Trojan boy's run ends in loss to Carroll, 53-34
WICHITA, Kansas—The magical end was going to come to an end at some point but the Andover Trojans boy’s basketball team wanted to dictate how it ended.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bishop Carroll Golden Eagles had the say in how it ended as they lead for all but 90 seconds. The Trojans never found themselves within 15 in the fourth quarter as Carroll eliminated Andover from the Class 5A sub-state finals, 53-34.
“Over the last two years and with the teams we’ve played, I have a hard time finding a better team than that right there,” Andover Head Coach Martin Shetlar said. "More credit to them for taking us out of our game."
The run that never happened last year because COVID-19 halted everything. The win streak that rose into the 30s and the bullseye on the back of a team that were led by a group of seniors that helped change the trajectory of a program. With all of the records that were set and the new level of expectations that are now put into place, the ending is heartbreaking. However, the future is bright for Andover.
“I feel like Andover is a basketball school now,” Shetlar said. “It never was before.
“They’ve changed the culture and it means a lot to our community and our school.”
The shots just never fell for the Trojans (19-3), as they were an uncharacteristic 2 of 15 from behind the arc. It was a combination of early nerves and the overwhelming length presented by the Golden Eagles. They made everything Andover did a challenge and did it without leading scorer, Alex Littlejohn, doing too much. It was everyone else. It was Enrique Lankford and Carter Reid who did most of the damage on the afternoon. Lankford led the way, scoring 10 points in the first half, including two threes that felt like a dagger. He would finish with a game high, 18 points.
Carroll (19-2) led 26-15 at halftime and the Trojans quickly scored on an and-one coming out of halftime to cut the deficit to eight. This was the Trojan team we’ve seen come back time and time again. This was their move to make this a game.
Not this time.
Jack Johnson scored to push it back to eight with 6:48 remaining in the third. However, Andover turned it over on the following possession. Reid would score on a bucket and then follow it up on the ensuing possession for three. The 8-point deficit grew to double digits and they would never get within 12 again.
“I thought we played hard we just couldn't find a good a bucket,” Shetlar said. “They were making shots."
The ball didn’t just roll Andover’s way all game. When Carroll missed a free throw, it fell into the wrong hands and led to a bucket by Carroll. A loose ball on the court with everyone diving, the Golden Eagles picked it up, slashed to the rim and scored. The little things made the difference in a game that was probably meant to play in Emporia for a ring. Instead, it was relegated for a sub-state title.
“Once we got down we just, just kind of snowballed on us,” Shetlar said. “It still wasn't our best game tonight.
“It just wasn't there and that's what that's the hardest, most disappointing part of it.”
Senior, Jack Johnson finishes his illustrious Andover career as the all-time leading scorer in school history, single game scoring record and a part of the most successful 2-year run in school history.
Kaleb Gaddis, one of the state’s most prolific point guards, finished with 11 points and will go down as one of the highest assist leaders in school history.
Isaiah Maikori, who will play football at the next level, never shied away from a defensive assignment and left every on the court.
Cade Gehring, who stepped in a starting position his senior year and made opponents respect his 3-point shot and force single coverage onto his teammates.
Over the last two seasons, Andover rode these seniors to a combined 42-3 record and an appearance in the state semifinals a year ago.
“We have a really talented group coming back next season because of what they’ve learned from these seniors,” Shetlar said.
Andover will only return one starter next season, BJ Redic. However, Brady Strausz and Eli Shetlar will step into more predominate roles next season with their success this year. Add in players like Tayton Klein and Matt Rudy, who started earlier in the season, and the future is bright for Andover.
"We'll be there like they [Carroll] are in about two years," Sheltar said. "We'll have guys who've been there and we'll have the length and experience and know how to get there."
Maikori led Andover with nine points on the night. Gaddis, Gehring and Johnson all had six. Shetlar had seven for Andover as well.
Carroll advances to the Class 5A State Tournament, which begins on Tuesday. They will host Maize at 6 p.m.
Bishop Carroll 53, Andover 34
Andover (19-3): Maikori 3 3-4 9, Shetlar 2 3-3 7, Gaddis 1 (1) 1-2 6, Gehring 1 (1) 1-1 6, Johnson 2 2-4 6. TOTALS: 9 (2) 10-14 34.
Bishop Carroll (19-2): Lankford 5 (2) 2-2 18, Reid 3 (1) 0-0 9, Littlejohn 2 (1) 2-2 9, Rottinghaus 4 0-0 8, Schmidt 2 0-0 4, Polley 1 1-2 3, Biby 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 18 (4) 5-6 53.