Boys BBall Snaps Slide at GDA, Gains Confidence Against Tabor

After suffering tough losses to Tilton and Thayer last week, the Andover Boys Varsity Basketball team pulled together to defeat Governor Dummer on Monday. Andover got off the bus ready to play on Monday night, starting strong with a 7-0 opening run. However, their early success did not last long, as the Governors quickly tied up the game. The two teams spent the rest of the first half in a struggle for the lead. Repeatedly Andover strung seven or eight points together only to have GDA answer with a quick comeback to even the score once again. The ups and downs of the first half left ended with Andover holding onto a slim 30-29 lead. Pinpointing what he presumed to be the problem, Modeste told his players to stop hurrying shots that could easily fall into the net if set up correctly. To be victorious, he anticipated that the boys needed to take good shots at a slower pace. Carrying out the strategies of their coach, Andover dominated the second half. To the spectators, it seemed that Andover was a whole new team. Not only did individual players step up the intensity, but overall the team played at an entirely new level. The boys played smart, managed the clock well, and with a large lead, played their best so far this season. As the buzzer sounded, Andover finished with a solid 70-52 victory. “Despite an initial sloppy performance, we came together well in the second half and played as a team,” commented Adam Crabtree ’04, “Even though GDA is not one of our tougher opponents, I am still pleased that as a team we were able to demonstrate what we are capable of doing. The fact that we finished so well gives us confidence for our upcoming games.” Tyler Simms ’04 and Patrick Houlihan ’04 contributed seven assists and Crabtree lead the team with ten rebounds. Joey Lokitis ’06 poured in 32 points to lead all scorers, getting help from Crabtree and Simms, who added 15 and 12 points, respectively, along the way. “I went out there to help the team, and tried to do my best. This time, I happened to be on the receiving end of many assists and great plays. We played with great team effort and it definitely paid off.” said Lokitis. After a strong victory at GDA, the boys turned their attention to Tabor. Having already encountered Tabor in January, losing 84-77, Andover knew to expect tough competition, but the boys in Blue did not let it scare them. They responded to the challenge of a strong team by matching them basket for basket. At halftime, Tabor held a small lead of 34-30. Andover fell behind 12 points in the middle of the second half, but the team regained composure and made a fast comeback. With 36 seconds left in the game, Crabtree made a basket to bring the Blue within one point. Making a crucial rebound and sprinting down the court, Simms was fouled with 1.9 seconds left. He made one free throw to tie up the game. They were headed to overtime. As it turned out, the intense, back and forth overtime struggle fell in Tabor’s favor. The game concluded with a 77-72 Tabor win, but not without boosting team confidence for Andover. “To say it simply, everyone on the team played great. It was the second game in a row that we managed both the clock and the ball well. We had more intensity, more focus and much more of a selfless attitude. Everyone came into the game wanting to play.” Coach Mo said. “I guarantee that if we continue playing as well as we did against Tabor, we will be victorious.” Once again, Lokitis lead the team with an impressive 25 points. Crabtree and Simms followed with 16 points each. Starting in place of injured Houlihan, Knef King ’04 grabbed 11 rebounds and played very well defensively for the Blue. Paul Tassanari ’04 and Jonathan Dent ’05 came off the bench to play big roles in the game, and Emberlin contributed many good plays from his post. Coach Mo stated proudly, “The last week, the boys have changed and turned the corner to become a team. I can definitely say with pride that my team has showed tremendous signs of improvement. I attribute our success to the captain [Simms] who has really pulled our team together.” The boys Basketball team has only four games left. Whether the team wins or loses, the boys can say with pride that they have succeeded in becoming a solid team. And that, in the end, is most important.