Trojans hand Eisenhower first loss
ANDOVER While the Andover boys first three games were all two-point losses, the dismal start didnt drag down the Trojans.
Andover coach Chad Wilmott instead used those close losses through the season, often hearkening back to them as lessons.
Tuesday night, Andover finally was on the other side of a close game as it handed visiting Eisenhower its first loss, 64-63, as Adam DeKoning scored the game-winning basket with two seconds remaining.
We talked about those games, Wilmott said. Its better to lose them and learn from it and apply what we learned this time of year.
Andover, which also lost an overtime game and lost by three to Eisenhower on Jan. 7, is 10-6 and has won six straight games.
Its big, Wilmott said of beating Eisenhower. We had some players step up in a big-time environment. I think they realize now what theyre capable of. Lots of emotion in that game.
The emotion was strong for Eisenhower, too.
Its devastating, said Eisenhower coach Steve Blue, whose team is 16-1.
It hurts a lot, said Eisenhower senior Trevon Evans, who finished with a game-high 27 points, hitting four three-pointers. We were expecting to go undefeated this season. We werent expecting to lose. And its just a tough one to get past. Well learn from it. Learn from our mistakes, what we did wrong and come back twice as hard in practice. And were not going to lose again this year.
Andover, which trailed by 10 early in the second quarter, tied the score at 31-all on Adam DeKonings three-pointer to end the half. In the second half, there were 10 lead changes.
Eisenhower took the 63-62 lead with 49.7 seconds to go when Evans stole the ball and scored on a fastbreak layup.
I thought we had it there when Tre made the steal and got the layup, Blue said. Two seconds away from a win.
Andover had the ball for the final 49 seconds, and Wilmott wondered if he should call timeout as the clock ticked down.
Take a timeout? Dont take a timeout? Wilmott said. I trusted my guys. I had some senior guys out there. The play didnt develop, we kind of scrambled through that, and they made a play. That was all them. Not me. All them.
Andover senior Ryan Bezdek, who finished with 22 points, consistently broke down Eisenhowers interior defense to get to the rim. And in the final seconds, he drove baseline and found DeKoning, who had 18 points, including two threes.
The final play scared me, Bezdek said. Clock ticking. In the back of my mind, we knew that earlier games, close games, we couldnt pull it out. I just drove baseline, looking to shoot it. I saw Adam and dished it and he made it.
Ryan just made a play, DeKoning said. Hes been doing that.
Evans got off a three at the buzzer, but it was short.
Adam did what he always does. He always shows up, Wilmott said. We have some guys around them that are starting to believe in themselves, too.
Eisenhower: Evans 27, Strunk 12, Morris 6, Southworth 5, Stemple 3, Buchanan 8, Pile 2.
Andover: Butler 6, DeKoning 18, Klusener 2, Bezdek 22, Jobe 9, Barclay 7.