After coming back from a large deficit to be within one point of rival Exeter, Andover Boys Basketball failed to clinch the win and allowed Exeter to sink several baskets in the final moments of the game. Andover lost the game 59-52. In its first round of the playoffs on Wednesday, the team was given the chance to avenge its loss, but Exeter outplayed Andover and knocked it out of the playoffs and officially ended the Andover’s season. In Saturday’s game, Andover suffered from the loss of Co-Captain Tom Palleschi ’12, who left the game in the second half because of an injured shoulder. As Palleschi desperately tried to save the ball from going out of bounds, he lost track of his surroundings and barreled into the wall, injuring his shoulder in the process. “The strategy heading into the game was to get their two best players, Chris Braley [PEA ’12] and Connor Green [PEA ’12] into foul trouble, and with Braley, we were able to accomplish that,” said Jake Howell ’14. “He was in foul trouble from the very beginning, and we managed to hold him to two points. Unfortunately, even though we put our most athletic defenders on him, we didn’t have as much luck with Green. He ended up scoring 20 points on us, which was the difference in the game.” Despite falling behind early and losing its Co-Captain at the start of the second half, Andover managed to cut its deficit to three points with five minutes remaining, thanks to a momentum-changing three-pointer by Howell. The team’s tenacious defense and determined offense allowed it to score two more points and gain possession of the ball with little over a minute left in the game. “We wanted to get [Co-Captain] Ryan Hartung [‘12] the ball in that situation,” said Christian Jaster ’12. “We ran a good play, he got an open look at the basketball, but the shot hit the rim. Sometimes those things happen.” Hartung led Andover with 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Palleschi earned 7 points, 8 rebounds and a blocked shot in the first half of the game before he injured himself. “When Palleschi went down, I think a lot of guys really stepped up and made some big plays in his absence,” commented Howell. “Rory Ziomek [’13], especially was an animal out there. He boxed out and got good rebounds. He hustled on the defensive side of the ball and outworked his man. The team’s defense as a whole did a good job of making up for Palleschi’s injury.” Sahil Bhaiwala ’13 said, “I’d be lying if I said our intensity wasn’t the highest it’s been all season against Exeter. When the crowd was behind us, it really helped with our confidence level and it made momentum a huge factor.” Prior to the start of the game on Saturday, former Andover guard and the most prolific scorer in Andover history with 1159 career points, Joe Lokitis ’06, was honored for his achievement.