WILKES-BARRE — A game that offered everything you could imagine came down to one last shot.
GAR’s Brea Seabrook made the 40-footer, but it was just after the final buzzer, allowing No. 3 seed Hanover Area to escape the District 2 Class 2A quarterfinal with a 52-49 victory over its league rival on Friday night at Holy Redeemer.
“If there was one more second left …” said Seabrook, who finished with 14 points, 19 rebounds and seven steals, the last setting up her halfcourt attempt.
The first half saw five lead changes and two ties. The Hawkeyes built a seemingly commanding 11-point lead in the third quarter. Then the sixth-seeded Grenadiers rallied to make it a one-point game.
“It was only fitting to play GAR again,” Hanover Area coach Vic Kopko said of his team’s third win over the Grenadiers. “We’re both big, both tough, both feisty. It was a great game. Now we’re in uncharted territory for this program.”
Hanover Area will face Dunmore on Tuesday in a semifinal and is guaranteed to play for a state tournament berth.
But it wasn’t easy.
Bre Mosier put home an offensive rebound with three seconds remaining to make it 52-49. But the expected timeout by GAR was not called by the officials until there was one second left on the clock, setting up the final inbound play from the Hawkeyes baseline.
“I was overthinking it,” Kopko said. “Haylee Bobos is a college-caliber catcher in softball. I told her to lob it all the way to the end of the court and have someone touch it. She threw a line drive instead.”
The ball went right to Seabrook, who was standing alone on the midcourt stripe.
“She whipped the ball and I bobbled it,” said Seabrook, who had the ball go through her hands, hit her face, then drop to the floor. She then caught the first bounce and shot just after the buzzer. “I’m not even a three-point shooter. I think if it went to overtime, we might have won.
“It was a fun game. They deserved to win. We have next year.”
Hanover Area pulled away in the third, thanks to Haylee Bobos inside and slashing drives by senior Brittany Miller. The duo combined for 40 of the Hawkeyes’ 52 points, with Miller netting 17, and Bobos posting a game-high 23 along with 16 rebounds.
While Bobos owned the inside, Miller dazzled as she went through the GAR defense.
“She played an amazing game,” GAR coach Hattie Caruso said of Miller. “I’ve never seen her play like that.”
GAR took one of Hanover Area’s top players out of the game, piling up fouls on Asdone Hooper. She was called for her third with 3:15 left in the first quarter, and Kopko returned her to the floor for the start of the second. Seabrook took a 1-on-4 foray and circled the Hawkeyes defense until she found Hooper for her fourth foul with 6:55 left in the first half.
Credit Hooper, though, who played the final 16 minutes and extended the Hawkeyes’ lead with five straight points during the third quarter.
The Grenadiers overcame the bad and struggled with the good from the striped shirts. Twice they had calls in their favor overturned by an official away from the play — the first being more costly as it fueled Hanover Area’s run. But when the calls were for GAR, they went just 7-of-20 from the free-throw line.
“This was a tough one,” Caruso said. “Our free-throw shooting is what put us in a little bit of a hole. Hanover was a little more aggressive at times and they hit their free throws.”
Amber Growhowski had 10 rebounds for Hanover Area. Gee Gee Nealy had 15 points to lead GAR and Mosier added 10.
Hanover Area 52, GAR 49
GAR (49) — Bre Mosier 5 0-0 10, Shealynn Taylor 0 0-0 0, Ayanna Warren 2 0-0 4, Gee Gee Nealy 6 2-4 15, Brea Seabrook 4 5-12 14, Marie Skrepenak 3 0-4 6, Asanteisa Rivers 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-20 49.
HANOVER AREA (52) — Asdone Hooper 3 1-2 8, Marissa Keegan 0 0-0 0, Mickie Kaminski 0 0-0 0, Brittany Miller 6 5-6 17, Haylee Bobos 8 7-12 23, Amber Growhowski 2 0-0 4, Chyanne Fine 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 13-20 52.
Three-point goals — GAR 2 (Nealy, Seabrook); HAN 1 (Hooper).