LOWELL, Mass. --- On Saturday night the Andover High School girls basketball team captured their third straight Division 1 North sectional championship as they defeated Masconomet 61-53 at Tsongas Center in Lowell.
The top-seeded Golden Warriors (25-0) came out firing as they hit six 3-pointers in the opening quarter to open up a 21-12 lead. Boston College bound senior Nicole Boudreau nailed three 3-pointers, junior Devon Caveney drained two and senior Ally Fazio added one to begin the shooting frenzy.
“We shot the lights out in the first period and that was a big difference,” said Andover head coach Jim Tildsley.
Masconomet (20-4) hung tough through the first half behind the strong play of seniors Danielle Davis (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Brooke Stewart (18 points, eight rebounds, four steals).
Andover took a 33-21 lead into the half, behind 21 first half points from Boudreau and some successful full court pressure defense that held Masconomet to only nine second quarter points.
“It is an advantage being as small as we are,” said Tildsley. “We jump switch everything because we are all the same height and everything is within our rotation.”
Andover came out of the halftime break relentlessly attacking the glass as they dominated the rebounding margin in the third quarter 13-7. Many of those rebounds were converted second chance opportunities as Andover found every loose ball and extended the lead to 41-28 after three quarters.
“I was very impressed with our offensive rebounding tonight,” said Tildsley.
Masconomet fought hard and did a good job of hanging tough as Stewart scored nine fourth quarter points and Davis added seven to cut into the lead.
“Brooke is a great player,” said Boudreau. “We held her down as best we could and she made a run in the third and especially in the fourth quarter, but we expected that.”
Every time Masconomet would inch closer, however, Andover would come up with a big shot to push the lead further out of reach. Fazio (10 points) and junior guard Angelice Gonzalez (seven points) each nailed 3-pointers and Boudreau (game-high 29 points) converted four end-of-game free throws to cap the win for Andover.
Alois on the Glass: The tandem of sisters Jackie (11 rebounds) and Rebecca Alois (nine rebounds) dominated the glass for Andover as they came away with many second and third chance opportunities for Andover that resulted in additional opportunities for shots and made baskets.
“What can I say about them,” said Tildsley. “They do all the dirty work for us and I do not know how many offensive rebounds we got tonight.”
Although the sisters combined to score only three points it was their effort on the 50-50 balls and on the offensive glass that paid the most dividends.
“They are huge,” said Boudreau. “They get most of our offensive rebounds and with that we get more opportunities to score.”
Senior Strong: Masconomet graduates four of their five starters in seniors Stewart, Davis, Chelsea Nason, and Taylor Evans. Nason scored nine points and Evans scored five points, grabbed five rebounds, played stellar defense and was all over the floor chasing loose balls for Masconomet.
Masconomet’s lone returning starter is junior Claudia Marsh, who scored nine points and did a fine job defensively covering Boudreau in the second half.
Back to the Garden: Andover looks to take home their third consecutive Eastern Massachusetts Division 1 championship on Tuesday as they play Braintree High School (22-2), who upset top-seeded Franklin High School 51-46 in the South sectional finals on Saturday.
“We have Tuesday night and if we hopefully win we will have Saturday,” said Tildsley. “It is just an unbelievable accomplishment what these kids have done the past three years.”