Team-First Mentality Leads to Victories

With the score knotted at 49 points apiece and four seconds remaining, Kene Adigwe ’14 received an inbound pass around half court, drove down the left side of the court, and with his feet just inside the three-point line and drilled a long two-pointer to give Andover a thrilling 51-49 victory against Milton in the Seacoast Challenge Showcase. Andover Boys Basketball played in two showcases in December: the Roundball Classic and the Seacoast Challenge. In the Roundball Classic, Andover played Milton, and in the Seacoast Challenge, the team faced Hotchkiss, Trinity-Pawling and Milton once more. In the first game against Milton, Andover won handily with a score of 53-36. The defense turned in its strongest performance thus far after switching to a 1-3-1 zone. Although the game against Milton in the Seacoast Challenge was much closer the second time around, the players were all smiles after Adigwe’s game-winner. Prior to the game against Milton, Andover lost to Hotchkiss 54-42, leaving the players disappointed as they hoped it would be a closer game. “We didn’t really match the same sort of intensity that we had played with in earlier games. They had one really good guard that we had trouble shutting down,” said Adigwe. After the match against Hotchkiss, the team held a meeting to discuss the previous game. When asked about the meeting, Robert Rush ’14 said, “We sat down and we were like, ‘How did we lose that game?’ We didn’t play like we were supposed to, we turned the ball over, we were selfish and we decided that in the next game we needed to play much better. Hotchkiss deserved to win that game, given the way that we played.” Rush said that this meeting could end up being one of the turning points in the season. “That meeting was a defining moment because we realized that the game is not about egos. The only ego we can have is the Big Blue ego. We have to be a team and be united in everything we do. Against Trinity-Pawling, we wanted to make them realize that they were playing a tough Andover team,” said Rush. Trinity-Pawling was a very difficult opponent, as it had several extremely talented players. The players rallied together just hours after losing to Hotchkiss, defeating Andover by just six points. “We weren’t too upset about the loss because we knew that they were a really good team. We gave it our all and it was a much, much better game than the one we had played previously,” said Adigwe. Several players agreed that Brandon Michel ’14 was the star player of the tournament. “Brandon was tenacious on defense. He closed out very well, and there was no crossover he didn’t get his hands on. He had about four steals per game. His effort really shined out the most. He’s a one or two guard and he was grabbing rebounds and blocking shots like a four or five. He made shots when he needed to as well and kept us in the second Milton game,” said Rush. Although Andover went a combined 2-2 in both of the showcases, the players took a lot out of the team meeting after the Hotchkiss game. Adigwe said, “The showcases revealed a lot of our strengths and weaknesses, and we learned a lot about our team.”