For most of Tuesday night at Hanover High School, the basketball teams’ shooting performances, both the Hawks and the Lee-Davis Confederates, was as frigid as the bitter air outdoors. While the Hanover girls survived their cold night, the boys heated up the court en route to a big rivalry victory.
The Confederate and Hawk girls opened the doubleheader, only managing to score 12 points apiece in the first half. While Lee-Davis made only four of 32 shots in the first 16 minutes, Hanover only managed four of 19. When this happens, Hanover head coach Michael Rohr said you keep trying to play to your strength.
“We live and die by the three,” Rohr noted. “We’ve had nights where we’ve shot really well, and if we’re open, we’ve got to keep shooting it.”
But when Hanover only hit two of 13 from beyond the arc Tuesday, they improvised.
“The kids did a good job adjusting. We started attacking the basket off the dribble, and got them in foul trouble, which made a huge difference in the game,” Rohr noted.
That difference began early in the fourth quarter. Lee-Davis’ Lauren McIntyre, who scored all of her four points in the third to help the Confederates take a 22-18 lead, fouled out with 5:48 to go, damaging the Lee-Davis inside defense. The Hawks took over on the offensive boards, but they struggled down the stretch at the free throw line. But the sheer number of opportunities for Hanover at the charity stripe finally wore out Lee-Davis, and Hanover took the edge on a Taylor Peay free throw with 2:30 left at 28-27.
After a Hanover basket, Olivia Tuck drove for two of her eight points to make the Confederate deficit just one at 30-29 with 60 seconds left. But Lee-Davis (2-7) spent valuable time not fouling, forcing Tuck to commit her fifth foul at 11 seconds left, joining McIntyre on the bench. The Hawks hit three free throws in the final minute to close it out.
Tuck added 10 rebounds to her eight-point performance. Carter Leake led Hanover (4-7) with 9.
The boys’ showdown picked up, offensively, where the girls left off, managing a combined 32 points. Hanover’s 18-14 lead came despite shooting 23 percent from the floor, while Lee-Davis shot just 21 percent.
“It wasn’t our shooting,” Hanover head coach Darren Thornton said. “I thought Lee-Davis did a good job controlling the tempo. They slowed us down, where we wanted to play uptempo. We settled too much on a lot of shots instead of penetrating, getting things going.”
Keeping the Hawks in first gear allowed the Confederates to stay close, as a 7-0 run in the half’s final minute cut an 13-point Hanover lead to six at the break. The Hawks called on their full-court defensive pressure to turn the tide and change the game.
“We wanted to put pressure all over the floor and just get things going so we can control the tempo,” Thornton said.
And they did.
A 15-4 run over the first six minutes of the third quarter, fueled by Lee-Davis turnovers, stretched the lead to 18. By mid-fourth quarter, it was at 23.
“We didn’t run our plays. Bad turnovers, forcing plays, bad passes,” explained a dejected Tariq Caldwell, Lee-Davis forward who scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Confederates fell to 3-6 and next welcome Varina Friday to Mechanicsville looking for consistency.
The Hawks, now 7-4, were led by usual offensive sparks Cutch Ellis and Jalen Elliott with 13 points each, while Jordan Wade added 10. Hanover hosted Maggie Walker Governors School Wednesday (after presstime) and continue a six-game homestand Monday when they battle Glen Allen for the third time this season. The teams split the first two games.