Andover girls rolls in sub-state first round

Lionel Tipton

ANDOVER – To say that Andover was hungry for a third shot at its intracity rival was a tremendous understatement.

The Trojans made that happen at the expense of winless Arkansas City, taking command from the outset and breezing to a 62-10 victory in a Class 5A sub-state play-in game.

The triumph advances Andover (9-11) into a semifinal game at powerful Andover Central (20-0), which already holds two victories over the Trojans this season.

If there is any silver lining for Andover, it might be that the Trojans got within 11 of the top-ranked Jaguars in their most recent meeting Feb. 12. And, of course, there is that adage that it is very difficult to beat a team three times in one season.

That does give Andover some hope, but that is tempered by the fact that Andover Central has won 41 consecutive games, the most recent a 62-37 rout at Eisenhower last Tuesday.

Still, the Trojans are going to be the team that earned the shot against the Jaguars, and they have every intention of trying to meet that challenge.

Andover coach Seth Anderson said is optimistic that his team can hang with Andover Central.

“The first time we played them, it wasn’t much of a game (60-13), but the last time we played them, we kept it close, we competed, that was our main goal,” Anderson said. “I think this time we’re really trying to focus on getting over the hump and trying to get a win.”

Anderson said his team will approach the game more relaxed.

“To be honest with you, this time I think the pressure is really on them more than it is on us,” he said. “We’re going to go and just play as hard as we can, and hopefully we can get something going, and catch them on an off night.” 

Andover does have a fairly young team, with just two seniors, and its leading scorer against Ark City was a freshman, guard Brooke Walker, who finished with a game-high 18 points in essentially three quarters of work.

Getting Walker back for three more years gives the Trojans something solid for the future.

“It’s a nice luxury to have,” Anderson said. “She competes hard on both sides, both ends of the court. She’s a great person to have the ball in her hands as a leader. She kind of is the engine that drives our team.”

Despite being a freshman, Walker exhibits poise at all times.

“I think we’re going to go into (Tuesday’s) game with confidence, and we’ve just got to go play hard, and give it all we’ve got that game,” she said. “I think they have all the pressure on them, and if we just go in there and play as hard as we can and give it to them, then I think we have a chance.”

And she is enthusiastic about Andover’s chances in the future.

“I can’t wait to play the next three years, because we had a really good season this year,” she said. “We’ve definitely improved, even through this season, and I think we can keep improving.”

Just as in the last matchup against Andover Central, Walker and senior Mallory Woolston were Andover’s leading scorers against Ark City (0-20). Walker had 10 against the Jaguars, and Woolston (14 against Ark City on Saturday) had a team-high 16. Both girls stand 5-foot-7.

Woolston’s ability to hit three-pointers enhances the Trojans’ attack, Anderson said. 

“She’s our shooter,” he said. “Brooke can drive, and we always have (Woolston) spotting up on the perimeter to try to get us going from the outside.”

Anderson said he probably won’t try anything different for the third game against the Jaguars.

“We probably are who we are at this point,” he said. “We’re trying to build on what we did last game against them. They’re such a hard matchup for us. We may do something different, a little bit here and there, but nothing drastic.

“You have to have a nearly perfect game, and we have to catch them on an off night, and that’s pretty much what will have to happen.”

Andover girls 62, Arkansas City 10

Arkansas City 5;0;0;5 – 10

Andover  15;21;19;7 – 62

ARKANSAS CITY – Badley 1(1) 1-2 6, Dykstra 1 0-0 2, Pride 1 0-1 2. Totals 3(1) 1-3 10.

ANDOVER – Walker 6(1) 3-4 18, Woolston 4(2) 0-0 14, Eby 3 3-6 9, Anderson 0(1) 1-2 4, Ralston 2 0-0 4, Christensen 0(1) 1-2 4, Forney 1 2-2 4, Johnson 0(1) 0-0 3, Kelly 1 0-0 2. Totals 17(6) 10-16 62.