TEWKSBURY — As Andover girls basketball coach Alan Hibino reflected on his team’s Division 1 North tournament run, he admits to having a lot to be proud of.
Lets start with the youth.
The No. 6 Warriors (17-6), who earned a 42-36 North semifinal victory over Chelmsford last Wednesday, start two freshman in Amelia Hanscom and Anna Foley. Hanscom (8 points, 12 rebounds) didn’t come off the floor last Wednesday night, and after a missed free throw with six seconds left it was the 6-foot-2 Foley who came up with an offensive rebound and layup that virtually put the game away at 40-36.
“I just went up and got it and put it back,” said Foley, who finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds. “It all worked out in the end.”
Now lets talk about the poise.
Forget starting two freshman and having another sophomore, Morgan Shirley, who plays big minutes off the bench for a second. During the regular season, the Warriors played in only two games that were decided by five points or less.
Point being, as Hibino put it: “We either won by a lot or lost by a lot.”
But during the first three games of their postseason run, the Warriors trailed Arlington heading into the fourth quarter in the first round, and saw late leads shrink to one-possession games against both Central Catholic in the quarters and Chelmsford.
Now throw in that adversity — in the playoffs, mind you — and add back in the underclassmen on the court.
That all sounds like a recipe for disaster.
But whether it’s senior Shea Krekorian (game-high 11 points) ripping down an offensive rebound that set up Foley’s eventual game-sealing heroics, junior Tatum Shaw coming away with crucial steals or Hanscom making clutch free throws in the final seconds, the Warriors always stayed impressively calm under pressure.
“This state tournament run, it’s been gut checks,” said Hibino. “We get up, they come back, we make a little run and then they make a little run. ... I thank my seniors, Shea and Brooke (Hardock). I don’t know their numbers tonight, but they’re the ones I trust most with the ball in their hands.
“And how about the freshmen! Amelia tonight, she was the most cool, calm and collected of everybody, including her coach!”
Added Hanscom: “It’s honestly just been an amazing experience. All of our teammates have helped support us coming into this program, and just playing with everyone and having this excitement every game has just helped us all play our best.
“It’s a dream come true. We’re so excited. Ever since our win over Central Catholic we’ve just been on an overload of emotions and excitement. So we’re just ready to go.”
Andover 42, Chelmsford 36
Division 1 North Semifinals
Andover (42): Tatum Shaw 3-0-8, Amelia Hanscom 1-6-8, Shea Krekorian 4-2-11, Brooke Hardock 3-0-7, Anna Foley 4-0-8, Morgan Shirley 0-0-0, Marissa Kobelski 0-0-0. Totals 15-8-42
Chelmsford (36): Kat Slattery 0-0-0, Meghan Goode 3-0-7, Hannah Polce 2-5-9, Kate Krueger 4-0-9, Ellen Angwin 3-0-6, Sarah Lachance 0-1-1, Abbey Quirbach 2-0-4. Totals 14-6-36
3-pointers: A — Shaw 2, Krekorian, Hardock; C — Goode, Krueger
Andover (17-6): 17 7 8 10 — 42
Chelmsford (20-3): 8 9 10 9 — 36