Lady Hoopsters Dominate Big Red; Conlon Scores 16

Although they may be very good, they are still not the best. Last week, the girl’s went 1-2, taking down rival Exeter and dropping games to Brooks and defending New England Champions, the Tabor Seawolves. Despite a narrow 52-48 last-minute loss to Brooks, the girls came back to light up DiClemente court as they destroyed Exeter’s team with a final score of 53-29. Last Wednesday, the girls traveled to Tabor for their second chance at a victory over the Seawolves, but their attempt for revenge resulted in a 56-40 loss. The Brooks game started out with Coach Kennedy playing her usual starting five, Cortney Tetrault ’03, Danielle Vardaro ’03, Meg Coffin ’03, Mimi Hanley ’04, and Kat Conlon ’04 before rotating to Krystal Freeman ’03 and Laurel Sticklor ’05. The first half started out slowly, with the teams trading baskets and without a clear leader. In the second half, the same starting line returned and kept their lead for most of the half. However, with the Lady Blue ‘sscore stuck at 38, Brooks made basket after basket to gain a lead. Free throws and three pointer shots helped Andover keep up with their opponent, but Brooks’ last minute score rally proved to be too much for Lady Blue to make up. Even though this game tarnished the Lady Blue’s close-to-perfect season record, the game was still marked with individual player highlights. With few players doing any scoring, Conlon brought in 14 points, and Hanley brought in 10. Coffin, Vardaro, and Freeman each added 8 points to their total. Knowing they were in a bind for points, the team made nearly all of their free throws, missing only 1 out of 8. With a game that held both the team and spectators in suspense right down to the final buzzer, the Lady Blue played hard the entire time. Lead scorer and Athlete of the Week Conlon explained the close defeat, “We only had seven offensive boards, and that really, really hurt us,” she reasoned, “we had a hard time handling their star player, and we need to wok that out. I think we fought all game, and they capitalized on our weaknesses.” Veteran player Coffin agreed, “I think we got out executed in the end of the second half,” she said, “and we had trouble shutting out some of their players.” With Lady Blue being up 10 points in the middle of the second half, Brooks made a late comeback for their win. The game against Exeter made basketball look too easy. The starters for Lady Blue, Freeman, Vardaro, Coffin, Hanley, and Conlon attacked Exeter’s defense and established an early lead. Tetrault, Sticklor, Sarah Chang ’05, and Jess Daigneault ’04 all got their time to score some baskets for PA. Exeter’s score didn’t even break ten until the very end of the first half, which ended with the score 36-14 and little chance of an Exeter comeback. After half time, the starting line went back in and kept their scores twice as large as Exeter’s. With a lead so assuring so early, Coach K played the entire bench. The last few minutes were played entirely by the non-starting line; Rachel Shack ’04, Jevan Jammal ’06, Nell Beattie ’05, and Danielle Denufrio ’03 all got to play a good chunk of the game. When the half ended, with a 53-29 score, the Andover girls sent Exeter home crying. Against Exeter, the girl’s basketball team was on fire. Conlon and Vardaro brought in 16 and 11 points, respectively, with Conlon sending in three shots from behind the arc and Tetrault and Vardaro each bringing in a still admirable one. Following them was Coffin who added 10 points to the home team side of DiClemente scoreboard. Wednesday’s chance for revenge from Tabor proved to be too difficult for the Lady Blue to handle; the team was sent home with a 40-56 loss. In the first half, the usual five starters had trouble finding their winning rhythm. After an early Tabor shooting spree and a bout of Blue turnovers, Coach Kennedy threw some new players into the mix. The new talent helped the game get going, but the Andover girls never came within sight of the high Tabor score. Starting out the second half, Andover shooting sprees worked to add a little balance to the score. The players were starting to find a better game plan, but, by the end of the half, there just wasn’t enough time for a Blue revival. Jammal was glad to see Andover come back after the loss, “We’re beginning to heal the wound,” she said. It is a phrase that has come to be known on the team to kick energy back into the girls after a very tough defeat.