ANDOVER — Last night’s Hoops for Hope David Bradner Tournament championship at Andover High School was almost as much about who wasn’t there as who was.
Defending champion Central Catholic was missing stars Tyler Nelson and Nick Cambio, both of whom were at an AAU tournament, while St. John’s Prep was without standouts Ben Judson (AAU tournament) and Max Burt (baseball tournament).
Partly as a result, Central lost to Londonderry (58-45) in one semifinal while St. John’s Prep fell to Lawrence (63-46) in the other.
That set up an all-Lancer final, which went to Lawrence (60-48). It definitely showed up, with the nucleus of its team intact, ready to go.
“We were expecting Central, but Londonderry is a good team and we’re just happy to win it,” said Kevin Fabian, who led Lawrence with 16 points and had four of his team’s nine 3-pointers. “I think this is going to do a lot for our confidence.”
Fabian scored his team’s first five points as Lawrence moved ahead 7-3 and led for most of the game, including 28-20 at halftime.
Johnathan Paulino played a solid game for Lawrence, finishing with 11 points, while Julius Martinez added 10. Lawrence’s man-to-man defense was impressive and a big factor in the victory, especially in the final 10 minutes of play.
To its credit, Londonderry — led by Drew Coveney — made a game of it and was within a point, 19-18, late in the first half and within striking distance most of the second half.
Coveney, who missed all of last year with a torn meniscus, showed great hustle, a variety of shots and led Londonderry with 18 points.
“I’m feeling pretty good now and this was a big thing for us,” said Coveney. “Londonderry has never gotten this far.”
Londonderry’s performance was certainly encouraging to new coach Nate Stanton, a former Salem High standout who was just named the team’s new coach on Wednesday.