Starting power forward and Assistant Captain Courtney Erickson ’15 received the ball at the short corner, drove to the hoop and was fouled as the ball bounced off the front of the rim. The foul was called, and Erickson hit both of her foul shots to lessen Andover’s deficit to Tabor, who has a record of 11-2. Erickson starred in the game for Andover Girls Basketball on Wednesday, scoring 20 points including 12 free throws. Despite Erickson’s strong effort, Andover ultimately fell 69-50 to Tabor, bringing its record to 6-8.
Andover initially struggled to match Tabor’s rattling speed and find its offensive footing, so the team trailed 35-23 at halftime.
“Tabor was very fast. We knew coming into the game that they would try to turn it into a track meet, so we had to slow the tempo down and really play with a lot of energy and intensity,” said Antonia Tammaro ’17.
Erickson added, “They have a really fast paced game. I think that once we slowed it down and forced them to run a set offense, they couldn’t really do anything against us. But once we turned it into just fast breaking, we couldn’t really keep up because we play a slower game.”
Andover played man-to-man defense for the first time in a game, and it proved to be detrimental as well as beneficial.
“We put a lot of pressure on them, and they kind of didn’t expect it so that was a major strength. But since it was our first time playing man, getting back for us was a little bit of a weakness, because they beat us kind of quick down the court,” said Laura Bilal ’17.
In addition, Andover’s turnovers led to a significant number of costly Tabor baskets, especially in the second half.
“We had a lot of turnovers we shouldn’t have had, but if we work on taking care of the ball, we can fix it easily,” said Erickson.
Despite the loss, Andover succeeded mentally in maintaining its drive and determination throughout the game.
“Today we showed a lot of character because we didn’t give up. No matter how far down we were, we kept pushing, and Tabor’s lead kept decreasing,” said Tammaro.
Bilal added, “We had a great sense of communication and teamwork, and we never gave up.”
On Saturday, Andover fell 76-64 to Exeter, whose record stands at 12-4.
Andover’s loss came at the hands of Exeter’s Seniors Erika Steeves and Courtney Henrich, who scored 28 and 29 points, respectively.
“Exeter had two very talented players who scored most of their points,” said shooting guard Emma Kelley ’17, Andover’s leading scorer with 20 points. “We had a lot of trouble shutting down their main shooter [Henrich].”
Captain Cara Cavanaugh ’15 added, “I think the biggest challenge for us against Exeter was playing defense on their two best players. We knew that both players would be good, but in the first half we weren’t sure how to guard them.”
Offensively, Andover struggled to find the basket and ended the first half trailing 36-21.
“We didn’t finish many of our shots,” said Cavanaugh.
Kelley added, “We had trouble sinking shots in the beginning of the game.”
Andover also often found itself in foul trouble in both halves, which proved to be detrimental because Exeter’s second leading scorer, Steeves, made ten of her 16 first-half points through free throws.
However, Andover emerged with a vengeance in the second half and outscored Exeter 43-40 in the second half alone. Andover’s shots began to fall, and Kelley propelled the team forward with three three-pointers.
“We played much better offensively in the second half, but we were still having some issues with stopping them on defense,” said Cavanaugh.
Andover will battle Exeter again on February 28 but looks more imminently towards beating Holderness on Friday at home.
“The second half of the Exeter game made us really hopeful for our chances against them in the future. Now that we know what to expect, I think our next game will be very different,” Cavanaugh continued.