Girls Basketball, Sports, Winter Sports

GVB: Staunch Defense Leads to Two Wins

Assistant Captain Gadson Lefft ’15 intercepted a pass on defense and broke away to score a layup late in the second half, adding to Andover Girls Basketball’s comfortable lead in its Friday night home game against Holderness. Lefft’s 14-point performance spurred the team’s 57-41 victory over Holderness.

Assistant Captain and starting forward Courtney Erickson ’15 had an impressive performance in the first half as well, putting up 11 points, until a dive for a loose ball in the final minutes of the half resulted in a collision that sent her to the ground. Erickson suffered a severe concussion and is expected to be out for the remainder of the season.

Leading scorers and starting guards Emma Kelley ’17 and Lefft stepped up and took charge in the second half, each scoring eight points for a total of 11 and 14 points, respectively.

Andover capitalized on its height advantage over Holderness by driving to the basket. The team struggled to sink its shots from beyond the three-point arc, so driving to the basket proved to be an efficient offensive strategy.

“Since our outside shots weren’t falling, we drove to the basket, getting a lot of points and drawing fouls,” said Kelley.

Captain Cara Cavanaugh ’15 added, “We had a big size advantage on the other team, so we scored more points inside and drove to the basket since it was harder for them to guard us.”

Andover had difficulty defending Holderness’s leading scorer D. Johnson, who put up 17 points, including five three-pointers.

The team started the game playing a mix of 2-3 zone and man-to-man defense, but in the second half Andover fully converted to a man-to-man defense to shut down Johnson.
Lefft said, “Holderness had one good player who led her team, but once we shut her down, we were able to pull ahead.”

On Wednesday, Andover traveled to BB&N and won 52-45, bringing its record back to 0.500 at 8-8. Lefft led Andover with 19 points and Cavanaugh followed with 16 points.

Andover was able to overcome the challenge of losing Erickson, as Molly Katarincic ’18 stepped up in her place in the starting lineup. The team also contended with BB&N’s speed and fast-paced play, which it struggled to do in its game against Tabor a few weeks ago.

“BB&N plays fast, and we are just learning how to play without [Erickson],” said Lefft.
Cavanaugh added, “They were a very fast team and were good at scoring on fast breaks.”
Andover continued playing man-to-man defense successfully against BB&N, which led to increased offensive opportunities.

Kelley said, “We played good man to man defense in both halves, and did a good job playing in the gaps to block the talented drivers on BB&N. We got many defensive rebounds which led to successful offense.”

Starting point guard Sarah Humes ’16 said, “We shut down their offense and didn’t let them drive.”

As in the Holderness game, Andover found itself with a substantial height advantage over BB&N that led to crucial offensive rebounds to boost its momentum early in the game.

“We had a lot of size over BB&N, so we got offensive rebounds and made our putbacks,” said Humes.

Kelley said, “Because we were much taller than BB&N, our posts scored a lot on the block.”
With two wins in a row under its belt, Andover hopes to defeat Northfield Mount Hermon on Friday, a team it fell to earlier this season 66-61 during the River’s Holiday Tournament.

Feb 19, 2015