Size doesn't always matter: 5-foot-7 (maybe) Hannon comes up big late for Westville against Hanover
By STEVE HANLON
JP on Preps Correspondent
CEDAR LAKE -- If Gavin Hannon went to an outdoor basketball court in Northwest Indiana, he might be the last player taken for any pickup games.
He doesn’t pass the eye test until after the action begins.
The sophomore point guard at Westville is listed at 5-foot-7.
But that is likely a generous typo.
“We trust him,” Westville senior Julian Ellis said. “He controls the game. He knows how to make the right decision.”
“On that last play, we would’ve had to call a timeout if we didn’t have Gavin running the point,” Westville coach Andrew Eubank said.
“That last play” was the decider in Tuesday night’s game at Hanover Central. Hannon’s ball-handling caused two Wildcats defenders to try and check him at the top of the key. But he went around the defense and fed Ellis on a perfect bounce pass and the big man drew a foul with 4.5 seconds left in the game.
Ellis swished both freebies and the Blackhawks survived an in-and-out 3-point shot from near half-court for the 53-51 win, the first of the season for Westville (1-1).
Listed (generously) at 5-foot-7 on the
Westville roster, Gavin Hannon came up big
late in the game to help the Blackhawks
edge Hanover Central on Tuesday.
Photo by Steve Hanlon
“I just work hard,” Hannon said of what he tries to bring to the game. “I use my speed and agility to compete against bigger players. I’m working on the confidence, hoping to get more every day. This was a good win for us.
“We moved the ball much better (than Saturday's LaPorte) game. We didn’t take quick shots tonight.”
The Blackhawks defense in the first half was almost illegal. Hanover could hardly move the ball and struggled getting good shots.
Westville led 16-9 after the first quarter, where Kenny Pepper dominated with eight points. The 6-foot-5 senior led his team with 15 points and 15 rebounds after putting up 24 and 16 against La Porte.
“Our intensity was good early on,” Eubank said. “We were getting our hands on a lot of balls. We were staying in front of them. Our defensive intensity was good the whole game.”
Eubank said he did not have much information on a very young Hanover team, so they were allowing 3-pointers in the first half, when the team led 31-19. The Wildcats started knocking down treys in the final 16 minutes, which made it a game.
“They had five, six guys who could all shoot,” Eubank said. “You have to give them some credit.”
Cole Hernandez hit three 3s in the third quarter to get his team within four twice. He hit another late in the fourth to tie the game with 1:38 left in the game.
But Ellis would not be denied.
The 6-foot power forward scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth, none bigger than his free throws with 4.5 remaining.
“We practice free throws every day in practice,” Ellis said. “You just have to live in the moment in a situation like that late in the game.”
Kaden Pepper had a solid game for the Blackhawks, scoring 13 points in the win.
“They played really good defense,” said Hanover coach Brad Stangel, who made his debut with the Wildcats after a five-year run at Andrean, including the 2019 Class 2A state championship team. “I have to give (Westville) credit. They outplayed us tonight.”