WICHITA — It took a minute but the Andover Trojans finally found their winning ways. The Trojans ended the first half on an 18-5 run and never looked back in their 52-39 win over Wichita West on Friday afternoon in the annual GWAL/AVCTL Challenge inside Koch Arena.
“Wichita West is determined and played hard,” Andover head coach Seth Anderson said. “Once we settled down, we were fine.”
It’s the first win of the season for the Trojans after two tough losses.
“Last season we started 0-7,” junior Mallory Woolston said. “We’re hoping we can re-create what we did in January when we won eight straight after that.”
Andover fought out of a hole in the second quarter as they were down 9-3 on some missed opportunities early on. However, the three-point shot of Mallory Woolston led the Trojan’s comeback. Woolston hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Andover a 15-10 lead with 7:02 to until halftime.
“I think the arena was a factor at the start,” Woolston said. “After we got that out of our heads, we were fine.”
The Trojan defense created tough shots for Wichita West, forcing them into tough shots and blocking out limited second chance opportunities.
Andover led 21-14 at the break.
The Trojans run reached 20-5 run before the Pioneers finally found a break in the Trojans defense. Woolston started the second half as she did the first half, putting buckets in and increasing the Trojans advantage.
Kirah Stepps hit a three, finally bringing the Pioneers back into the game with 6:03 to go in the third.
Ralston’s put back with 3:43 to go in the third saw the Trojans grab a nine-point lead and much of the momentum. Lajada Owens answered back with a Ralston-style put back to keep the Pioneers back into the game.
Emma Cunningham’s uncontested bucket after the Trojans broke the West press gave the Trojans their largest lead up to that point at 34-20 with 30 seconds to go in the third quarter.
“We talked about blocking out after the first two games, making it a priority,” Cunningham said.
Andover forced a steal and that led to a Woolston layup go give Andover a 14-point lead early fourth and the two teams would trade buckets, with Andover holding a comfortable lead.
Wichita West tried to make a run but it was the length and the height that was too much for Wichita West. Rebound after rebound and solid post play stymied any Wichita West real comeback. They broke the press with ease and force Wichita West into tough shot selections.
“We were more patient in the second half, slowing down and that led to us breaking the press,” Anderson said.
Andover will get ready to end the first semester schedule at Maize South on Tuesday and against Goddard on Friday.
“We have two league games, so we hope to get rolling,” Anderson said. “We’re trying to meet the challenge and play hard. The wins and losses will take care of itself.”
W. West 10; 4; 8; 11 — 39
Andover 9; 12; 13; 18 — 52
West — Stepps 17, Moose 7, Owens 6, Profit 4, Turley 3, Campos 2
Andover — Cunningham 15, Woolston 12, Ralston 9, Forney 6, Brown 4, Day 4, Eby 2,