MECHANICSVILLE – In neither case did the victor have it easy. Both the girls and boys basketball games between visiting Patrick Henry and host Hanover Friday night proved quite competitive.
And, by the time the night was over, each school could claim a win.
While Patrick Henry was led by a solid offensive effort – 16 points apiece from JaBryah Haverkamp and Ava Smith – its defense is what came up big as it throttled the Hawks in the second and fourth quarters to claim a 49-35 victory.
The Patriots held the Hawks to just 5 points in the second quarter and just 6 in the fourth. One big reason for Hanover’s reduced offensive output was Patrick Henry’s 6-foot, 2-inch center Jessica Osuanah, who grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds in addition to her 7 points.
The key for the Patriots was to hold off a Hawk charge in the third quarter in which Hanover almost overtook Patrick Henry on the scoreboard.
“They’re a very good team. We knew that it was going to be a tough game,” said Patrick Henry head girls basketball coach Phillip Cobb. “We struggled shooting the ball a little bit tonight. We were moving the ball. We were getting open shots, but they weren’t falling.
“Fortunately for us, our defense came up and we played pretty well after the first quarter and we settled down. Only giving up 35 points is a pretty good night defensively.”
The board game played to the Patriots’ advantage.
“We did a better job rebounding,” Cobb said. “We always talk about crashing the boards. Jessica Osuanah had 15 rebounds tonight, which was a big part of the game, as well as four or five – I think it was five – blocks tonight as well. That helps when you have somebody that size in the middle of the paint.”
Hanover head coach Mike Rohr said Osuanah, a freshman, made life difficult for the Hawks.
“I don’t think we did a very good job of establishing position, and she’s gotten a lot better. She works really hard down there,” Rohr said. “She did a really good job of getting in position on shots and getting some second shots. I thought that was a big difference in the game.”
Hanover was led by Emily Mott with a double-double: 10 points and 12 rebounds. She also had three blocks. Julia Mardigian scored 12 points and got four steals.
In the nightcap of the evening, the Hawk boys jumped on Patrick Henry to build a big lead early and withstood a number of Patriot rallies – including one at the cusp of the third and fourth quarters – to hold on to a 61-48 victory.
Hanover was led by Will Fahed with 17 points and Cole Wallace with 11.
“We knew that Patrick Henry was going to always keep fighting,” said Hanover head coach Darren Thornton. “One, it’s a county rivalry. … We know those guys have pride. We won’t look at their record. They’re a team that always plays hard and keeps coming. They’re a young team, so they’re always going to keep believing in themselves and keep trying.”
The Patriots were led by Camden Byrd with 14 points and Jayden Mines with 10.
“We’re going to fight. We’re going to claw. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got,” said Patrick Henry head boys basketball coach Randy Anderson. “It’s just, when it matters the most, [the Hawks] had more big plays. … Their guys, you can tell, they were seasoned, veteran guys that made the right pass at the right time. When it mattered the most, they made better plays than us.”
Dave Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.