With five minutes remaining in the first half, a barrage of quick layups brought Andover Boys Basketball back within nine points of Cushing Academy. Despite the final effort, Cushing’s talent and depth proved too much to overcome in the end.
In the second half, consecutive contested layups from Brandon Michel ’14 brought hope for an Andover comeback, but Cushing’s fast play and ball-movement proved overwhelming.
Andover fell 60-44 to a capable Cushing Academy team. Playing for Cushing were two Division I basketball prospects: Senior Kaleb Joseph, brother of NBA player Kris Joseph, and junior Jalen Adams. Both are ranked one and four, respectively, in the state of New Hampshire, according to ESPN 150.
Despite Cushing’s talent, Andover found itself down nine points at halftime. The close game was a product of Andover’s strong defense. Cushing scored just 30 points in the first half.
Head Coach Terrell Ivory said, “One really good thing we did was that we kept [Cushing] on their toes by playing both man and a 1-3-1 zone [defenses]. I think that anytime you play multiple defenses, it keeps the other team off-balance. We started the game playing man-toman the whole time, but once they figured that out, we started switching defenses.”
Andover made a push before the end of the first half to try to close the widening score deficit.
“During that stretch, we played really active defense. We played the passing lanes well, and we made them really uncomfortable, and they turned the ball over,” said Eric Alperin ’15. “We also pushed the ball, and we were getting easy buckets, and, as Coach likes to say, we were getting ‘stop score-stops.’”
Cushing then started to pull further ahead when Joseph and Adams took over the game.
“I feel like it was tough to match up well for the entire game with that team. They had a lot of really good athletes. Sometimes we just have mental lapses, and to beat a team like Cushing, you have to stay focused for the entire game,” said Sam Glazer ’15.
Andover played with a noticeably faster tempo, fought harder and performed better in the second half, according to Ivory, but it was not enough to win the game.
“After halftime and after we had time to make all the adjustments, we played much harder. But once we got into it, at that point, it was almost already too late. It’s hard digging out of a hole like that. I mean, we played hard, but we used all of our energy trying to get back into the game,” said Ivory.
Glazer led the team with 17 points, and Michel added 11.
While both Glazer and Michel combined to make three of four free throws, the rest of the team did not fare as well, shooting a combined 54 percent from the line.
“In order to beat teams that are more talented than you are, you have to play hard on a consistent basis. There were times that we did play hard, but it wasn’t enough. And that’s something that we need to work on in practice, the ability to play hard on a consistent basis,” said Ivory.
Andover takes on Worcester Academy away at 5:30 p.m today.