By Rob Witham
Three days, and 2,639 miles removed from the site of their last game, Hanover girls basketball hit the bus following their first day back in school and took the one-hour trip south to Conference 20 rival Dinwiddie to face the Generals.
A perfect trap game on the schedule? You know head coach Michael Rohr was fully aware.
“We just told them, don’t act tired and come out and get off to a good start,” Rohr said.
The Hawks went one for two. They never looked tired, but struggled out of the gate, trailing the Generals for most of the first period before leading 10-6 after eight minutes. But once the second quarter began, everything else changed.
Hanover went on a 34-9 tear, forcing top Dinwiddie players into deep foul trouble, pouring on full court pressure to feed their transition game and take a 44-15 lead to halftime, cruising to a 59-33 victory Monday night in Dinwiddie. It was the fifth time this season the Hawks held their opponent to under 40 points in a victory as Hanover improved to 7-5.
Jordan Davis led the Hawks with 21 points, scoring 19 of them in the first half with a relentless pursuit of the basketball at both ends of the floor, especially on defense, constantly making a beeline toward the basket, either scoring, or drawing trips to the free throw line.
“I just wanted to come out and show that we can do it, just coming from San Diego,” Davis, a freshman, said. “With hard work and dedication, we could put it away and get the win.”
Rachael Metzger led the Hawks in the second half, scoring eight of her 19 points in the second half as Hanover quelled any hopes of a Dinwiddie comeback. Sarah Wright scored seven points, while Searlait Coffey added five.
Hanover’s next two tests will be difficult, as first they travel to rival Atlee to battle Alyse Armentrout and the Raiders on Friday at 6 p.m. before heading to tenth-ranked Varina Tuesday, hoping to avenge a Dec. 15 53-48 loss to the Blue Devils in their last game at home. The Hawks won’t get to play in their friendly confines again until Jan. 20 when they host Patrick Henry.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Rohr said of Friday’s game at Atlee. “Both schools are going to come out and support the game really well. We’re going to go down there and play as well as we possibly can.”
In the boys game that followed, an up and down battle between the Generals and Hawks came down to critical fourth quarter plays, and mistakes, as Dinwiddie used a technical foul by Hanover to score four straight points to strengthen a lead that would not relinquish, holding off the Hawks 73-69.
The Generals jumped to an early lead before Hanover responded, ending the first quarter on a 10-2 run to tie the game 19-19. Another strong push for Hanover gave them a 39-31 lead at the break, outscoring the Generals 14-7 in the final four minutes.
But Dinwiddie used the power of David Gant, who scored seven quick points to open the third quarter and 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, as the Generals erased the Hanover lead, tying the game at 51 with a period to go. Josh Plummer followed a free throw miss with an offensive rebound and putback to give Hanover a 54-53 edge with 7:26 left, but just over a minute later, an untimely mistake cost the Hawks.
A technical foul called after a foul at midcourt by Hanover gave RaeShaun Henderson four free throw attempts for Dinwiddie. He converted them all, and Dinwiddie enjoyed its biggest lead of the game at 63-56. For the final 6:16, Hanover would press on, but always from behind, able to cut the margin down to one on an And One from Ryan Payne with 3:38 to go, but no closer.
Payne’s short jumper with :27.5 left cut Dinwiddie’s lead to 71-69, then the Generals committed a traveling violation. But Hanover’s chance to tie with nine seconds left sailed off the rim, Dinwiddie rebounded, and Took Scott hit two free throws to give the Generals the victory.
Hanover, led by Payne’s 16 points, 13 from Nick Zona and 12 from Josh Plummer, is now 3-7 and also head to Atlee for action on Friday night, followed by hosting Varina, the sixth-ranked team in the latest RVA Sports Network Top Ten boys basketball poll, Tuesday night.