Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 6, 2014

Witten gives Warriors big win, then Casey leads near comeback

Lady Golden Warriors bow out despite tremendous effort

By David Willis
dwillis@andovertownsman.com

---- — The playoff run may not have ended the way the Andover girls basketball team had hoped, but it still contained a stellar win, and a memorable near comeback.

Here’s a look at how the Warriors performed:

Witten shoots the lights out in first round

Having waited four years for her chance to shine, senior Jessica Witten made sure her final game at Dunn Gym last Thursday, Feb. 27, was a memorable one.

“It’s really a great feeling because I have worked so hard,” said Witten, who entered the night averaging 11.2 points a game. “So, in my last home game ever, this is a great way to go out, finishing with such a strong win. It’s really exciting.”

Witten erupted for 25 points, including five three-pointers, to help No. 6 Andover roll past No. 11 Lynn Classical 66-45 in the Division 1 North first round.

For Witten, who was a reserve on the varsity team each of the last two seasons, the game hardly started with a flash. She knocked down her first shot of the game in the closing seconds of the first quarter. But the long-range marksman then hit her groove.

After hitting a three-pointer to close the first, she added another three-point shot to start the second. Then she hit another three, knocked down two free throws, two jumpers and yet another three to finish with 15 points in the second quarter alone and 18 for the first half.

“She was just awesome,” fellow captain Rebecca Alois said. “Once she gets going she just has to keep shooting and she won’t miss. The crowd was on our side, and I was just doing everything I could to get her the ball.”

Witten hit another three and a jumper in the third and two free throws early in the fourth, before earning a well-deserved rest for the final six-plus minutes with the game out of reach.

Alois added a big night, scoring 13 points and adding 14 rebounds

“We were confident and we wanted this so much,” Alois said. “We have a young team so there were some nerves. But we believe that we can beat any team and we approached the game like that.”

Comeback falls short

Despite a standout performance from freshman Alyssa Casey in the fourth quarter, knocking down two three-pointers with two minutes to play, Masconomet Regional High School edged past Andover for a 52-47 win in the Division 1 North quarterfinals on Saturday.

“It was a tremendous game and tremendous effort by both teams,” head coach E.J. Perry said.

Casey had a team-high 14 points despite battling foul trouble, while Colleen Caveney and Jessica Witten both added nine.

Masco’s (21-1) held Andover (16-6) to just four points in the second quarter, but the Golden Warriors rallied for 15 points in the third and behind Witten nearly tied it in the final seconds.