Andover Golden Warriors Girls Basketball '07-'08

Sat, Mar 15, 2008 05:45 PM @ Neutral Location - DCU Center
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Playoff Game Division 1 State Final
Andover 8 7 10 12 37
Northampton 12 11 16 11 50
Roger Darrigrand, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Andover misses mark in final

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Sunday, March, 16 By Dave Willis
Staff writer

WORCESTER, Mass. | Andover's Ilana Cohen worked hard to keep a smile on her face as she consoled a few of her emotional teammates last night.

"We have to remember that it was still a great run," said the senior. "But this is sure a tough way to see it all end, especially for the seniors."

The Golden Warriors struggled to find their shots, and were unable to avoid uncharacteristic fouls in falling to Northampton in the Division 1 state final at the DCU Center in Worcester.

This marked Andover's fourth trip to the state championship under 13th-year coach Jim Tildsley, and the third loss. The Warriors' state championship came in the 2002-03 season.

"All season long we were hitting our shots and making the big 3-pointers," said Andover guard Laura Renfro. "But that wasn't happening tonight. We missed too many shots."

Renfro was the lone Golden Warrior who was hot, hitting six 3-pointers. She finished with 20 points, the most since she went off for 25 against North Andover in the fourth game of the season.

She also constructed Andover's lone real rally of the contest. She knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third to cut the lead to six. But that was as close as the Warriors got.

"Laura may have had the best game of her career," said Tildsley. "We hung in there and cut into the lead in the third. But then we turned the ball over and they hit a shot to make it eight, then nine. You cannot get down by nine against a team like this in the championship game and expect to get back into the game."

Andover trailed 23-15 at the break, with Renfro (11 points) and Camille Fantini (4 points) combining for all the points. Meghan Thomann started to find her shot in the second half (two 3-pointers), but was held to seven points.

"They were a very physical team," said Tildsley. "We only got one shot at the basket. We got very few offensive rebounds. And we usually don't turn the ball over much. But tonight we turned it over a lot."

Andover struggled at times with the Blue Devils' half-court press. Northampton was also aggressive in getting into the Warriors' passing lanes, grabbing a number of big steals.

Northampton, which aggressively crashed the glass, held the advantage in size with 6-foot center Brighid Courtney, who is headed to Brandeis, and 5-11 junior Alannah Driscoll-Sbar.

"They were a big team," said Tildsley. "They have three kids playing in college (Courtney, Iris Santoni to St. Lawrence and Jamie Messer to Rollins), and the two others will be playing in college."

The Blue Devils also dominated at the free-throw line. They connected on 20 of 25 free throws.

Driscoll-Sbar was especially deadly from the stripe, hitting 12 of 12 on her way to 20 points. Courtney added six free throws among her 19 points.

Andover, which relies heavily on jump shots, attempted only three foul shots, making one (Thomann). Lauren Hughes did rebound well for the Warriors, grabbing 11 boards.

"During the tournament, we were able to hit our shots," said Cohen, who again played solid minutes at forward, center and point guard. "We didn't have it tonight, and it hurt a lot,"

Agreed Thomann, "It was not our night tonight. But if we played this team again, and shot well, I think it would be a lot different."

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