Andover Golden Warriors Girls Basketball '07-'08

Tue, Mar 11, 2008 07:45 PM @ Neutral Location - TD Banknorth Garden
Team Final
Playoff Game Division 1 - State Semifinals
Andover 61
New Bedford 34
Roger Darrigrand, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Supersub Cohen does everything she's asked .... and more

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Wednesday, March, 12 By David Willis
Staff writer

Ilana Cohen wasted no time making her mark.

Normally the sixth man, the senior was rewarded with the start at point guard last night. She responded by knocking down a 3-pointer from the corner to help spark Andover's 12-2 run that opened the game and put the Golden Warriors ahead of New Bedford to stay.

"That 3 was big for us," said Andover coach Jim Tildsley. "She goes out and sticks that 3, and it got us on the right track. That's Ilana."

But that shot was hardly the last the Whalers would see of Cohen.

With point guard Natalie Gomez-Martinez and power forward Camille Fantini both battling foul trouble (each finished with four), Tildsley called on his 5-foot-7 utility player to fill in at both positions. And the versatile Cohen was more than up to the daunting task.

"I was so thrilled to be out there competing with the girls," said Cohen, who has the strength to overpower most guards. "Coach Tildsley always told me I had to be versatile. And I was happy to do it."

While she did not light up the stat sheet, her teammates were raving about her performance.

"When Ilana is a point guard she really brings experience and is a little calmer," said Laura Renfro. "Natalie is only a freshman, so a situation like this is a little nerve-racking. Ilana is very cool-headed. Then she goes and plays forward. I could never remember all those positions."

Cohen has made a career out rising to whatever challenge Tildsley has thrown at her, including asking her to play all five positions when needed. That becomes even more challenging since she often must run Andover's high-paced offense and provide pressure in its full-court press defense "She is just such a smart player," said Tildsley. "We only play seven players, so you need people who can do different things. I really believe she has been one of the key pieces to our team."

Once the final moments ticked off the clock, Cohen was congratulated by starting center Lauren Hughes with both jumping in the air and bumping shoulders.

"Ilana can just do anything," said Hughes. "She fills in for me and Camille down low and then plays guard. And she brings a ton of energy to the team."

Cohen, who is headed to the University of New Hampshire to play lacrosse, also showed off her shooting touch late when she knocked down a second 3-pointer, this time from the top of the key. She then threw out a small fist pump. It was the fifth time she has hit at least two 3-pointers in a game. Her season-high was three against Pentucket.

She also noted why she is able to play so many positions. "Most of us have been playing together since we were in the third grade," she said. "We have been running the same plays almost all that time. I love the chance to dribble the ball, then guard the big girls."

She and her teammates then finished off the game with s special celebration.

"At the end we all kissed the (Boston Celtics) logo at center court," she said. "To be out there with my teammates was just amazing. Being a senior, this means so much more. It was so much fun."

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