Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

March 6, 2014

Andover boys thrill in tourney run

Boys net pair ofheart-stopping tournament wins

It was possibly the greatest, most dramatic, heart-stopping final play from Massachusetts in 2013-14.

David Giribaldi, with the weight of the team and community on his shoulders, took the ball to the basket for a game-winning layup as Andover High pulled off a thrilling comeback tournament first-round victory over Billerica last Tuesday, Feb. 25.

How could that be topped? No team could possibly pull off a more memorable finish.

Except Andover High did just that, just three days later.

Led by a tremendous shooting night by freshman E.J. Perry IV and a clutch late block by Connor Merinder, the Golden Warriors held off hard-charging Lynn English for a spectacular 86-81 overtime victory in the Division 1 North quarterfinals last Friday, Feb. 28.

As The Townsman was going to press Tuesday night, the Golden Warriors were battling No. 2 Everett in the Division 2 North semifinals?

So far, the magic has been wearing Blue and Gold.

“This has been crazy,” said Andover coach David Fazio. “After all these years, maybe we have earned a few rolls falling our way.”

Here is a look back at last week’s breathtaking victories.

Overtime thriller

Andover advanced in the playoffs in dramatic fashion last Friday,

With the clock running down, and a Lynn English player going to the basket for a potential game-winning shot, Connor Merinder faced a decision.

Already with four fouls, did he play it safe and hope? Or did he attack and ensure overtime.

Merinder played for the win.

“I knew he was going to take the shot with the clock winding down and I just knew I had to step up and make a play,” he said. “I couldn’t think.”

Merinder’s block just before time expired sent the game into overtime, and the Golden Warriors held on for the 86-81 OT win.

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