Youth and inexperience didn’t bother the Maize girls basketball team as they stopped Andover 68-57 in a season-opening game on Friday night at Maize.
“I’m happy with the win,” said Maize coach Jerod Handy, whose team is ranked third in Class 5A in a coaches association poll. “We have a long way to go.”
Four freshmen saw significant minutes and three started. Upperclassmen Halie Jones and Alexis Cauthon took turns leading. Jones had 12 points in the first half and Cauthon finished with 10.
“Halie and I just know we had to be the leaders out there tonight,” Cauthon said.
A 14-2 run gave Maize the lead for good, pushing the Eagles to a 26-14 advantage with 3:06 left in the second quarter. Maize led 31-22 at halftime.
As Maize took a 47-32 lead with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter, Andover’s Isabelle Reynolds and Shanti Henry led a comeback attempt. Andover cut into the lead. Reynolds had 16 points before fouling out.
Henry made 10 of 12 free throws and had 22 points, including three three-pointers.
Andover cut the lead to 54-49 with 2:39 remaining. Maize iced the game with five free throws.
With only one senior, who missed the game due to an injury in the pep assembly, Maize had to rely on new varsity players to get through the press break Andover ran all night.
“It was good to get this pressure,” Jones said. “We’ve been talking about communication in practice and we did a really good job of that tonight.”
Freshman Sydney Holmes scored six points in the fourth quarter, helping halt any chance of an Andover comeback.
“We are young,” Cauthon said. “This doesn’t feel like a rebuild, as we’re just teaching them what we know and hopefully that turns into wins.”
Andover: Henry 22, Reynolds 16, Gaddis 11, Jones 6, Showalter 2
Maize: Jones 19, Cauthon 15, Holmes 12, Gill 10, Miller 7, Espinoza 4