Senior guard Nicole Boudreau put on a show as the Andover Golden Warriors have made it three in a row, defeating Holyoke 61-45 in Saturday night’s Division 1 state championship game at the DCU Center in Worcester.
“It means everything. If we didn’t (win), it would have been horrible,” Boudreau said. “The fact that we came out on top and we three-peated and I’m out of here with the three-peat, there’s really nothing better.”
Andover (27-0) is the second team in Massachusetts to win three consecutive state championships, including Haverhill.
“I’m just so proud. Three in a row and the icing on the cake is going undefeated,” said Andover coach James Tildsley. “I’m at a loss for words because I’m just so happy for these kids. Nicole is just an incredible, incredible player. The things she does out there that people don’t see, she just knows the game. “
The Boston College bound Boudreau finished with a game-high 31 points. In her four seasons, Boudreau led Andover to a 97-9 record. A two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, Boudreau finishes as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,200 career points.
“I’m honored to have worn an Andover uniform and hopefully represented pretty well,” Boudreau said. “I just came in as a freshman just trying to get better as a basketball player and a person. I could have never predicted this could have happened. What better way to end it?”
Boudreau opened the game with a quick three-pointer from Boudreau and the Golden Warriors held Holyoke scoreless until 5:53 in the first when junior forward Nyomi Walker netted a fast-break layup. The Purple Knights played basket to basket with Andover, using their speed to run past the Golden Warriors' full-court press. Andover led 15-14 after eight minutes.
Holyoke put their best defender, Selena Yates, on Boudreau. She played tight defense in the first half, limiting Boudreau to 11 points.
“She’s a great defender, we all knew they were going to try to pressure me and make me do things I didn’t want to do,” Boudreau said. “She made it really tough on me.”
The Golden Warriors opened the second frame on a 6-0 run, but quickly gave four points back to Holyoke. The Purple Knights got a basket from senior guard Monique Heard and a steal and layup from Yates to cut Andover’s lead to two. Holyoke tied the game 23-23 with 3:14 left in the half off an old-fashioned three-point play from junior guard Kirsy Segarra. The Purple Knights took their first lead of the game with 45 seconds left in the second on a three pointer from Segarra. They took the 27-25 lead into the half.
“We came in at half time and said 'listen, 16 minutes left, how much do you want it,’ ” Tildsley said.
Neither team managed a point in the opening minutes of the second half until Boudreau netted two from the line with 4:36 left in the third. It was the fourth foul on Yates and took her out of the game for the remainder of the quarter. Holyoke got one back with a free throw of their own, but Andover regained the lead with another Boudreau charity point and a layup from Jackie Alois.
Defensively, Andover found their groove in the second half, as they limited Holyoke to three points in the third quarter. Without Yates on the floor, Boudreau was able to take control offensively, scoring eight points in the quarter, including a big three with just over a minute left to give Andover an eight-point lead. The Golden Warriors opened up a 41-30 lead after three quarters.
“We said, ‘hey, we have to get back on defense’ and we did that in the second half,” Tildsley said. “We just played so tough defensively, especially in the third quarter and that was the whole difference.”
Once Andover found their rhythm, there was no slowing them down. The Golden Warriors scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, including 12 from Boudreau.
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