LEADING THE CHARGE: Hanover College sophomore Kelsey Block scored a career-high 16 points to lead the Panthers to a 79-71 win over Alma (Mich.) Monday at the Amy Hasbrook Memorial Tournament at DePauw University in Greencastle.“Kelsey came out in the second half and played so well offensively,” Hanover coach Molly Jones said. “But that’s something that she can do. She can drill a three or drive it inside and she did both in that second half ... she came to life and that was a huge difference for us ...” (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
LEADING THE CHARGE: Hanover College sophomore Kelsey Block scored a career-high 16 points to lead the Panthers to a 79-71 win over Alma (Mich.) Monday at the Amy Hasbrook Memorial Tournament at DePauw University in Greencastle.“Kelsey came out in the second half and played so well offensively,” Hanover coach Molly Jones said. “But that’s something that she can do. She can drill a three or drive it inside and she did both in that second half ... she came to life and that was a huge difference for us ...” (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
GREENCASTLE - Hanover overcame a sloppy first half to defeat Alma (Mich.) 79-71 in the Amy Hasbrook Memorial Tournament at DePauw University on Monday.

After nearly knocking off 16th-ranked Ithaca (N.Y.) in Sunday's opening round, Hanover's intensity and momentum from the previous day failed to appear early in Monday's contest. The Panthers battled poor shooting and turnovers and trailed by two at halftime before picking up steam in the second half to secure the eight-point victory.

"First half I thought we came out flat," Hanover coach Molly Jones said. "There was so much excitement on Sunday playing Ithaca and after losing that ballgame the way we did I just don't think we came out with the same intensity because we played such a good game against Ithaca. The second half we played much better and did the things we needed to do to win."

With both teams looking to establish their presence early in the first half, Alma took advantage of eight consecutive missed shots and five turnovers by the Panthers to go on a 9-0 run that helped the Scots forge a 22-11 lead at the 7:15 mark. But down 24-12 with six minutes left, Hanover slowly began to cut the deficit.

Hanover spent the rest of the first half on an 18-6 run fueled by five points each from Caitlin Bischoff and Ashley Malloy. The Panthers tied the game twice in the final two minutes but Mallory Pruett's layup with 40 seconds remaining gave Alma a 33-31 lead at halftime.

Jones said Hanover's run over the final six minutes was a much-needed spark heading into the second half.

"I thought Ashley Malloy really gave us a spark in the final minutes of that first half," Jones said. "She and Caitlin both had eight points in that first half and really got us going. We talked at halftime how (Alma) had more intensity than we did and that we weren't going to win the game playing the way we did in that half but we came out in the second half much more intense and really turned our game up, especially on the defensive end."

Following an Alicia Hopkins layup just nine seconds into the second half, Elyse Weddle sank a pair of free throws with 19:35 to go to give Hanover a 35-33 lead and the Panthers never trailed again.

Leading by just one with 16:28 left, Hanover's turned up the defensive intensity and its full court press forced a slew of Alma turnovers. The Panthers converted four-straight of those miscues to embark on a 9-0 rally highlighted by five points from Kelsey Block including a huge momentum-swinging three-point play with 13:53 remaining.

Block, a sophomore and former Madison standout, netted a career-high 16 points including 14 in the second half.

"Kelsey came out in the second half and played so well offensively," Jones said with a smile. "But that's something that she can do. She can drill a three or drive it inside and she did both in that second half. First half she struggled a little bit and missed some shots but second half she came to life and that was a huge difference for us especially towards the beginning."

Alma (0-12) made two comeback attempts in the final 10 minutes. Trailing by 10 with 13 minutes to play, Erica Hansen scored six points in a four-minute span trimming the Scots deficit to seven but Hanover countered when Jessie Davidson's five points ignited a 9-1 run and pushed the Panthers' advantage back out to 15 at 67-52.

Hanover reached its largest lead at 75-58 at the 6:21 mark but four points each from Hansen and Pruett eventually helped the Scots trail just 78-71 with 48 seconds left. After a Shauna Watson free throw, Alma had five straight chances to score but missed shots on each of those possessions as the Panthers preserved the win.

The Panthers shot just 24-of-63 from the field but were an improved 12-for-26 in the second half for 46 percent and added an excellent 26-of-32 performance from the free-throw line for 81 percent. Hanover also struggled taking care of the basketball in both halves, committing 29 turnovers. At the same time, Hanover's defense kept Alma at bay as the Scots made just 28-of-71 for 39 percent including a dismal 1-of-16 from 3-point range. Alma also committed 34 turnovers which were converted into 29 Panther points.

"There were a ton of turnovers both ways," Jones said. "But I think both teams were playing so hard defensively that it was tough to get in a rhythm and make shots. Even when we had open shots you've been rushed to get to that point. Both teams just had so much intensity defensively that it really caused an up-tempo game that had many frustrations throughout."

In addition to Block's team-high16, Hanover had three others score in double-figures. Malloy and Bischoff each scored 15 - Malloy's total also a career-high - and Davidson added 10.

Hansen paced Alma with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Pruett also reached double-digits with 17.

Hanover (4-6) hosts Defiance on Saturday in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup.

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HASBROOK TOURNAMENT

Consolation

at Greencastle

HANOVER 79, ALMA 71



ALMA (0-12) - (f)Hansen 22, (g)Pruett 17, Weier 7, (f)Zink 6, (g)Green 6, Padgett 6, Essenmacher 4, (g)Adams 3, Kendall 0, Henry 0.

HANOVER (4-6) - Block 16, Malloy 15, (f)Bischoff 15, (g)Davidson 10, (g)Hopkins 9, Meyer 6, (f)Weddle 5, Caudill 2, (g)Watson 1, Tubb 0.



Halftime - Alma 33-31. 3-Point Goals - Alma 1 (Adams 1), Hanover 5 (Davidson 2, Bischoff 1, Malloy 1, Block 1). Rebounds - Alma 48 (Weier 12), Hanover 37 (Bischoff 6). Assists - Alma 9 (Green 3), Hanover 14 (Davidson 5). Turnovers - Alma 34, Hanover 29. Total Fouls - Alma 26, Hanover 23. Free Throws - Alma 14-21, Hanover 26-32. Fouled Out - Hanover: Block. Next Game - Alma hosts Saint Mary's Saturday. Hanover hosts Defiance Saturday.