In the final minutes of the first half, newcomer Dallion Johnson ’20 made a crossover move to get by his opponent and weaved through the defense to score an acrobatic lay-up. Despite Andover Boys Basketball’s best efforts, the team fell 49-73 to arch-rival Phillips Exeter Academy. Its record now stands at 2-6 overall, and 2-2 in New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) Class A play.
Although it suffered an unfortunate loss, the team started off the game well and stuck with Exeter for the majority of the first half. However, in the second half, Andover struggled to get quality shots against a suffocating defense, while Exeter began to shoot three-point shots more frequently.
Jackson Emus ’19 said, “I think in the first half we came out pretty well with our game plan and played a solid zone. On offense, we really had to grind. They came out in our face and it’s tough sometimes to match that kind of intensity in practice, so it was a real test for this team.”
Post-Graduate (PG) James Lewis ’17 played a major role in the game on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Lewis was dominant in the post and grabbed several offensive rebounds. Lewis also made several plays on the defensive end, blocking a number of Exeter’s shots at the rim and altering others.
“James is one of the hardest workers on the team because he does his job by crashing the boards, boxing out, and attacking the basket every play. When he flushes down a powerful dunk, or gets a tough and-one, we feed off his energy,” said Johnson.
Emus added, “James did a really good job in the post. They were triple teaming him and he still found a way to score, powering the rim and hitting his free throws when he got the chance. He rebounded well for us and was also a defensive anchor. Having a shot blocker like that next to you on defense really alters shots and intimidates the offensive players on the other team.”
“Today was a tough one but I think getting the ball inside to James was big for us and we need to do a better job of feeding him more,” said PG Kailan Lee ’17.
Looking forward to Andover’s next game against Milton, the team hopes to decrease its number of turnovers, hustle harder for loose balls, and improve its defensive rebounding.
“We just have to work on having less lapses on offense and defense, knowing where we are supposed to be, [and not] losing our man [on defense]. In the second half, they beat us to a lot of 50-50 balls and that is just a matter of effort. I feel like we could get better at hustling on the floor, boxing out, and really fighting for rebounds,” said Emus.
Johnson added, “We need to improve on executing the ball screens on the offensive end and we cannot have too many turnovers. But defensively, we need to box out and stop letting the opposing team get offensive rebounds. We have to play with heart and effort every second of the game.”
“As a team we need to increase our intensity on defense and pursue loose balls,” said Lewis.
Andover hopes to rebound from its loss and secure a victory against Milton on Friday.