NORTH ANDOVER — It’s not uncommon for basketball teams to play before former teammates and recent graduates home from college for the holidays.
At Andover, however, the most recent crop of Golden Warriors grade on a whole tougher curve than most alumni.
The newest version at Andover, aiming for the school’s fourth straight state championship, opened defense of its Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament title yesterday with a workman-like 60-40 victory over Lawrence at North Andover High School.
“We’ve been working really hard,” said returning Eagle-Tribune All-Star Devon Caveney, who scored a team-high 17 points. “It’s obviously been a big change (from last year) so we’re just trying to play and get used to each other.”
Yesterday provided a chance to show off in front of recent Andover stars. Parade All-American Nicole Boudreau (BC starter) and four-year starter Ally Fazio (UConn lacrosse) were sitting with a group directly behind the Andover bench. Throw in 2011 graduate Natalie Gomez-Martinez (Marist starter) into the mix and you have a tribunal that expect their legacy to be emulated.
“I love when they come back,” Caveney said. “It gives us some motivation to play better. You obviously want to play in front of them. I hope they come to the Central game.”
The Golden Warriors (3-0) set the pace against outmanned Lawrence (0-5), jumping to an 11-point first-quarter lead before opening a 34-13 halftime edge. Eleven Warriors scored at least two points, including Jackie Alois and Colleen Caveney, who both had eight. That kind of balance might make it tough on Andover coach Jim Tildsley to settle on a rotation.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Tildsley said. “We’re a work in progress, and we’ll get better as the year goes on. I’ve been playing 10 to 11 kids to see what I can get out of them. I’m going to play the kids who make the least amount of mistakes. That’s the whole key, and they know that.”