Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

January 2, 2014

Off to a surprising start

Golden Warrior girls hoops team makes fast impression under new coach Perry

(Continued)

As in past years when Andover won its state championships, this year’s team looks primed to score a lot of points off turnovers and its quick transition game.

“Defense is a huge part,” Cormier said. “Without our defense, we wouldn’t have an offense.”

Most local onlookers no longer view Andover as a juggernaut, but that might be a mistake.

“Everyone thinks we’re the underdog,” Cormier said. “No one expects us to be as good as we’re playing. And we’ve shocked every single team. Everyone comes in saying, ‘Oh, Andover, they’re not that good anymore.’ We show them that we are.”

Freshman starter Casey has taken over as an immediate impact player.

While in middle school, Casey looked up to Nicole Boudreau, who is now starring at Boston College. When her AAU team moved her from forward to guard, she focused on how Boudreau played guard to make herself a better player.

Now, she has returned to more of a post player role.

“Just the transition coming back (to forward) was tough, because I’m thinking, ‘Shoot, shoot’ when (Perry) is saying, ‘Post up, post up,’” she said.

A 16-point, nine-rebound effort in a win over Methuen was her best game so far.

“I expect great things,” Casey said. “I push myself to my hardest. I am really hard on myself. ... As a freshman, when I first came in here, I was really intimidated and nervous, but as I’ve gone on, I was like, ‘OK, I belong. This is a good feeling and I know I can prove myself.’”

Perry added: “Alyssa has Division I talent. And her ability to go inside and to go outside is going to be what separates her from the norm.”

Perry, whose daughter is a reserve guard, attended almost every game last year. So he had a good sense of the team’s strengths and weaknesses going into the season.

“But it’s a different team,” Perry said. “Witten played sparingly and Alois played, but she had a different role than I want (from) her. I want her going to the basket.”

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