Andover Girls Basketball opened its season with a dominant 74-21 victory over Pomfret School on Saturday. In addition to surpassing 70 points, the team showcased an impenetrable defense, only allowing Pomfret to score nine points up until the final five minutes of the game.
Four days later, however, the team lost by a margin of nine points to Worcester Academy, putting its record at 1-1.
The team entered Saturday’s matchup eager to continue its three-year win streak against Pomfret. Although confident, the team never underestimated its opponent, maintaining high quality play throughout the game, according to Head Coach Liz Monroe.
“We went out there and played our game. We didn’t slow down to Pomfret’s speed, we didn’t play down to them. We were definitely the more skilled team out there, and we went out there and played like it. That sounds simple but it’s not always easy to do,” said Monroe.
By the middle of the second quarter, the team had already pulled away by 35 points, while only giving up one point to Pomfret. Ava Davey ’25 reflected on the team’s efforts in building a strong defensive foundation for its season opener.
“We have been working really hard in practice on our full-court press and defense. This is what prepared us for that game. Everyone works so hard at practice and puts their full effort in. We all got to the gym super early and shot around together before we warmed up, and it got everyone in the zone and ready to play,” wrote Davey in an email to The Phillipian.
Saturday’s game featured the team’s entire roster, where all members of the starting lineup and bench were given playing time. Monroe emphasized the importance of increasing the pace of play for future games, which is dependent on the team’s chemistry.
“We’re really focusing on creating an identity for ourselves this year that’s about lots of pressure, fast pace transition, and kind of speeding up our game a little bit. And trying to go out there and set the tone for that this season,” said Monroe.
In the final five minutes, a three-pointer from Davey put the team above 70-points. She noted two of the team’s Co-Captains taking charge against Pomfret, allowing the team to capitalize on its offensive opportunities.
“Two people that played really well today were [Co-Captain] Hope Nardone [’23] and [Co-Captain] Kiley Buckley [’23]. Hope’s 3-pointers were on point while playing Pomfret, and she had a ton of layups in the paint. Kiley also played very well. She played aggressive defense and hustled the entire game,” wrote Davey.
Immediately after Saturday’s win, the team shifted its focus towards its matchup against Worcester. Worcester’s reliance on high defensive pressure forced the team to develop counter-strategies, which Monroe spoke on prior to the game.
“I mean we know that it’s going to be a much tougher team, and I think what we are working on is trying to slow them down a little bit. We know they like to push the ball. We know they like to run the court, so [making] sure that we are pressuring them, trying to protect the paint and make sure they don’t get those easy points, [and making] sure that we are being aggressive on offense. They always play with a lot of pressure, [so we want to] make sure that we are really focused on attacking the basket,” said Monroe.
The team trailed Worcester by less than ten points for the entirety of Wednesday’s game. Although ultimately unable to overcome the deficit, the team found positive takeaways from both sides of the ball, according to Emerson Buckley ’25.
“Offensively, I think we really capitalized on our chances and stuff like that. I think we definitely think we finished when we needed to, which was really big since it was tough to get chances off of their defense. Defensively, I think we played great. We limited them to a lot of drives and stuff like that, and they barely hit any threes. I would say we really put a lot of good pressure on them. If anything, we could have just limited their second-chance shots,” said Buckley.
Girls Basketball will play at Loomis Chaffee this Saturday and St. George’s on Wednesday.