The outlook appeared dire for the Andover girls basketball team in its season opener, trailing by seven points with two minutes remaining against a gritty Lowell squad.
Then Jessica Witten spoke up.
“Jessica didn’t panic and called all the girls together,” coach E.J. Perry said. “She said to them, ‘This is how we play Andover basketball. This is how we take over a game.’”
With the game on the line, Witten then stepped on the court and delivered, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers — giving her six for the day — as the clock ticked down to turn the deficit to a lead and eventual Golden Warrior victory.
“It was such a blur,” Witten said. “I was missing shots early, but I just kept shooting and they finally fell. I wanted to lead my team to victory, and I knew I had to step up and hit some shots. I know I have to be a leader and deliver in the clutch.
“In the past we have had Nicole Boudreaus and Devon Caveneys. This year I have to lead my team.”
That is the role Witten is now counted upon to fill.
After two seasons as a backup on the powerhouse Andover basketball team, senior co-captain Witten is now taking on the role of go-to scorer for the Golden Warriors for the 2013-14 season. It’s the role most recently held by Boudreau, the school’s all-time leading scorer, and 1,000-point scorer Caveney.
“(Witten) came through Friday night and I know she will continue to come through this season,” fellow co-captain Rebecca Alois. “She has big shoes to fill, but she is a terrific shooter and hard worker that will do anything that is needed to win a game.”
After playing for the JV team as a freshman, Witten made the Andover High varsity squad for the first time two seasons ago, seeing limited time on the Golden Warrior squad that finished 27-0 and won their third straight Division 1 state title, led by Boudreau and guard Ally Fazio.