The Andover boys basketball team has heard just about every cliche in the rather extensive book of sports sayings since Dec. 27, the day the Warriors dropped a 65-63 thriller to archrival Central Catholic in the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament.
They were told it was a “moral victory” and a “good loss,” being able to hang with the Raiders, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, and even having a chance to the final buzzer to take the victory.
Andover senior leaders Chris Dunn and Sam Dowden, however, weren’t about to take a bow for a game that went into the record books as a loss.
“We don’t look at it that way,” said Dowden. “We don’t believe in moral victories. For us, it was just frustrating. We felt like we won all but one quarter, and looking back at the film we made too many mistakes. We have worked very hard to fix those problems and can’t wait to take them on again.”
On Saturday, Dowden, Dunn and the red-hot Golden Warriors will have another shot at their nemesis, when Andover travels to Central Catholic to take on the top-ranked Raiders.
“We expect to win every time we go out there,” said Dunn. “We know we made mistakes and had the chance to beat them last time, and this is a huge game.”
Behind the leadership of Dowden and Dunn — who have combined to average 29.5 points a game this season — and the rest of the senior class, the Golden Warriors head to Hampshire Street as one of the hottest teams in the state, and one of the biggest surprises.
A squad overlooked heading into the year has currently risen to No. 7 in the overall state rankings and No. 4 in Eastern Mass. standing at 9-2 following their second victory over rival North Andover.