By David Willis
---- — The snow is finally beginning to melt, the days are growing longer, and that noise you may have heard was the sound of baseball bats and lacrosse sticks being dusted off, and the track team moving from the field house to Lovely Field.
But before the spring season kicks off, it’s time to look back on another classic winter season in Andover High sports.
Here are some reflections on the 2012-13 Golden Warrior campaign.
Was the shot good? Had the buzzer ended the game?
Two-plus weeks later, everyone is still asking that question about David Giribaldi’s hoop as time expired in the Division 1 North tourney matchup with top-seeded St. John’s Prep in one of the most dramatic wins in recent memory.
The referees ruled the dramatic shot was good, and the Golden Warriors went on to stun the red-hot Eagles and advance to the Division 1 North semifinals.
Central Catholic hockey spent nearly the entire season ranked in the Top 5 in the state, and made a run in the Super 8 tournament.
But that didn’t matter to the Golden Warriors.
Behind a whopping 43 saves for goalie Colby Gilbert, Andover High shocked its archrival Raiders 3-0.
It made it even more amazing, since Central walloped the Warriors 8-1 in their first meeting of the season.
Goals by Tyler Weeks, Mark Campbell and Danny Keenan led to the epic upset.
Central Catholic girls basketball will play for the Division 1 state title on Saturday, but Devon Caveney and her Warriors got the best of the Raiders in January. Caveney scored eight of her 16 points in the fourth as the Golden Warriors topped the favored Raiders 49-37.
Andover boys gymnastics had to wait a day for it to be official due to a clerical error, but it was worth the wait.
In the final year of varsity boys gymnastics in Massachusetts, the Golden Warriors took home the team title, well ahead of runner-up Lowell, which was 14 points back in the seven-team field.
Star Brian Manning led the way, winning every event to easily win the all-around with a 35.0.
The boys weren’t having all the fun in gymnastics.
Junior Jessie Livingston, who nearly had to quit gymnastics due to a serious back injury, took home the state title in the beam with a 9.55 at the state meet. Her teammate Courtney Carver was third in the all-around (37.1) at the same meet.
Swimmer Eric Zhao added a state title of his own, winning the 100 freestyle at the Division 1 boys swimming championship at Harvard University.
It will be strange next season to watch the Andover girls basketball team, because the Golden Warriors will be taking the court without four-year varsity mainstay Devon Caveney.
A key member of three state title teams, the Williams-bound Caveney added another huge milestone to her resume this winter when she scored her 1,000th career point on a rare four-point play.
She finished her career with 1,205 career points, the fifth most in the program’s history.
Andover’s 55 meter shuttle relay certainly made a splash last weekend at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.
The foursome of junior Courtney Comeau, sophomores Hanna Chapman and Jill Gamache and freshman Lizzie Kobelski placed 10th overall in the top-tier “open” section in a blazing 34.47.
Just .01 seconds proved to be enough for skier Kerry Christopher.
Christopher won the giant slalom in a stunning photo finish, besting Manchester’s Alex Marshall 21.95-21.96 at the Interscholastic (North Shore League) Meet championship.
It was the end of a terrific senior season for Christopher, the fourth member of her family to ski for the Golden Warriors.
Alex Blake joined the swim team because friends wanted him along, and became a diver “because it seemed cool.”
Four years later he emerged as one of the top divers in the state. This season, he finished third overall at the Division 1 boys championship.
There were times it seemed every big play for the Andover boys hockey team was made by a player with the last name Campbell.
Brothers Scott Campbell, a senior, and Mark Campbell, a sophomore, were each go-to performers for the Golden Warriors. Scott led Andover in goals (13) and points (19), while Mark was right behind with 10 goals and 18 points.
Joining them on the Golden Warriors’ top line, their neighbor Will Sauerbrunn.
For the last three seasons, Jackie Alois has played a key role in the success of the Andover girls basketball team. The last two years, she was joined in the starting lineup by her younger sister, Rebecca Alois.
Each took on an even greater role this season, scoring in addition to their normal intense defense and rebounding.
Younger sister Veronica Alois arrived at Andover High this season, but didn’t follow the family tradition on the court.
Instead, she joined the hockey team, and in just her third varsity game scored four goals in a win over Central Catholic. Veronica, a freshman, finished the year with 14 goals.
Cassie Kobelski’s father and three uncles were all stars at Central Catholic. But Cassie always had a dream of following in her mother’s footsteps at Andover High.
Now she has a new dream, reach 40 feet in the shot put and maybe set the school’s all-time record.
With a throw of 38-10 on her resume, that record being broken could be one of the highlights from the upcoming spring season.