Despite leading 28-21 at the half, Andover Boys Basketball lost in overtime against rival Phillips Exeter Academy 70-64 over Andover/Exeter Weekend. The game took place on February 24 at Andover, and the team ended its season with a league-only record of 8-12.
According to Jack Penney ’21, Co-Captain Dallion Johnson ’20, and Jackson Emus ’19, it was disappointing to lose in such a close game after going into overtime, but the team was still proud of its improvement from the first time it played Exeter in January and lost 73-45.
Penney wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The hardest part about the game was that it came down to a few points to decide the game and we lost, but I was most proud of our improvement from the last time we played them because we lost badly the first time.”
Johnson said, “We improved on a lot since the last time we played them and closed out the season strong. We played defense with more effort and pride, and we took each game with a winning attitude. Overall, we definitely played a lot harder during the end of the season.”
Emus added, “We were right there for the whole game, and I thought we played some of our best basketball of the year that day.”
The team had the advantage of knowing some of the opponent’s playing style after facing off against Exeter earlier in the season and was able to make adjustments, according to Emus and Johnson.
“We came out with a lot of energy and really focused on our plan to surprise them early and try to catch them sleeping. Playing in front of our home crowd definitely gave us some extra energy, and we were able to ride it for most of the game,” said Emus.
“From the first time playing them, we knew what they were going to do defensively, so on offense, we moved the ball quickly and looked for backdoor cuts and slip screens. Defensively, we knew to play as hard as we could, fighting for every loose ball and grabbing every rebound off the rim,” added Johnson.
According to Johnson, Colby Gendron ’18 had a particularly incredible game to end his Andover career.
Johnson said, “[Gendron] played as hard as anyone on the court that game. Since it was his last high school basketball game, he knew to give it his all. As a result, he had a phenomenal game, snatching rebounds left and right, finishing strong through contact, and even flushing down big dunks. I am definitely proud of the big man, and there are even bigger things to come for him.”
A/E was the last game of the season, so it was difficult for the players to say goodbye to the Seniors on the team, according to Johnson.
Johnson said, “[The hardest part of the game] was as soon as the buzzer sounded… It was tough to see them take part in their last game, but I will always be proud [of the] Seniors. I am grateful to have had them pushing me every day in practice and always bringing energy to the team. We had a great and memorable year, and I will most certainly miss playing with them.”