Nolan sisters lead Marquette to 4th Quarter rally over Wildcats, 47-38

A Special Report by Mark Smith

The Hanover bench looks on as Brooke Sterkowitz shoots over Marquette's Hannah
Nolan (25) last Friday in Cedar Lake.
(All photos by Mark Smith)                
Lisa Gac (24) blocks the way of Marquette's Emma Nolan (1) last Friday. Emma drew four fouls in the first half, but finished the game and scored 15 points.
Hanover junior Sarah Blue (31) drives the baseline against Marquette last Friday. Marquette was ranked No.2 state wide in Class 1A.
HC junior Jessy Siems (25) tries to get a shot up against Emma and Sophia Nolan last week. HC led 33-30 in the fourth quarter, but lost 47-38.
HC senior Brooke Sterkowitz drives to the basket against Marquette's Hannah Nolan (25). Sterkowitz scored 7 for the Lady Cats.
Marquette coach Jerry Bechtold looks on as Hanover battles his team. Bechtold coached Hebron to the Class 2A state finals in 2002.
Marquette's Sophia Nolan (1) blocks out Hanover's Lisa Gac in last week's Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) game in Cedar Lake.
Marquette's Emma Joseph (21) tries to get by Hanover's Jessy Siems (25) last week at Hanover. Both teams were undefeated in GSSC play.
Hanover's Alyssa Gill picks up teammate Jessy Siems (25) after Siems picked up the ball in last week's game against Marquette.
Marquette freshman twins sisters Sophia and Emma Nolan (31) talk it over during a break in play last Friday night at Hanover Central. There are three basketball playing Nolans at Marquette, including junior Hannah Nolan.
Hanover's Jessy Siems looks at the clock during last Friday's game with Marquette. Hanover led 11-3 in the first quarter, but trailed 26-21 at the half.
I don't know what they call it but the GSSC has a traveling trophy. Marquette won the
ball-in-the-box trophy after defeating Hanover 47-38 last Friday night. (All photos by Mark Smith)

Copyright © 2016 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: January 14, 2016 .

Team /Record 1 2 3 4 Final
(MC) Marquette (14-2) 7 19 4 17 47
HANOVER CENTRAL (16-4) 11 10 11 6 38

Friday, January 8, 2016 - Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) game at CEDAR LAKE, IN

(MC) MARQUETTE (47) Sophia Nolan 2-12-16, Emma Nolan 7-1-15, Hannah Nolan 0-2-2, Morgan Crook 1-1-4, Emma Joseph 2-4-10, Mackenzie Marovich 7-1-15. TOTALS: 12 (20-25) 47.

HANOVER (38) Lisa Gac 3-0-6, Brooke Sterkowitz 4-8-17, Sarah Blue 1-1-3, Carley Siems 3-0-7, Jessy Siems 1-0-2, Alyssa Gill 1-0-2, Breanna Kerley 0-1-1, Alex Glidewell 0-0-0. TOTALS: 13 (10-17) 38.

FREE THROWS: MQ (20-25, 80%) Sophia Nolan 12-13, Emma Nolan 1-1, Hannah Nolan 2-4, Joseph 4-4, Crook 1-2, Marovich 0-1; HANOVER (10-17, 58. 8%) Sterkowitz 8-13, Kerley 1-2, Blue 1-2.

REBOUNDS: MQ (26) Sophia Nolan 9, Emma Nolan 6, Hannah Nolan 6, Joseph 2, Crook 2, Marovich; HANOVER (13) Gac 6, Blue 3, Carley Siems, Sterkowitz 2, Kerley.

ASSISTS: MQ (6) Sophia Nolan 3, Morgan Crook 2, Hannah Nolan, HANOVER (5) Brooke Sterkowitz 2, Carley Siems, Sarah Blue, Alex Glidewell.

BLOCKED SHOTS: MQ (6) Sophia Nolan 4, Emma Nolan 2; HANOVER (4) Lisa Gac 4.

3-GOALS: MQ (3) Emma Joseph 2, Morgan Crook; HANOVER (2) Brooke Sterkowitz, Carley Siems.

FOULED OUT: HANOVER (1) Breanna Kerley (4th Q) 3:41 left.

CEDAR LAKE (01-08-2016) When Hanover Central played in the Porter County Conference (PCC), they hoped to use the PCC tournament as a late season ‘sectional style’ warm-up.

The Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) does not have a conference tournament anymore but Hanover got their playoff prep Friday night in a game with the "new sheriff in town," Class 1A No. 3 Marquette. Hanover was good, but Marquette, with four freshman starters, was better, rallying to top HC 47-38 in a first place GSSC showdown in Cedar Lake.

Hanover led 11-7 at the quarter and 33-30 with 7:20 to go in the game. But the Warriors, led by 6-foot-1 twins Sophia and Emma Nolan, made 10 of 12 free throws in the final period and blocked five fourth quarter HC shots to take the top spot in the GSSC with just two weeks to go in the regular season.

“We lost the fourth quarter,” said HC coach Doug Nelson. “They won the fourth. We won the first and the third quarters and they won the second and the fourth. I told the girls that it was like a boxing match. It was two rounds to two but they won on points.”

The win virtually clinched the GSSC title for Marquette (15-2, 5-0 GSSC) even with three league games to play. Hanover (16-4, 6-1 GSSC), which topped third place Bishop Noll (8-8, 5-2) 51-44 in Hammond on Jan. 6, has only East Chicago (Jan. 14), Beecher, Illinois and GSSC foe Whiting on Jan. 30 in the ‘Senior Night’ regular season finale.

“I don’t know how much the conference means to them,” said first year coach Jerry Bechtold, who had a high profile run in the Porter County Conference (PCC) at Hebron from 2000-to 2006.

“These girls are young. They don’t know what ‘conference championships' are like. They may have found out tonight because this was like a championship game."

“We knew they (Hanover) would play well because they’re the defending champions. I bet our girls know now what a conference championship is like.”

In the early going, it looked like Hanover was too experienced for the girls from the LaPorte County Class 1A school of about 300. HC led 11-3 early as top scorer Brooke Sterkowitz had five of the Lady Cats’ first 11 points.

But Emma Nolan, who is more on an inside player than her twin sister, scored nine in the second period as Marquette pulled ahead 26-21 at the half.

Full court defensive pressure by Hanover rallied the home team. A 12-2 run put Hanover ahead 33-30 in the first minute of the final quarter.

But Emma Nolan, who drew four first half fouls, stayed in the game the entire second half and never did foul out. Marquette ran a couple of ‘delay’ offenses to kill time and the Blazers sank 10 of 12 from the line in the fourth quarter.

The Nolan twins (there is a third sister, junior Hannah Nolan) blocked five fourth quarter shots, four by Sophia Nolan, as HC attacked the basket with little success.

HC’s 6-foot-2 Lisa Gac went scoreless in the first half but scored six and blocked three shots in the second half.

The Marquette defense held long range shooter Alex Glidewell scoreless and limited Sterkowitz, the 5-foot-6 senior, to 17, which is her average. Marquette used only six players, including four freshmen who have played AAU ball together since they were in fifth or sixth grade. They might have too short a bench (only 8 girls in uniform) to win a state title this season. But Marquette is going to be very good in the next four state tournaments.

Bechtold praised Sophia Nolan for playing most of the game with four fouls, but he mentioned that it always doesn’t work out that well.

“She played with four fouls against Elkhart Memorial (a 49-39 loss) and she fouled out in the second quarter. We could have beaten Elkhart Memorial, but she was out in the second quarter.

We had other options, but she’s important to us. She’s got to learn how to do that. How to play with four fouls. If you sit them down for eight minutes, you wonder whether she could have played through it. Well, you never know unless you leave them out there.”

The Nelson twins are advanced players with good dribbling and passing skills for 14-year-olds. They are unemotional players who never seemed shaken by anything that happened Friday night at Hanover.

“They’re year-round players,” said Bechtold. “They work hard at it. Lots of kids play volleyball and softball and all sports. These girls play basketball year round.”

“I’m lucky to be doing this again. This will probably be my last hurrah. My last (coaching) stop. Hopefully a long run.”

Hanover was aggressive and played well. The Lady Cats lost for the third time in four games, but this wasn't a bad loss. HC’s season won't hinge on how they did against a Top-10 team they won't see again.

“There’s no shame in losing to them,” said Nelson. “We did a lot of good things. We just didn’t do enough of them. We made some mental mistakes. ”

The schedule Hanover is playing should prepare them for sectional (they are the only team in the 6-team Wheeler sectional that presently has a winning record) and regional play.

It needs to. Hanover’s 3A regional is one of the toughest in the state with teams like No. 3 St. Joseph’s (15-1) and 3A No. 7 Benton Central (17-1) almost certain to be there.

“We did some good things today. We stood around and watched Brooke a little today. She had 17 and nobody else was in double figures. That’s not us.”

Hanover coach Doug Nelson coached Marquette in the 2004 and 2005 seasons before he came to Hanover Central in 2006.

Marquette plays in the Kouts sectional and Caston regional. It is likely (although not a certainty) that if they reached the Class 1A semistate, they would play at Crown Point on Feb. 20.

Oregon-Davis a perennial 1A power and the 2014 Class 1A state champ, is in the 2A class this season and next. Class 1A No. 7 Argos (13-1) lost to Marquette by 22 points last month. Marquette is in the same sectional as Morgan Township (12-5).

Hanover topped Bishop Noll 51-44 earlier last week. Brooke Sterkowitz scored 14 and Sarah Blue added a career high 11.

Coach: Doug Nelson, 127-93 in 10th year at school, 142-120 in 12th year overall
Nov. 3 Portage {4A}  W   42-  41  
Nov. 7 at North Newton {2A}  W   70-  39  
Nov. 10 Rensselaer Central {3A}  W   54-  23  
Nov. 14 at Lake Station {2A}  W   76-  21  
Nov. 17 at Highland {4A}   L   57-  58  
Nov. 20 at Crown Point {4A}  W   68-  60  
Nov. 25 Lowell {4A}  W   52-  22  
Nov. 28 at River Forest {2A}  W   55-  49  
Dec. 2 Calumet {3A}  W   66-  10  
Dec. 5 at Kouts {1A}  W   68-  36  
Dec. 8 at Kankakee Valley {4A}  W   47-  34  
Dec. 12 at Wheeler {3A}  W   60-  39  
Dec. 16 Andrean {3A}  W   44-  32  
Dec. 19 at Bowman Academy {2A}  W   84-  34  
Dec. 22 Washington Twp. {1A}  W   62-  31  tournament
Dec. 22 Knox {2A}  W   54-  21  tournament
Dec. 23 Crown Point {4A}   L   49-  53  tournament
Dec. 30 Munster {4A}   L   44-  46  
Jan. 6 at Hammond Noll {2A} W  51-  44  
Jan. 8 Marquette Catholic {1A} L   38-  47  
Jan. 14 at East Chicago Central {4A} 7:00 pm  
Jan. 20 Beecher (Ill.) 7:00 pm  
Jan. 30 Whiting {2A} 7:00 pm  
Marquette Catholic 5-  0 15-  2 54.3 35.0 19.3 Won 4
Hanover Central 6-  1 16-  4 57.1 37.0 20.1 Lost 1
River Forest 5-  2 13-  4 52.8 39.8 13.0 Won 6
Hammond Noll 5-  2 8-  8 43.3 48.1 -4.8 Lost 1
North Newton 3-  4 10-  7 49.1 42.8 6.3 Lost 1
Wheeler 2-  3 6-10 38.9 45.3 -6.3 Won 2
Calumet 2-  5 4-14 28.6 53.1 -24.4 Lost 1
Lake Station 1-  6 3-12 31.3 47.1 -15.9 Lost 2
Whiting 0-  6 1-16 33.8 48.6 -14.8 Lost 16
Tuesday, Jan. 5
Lake Station 47, Whiting 42
Wednesday, Jan. 6
Hanover Central 51, Hammond Noll 44
Thursday, Jan. 7
Calumet 38, Lake Station 31
North Newton 66, Tri-County 42
River Forest 44, Boone Grove 22
Friday, Jan. 8
Marquette Catholic 47, Hanover Central 38
Wheeler 44, Whiting 23
Saturday, Jan. 9
Hobart 57, Calumet 15
Marquette Catholic 46, St. Ignatius (Ill.) 18
Wheeler at North Newton, postponed
Tuesday, Jan. 12
Boone Grove 45, Whiting 421OT
River Forest 49, North Newton 41
Wheeler 43, Lake Station 26
Thursday, Jan. 14
Calumet at Andrean, 7 pm
Hanover Central at East Chicago Central, 7 pm
Hebron at River Forest, 7 pm
Lake Station at Washington Twp., 7 pm
Lowell at Hammond Noll, 7 pm
North Newton at North Judson, 7:30 pm
Wheeler at Boone Grove, 7 pm
Friday, Jan. 15
Marquette Catholic at Andrean, 7 pm
Saturday, Jan. 16
Chicago Brooks (Ill.) vs. Hammond Noll, 7:30 pm, Bowman Academy
Lake Station at Marquette Catholic, 7 pm
Tuesday, Jan. 19
Calumet at Lighthouse CPA, 7 pm
Chesterton at Hammond Noll, 7:30 pm
Marquette Catholic at Mishawaka Marian, 7 pm
North Newton at Rensselaer Central, 7:30 pm
River Forest at Wheeler, 7 pm
Wednesday, Jan. 20
Beecher (Ill.) at Hanover Central, 7 pm
Thursday, Jan. 21
River Forest at Victory Christian, 7 pm
Friday, Jan. 22
Marquette Catholic at Hammond Noll, 7 pm
North White at North Newton, 7 pm
Saturday, Jan. 23
Calumet at Wheeler, 2:30 pm
Whiting at Marquette Catholic, 7 pm
‡Conference game