Boys basketball: Hanover edges Boone in battle of PCC unbeatens
By Kevin O’Keefe Post-Tribune correspondent January 4, 2013 11:26PM
Hanover Central's Max Johnson drives to the basket for a lay up during the first quarter against Boone Grove on Friday, in Cedar Lake. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 6, 2013 6:14AM
CEDAR LAKE — Boone Grove and Hanover Central both came into Friday night’s game undefeated in Porter County Conference play, but after a 32-minute nailbiter the Wildcats (6-5, 4-0) got the upper-hand thanks to a 50-47 home win.
Senior Max Johnson led the way for the Wildcats, pouring in a game-high 24 points. The Wolves managed to double-team Johnson to start the third quarter but he found a way to work his magic down the stretch for the victory.
“I’m a little tired but I feel good after a win,” Johnson said. “They started doubling me in the second half and made me work harder but all my players stepped up and Dan (Kubiak) hit some big free throws down the stretch.”
The Wildcats opened a 30-20 lead with less than three minutes left in the third quarter, only to see the Wolves (5-2, 2-1) claw their way back and actually take a 38-37 lead with 4:42 left in the game.
Boone Grove’s Skyler Mizgate made one of two free throws to tie the game at 44 with 1:18 left, but then Kubiak hit three of four free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
“Dan Kubiak stepped up at the end and made those free throws to put us up,” Hanover Coach Bryon Clouse said. “The most important thing is it’s a PCC win and stops a five-game losing streak. Max Johnson is a heckuva player and we want him to have the ball. It’s good that he’s an unselfish player, almost to a fault. He averages 17 points a game and you saw tonight he can score more.”
The first half ended with the Wildcats leading 20-17, with most of the work being done by Johnson. He accounted for 15 of his team’s 20 first-half points to go along with two rebounds and two steals. Boone Grove was led by Dean Hill, hitting three from beyond the arc for nine of his team’s 17 first-half points.
Nine first-half turnovers by the Wildcats hurt their chances to extend their halftime lead. Hill finished the night with 18 points including five treys to lead the Wolves.
“It’s tough to have the lead and have it taken away from you,” Wolves Coach Matt McKay said. “It’s tough on the road in a close game to have the foul ratio so wide but our kids never quit in the face of adversity. I think the two week layoff hurt a little bit, we were a little stale, but in the second half we pick the tempo up.”