Athletes of the Term: Kristen MacDonald ’07

This winter Kristen MacDonald ’07 excelled as a Co-Captain of Andover Girls Varsity Basketball both on and off the court and led the team to a much-improved 9-10 record. According to head Girls Basketball Coach Lani Boardman, “Kristen stepped it up on the court at times when we needed it most.” MacDonald’s ability to elevate her game in the second half was evident in both games against Exeter. Coming off two tough losses to Exeter last season, the Andover team looked to turn things around this season against their rivals. Both games remained close and were still in question late in the second half. However, in the final minutes of both games against Exeter, Captain MacDonald hit important free throws to close out the victory for Andover. It was clear that whenever a game came down to free throws, the Andover team wanted MacDonald on the line. In addition to being a clutch player, MacDonald made her mark as a natural three-point shooter. Captain MacDonald led the Andover team in three pointers this season. No three-pointer was bigger than the one she hit against Deerfield as time expired. With Deerfield up by one in the last minute, MacDonald calmly got the ball and sunk a game winning shot. Although she excelled as a pinpoint shooter, Captain MacDonald also fulfilled her role as the team’s point guard. As the point guard, MacDonald was responsible for handling the ball up and down the court and setting up plays. She used her knowledge of the game to make smart decisions with the ball. MacDonald created penetration by driving to the basket and set up her teammates for open shots. Captain MacDonald was never affected by playing against taller competitors; in several games she outplayed players almost a foot taller than she. As one of the team’s captains, MacDonald had an even more important role during practices and off the court. Most teammates agreed that she may have not been the most vocal leader, but she led by example everyday. MacDonald translated her in-game focus and hard-working mindset to practice. This attitude rubbed off on all of her teammates. In addition, MacDonald knew when to be supportive of a teammate after a tough play or mistake. She was extremely well-liked by her teammates, who used words such as “awesome” and “upbeat” to describe her. Kara Hollis ’07 summed up the thoughts of many by saying “It’s pretty much impossible for someone to not get along with her.” Co-Captain Stuart Anderson ’07 stressed, “Kristen made everyone feel comfortable.” As a captain, it is important to have a good relationship with your teammates, and MacDonald clearly has this quality. Even though she may be described as quiet, MacDonald’s drive to win cannot be questioned. Teammate Kara Hollis described Kristen as “a true competitor who hates to lose.” Instead of backing off to let others make plays, MacDonald played very aggressively. Although she got into foul trouble in some games, the fouls were a result of intensity and desire for the ball. Willingness to lose is a trait that can’t be taught and MacDonald is blessed with the emotion. With MacDonald and Anderson as captains, the team’s record underwent a great turnaround. After a disappointing season last year of only four wins, the team managed to achieve a record of 9-10. Although the team fell short of the playoff race, the Andover final record was its best since the 2003-2004 season. Much of this positive change can be attributed to the great play and leadership of Captain MacDonald. In the past, MacDonald was underrated despite her impressive skills at point guard and inherent knowledge of the game. As her time at Andover progressed, Captain MacDonald came out of her shell and emerged as a dominant member of the team. However, this season Captain MacDonald put up the impressive stats to go along with her intangible attributes. It is not clear exactly whether MacDonald will pursue basketball in the future, but Coach Boardman echoed the thoughts of many underclassmen on the team by saying, “We will miss everything that she has brought to the team this year.”