish. Lebanon won, 60-53, after three overtime periods. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Megan Gradijan looks to pass the ball to teammate Anna Wolke, left, against the defense of Hanover's Lois Schwartz (12) and Charlotte Johnson in the first quarter of their game in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 5, 2019. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon head coach Tim Kehoe speaks to his team between the first and second periods of their game against Hanover in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 5, 2019. (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
Tuesday, February 05, 2019

HANOVER — Lebanon High junior Jon Willeman put on the cape, the tights and the mask in overtime, transforming into Captain Clutch for the Raiders boys basketball team against its neighborhood rivals on Tuesday night.

Willeman, a junior, scored a game-high 23 points — 14 after regulation time — as the Raiders outlasted Hanover High in a thrilling 60-53 triple-overtime win in the opening game of the Wechsler Cup. Hanover’s girls team handed Lebanon its first loss of the season in the nightcap, 51-42, avenging a Dec. 11 loss — its only defeat in NHIAA Division II — to the Raiders at Lang Metcalf Gym.

The boys’ victory was Lebanon’s 14th straight regular-season win over the Marauders since 2012, a stretch of dominance that Hanover was inches away from snapping. The Hanover girls’ win was their first regular-season win over the Raiders since 2014.

In the opener, the Marauder boys simply ran out of gas. Lebanon had a little bit more left in the tank.

“I thought our missed free-throw opportunities cost us the win earlier on,” Lebanon head coach Dave Faucher said. “We still made some big plays. Jon (Willeman) missed some layups early on, but then he hits a big 3. It’s kids playing hard. Both teams played hard.”

Lebanon led by as many as 12 points midway through the third quarter, extending a 26-15 lead at halftime. But Hanover fought back in the final stretch, outscoring the Raiders, 15-3, in the final 12 minutes of regulation to tie the game, 38-38, and force overtime.

“We kept letting them back into the game,” Willeman said. “We just had to stay strong the whole four minutes. … We all came together like, ‘We’ve got to get this.’ ”

A 3-pointer by Hanover’s Nolan Gantrish with 1:39 remaining and two free throws by Charlie Adams seconds later in the first overtime gave Hanover a 45-42 lead. Willeman launched a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game again, 45-45.

Lebanon’s Wade Rainey hit an early 3-pointer in the second overtime to give the Raiders another early lead. Hanover’s Simon Roach and Hank Pikus hit free throws to tie the game again, 48-48. Hanover had two chances at a game-winner in the final minute, missing both attempts off the rim.

But it was all Willman in the third overtime. He answered an early basket by Adams with five straight points — a 3-pointer and two free throws. He finished the four-minute overtime period with nine points to help close out the victory. Rainey added 17 points for Lebanon.

“Jon’s a winner in every sense of the word,” Faucher said.

Gantrish led the Marauders with 15 points. Adams, the Hanover junior star averaging 20.2 points per game, was held without a point in the first two quarters. He finished the game with 13 points. Hanover’s 38 regulation points were also its lowest of the season.

“The funny thing is we know a lot of those kids,” said Willeman, who admitted it was one of the crazier games he’s been a part of. “I was shooting bad, missing some layups for whatever reason. I was able to hit those two 3s (in the overtime periods); that really helped our team.”

The Raiders improved to 9-5 overall, 7-4 in D-II, snapping a two-game losing streak. They host Pembroke on Friday. Hanover dropped its third straight, falling to 8-5 overall, 7-4 in D-II, and hosts Hollis Brookline on Friday.

Maddie McCorkle led the Hanover girls with a game-high 24 points in the nightcap. The Marauders outscored Lebanon, 35-23, in the final two quarters after managing only four points in the second quarter.

“In the first half, I thought we were playing very tentative. We weren’t really attacking,” said Hanover head coach Dan O’Rourke. “It was so loud in here, the kids couldn’t hear what I was trying to tell them to do. But we figured it out and started attacking the gaps. That led to some easy baskets.”

Lebanon defeated Hanover, 43-42, in the first meeting between the two teams in early December. The Raiders fall to 15-1 overall, 12-1 in D-II. They travel to Timberlane on Friday.

Hanover (14-2, 13-1) travels to D-II defending champion Hollis Brookline on Friday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.