by Samantha Lefebvre
A young Andover team fell 13 points, 65-52, on their home court to a taller, stronger and deeper Blaine squad during the last week of regular season play, Feb. 28.
The Huskies (5-20) stayed tight with the Bengals (15-10) in the first half with a back and forth possession game. Two big back-to-back three pointers from Andover’s twins Brady Johnson and Davis Johnson gave the Huskies their first lead over the Bengals, 25-2. Tied 26-26 at the two minute mark Blaine pulled ahead to be up two points going into halftime, 31-29.
Possession of the ball and more rebounds was the name of the second half for the Bengals. They went on a small run in the first few minutes to give them a nine point lead. An eight point run by the Huskies allowed them to pull within one point around the 10 minute mark, 42-41. But that would be the closest the Huskies would get to the Bengals after that.
“They are really big and physical so the rebounding edge to them hurt us,” Andover coach Nick Tibesar said. “We just ended up giving them a lot of extra possessions, so pretty much we were one and done and they were getting second and third chances down the stretch which made it really hard to keep up.”
The Bengals reached its largest lead of the game with just one minute left on the clock. Blaine was now up 14 points, 65-51. The Huskies tried to fight back as much as they could but they would only get one more point until the clock ran out.
“Fortunaltey they missed a few open shots that I think they would normally make, they are a good shooting basketball team,” Blaine coach Mark Arzdorf said of the Huskies. “We got better defensively in the second half which we needed to do, but overall we are always pleased with a win. Andover is a team that has come a long way and we knew it was going to be a difficult game tonight so we are happy to win but we still have a long way to go to get where we need to be to be as competitive as we would like.”
Leading the Huskies on the scoreboard was freshman guard Jake McNallan with 15 points. Also coming through with big points for Andover was the Johnson twins, Brady and Davis, who put up 12 and 14 points, respectively. The Huskies have won four out of their last eight games now and are looking to pull together as a team just before the postseason.
“That has been a good run for our guys heading into March and into playoffs. I’m just glad to be peaking at a good time,” Tibesar said. “Our chemistry at the beginning of the year was pretty much nonexisitent, but we have really turned a corner in the second half of the season and we have done a lot better.”
Blaien seniors; guard Alex Cappard and forward Tanner Schumacher, led the Bengals with 16 points each. Duke Anyanwu, another senior forward, put up 13 points for Blaine.
“What is nice about our group is that we don’t have to rely on one or two guys to score, but we are somewhat deep as far as who we can have score for us,” Arzdorf said. “That helps having multiple threats for us out there. It makes it a little more difficult to defend.”
As the regular season comes to a close with each team having just one more game on March 2, both the Huskies and the Bengals are looking ahead to a strong go at sections.
“We do want to be playing our best basketball just like what everyone else wants going into sections so this is a big week for us,” Arzdorf said. “There was some progress tonight but we need to make more progress Friday night and go in with all our bullets in tact for sections. We feel we have a shot, our section is very competitive though. I think there are several teams that could come out of that section and to get to that point it is one game at a time and put it all out there and hope the shots go in.
Samantha Lefebvre is at firstname.lastname@example.org