With four seconds left on the clock, Andover Girls Basketball Co-Captain Katie Kreider ‘14 sank two free throws to secure Andover’s 38-34 victory over Exeter. The victory marked Andover’s first against Exeter since 2011 and a strong finish to a rocky 6-9 regular season.
“Winning against Exeter might have been the happiest moment of my life. After a season filled with ups and downs, winning against our rivals proved everything we had worked hard for was worth it. The Seniors deserved to end their high school career with a bang,” said Emma Kelley ’17.
Kreider and Co-Captain Kasey Hartung ’14 scored eight and nine points, respectively, in Andover’s win over Exeter. The team avenged its nail-biting 53-49 loss against Exeter from earlier in the season.
“I will never forget how amazing it felt to defeat them on our home turf and then storm the court with our team and fans. It felt like we won the championship!” said Hartung.
Andover’s season, however, did not go quite as well. The team opened its season with its first loss to Choate in over eight years and had significant point deficits in losses to Rivers and Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH).
Andover used the losses to learn from its mistakes.
“We would always focus on what we did right, and try to fix what we did wrong. Even after a tough loss, Kreider would tell me, ‘keep your head up.’ I think staying positive really helped our evolution as a team,” said Kelley.
The team had strong leadership from the Seniors, who had a combined 12 years of experience on the team under their belt, and Head Coach Lani Silversides. Silversides, a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, took last season off while on maternity leave.
“Kreider and Hartung brought a whole other level of intensity, pumping us up before every game and practices. Kate [Hoey ‘14] also motivated everyone and dominated on defense. Meredith [Collins ‘14] was so encouraging the whole season and helped bring us together,” said Sarah Humes ’16.
Hannah Guzzi ’14, a two-year Varsity Basketball player and The Phillipian 2013-2014 Female Athlete of the Year, was the team’s other Senior.
“[Hannah] Guzzi [‘14] and I were paired as ‘buddies,’ and I instantly loved her. She was always either laughing, smiling or singing during our warm ups,” said Kelley.
By the time the team faced off against Exeter, Andover had made notable improvements to its game.
“Our commitment to improving and to each other was so evident in our final games by how well we played together, hit our free throws and executed our plays,” said Hartung.
Girls Basketball defeated Brewster Academy and BB&N, 50-28 and 62-27, respectively. Against Deerfield, Andover came back from a 7-point gap with just 10 minutes left to win 48-40.
The team also suffered two one-point losses to Winchester and Thayer.
Andover fell in its only playoff game against top-seed NMH, 55-51, in overtime. The loss was by only four points, as opposed to a 33-point loss to NMH earlier in the season.
“Even though losing is tough, it was a good way to go out and really showed our improvement as a team. After coming off of Exeter, it was a nice way to end my basketball career,” said Kreider.
“Although it was sad losing to NMH because it meant the season was over, we ended on a high note. It was one of the best games we’d played,” said Hoey.
“I’m really sad that my last season of PA basketball is over, but I couldn’t have asked for a better season. Whether we were hitting threes and chucking up our three-point goggles or practicing our pep rally dance, our team had a lot of chemistry and it was so evident whenever we stepped out on the court this winter,” said Hartung.