After travelling to Hanover and earning a resounding YAIAA-3 victory on Tuesday night, the Littlestown boys basketball team made it two in a row over the Nighthawks on Wednesday.
The teams were playing on back-to-back nights after COVID shutdowns forced an earlier game between the two to be rescheduled.
While Wednesday’s clash saw Hanover hang tough through the first half, the Thunderbolts pulled away in the second en route to a 68-41 victory.
“It’s tough to play anybody on back to back nights, but we just had to come out and execute and stick to what we’ve done all season long,” Littlestown coach John Forster said after the game. “
Early on it appeared as if Wednesday’s game would mimic Tuesday’s as Dante Elliot and Rachard Holder hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it 6-1, but the Nighthawks (5-4 in YAIAA-3, 6-6 overall) hung around. Strong defense from Hanover and four first-quarter points from Kyle Garman, part of his team-high 19 on the night, kept the visitors within touch at 13-6 after one.
The lead was still seven mid-way through the second after Jayden Weishaar hit a triple of his own for Littlestown (6-2, 8-2), answering one from Hanover’s Ethan Killinger to make it 20-13. The Hawks, however, just kept chipping away thanks in large part to Garman, who had 10 points in the second quarter.
After a layup by Garman pulled Hanover within two at 25-23, Holder buried another trifecta to make it 28-23 Littlestown going into the half. Holder finished the contest with a team-high 15 points, one of five Bolts in double figures.
“It’s really big for us to be ready to shoot it when it comes to us,” he said of the big night. “When Jayden or I drive the rest of the guys have to be ready and tonight I just found myself open and I just took over.”
It was all Littlestown in the second half. First, it was Holder with yet another 3-pointer to extend the lead to 35-26, and then Braden Unger delivered from deep for three of his 10 points on the night to make it a 12-point lead three minutes into the quarter.
Garman delivered on an and-1 shortly thereafter to get the lead back to single digits, but two more triples from Holder helped extend the Thunderbolts’ lead out to 48-34 after the third quarter.
“I thought in the first half we got a little lackadaisical at times, but I thought in the second half our executive was phenomenal,” Forster said. “I loved what I saw in the second half. If we could string together 32 minutes it could be pretty scary.”
Littlestown kept its foot on the gas early in the fourth quarter to help put the game on ice. A pair of Weishaar free throws followed by a Luke Denault 3-pointer pushed the lead over 20 at 55-34 and the hosts never looked back.
Weishaar finished with 13 points on the night, while Denault tallied 11 of his own, all in the fourth quarter.
“We have so many guys in the gym who can shoot the basketball right now,” Forster said of his team’s scoring depth. “They’re buying into their teammates and trusting their teammates and, again, I thought our ball movement in the second half tonight was great. Everybody was knocking down shots.”
Both teams now have a day off as Hanover will hope to rebound with a win Friday at York Tech, while Littlestown hopes to remain hot on the road at Delone Catholic, which has also won three in a row.
“You definitely want to be playing your best basketball coming down the stretch,” Forster said. “This is the second half of the season starting tonight, so it’s time to start hitting that stride.”
Hanover 6 17 11 7 — 41
Littlestown 13 15 20 20 — 68
Hanover (41): Ty Meckley 0 0-1 0, Josh Showers 1 0-0 2, Mason Smith 2 2-4 6, Kyle Garman 7 5-8 19, Justus Feeser 1 0-0 2, Michael Killinger 1 0-0 3, Chase Roberts 3 0-0 6, Ethan Killinger 1 0-0 3. Non-scorers: Gebhart, Harris. Totals: 16 7-13 41.
Littlestown: (68): Rachard Holder 4 3-4 15, Luke Denault 4 1-2 11, Braden Unger 4 0-1 10, Jake Bosley 2 3-6 7, Dante Elliot 5 0-2 12, Jayden Weishaar 3 4-5 13. Non-scorers: King, Benner, Gazmen, Thomas, McKinney. Totals: 22 11-20 68.
3-pointers: H-E. Killinger, M. Killinger. L-Holder 4, Denault 2, Elliot 2, Unger 2.