ANDOVER -- On the sideline, cheering, directing and otherwise focusing on managing Andover's boys basketball team, David Fazio is a happy man. He has moved on from the sexual hazing debacle that has enraptured his school.
In the boys basketball team's first game of the season on Tuesday night, the Golden Warriors beat visiting Methuen 63-49 with Fazio peppering his players with instructions on the sideline, as he has done for the last 23 years he’s been with the school.
"You have no idea how good it feels to be out here," Fazio said before the game.
Fazio was reinstated as coach after being placed on paid administrative leave following the fallout of the hazing scandal. Seven members of the Andover basketball team were disciplined for engaging in a sexual hazing act at a basketball camp at Stonehill College in Easton. Two of the team's members, the alleged ringleaders, were expelled, according to a report in the Eagle-Tribune, which first reported the story.
The players reportedly pressured two of their younger teammates into a sexual hazing game called "wet biscuit," in which the loser was forced to eat a cookie with bodily fluids on it. One victim has since left the school district and Stonehill College has cut ties with the camp, Hoop Mountain, after being notified by Easton police of the incident.
Andover senior captain James Costello, who was named the team's captain this summer, powered his team with 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win. He said the hazing incident was a one-time affair.
"We just have to, all together, be cognizant of our actions and be real role models going forward," Costello said.
The Golden Warriors have moved on without the players involved in the incident.
"That was my only five," said Fazio of the players in the starting lineup when asked about the team's dismissed players.
"Everybody who came out on the first day of practice, we brought them back,” Fazio said before the game. "We had to make some adjustments, but everybody who came out to that first practice got an opportunity.”
For Fazio, watching this crop of basketball players, including starters Sam Dowden (13 points, seven rebounds), Chris Dunn (12 points) and Greg Dreyfus (eight points), has been the greatest reward so far.
“These guys, they understand,” Fazio said after the game. “It’s kind of difficult situation. Everybody knows that. What we’ve asked them to do is [deal with] some adversity. You can judge character by how well you handle adversity.
“At the end of the day, they just want to play basketball,” Fazio continued. “They love basketball, I think they’re happy to have their coach with them, and I love these kids. We’ve always had great kids. It’s just been an unfortunate situation.”
Methuen was led by Kyle Mansour who tallied 18 points on the night.
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- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
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