Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 13, 2014

Memorable to the end

Andover boys deliver thrilling tournament memories

The ending may not have been picture-perfect.

The season may have finished on Saturday two rounds short and roughly 43 miles northeast on Interstate 495 of a dream closure at the DCU Center in Worcester, the home of the state title games.

But the final few moments at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Saturday can’t change what was a thrilling run for the Andover High boys basketball team, its best finish in more than a decade.

It was a season of thrilling highs and dramatic finishes, including three wild state tournament contests that raised the blood pressure of all in attendance and left everyone in awe.

The Golden Warriors delivered their best tournament run since the 1999-2000 season, including three postseason wins by a COMBINED eight points; a hard-fought victory last month on Central Catholic’s home court and a Christmas Tournament title.

Championship Christmas

Throughout the Merrimack Valley, very little is more highly anticipated on the sports calendar than the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic.

And in the first season of the tournament’s new name and new home — Merrimack College in North Andover — it was the Golden Warriors who took home the title, their first since the 2010-11 season and second in 18 seasons.

But unlike the title three seasons ago, which Andover clinched with a win over North Andover, the Golden Warriors had the opportunity this time to lock down the title against Central.

In a preview of their tournament victories, the Warriors held tough to earn a 72-68 thriller, with John Pisacreta and Ben Brown hitting 7 of 8 free throws to secure the win.

The dynamic David Giribaldi led the way with 27 points while Brown had 12.

The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to Central dating back to the 2010 season, including four losses to the Raiders in 2012-13.

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