By Taylor Eldridge
I’ve been absent for the past couple of weeks, but let’s make my basketball debut with a little doubleheader action with Collegiate at Andover Central. Before we start, know that the girl’s game turned into a blowout quickly, as Tiffany Bias’ 34 points carried Central to a 65-41 thrashing in the night’s opener. Then in the nightcap, Collegiate overcame a 19-point deficit in the second quarter to rally to beat Central 63-60.
Now we got that out of the way, let the breakdown begin.
Girl’s Game: Andover Central 65, Collegiate 41
I expected this game to be a little closer than it actually was, but give credit to the Jaguars. They play at another speed than Collegiate, and it showed tonight. When Andover Central got out in transition, which was frequently, it typically would end with an open jumper or an easy lay-up.
I thought Bailey Gee, a 2008 Andover Central graduate, was the best high school girl’s basketball player I had seen play. But now, I might have to take that back and go with Tiffany Bias. If you have not had an opportunity to see her play, it’s a must-see. She can beat defenders off the dribble, she has good range and with a nifty step-back three-pointer that is a rarity at this level. Oh yeah, and she can a little bit of everything as she proved on Friday night with 34 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Bias scored 34 points in a variety of ways, but the most impressive part of her night was her defense against Collegiate star Ashia Woods. I was surprised that coach Stana Jefferson put Bias on Woods, who has a five-inch advantage, but why not? Bias showed she can defend not only guards, but a quality post player like Woods. Woods still scored 19 points, but she had her offensive touches limited and that disrupted Collegiate’s offense.
Collegiate actually led 6-5 three minutes into the game, but Central finished the quarter on a 15-3 run and never looked back. Central won the second and third quarters, 19-13 and 16-12 to take a 55-33 advantage to the fourth quarter. Without Woods being able to create offense, Collegiate struggled.
Real quick looking outside of the stars, I was impressed with Central’s Cami Gee and Kaitlin Tennyson. Obviously the attention will go to Bias, but Gee did a little bit of everything for the Jaguars (7 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) and Tennyson is a nice compliment to Bias as a lanky defender that can slash for baskets (14 points, 5 rebounds).
Collegiate is not that bad, I think Central is just that good. Make them a favorite in Class 5A this season. Collegiate struggled early in the season, as coach Terrence Phox summed up about his team’s motion offense that it’s not going to look pretty this early in the season. It’s not – right now, at least. But the Spartans have nice players in Kamri Phox and Sadie Clark and they still will be contenders for the 3A crown.
(5) Kamri Phox*1-50-00-02000402
(2) Mariah Green*2-40-00-04112102
(33) Molly Holden*0-00-00-00022000
(23) Sadie Clark*3-100-00-06145103
(34) Ashia Woods*8-120-13-619268021
(21) Emma Horton2-20-00-04011000
(32) Kati Broberg2-100-50-04011114
(1) Tiffany Massey0-00-00-00011003
(3) Sydney Lower1-20-00-02000023
(11) Keli Dunn0-10-00-00000000
(12) Kelsie Cole0-20-10-00000000
(15) Jerica Skar0-00-00-00000000
(23) Tiffany Bias*12-215-95-534336445
(33) Cami Gee*3-70-21-37549412
(12) Maddie Chapin*0-30-00-00011013
(10) Kaitlin Tennyson*5-122-72-314055230
(21) Kenzie Harding2-40-00-04246201
(32) Kimberly Chamberlin0-20-10-00011011
(1) Hannah Henry2-30-00-04022010
(5) Sarah Potter0-10-00-00011001
(44) Brae Stiverson1-10-00-02022002
(20) Megan Glenn0-00-00-00000000
(25) Danielle Ehrstein0-00-00-00000000
Boy’s Game: Collegiate 63, Andover Central 60
Now, to the game of the night.
I’ll admit, I counted Collegiate out early. But why not? Andover Central had dominated every phase of the game in taking a 31-12 lead with 4:37 remaining in the second quarter. Marshall Miller appeared to be unstoppable, scoring 11 points and Mark Anderson caught fire early with three three-pointers.
Then, all of a sudden without reason, Central began to tighten up. I don’t think it was fatigue, it was just mental mistakes that started piling up against Collegiate’s signature pressure in waves. Central went scoreless for the next three minutes, and Collegiate clawed to within seven before Central pushed its halftime lead to 10 at 34-24.
I thought that would be Collegiate’s run – a 12-0 to draw within seven. I knew they would make one last push at the lead in the third quarter, but I just didn’t see Collegiate having an answer for Miller. Let’s just say the third quarter was not how I was expecting it to go, and Andover Central fans would probably agree.
Collegiate’s full-court press sped up the game, therefore, speeding up Central’s decision-making. The Jaguars made some mistakes and it seemed to linger within them. Not only was Andover Central turning the ball over, but it could not buy a free throw. In the second half alone, Central committed 11 turnovers and missed 14 of 21 free throws. 21 turnovers and 20 missed free throws, in short, are how the Jaguars lost the game, despite shooting 50 percent from the field.
If you notice the points scored, Collegiate only had four points from its second wave of players. But the difference was the defensive pressure, it never let up from the Spartans. I was so impressed by the way Collegiate completely and utterly took Andover Central out of its game plan of slowing it down and playing in the halfcourt. The Spartans sped this game up and used its depth and pressure to get back in the game.
Finally the Spartans took the lead 40-39 with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. Everyone knew it was game on then. The teams would trade the lead five times, before Collegiate opened up a 6-point cushion thanks to superior free throw shooting (again, compare Central’s 11-of-31 effort to Collegiate’s 15-of-20). But Central still fought back. Jack Gentry drained two three-pointers, the second drawing Central to within one with 43 seconds left.
Collegiate’s Ty Fiegel was then fouled and missed both of his attempts. I thought Central would hold for the last shot, but Marshall Miller drove and drew contact and was fouled with 23 seconds to go. Now let me say this – Miller was the best player on the floor and will be for almost every game this season. But it goes back to what I said earlier, it seemed like the mistakes piled up and Central didn’t let them go. So clank went the first free throw and clank went the second and Central rebounded and called a timeout.
Inbounding under their own basket, the Spartans had Blake Jablonski throw it in. No one was open for the first three seconds, then Tre Bailey backcut towards the opposite basket and Jablonski threw a jump-ball and Bailey won and converted for an easy lay-up for a 63-60 lead with 12 seconds to go. Central pushed the ball up the court and found Mark Anderson, its sharpshooter, open in the corner. His shot rolled around the rim, but lipped out. Devastating for him. He made his first four shots, then missed his last six.
Give credit where credit is due and that’s to the Collegiate’s faith and defense. They never gave up and it paid off, but also realize that Andover Central wins this game nine out of 10 times. There aren’t many instances the Jaguars will shoot 11 of 31 from the free throw line. Even 60 percent tonight and likely Central holds on for the win. I think that’s why coach Jesse Herrmann wasn’t too distraught about the loss.
Collegiate doesn’t get back in this game and then win it without Blake Jablonski catching fire at the end. He was 1 of 8 in the first half and only had nine points entering the fourth quarter. But Central had problems defending his range, as he pulled the trigger on two devastating three’s and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Both of these teams will be contenders for their respective state crowns. I like Central a lot. Marshall Miller and Randall Vautravers are two studs. They combined for 30 points and 17 rebounds. But they also combined for 7 of 21 free throw shooting and 8 turnovers. That’s not going to get it done.
Obviously this brings up the question if Collegiate could win in the City League. There is no question over half of the teams in the City League are more talented than Collegiate. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. But there are not many that play team ball and have a better system in place than Fiegel’s at Collegiate. It’s tough to say how they would do against East or Heights. But I don’t see why they couldn’t give everybody else in the City League a game. I view Collegiate as sort of the Gonzaga of high school basketball. They are good enough to compete with anybody for one night, but I’m not sure how they would hold up with a schedule in the City League over the course of a season.
Oh yeah, and if there was any television network that got a shot of Miller’s dunk in the first quarter please let me know. That was sick-nasty.
(1) Bryce Cornejo*6-101-32-215123202
(5) Ty Fiegel*3-62-40-38123013
(33) Blake Jablonski*4-153-78-919246123
(23) Brett LeMaster*3-90-01-273912210
(44) Tre Bailey*3-30-04-410224000
(3) Kevin Richardson0-20-10-00101000
(10) Raymond Taylor0-40-00-00000111
(11) Keenan Tisdale0-10-00-00000003
(24) Doug Burton2-50-10-04044022
(45) Trace Clark0-10-00-00011020
(42) Markus Phox0-10-00-00000110
(3) Jack Gentry*3-93-71-210134103
(10) Mark Anderson*4-103-90-011033202
(23) Randall Vautravers*5-91-42-9133912102
(15) Marshall Miller*6-110-05-1217235136
(44) Boston Stiverson*0-00-01-41066033
(5) Chris McWhorter0-00-00-00000102
(12) Grant Trembly1-10-00-02022001
(33) Adam Wilks1-10-01-13112022
(25) Taylor Lock1-10-01-33000000