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February 26, 2013

Tough, unselfish play earns Andover first-round victory

Tough, unselfish play earn Warriors first-round win

ANDOVER — If there’s one thing Jim Tildsley has been candid about, it’s that his Andover squad is, shall we say, interesting on the offensive end.

“Oh, yeah, we’re an adventure on offense,” the veteran head coach said. “We look great in some spots and then we can turn it over with the best of them. We get our offense off our defense, and when we have to go to our set offense, that’s where we struggle.”

Andover did surrender 23 turnovers last night in its tourney opener, but the team’s saving grace has always been how it sells out on the defensive end. Holding Somerville to just three points over the final 5 1/2 minutes of the third period allowed the Warriors to expand an eight-point halftime lead to 18, then hold on for a 59-50 Division 1 North victory.

Now at 17-6, the Warriors get some rest as they will face the winner of Thursday’s matchup between top seed Lynn English (20-2) and No. 16 Medford (11-10) in the quarterfinals.

“You can’t question our heart and how hard we play,” Tildsley said. “They don’t let mistakes bother them like a lot of kids do. That’s why we’re successful ... they forget it and try that much harder.”

Senior Abby Katz drew the night’s tough assignment, blanketing prolific 6-1 junior center Melissa Baptista, and did an admirable job. Baptista had to work hard for her 19 points as the 5-7 Katz physically fronted her to deny passes to the low block.

“It was pretty challenging,” said Katz, who finished with 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. “We’ve worked on it in practice, covering someone that’s bigger. Jackie and Rebecca (Alois) and everyone on the team really helped out from behind.”

And that was while sustaining a disruptive trap on Somerville’s guards at the same time.

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