By Nicholas Casella, intern
A strong second half from Hannibal junior Zach Welling helped seal a 52-46 victory over Cazenovia on senior night. Jake Shortself helped build a 12 point lead in the first half. But it was Welling who had nine of his 14 in the second half to carry the Warriors Friday night in the Hannibal High Gymnasium. It was just HannibalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second win of the season. They finished the year 2-15 and Cazenovia fell to 8-9.
Hannibal honored four seniors Friday: Jack Eells, Lenny Fowler, Sam Malone, and Paul Mogren.
It was a slow and sloppy start in the Friday night matchup. Only six points were scored in the first four minutes and twelve in the first quarter, as the teams were tied up 6-6.
Curtis Baker of Hannibal started the second quarter with a 3-pointer to put Hannibal up. But CazenoviaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Max Kellish, who led the Lakers with 12 points, had a steal and lay-up to bring the game within one. Then it was the Shortself show as he led an 11-2 run for the Warriors with eight points of his own, stretching the lead 20-10.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tonight he was on, and he gave us a spark,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Hannibal coach Mat Burridge about Shortself.
Hannibal dominated much of the second period, stretching their lead to 12 by halftime, at 27-15.
Cazenovia opened the second half with an 8-0 run and eventually cut the lead to two, 33-31. The Lakers pressure defense forced turnovers and helped to spark the run. But Hannibal held their lead with two lay-ups late in the quarter.
Kellish opened the final quarter with a big 3-pointer to tie things up. Soon after Zach Golden of the Lakers drove the lane and finished with his right hand to give Cazenovia its first lead. Their lead grew to four, but cut down to one with a deep 3-pointer from Shortself.
The lead changed hands three times in the final minutes. Hannibal grabbed the lead for the final time with a 6-0 run, which included a big steal from Welling. Welling stole the Cazenovia inbounds pass and was fouled. He converted both of his free throws to give Hannibal the 51-46 victory.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have worked hard all year and I think this is kind of their reward winning the last game of the year,Ã¢â‚¬Â said coach Burridge.