Boys’ Basketball squared off against Cushing, a team with numerous talented starters and potent offensive weapons over break. Despite a valiant effort, Andover fell short in the away game, losing 83-66. Andy Heighington ’03 saw his first action of the season during this match, playing for a significant amount of time and contributing a solid effort despite the disappointing outcome. Tyler Simms ’04 paced the Big Blue with a generally outstanding performance, scoring on quick, well-timed drives to the hoop to finish with a team-high 23 points. Captain Zak DeOssie ’03 was plagued by foul trouble throughout the first half, thereby preventing him from dominating both offensively and defensively inside the paint. Heighington ’03 and Colin Liotta ’03 were thus allotted the unenviable task of tempering Cushing’s main weapon within the paint, 6’8” Kevin Bradley. Despite exemplary efforts from both Heighington and Liotta, Bradley relentlessly punished Andover’s big men by blocking numerous shots and finishing with 24 points. The primary go-to guy for the opposition, however, was 6’6” Asher Cowan. He proved devastating from beyond the 3-point arc, drilling timely threes and hindering one of Andover’s main offensive guns, Coleman Lyons ’03. The latter earned 16 points by means of his versatility and persistence, coping with substantial defensive pressure by pulling up for jump shots or making strong cuts to the basket. Despite trailing only 46-42 at the halftime break, the Big Blue was ultimately overcome by its bigger, more efficient opponent. For thirty-eight minutes on Sunday afternoon, Andover appeared confident of walking away with a solid, albeit hotly-contested victory against Poly Prep. However, despite its commendable effort and solid play for all but the final minutes, the Big Blue was unable to come away with the victory, falling to Poly Prep in overtime by an agonizing scored of 72-71. With a chance to trounce the opposition with 2:45 remaining in the game, the weariness of the team that was playing its second game in as many days began to manifest itself. Trailing 67-63, Poly Prep made use of repeated attempts at the foul line to tie the game at 67-67 and send the game into overtime. Once again Andover came out strong in the additional period, only to squander its 4-point advantage with poor ball-handling and numerous fouls. From the opening tip-off Andover aggressively pursued the ball, doggedly harassing its opponents on the defensive end while maintaining good offensive production both inside and outside the 3-point arc. Captain Zak DeOssie ’03 maintained what has become characteristically good defense throughout the game. Nevertheless, Poly Prep provided Andover with a minimal margin of error, keeping the score close throughout the 1st half. With ten minutes remaining in the period, Poly gained its first lead of the night, 19-18. Both Rory Gallagher ’03 and Coleman Lyons ’03 countered by beginning to aid their squad offensively; the former provided his teammates with an infusion of energy by converting a couple of 2-point shots halfway through through the period, while Lyons ’03 lit up the scoreboard with abundant production from behind the arc. Thus, Andover was able to close out the half with both the momentum and the score in its favor, leading Poly Prep 36-32. Following the recess, both Crabtree ’04 and Lokitis ’06 picked up the slack by drilling repeated 3-pointers. Adjatay Nyadjroh ’03 clamped down defensively to limit Poly’s offensive opportunities; with 2:45 remaining, the score was tied at 62-62. At 67-67, the game was sent into overtime. Despite a tenacious effort in the final minutes, Andover is stifled by its opponent’s defense and its own inability to hit key free throws. In the end, Poly Prep prevailed by a score of 72-71. Coming off of humbling losses to both Cushing and Poly Prep, Andover sought to rebound against Loomis by employing a novel offensive strategy. The new run-and-gun style, however, was poorly suited to the slow, half-court defense used by the opposition. The Big Blue appeared to lack motivation and effectiveness, consequently losing a contest that should otherwise have yielded a straightforward victory. Andover’s principle of shooting with impunity was largely unproductive due to Loomis’ stifling defense. As a result, the Blue shot 4-22 from 3-point land for the entire game. Their adversary capitalized on our weaknesses, as their go-to guy Craigwell (#5) began to ignite both the scoreboard and the fans. At halftime, PA trailed 26-19. With a new mentality and a fresh offensive strategy, we gained to within four following the recess; Coleman Lyons ’03 took initiative on both offensive and defensive ends, while clamping down on Loomis’ able guard, #23 Blackman. Captain Zak DeOssie ’03 was a presence within the paint for much of the game, until he fouled out on a dubious call with several minutes remaining in the game. In a game predicted by most to be a thorough drubbing of the Big Blue, Andover held its own for all but the waning minutes of the hotly-contested match. We relentlessly punished the opposition from behind the 3-point arc; Gallagher ’03, Lokitis ’06, and Crabtree’04 provided timely baskets from downtown, with both Lyons ’03 and Captain DeOssie ’03 hitting several to start off the game. During the final 3 minutes of the half, however, New Hampton went on a tear which was prompted by the efforts of their 6’10” center Sean Lamtey and his 6’9” teammate, Olu Femi. The match was highlighted by a scoring duel between Lyons ’03 and their guard Martin Cook (#33); The former outshone Cook by netting 20 points to his counterpart’s 19. DeOssie ’03 teamed with Andy Heighington ’03 to provide outstanding efforts on the inside; DeOssie was able to finish with a mere 2 fouls. Additionally, the contest featured the return of a former PA student, Todd Checovich ’02, who had graduated Andover as a PG and transferred to New Hampton for a 6th year of high school. In the end, an exemplary effort on behalf of the troops in blue was spoiled by its opponent’s sheer size and firepower. Riding a 4-game losing streak, Andover sought to rebound this Wednesday afternoon in an away game against Holderness. In the end, however, the Big Blue put in too little too late, losing to the opposition by a score of 78 – 68. The team’s effort early in the 1st half was disappointing; Holderness exploited our inability to hit shots early on to take the lead, 34 – 18. Down by 16, the remainder of the game was played in a fruitless attempt to dig ourselves out of our deficit. The team came out with a solid effort in the 2nd half, but, once again, it was too little too late. Joseph Lokitis ’06 played a solid game off the bench, while Tyler Simms ’04 provided a spark of energy and an offensive prowess that were the few bright spots in Wednesday’s disappointing contest. Andover will seek to improve its 1-5 record this Friday in yet another away game against Milton.