PA Falls To Cushing With Late Foul Trouble Woes; Hot Shooting by Palermo Can’t Beat Deerfield

Although Tom Lavin ’08 came up big for Andover on Wednesday, scoring a team-high 15 points, it was not enough as the team fell to a talented Cushing squad, 67-47. On Saturday, Andover suffered a loss to Deerfield despite a promising first half, losing again 67-4. Wednesday’s contest versus Cushing was Andover’s first home game in nearly two weeks, and the team made sure not to disappoint an enthusiastic home crowd. Andover came out of the locker room with plenty of energy and fought back from an early deficit to finally gain a 19-16 lead with under four minutes to play in the first half. Post-Graduate Lavin led Andover with a diversity of scoring, shooting both down low and out on the perimeter for two three-pointers and eight points in the paint. Co-Captain Mike Palermo ’08 also brought a lot of energy to the court, sinking 12 points in the defeat. The lopsided score certainly did not attest to the pace of the game against Cushing. Andover played with fierce intensity the entire game. After Cushing jumped out to an early lead, Andover went on a quick 8-0 run midway through the first half, punctuated by a huge three-pointer from Khalid McKaskil ’10 to finally give the home team its first lead of the game. After battling back and forth, Andover tied the game again, 23-23, on a fadeaway jumper by Tyler Bond ’10 with just three minutes remaining in the first half. That was the last time Andover held a share of the lead, however, as Cushing stormed to a 41-27 lead to end the half in dominating fashion. Andover once again matched every stride of Cushing in the beginning of the second half, cutting their deficit to 51-42 with just eight minutes left in the game. Late foul trouble ultimately led to Andover’s demise, however, as Cushing once again pulled away in the final minutes of the half for the final score. Lavin said of the improved squad, “As a team I feel we have become much stronger through the season.” Lavin concluded, “We will only keep progressing.” On Saturday, Andover traveled on the road to Deerfield. It was the first of two match-ups between the teams this season, and Co-Captain Palermo led Andover once again, as he was the only player in double-digits with 15 points. As in the Cushing game, Andover battled back and forth throughout the first half, but late mistakes and turnovers cost the team the game down the stretch. “We finally began to run our offense well, but in the second half it started to crumble,” Lavin said. “Deerfield is a team I believe we can beat, but we have to limit our turnovers.” The two losses this week brought Andover’s record to 3-4 since the December break, and 3-8 overall on the season. Next week, Andover returns to the road once again, as it hopes to get back on track against Rivers this Friday night. Andover will then travel to Tilton to take on a very talented sqaud that defeated the Blue by a commanding margin in early December.