Boys Basketball Wins a Thriller in First Victory of Season, 67-61 Co-Captain Mike Palermo’s Sharp Shooting Leads to Win

The boys basketball team fought its way to its first win of the season this past Saturday, coming back from a ten point halftime deficit for a thrilling 67-61 victory over Choate. The squad hopes this was just the first of many wins to come for Andover this season, as returners Mike Palermo ’08 and Ben Watson ’08 lead a promising group of young players that will fuel the Andover basketball program for years to come. The Andover team is full of new faces this season, boasting 11 new players to the varsity team. Co-Captains Palermo and Watson, the only returning players from last year’s team, are looking to integrate four lowers, two uppers, and five seniors and post-graduates. “This year’s team is much younger than last year’s team,” said captain Palermo. “We don’t have nearly as much height as we did last year,” he said, “But we have some really quick and aggressive players that will make up for it on offense and defense.” Last year, Andover had one of its best seasons in years, compiling a 13-7 record and just barely missing a spot at the post season. Last year’s team was packed with 12 Seniors with plenty of experience, a key component to its success. After losing those 12 key players, Andover has had trouble kicking off the season on the right foot. As the team tried to get accustomed to different styles of play, Andover started the year with five quick losses before Saturday’s victory over Choate. Andover opened its season on the road back in December, suffering its first loss to a tough Cushing squad. After two losses to Tilton and K. U. A., Andover entered an eight-school tournament hosted by Choate. Everything came together in its first game after the break, however, as Andover came out flying on Saturday. After being down for the majority of the game, including a 10 point differential at half time, Andover captured its first win on the come from behind effort. On Wednesday, Andover hosted an incredibly talented Holderness team. Andover came out of the gate fast, quickly building a small lead before relinquishing it to the overpowering Holderness defense, as the home team suffered a 50-85 loss. Andover was led by starting forward and center Tom Lavin ’08, who scored 18 points and was always a presence on the perimeter. Menelik Washington ’09 also had a big game, netting 13 points, while Matthew Jefferies ’08 put up five points late in the second half for Andover. Despite the relentless effort on both sides of the ball, Holderness, one of the better teams in the league, was too much for Andover. The Blue still appears to be adjusting to a large number of new and inexperienced players. Once players develop into their roles and the team comes together, Andover has the promise to be very successful in the rest of the season.