Class 3A Jimtown Regional
Bremen 41, Hanover Central 37
Skylar Ferry led the Wildcats with a game-high 15 points.
By STEVE HANLON
JIMTOWN – It was almost a two-hour drive.
Much longer for a school bus full of kids.
The destination was a gym in the middle of nowhere, literally, that surely none of the Hanover Central girls basketball team had ever heard of. But here they were.
Competing in the Class 3A Jimtown Regional.
“No one thought we would be here,” Hanover coach Larry Govert said.
The Wildcats were playing Bremen, a school that is in Jimtown’s conference and playing in a gym they’ve been in many times before, just 20 miles from the Lions home.
It was not the easiest situation at all.
But a person, a team, can only be concerned with the things that they can control, and that’s what the Wildcats did early Saturday afternoon.
Senior guard Emmi Doty scored two baskets in a nervous first quarter where both teams seemed on edge and Hanover held a 6-5 lead. The pace of the game picked up in the second quarter and some shots started falling for both squads as Bremen led 15-14 at the break.
The Lions continually were able to get easy baskets in transition, on several occasions a Lion dribbled through and around a couple Wildcats for layups. And in a game this close, such possessions are crucial.
“I was disappointed in our transition defense,” Govert added after the 41-37 loss. “We hadn’t done that much this season but it seemed to happen today. They hit their shots and we didn’t. Or not enough.”
Govert, in his second season, had led Hanover’s program to its first sectional championship since 2015. He had a team motto of “Meet the Moment” this winter. He coached his team to never let a situation, a possession, a moment get too big. Just play the game, play hard and expect to succeed.
Consequently, the Wildcats won 17 games in their first season playing in the bigger Northwest Crossroads Conference. Senior Skylar Ferry was the captain of this bumper sticker on Saturday.
In the third quarter, Bremen started getting many foul calls and getting to the free throw line.
Bremen shot 10 free throws in the third quarter and 24 for the game. The Wildcats shot eight free throws in 32 minutes of play.
So Bremen led by eight heading into the fourth quarter. This one of about three instances in the second half where the game seemed over. But Ferry would not say die.
She opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers and all of a sudden it was a two-point game.
Meet the Moment, right?
“I wanted to pick our team up,” Ferry said, with tears in her eyes. “I’ve played with these girls all of my life. I didn’t want us to go out the way we were playing. It was really frustrating being down like that and playing like that.”
With 2:34 left in the game it was tied at 34. Hanover’s tenacious defense forced a five-second call and got the ball back. But like much of the afternoon, that shot didn’t fall.
Bremen (15-11) had three players in double-digit scoring – Eliana Grubbs had 14 (6-of-8 from the line), Kila Foster scored 12 (4-4) and Emma Kincaid had 11 (8-12).
Ferry was the lone Hanover player in double digits scoring 15.
Sophomore Sienna Stilley scored seven with six rebounds and two steals. Doty also scored seven.
But with six seniors leading the way, Govert couldn’t be happier with how this season played out, even though he surely wished he had another shot at Bremen. And this time the shot would be nothing but net.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” Govert said. “We weren’t supposed to be here but here we are.”
Senior Gabi Comia seemed to struggle with one knee in a brace. The Division I softball star (Florida) ran the offense although being a step slower than usual.
And while no nets were cut down on this day, she expressed the feelings of her community to a tee.
“When we got here four years ago we set a goal to win at least one sectional,” Comia said. “We wanted to make a statement and I think we did. By just getting here I believe we made a name for ourselves.”