Girls Basketball Defeats Deerfield, Falls Short to St. Paul’s

Andover Girls Basketball has won three of its past five games.

Valerie Ha ’24 looks for a shot.

Despite struggling in the first half, Andover Girls Basketball left its game against Deerfield with a 66-30 win. Andover was unable to carry the momentum into its matchup against St. Paul’s School, where the team fell short 60-64. Its record now stands at 8-6.

According to Akari Imai ’25, the start of the game against Deerfield was not productive for the team. Nonetheless, the game quickly picked up in the second half after the team regrouped during halftime. 

“Our weakness was not starting out strong and applying what we did in practice to the game from the very beginning. But our strength is that we were able to come back from that, especially after halftime, as we reflected on what didn’t go that well in the first half. And we were able to come back strong and win the game, do things that are big things that we weren’t doing quite well in the first half,” said Imai. 

Ava Davey ’25 described the strategies the team employed. Prior to the Deerfield game, the team focused on offensive moves to maximize shots, which helped Andover maneuver past Deerfield’s defensive structure.

“At practice, we have been working on our zone offense and moving the ball as quick as we can to shift the defense to get an open shot or drive. This helped a lot in the [Deerfield] game since they played a zone defense, and we came out with a great team win,” wrote Davey in an email to The Phillipian.

Despite beating Deerfield by 36 points, the team still identified areas for improvement in its game. According to Emerson Buckley ’25, the team’s focus against St. Paul’s was staying poised throughout the entire game and not making simple mistakes. 

Buckley said, “After Deerfield, I think we’re just trying to settle down a little bit because there were a lot of times that game where we had a lot of turnovers or like, could have gotten steals that we didn’t get. So I think it was big press for St. Paul’s to just calm down a little bit. And, you know, just focus on the small things.”

Davey also noted how the team’s effective communication has helped its play on the court. The energy on the sidelines has also contributed to this recent improvement, according to Davey.

“We have many strengths as a team both mentally and physically. We played defense with a high intensity and on offense we moved the ball quickly to get open shots and drives. We all worked together very well, and we communicated well both on and off the court. Our energy from the bench also kept everyone focused, and it helped the players on the court keep their energy up,” wrote Davey.

Buckley highlighted the performances of Sophie Dandawa ’25 and Co-Captain Kennedy Herndon ’23, despite Andover’s defeat against St. Paul’s.

Buckley said, “I think Sophie played really well. She had great defense against one of their ball handlers. She denied them, like the whole second half. So that was really good. [Also,] Kennedy did well offensively.”

Falling down early against St. Paul’s, the team is looking to come out strong and improve its play in the first half of the game, according to Buckley. 

“I think [Coach] said that she wants us to just come out strong in the first quarter because that’s really the quarter that hurt us because we were down on the first quarter and then close to the ending. What has been happening to us a lot, so I think we just need to come out strong on Saturday,” said Buckley.

Girls Varsity Basketball will face Kimball Union Academy away this Saturday.