Andover Golden Warriors Girls Basketball '21-'22

Sun, Mar 20, 2022 TBA @ Andover
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Springfield Central 20 8 11 4 43
Andover 2 13 15 10 40

Andover falls short in title game

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Sunday, March, 20 By Jeff Hamrick

LOWELL – Two years after a pandemic quashed the Andover girls’ chance to win it all on the court, they finally took their state-title opportunity to the floor Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the Golden Warriors weren’t quite ready at tip-off in the Tsongas Center.

Third-seeded Springfield Central rolled into the match, scoring the game’s first dozen points while grabbing a 22-point lead less than nine minutes in. But the Golden Eagles were forced to fight off a late Andover charge as the top-seeded Warriors rallied from 13 down early in the fourth only to fall short in a 43-40 defeat.

Andover was after the program’s sixth state title and first since being claimed co-champs in 2020 when Covid halted the season after a semifinal win.

“Our freshman year we didn’t get to finish the job and play in that championship game,” junior forward Anna Foley said. “It’s hard not to feel regretful how we played in that first quarter.”

After scoring the final five points in the third, the Warriors (21-2) fell behind 43-30 after the second of two buckets by Central’s Amany Lopez with 5:07 remaining in the game. Those would be the last points for the Eagles (21-1).

Andover scored the game’s final 10, and after a basket from Marissa Kobelski with 1:41 left pulled the Warriors within three it had three more possessions to pull closer. But a turnover and then three-point attempts by Kobelski and a last-second attempt by Ameilia Hanscom from the logo at the buzzer both missed, dooming the Warriors.

“I thought we got a good look on the second from last possession,” Andover coach Alan Hibino said of Kobelski’s attempt. “I even thought that last shot was going to fall. It was right on line but just about a foot and a half short. We just kept fighting, and that’s the heart of a Warrior.”

Springfield Central’s game-opening salvo, however, was too much to overcome. The Eagles made their first five shots and had five connections from deep en route to a 20-point opening quarter. Meanwhile, Andover was missing nine shots and committing five turnovers against Central’s scrambling full-court pressure.

“The girls wanted to go at them,” Springfield coach James Gee said. “They wanted to go out full press. They were excited, and I knew they wanted to go. The goal was to jump on (Andover).”

The Eagles scored the final points of the quarter on a three from a couple yards inside half court from Lopez at the buzzer. It was the only 20-point quarter the Warriors had surrendered during a season in which they held opponents to 32.4 points a game.

“It was not an opportune time to do that,” Hibino said. “That pressure and that speed and that length and that athleticism is hard to simulate in practice. I knew there was going to be an adjustment period. I was hoping it wouldn’t be the entire first eight minutes.

“But we kept saying ‘take a deep breath and slow down. Read where their defense is coming from … and then throw it to the white uniforms.’ I think we started doing that a little bit better.”

The Warriors cranked up their typical stingy defense after falling behind 24-2 early in the second, using a 13-4 run to close within 13 at intermission.

“We just weren’t ourselves,” said Foley, who scored 10 of her game-high 22 in both the second and third quarters. “We were throwing the ball away, and they were playing good defense. That first quarter was nothing like ourselves. We played scared and it’s just really disappointing because I know we could’ve played better. We dug ourselves too big a hole.”

Andover used a 10-5 run to cut the deficit to nine midway through the third behind five points from both Foley and Hanscom.

“We had more energy after our (halftime) chat in the locker room,” said Hanscom, who finished with nine. “We just wanted to win so bad. So, we bumped up our energy level and tried to fight back.”

A put back by Kobelski kick started Andover’s fourth-quarter charge that included tough buckets in the lane by Kobelski, Hanscom and Foley. But the rally was doomed to fall short.

“We always have confidence in ourselves, and we never give up,” Hanscom said. “We were feeling good and thought we could do it. But even though we didn’t I’m so proud of this team.”

It doesn’t ease the pain, however.

“They were relentless,” Hibino said of his squad. “I keep using the word resilience. This will sting for a bit … but then we’ll move on. It’s a bummed-out locker room right now.”

Game Statistics:

Springfield Central (43): Jordis Taulatatasi 2 0-0 5, Heaven Morris 0 0-0 0, Amany Lopez 7 0-1 16, Brooklyn Olivero 1 0-0 3, Julie Bahati 3 2-7 8, Jordyn Robinson 3 0-0 7, Amani Smith 0 0-0 0, Sydney Dodds 1 0-0 2, Jasmine Love 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 2-8 43

Andover (40): Marissa Kobelski 2 1-2 5, Tess Gobiel 0 0-0 0, Michaela Buckley 0 2-5 2, Amelia Hanscom 4 0-2 9, Anna Foley 8 6-8 22, Morgan Shirley 1 0-1 2, Kathleen Yates 0 0-0 0, Ari White 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 9-18 40

3-pointers: SC — Lopez 2, Olivero, Taulatatasi, Robinson; Andover — Hanscom

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