Andover Winless Over Winter Break; Captain McCaskill ’10 and Hartung ’12 Lead Scoring

Andover Boys Basketball got off to a dismal start over winter break, losing all three of their games to start the season. Andover first traveled to Cushing to play a very talented lineup. After falling behind early in the first half, Andover picked up the tempo and closed in on Cushing, as the team decreased the deficit going into halftime. With confidence gained from tenacious play in the first half, Andover entered the second half ready to tie the game up and take the lead. Andover continued to score frequently, slowly chipping away at Cushing’s lead. By the end of the third quarter, Andover was able to close to within two points of Cushing. However, Andover failed to contain Cushing’s powerful offense, eventually losing 57-68. “We just ran out of gas at the end of the game,” said guard Ryan Hartung ’12. In all, it was a well played game considering it was the first of the season, although the team did appear a bit anxious. Said Center Tom Palleschi ’12, “We went in intimidated, and it wasn’t until we realized that we could actually win that we stepped it up, but it was too late.” Palleschi had a huge presence on the boards as well as adding 5 points. Captain Khalid McCaskill ’10 led scoring for Andover with 18 points, followed closely by Hartung who scored 16 points in his first varsity game. Andover took another long trip to Loomis later in the week that resulted in a brutal 50-44 loss. Again, Andover fell behind early, and failed to gain momentum. Nothing seemed to go right for Andover against a formidable Loomis team. “We couldn’t execute plays, nor could we score,” Palleschi added. McCaskill led the scoring once again with 13 points, followed by Tyler Bond ’10 with 12 points, and Hartung with 9 points. The team knew that it didn’t play their best game, but, it looked to start a winning streak against Kimball Union at home. Andover followed up its subpar performance at Loomis with a strong showing against KUA. The trend of early deficits continued again for Andover as Kimball Union got out to a 15-3 lead to start the game. Andover responded quickly, scoring 15 consecutive points to pull ahead 18-15. The score was tied after the end of the first half, 23-23. Andover held even with KUA throughout the second half with strong offensive drives, as Hartung scored three clutch three-pointers to keep the game within reach. Andover pulled ahead with two minutes left to play and could smell its first victory of the season. However, once again, Andover could not hold on, losing again 51-57. “It was definitely our best game this season, and we could do whatever we wanted offensively. The guards just lacked energy on the defensive end of the floor,” said Hartung about the loss. Hartung led scoring with 14 points, followed by Palleschi with 12 points and Bond with 11 points. Andover hopes to build off of this good performance, and hopes to keep improving heading into the core section of its season. Despite the rough start to the season, the team remains confident. Said Hartung, “We will make the playoffs this year.” Andover’s next game is at home this Saturday.