By Tris Wykes
Copyright Octopus Athletics 2021
HANOVER – Climbing out of one hole was hard enough for the Hanover High boys basketball team Thursday afternoon. Attempting to do so twice proved too much of a challenge for the Marauders, who lost to visiting Sanborn, 62-45, after the NHIAA Division II teams were tied, 30-30, at halftime.
Rushing on offense and failing to limit penetration on defense was the hosts’ undoing, said 22nd-year coach Tim Winslow, who watched his team score only four points during the third quarter and fall to 1-4. Sanborn is 4-1.
“We tried to score quickly as opposed to running our plays,” said Winslow, whose team was down 10 points during the second quarter. “They wanted more possessions and we wanted less, because they have some kids who can really shoot it.
“Once we start going one or two passes and a shot that doesn’t go in, it gives them more chances to score. Especially if we struggle in transition defense.”
Sanborn’s Jason Allen scored a game-high 29 points while Hanover was led by Max Galbraith, who dropped in 13. The Marauders stayed close when not drawn into the Indians’ run-and-gun style, but lacked contributions from the post and a consistent second scoring threat to take heat off Galbraith.
“We need to play half-court defense and run our offense not for just 10 or 12 seconds,” Winslow said.
What the veteran coach didn’t add is that his program has been drained by prep-school defections. Shooting guard Hank Pikus, power forward Jai White and 6-foot-10 center Jordan McConnell left for supposedly greener pastures and the talent pool hasn’t fully refilled.
Hanover was 18-3 during the 2019-20 season but since then has graduated impact players such as Charlie Adams, Nolan Gantrish and Brett Simmons, in addition to its underclass exits. What’s left is Galbraith, feisty point guard Jacob Kubik-Pauw-Pauw, who scored eight points Thursday, and a cast of willing pluggers who haven’t yet meshed well.
“We’re trying to identify mismatches down low for our (post players),” said Winslow, who used 6-foot-2 senior twins Colin and Trevor Pierce, along with 6-4 classmate Kevin Pillsbury, in the paint Thursday. “We’re improving on that and the lack of a big man usually doesn’t hurt us that much, but they beat us on the offensive boards dramatically tonight.”
Pillsbury seems like he should be Hanover’s main man in the lane, but looked raw and prone to fumbles against Sanborn. Winslow, whose team was 7-5 last winter, said the big fellow’s development has been stymied by the pandemic and the resulting limits on court time and canceled games, including Hanover’s holiday tournament.
“Kevin’s trying to play but he’s still thinking,” the coach said. “And when you think, it takes a nano-second longer to do everything. He’s a strong, athletic kid who works hard. Once we start playing more, we’ll get him to where he needs to be.”
Galbraith is clearly a capable leader and should thrive if and when another scoring source develops. Thursday, he pressed and continued shooting when his stroke wasn’t fully dialed-in.
“He has the green light but at the same time, when things aren’t falling, we’ve got to be able to identify that and create elsewhere,” Winslow said. “We can’t just rely on his shot, because… teams will just dog him. Everybody loves the 3-point shot, but maybe our strength is more 15 feet and in.”
Asked how and why the Marauders had trouble defending Allen, Winslow sighed and said the Indians’ gunner would cause him nightmares. Sanborn liked to dribble-drive into the lane, then kick the ball out to a first perimeter player and then a second, the coach explained.
Hanover’s problems started with playing the ball tightly but too far from the paint. If, as regularly occurred, the ball handler beat that defender to the keyhole and slammed on the brakes with a jump stop, the hosts were forced to cover significant defensive ground to collapse upon him. Two quick passes, outside and then over, and Sanborn had yet another unguarded shot.
“We were a little too aggressive out beyond the attacking zone,” Winslow said. “It all starts with the ball and being able to take away the dribble-drive and we struggled with that.”
Winslow said Hanover had seven turnovers during the first quarter and none during the second, which sparked a rally after being down, 25-15. The Marauders play three games in six days next week, including a Monday matchup with undefeated Pelham.
“I know we’re 1-4 and that’s not a good place to be,” Winslow said. “We just have to figure out our way.”
Notes: Reports from Hanover boys hockey indicate that veteran coach Dick Dodds is back after suffering a heart attack last month but has yet to resume skating. Dodds spends practices on the bench, hollering instructions onto the ice. “He’s more that loud enough,” said one of his players. “If anything, I think he’s even more enthusiastic now.”… Hanover athletic director Megan Sobel said there are no further developments to report regarding the school’s meandering process towards a new mascot. Sobel said one quandary is what to do with various team uniforms that still feature the pirate-head logo… Galbraith is the son of former Dartmouth athletic administrator Drew Galbraith, now the athletic director at Trinity (Conn.) College. His mother, Mariruth Graham, is a local Realtor and the Marauders’ softball coach.
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