HAMMOND | When push came to shove Thursday night, Bishop Noll always found a way to answer.
Hanover Central battled back time and again in a defense-heavy Greater South Shore Conference tourney semifinal, but the Times No. 5 Warriors had just enough down the stretch to survive in a 41-39 win.
Elena Sobilo led Noll with a game-high 14 points, while Noami House added 12.
“I thought Hanover Central came very prepared from the last time that we met,” Bishop Noll head coach Vanita Gary said. “They made adjustments to our defensive style (and) they made adjustments to their zone. They tried to really slow down the game, but we were able to run in spurts.”
Hanging around all game, Hanover put together one final rally with time winding down. Lisa Gac, a 6-foot-2 center, collected an offensive rebound and scored the putback with just over a second remaining, pulling the Wildcats within two points. After a missed free throw on the other end, Hanover gathered the rebound but was unable to get a shot off before time expired.
Gac finished with 10 points and three blocked shots for Hanover, which was led by 12 from Kristen Roper.
After a three-minute scoreless stretch from both teams, the Wildcats tied the score 33-33 on Roper’s offensive rebound and putback with 2:21 left in the fourth. Noll regained the lead on a House layup on its next possession, however, and finished ahead.
“We just tried to get one good defensive stop,” Gary said. “That’s really what we preach. Every time we need a basket, we need a stop first. If we can get the stop, we might be able to get the ball up in the open floor and get a layup. But it all starts with that one defensive possession.”