Andover Golden Warriors Boys Basketball '15-'16

Thu, Mar 03, 2016 07:00 PM @ Andover
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Somerville 12 19 13 9 53
Andover 16 20 8 19 63

Rodriguez hits 6 3's, huge dunk in tourney win

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Thursday, March, 03 By David Willis
Staff writer

ANDOVER — Each time Andover seemed to be on the ropes, Jonathan Rodriguez was there with the big play.

There was the 28-foot bomb of a 3-pointer, that he followed with a steal and tomahawk dunk that erased growing Somerville momentum in the second.

Then it was the 3-pointer that hit the back of the rim, bounced high, rolled and fell into the hoop.

After Somerville had taken it's first lead of the game in the third, Rodriguez hit a 3-pointer from the elbow to give the Golden Warriors the advantage back, then extended it with a trey from the corner.

And when the Highlanders took the lead one more times in the fourth, J-Rod drained his sixth 3-pointer of the game in front of a pumped up fan section.

"Jonathan always has his best games in the big games," said senior Ryan O'Connell. "You can always count on him to hit the big shot. That's why we love him."

Behind the 25-point day for Rodriguez, No. 8 Andover held off No. 9 Somerville 63-53 in the Division 1 North first round on Thursday.

"They kept fighting so we had to keep fighting back," said Rodriguez. "It was a game that, if we didn't focus, we could have lost. So it was good to fight and earn a good win."

Andover (13-8) now faces a massive test, going on the road to take on No. 1 seed Cambridge Rindge & Latin (19-1) in the Division 1 North quarterfinals on Sunday at 4 p.m. Cambridge eliminated the Golden Warriors from the tournament a season ago.

"I saw them play once this year and they are a great team," said E.J. Perry IV. "They are similar to Somerville. They are big, strong kids that we can't let get to the rim. But we are going to fight."

Heading into Thursday's contest, Rodriguez felt a big day on the horizon.

"I was very anxious to get out there and get the ball," said Rodriguez. "I felt like anytime I had the ball, something good was going to happen. And not just a shot, a good pass too. I felt good."

J-Rod showed his shooting touch early with a pair of 3-pointers. 

But he made his first major statement when he grabbed a steal, flew down court on a breakaway and threw down a hard slam dunk.

"I love dunks," said Rodriguez. "It gets me going, it gets the team going, it gets everyone going. All season I've been dealing with an injury to my right hand, so I couldn't palm the ball. I got treatment today so I could extend my fingers, and when I had my chance I went for it." 

Somerville kept fighting back, but Rodriguez and the Golden Warriors kept finding the answers.

J-Rod hit two 3-pointers in the third, and one more crucial 3 in the fourth that gave Andover back the lead.

"I had space and my point guard (Devon Beasley) trusted me," he said. "I let it go and it worked out."

From there it came down to free throws. J-Rod knocked down three, and Perry IV, Beasley and Max Beati each had a pair to clinch the win.

"Jonathan always seems to pick it up and hit the huge shots in the big games," said Perry IV. "But he was also rebounding, and guys like Max and (Brandon) Witten made big plays. When Witten dove for that loose ball it was huge."

But only gets harder from here, as the Warriors eye an upset of Cambridge.

"They are going to be tough," said Rodriguez. "We will have to fight, and we need a better game than today. We will have to attack and keep attacking no matter what."

Game Statistics:

Division 1 North first round

Somerville (53): Lucas Sami-Jean 7 3-10 18, Jovanny Peirre 3 0-0 6, Shaq Joseph 2 10-12 14, Matt McCune 3 3-4 9, John Katton 1 0-1 2, Caris Palmer 1 2-2 4. Totals 17 18-29 53

Andover (63): Brandon Witten 2 4-6 9; Devon Beasley 2 2-4 7, E.J. Perry IV 2 3-5 8, Ryan O'Connell 0 0-0 0, Timmy Kalantzakos 0 0-0 0, Cedric Gillette 1 0-0 3, Jonathan Rodriguez 8 3-4 25, Max Beati 3 2-2 8, James Nyamaya 1 1-3 3. Totals 19 15-24 63

3-pointers: A — Witten, Beasley, Perry IV, Gillette, Rodriguez 6; S — Sami-Jean

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