PA Wins Defensive Battle, 39-29 Over Choate; Drops Competitive Game to Undefeated Tabor

Powered by a 17-rebound effort by Missy Wingard ’09, Andover Girls Varsity Basketball dominated the second half to defeat Choate, 34-27. With a 4-3 record to date, the Andover team has reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season. This year’s team—a blend of both returning players as well as promising newcomers—has already begun to showcase its capabilities on the court. Captain Kelly Fox ’08 hopes her experience at the varsity level will lead Andover to a winning season. A four-year member of the varsity squad, Fox looks to bring the team together under her strong leadership. Along with Fox, there are six other returning letter winners, each bringing experience to the team. To complement these returning players, there are a number of new additions to the squad. Kourtney Diperno ’09, a new Upper, has proven to be a formidable offensive force on the court. As the team’s current leading scorer, she has helped to ignite the Big Blue offense. Ansley White ’10 is a potent offensive weapon for Andover. Other newcomers include post-graduate Shannon Neschke ’08, Annie McDonough ’09 and Megan Robertson ’11. Captain Fox said, “Our offense has shifted to a much more fast-paced style. We have done well so far pushing the ball up the court and looking for fast break opportunities.” With a more aggressive offensive style and strong defense, this talented group has high hopes for their season. This past Saturday, Phillips Academy hosted Choate. This was the second time that the two teams have met this season, the first encounter being at the ESAC tournament back in December. In the first match-up, Choate shut down Andover’s offense and prevailed 42-31. On Saturday, Andover was worked together to settle the score with the strong Choate squad. Andover showed their aggression, with Wingard and Hailee Minor ‘08 pulling down 17 and nine rebounds respectively. White followed closely, grabbing seven off the boards. With the two teams tied at half time, 18-18, Andover came out in the second half with enough energy to get the edge over what proved to be an evenly matched Choate squad. Diperno led the team with 10 points, while Wingard and McDonough each added seven. When asked what the difference was between the first and second meetings of the Choate and Andover teams, Captain Fox responded, “Our team was acting as a more cohesive unit. After practicing and playing together more frequently, I am beginning to see better bonding within the team.” Coming off this victory, on Wednesday Andover hosted undefeated Tabor Academy. Always a tough match, Tabor was one of the Class A tournament finalists last season. Recognizing the challenge that this game presented, Andover readied itself to play at Tabor’s high energy level. The first half of the game was extremely encouraging for the Big Blue. Andover came out strong, with some key fast break points at the beginning of the game by Diperno. Tabor’s pressure defense started to get to Andover towards the end of the half, but at the break Andover trailed by only three points. However, in the second half Andover could not overcome the opponent’s offensive energy and Tabor prevailed by a score of 41- 57. The Big Blue looks to get back on track Saturday when they travel to Milton Academy. Said Fox, “We expected Tabor to be a strong team, and they certainly were. We have high hopes for a solid performance against Milton.”