Lowell's Aaron Hamm gets stripped from behind by Hanover Central's Max Johnson during a game on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, in Lowell. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
HANOVER CENTRAL (1-0) 15 - 6 - 9 - 14 == 44
LOWELL (0-1) 8 - 15 - 14 - 6 == 43
Season opener for both teams - 11/21/12 in Lowell
HANOVER (44) Jeremy Pedersoli 1-2-4, Sean Kelly 2-0-4, Nick Myszkowski 1-0-3, Danny Kubiak 2-4-9, Max Johnson 7-5-22, Trent Fanta 0-0-0, Luke Pederson 0-0-0, Brandon Sears 0-0-0, Alec Nirtaut 0-0-0. TOTALS: 13 (11-13) 44.
LOWELL (43) Aaron Hamm 1-1-3, Zach Van Hook 4-5-15, Spenser Kersey 1-3-5, Billy Barker 5-3-13, Jason Savich 2-0-4, Nick Gramhofer 1-0-2, Jordan Hanson 0-1-1, Eric Zukaukas 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14 (10-16) 43.
FREE THROWS: HC (11-13, 84.6%) Johnson 5-6, Pedersoli 1-2, Kubiak 4-4, Calvin 0-1; LOWELL (10-16, 62.5%) Hamm 1-2, Van Hook 5-7, Kersey 3-5, Hansen 1-2.
REBOUNDS: HC (13) Kubiak 4, Kelly 4, Johnson 2, Pedersoli 2, Fanta; LOWELL (21) Van Hook 4, Kersey 4, Hamm 3, Zavich 3, Zukaukas 3, Barker 2, Hansen 2.
ASSISTS: HC (8) Pedersoli 2, Myszkowski 2, Johnson, Calvin; LOWELL (8) Kersey 3, Hamm 2, Van Hook, Barker, Hansen.
STEALS: HC (6) Johnson 3, Kubiak 2, Myszkowski; LOWELL (12) Kersey 4, Van Hook 4, Hamm 2, Barker 2.
TECHNICAL FOUL: HC (1) Sean Kelly (3rd Q) 5:10
FOULED OUT: LOWELL (1) Zach Van Hook (4th Q) :00.
Updated: November 27, 2012 12:36PM
LOWELL (11-21-12) What you take away from opening night of the basketball season is that Hanover Central has changed.
Under new coach Byron Clouse, HC is now longer a running pressing fast-breaking team. Clouse, who came to HC over the summer, brought with him the multiple defense, patient offense style that worked for him for him for six years at Lake Station.
And even though it sure didn’t looked like it would. The style brought Hanover an opening night win over next door neighbor Lowell.
Senior Max Johnson drove down the foul lane through the Devils’ defense with his left hand scoring with just five seconds left to put Hanover ahead.
As a noisy crowd of about 1,500 looked on, Lowell’s Zach Van Hook was called for an offensive foul on the final play of the game, his fourth offensive foul of the night as time ran out.
“I want Max to have the ball in his hands in crucial moments,” said Clouse. “That’s why I was yelling at him. Go get the ball and make as play. He’s right-handed but he can use both. I think he dribbled with his left and then switched back to the right.”
It was an upset win as Lowell led 35-25 with 1:45 left in the third quarter before Hanover climbed back into the game behind Johnson and senior Danny Kubiak on opening night of what promises to be an unpredictable season for both schools.
This was a hard loss for Lowell, which played very well in the middle quarters but lost the advantage when HC scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter,
The pace of the game slowed in the late going but Lowell still should have won. Leading 40-39, Lowell’s Van Hook stole the ball but missed a dunk. Spenser Kersey then stole the ball and missed a lay up before Danny Kubiak’s three-point shot put the Wildcats ahead 42-41.
Van Hook stole the ball and missed and lay up before Kersey did the same. Billy Barker, who scored all 13 of his points in the first half missed a jump shot on the same possession.
Hanover called time out but Kersey again stole a pass and again missed a shot. This time Aaron Hamm rebounded and was fouled, splitting two free throws to tie the game 42-42 with 25 seconds to play.
“We tried to give it to them, I guess,” said Clouse. “But the good thing was when we wer down 8-10, we came back. We called a time out an dI just told them that Lowell was kicking our but down low. Lowell has some big guys. But Kubiak steped up. Trent Fanta, a freshmasn,. played some crucial minutes. And, of course, Max, made his big buckets.”
“We did a good job and then, I guess, we couldn’t handle success. We kept throwing the ball to the white (home jerseys) team instead of the red team. But then we got back to basics and hit a couple of shots and Max’s shot sent us back to Cedar Lake happy.”
Johnson was somewhat of a reluctant hero.
“Coach was telling me the whole time to drive into the lane,” the senior said later. “The kid who was guarding me had four fouls. He was telling me to drive for a couple of minutes. The freshman (Fanta) set a nice screen into the land and I made the shot.”
“I knew I just had to take a couple more shots. Sean (Kelly) was in foul trouble and I had to take more shots than I was taking.”
Lowell third year coach Nate Richie was unhappy that Johnson was able to take more shots.
“If you go back to when we had a 10-point lead,” he said after the game. “We had a few turnovers. Missed some defensive assignments. Lost track of where Max Johnson was. Gave up some wild open 3’s and he knocked them down.”
“So instead of bumping the lead up to about 15., we were in a tight ball game. We just have a lot of young guys who are playing major minutes on the varsity that they’ve never played before.”
“And even after they caught up, we missed three layups, stole the ball three times, turned the ball over twice and missed three free throws. How many more chances do you want?”
Hanover’s new center Sean Kelly, a transfer from Crown Point, was in foul trouble a lot and drew a technical foul in the second quarter. But Lowell had more issues with the referees. Van Hook drew five fouls, four of them offensive fouls. Lowell’s coaches didn’t want to comment but they weren’t the only ones who thought that the Lowell top scorer got fouled more than he committed fouls.
“It is what it is,” said Richie of a couple of push fouls as Van Hook was going in for lay up. “I thought a couple of those should have been called. But I’m, not going to blame the referees. We’ve still got to be god enough to take advantage of the opportunities we got at the end.”
NOTES: The annual Lowell-Hanover girls/boys double-header drew about 1,500 to ‘the Pit’ Lowell’s basement-style gymnasium the night before Thanksgiving. The Lowell band, dressed in yellow ‘Pit Crew’ T-shirts, added to the atmosphere along with the two schools’ student sections.
Lowell 6-foot-3 junior guard Billy Barker scored 13 points in the first half when Hanover played a box-and-one defense against Zach Van Hook, the Devils top scorer from last season.