Hanover high girls' basketball head coach Denny Garman dislikes days when there is no school and yet his team has a game.
The Hawkettes' performance in the first half of Monday's game against William Penn showed why.
Ultimately, the Hawkettes pulled out a 51-44 win over William Penn despite the lackluster play.
"The girls sleep in, they are off their routine and it takes a while to get going," Garman said.
Both teams struggled to get going in the first quarter. Hanover turned the ball over four times, but it also forced William Penn into 10 turnovers. Hanover ended the quarter with a 5-4 lead. In the first half, the Hawkettes turned the ball over 12 times. but took a four-point lead into halftime.
William Penn's Chyna Steele entered the half having scored 10 of her team's 14 points.
"It was extremely tough to get started tonight," freshman Soukaina Tracy said. "We all probably slept in until 11 and, to top it all off, we didn't have practice this weekend. We were getting our rust off in that first half and it was very evident in the start of the game."
William Penn's athleticism, speed and physical play forced the Hawkettes into forced shots from the outside. At the half, Garman reinforced the idea for his team to play its brand of basketball.
"It is easy to settle for those outside shots," Shelby Barnes said. "When we are playing a team that is very physical like William Penn, it is easy to keep it around the perimeter. Tonight, we had to find a way to get it inside and we had to get it in the pain and put the ball in the hoop."
Midway through the third quarter and with the score tied at 27, Hanover switched into a 1-2-2 zone and was able to force the Bearcats into two consecutive turnovers that resulted into four points and a 31-27 lead, a lead they would never relinquish despite a comeback attempt from the Bearcats.
"We really wanted to come out and play our brand of basketball and not get sucked into what they do," Garman said. "But we totally got sucked into it. It is a win, but we have a lot of things we have to work on."
The Hawkettes forced William Penn into 30 turnovers, many of which came in the second half.
"I thought Zoie Cleary did a great job for us on the defensive end," Garman said. "She is so consistent in her hustle. She is always diving on the floor for balls, forcing turnovers and helping to get us into our transition game."
"Coach has told us from the beginning of the season that we were going to win games defensively," Barnes said. "We struggle some offensively and so it comes down to how we play on the defensive end."
Steele finished with a game-high 32 points, but it was not enough.
Hanover went 22-for-33 from the foul line.
"Our biggest problem is getting in foul trouble," William Penn head coach Blaine Claiborne said. "It was a good matchup, I thought we played well."
Tracy led the Hawkettes with a team-high 18 points despite struggling for much of the first half.
"I know that, despite my struggles, I have to keep shooting," Tracy said. "Eventually, they will start going in."
With a two-point lead and less than 30 seconds to go, the Hawkettes drained 5-of-6 free throws to seal the deal.
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WILLIAM PENN (44)
Kinard 3 0-0 6, Chyna Steele 11 9-16 32, G. Kinard 1 0-0 2, Wright 1 0-1 2, Clark 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 9-17 44.
Shelby Barnes 3 5-6 11, Drawbaugh 3 3-6 9, Herrick 0 2-3 2, Naill 1 0-0 2, Cleary 2 4-8 8, Soukaina Tracy 5 7-8 18, Yealy 0 1-2 1. Totals 14 22-33 51.
William Penn 4 10 14 16 -- 44
Hanover 5 13 15 18 -- 51
3-point goals -- William Penn 1 (Steele); Hanover 1 (Tracy).
JV score -- Hanover 25, York 22.