After a crushing 106-74 loss against St. Andrew’s on Wednesday, Andover Boys Basketball looks to turn things around heading into the annual Seacoast Challenge.
Andover has had a rocky start to its season thus far. After a statement 53-37 season opener victory against St. Paul’s, Andover proceeded to lose its next five games.
In its second game of the season against Choate, Andover held a 17 point lead at halftime, but its lead faltered down the stretch. Andover ended up losing 61-58 after a go-ahead three-pointer during the final seconds of the game. In its following game against Holderness, Andover allowed a 13-0 run to close the game, and the team lost 62-60.
During the Roundball Classic showcase this past weekend, Andover was defeated by Rivers, and the team also fell to Kimball Union in tight overtime battle.
However, the team looks to put these past couple of games behind it and perform well during the upcoming showcase.
Akshay Mundra ’18 said, “We’re looking forward to bouncing back this weekend. We’re still growing as a team, but we definitely have the potential to be great.”
Last year, Andover opened the Seacoast Challenge with a 73-71 overtime loss in a back-and-forth affair against Hotchkiss. The team bounced back the next day, securing a 62-53 victory against Williston North Hampton.
This year, Andover will kick off the showcase on Friday against Brunswick, and will square off against Hotchkiss the next day. On Sunday, the team will play its final game against Avon Old Farms.
When asked about his expectations for the showcase, Head Coach Terrell Ivory ’00 said, “My expectations are always the same. We need to play hard, compete, make as few mistakes as possible, and just be as focused as we possibly can. Winning is really important, but that’s not always the main goal. Winning is a byproduct of doing all those other things well.”
The team has been preparing for the tournament by working to eliminate past mistakes.
Dallion Johnson ’20 said, “Mostly, we’ve been working on executing our plays so that in close game situations, we can take care of the ball and finish with a win.”
Matt Shea ’18 said, “We have been watching film a few times, and we are learning our mistakes from previous games to get ready.”
The games are intra-division play, meaning they have important playoff implications for the team. At this point in the season, each game carries significant weight for a possible playoff berth.
Mundra said, “Because these will be league games, this weekend is a great opportunity to take a step forward in putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs this year.”
“The goal for the upcoming tournament is definitely to go out there to compete and win games. These games are very important, because they count towards our record, and will affect whether or not we make the playoffs,” added Shea.
Following the Seacoast Challenge, Andover will square off against arch rival Phillips Exeter Academy.
The team hopes to improve from this showcase for the rest of the season, particularly its ability to defend and rebound.
Johnson said, “We need to improve our communication on the defensive end, such as telling each other to switch screens so that we can force turnovers.”
“We’ve also got to get better at rebounding. Part of that is just our effort, and another part is just finding a man to box-out when the offense puts up a shot,” Coach Ivory concluded.