Despite losing to both Northfield Mount Hermon and Rivers, both for the second time this season, narrower margins reflected the substantial improvement of Andover Girls Basketball. Andover lost 75-42 to a top-seeded NMH team on Friday. “We knew that it was going to be an intense game. We watched game film prior to Friday, so we knew we really needed to focus on shutting their shooters down with our 2-3 defense,” said Co-Captain Kasey Hartung ’14. NMH charged out to a 32-11 lead that turned into 42-20 by halftime. The large deficit was the result of the NMH’s outside shooting and fast breaks. Andover could not close the gap in the second half despite changing up its defense from a 2-3 to a man-to-man. “Our switches and transitions on the zone weren’t fast enough, so we weren’t getting to the ball in time, and NMH was able to get shots off,” said Victoria Bergeron ’16. Andover played a strong offensive game itself, with three three-point baskets from Hartung, who scored an overall 15 points, and many layups and offensive rebounds from Cara Cavanaugh ’15, putting 14 points on the board. Co-Captain Katie Kreider ’14 also added nine points. “After our game against NMH, we focused in practice on trying to fix some of the holes we had in our defense in order to better contest and prevent shots and boxing out on defense so the other team doesn’t get second opportunities to score,” said Cavanaugh. The effort Andover put in to fix its errors paid off against Rivers on Wednesday. Having lost to the team earlier in the season 71-31, Andover showed remarkable improvement by losing 55-45. “We went into the game with the underdog mentality and proved that we can compete with them,” said Bergeron. Offensively, Andover was also the most consistent from the foul line. “We were also really good at offensive rebounding. Cavanaugh had an amazing game overall, and her offensive rebounds helped us score points,” said Hoey. At halftime, Andover was up by seven points. Rivers came out on fire in the second half, scoring three three-pointers in a row to tie the game and using its momentum to pull ahead. “We got tired, and our transitions weren’t as fast. Our guards on top of our 2-3 defense weren’t getting out in time, so Rivers was able to take shots off from very far out,” said Hoey. Sarah Humes ’16 said, “Rivers’s offense is heavily oriented around its post player, and we were able to foul her out with eight minutes left in the game.” This change slowed Rivers down on offense, but Andover did not recover the lead. . “We’ve come a long way since we last played them two months ago. We’ve improved at everything, and Rivers was not expecting it to be a close game or for them to be down at halftime. We really proved ourselves,” said Bergeron. This improvement is very promising for the team going into its much-anticipated rematch against Exeter at home on Saturday, as Exeter will similarly have a lot of three-point shooters. “We know what is essential to work on before Exeter. With all the fans cheering us on in the stands, we’re going to come out strong with a lot of intensity and get the win,” said Hartung.