The book is out on these Eisenhower Tigers.
They yearn to speed you up and let their speed overwhelm you. They get up in your face and when you’re not looking, gamble for the steal. And they love nothing more than to funnel the ball to their 26-point-per-game scorer, junior Trevon Evans.
Andover limited everything on that checklist, yet still came away befuddled how the Tigers were the ones celebrating the 48-43 victory on their home court Tuesday night.
Eisenhower’s 16th win accomplished the following: remaining unbeaten in Division II of the AV-CTL, taking a step closer to its first league title, and clinching the top seed in its sub-state.
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“We proved to other teams that we don’t have to run out all the time and we don’t have to just get fast break points,” Evans said. “We can play in the halfcourt and still do what we do and score points.”
Andover held the Tigers 18 points under their season average, mostly because Evans never attained an offensive rhythm while scoring his game-high 22 points on 20 shots. The Trojans also held Brennan Stemple, who averages double-figures, scoreless.
Eisenhower overcame all of that through stellar play from Matt Morris (12 points, 8 rebounds) and Masen Allen (6 points, 6 rebounds) in holding their own against Andover’s duo of Adam DeKoning and Dallas Bruner, who tallied a combined 22 points and 18 rebounds.
“We showed quite a bit of toughness and definitely some character,” Eisenhower coach Steve Blue said. “We showed in the halfcourt we can battle inside and we can win in a variety of ways.”
Andover dictated the pace of the game and made Eisenhower’s desired up-and-down offense look like it was sprinting against the wind. The Trojans used the timely shooting of Tyler Kvasnicka (13 points) to take control of the game in the second half and led 39-38 with 5:15 remaining.
When the game became a possession-for-possession duel, Evans was at his best. He knifed through the lane to draw a foul and a three-point play for a 43-39 lead and then scored on a run-out for a 45-41 lead.
But another heavy offensive load combined with 17 straight games of little-to-no rest appeared to weigh down Evans. The most evident sign came when the 90-percent foul shooter missed two late in the game, although Andover never converted a tying shot.
“I should have got him some breaks, but at this point in the season we’re all tired,” Blue said of Evans, who scored Eisenhower’s final nine points. “He just has to grind through it and tonight he stepped up and made some big plays.”
The Tigers understand they won’t always be able to make scoring 65 look effortless. To reach their goals, they’ll run into a team much like Andover in a game much like the one on Tuesday when Evans isn’t on and Eisenhower will have to find a way to prevail.
“We’ll be fine whenever it comes,” Evans said. “We’ll be all right.”
ANDOVER: Carter 5, Bezdek 3, Kvasnicka 13, DeKoning 7, Bruner 15, Beahm 0, Klusener 0, Brown 0, Lester 0. Totals 13 (5) 12-15 43.
EISENHOWER: Evans 22, Strunk 2, Stemple 0, Allen 6, Morris 12, Southworth 5, Salmon 2, Kuhn 0. Totals 17 (3) 12-16 48.