Big Red beats buzzers in dramatic E/A wins

Boys basketball, boys hockey walk off with wins to highlight a theatrical winter showdown at Andover.

Brian Muldoon
February 29, 2020
Phillips Exeter Academy Basketball Lucas Grandison

Lucas Grandison '20 scores the final two of his 17 points as the buzzer sounds to give Big Red a win in an overtime thriller. 

ANDOVER, Mass. — Hyped-up crowds, heart-stopping finishes and the fiercest high school rivalry in the country; this winter's edition of Exeter/Andover weekend featured it all.

Buzzer-beating victories for boys basketball and boys hockey and a furious rally by girls basketball punctuated an outstanding day for Exeter on the Andover campus to put a stamp on the winter season.

The boys basketball duel proved most dramatic, with Exeter's Lucas Grandison ’20 corralling a loose ball and laying it in as the buzzer sounded in overtime for the 64-62 win.

After a missed three-point attempt with time winding down, a scrum for the rebound ended with an Andover player saving the ball from going out of bounds, but Grandison was there to intercept and sank the put-back before being mauled by his teammates and a raucous Exeter crowd that stormed the court.

The game was tight from the opening tip, with Exeter holding a slim lead for most of the game. Big Red would extend their lead to 10 with six minutes to go, but Andover responded with a run, tying the game on a drive with just 1.3 seconds left on the clock to force overtime.

Exeter held control through the opening two minutes of overtime as Josh Morissette ’22 scored five unanswered points to give Big Red a small cushion. The teams would exchange buckets before the Blue used a 5-0 spurt of their own to even the game at 62-62 ahead of Grandison’s heroics. Morissette equalled Grandison's 17 points, while Declan Porter ’20 and Neil Owens ’20 added 14 and eight, respectively. Boys basketball will continue their season in the playoffs as they look to defend their New England Class A title.

The boys hockey team enjoyed a nearly as dazzling finish, as senior Reese Ramirez ’20 buried a centering feed from fellow co-captain Danny Colon ’20 with just 41.5 seconds left to break a scoreless tie and give Big Red a thrilling 1-0 victory.

The goal came after each side had a bevy of scoring chances. Both net minders, including Exeter co-captain Ryan Welch ’20, were superb down the stretch, making several game-saving stops. An Exeter penalty with just under five minutes to play gave Andover control of the puck, but Welch was there to make a pair of saves to keep the game scoreless. The play continued to bounce from end to end before Ramirez tipped in the pass from Colon to send the crowd into a frenzy.

The excitement continued back in the gym as the Big Red girls basketball stormed back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to eventually take the lead with under a minute to go. Senior co-captain Eva Carchidi ’20 led the Big Red comeback with eight of her game high 24 points in a two-minute span late in the fourth.

Trailing by one with 50 seconds left, senior Dennesha Rolle ’20 knocked the ball loose and dove on the floor for a steal before passing the ball up to Claudia Lee ’20. Lee would pull up and knock down an 18-foot jumper to give Exeter their first lead of the second half. Andover would draw a foul on the ensuing possession and drain both free throws to reclaim a one-point edge, 52-51, with 26 seconds to go. Exeter’s late 3-point attempt would fall short, and Andover would ice the game with another pair of free throws for the 54-51 win.

The girls hockey team battled hard but could not find the back of the net in a 4-0 loss to the Blue. Andover drew a penalty and scored on the power play just 30 seconds into the game to take control early. The Blue would add one more in the second period before scoring a pair back-to-back late in the third to cap the victory in a hard fought, physical affair.