When the Hanover boys' basketball team took the court Wednesday night in the play-in round of the District 3 Class AA tournament, it knew it would have a distinct height advantage over its opponent.
The Nighthawks took advantage of the height discrepancy on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court to dominate Tulpehocken all game long, earning a 59-39 win.
"I thought we were able to use our length on the boards and to help out on the perimeter," Hanover head coach Nate Myers said. "I thought overall it was a very good team defensive effort. Everyone was into it. It was a very good team win."
Because of the mismatch in height, Tulpehocken attempted six 3-pointers in the first quarter and made only one. All game long, the Nighthawks had a hand in the Trojans' faces and prevented them from being able to get open shots.
Hanover went on an 8-0 run to start the game and held Tuplehocken scoreless for the first three minutes.
The Nighthawks jumped out to an 18-11 lead after the first quarter, thanks in part to eight points, including two 3s, from Nick Trish.
"I think hitting those early 3s just gets your momentum going," Trish said. "You get more confidence in yourself and your team. It helps you throughout the rest of the game."
His first 3-pointer was from the left baseline. As he was releasing the ball, a Tulpehocken defender knocked him down, resulting in a four-point play.
"I think that helped us a lot," Trish said. "It gets your team pumped up, and it gets everyone going."
The Nighthawks' (14-9) height advantage became evident in the second quarter when they outrebounded the Trojans 6-1. The quarter was a struggle for both teams offensively, but Hanover took 29-18 lead into the half.
The second half became the Trish and Krieger show. Dylan Krieger, who only scored four points in the first half, erupted for the team's first five points and then had a beautiful assist to Drew Vogel.
Trish then drained a 3 and then forced a turnover, took it the length of the court and laid it in to put the Nighthawks up by 10. Trish forced another steal on the next possession and threw a halfcourt pass to Krieger for the layup.
The two combined for 38 of the team's 59 points. Krieger finished with a game-high 20, and Trish added 18, including four 3-pointers.
Many of Krieger's 20 points came as a result of a wide-open foul-line jumper, one he consistently knocked down.
"I have been practicing that all year," Krieger said. "It has been a struggle, but I have been working on it.
"Dylan has been huge for us all year," Myers said. "I thought he played very well tonight. It seemed every time they would get a bucket, we had an answer and more times than not it was Dylan or Nick. I thought Nick was very consistent in a positive way for us."
Krieger's domination inside forced the Trojan defense to collapse, leaving Hanover open for the 3, something that Hanover has been able to take advantage of all year.
"It is nice when you get the ball into Dylan or Jake (Rhodes) and the defense collapses on them and they kick it out to you," Trish said. "You are wide open for the 3. You can't ask for anything more than that."
Wednesday's game was the Nighthawks' first in two weeks. However, rust was not an issue.
"In practice, we knew it was a big two weeks off and that we had to come in prepared," Trish said. "We want to get to the Giant Center. That is our goal."
The next step in reaching that goal comes Saturday as the Nighthawks travel to McSherrystown to take on Delone Catholic at 1 p.m.
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Krout 2 0-0 4, Dylan Krieger 9 2-4 20, Jake Rhodes 1 0-0 2, Drew Vogel 4 2-2 10, Goodfellow 2 0-0 5, Nick Trish 5 4-5 18 Totals23 8-11 59
Robert Ekvall 5 0-0 12, Bryant 1 3-4 5, Plato 1 1-4 3, Olkusz 0 0-2 0, Mullen 3 0-1 8, Noah Corles 5 0-2 11 Totals15 4-13 39
Hanover 18 11 14 16 -- 59
Tulpehocken 11 7 13 8 -- 39
3-point goals -- Han 5 ( Trish 4, Goodfellow), Tn 5 ( Ekvall 2, Mullen 2, Corles).