“Coach (David) Fazio keeps saying fearless,” co-captain John Pisacreta said. “We have to be fearless when we are on the court, and I feel like we were.”
It had looked as if Andover had the game wrapped up in the fourth, as Perry (game-high 28 points) knocked down two three-pointers and Ben Brown and Pisacreta added hoops to make the advantage 68-60 with four minutes to play. But back came English with a 13-5 run to end the fourth, including a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left to tie the score.
The Bulldogs nearly pulled it out in the closing seconds, but as senior captain Freddy Hogan drove to the basket, Merinder made the block.
Perry then opened the extra session with a bucket, and after Lynn English took the lead back, Pisacreta drove to the hoop for two points. Perry added another hoop, and David Giribaldi (25 points) gave the Warriors a firm grasp on the overtime momentum with a steal, layup and free throw to make the score 82-79. English then began to foul, and Merinder and Giribaldi were each perfect from the line to lock down the victory.
“This was just such an amazing win,” Merinder said. “We don’t get scared. We don’t back down from a challenge. If they made a run, we knew we had to make a run right back. We weren’t going to back down.”
It was another nail-biter that led Andover to Lynn English Friday night.
With 27 seconds remaining in the game, Giribaldi attacked the hoop and sunk a contested layup, giving Andover its first lead of the game. That capped a massive comeback that saw the No. 3-seeded Golden Warriors stun upset-minded No. 14 Billerica 54-52 in the Division 1 North first round.
“I was taking the shot,” Giribaldi said. “Absolutely. I had no doubt in my mind. I was confident.”