Andover Golden Warriors Girls Basketball '13-'14

Thu, Feb 27, 2014 07:00 PM @ Andover
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Lynn Classical 4 15 14 12 45
Andover 20 21 13 12 66

Witten red-hot from deep, Andover rolls in tourney opener

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Thursday, February, 27 By David Willis
Staff writer

ANDOVER — Jessica Witten waited four years for the chance to start a playoff game.

When her opportunity arrived last night, Witten more than made it count.

The senior tri-captain erupted for 25 points, including five 3-pointers, to help No. 6 Andover roll past No. 11 Lynn Classical 66-45 in the Division 1 North first round last night.

“I was just hoping my shot would be on,” said Witten. “I think it was. After I hit my first two shots I knew I just had to keep shooting exactly that way and just stay confident. It was all a blur after that.”

With the win, the Golden Warriors will now travel to face No. 3 Masconomet (19-1) tomorrow at 7 p.m.

“We knew Masconomet won so this was going to be my last game on my home court,” said senior tri-captain Rebecca Alois. “I wanted to go out and give it everything I had. Jessica was amazing, we were confident, and we came out and played a very good game.”

For Witten, who was a reserve on the varsity team each of the last two seasons, the game hardly started with a flash. She knocked down her first shot of the game in the closing seconds of the first quarter. But the long-range marksman then hit her groove.

“I think my first basket was a three from the elbow area,” she said. “It fell and after that I just kept shooting. I had to remember that if one didn’t fall the next one would. I never thought I would have a day like this.”

After hitting a 3-pointer to close the first, she added another 3 to start the second. Then she it another 3, knocked down two free throws, two jumpers and another trey to finish with 15 points in the second quarter alone and 18 for the first half.

“She was just awesome,” said Alois. “Once she gets going she just has to keep shooing and she won’t miss. The crowd was on our side, and I was just going everything I could to get her the ball.”

Witten hit another three and a jumper in the third and two free throws early in the fourth, then earned a well-deserved rest for the final six-plus minutes with the game out of reach.

“She was huge for us tonight,” said junior Colleen Caveney. “Her making those 3-pointers really set us apart tonight.”

Witten’s 25 points were just three off her career high of 28 set in a victory over Dracut in the third game of the season, and her five 3’s were two off her best, set on that same night.

“It’s really a great feeling because I have worked so hard,” said Witten, who entered the night averaging 11.2 points a game. “So, in my last home game ever, this is a great way to go out, finishing with such a strong win. It’s really exciting.”

The Golden Warriors wasted no time setting the tone last night, starting the game on a dominant 14-0 run and finishing the first quarter with a 20-4 lead.

“We were confident and we wanted this so much,” said Alois, who grabbed 14 rebounds to go with her 13 points. “We have a young team so there were some nerves. But we believe that we can beat any team and we approached the game like that.”

Employing an aggressive full-court press, the Warriors made it impossible for Lynn Classical to advance the pass to half court for much of the first three quarters, and it often resulted in the Rams throwing errant long passes down court.

“We played aggressive defense,” said Caveney. “We came up with some steals and kept them under control, which was big.”

The Warriors now face a tough task in Masconomet, which has lost just once all season.

“As much as we wanted this one, we want that one even more,” said Alois. “We believe we can do it.”

Game Statistics:

Lynn Classical (45): Francesca Galeazzi 8 2-7 20, Jaida Santos 1 1-5 3, Christine Connolly 3 2-2 8, Kristin Lauria 4 0-0 8, Chenysse Hill 2 1-3 5, Christina Behen 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 7-19 45

Andover (66): Rebecca Alois 4 5-10 13, Colleen Caveney 2 1-2 5, Alyssa Casey 6 0-0 12, Rachael Cormier 3 1-2 7, Jessica Witten 8 4-4 25, Julia Perry 1 0-0 2, Fatouma Kone 1 0-1 2, Carissa Reming 0 0-0 0, Paige Hartnet 0 0-0 0, Erin Nastari 0 0-0 0, Meghan Stickney 0 0-0 0, Jillian Webber 0 0-0 0, Victoria Roche 0 0-0 0, Emily Connors 0 0-0 0, Aundrea Grieco 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 11-19 66

3-pointers: A — Witten 5; LC — Galeazzi 2

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