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Hanover hindered by injury in district playoff loss

Less than four minutes into Tuesday's District 3 playoff game, Hanover's chances of advancing in the tournament took a major hit.

Taking on Pequea Valley at home in the Class 3A quarterfinals, the fourth-seeded Hawkettes were weakened when senior forward Lexi Daley went down with a knee injury while driving to the basket in the first quarter. She did not return the rest of the game.

Without its leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, Hanover struggled offensively and on the boards in a season-ending, 48-31 loss. The Hawkettes finish with a 12-11 record, while No. 5 seed Pequea Valley advances to play York Catholic in the semifinals.

"(Daley is) kind of the girl that we put in the middle of the press to break it down, the girl who led our team in rebounding and is one of our best shooters," Hanover head coach Denny Garman said. "So when that happened, that was just hard to come back from."

Still, the Hawkettes struggled mightily on offense in the first half, shooting just 2-of-17 from the floor. Hanover also didn't make a field goal in the second quarter and went into halftime down 14.

Not much changed in the third quarter, as Hanover scored just eight points and fell behind by 18 heading to the fourth. The Hawkettes finally went on a short run in the final quarter, but they never cut the deficit lower than 12.

While they were outrebounded most of the night, the Hawkettes played well defensively and held the Braves to 23 points in the first half. But Pequea Valley's Megan Stoltzfus (16 points) helped the Braves offense get going, and Hanover never found an answer. Senior guard McKenzie Clearly led Hanover with eight points.

"We kept the score where we needed to ... if you had told me that we'd hold them to (23 points in the first half), I'd be okay with that," Garman said. "They made a ton of 3-pointers this year, and they didn't come out and hit a ton against us. More of the issue was offensively."

Although Daley has been one of the team's leaders this season, Garman said he thought the Hawkettes would be able to bounce back mentally after she went down. But that didn't appear to be the case.

The Hawkettes seemed flat for most of the first three quarters, and missed numerous easy shots. Garman said he wasn't sure if that was because of Daley's injury or simply nerves.

"We've been practicing in this gym for three weeks, (and the Braves) haven't — I was a little surprised we were flat," Garman said. "I definitely noticed we had some jitters early, layups getting zoomed off the backboard, stuff like that."

While his team was the lower seed, Pequea Valley coach Jason McDonald said he wasn't surprised with how the game went.

"I was telling everyone all week, 'We could win by two, lose by two, win by 20 or lose by 20,'" McDonald said. "We're so young I didn't know what would happen."