(Lawrence) Suppose you went to a basketball game and a track meet broke out. That sure seemed to be what happened at Central Catholic as the Raiders and the visiting Lynn English Bulldogs met in the finals of the TD Bank Board 130 Basketball Classic.
I try to script every game I cover and whenever I get one like the Central Catholic/Lynn English game it makes me wonder why. There was some thought that maybe the referees called a lot of fouls because they needed a break!
Central Catholics (19-1) prevailed, 88-62, in a misleading final score. Lynn English (18-2) was only behind 52-46 with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
The next 2 ½ minutes did in the Bulldogs as the Raiders tallied sixteen points during their next eight possessions while LE had only a Keandre Stanton layup to show for the same number of opportunities.
In an attempt to slow down the Bulldog offense, the Raiders switched away from their usual man-to-man defense and used an active zone instead in the second half. It worked like a charm. LE couldn’t gear down to patiently attack the CC zone and had just two second-chance opportunities the entire second half.
The Raiders ran after rebounds and created many high-percentage looks as fatigue set in on the visitors. The result was a great run of productive offense sending CC in front 68-48 with 7 ½ minutes remaining in the game and coupled with LE’s top scorer (Travonne Berry-Rogers) fouling out made for a show-time finish for the Raiders in front of a nice holiday crowd.
Jimmy Zenevitch (20 points) had several dunks while Evan Sheehan (21 points) punched his ticket to the All-Tourney team with yet another three.
It was the pace of the game that caught my attention. Hadn’t these two teams just played twenty-four hours ago? Didn’t seem to matter especially to Lynn English. At times they had four defenders in the backcourt harassing CC dribblers and intercepting passes.
CC gave Lynn English fits in the frontcourt by getting into passing lanes.
The turnovers stats (25 for each team) were gruesome. Maybe it was fatigue but both teams rolled up steals on each other at an alarming rate.
CC may have won by 26 points but you couldn’t have envisioned that sort of outcome watching the second period.
The Bulldogs’ all-out defensive attack worked to perfection and a 24-16 CC lead disappeared as LE put together a 15-2 stretch that left the home team behind, 31-26.
However, despite having ten turnovers in the second period alone, CC was able to rally back late on five points from Doug Gemmell and get a 38-37 halftime lead.
Central Catholic’s ball management was suspect but its shooting was a consistent 50% in both halves (13-for-26 & 20-for-40).
One huge advantage for CC was their ability to hit the open shots that LE’s never-ending trapping occasionally made available. Evan Sheehan took full advantage of the open looks that came his way.
From the How-Can-It-Be Department: Evan got fouled on the last long-shot he attempted in the 4th quarter and proceeded to miss all three free throws.
Travonne Berry-Rogers (16 points) led the Bulldogs scorers but was held scoreless in the second half.
Keandre Stanton had twelve points and several leaping blocks. The Raider defense limited his moves on the offensive end by crowding him when he tried to dribble to get open.
The hero of the Andover game (Jaycob Morales) had all of his eight points in the second half. With Luis Puello limited (bad lower back) Jaycob had more responsibilities getting the ball up the court and running the offense.
Both teams came into this game having avenged their only losses of the season – LE to Salem and CC to Andover.
Central Catholic plays St. John’s at Danvers on Wednesday night. I can’t imagine the Raiders rolling up 88 points against them on the road. If they do, then the mystery of which team will come out of the Division 1 North in the tournament has been solved.
I sat with Alfonso Payne who is the assistant men’s basketball coach at Assumption. He was looking forward to having Jimmy Zenevitch on his roster for the next four seasons.