Alan Hibino’s team is once again clicking at the right time.
Amelia Hanscom scored 24 points to go with eight rebounds as No.1 Andover outlasted Merrimack Valley Conference rival and host Central Catholic, 49-47, on Sunday night in Lawrence.
The win keeps the Golden Warriors perfect at 12-0 and gives them a three game advantage in the MVC Large. Central Catholic was bolstered by superstar Ashley Dinges who scored 25 points to keep the Raiders within striking distance all night.
“It’s always a hard fought game whenever these two teams play,” Hibino, who is in his fifth season as head coach, said. “(Central Catholci coach) Casey Grange does a great job and Dinges is really hard to stop.”
Andover held a slim 24-20 edge at the intermission and saw it erased in the third. Dinges scored seven third quarter points to highlight a frame in which the Raiders splashed four treys to pull even 36-36 going into the fourth. The sides traded blows in the fourth quarter with the Golden Warriors gaining small separation courtesy entirely of Hanscom who scored eight straight points to put the visitors on top 44-40 with just over two minutes remaining.
Trailing by six with a minute to play, Dinges cut the deficit in half with an old-fashioned three point play. Moments later, down 48-45 with 30 seconds left, Central Catholic received a pair of opportunities to tie the game but Hanscom came through with a key steal and Michaela Buckley nailed a free throw to put Andover up two possessions and all but ice the game.
Hanscom helped the Golden Warriors grab an early lead as she scored eight first quarter points to spearhead Andover to a 14-8 advantage. Courtesy of Anna Foley (13 points) the Golden Warriors maintained their advantage in the paint in the second quarter but Dinges poured in seven points in the frame to cut Andover’s lead to 24-20 at the break.