PA Boys Basketball Drops One to NMH, Pounds DA

Sometimes the ball bounces your way, sometimes it does not. The boys won one game this week over Deerfield, but only after a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the NMH Hoggers. The PA Boys Basketball Team played its first contest of a final, 3-game road trip this past Friday against NMH. In this highly-anticipated rematch, the NMH Hoggers triumphed over the Big Blue by a score of 93-84 (NMH had won the first match as well, 79-65). Although most speculators had predicted that the Hoggers would thoroughly dominate the undersized Andover team, the absence of their star point guard allowed for some speculation that PA might be able to emerge victorious. Ultimately, however, Andover suffered more from injuries to its players than did the competition; Andy Heighington ’03 missed the game altogether and Rory Gallagher ’03 made an unexpected arrival after just having stitches removed. Despite suffering from a gross mismatch on the interior, the Andover squad showed commendable effort in competing with a more physical team. Adjatay Nyadjroh ’03 and Athlete of the Week Coleman Lyons ’03 greatly advanced the team’s score. Lyons hustled and bustled his way to 17 points while Nyadjroh showcased his impeccable outside shooting by garnering a team-high 36 points. Both teams suffered from foul trouble throughout the game. In the first half alone, Lyons picked up 3 fouls, while captain Zak DeOssie ’03 and Colin Liotta ’03 each got called for two. Such fouls meant that Liotta and DeOssie were largely unable to contribute despite their presence on the court. To make matters worse, an NMH guard who had not played during the teams’ first encounter now capitalized on their point guard’s absence to score 14 points for the Hoggers. Although Andover was able to close its deficit to single digits on repeated occasions, NMH was always able to counter with a timely basket or a scoring run of its own. The defeat marked the second straight loss for a PA team was previously on a five game winning streak. The team entered Wednesday’s game against Deerfield with a renewed sense of purpose. The team’s effort and desire were evident, as the Big Blue pulled away with an easy 65-32 victory against an overmatched Deerfield squad. Although the PA players were somewhat plagued by foul trouble throughout the first half, they were able to pull away in the second period by virtue of their outstanding team play and the all-around contributions of all team members. The mismatch between Andover and Deerfield was evident from the outset. The Blue performed inefficiently during the first ten minutes of play. Largely to blame were the referees’ generally conservative calls. As Will Heidrich ’03 professed after the game, “The referees called the game very closely.” Captain DeOssie and Nyadjroh were both called for fouls on numerous occasions during the first half. Andover remained largely unable to dispatch the opposition for the remainder of the period; a 3-point shot at the buzzer allowed Deerfield to attempt to catch up to PA when the score was 25-14. The Blue emerged from the locker rooms to start off the second half with a visibly renewed attitude, which in turn allowed them to seal the outcome of the contest a mere five minutes into the half. Nyadjroh, Liotta, and Lyons all made key shots down the stretch; a shot by Heidrich at the buzzer was a definitive statement for the match. Despite their lackluster start, PA had pulled away behind the solid play of Lyons, Nyadjroh, and Liotta. The contest against Deerfield was the first meeting between the two teams of the season. In the end, the opposition provided much-needed fodder for the varsity squad as it prepares for Saturday’s big game with Exeter. Andover will look to further the retribution which it achieved with Wednesday’s blowout against Deerfield. With a current record of 8-12, the Boys in Blue will inevitably fall short of .500 for the season; nevertheless, a victory over archrival Exeter would undoubtedly boost the squad’s morale.