ANDOVER — After traveling north 20 miles, Medford wasted no time making itself at home.
Before the night was over, however, Andover showed the Mustangs just who owned the joint.
Surviving No. 9 Medford’s torrid start, the eighth-seeded Golden Warriors dominated the second half for their first postseason win in three years with a 68-60 victory before a rowdy full house.
“That first half we weren’t playing good defense at all,” said Sam Dowden, who scored 11 of his 17 points after intermission. “We let them do a little more than we would have liked them to do.”
The Mustangs (13-8) converted six of their first seven shots, including all three treys, and eventually took a 10-point lead into halftime.
But once the teams swapped sides, it was all Andover.
The Warriors (16-6) opened the second half with a 10-2 run built around nifty passing that Dowden took advantage of by scoring the first eight points. The quick start helped Andover twice cut the lead to two before entering the fourth down by four.
That’s when Chris Dunn went off with a trio of treys and a pull-up jumper as Andover scored 21 of the period’s first 26 points. During the run, the Warriors missed only two of their 10 shots from the field.
“When things are going well, you always feel good,” said Dunn, who finished with a team-high 19 points. “But the first three quarters, we knew we could play better. We knew we were a better team. We just had to go out and play like that.”
As hot as Medford opened the game, the Warriors finished it on an even more blistering pace, converting 18 of their 28 second-half field-goal attempts with 11 assists.
“I told the kids it’s a 32-minute process,” Andover coach David Fazio said. “It’s not a 16-minute process. You’ve got to be able to withstand someone throwing punches at you ... The kids never lost confidence. They were in the locker room at halftime and they said, ‘We’re not inadequate.’”