Co-Captain Danny Evans ’16 whipped the ball from underneath the basket to Sam Jefferson ’16 who, then, stepped back from the 3-point line and shot. As the ball clanked off the rim, Hallvard Lundevall ’16 ran into the paint and leapt up over a pack of Choate defenders, grabbed the ball and slammed it into the basket. The putback dunk extended Andover’s lead over Choate in the first half.
Andover played three games over the past week with two wins and a close loss, bringing its record to 3-7. On Friday, Andover routed St. Paul’s in a 68-46 away victory. The next day, the team beat its New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) Class-A rival, Choate, by an 80-66 margin. On Wednesday, the team traveled to Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) and blew a late fourth quarter lead, falling 58-49.
Andover’s game against St. Paul’s began with a hot start from Andover. The team led by as much as 30 in the first half, with all starters making significant contributions.
Jefferson and Lundevall, both Post-Graduates (PG), had strong offensive games, posting 14 and 24 points, respectively. Andover landed 11 3-pointers in the hoop, a critical part of the team’s offensive strategy.
Lundevall also performed well in Andover’s game against Choate, scoring 17 points. Andover’s potent offense was paired with a tenacious defense, which made scoring difficult for Choate throughout the game. Fueled by a raucous bench group, Andover forced nine Choate turnovers. Evans led the team with three steals.
Taylor Beckett ’17 said, “I think our teamwork really starts off the court. We are a very close team and [Head Coach Terrell Ivory ’00] says he loves how we care for each other and have fun with each other. All that translates onto the court.”
“After playing a few games, we are starting to trust each other out on the court. We are starting to settle into roles and are much more comfortable playing with each other. On defense, our communication is the most important. We are always trying to talk all the time on defense and that helps us to play team defense rather than guard one-on-one,” added Beckett.
The combined shooting power of Evans, Jefferson, Lundevall and Co-Captain Andrew Reavis ’17 from the 3-point line helped Andover’s offense excel. The team connected on 15 3-pointers, which accounted for over half of Andover’s 80 points.
Andover scored with efficiency. Evans contributed 27 points and 6 assists on 66 percent shooting from the field. Reavis posted 66 percent shooting from the 3-point line, hitting four baskets and filling the stat sheet with six rebounds and four assists.
With a three-game win streak on the line, Andover prepared throughout the week to ensure that its offensive success would translate against its arch-rival, Exeter.
Exeter entered the contest with a 6-1 record, but Andover looked to ride its hot shooting to an upset victory. Building on a 34-33 lead by the end of the first half and an even more sizable lead in the fourth quarter, Andover appeared to be on its way to a fourth consecutive victory. In the final minutes, however, Andover’s defense was unable to contain Exeter, who made a 12-0 run to seal the game in their favor.
Evans was the leading scorer with 16 points, but Andover’s offense did not resemble the well-oiled machine that it had been in previous games. The team resorted to a largely individual game, taking more difficult shots in the process.
Looking ahead, Ivory still has high expectations for the players.
“We need to get better every time we step on the floor, play hard, play the right way, make the playoffs, win a championship,” said Ivory.
Andover looks to return to its winning pattern this Saturday against Milton.