HAVERHILL — Tom Sipsey hasn’t yet offered to return his paycheck, but let’s just say the Whittier boys basketball coach knows he’s fortunate to coach senior sharpshooter Andrew Wells.
“I’ve told his parents I feel lucky to coach a kid like that,” said the fourth-year Wildcat coach. “He’s low maintenance. He’s a driven, motivated kid. He wants to be a success as an athlete and even more as a student.”
He’s successful on both counts. The quad-captain from Methuen is ranked eighth in a class of 289 students. One of the top shooters in the region, Wells is averaging 12.8 points with an impressive 44 3-pointers for the 11-2 Cats. He has a school record 132 career 3-pointers, a noteworthy figure considering only 13 boys in area history have reached 150 since the shot was added for the 1987-88 season.
“He can shoot the hell out of the ball,” said Sipsey. “He’s not the fastest kid, but he’ll go to battle with anyone.”
Wells caught the basketball bug as a toddler shooting at a toy hoop and it has never left. This winter he drained eight 3-pointers vs. Lynn Tech and seven vs. Greater Lawrence.
“Once you hit the first one, you’re just rolling,” said Wells, the Moynihan Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December. “I’ve pretty much always been a shooter.”
Like any shooter, form and repetition are the key.
“I’ll shoot in the morning at 6:20 before I get the bus,” said the sturdy 6-foot, 190-pounder. “It’s just practicing and having the confidence that it will go in.”
His and Whittier’s success this winter have had extra meaning for Wells.
“I’m doing it for my grandfather, Charles Morrill of Lawrence, who has been sick,” he explained. “I try to stay strong so he keeps fighting. When he’s not in the hospital he comes to the games and he enjoys it.”
“The Pride of Chippy Lane” is also a top baseball player. A returning Eagle-Tribune All-Star, Wells went 6-3 with a 1.73 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 64.1 innings last year. He batted .298, scored 19 runs and drove in 19.
The basketball team could be the best in school history. He’d love a similar postseason run to the one he enjoyed with the baseball team his freshman year.
“We won the Division 3 North title. I still cherish that moment,” said Wells, who is a bagger at Market Basket and a referee for Methuen Youth Basketball. “I was the starting third baseman.”
He’d like to play both sports in college. He might be most highly recruited for his pitching skills.
He said his greatest asset is his control.
“Being able to throw any of my pitches for strikes at any time: four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, circle change, slider and curve. I’ve topped out at 84 mph,” he said.
He’s studying to be an electrician at Whittier. Recently he and some classmates installed electrical outlets in the nurses’ office at school.
Wells has been accepted to Merrimack, Worcester State and Western New England. He plans to major in math and computer science.
Follow Michael Muldoon on Twitter under the screen name @MullyET.