With Andover up 30 points over St. Mark’s in the third quarter, Marcus Filien PG’19 passed the ball behind his back to Brenton Mills PG’19 for an and-one dunk over an opponent. Andover went on to beat St. Mark’s 93-64 last Friday. Mills and Co-Captain Dallion Johnson ’20 led the way for Andover with 35 and 34 points, respectively. Andover finished the game shooting 78 percent overall from the field and knocked down 15 3-pointers.
“We’ve got a lot of shooters: people who can shoot the three and knock down shots. We never really have problems on offense which is good for us and [Head Coach Terrell Ivory ’00] stresses that we shoot the ball a lot,” Johnson said.
On December 16, Andover traveled to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home of the Brooklyn Nets, to play Hotchkiss. Unfortunately, Andover lost 54-51 in a close game. Although the team did not play as well as they could have, according to Coach Ivory, everyone enjoyed playing in an N.B.A. arena and the road trip helped to build team chemistry.
“We didn’t play well [against Hotchkiss], but it was a really cool experience. It was an opportunity to play in an N.B.A. arena and we stayed overnight in Connecticut and drove into Brooklyn the next night. So, it was a really good team bonding experience as well,” Ivory said.
On Wednesday, Andover stayed close to Phillips Exeter Academy most of the game, until the beginning of the second half, when Exeter built up a 13-point lead. Andover rallied and brought the game down to the wire, ultimately falling short by one point in the final seconds and losing 72-71. Johnson, with 23 points, and Co-Captain Matteo Whelton ’20, with 20 points, were the leading scorers for Andover.
At this time last season, Andover’s record was only 1-8. This season, however, it is already 6-3. According to Coach Ivory and Johnson, the team’s greater depth has been one of the keys to the team’s success this season.
“We’re more talented and I think that helps. Also, we have Dallion who was a [Lower] last year, Matteo was a [Lower]. They’re both back. Their experience helps us out a lot. I think going through a year playing in this league, like Dallion and Matteo have, at this point you can know what to expect and what you need to do. And then we have Marcus Filien who’s a [Post-Graduate] from New York, Brenton, who’s a [Post-Graduate] from Texas, and then we have Justin Hoyt [PG’19] who’s a [Post-Graduate] from England… I would add that we have a lot more depth this year. Last year, we played five or six kids on a consistent basis, whereas this year we can play seven, eight, nine kids on a consistent basis. I think that helps out,” said Coach Ivory.
Johnson added, “This year we are a lot deeper as a team. We have guys that come off the bench and who get in there and play for us. Not necessarily score, but they get in there and get rebounds, play defense, move the ball well, and keep the offense flowing. But, this year we’re definitely better than last year. And I think we have a chance at making the playoffs and winning a potential championship.”
Johnson also attributes much of the team’s success to Coach Ivory, and his ability to read a particular game and make adjustments.
“I think [Coach Ivory] does a good job making sure that we know the plays offensively. He calls out the plays and he does a good job of knowing who’s hot in the game. If someone is hitting shots he’ll try to get the ball to them again with a play. And in timeouts he’ll draw up plays on the fly.”
Andover will travel to Milton on Friday and face Tabor at home on Saturday.