St. John’s Prep Cagers Shocked by Andover, 62-59

This was big-time high school tournament basketball at its best in Massachusetts, A turnaway crowd of 1300 in the Prep’s Memorial Gymnasium Friay night to watch Division 1 North top-seeded St. John’s (19-2) host No. 8 seed Andover (15-6), with dueling student cheering sections, outstanding clutch play, a battle of matching wits between coaches Sean Connolly and Andover’s Dave Fazio and the most intense chest-to-chest, man-to-man defense you wll ever seeand all.

In the end, it came down to a buzzer-beating, game-tieing, driving layup by Andover to force the game into overtime at 48-48 (after the Prep’s Josh Syska had canned an eight-foot baseline jumper with seven seconds remaining for what appeared to be the winning bucket), and superior Warrior overtime play that produced a pulsating 62-59 upset victory.


  • The Prep lost this game in regulation based on poor foul shooting and its inability to get back on defense in the closing seconds. Half the crowd thought the layup basket at the end of regulation by sophomore David Giribaldi was good; half thought it was no good. Initially the basket waqs waved off and the Prep thought it had won, storming the court. But after Fazio spoke to the officials, asking for reconsideration, he got it. The head referee, after a minute’s delay and consultation with his two fellow officials, ruled the field goal good, and we had overtime.
  • It was 60-58 with 23 seconds left when the Prep’s Jake Burt was fouled on an inside shot attempt and got two shots. he made the first, missed the second, and the Prep trailed by one and the home team had to foul.
  • Andover made one foul shot to make it 61-59, but a travel violation by Drex Costello in the offensive end with 11.4 second left was a killer.
  • Prep Game MVP Tyler Dooley , after Andover made one more free throw to make it 62-59 with 15.3 seconds left, missed an air-ball three in the final seconds.
  • Free throws hurt both teams, the Prep made 9 of 12 in overtime, but missed a bundle during regulation (17 for 33 overall). Andover missed four of its last six in overtime, which could have given the Prep a chance to win it.
  • Bottom line: The Prep could not hold a 46-39 lead on its home floor in the final 2:49 of regulation; the Prep missed several shots that could have iced the game in that span; and, as noted already, the Eagles could not stop Andover from going coast to coast for the tieing layup as regulation time expired.
  • Andover’s Fazio is a coach you love to hate if you’re not an Andover fan, his constant complaining to the officials a terrible distraction, but the man can coach.
  • Sadly, this is one the Prep let get away; an end to a spectacular over-achieving season that had the Eagles ranked atop The Boston Globe Top 20 when the regular season had concluded.
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