When Andover Central coach Jesse Herrmann said it was a good thing senior Cole Kretchmar picked up his third foul at the 6:21 mark of the second quarter Friday night at Andover High, it was pure sarcasm.
Herrmann wants Kretchmar on the court. The Jaguars need him on the court.
But Kretchmar missed practice on Thursday due to a fever, coughing and vomiting, so his enforced stay on the bench through most of the first half actually worked in the Jaguars’ favor.
Kretchmar was rested in the second half when he hit three three-pointers, including converting a four-point play, as Andover Central got the 38-33 victory.
Andover Central is 19-0, 11-0 in the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail II, while Andover is 11-7, 5-5.
“It’s just been a tough day,” Kretchmar said. “It’s tough because really I had nothing left in the tank in the first quarter.”
Little worked offensively for either team in a physical, defensive game. Andover shot 12 of 32 from the field, while Andover Central was 13 of 38.
So when Andover Central took a 25-20 lead heading into the final period after consecutive baskets inside by Matt Clements, it looked as though the Jaguars might have gained enough separation to get the win.
“It’s one of those games where you’re struggling,” Herrmann said. “I thought the first team to 40 would win it after watching how it started.”
Andover opened the fourth quarter with a basket from Robert Peare, who had a team-high 12 points and 10 rebounds. That basket started an 11-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Peare, for the 31-27 lead with 4:47 to go.
Less than 20 seconds later, though, Kretchmar took an inbounds pass in the right corner and hit a three, was fouled and made the free throw to tie the score at 31-all.
“I actually felt a lot better after that,” Kretchmar said. “We needed a big play. Nothing was going for us. That’s one of our favorite inbounds plays to run.”
About a minute later, Kretchmar got the ball at the top of the key, faked as though he was going to drive to the basket and pivoted forward. But as the defender slid past him, Kretchmar stepped back behind the three-point line and hit the shot for the 34-31 lead with 3:40 to go.
“That was huge,” Herrmann said. “We ended up getting two big swings. That was a hug swinging point.
“And any lead late, with points at a premium tonight, were going to be big.”
Andover Central held Andover scoreless for nearly five minutes before Peare scored with seven seconds remaining. Jaguars junior Zach Winter hit four free throws in the final 14.5 seconds.
Andover Central – Kretchmar 10, Winter 13, Kaufman 8, Koenigs 0, Clements 4, Holinde 0, Gazda 3. Totals 13 (5) 7-12 38.
Andover – Dick 2, DeKoning 4, Peare 12, Patrick 10, Carter 0, Bruner 0, Boswell 2, Kvasnicka 3, Beahm 0. Totals 12 (2) 7-13 33.