Season ends for Hanover Park, Pequannock, Mo-Beard

By Mark Kitchin


EAST HANOVER TWP. — The end of a season is difficult for most teams that qualify for the state tournament. There’s lots of talk and tears and expressions of gratitude and sadness. Hanover Park’s season-ending loss was especially tough since the Hornets were a senior laden group. They just didn’t want to leave their gym for the final time as a team.

Newark Central ended top-seeded Hanover Park’s state tournament hopes with a 65-38 win in North 2, Group II quarterfinal action on Thursday.

Yasim Smith scored 22 points and Keywun Savage added 14 for the Blue Devils (18-9). Tom Vadakkedam paced the Hornets with seven points. Hanover Park finished with a 17-6 record.

Newark Central led 34-17 at the half and put the game away with a 14-1 run in the third quarter.

40 bb st nchpHanover Park’s Nick Burbella scrambles to get a shot off during first half action on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“There were a lot of tears,” Hanover Park coach Todd Hartman said. “We all took turns talking. I have six seniors that have literally been up with me for four years. A majority of them have been varsity players since they walked in here. I thanked them for the people that they are. Their character, the selflessness that they show every day and the joy they gave me every day at practice.”

They can be proud of a division title, back-to-back titles in fact for the first time in 30 years. They were hoping to gain their first state sectional title in 40 years but that was not to be.

“They always set high standards for themselves because they are high character people,” Hartman said. “They made my job so easy. I’m going to miss them like crazy.”

Newark Central is much better than its record indicates. The Blue Devils athletes seemed bigger than Hanover Park in practically every position. They had a few players returning from the team that captured the Group II title in 2011. The inner-city team was able to create turnovers and convert them into baskets. Once Newark Central had a lead on Hanover Park it was difficult to stop.

“We knew they were a very athletic team,” Hartman said. “They had a lot of talented players. … We knew that we were going to have to take care of the basketball. We were going to have to make shots. We happened to run into a night where the rim seemed to have a lid on it for us.”

48 bb st nchpHanover Park’s Brad Daugherty tries knocking the ball from an opponent during Thursday’s state game. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Although they trailed most of the night, the Hornets never seemed awed by the Blue Devils. The Hornets competed well and did good work inside near the rim against their taller opponents. The problem was in knocking down shots. The third quarter was the toughest. Hanover Park was 0 for 11 from the floor. Newark Central turned a 34-17 halftime lead into a dominating 48-18 advantage.

“We had a night that we didn’t take care of the basketball the way we should have,” Hartman said. “Our shots weren’t falling but we never stopped playing and giving effort.”

Despite losing so many seniors, the Hornets bring back enough underclassmen to be competitive at the top of their division next year. However, it will not be easy around the gym for a while. The Hanover Park coach and his players know that the basketball season isn’t just about winning titles. It’s about the good times and relationships built through their efforts while accomplishing things together as a team.

“I don’t know who is going to win the section but these guys were champions,” Hartman said. “They figured it out from day one about what this high school sports thing is all about. That’s worth any championship. Forty years from now that’s what they are going to remember. I’m proud of them and I’m sad that I’m not going to get to coach those six kids anymore.”

7 bb st nchp

Hanover Park’s Nick Burbella drives to the basket during first half action. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

North Non-Public B

St. Anthony (JC) 63, Morristown-Beard 30

The Friars took control with a 25-8 run in the first quarter. It was the 1,100th varsity victory for nationally known St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley. The Crimson finished at 17-10 on the season.

North 1, Group II

Pascack Hills 50, Pequannock 36

Pascack Hills led 24-18 at the half and pulled away with a 15-8 third-quarter effort. The Golden Panthers finished at 9-16 on the season.


About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

4 Responses to “Season ends for Hanover Park, Pequannock, Mo-Beard”

  1. Mark,

    Thanks for the great coverage. Wishing nothing but the best for you and all the teams in Morris County.

    Sean Rivers

    • I hope you are having fun in Texas. The MCT was boring but the title game was terrific. Sorry, I didn’t get to Kinnelon this year. The Colts struggled quite a bit but were able to win a couple of games. Stay warm. – mk

  2. Hey Mark thanks for the nice article on my guys…our record was 17-6…you do such a great job covering our sport and our county…have a good Lax season…Todd

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