EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

February 11, 2013

Andover scraps to another tight win

ANDOVER — No one would have given Andover much chance at a fourth straight state championship after the huge graduation losses it suffered. But the way the Golden Warriors do the little things needed to be successful, no one should be surprised if they make a strong playoff run.

Of course, improving an inconsistent offense would significantly enhance their chances. Andover opened a season-closing stretch of six games in 10 days by outlasting North Andover 36-33 in a Merrimack Valley Conference tussle last night.

“That was an ugly win,” Andover coach Jim Tildsley said after his squad converted only 24.5 percent of its 49 field-goal attempts. “But what can I say? I mean, we play so hard. We can turn it over (26 last night) with the best of them but we get to so many loose balls.”

Angelice Gonzalez was a perfect example of that defensive intensity when she made the last of Andover’s 15 steals on a North Andover inbound pass with 30.3 seconds remaining. The steal came after the Scarlet Knights had scored each of the previous five points to cut an eight-point Golden Warrior lead.

The senior guard then secured the victory by converting both ends of a one-and-one with 14.5 ticks left. Gonzalez was responsible for three of Andover’s six fourth-quarter points and ended up with 11, sharing game-high honors with teammate Devon Caveney.

The Warriors (14-3 overall, 12-2 conference) still have a chance to catch front-runner Billerica, which is undefeated but plays host to Andover Tuesday.

“Gonzalez made some big foul shots,” Tildsley said. “She played a great game.”

Hitting the boards: Although the Warriors were unable to convert on their hard work, Andover pulled down 19 offensive rebounds. The hitch was they only turned into four points.

“With Rebecca Alois (10 of her 16 rebounds were on offense) and Abby Katz (all four of hers), what can you say about our rebounding,” Tildsley said. “They just go after the ball. In her last six games, Rebecca has just been playing unbelievable.”

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