If you walk into the Ed Amaral Gymnasium through the cafeteria, turn around, and look up, you will see among others, a banner for Boys Basketball League Championships. The last year listed? 1990. Since Nick Hannigan was chosen as the Varsity coach in the summer of 2012, it is something he has emphasized to his players must change. He doesn’t care about 1,000-point scorers and individual goals; he wants the team and the program to achieve and succeed. If someone breaks 1,000 and is an all-scholastic along the way, good for them. This is one of Hanover’s best chances in recent seasons to have a new year put on the banner.
The team might not return as much experience as others, but it’s returnees are more talented than most. Senior Captain Jack Buckley is back to start for his third straight year, and may very well exceed 1,000 points. Two games in, he is already averaging a double-double. Senior Captain Jack Phelan is also back for his third varsity season after he was called up midway through his sophomore year. He runs the Hanover offense well and is a tough defender, already putting out two very good games. Junior John Carroll is the final team member going on his third varsity season, called up during his freshman year. An excellent shooter and vocal leader on the floor, Carroll put up 14 points on Seekonk and 8 on Quincy. Matt McGillivray, Zach Thomson, and Evan Elkhill were also on varsity last year, some longer than others, but nonetheless they have been big factors for Hanover so far. The Indians also have been supported by an influx of JV players coming off a successful year. Freddy Damon, Jonny Ferrarini, Pat Flynn, Justin Paskell, Jeff Davis, Zach Chase, and Adam Murphy have all filled roles for Hanover this year.
The team is two games into the season, so maybe preview isn’t the apt word. But in two games, Hanover has proven they are going to be good. On December 12th, Hanover opened up with Seekonk at home in front of a large crowd and demolished them to a tune of 74-47. That was followed up with the opening of league play against the league’s premier team, the Quincy High Presidents. After getting blown out of the gym in Quincy last year, Hanover lost to Quincy 80-72 at home on Tuesday. Hanover played competitive and fiery all game long in what was a physical contest but Quincy’s talent, experience and strength won out. Jack Phelan had a well-rounded game, Jack Buckley had 26 points and 12 boards and Evan Elkhill emerged with 18 points of his own. Hanover goes to Patriot Fisher foe North Quincy on the 19th.
The team is looking as strong as ever, and as as long as guys in lesser roles continue to do well, Hanover will be one of the best teams around this year. The League title is very much in their grasp. Scituate is always very tough and matches up well with Hanover. North Quincy has been to the Divison 1 South Sectional Final in two consecutive years, and even though they have lost a lot of their talent, they reload as well as anyone and are always a challenge. Pembroke, Middleboro, and Plymouth South will compete to have a say in the matter as well. On the Keenan side, Hanover might come into some games as the favorite, but there will be no easy games. D3 South is also open for Hanover to make a move, but time will tell how good teams like Wareham, Rockland, and Martha’s Vineyard actually are.
On another note, the Ed Amaral tournament is back after a couple of years hiatus. Hanover will be hosting the tournament over winter break, on the 27th and the 28th. The participants are Holbrook, Medfield and Hanover. Opening night on the 27th will kick off with Norwell-Medfield ollowed by Hanover versus Holbrook. The consolation and championship games will be determined from those results. Things are looking up for the Indians this season; as long as they keep working hard, things will fall into place.