EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 23, 2014

Plenty to cheer about!

Summing up a super hoop season, with a look ahead to 2015

The drive to 2015 has begun in Andover.

Yes, the Warriors went through their mourning period after the loss to Central Catholic in the Division 1 North title game. And then came the anger.

Now, all that’s left is the will to finish the job.

“Believe me, there was no moral victory,” said Andover junior David Giribaldi. “It was great being under the big lights. We know what it feels like to lose there. It was a lot worse than any other loss we’ve had. But I also think we learned what it takes to win there.”

There is no secret that Andover, the choice of some in D1 North this year, will be a pretty clear favorite when tryouts open again next fall on the first of December.

You don’t return a trio like All-Scholastics Giribaldi and Connor Merinder, plus fab frosh E.J. Perry IV without accepting the label as “team to beat.”

“Since we got to Andover High, Connor and I have always thought we have to do it our senior year,” said Giribaldi.

Finishing this year at 19-5 and coming so close has only sped up the preparation process for the Warriors, who seem to be focused and fixed on the next primary target.

“We lost the Central game because at the very end, for a six-minute period, we stopped playing defense,” said Giribaldi, who will play Boston Warriors AAU this spring.

“You can’t let that happen there. Every team that you can play there is just too good. It’s going to take a lot of concentration and focus.”

As talented as Andover appears and as good as the Warriors could be, Giribaldi noted he expects Andover trademark effort from Day 1.

“Everyone wants to beat Andover, so we will come with the same tenacity we always do,” said Giribaldi. “I’d love to see us and Central there again (in the D1 North title game at Tsongas Center in Lowell). But right now, I’m only worried about one team. And that’s us.”

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