Category Archives: Central Catholic

Central Catholic holds off Everett 68-65 to reach D1 North finals

Ghared Boyce, defended by Kevin Constant, has a possible game-tying shot in the air as the buzzer sounds.

Bret Edwards found two openings to the basket late in the game.

(North Andover MA) Ghared Boyce put up his second 3-pointer in the final thirty seconds but this one didn’t go and #3 Central Catholic had a gutsy 68-65 win over #2 Everett on Wednesday night.

The victory sends Central (20-5) to the Division 1 North finals on Saturday against Cambridge at North Andover High School (6PM).  The Raiders lost, 70-61, to Cambridge in February.

Tonight’s game was exciting and enthusiastically watched.  Fifteen lead changes will do that to you!

Bret Edwards turned out to be the hero for Central because he cashed two layups in the last 1:18 of the contest.

Bret’s first layup was answered by a second-chance triple by Ghared Boyce that put the Tide (19-3) within one (66-65).  Bret’s second layup, with eleven seconds left, gave the Raiders a 3-point cushion. When Ghared’s last-second, triple try went wide the team from Lawrence had win #20 and at least one more game to play.

Theo Zidor gets the bad news (5 fouls) with three minutes left.

The reigning Super Bowl champs played much of the second half without 6’6” inside player Theo Zidor because of foul trouble.

Junior Ghared Boyce led all scorers with twenty-one points.  Ghared already has 1000 points.  The 6’ guard had a quiet first half (five points) but was the go-to guy for Everett down the stretch.

Colin Bradanese paced Central with twenty points.  Teammate Dom Keegan drained five triples for fifteen points.  CC had eight from long range.

Jordan McAfee carried Everett in the first half with seventeen points.

Sam Lara had a quiet six points for CC after netting twenty-five in the quarter-finals against Andover.

The Raiders won despite missing nine free throws (14/23).

Everett has now last five straight years in the D1 North semi-finals.

Everett box

Central Catholic box

(All pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Bret Edwards afterwards

Kevin Constant (#11) soars toward the hoop

Colin Bradanese (20 points) gets a layup

Junior Isaiah Likely

Theo Zidor and Sam Lara

Donnell Skeen defended by Bret Edwards

Jordan McAfee, Sam Lara, and Ghared Boyce eye a rebound

Theo Zidor (10 points) gets two

Ghared Boyce (21 points) sees double coverage.

 

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Woburn dominates Central Catholic 65-44 to gain D1 North finals

Mya Blazejowski finds an opening

Marissa Gattuso (16 points) sets up a teammate for a layup

(Haverhill MA) Woburn had the lead early, won every quarter, dominating Central Catholic, 65-44, in the Division 1 North semifinals at Whittier Tech on Monday night.

This game had the flow of a car needing servicing as both teams pressured the other and whistles blew endlessly stopping play.  There were fifty fouls called and twenty-eight of them went against the Raiders.

The Tanners (20-3) will return to Whittier on Saturday for a chance at a second straight D1 North title.

The combination of missed shots and turnovers (21) prevented the Raiders (16-7) from putting consecutive points together.  Their largest point-run was five.  Nicole Elbeery (10 points) did that run by herself and with it the senior brought CC within a point of the lead, 11-10 early in the second quarter.

#3 Woburn had runs of five points or better six times during the game.

Senior Marissa Gattuso (16 points) and Kelsey Qualey (14 points) paced the Tanners.

Woburn coach Steve Sullivan (144-31) used plenty of substitutes and those fresh legs kept the team from Lawrence from mounting any late-game heroics.

Nicole Elbeery (10 points) finds an opening

#7 Central Catholic trailed by eleven (53-42) with 5 ½ minutes remaining but Woburn used the finals minutes to outscore the team from the Merrimack Valley Conference, 12-2, and cruise to the win.  A big shot in that surge was a three by Mya Blazejowski (from Ashlyn Pacheco) from in front of the Tanners’ bench and student section.

A key in this game was the defense Cassie Palmisano played on CC’s top scorer, Nicole Elbeery, limiting the senior’s touches.  Nicole had 22 points in the Raiders’ quarterfinals win over Peabody.

Marissa Gattuso led all scorers in points but her value to Woburn goes far beyond the points.  The Merrimack-bound senior is a magnificent dribbler and passer.  Defensively, Marissa has a knack of jumping passing lanes for steals.  Her all-around abilities make her special.  This is the third time I have seen her play.

One thing I’m sure CC coach Casey Grange would have liked to fix was his team’s defense against Woburn’s inbounds plays that led to three layups.

The Tanners made 20-of-26 free throws.  Kelsey Qualey was 7-for-9.

Plenty of contact throughout the game.  Central Catholic was tough on the boards and five of their baskets came on second-chance opportunities.

Woburn had three 3’s in the first quarter (Mya Blazejowski, Ashlyn Pacheco, Andrea Schiavone).

The game’s high scorers – Kaylee Thomas (12 points) and Marissa Gattuso (16 points)

Kaylee Thomas led CC in scoring with twelve points.

Woburn knocked Central Catholic out of the playoffs last year in the First Round at Woburn High School.  The Tanners went on to the state semifinals before losing to eventual state champs Bishop Feehan.

Central Catholic box

Woburn box

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably.)

Mya Blazejowski gets a block against the Raiders

Marissa Gattuso heads up court

Kaylee Thomas tries a layup in traffic

Nicole Wiggins

Ashlyn Pacheco

Staring down a defender

Andrea Schiavone

Marissa Gattuso gets off a shot

Kelsey Qualey was 7-for-9 from the line

Marissa Gattuso

Katie Kirsch goes for a block

Cassie Palmisano guards Nicole Elbeery

Mya Blazejowski lifts for a triple

Marissa Gattuso and Kaitlyn Quinn

Marina Rufo

 

 

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Lincoln-Sudbury girls defeat Central Catholic 1-0 to reach D1 North soccer finals

Sophomore Jenna Barnes (10) scored the only goal of the game assisted by senior  Hannah Rosenblatt (17)

Sophomore Jenna Barnes (10) scored the only goal of the game assisted by senior Hannah Rosenblatt (17)

The Warriors rush to celebrate semi-final win

The Warriors rush to celebrate semi-final win

(Lynn MA) The third time was the charm for the Lincoln-Sudbury girls’ soccer team.

After being knocked out of the Division 1 North tournament two straight years by Central Catholic, the Warriors found revenge with an exciting, 1-0, win on a tropical (for November) Tuesday afternoon.

The victory on Veterans Day puts LS in the D1 North finals on Saturday afternoon (4:15 PM) versus Chelmsford.

Chelmsford may have done Lincoln-Sudbury a huge favor by defeating #1 seed Acton-Boxboro in today’s other D1 North semifinal.  Why?  LS played AB twice in the Dual County League and lost both times.

The Warriors (16-3-1) scored early (34:20) in the first half and played just enough defense the rest of the way to get the job done.

Senior Hannah Rosenblatt dribbled through traffic from her left and found teammate Jenna Barnes in the middle.  Jenna side-stepped one defender for a clean look beating CC goalie Amanda Fay to Amanda’s right.

I asked Jenna about the goal afterwards.  She confessed/laughed that the shot was a “toe ball but that she’d still take it.”

This is the picture sequence of the LS goal:lice A4 Hannah Rosenblatt (17) in heavy Central Catholic trafficlice A5 Hannah Rosenblatt passes into the middle to Jenna Barneslice A6 Jenna Barnes cuts back on Nicole Wiggins to open spacelice A3 Jenna Barnes (10) launches the game winner

That that one goal held up was a surprise to me because both teams were skilled and fast.

Central Catholic (11-5-4) was led on the attack by freshman Elayna Grillakis.  Elayna had the speed to really pressure the LS defense.  “Our defense was terrific in recovery,” said LS goalie Caroline Fahey afterwards.

The best of the CC chances was in the first half with about six minutes left.  Elayna broke down the left sidestepping both Jenna King and Emma Garrett to get in on Caroline Fahey.  Caroline slid into a block and deflected the ball away from Elayna at the last second.

Here is the picture sequence of Elayna’s break in: lice A10 Elayna Grillakis in on LS goalie Caroline Faheylice A11 GK Caroline Fay slides to blocklice A12 ball loose

The Raiders Jenna Martin had several collisions with the LS goalie chasing balls lobbed into the box but couldn’t put on a finishing touch.

Hannah Rosenblatt shadowed by Sarah Regan

Hannah Rosenblatt shadowed by Sarah Regan

Hannah Rosenblatt was shadowed by Sarah Regan.

Central Catholic had an incredible number of throw-ins because of the pressure they put on the outside lanes.

Hannah Rosenblatt drilled a long direct kick but it was right at CC goalie Amanda Fay in the second half.

Who ever heard of November weather in the upper 60’s?  Next week only six states are supposed to avoid snowfall!

One of the referees arrived late.

Lincoln-Sudbury has qualified for the post-season in 15 of the last 16 seasons.

(This is a blog so if any of the information is incorrect, please let me know.)

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Izzy Ross (2) well set up in the second half

Izzy Ross (2) well set up in the second half

Jenna King (11) closes on constant threat Elayna Grillakis (12)

Jenna King (11) closes on constant threat Elayna Grillakis (12)

Heavy traffic in front of Warriors goal

Heavy traffic in front of Warriors goal

Hannah Rosenblatt

Hannah Rosenblatt

LS coach Kate Berry

LS coach Kate Berry

Jenna Barnes

Jenna Barnes

Erin Dwinell

Erin Dwinell

Danielle Cicolina (15) and Izzy Ross (2)

Danielle Cicolina (15) and Izzy Ross (2)

Caroline Fahey

Caroline Fahey

Jenny Crowell (6) and Ashley Raphael (17)

Jenny Crowell (6) and Ashley Raphael (17)

Amanda Fay

Amanda Fay

Alessandra Sadler

Alessandra Sadler

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Central Catholic downs St. John’s Prep 81-74 in overtime to win D1 North semi-finals

Ben Judson (30 points) and Tyler Nelson (19 points)

Ben Judson (30 points) and Tyler Nelson (19 points)

Central Catholic controlled the inside.  Here Aaron Hall (19 points) puts back a rebound

Central Catholic controlled the inside. Here Aaron Hall (19 points) puts back a rebound

(Beverly MA) Central Catholic put ten straight points together in overtime to defeat St. John’s Prep, 81-74, in the Division 1 North semi-finals on Tuesday night.

The Raiders (20-5) will now play Andover in the D1 North finals on Saturday at the Tsongas Center.

Ten lead changes in the first quarter gives you a sense of what kind of game St. John’s/Central Catholic was early on.  The pace was fast and the shots were falling for both teams.

The Eagles went on to dominate most of the second and third quarter (up 59-50 in the 3rd) before the Raiders came all the way back and took the lead on an Alex Santos layup in the last minute of regulation.

On the Eagles possession, Mike Bisson was able to make one of two free throws to tie the score (67-67) with forty-five seconds left.

AJ Pettway defends Kareem Davis

AJ Pettway defends Kareem Davis

The Raiders then had a turnover (steal by Max Butterbrodt) setting up St. John’s with plenty of time to get the point or points needed for the win.  But a terrific defensive job my sophomore AJ Pettway on junior Kareem Davis (11 points) extended the game into overtime.

In overtime, St. John’s had the lead (71-69) 1+ minutes in on a spinning layup by Max Burt (16 points).

AJ Pettway, who was shutout for four quarters, scored four points in overtime giving CC the lead for good (73-71) with a rebound conversion.

Junior Ben Judson (30 points) carried the Eagles for three quarters collecting twenty-four points.  Five of the baskets came from long range. Thereafter, the lefty cooled off and each miss seemed to add to his frustration.  That frustration turned costly as Ben was assessed a technical foul with a minute left in overtime after missing a shot.  Tyler Nelson drained the resulting free throws putting Central Catholic ahead, 75-71.  The Eagles never recovered as CC added four more free throws.

Nick Cambio (19 points) shoots over Mike Bisson

Nick Cambio (19 points) shoots over Mike Bisson

St. John’s spent most of the night taking and making difficult shots.  The Raiders had size inside (Nick Cambio & Aaron Hall) and normal layups for the Eagles were infrequent.

On the other hand, Central Catholic shot plenty of high percentage shots.  The Eagles had no answers for 6-6 Nick Cambio (19 points) when he got the ball down low.  Aaron Hall (19 points) stayed close to the basket and when Tyler Nelson (19 points) required an extra defender it was usually Aaron’s defender.  Tyler had six assists (by my count) and most of them were to Aaron for layups.

The Beverly Fieldhouse filled early because if there is a rivalry that will deliver excitement it is this one.

Also on hand were two of the best student sections you’ll ever see.  There was plenty of back-and-forth chanting and cheering as the game unfolded.

Alec Buresh hit two straight 3’s for CC in the second quarter.

Alex Santos had ten points for Central Catholic.  The Raiders set up Alex (6-foot) in the lane on an inbounds play.

Central Catholic box

St. John’s Prep box

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tyler Nelson drives on Max Burt (16 points) as CC coach Rick Nault watches

Tyler Nelson drives on Max Burt (16 points) as CC coach Rick Nault watches

Alex Santos puts in a rebound

Alex Santos puts in a rebound

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Max Butterbrodt defends Tyler Nelson

Max Butterbrodt defends Tyler Nelson

Kareem Davis launches a three at the end of the first quarter

Kareem Davis launches a three at the end of the first quarter

Max Butterbrodt, Kareem Davis, Max Burt, Ben Judson

Max Butterbrodt, Kareem Davis, Max Burt, Ben Judson

Tyler Nelson sank six free throws in overtime

Tyler Nelson sank six free throws in overtime

Aj Pettway and Ben Judson

Aj Pettway and Ben Judson

Eagles student section tries to distract free throw shooter Nick Cambio

Eagles student section tries to distract free throw shooter Nick Cambio

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Central Catholic overpowers North Andover 73-59 to avenge earlier loss

Nick Cambio (13 points) dominated the inside for Central Catholic

Nick Cambio (13 points) dominated the inside for Central Catholic

Aaron Hall (#30) had nineteen points for CC

Aaron Hall (#30) had nineteen points for CC

(North Andover MA) For a quarter this looked like a duplicate of the January 5th game.  The rest of the way…………not so much!

Central Catholic (15-4) took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back defeating North Andover, 73-59, on Tuesday night in Merrimack Valley Conference play.

In January’s 68-65 win at Central Catholic, North Andover had the shooting to match the Raiders.  The Knights’ John Enright connected six times from long range and teammate Spencer Reeve added twenty points.

John Enright (13 points) clicked three times from long distance in the first quarter this time around and carried NA to an 18-14 advantage.

Credit the CC defense thereafter.  They didn’t cause turnovers (NA only had four in the game) but they forced the Knights into low percentage, contested shots.

Wabissa Bede (21 points) passes

Wabissa Bede (21 points) passes

Nick Cambio (6-6) covered John Enright (5-11) and the good looks for John were out at NBA distance.

Spencer Reeve (twenty points in the first game) was held scoreless.  The 6-3 junior got into foul trouble early and was a non-factor.

Not only was the Raiders’ defense better but their offense was too.  CC’s big men, Nick Cambio and Aaron Hall (both 6-6) ran plays together that turned up layups for both of them on numerous occasions.  Nick finished with thirteen points while Aaron had nineteen.

Tyler Nelson (15 points) was his usual self.  He made shots and set up teammates.

Brett Daley fires from the corner

Brett Daley fires from the corner

The Knights (12-5) had a four-point lead (22-18) two minutes into the second quarter.  After this, the visitors from Lawrence put nine straight together over the next 3 1/2 minutes and NA never recovered from the 27-22 deficit.

The damage in the 9-point run was done by Tyler Nelson (two free throws & runner from the right), Aaron Hall (jump shot), and Nick Cambio (old-fashioned 3-point play.)

Central Catholic led, 31-26, at the half.

The Raiders were able to get the lead into double figures (40-29) 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.  Consecutive 3’s (AJ Pettway & Tyler Nelson) keyed the separation.  Tyler’s trey was off an open look from the corner on an inbounds play.

The Raiders kept their advantage at double figures the rest of the way.  On this day, NA was overmatched on both ends and no comeback before a sizable home crowd ever materialized.

Kevin Fernandez ends the third quarter from very long range

Kevin Fernandez ends the third quarter from very long range

The icing-on-the-cake shot for CC was freshman Kevin Fernandez’s buzzer beater from very long range as the third quarter ended.

Sophomore Wabissa Bede (21 points) proved to be an adept ball-handler for NA.  He was not shy about taking the ball toward the basket against taller opponents. Wabissa ended up at the foul line fifteen times.

Certainly a strength for Central Catholic in this one was their free throw shooting.  After missing 3-of-4 in the first quarter they went 19-for-21 thereafter.

Central Catholic is undefeated (8-0) on the road.  The Raiders have won eight straight and twelve of their last thirteen.  Their last state title was in 2008.

Central Catholic box

North Andover box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Nick Cambio finishes

Nick Cambio finishes

Kyle White covered by Alec Buresh

Kyle White covered by Alec Buresh

Alex Santon (#32) looks for an opening

Alex Santon (#32) looks for an opening

James Testa goes baseline

James Testa goes baseline

Spencer Reeve (#32) tries for a block

Spencer Reeve (#32) tries for a block

Tyler Nelson passes out of a double team

Tyler Nelson passes out of a double team

Tyler Nelson (15 points) puts up a three

Tyler Nelson (15 points) puts up a three

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Pentucket defeats Central Catholic 59-49 to take IAABO Board 130 Classic title in girls basketball

Pentucket seniors (Emily Dresser, Coley Viselli, Tess Nogueira, and Alex Moore) with championship plaque

Pentucket seniors (Emily Dresser, Coley Viselli, Tess Nogueira, and Alex Moore) with championship plaque

(Lawrence)  The Pentucket Sachems defeated Central Catholic, 59-49, in the championship game to win the IAABO Board 130 Classic on Monday night at Central Catholic.

Coley Viselli congratulated after 1000th point

Coley Viselli congratulated after 1000th point

The win was special for Pentucket.  Not only did they get their 20th win of the season but senior Coley Viselli reached 1000 points late in the fourth quarter.

The Raiders trailed by one (46-45) with 6:44 left in the game but went into a four-minute scoring drought that featured four turnovers.  The Sachems, meanwhile, put a string of nine points together to create a ten-point spread (55-45) with 2:43 to go.  CC never recovered.

In the crucial four minutes, Alex Moore (11 points) started things with a layup down the lane and ended it with another layup on an inbounds pass from Coley Viselli (11 points).  Also in the mix were two Kelsi McNamara (21 points) free throws and a McKenna Kilian (7 points) three.

Kelsi McNamara (21 points) and Alex Nagri

Kelsi McNamara (21 points) and Alex Nagri

This game was physical from start to finish.  The three officials all brought whistles but seemed intent on letting the girls play.  Kelsi McNamara and Alex Nagri both drew technicals because of excessive contact.

Sophomore Kelsi McNamara took home the tourney MVP plaque.  Coley Viselli made the All-Tourney team.

I’m sure that Kelsi’s twenty-one points played a part in her selection but her handling of the ball against physical pressure may well have been more important.

On the scoring part, Kelsi hit two 3’s in thirteen seconds to give Pentucket a, 28-21, lead late in the first half.

Kelsi McNamara fires a first-half three

Kelsi McNamara fires a first-half three

The Sachems ended up with seven long ones – Kelsi (3),  Coley Viselli (2), Alex Moore and McKenna Kilian (1 each).

Stonehill-bound Casey McLaughlin (22 points) kept CC in the game for three quarters.  The six-foot senior seemed to be wherever the ball was on offense in close.

Casey had a remarkable third quarter putting up fourteen of the Raiders’ eighteen points.

One of the keys to the Pentucket win was shutting Casey down over the last 9 ½ minutes of the game.  Credit Coley Viselli on a special scoring night for also playing some special defense on the Raiders top player.

The Sachems jumped on top, 5-0, and held the five-point spread (13-8) with 2 ½ minutes left.  While Pentucket was held scoreless, Darion Summers, Amanda Williams (12 points), and Casey McLaughlin scored baskets to give CC a, 14-13, lead after one period.

Kelsi’s two three’s late in the second quarter put Pentucket ahead by seven but Central Catholic responded with two free throws by Courtney Walsh and Casey McLaughlin’s converted rebound.  Pentucket led, 28-25, at the half.

Casey McLaughlin (22 points) drives

Casey McLaughlin (22 points) drives

Casey put on the fourteen-point show in the third quarter but Pentucket had answers.  Coley Viselli connected on two 3’s.  Kelsi McNamara tallied two free throws and two layups.  Tess Nogueira (11 points) made a layup assisted by Alex Moore and added two free throws.  Pentucket was in front by a point (44-43) after three quarters.

The two teams traded free throws to start the final quarter before Pentucket took the game over with nine straight points over a four-minute segment to take home the title.

The Sachems (20-1) end the regular season with seven straight wins.  Only a loss to Division 2 Notre Dame of Hingham in January blemishes their record.

And if there was ever an opponent who could toughen the Sachems up for the Division 3 MIAA Tournament it was Central Catholic.  They took defending seriously and there weren’t many easy paths to the hoops for the defending D3 champs.

Tess Nogueira (11 points) gets fingers on a shot by Amanda Williams (12 points)

Tess Nogueira (11 points) gets fingers on a shot by Amanda Williams (12 points)

Pentucket thrives on pressuring after a made basket but CC was noticeably intent on not getting caught in the backcourt after the Sachems’ made baskets.  The home team did have eighteen turnovers but very few of those were in the backcourt.

Central Catholic (14-5) is ranked fourth in the Division 1 North by the Boston Herald.  This past week they avenged losses earlier in the season to both North Andover and Andover.

Pentucket defeated Newton South (52-45) in the first round on Sunday.  Central Catholic had a win over Auburn to get to the finals.

Two things I haven’t seen/heard before at a basketball game: a Zamboni-type machine cleaning the gymnasium floor, and the National Anthem played on a harmonica.

The Pentucket partisans gave away the news that Coley had reached 1000 points when they let out a loud cheer after Coley hit the first of two free throws with 1:51 left in the game.  Play was stopped and her feat was announced and her teammates congratulated her.
Pentucket boxscore

Central Catholic boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Casey McLaughlin, Tess Nogueira, and Courtney Walsh look for a rebound

Casey McLaughlin, Tess Nogueira, and Courtney Walsh look for a rebound

Kelsi McNamara gets into the lane

Kelsi McNamara gets into the lane

Tess Nogueira (11 points) sees an opening

Tess Nogueira (11 points) sees an opening

Kelsi McNamara - tourney MVP

Kelsi McNamara – tourney MVP

Coley Viselli (11 points) in traffic

Coley Viselli (11 points) in traffic

loose ball

loose ball

Casey McLaughlin shoots over Emily Dresser

Casey McLaughlin shoots over Emily Dresser

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St. John’s Prep hangs on to defeat Central Catholic 55-52

Tyler Dooley (12 points) finishes a layup

Tyler Dooley (12 points) finishes a layup

Tyler Nelson (10 points) defended by Drex Costello (13 points)

Tyler Nelson (10 points) defended by Drex Costello (13 points)

(Danvers) St. John’s Prep never trailed in this one.

St. John’s Prep had a 14-point lead (46-32) in the third quarter and an 11-point lead (53-42) in the last quarter.

But that all being said, St. John’s had to hang on for dear life to defeat Central Catholic, 55-52, on Sunday afternoon before a full house at the Prep.

After the Eagles (15-1) put that 53-42 lead in place with four minutes left in the game, the Raiders (13-3) ran off ten straight points.  That streak of offense got Central Catholic to within a point (53-52) with thirty-eight seconds left.

A St. John’s turnover (they had four in the quarter) followed (five second violation) and the Eagles miscue gave CC plenty of time (twenty-six seconds) to complete the comeback.

Nick Cambio (with the ball) just before the final Central Catholic turnover

Nick Cambio (with the ball) just before the final Central Catholic turnover

But the Raiders didn’t get there.  They turned the ball over on their next possession (Drex Costello steal) and Drex made a free throw.  They recorded another turnover on their second possession (bad pass Nick Cambio) and Ben Judson made a free throw with less than a second left to finish the scoring.

If St. John’s had lost this game it would have been because of poor foul shooting.  The final quarter was a nightmare at the line for the Eagles.  Granted, there was plenty of pressure, but when you make only two-of-seven free throws after you have an eleven-point lead with four minutes left, you’re asking for trouble.  And to top it off, two of those misses were on the front end of one-and-one’s!

The Eagles jumped on the Raiders right from the start with seven unanswered points (jumpers by Drex Costello and Josh Syska followed by a Tyler Dooley three) in the first 2 ½ minutes.

Joel Berroa, Nick Cambio, Lucas Hammel, and Jamahl Lopez

Joel Berroa, Nick Cambio, Lucas Hammel, and Jamahl Lopez

Early in the second quarter, Central Catholic ran six straight (two layups Nick Cambio and two free throws Tyler Nelson) to pull within two (18-16).

The Eagles came right back with six of their own on layups (Drex Costello, Max Butterbrodt, and Jake Burt off a steal) to get that eight-point lead back, 24-16.

St. John’s had a 32-24 halftime edge.

The Eagles pushed their advantage, in the third quarter, to 40-26 and later 46-32 before the Raiders rallied with six unanswered (two free throws Nick Cambio and two layups Tyler Nelson and Joel Berroa) to lower their deficit to eight (46-38) after three periods.

St. John’s was back in the double-digit comfort zone, 53-42, in the final quarter with four minutes left before the Raiders made the run that nearly stole this one from the Eagles.

Tyler Nelson hits the floor

Tyler Nelson hits the floor

Joel Berroa (18 points) and Nick Cambio (14 points) led the CC scorers.

Drex Costello (13 points) and Tyler Dooley were the top point-getters for the Eagles.

Prep seniors Drex Costello, Josh Syska, and Tyler Dooley were honored before the game.  That trio had plenty to do with the Eagles’ win.

A big play by Central Catholic late in the game was a shot block by Nick Cambio of Max Burt’s layup attempt in the last minute.

The two teams will meet again at Central Catholic on February 17th.  That could well be worth seeing!

Despite the loss, Coach Rick Nault (seventh year) has a remarkable win/loss record of 149-19.

The Eagles are lacking the Pat Connaughton-type big stars and so hadn’t gathered much respect before this game.  This win should change all that.

Jamahl Lopez defends Tyler Dooley

Jamahl Lopez defends Tyler Dooley

A great matchup to watch was between the two point guards – Tyler Dooley and Jamahl Lopez.  Contact was plentiful!

CC was fourteen-for-fourteen from the foul line.

Max Butterbrodt had a nine-point second quarter for St. John’s.

Central Catholic was missing 6-8 Andrew Hamel.

St. John’s Boxscore

Central Catholic Boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tyler Dooley

Tyler Dooley

Max Butterbrodt (#42) had nine points in the second quarter

Max Butterbrodt (#42) had nine points in the second quarter

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Eagles student section

Eagles student section

Seniors Tyler Dooley and Josh Syska leave the court happy

Seniors Tyler Dooley and Josh Syska leave the court happy

Joel Berroa heads for the hoop

Joel Berroa heads for the hoop

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Central Catholic Still Unbeaten – Rout St. John’s Prep 80-56

Steve Haladyna (10 points) closely guarded by Joel Berroa (#25 – 20 points) and Tyler Nelson (#11 – 11 points).

Lucas Hammel (11 points floats in)

(Lawrence) Central Catholic is good……..very good.

The Raiders (12-0) overwhelmed St. John’s Prep, 80-56, Sunday afternoon before a crowd that dwindled as the start of the Patriots/Ravens game neared.

It was hard tell which CC was better at, scoring or pressure defending, because they were impressive at both.

The Raiders were able to run an organized offense against a tight Eagle defense and found openings for nineteen layups.  They also hit from long range connecting on six triples.

Defensively, the combo of Joel Berroa and Lucas Hammel, kept the ball away from high-scoring Steve Haladyna.  (I saw Steve drop twenty-six on BC High on Friday night.)  In this one, his total was ten points with only two coming in the second half.

The Raiders inside players 6-4 Joel Berroa (20 points) and 6-5 Nick Cambio (16 points) produced the big numbers for the home team.  Nick hit three triples.

Mike Carbone defended by Doug Gemmell

Mike Carbone (18 points) carried the Eagles (9-3) in the second half with thirteen points.

St. John’s made a game of it for about six minutes trailing just 14-13 as Steve Haladyna got inside for three straight hoops.  Thereafter the denial defense on Steve kicked in and the Raider runs began.

A three by Luis Puello, and a couple of Lucas Hammel layups and the Raider lead jumped to ten (23-13) early in the second period.

The Eagles were able to hang around and trailed only 27-22 with 2:50 remaining in the first half.

Over the next 3:40 of playing time this game got away from the Eagles.  They searched for offense and gave up four layups and two long ones.  That nasty combo turned into a 15-2 Raider surge and CC led, 42-24, early in the second half.

Freddy Shove shoots over Nick Cambio as Coach Rick Nault watches

Central Catholic cruised along with a comfortable lead until early in the 4th quarter when their 62-45 advantage shrunk to 62-52 with six minutes left, after seven straight by the Eagles.

A timeout by CC coach Rick Nault seemed to straighten things out as all five starters scored in the next four minutes. The Raiders put a 12-1 hit on the Eagles and were in complete control 74-53.  The reserves from both sides filled out the final two minutes.

Raider coach Rick Nault picked up a technical foul in the second period.

Nick Cambio had a crowd-pleasing jam in the third quarter.

After seeing CC for the first time, it is not too difficult to imagine them playing at the Worcester Centrum in mid-March.  But on the other hand, the Raiders only beat Lawrence by two points and have a return engagement at Lawrence coming up. Let’s see how that goes first before making too many March assumptions.

Central Catholic boxscore

St. John’s Prep boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

Luis Puello shoots

sophomore Nick Cambio

Central Catholic cheerleaders

Joel Berroa surrounded by Eagles

Steve Haladyna scores

CC coach Rick Nault gets T

Freddy Shove goes up and over

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Pat Connaughton (23 points) Leads St. John’s Past Central Catholic 72-70

Pat Connaughton (23 points) hits the game winner over Luis Puello with twenty seconds left.

Pat Connaughton and Jimmy Zenevitch (32 points)

(Danvers) This was the game you circled on your calendar when you got the 2010-11 schedule for either St. John’s Prep or Central Catholic.

Central Catholic at St. John’s Prep.  Plenty would argue that they’re the two best teams in the state.  And what a show they put on at St. John‘s in front of at least 1000 fans, some sitting and many standing, on Wednesday night.

No surprise that Pat Connaughton would have a big part late in the Eagles winning 72-70.  He made a tough shot over Luis Puello with twenty seconds left to give St. John’s the two-point edge and then topped that by blocking Jimmy Zenevitch’s tying layup attempt from behind down the other end.

The Raiders had one last try for a tie/win with 3.8 seconds to go but Freddy Shove intercepted the inbounds pass after a deflection by Isaiah Robinson to seal the victory.

Central Catholic (19-2) had a fifteen game winning streak snapped while St. John’s (19-1) extends their win streak to eight.  I also learned that the Raiders had an eleven-game winning streak versus the Eagles ended by tonight’s outcome.

The Eagles finished the regular season 13-0 at home where the support is organized, loud, and never-ending.

The possibility that these teams could get a rematch in the Division 1 North finals would appear likely.  Both will make it difficult for opponents between now and a rematch to run an organized offense.  Each has several big-time, go-to shooters.

There were eight lead changes in the first quarter before the Eagles ran off thirteen straight going into the start of the second quarter to pull away (24-12) and hint that a blowout might be in the making. Pat Connaughton converted a rebound, hit a jump shot, and then nailed a long one in this segment.

Jimmy Zenevitch connects on a three.

Over the next 3:45 the Raiders started the road back using a 10-2 spurt including a couple of Jimmy Zenevitch baskets to close to 26-22 with four minutes left.  The Prep led at the half, 36-31.

CC finally caught the Eagles (41-40) on a Jimmy Zenevitch jumper 3 ½ minutes into the third quarter.  There would be nine more lead changes before this game ended.

The third quarter finished with the teams tied at 55-55.  It wasn’t hard to suspect at this point that there was an exciting conclusion in the works.

Five minutes of playing time later you weren’t so sure.  After Central Catholic had gone up by three (60-57) on Jimmy Zenevitch’s three and a layup, the Prep rattled off ten straight points to take command (67-60) with just three minutes left.

Three of the points in that 10-point run were from Pat Connaughton connecting from NBA range.  In practice, NBA range was not out of his range.

Despite a very hostile environment, CC surrounded a missed Eagle shot with layups by Jimmy and Luis Puello.  Those clutch scores made it a one-possession game (69-66) with 1:21 to go.

Lack of a goaltending call on Jimmy Zenevitch led to a techical foul against St. John’s.

The most controversial play of the game followed and the way the Eagles reacted to it almost cost them the game.  An Eagle player (It looks like Freddy Shove in my picture to the left.) went in for a layup and Jimmy Zenevitch either deflected the shot or goal tended.  There wasn’t a soul in the house with Eagle connections that wasn’t sure that the basket should have counted because of a goal tend.  When it wasn’t called the St. John’s coaching staff erupted and Eagle coach Sean Connolly got whistled for a technical foul after brushing an official. (Never a good idea down the stretch in a tight game.)

Freshman Tyler Nelson made both technical foul shots.  CC got to keep the ball as well and Jimmy Zenevitch drove for a layup and to the dismay of the home crowd, Central Catholic was shockingly in front, 70-69, with 1:10 left.

Pat Connaughton – difference maker at both ends in crunch time

Naturally the Eagles had the ball in Pat Connaughton’s hands in the next possession and he got fouled and made one of two free throws with 1:03 left to tie the score.

Jimmy missed an attempt to break the (70-70) tie and that set the stage for Pat to score the winner and block Jimmy’s tying attempt.

Jimmy Zenevitch (32 points) used his height (6-7) to get inside points.  The lefty also made a three in the final quarter.  The talented senior reached 1000 points in the third quarter. However, in a game this tight the Assumption recruit may well look back at his 3-for-10 from the foul line with some dismay.

Pat Connaughton (23 points) was guarded by at least five different players in denial man-to-man mode.  Down the stretch you knew that the Notre Dame recruit would be getting the shots, as did CC, but they couldn’t keep the ball away from him.  His game-saving block late was just a great athletic move.

Mike Carbone (21 points) puts some serious defense on Jaycob Morales.

Mike Carbone (21 points) has the quick release to offset his lack of size.  He hit four 3’s and didn’t miss a free throw.  He also did a super defensive job on Jaycob Morales (5 points).

Luis Puello (12 points) is a favorite of mine.  His quickness is eye-catching and his defense is as well.  He can get to the basket anytime he chooses.

The crowd was awesome.  I checked out the St. John’s website and knew that the doors opened 1 ½ hours before the game started and that a sell-out was likely.  I got there shortly after 5:30 (the game started at 7) and there were few seats left.  Many of those who arrived in the next half hour ended up standing.  After that, the sellout the website referred to happened.

Both teams played man-to-man defense full-court.  Two normally productive point scorers Stephen Haladyna (4 points) and Evan Sheehan (2 points) were held in check by their defenders.

The pairings for the state tournament will be announced on Friday (February 25th) and the do-or-die games start on Tuesday.

Note the late-arriving crowd under the basket.

Wouldn’t Central Catholic like another chance against The Prep on a neutral site for the Division 1 North title.  I expect to be there if that game happens.

(I collect my own stats, take my own pictures, write my own captions, and draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are unintentional.)

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Central Catholic Routs Lynn English in the Second Half 88-62 to Win the TD Bank Board 130 Basketball Classic

Central Catholic’s co-captains Luis Puello and Jimmy Zenevitch pose after receiving the championship trophy.

Evan Sheehan (#22) buried five three-point shots.

(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.

Assumption-bound Jimmy Zenevitch – tourney MVP

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 (#11) – held scoreless in the second half.

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.

Central Catholic cheerleader toss during pre-game introductions.

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