Boys B-Ball Trounces St. Marks in 1st Game

Swoosh. As the Fall term draws to a close, the basketball season has begun to gain momentum. The Boys’ Varsity Basketball team had its first competition , an informal scrimmage against Brooks School, on Wednesday, November 20, a game which they dominated. This week, in their first formal game of the season, the Big Blue, riding the wave of momentum from their scrimmage victory, trounced St. Mark’s. For the most part, the Big Blue had its way with the overmatched and undersized Brooks opposition. Strong defense kept Brooks’ scoring options to a minimum, and repeated offensive production from behind the 3-point arc allowed Andover to secure the game’s outcome well before halftime. Adam Crabtree ’04 and Coleman Lyons ’03 paced the squad offensively, while Zack DeOssie ’03 maintained a defensive prowess that led to two blocks and several steals. The first quarter was defined by a strong offensive effort by the Andover team. The insubstantial Brooks defense was repeatedly broken down by strong drives to the hoop; Lyons forced the opposition into repeated fouls with tough cuts to the basket followed by lay-ups. As Andover gained the lead, Brooks concentrated its defensive efforts within the paint, thus leaving the perimeter open for Crabtree to score on multiple 3-point launches. In the second quarter, Andover began to capitalize thanks to tight defense led by DeOssie and Adjatay Nyadjroh ’03. DeOssie, who came up with his second steal with 54 seconds remaining in the second quarter, drove hard to the hoop for two points and a foul. DeOssie missed the ensuing free throw, but the ball bounced Andover’s way. Lyons put the ball in the basket, completing the four-point play. Nyadjroh, in turn, scored off of a steal and subsequent lay-in to close out the action in the first half. Comfortably in the lead, Andover expected nothing less than securing their victory in the third quarter. The second half of the game began with a flurry of fast breaks for the Big Blue. The multitude of inside scoring that resulted seemed only to confirm the team’s notion of impending victory. Lyons swatted away a desperate Brooks attempt with 6:47 remaining in the quarter but it was hardly indicative of Andover’s defensive effectiveness following halftime. The opposition exploited a lackluster interior defense, making a run at Andover’s lead. Despite its newfound scoring options inside the paint, Brooks remained unable to hit the 3-point shot. However, Crabtree toned down Brooks’ intensity with a 5-point spurt of activity within 2 minutes of play at the end of the quarter. He began by draining a perimeter shot with 3:35 remaining, and he followed it up admirably by drawing a hard foul on a cut to the basket, and making his two free throws. With the team seemingly revitalized, Colin Liotta ’03 came off the bench to get a quick interception; racing downcourt beside Nyadjroh, the two players exploited a 2 on 1 advantage which allowed Liotta to drop a two pointer in the basket. Despite aggressive play to close out the quarter, Andover lost ground in the third quarter, but managed to stay ahead. Andover came out strong to start the final period, lighting up the scoreboard with several 3-pointers in succession against what appeared to be a lethargic Brooks squad. Lyons buried two shots from behind the arc over a span of 40 seconds, prompting the Brooks coach to take a much-needed timeout with 5:56 remaining in the game. The recess did little to generate any offensive production for Brooks; Andover clamped down defensively, as DeOssie claimed another block and steals resulting in fast breaks began to pile up. In the end, the boys would emerge victorious. In a game headlined by solid contributions from all members of the Andover team, the boys’ varsity basketball squad outclassed St. Mark’s to the tune of a 64-46 win. Captain DeOssie paced the team, providing a competitive drive and an overall consistency that helped spur his teammates to victory. Tyler Simms ’04 proved a pleasant surprise after sitting out the pre-season game with Brooks due to injury. Freshman Joseph Lokitis showed great promise with his relentless work and hustle on the defensive end. Lyons and Simms jumpstarted the squad with accurate shooting, both within and outside the 3-point arc. In the first half, Lyons shot 4-6 and Simms 3-5 from the charity stripe. Towards the end of the first half the game essentially became a scoring duel between DeOssie and St. Mark’s prodigy George Ellis. DeOssie proved to be the more versatile player, however, as he ended up with a team-high 12 rebounds, not to mention 10 points. He aggressively pursued the ball at both ends of the court, setting hard screens with impunity and providing an exemplary model of hustle and determination for his teammates. Crabtree was instrumental late in the first half and immediately following the halftime break. Lyons and Simms then picked up where they had left off early in the first half, scoring at will with slicing drives to the basket or long-range shots from behind the arc. While Lyons finished with a team-high 21 points, Simms chipped in a twelve of his own. Nyadjroh provided another spark for Andover’s offensive production in the second half, scoring at regular intervals to finish with 9 points. With wins over Brooks and St. Marks, the varsity squad will look to ride the early season momentum as far as it can carry them.