By Mark Kitchin
MADISON – It takes a team effort to win a basketball game. No team is more aware of the importance of everyone stepping up to earn a victory then Hanover Park.
Senior guard Brendan Rudolph scored 15 points and junior forward Max Reynolds contributed 11 points to lift Hanover Park to a 51-35 victory over Madison on Thursday.
Hanover Park improved to 7-3 with the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference — Liberty Division victory. After a sluggish first half, the Hornets outscored the Dodgers 23-10 in the second half and 11-1 in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Senior forward Sean Haughey scored 12 points for Madison which dropped to 2-6 on the season.
Hanover Park’s Matt Williams grabbed six of his team’s 14 offensive rebounds on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
A more intense defensive effort and Hanover Park’s ability to hit the offensive boards with authority — especially in the second half — made the difference.
“Coach (Todd Hartman) always talks about everything starting on the defensive end,’’ Reynolds said. “I don’t know what the exact number is. We held them to (ten) points in the second half. That’s how everything starts – through our defense.’’
Hanover Park also grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in all. Once the Hornets took the lead they demonstrated patience and also used some of those rebounds to regroup and run plenty of time on the clock.
“We went to the locker room and we were only up three,’’ Rudolph said. “We had to change something. It was the intensity definitely, then we just ran our stuff.’’
The most amazing part of their offensive board work was that they did much of it when their best rebounder Matt Williams was in foul trouble. Max Reynolds and Brendan Rudolph both keep themselves active under the rim after the Hornets put up shots.
“We’ve been working on it,’’ Reynolds said. “In the first two games we played we didn’t have any. In the past few we’ve been crashing the offensive boards and just seeing how many second and third shots we can get.’’
Rebounds are often more the result of hustle and desire then the size of player. Hanover Park players found that once they had some success on the boards it can become contagious. Williams had nine offensive rebounds in a recent win against Morristown-Beard. He had six on Thursday in limited action.
“It’s something we have been stressing,’’ Hartman said. “At some positions were going to be a little quicker than some of the teams we play. We are not going to be bigger. If we can work and make it a priority, we can do a pretty good job of it.
“Max has been doing a great job on the boards. I think that Brendan Rudolph is the best rebounding guard in the county. You would be hard pressed to convince me that somebody is a better rebounder than that kid. He’s just tenacious.’’
Hanover Park’s Nick Burbella drives to the basket against Madison’s Christian Scarpello in first half action. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
The Hornets lost last year’s top scorer Jimmy Sivolella for the basketball season due to a football injury. The players knew going into the year that everyone was going to play a role on both sides of the ball if Hanover Park was going to be a success.
“Coach told us at the beginning of the year that we don’t need one player to try to get all 18 of Jimmy’s points,’’ Reynolds said. “If everyone chips in and hustle and play defense and maybe four points here and four points there and get those 18 points in different ways rather than one player getting it themselves.’’
Madison looked poised for the upset early. The Dodgers were up 15-10 after the first quarter and led most of the second quarter before the Hornets rallied to take a 28-25 advantage at the break.
Part of the turnaround involved slowing down Haughey. The only returning starter from last year’s 20-win team, Haughey scored seven of his 12 points in the first half. It was Reynolds job to keep him from fueling the Dodgers offense. He denied him the ball when he didn’t have it and pressured him when he did.
“He’s a very good player,’’ Reynolds said. “I played with him previously on AAU teams. My familiarity helped me guard him a little bit. He’s multi-dimensional so we were trying to play up on him and force the issue.’’
The contest was tied 28-all with seven minutes left in the third quarter. The Hornets went on a 10-2 run, which included five points from Matt Geisser. Hanover Park opened up a 38-30 lead late in the period and a 40-34 advantage going into the final quarter.
The last bucket of the quarter was a telling one. Geisser and Reynolds both missed on 3-point attempts as the seconds ticked away but the Hornets were able to rebound their efforts and they eventually found Rudolph on a drive to the basket before the buzzer.
“We were running our four corners (offense),’’ Rudolph said. “I handed it off and I just ended up getting a nice pass on the base line so I stuck it in.’’
Madison’s Darrell St. Germaine is surrounded by Hanover Park defenders on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
In the fourth quarter, the defense stepped up to put the game away. The Dodgers shot 0 for 7 from the field and Hornets also created four turnovers. Hanover Park didn’t help its cause by going 1 for 8 on the free throw line in the final minute but it didn’t affect the result, which became a road victory from a school just a mile or two down the road.
Morris County results
Mount Olive 56, Morris Hills 27 – Senior center Zach Heeman had 18 points and 15 rebounds and Rashaan Spencer added 11 points for the Marauders (6-2). Mount Olive took control from the very beginning with a 23-2 run to start the game.
Morristown 69, Randolph 51 – Sean Hoehn scored 18 points and Naaem Pierce added 12 for the Colonials (6-2). The Rams were paced by Barry Lynch’s 14-point performance. Randolph dropped to 4-7.
Pequannock 59, Butler 37 – A 20-9 fourth quarter spree cemented the victory for the Golden Panthers. Kurt Weinmann scored 13 points and Kevin Glynn added 12 for Pequannock (4-5). Butler falls to 2-4.
Delbarton 67, Parsippany Hills 33 – Senior forward Ryan Curran scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half to lift the Green Wave. Delbarton took control early with a 36-13 first-half effort.
Mountain Lakes 65, Boonton 35 – Senior guard Chris Herring scored 14 of his game-high 24 in the second quarter for the Lakers. Mountain Lakes set the tone with a 21-5 second-quarter run. Paul Tarnawski contributed 14 for the Lakers (5-3).
Jefferson 55, Newton 44 – Tyler Jones and J. R. Reese scored 14 points each for the Falcons (6-2). Steven Kelly led all scorers with 21 points for Newton,
Chatham 78, West Morris 42 – The Cougars improve to 6-3. Chatham took control with a 28-7 first-quarter effort.