By Tris Wykes
HANOVER – It was nip and tuck between the Hanover High and Kearsarge boys basketball teams Saturday afternoon before the hosts pulled away for a 45-35 triumph. The Marauders’ Brett Simmons led all scorers with 21 points while Sam Carl had 16 for the visiting Cougars.
“We just didn’t get off the bus and give them credit for holding us to 35,” said Kearsarge coach Nate Camp, a former Lebanon High and Colby-Sawyer College standout. “We were horrendous from the free-throw line and not great from the perimeter.”
The Cougars played the third game of a stretch that has them competing four times in six days. That run concludes Monday at Lebanon for a team that entered the weekend 6-0 but also returned only one starter from last season.
“We were missing a lot of shots, for sure, but this is good because our guys need to be tested,” Camp said. “We didn’t rebound today, offensively or defensively, and that was the difference.”
The NHIAA Division II Marauders (4-1) and the Division III Cougars were tied at 19 at intermission and at 28 after three quarters. Hanover produced a 12-1 run to begin the final stanza and seize control of the contest.
“We were able to get on the glass really well during the last 10 minutes of the game,” said 21st-year Hanover coach Tim Winslow. “We were rotating bodies in and out and were super fresh at that point, which was a real help for us.”
Hanover was 18-3 last season before the campaign was ended because of Coronavirus concerns. All five starters then departed, Charlie Adams, Nolan Gantrish and Joe Brennan graduated and Jai Williams and Hank Pikus left for prep school. This season’s set-up, while far from ideal, has allowed the Marauders, 43-26 the past four seasons, to ease their new lineup into action with a practice-heavy schedule.
“This season might be a little bit of a blessing in disguise,” Winslow said. “In the last seven to 10 days our kids are starting to understand what we’re trying to do. We’re a young team but they work hard ever day.”
Winslow said Simmons has truly kicked it into gear.
“He’s doing some things that we were hoping he would do,” the coach said. “He’s your typical senior, who now, with three weeks to go in the season, is playing like we wished he was playing a while ago. But he works hard and the effort shows.”
Camp lamented his team’s carelessness on offense, which resulted in Kearsarge committing 11 turnovers during the first half and 21 during the game.
“It was just embarrassing, the way we handled the ball,” he said. “We’re normally more crisp. It’s good for us to have a little reality check, to find out ‘how good are we?’”
Kearsarge will get another such test against undefeated Lebanon on Monday. Hanover is scheduled to host Stevens on Tuesday and visit the Cardinals on Friday.
Notes: Marauders guard Jacob Kubik-Pauw was whistled for playing with his mask too low and sent out of action during the first quarter. “I’ve already seen your mouth three times,” barked the referee… Camp’s daughter, Caroline, sat on the Cougars’ bench and kept the scorebook for her father. The family only recently came out of Covid-19 quarantine after Caroline’s sister, Ellie, tested positive for the virus… Hanover’s Jordan McConnell, a 6-foot-10 freshman, sat out after spraining an ankle in gym class this week. Winslow expects him back next week. McConnell is also an ice hockey player, competing for the Hanover Wild youth organization… Camp said he usually gets all 15 of his players into games… Winslow said contests this winter feel like preseason scrimmages because of the dearth of people in the gym. “You don’t get as nervous in this kind of environment,” he said.
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