The Hanover Park boys basketball team fought its way back and held on for a 44-39 victory against Dover in a Liberty Division matchup on Tuesday night.
It was the second meeting between the two teams with the Hornets (12-5) taking home the win 66-56 on Jan. 9. This time around, it was a lot closer.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” Hanover Park senior guard Nick Burbella said. “They were coming back last game, we had them by I think 16 and they made a run late, so we knew this game coming in was going to be tough and they proved it out there, but we gutted out the win.”
Down 31-27 to start the fourth quarter, Hanover Park opened with six-straight points from senior center Kevin Healey that gave the Hornets a 33-31 lead with 6 minutes to play.
“That was huge, we needed a spark plug so that helped us out a lot,” Burbella said of Healey.
Two free throws from Dover senior forward Ryan Charyshyn tied the game 33-33 but Hanover Park again went on a run, getting five points from senior forward Max Reynolds and a free throw from junior forward Brad Daugherty for a 39-33 lead with 2:56 left.
Charyshyn struck again 30 seconds later to cut the lead to 39-35, and the Hornets failed to capitalize on three straight trips to the free throw line, and the score remained that way with 46.3 seconds left. Less than 10 seconds later, Charysyhn was fouled and he sank both to bring the Tigers to within 39-37.
“We prepared the same, we couldn’t take them lightly, we had to come out with the same energy,” Hanover Park sophomore forward Donny Dattolo said. “They were just pressuring the ball and everyone helping on defense, they have a good rotation.”
Two free throws from senior guard Matt Geisser gave Hanover Park some breathing room, 41-37, and another Dover trip to the line only garnered one point as the Hornets maintained a 41-38 lead with 31 seconds left.
Sophomore guard John Crown then went to the line with 22.9 seconds left, and sank the back end of a one-and-one to give Hanover Park a 42-38 lead. The Tigers’ last trip to the line got them one more point, 42-39, and with 16.1 seconds left, Reynolds sealed the win with two free throws for the 44-39 final.
Both teams were slow offensively to start the game, as the score was only 6-1 Dover with 3:04 left in the first quarter. A 3-pointer from Burbella got the Hornets going, and they took a 9-8 lead after one.
The game went back-and-forth in the second quarter until the Tigers went on a 8-1 run to take a 21-14 lead with 2:32 left in the half. Hanover Park responded with a four-straight points from Dattolo to pull the Hornets within 21-18, but a basket by Charyshyn with 36.4 seconds left gave Dover a 23-18 halftime lead.
“We had to just keep running the effort on defense, it all starts with the defense and that turns into offense,” Dattolo said.
The third quarter was slow offensively for both teams, as Hanover Park outscored the Tigers 9-8 and trailed 31-27 heading into the final quarter.
Dattolo led the Hornets with nine points while Burbella and Healey each had eight. Reynolds chipped in seven points. Charyshyn led the Tigers with 21 points.
“We’ve added some things since the last time we played them, we were lucky to get out of here tonight,” Hanover Park coach Todd Hartman said. “We didn’t give a good effort defensively, we didn’t execute well offensively, we can sit and make a whole bunch of excuses but we just didn’t play well. We didn’t hit free throws, all the things we’ve kind of done all year, our teamwork wasn’t good, but we did enough to get the win.”