HC Homecoming all they could ask
BY Mark Smith email@example.com December 4, 2012 1:32PM
Members of Hanover Central's homecoming court, Chloe Combs and Max Johnson stand on the court on Saturday, November 30, 2012, in Cedar Lake. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
Porter County Conference GIRLS
PCC Overall Offense-Defense
South Central 2- 0 3- 3 49.2 50.0
Hebron 2- 1 4- 2 49.0 43.3
HANOVER CENT. 1- 1 4- 2 58.8 40.8
BOONE GROVE 1- 1 3- 3 46.7 37.3
Washington Twp. 1- 3 2- 5 38.7 53.4
Morgan Twp. 0- 0 4- 3 36.7 31.1
LaCrosse 0- 0 3- 3 40.5 38.7
Kouts 0- 1 1- 4 35.2 49.0
Thursday, Nov. 29
Argos 40, Morgan Twp. 28
LaCrosse 45, Westville 40
South Central 47, Washington Twp. 36
Friday, Nov. 30
Boone Grove 53, Washington Twp. 27
Hanover Central 67, Hebron 36
Saturday, Dec. 1
Morgan Twp. 36, Lake Station 24
Washington Twp. 41, Kouts 39
Thursday, Dec. 6
Bowman Academy at BOONE GROVE - 5:30 JV
Friday, Dec. 7
Hanover Central at Washington Twp., 6 P.m.
LaCrosse at Hebron girls/boys double-header
Saturday, Dec. 8
Kouts at Morgan Twp. 12 noon - JV , 1:30 - Varsity
Wash.Twp. at North Judson, 1 P.m. JV - 2:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 11 - 5:30 JV - 7 P.. Varsity (all games)
Boone Grove at Kouts
Westville at Washington Twp.
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Hebron at Bishop Noll
Updated: December 4, 2012 1:32PM
CEDAR LAKE — These boys/girls double-headers give you school two chances to win on the same night. Sometimes you win them both.
But it rarely works out for Hanover like it did last Friday in Cedar Lake.
Let me restate that.
It’s almost never like this.
Hanover’s boys team pulled away in the second quarter and doubled the score on the Hebron Hawks 60-30 before the Lady Cats did even better.
Against a Hebron team that was 4-0 10 days ago, Hanover’s girls played perhaps their best game in several years, dominating the Hawks 67-36 for a sweep of the annual Homecoming double-header.
Hanover’s girls led 8-0 and the Hawks, despite an 8-0 run at the end of the first quarter, were never closer than three points. The Lady Cats (3-2) ran the floor and passed the ball as well as they have in any of the first five games.
To win like this against a Porter County Conference rival and win the “Kup,” the PCC’s traveling trophy from Hebron, scoring 67 points with only an unofficial 10 turnovers — there’s not a lot more you can ask from any one single game.
“It was a pretty solid game,” agreed HC coach Doug Nelson. “I’ll bet we had a lot of assists. Defintely a balanced effort. We have some solid depth. We thought we did coming into the season. We did a pretty good job of matching up with their shooters. They got away from us early, but I think we have the depth to run like we did tonight a little more than others in the PCC.”
Leading 19-16, Hanover scored five points in a row, including two steals and lay-ups from Blayr Poston, who led all scorers with 24.
The pace of the game was quick by mutual consent and Hanover’s 10-girl rotation seemed to give them an edge.
A 9-0 run midway through the third quarter upped the lead to 47-28 after a three-point play by junior center Kristen Roper.
Hebron, which was 4-0 before a 47-40 overtime loss to Griffith three nights earlier, seemed tired in the second half.
Hanover, which sank a season-high nine three-point baskets, scored 10 in a row late in the third quarter to build the lead to 57-31 and sent some in crowd of about 2,000 for the exits before the fourth quarter even began.
“We usually don’t shoot that well,” said Poston. “Some of us, once we shoot and make it we just get a lot more confident.”
The HC senior wasn’t sure why her team passed the ball so well.
“I don’t really know,” she admitted. “We gathered ourselves up this week because we thought we had to play our best.”
Hanover’s boys were easy winners over a Hebron team that won the PCC last year but graduated most of that squad.
Leading 6-4, the Wildcats outscored the visitors 24-7 for the rest of the first half. Defense was the key as HC allowed just eight field goals in the entire game.
Clouse, who has coached Lake Station the past six seasons, was making his PCC debut and the Hebron-Hanover rivalry was new to him.
“It’s cool to be in this atmosphere,” he said. “I’ve heard about it all my life and I’ve experienced it from the stands. But to hear our home crowd to chant to the other PCC crowd, it’s great to be a part of it.”
The game got a little rough in the second half with some missed calls, a couple of technical fouls and some roughhousing on the floor.
But the 30 points allowed was the fewest HC has given up in a game since they defeated Lowell 43-28 on Dec., 30, 2004.
“30 points?” said Clouse. “I’m very happy. I’m happy that they sacrifice. They’re willing to cut of the lane. The things I make them practice all the time. A lot of things that are not pretty. But it gets the job done.”
CAT NOTES: Hanover’s boys jumped out to a 23-2 first quarter lead and defeated Calumet 63-41 last week in the second game of the season.
Max Johnson collected 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds. The score was 42-10 at halftime.
Hanover Central’s boys will take on Roncalli in the semifinals of the Hamilton Heights Holiday tournament on Dec. 28 in Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis. Roncalli is 0-2 but the losses are to 4A power Perry Meridian (2-0) and two-time defending state 2A champ Park Tudor.
“The competition is really good,” said HC coach Bryon Clouse. “Hamilton Heights has a kid who was going to Kansas State until he decommitted two weeks ago. It’s Austin Etherington from IU — it’s his brother, Alex.
“We open up with Roncalli. I wanted to be in a holiday tournament. We had too big a break over Christmas (Dec. 21 to Jan 4), almost two and a half weeks. We needed a tournament to keep the kids showing up and working hard.”
HC’s Blayr Poston is closing in on the school’s all-time scoring record but she’s not sure exactly what she’ll say when the time comes.
“It’s very exciting,” said. “Getting close. I don’t know which game it will be but I’m looking forward to it.”
Hanover’s boys/girls double-headers have an unusual twist this season because the boys play first and the girls play the second game. Because the boys team draws larger crowds at both schools, girls traditionally play first in a co-ed doubleheader like the kind HC play at Lowell on Nov. 21.
But the majority of the crowd isn’t in the stands yet for the 6 p.m. first game. Hanover’s girls team appreciated the chance to play second.
“We tried to keep it as normal as possible,” said HC coach Doug Nelson. “We talk to the girls (in the locker room) after the third quarter just like we did if it was the JV game (which usually precedes the varsity game). I thought it was good. Coach (Byron) Clouse didn’t seem to mind. The (the HC boys) played pretty well, too.”
Some “friends of the program” reportedly did not like having the boys play at 6 p.m. in the first half of the two-game night. But no real reason was offered, probably because there isn’t a real reason the boys play the second game of doubleheaders all the time.
“Some people did say some things but we just ignored it,” said Hanover senior Nikki Hahn. “But I liked it. The other girls liked it. It took a lot of courage to change it.”
Almost every older school has cards or decals on the wall listing the other schools in its conference.
Hanover actually has them in both the old and new gymnasiums. Now, since HC is leaving the Porter County Conference after this season, Hanover is auctioning off the large display placards on the walls that list the schools in the PCC.
The old signs are worthless after this season but they have sentimental and memorabilia value to parents and fans from the other schools.
Clouse is grooming 5-foot-7 sophomore Alec Nirtaut as HC’s next floor leader for when the present three senior guards graduate.
“He doesn’t have a bad attitude,” said Clouse. “He understands that it’s work in progress. I’ve just got to get him as many minutes as I can now. He’s splitting minutes on the JV and varsity.”
Guard Alex Calvin, who got about 10 minutes on the floor for the Wildcats Friday, wasn’t at Hanover last season.
“He’s from Bloom Township in Illinois,” said Clouse. “He’s got talent. But he’s still a little timid with a new team at a new school. We’re building our bench.”
HC senior center Sean Kelly is still being hampered by foul trouble and isn’t getting the minutes per game he’d like.
The 6-foot-7 transfer from Crown Point had three fouls in the first 12 minutes against Hebron and picked up his fourth foul in the first 30 seconds of the second half.
“I was proud of him in the fourth quarter. He could have fallen for some of the tactics out there. There was some hard play. I thought he fouled but he was trying to protect the ball which is what we teach. I told the refs that and they listen. But I was real proud that he didn’t foul out of the game.”
Of the seven teams headed to Hanover for the eight-team two-day Winter Classic basketball tournament on Dec. 27-28, only one is undefeated.
Whiting (5-0), which will take on Knox Dec. 27 at 12:30, has won all five games so far by 12 points or more.
Griffith (5-2), which first faces Beecher Ilinois in the Hanover holiday tournament has lost only to Lake Central and Hobart.
Hanover’s quarterfinal opponent in the holiday tournamnet is Morton (2-2).