With three minutes left on the clock, Captain Cara Cavanaugh ’15 intercepted the ball and dribbled down the court to score a layup that brought the score in the Andover Girls Basketball game against Rivers on Wednesday to a tight 57-49 score. Cavanaugh was an offensive standout in the game for Andover with 17 points, alongside Emma Kelley ’17 who put up 18 points. These two efforts were not enough, however, as Andover ultimately fell 61-50 to the talented Rivers team.
Andover made an incredible comeback attempt, scoring 12 points in the last four minutes of the game to close the gap. The loss brought Andover’s record to 8-10.
In the first half, Andover broke Rivers’s press with good, efficient passes up the court. The team struggled, however, to sink its shots, missing eight free throws and several field goals.
“Our shots weren’t falling,” Kelley said. “We just kept getting the unlucky bounce, and we weren’t getting our rebounds.”
Assistant Coach Christopher Jones added, “We got to the free-throw line and missed a lot of free throws.”
In addition, Andover lacked defensive intensity and experienced difficulty recovering quickly on transitions after turnovers. Rivers’s guard Emma Roush outran Andover on multiple plays and helped boost Rivers ahead at key parts in the game.
Cavanaugh said, “We didn’t really have help defense. We were kind of letting our players go by us, and no one was in the key to help us stop them.”
Andover also failed to find its groove as a team and grappled with communication and chemistry.
Kelley said, “I think this time was different from any other game. I just felt like we weren’t playing like a team. We weren’t making good passes and our chemistry wasn’t clicking right.”
In the second half, Bailey Colon ’17 and Gadson Lefft ’15 broke Andover’s dry spell on offense with three successful baskets within three minutes.
Toward the end of the game, the score read 57-37 with four minutes left on the clock. Determined to close the score gap, Kelley kick-started a rapid Andover comeback, scoring 12 points in three minutes.
“I didn’t want to lose. And I definitely didn’t want to lose by a lot. We all just got this burst of energy at the end to go all out on defense and offense. Our shots started to fall, and we were on a roll,” said Kelley.
Laura Bilal ’17 added, “We wanted to show Rivers that we could play and keep up with them, so we really worked hard, got to the hoop and made a real effort to get back on defense and not let them score any more points.”
On Friday, Andover fell 49-38 to Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH). Although it failed to avenge its earlier 66-61 loss during the Rivers Holiday Tournament, Andover stepped onto the court with strong defense and played cohesively to pull ahead 21-18 at the end of the first half.
Bilal said, “We came out with a lot of intensity in the first half. Our communication was very good and allowed us to get through the picks NMH set. There were points in the game where we pushing the ball up the court quickly, which allowed us to gain momentum.”
Head Coach Lani Silversides said, “We were talking a lot on defense and seemed to have a lot of energy, which was stopping some of their main shooters from scoring.”
Andover’s execution on defense translated into offensive prowess.
Bilal said, “Coach Silversides always tells us to focus on our defense and that offense will come, and I think that held true against NMH.”
Cavanaugh added, “On offense, we were able to have patience and take good shots.”
In the second half, Andover faltered both offensively through repeated turnovers and defensively by allowing NMH to score 31 points, primarily on transition.
Silversides said, “The girls were kind of slipping all over the floor. NMH just came out in the second half wanting the game more than our girls were showing on the court.”
Silversides continued, “In the second half, what really changed the game was our turnovers. We didn’t even give ourselves the opportunity to set up in the half-court and play a half court defense against them because they were stealing the ball and making fast break points.”
Bilal said, “We knew what we needed to do, we just could not execute. We were throwing bad passes that turned into turnovers and we were having trouble getting back. As a team, we usually try and pride ourselves in winning both halves, but they were able to beat us in the second half.”
Andover looks to finish its season on a high note with a victory over Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday.