Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

January 2, 2014

Sweet rival victory

AHS fends off Central for Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic title

The Andover High boys basketball team beat Central Catholic.

Sounds so simple. But after losing 22 of 23 since 2005, it has been anything but simple for Andover High coach David Fazio and his respected boys basketball program.

Andover won the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic, 72-68, on Saturday night, which was a cause for celebration.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come out here and play with so much energy and beat them,” said forward Ben Brown, one of only three seniors to see action Saturday night for the Warriors. “It’s like no other feeling.”

Central, which lost to perennial national power St. Anthony’s the previous night, appeared ready to continue its dominance over its border rival, jumping to an 8-0 start before hitting the two-minute mark.

“When you get down like that, we have to look at what we’re doing,” said Brown, who finished with 12 points. “We just had to get into the flow of the game. We were rushing too much. Once we got comfortable, we just kind of took it from there.”

A well-placed early time-out obviously settled the Warriors, who did not have a turnover in the final 6:40 and finished the period on a 12-0 run that provided the lead for good.

“These kids want to win,” Fazio said. “They know it’s a long season and they’re going to get better, but they want to win. I told them the tougher team is going to win.”

The Warriors continued to surge in the second period, scoring six of the quarter’s first nine points, including five by Connor Merinder to open a 28-15 lead. Then a strong start to the third turned a 10-point halftime advantage into a 49-33 lead with 3:38 remaining in the frame.

Andover (4-0) not only responded offensively, converting nine of its 18 threes and 25 of its 52 shots, but muscled up defensively against Raider threat Tyler Nelson, who had scored 45 points his previous two games. With Brown and John Pisacreta leading the way, the Warriors used multiple tactics to hold the returning Eagle-Tribune MVP to 11 points and nine field-goal attempts. He took only four shots after intermission.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • AT RUSSELL2

    Courtesy photo Jenn Russell races upfield for the U.S. National women's lacrosse team. She hopes to be with the team for the next World Cup in 2017.

    Lacrosse star Russell leads defense for U.S. National team, sets sights on 2017 World Cup Posted 6 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT KUCHAR

    FILE PHOTO Chris Kuchar will become the fourth Andover High hockey coach in 3 1/2 years.

    Andover High names new hockey coach Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140711_ET_CRU_BASEBALL_2

    CARL RUSSO/Staff photo Andrew Kombourasn draws high-fives and head pats from his teammates after scoring Andover Americans' first run in the opening game of the District 14 12-year-old championship. series against North Andover last Friday night.

    Summer classic: Andover Americans, Nationals make run for Districts Posted 6 days ago 11 Photos
  • Calabro swinging hot bat, Legion keeps rolling Posted 6 days ago
  • at round photo

    Andover Legion's Scott Leslie slides safely into home plate in a win over North Andover. Leslie is a big reason why Post 8 has been on fire this summer.

    Gillette, Selima stay red hot for Legion team Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • at little league photo

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Alex Lane delivers a pitch for Andover National Little League during District 14 pool play. Both Andover National and Andover American scored huge wins last week.

    Prakash, McConnell use long ball to lead Andover American Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • AT BIRD MUG

    COURTESY PHOTO Tyler Bird, who played his high school senior year at Kimball Union in New Hampshire, will likely play three or four years for Brown University in Rhode Island before making the leap to pro hockey.

    Bird lands the NHL draft Posted 13 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT BRIAN BURNS

    COURTESY PHOTO Lawrence Academy second baseman Brian Burns of Andover received Honorable Mention from the Independent School League this spring.

    Community Scoreboard Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • AT BLUE JAYS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Blue Jays pose with their coaches and team manager at the end of their undefeated season in the Andover Little League 9-year-old Division.

    Unbeaten Blue Jays win 9-year-old Division crown Posted 13 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT BREWERS1

    COURTESY PHOTO The Andover Little League Majors Division champion Brewers team included, front row, from left, Jacob Pepi, Evan Giggey, Matthew Shea, Aidan Ritter and Quinn Curtin; second row, from left, Aneudy Moreno, Sean Sullivan, Ryan Grecco, Jason Denoncourt, Ben Weeden and Michael Leone; and third row, from left, coaches Larry Shea, Jesse Ritter and Patrick Grecco.

    Brewers battle to 2014 Majors championship Posted 13 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks