LOWELL — From the moment the Andover girls’ basketball team lost in last year’s Division 1 final, they were determined on making it back to the Tsongas Center and reversing the outcome. Anna Foley sat in the locker room after the defeat to Springfield Central and vowed she would return victorious as a senior.
Friday night, the top-seeded Golden Warriors completed their perfect revenge tour with a 55-51 victory over Bishop Feehan in this year’s championship game. The triumph capped Andover’s undefeated 26-0 season and delivered the program its sixth state title, including a 2020 co-championship.
“We deserved it. Any doubt that I had, I had to just tell myself, like, ‘I deserve this,’” said Foley, who had a game-hgh 20 points. “We deserve this. We’ve worked so hard for this and it’s just a long time coming.”
Andover knew beating the Shamrocks (20-5) would be difficult after grinding out a similar 46-42 win at the Comcast Tournament in February. After the Golden Warriors built an early lead, Bishop Feehan clawed back and got as close as 53-51 when Mary Daley swished a late 3-pointer. But Michaela Buckley knocked down a pair of free throws to ice the win for Andover.
“All the games that we’ve played helped us in these moments,” said Andover coach Alan Hibino. “We keep telling them, ‘There’s not too many things that you haven’t faced in four years.’”
The Warriors dilligently fought to gain traction, leading 17-14 after one quarter and 33-25 at halftime. As co-stars Foley and Amelia Hanscom heated up, so did the team. Foley often directed the offense from the top of the arc while Hanscom rolled off of screens and cut to the basket.
The dynamic duo also used their size advantage to power to the basket on drives. While Foley led the team in scoring, mixing some tough rim attacks with some timely perimeter shooting to go along with three blocked shots, Hanscom added a complementary 18 points in a perfect conclusion to their four-year reign.
“Everything I’ve worked on my whole life with Andover basketball — shooting, driving, passing — [it’s about] just been playing with my friends, just playing basketball,” Foley said.
Bishop Feehan didn’t go away though. Hanscom fouled out early in the fourth quarter and the Shamrocks used that frustration to rally from a 12-point deficit. Junior Julia Webster (15 points) and Charlotte Adams-Lopez (11 points) led the Shamrocks in the loss.
“They made threes; [Olivia Fransiscus] made two big ones,” Hibino said. “They just kept coming. They were relentless defensively.”
The Warriors did not play in a fall-ball offseason league, opting to let multi-sport athletes shine before attacking winter with a renewed dedication. They worked with former Syracuse basketball player Kaleb Joseph on honing a healthy mental approach to basketball. All of the extra work paid off with a storybook season.
“I feel on top of the world,” Hanscom said. “It’s insane. Last game of our high school career, we just won the state championship. It’s what everyone would want out of their last game ever.”
Division 1 girls’ final box
at Tsongas Center, Lowell
Bishop Feehan (20-6) 14 11 12 14 — 51
Andover (26-0) 17 16 14 8 — 55
BISHOP FEEHAN — Maddy Steel 2 1 6, Charlotte Adams-Lopez 3 4 11, Mary Daley 3 2 9, Julia Webster 7 1 15, Olivia Franciscus 2 0 6, Sam Reale 2 0 4. Totals 19 8 51.
ANDOVER — Michaela Buckley 1 4 6, Amelia Hanscom 8 1 18, Kathleen Yates 3 0 6, Ella Vidoni 2 0 5, Anna Foley 8 3 20. Totals 22 8 55.
3-pt. goals: BF Maddy Steel, Charlotte Adams-Lopez, Mary Daley, Olivia Franciscus 2; A Amelia Hanscom, Ella Vidoni, Anna Foley.
Ethan Fuller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.