Overtime heroics keep Marauders unbeaten.
LEBANON — On the brink of taking its first loss of the season, Hanover’s Hank Pikus inbounded the ball to Charlie Adams with the Marauders trailing by one with eight seconds left in overtime.
Lebanon’s Jon Willeman had just sunk two free throws to put all the pressure on his team’s Division II and Upper Valley rival, bringing it all down to one final play at Lebanon High School.
Adams dribbled up the right side of the floor, cut toward the middle and dumped it back to Pikus, who was waiting about five feet behind the three-point line on the right wing. With no hesitation, Pikus let it fly and the ball fell through the net as time expired to give Hanover a 60-58 win.
The Marauders, who were 0-14 in the regular season against Lebanon over the last seven years, improved to 12-0. Lebanon fell to 8-2.
“(That play) is something that me and Charlie do a lot in practice,” Pikus said. “As soon as I saw (Lebanon’s) Karsten (Hansen) flip down, I knew that I was going to have an open three. It didn’t matter that it was deep. I just knew it was good.”
Prior to that shot, Pikus had actually struggled from three. After making his first three from beyond the arc, he missed four straight between the third and fourth quarters.
The way he let the winning shot go, though, you would have thought he hadn’t missed all night.
“That’s a makeable shot for Hank,” Hanover coach Tim Winslow said. “I’m not saying he makes 10 out of 10, but he definitely makes those shots. He actually talked to me today about him being in the (Dartmouth College) gym earlier today working on that shot, so he’s capable.”
Pikus finished the game with 16 points, third only to Adams (game-high 24) and Willeman (18).
He also had four fouls — three in the first half — and it was Hanover’s foul trouble as a team that nearly cost it the game. The Marauders committed over 20 fouls throughout, including 10 in the second half that put Lebanon in the bonus for the final 7:35 of regulation and all of overtime.
The Raiders went 8-of-12 from the line during that span to keep themselves in the game. Logan Falzarano made 1-of-2 with 54.8 seconds left in the fourth to put Lebanon ahead 53-51. Then, of course, Willeman nearly won the game in OT.
“I really liked the way we played today,” Lebanon coach Kieth Matte said. “We didn’t shoot it well at all, but we scrapped for what seemed like every bucket. The free throws were huge for us.”
Willeman had a chance to win the game for the Raiders at the end of regulation but was blocked on his three-point attempt. Similarly, Adams had a chance to pretty much seal the game with 17.8 second left in overtime. Leading by one, Adams was fouled by Hansen, which put him at the line for a one-and-one opportunity. Adams missed the first, allowing Lebanon to grab the rebound and set up the chance for Willeman to get to the line himself.
Hanover is happy to get this win under its belt, though a stretch of tough games is just beginning, according to Winslow.
“It’s a big win,” Winslow said. “We haven’t beaten Lebanon in a long time so it was a good win for us. We have a run here of some really strong teams starting with Hollis/Brookline on Wednesday. Then we have Kennett, ConVal and a bunch of hard games. Six of our last seven are really going to be a challenge for us, so this was kind of our first one of many against a really good team that really competes hard.”