Four weeks ago, when the Lee-Davis girls basketball team visited Hanover, they got caught in a heavy downpour of Hawk three-pointers, as Hanover hit 11 shots from behind the arc en route to a 65-58 victory.
The Confederates learned that lesson, successfully adjusted, and forced the Hawks to find another way to win. This time, defense led the way as Hanover defeated Lee-Davis 44-35 Tuesday night in the heart of Mechanicsville.
“We didn’t make very many shots in the first half, but I’m happy that the team bought in and locked in defensively,” said Hanover head coach Kevin Brooks. “They really wanted this win and I’m happy for them that they got it.”
Points were at a premium all evening for both teams, as each missed several layup opportunities, as well as critical free throws. Sarah Belcher single-handedly kept Hanover in the contest over the first 16 minutes, accounting for eight of the team’s first 13 points. The Confederates were catapulted into the lead via two three-pointers by Kerstin Winston in the second quarter, as Lee-Davis enjoyed the lead at the break, 18-15.
There would be no barrage of three-pointers, no breakaway fourth quarter for Hanover as was the case Jan. 3, but there was a healthy dose of defensive stands, the surprising jump shot of Sydni Carey and the awakening of Amber Norris. Norris scored all of her six points in the second half (she scored 16 in their first meeting), while Carey, known for her drives to the bucket, chose to stop and pop, scoring seven of her 11 points after intermission.
“I told them I wanted them to be aggressive, confident, and tough, and I think they did all three at a high level,” Brooks exclaimed.
“We were taking what they were giving us,” Belcher said. “They learned from last game so they were going out at us, so we were pump-faking and going to the basket.”
For Lee-Davis, it was a frustrating home district loss. Both of Hanover’s Capital District victories this season thus far have come at the Confederates’ expense.
“At practice, we worked a lot on man-to-man defense from far out because they’re all shooters,” Winston, a junior, noted. “Our defense stepped it up in the first half, but not the second. We get frustrated easily. If one person gets down, everyone is down. I try my best to keep everyone pumped.”
In the end, what cost the Confederates was simply poor fourth quarter shooting. Hanover took a 29-27 edge into the final eight minutes and got away with a mediocre shooting performance of their own, doing just enough to keep the lead. Kori Hughes, who scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for Lee-Davis, hit two free throws with 53 seconds left to make it 37-35. After that, free throws from Taylor Peay and Norris, along with a key Norris steal on an inbounds pass with 26 seconds left, sealed the win for the Hawks.
Belcher finished with 15 points for Hanover while Carey added 12. Olivia Tuck had a strong performance for the Confederates with 15 points and four rebounds.
Hanover, now 2-7 in the Capital, 3-11 overall, travels to Atlee Thursday looking to avenge a loss to the rival Raiders, before going to Henrico Friday, to Armstrong Saturday, then home to face Glen Allen Monday night.
Lee-Davis, 3-5 in district play and 5-12 overall, quickly turned the page, traveling out of district to face Matoaca Wednesday (after presstime) in south Chesterfield. They face Varina at home Friday before a rematch with Atlee at home on Tuesday.