Andover Boys Basketball has had an incredible season with wins, losses, and a single overtime game against Belmont Hill. The team looks forward to the game against Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday, as well as the two other games this week which will serve as the deciding factors of whether or not the team will make it to the playoffs.
According to Davian McDonald ’25, the team is planning on taking each game step by step. This means focusing on Exeter after the other two games.
“Especially since we have to win the next three games to make the playoffs, we are focusing more on just taking it step by step and we just want to win every game… So right now we’re just focusing on Thayer and Deerfield but when it comes to [the game against Exeter,] we will get ready for it,” McDonald said.
According to Jordan Rayford ’22, the game against Exeter has been highly anticipated throughout the entirety of the season. While preparation for the game against Exeter has been no different than any other, it has been in the back of many players’ minds for a very long time.
Rayford said, “I think just all of our games are kind of like practice and then practice is just extra practice for getting ready for A/E. I know Exeter is going to be a hard game but I think we kind of just prepared for that game throughout the season. I don’t think we’ve done anything specifically just for Exeter, but I think throughout the season, we kind of prepared ourselves for that game.”
According to Rayford and Robbie Nyamwaya ’24, the renowned rivalry between Andover and Exeter will hopefully aid in the win due to the crowd’s enthusiasm.
Rayford said, “I think it would definitely help us just because I think whenever people come to watch, we do pretty well. I think the crowd will definitely help us out.”
Nyamwaya added, “I think it’ll definitely help us because I know our fan base is super strong. When we hit a three or get a dove, the adrenaline that our players get from the fan crowd is amazing, so I think it’ll help us in the long run.”
While the game against Exeter brings more pressure than most others, McDonald believes that it is important that the team plays it no differently than in any other game if they hope to succeed.
“Even though obviously the stakes are higher… we also don’t want to play differently because you want to play the same you’ve been playing all year. We know it’s coming up soon and we want to play our best.” McDonald said.
Nyamwaya emphasized the importance of understanding the opposition. Nyamwaya believes that this will allow Andover to take advantage in the game.
Nyamwaya said, “Exeter’s a good team. So we’ll need to know their strengths and weaknesses, so we can capitalize off of what we know and execute that… I think we’ll review some of Exeter’s specific plays, and specific players and how to counter them effectively.”