Palleschi ’12 Leads Team to Victory; Second Half Struggles Costly Against Choate

Tom Palleschi ’12 had a monster game for Andover Boys Basketball last Friday against Belmont Hill, putting up a season high 23 points and snatching 18 rebounds in a convincing home victory. Despite all of the team’s momentum, Andover lost in a horrendous 72-54 defeat at Choate. “My teammates did a good job of taking many shots and getting me the ball,” said Palleschi. “My shots kept falling and I was glad I could contribute so much in the win.” Andover started strongly in the first half, as the team easily controlled the ball and got out to a quick 8-2 lead. This was the biggest lead Andover would get in the first half, however, as Belmont Hill began to get a hold on Andover’s offensive strategy. Belmont Hill hit a 3-pointer to tie the game up at 24 with 5 minutes left in the half and was able to break open a 39-32 lead going into halftime. “In the first half of the game, we let them control the tempo and tried to run with them,” said Jon Na ’11. Andover hit the ground running in the second half, scoring nine unanswered points to take the lead just 4 minutes into the half. Andover then went on a 23-3 run to take a 67-48 lead with 6 minutes to play in the game. Ray Barry ’11 scored 8 points during the run, including one after a technical foul against Belmont Hill. Barry ’11 was taken out because of foul trouble early in the second half, allowing Gibby Graves ’11 to take over the point-guard position on offense. Graves, who scored 9 points in the game, played a tremendous second half and was crucial in Andover’s domination. “I tried to speed the game up and had a lot of layups and easy shots,” said Graves. “Usually I try to penetrate and kick to Ray, Mark [Hanson ’11] or any of our other shooters, but against Belmont Hill I took what the defense gave me and scored.” Andover picked up its intensity tremendously in the second half, which ultimately contributed to the win. “In the second half, we controlled the tempo so that we could take advantage of our size down low,” said Na, who scored 4 points in the second half. “Eventually our defense stepped up too as our offense got going.” Andover kept its lead for the rest of the game and finished strong with an 84-62 victory. Against Choate the next day, Andover played a much different game. Andover played a great first half and stayed close to Choate throughout the half, going into the locker room at halftime down only 1 point, 31-30. The second half was a completely different story, however, as Andover was outscored by Choate 41-24 to make the final score 72-54. “We let them get out on fast breaks and didn’t rebound as well as we should have,” said Modeste. “Maybe we got tired because we had two games in a row, but we need to get used to that. We’re going to have many Saturday games after a Friday game.” Andover’s 54 point performance was very unusual for a usually high powered and high scoring Andover team, and this proved to be one of Andover’s biggest downfalls in the loss. “Our offense was particularly weak because we had very little movement off the ball,” said Brendan O’Connell ’13. “Our static offense contributed significantly to our poor second half performance.” This week, Andover will play Milton Academy (7-1) on Friday and Tabor Academy (8-3) on Saturday.