HANOVER TWP. — It’s about a week late, but at least Hanover Area is going to get another crack at Meyers.
First, though, the Hawkeyes had to dispose of rival Nanticoke on Thursday in the District 2 Class 2A boys basketball playoffs. They did so in workman-like fashion.
Jake Barber scored 19 points, including the 1,000th of his career, and three others scored eight as Hanover Area pulled away late for a 52-35 victory.
Hanover Area’s defense was strong, holding Nanticoke to its third lowest scoring output of the season and 30 percent shooting from the field. The Hawkeyes annihilated the Trojans on the boards with a 36-19 rebounding advantage. And a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter allowed them to open up a 37-25 lead.
And get a shot at second-seeded Meyers (16-7) on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The teams split their regular-season games.
Seventh-seeded Hanover Area (16-7) appeared headed for a meeting with the Mohawks last Monday for the Wyoming Valley Conference Division III championship. Meyers, though, upset GAR on Sunday at the same time Hanover Area was routing Northwest, nixing the possibility of a title game.
“We thought GAR was going to win,” Barber said, “but they let us down. We were a little upset we didn’t get to play, but we knew we could get them again in the playoffs. We just had to take care of business tonight and we’d get another shot at them.”
Considering Hanover Area squeezed out a 59-57 victory over Nanticoke during the WVC season and the last three meetings were decided by three points or less, the task wasn’t going to be easy. Yet the Hawkeyes led wire-to-wire as 10th-seeded Nanticoke (9-14) got off to a terrible start.
“We knew from the first time we played them we were going to struggle rebounding the basketball,” Nanticoke coach John Beggs said. “We tried to force some deep outside shots and focus our emphasis on boxing out. They’re just strong guys. Their four man and five man are strong guys. And their guards also rebounded well today, and that was something we didn’t expect to happen.”
Anthony Marcincavage, who is also a lineman on the football team, had nine rebounds, as did Barber. Bobby Kerestes added eight and guard Ronnie Moreno added six. Hanover Area’s ability on the boards was obvious to start the third as its first three basket came on offensive rebounds.
Still, Nanticoke trailed just 30-25 entering the fourth. Hanover Area’s 7-0 run to start the final eight minutes coupled by a 7-3 burst a bit later put the game out of reach.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Hanover Area coach Steve Harnischfeger said of playing Meyers. “We wanted to play the other night, we didn’t get a chance. Meyers did their job, and now we have the chance. I’m very close to (Meyers coach) Pat (Toole). I’ll talk to him tomorrow. We have to come out and play defense.”
Hanover Area did just that against Nanticoke, a team that averaged 61 points in its last three games. Mike Malshefski and Scott Stout, who both averaged in double figures during the WVC season, combined for just seven points. Center Brent Piontkowski had a team-high 13.
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Hanover Area 52, Nanticoke 35
NANTICOKE (35) — Tyler Myers 1 0-0 3, Scott Stout 1 0-0 2, Brent Piontkowski 6 1-2 13, Mike Malshefski 2 1-3 5, Matt Winters 2 0-0 6, Ed Lukowski 0 0-0 0, Ben Sersen 1 0-0 3, Robert Burke 0 0-0 0, Justin Casey 1 0-0 2, Rees Roberts 0 0-0 0, Joe Shimko 0 0-0 0, Alec Norton 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 2-5 35.
HOME (52) — Ronnie Moreno 1 1-2 3, Bobby Kerestes 3 2-6 8, David Torres 3 2-4 8, Jake Barber 7 4-4 19, Anthony Marcincavage 3 1-2 8, Brandon Chafin 0 4-4 4, Nick Minich 0 0-0 0, John Morgan 0 0-0 0, Connor Bowers 1 0-0 2, Andrew Vollaro 0 0-0 0, Robert Brenner 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 14-22 52.
Three-point goals — NAN 4 (Myers, Winters 2, Sersen); HAN 2 (Barber, Marcincavage).