Andover Boys Basketball was 0.4 seconds away from securing a one-point victory when a Deerfield sharpshooter knocked down a three-pointer to force a 57-55 Andover loss. Andover was ahead for almost the entire second half but allowed Deerfield to come back late.
Later in the week on Wednesday, Andover lost again to Cushing by a score of 70-56. Andover has now lost seven of its last eight games.
Against Deerfield, Andover was ahead by 20 points with 12:47 left in the second half. However, the lead dwindled to four points with 5:23 left on the clock. Deerfield’s zone defense troubled Andover’s fast-paced offense and forced Andover turnovers.
By the end of the game, Andover began to slow its pace in an effort to waste time and draw fouls. Richard McAllister ’13 followed the plan well, drawing fouls and consistently making his free throws.
“So far, McAllister has been an excellent offensive focal point for our team as he can get to the basket at will and draw a lot of attention to create space for some of our other players,” said Sahil Bhaiwala ’13.
With Andover up 51-47 and 3:00 left, McAlister found Captain Brendan O’Connell ’13 inside the key for a layup over the outstretched arms of Deerfield’s players. O’Connell would later come up with another important pwlay again by sinking a three-pointer.
“When O’Connell starts making shots, he can be very deadly from [the] three point range,” said McAllister.
Deerfield was able to bring the score within three points of Andover’s lead with 1:45 to go. Soon after an Andover timeout, Bhaiwala got called for an offensive pushing foul, turning the ball over to Deerfield. Deerfield’s tallest player then nailed a hook shot, making the score 55-54 with less than a minute left.
With 21.2 seconds left and Andover leading 55-54, Andover put in their biggest line to fend off a Deerfield score. Andover held off the attack and forced the Deerfield coach to call a timeout with 6.4 seconds left.
After a well-devised play, a Deerfield player nailed a shot from beyond the three-point line. Deerfield took the lead with 0.4 seconds left on the clock and sealed the win.
On Wednesday, Andover played at Cushing and lost with a final score of 70-56.
Bhaiwala focused on Andover’s positives, saying, “O’Connell and Greg Devlin [’14] have come up huge with their three-point shooting, and forwards Rory Ziomek [’13] and Jake Howell [’14] have stepped up big time rebounding over taller, stronger players.”
After a disappointing stretch of games, Andover will try to get a win against Worcester at home on Friday.