Five seconds before halftime Friday, Andover’s Jaylyn Agnew failed to score on a lob near the basket, then committed her third foul going for the rebound.
It was a moment of peril for the Trojans, one that forced Andover coach Max Hamblin to open the second half against Bishop Carroll in a zone to protect his senior standout.
It wasn’t Andover’s preferred option, but it was effective. Agnew never got her fourth foul, and Carroll never got comfortable offensively. Led by senior Kate Day’s 18 points, Andover pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 46-33 victory at Koch Arena.
“Once we found out it was working and they weren’t hitting shots, it really helped out a lot,” said Day, who made 11 of 14 free throws to help Andover improve to 6-1. “We don’t use a lot of players off the bench, so it helped with that.”
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Andover, No. 6 in the Class 5A coaches rankings, won its fourth straight despite committing 20 turnovers. The Trojans got all of their points from starters and dealt No. 10 Carroll (4-3) its third loss to a ranked team.
“We had been thinking about playing a little bit of zone defense because we’d seen some things on film,” said Hamblin, whose team limited Carroll to 12-of-53 shooting (23 percent). “It turned out to be a blessing. We played it pretty well.”
The Trojans made it work by outrebounding Carroll 47-30. Agnew, who finished with eight points, led Andover with 12 rebounds. Senior Hayley Meisch added eight points and nine rebounds, and Riley Messina, Day’s backcourt mate, had nine rebounds.
“When they went to the zone, I honestly felt like we got good shots,” Carroll coach Taylor Dugan said. “We just didn’t make them.
“We talked at halftime about getting it inside and getting it to whoever (Agnew) was guarding. But in the end, they would get the rebound.”
Carroll’s Shelby Lopez scored the first points of the fourth quarter to cut Andover’s lead to 28-25. But Agnew found Meisch inside for a basket, then Day followed with a driving bank shot that made it 32-25 with 4:23 to play.
“We knew they were going to come out and pressure Jaylyn a lot,” Day said. Riley and I were prepared to take over a little bit. We felt like we could get to the bucket.”
With Carroll struggling to hit shots, Andover countered by making 14 of 19 free throws in the fourth quarter to stretch its lead to double digits.
Andover’s victory over a 5A opponent could have added significance later in the season. That fact wasn’t lost on Hamblin.
“We’re playing for a No. 1 seed in our sub-state, and we might see them again,” Hamblin said. “Every game is very, very important.”
Carroll – Youngers 8, Lopez 9, Maul 9, Bockover 1, Bullinger 2, Carrillo 4.
Andover – Agnew 8, Day 18, Messina 6, Tilson 6, Meisch 8.