Boys Basketball Wins OT Thriller Over Rival Thayer

The Big Blue finally proved this week that when it all comes together no one can play on their level. In an exemplary show of effort and determination the Boys’ Varsity Basketball team squeezed past Thayer in an overtime away game this past Friday. Following Andover’s thorough drubbing of Tilton, the team’s sheer resolve to pursue its first winning streak of the season propelled it to a victory against Thayer, by the score of 98-96 (in overtime). The opposition’s arsenal featured prep-school standout and Maryland-bound Mike Jones, a versatile scoring threat who faltered slightly down the stretch as the main go-to-guy for his squad. Although Tyler Simms ’04 and Coleman Lyons ’03 fulfilled expectations as Andover’s main scoring duo, the reserves deserved the most credit for the late surge that ultimately carried the team by a 2-point margin. With time expiring in the 2nd half, Thayer benefited from a questionable foul call that put them to the free-throw line for two shots. While the supposed foul sent Simms to the bench, Thayer was able to convert both opportunities and tie the game to send it into overtime. Reserves Rory Gallagher ’03, Joey Lokitis ’06, and Colin Liotta ’03 made the most of their chance to shine. Lokitis reaffirmed his position as an offensive threat with a barrage of shots from all corners of the court. Adjatay Nyadjroh ’03 and Captain Zak DeOssie ’03 both turned in noteworthy performances. In a game where Andover’s every step was hotly contested by the opposition, sheer willpower and resilience allowed the team to take home the win and improve its record to 4 -10. The Boys’ Varsity Basketball team provided an entertaining and effective follow-up to their unexpected victory over Thayer by simply outclassing GDA. Andover improved its record to 5-10 with the 99-54 thrashing of Governor Dummer. Although it has taken the team some time to reconcile its many talents and abilities, the Big Blue squad has begun to play with renewed vigor here in the second half of the season. With impressive wins over Thayer and Governor Dummer, Andover capitalized on its chance to prolong its winning streak to four games with a 73-66 victory over the Clark University Varsity team. Although the teams were fairly even, an outstanding offensive effort by Lyons and the impenetrable defense of Liotta and captain DeOssie tipped the balance in the Blue’s favor. Clark used a strong defensive effort early in the game to limit Andover’s scoring options; good ball movement was all that the Big Blue could boast during the early minutes of Wednesday’s matchup. However, timely back-to-back three-pointers by Lyons jumpstarted the Big Blue’s offense and narrowed the Clark lead to two points. A subsequent fast break by Adjatay Nyadjroh ’03 allowed Lyons to net a quick layup, draw the foul, and complete the three point play. Following a jump-shot by Liotta to tie the game, a foul shot by Lyons gave Andover its first lead of the night, at 15-14. The roles of big men Liotta, DeOssie, and Andy Heighington ’03 became crucial. All three delivered promptly, showing great prowess on defense while contributing with several 3-point shots of their own. With the momentum in their favor, Andover carried its 38-26 lead heading into half-time. As they began to trade baskets, both teams settled into a groove, with the Big Blue still leading. However, a few slip-ups and turnovers by DeOssie allowed Clark University to regain its footing. The Clark team stormed back to tie the game up at 56 with only 10 minutes left in the game. A definitive block by Liotta prompted a fast break by Simms, who drew the foul and converted both of his shots from the free-throw stripe. Trailing 67 – 66, Clark fouled Lyons from behind the arc. Lyons proceeded to drain all three of his shots, as Andover went on to victory. With five games remaining in the season, the team will have to win all of its upcoming contests to close out the year with a winning record. It will be an uphill struggle, but it is an unparalleled opportunity for the boys to make something memorable out of this season.