Exeter boys basketball captures fifth title

Big Red avenged an E/A Weekend loss with a win over Andover in the New England Class A final. 

Brian Muldoon
March 4, 2024
Phillips Exeter Academy Basketball

Big Red won all three of their tournament games on the road en route to the New England Class A crown. 

Exeter boys basketball are champions once again as Big Red captured their fifth NEPSAC Class A title with a 60-42 victory over Andover in Sunday’s final on the campus of Clark University.

Big Red led wire-to-wire and avenged a loss to the Blue in the regular-season finale to wrap up their season with a 19-5 record. Exeter once again proved to be the preeminent program in the division as the five titles are the most in Class A since 2012; no other program has won more than twice in that span.

Exeter, the sixth seed entering the tournament, earned road wins over third-ranked Tabor Academy (93-63) and second-ranked Milton Academy (63-51) on the way to the championship matchup with eighth-seeded Andover.

“This was just an incredible run for our team,” said Big Red head coach Jay Tilton, who has helmed all five titles. “Turning in three straight road wins against top Class A teams illustrates the mental toughness and competitive nature of this group. They have been committed to something bigger than themselves from day one and I could not be more proud of them.”

Tyler Bike ’25 was named Most Valuable Player following the win. The point guard was instrumental in controlling the game while pouring in a game-high 16 points.

Big Red gained control early with stingy defense and rode the offense from Osiris Nalls ’24 and Henry Bickford ’24, who each scored seven points in the opening half, to build a 29-19 edge at the break.

Andover cut the deficit to single digits with consecutive buckets in the opening minute of the second half, but Exeter answered with a pair of Bike 3-pointers to push its advantage to 37-26. An offensive rebound putback from Jordan McConnell ’25 and a steal and score from Nalls extended the Big Red lead to 41-26 with 10 minutes to go.

Exeter continued to stymie the Andover offense and get the ball to the rim on the other end. Big Red padded their lead to 54-37 with a pair of Nalls free throws and another layup from McConnell with just under four minutes to close out the victory.