State tournament Preview: Golden Warrior girls basketball hockey eye state championship runs

Mar. 2—In the movie Rocky III, Rocky looks across the ring to an angry Clubber Lang and says, "You won't have to look to find me. I'm here."

The Andover High girls might want to look into that as a T-shirt slogan.

The top-seeded Warriors, finalists in Division 1 last year and 21-0 this winter, earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MIAA State Tournament.

Fresh off an impressive sweep through the IAABO Board 27/Comcast Tournament, in which they knocked off No. 2 Bishop Feehan and the top team in Division 2 Medfield, the Warriors are again the team to beat.

"Andover... 21-0 ... Absolutely the team to beat," said North Andover High coach Jess Deveny. "They're also playing with the most pressure on them."

You won't have to look hard to find Andover.

The Warriors come at you with a pair of Eagle-Tribune Super Teamers in Anna Foley (16.1 ppg, 8.3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.5 steals, 2 blocks) and Amelia Hanscom (12.8 ppg, 7.7 rebounds).

They also feature a tested, tourney-tough trio of seniors who've been through so many battles together.

"We're trying to enjoy the moment. To be honest, the four years have gone by quickly," said Warrior coach Alan Hibino. "They had the great run their freshman year. Sophomore year, it was great just to be playing."

And last year, the Warriors reached the state finals. The goal is clearly to take it that one step further.

Andover was the dominant force in a Merrimack Valley Conference that has simply owned the power rankings.

All five MVC teams in the D-1 tourney rank 22 or higher, meaning nobody's forced to be in a play-in game. In Division 2, Dracut, Billerica and Tewksbury all earned strong (no lower than 17) rankings. Translation? The MVC was pretty darn good this year.

"I think it is the best conference in the state. That prepares you. Everyone comes ready to play in our league," said Hibino. "Now, the slate is clean again. We did our work in the regular season, now we need to do our work in the postseason."


It's been quite a winter for the Andover girls (14-3-2), which enter the postseason as the No. 3 seed in Division 2.

"Our team is feeling excited and confident heading into the tournament," said Andover second-year head coach Meghan Keefe. "We competed hard in the regular season, and we know the opportunity we have ahead of us. Our team has been putting in the work during practices and we are eager to bring this energy into the tournament."

The Golden Warriors won 10 of their final 11 games, and their only two losses after the calendar turned to 2023 were to Division 1 top seed St. Mary's of Lynn and Division 2 No. 2 seed Duxbury. Along the way, Andover earned wins over both Methuen/Tewksbury and HPNA. Rose MacLean (9 goals) centers the Warrior offense.

"The team is working hard and excited for playoff," said top forward Eliza O'Sullivan. "It's our goalie's (Allie Batchelder) first year and she has really stepped up for us. The whole team is looking forward to playoffs."


Once 5-7 and searching, David Fazio's Warriors have ripped off eight straight wins — including victories over No. 2 Lawrence and No. 4 Central — to claim the No. 8 seed.

Andover made the Final Four a year ago, with many of these pieces including 2022 MVC co-MVP Ryan MacLellan (18.0 ppg), playing significant roles in that run.

"We're happy to be seeded eighth and playing at home. If we're fortunate enough to win one, then we can have another home game," said Fazio. "That's the whole point of playing a tough schedule like we did."

Andover's getting contributions up and down the lineup with Rohit Srinivasan, Danny Resendiz, Chase Lembo and freshman Luka Palermo all delivering on a nightly basis.

Off the bench, guys like Brian Hnat and Leo Ackerman have proven to be quite reliable, and bruiser Lincoln Beal is back and healthy.

Andover awaits the winner of Marshfield and Springfield Central, which means a road scouting trip to Western Mass. for Fazio and the Warriors' staff.


Few teams closed out the regular season hotter than the Andover boys. The Golden Warriors won their final three straight, and were 8-1-3 over their final 11 games.

"The boys are absolutely dialed in for playoffs right now," said top-scorer and senior Alex Doudkin. "We've all been working hard over the break, and we're more ready than ever to play this Wednesday. Coming from a big win in the Newburyport Bank Classic tournament, we hope to carry this momentum into Wednesday and dominate."

The Golden Warriors (11-5-3) are the No. 21 seed in the Division 1 tournament.

Leading the Andover offense are Doudkin (13 goals), Carter Hillson (10 goals, team-high 23 points) and Braeden Archambault (9 goals, 21 points).

"Just like in the regular season we will go down there and control what we can control we are confident but we respect them one game at a time," said Andover coach Kevin Drew.