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Fri, Mar 11, 2011 TBA @ Andover
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Acton-Boxboro 12 10 10 19 51
Andover 13 20 16 8 57

Boudreau (34 points), Andover hold off A-B for North championship

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Friday, March, 11 By David Willis
Staff writer

BOSTON — It may not have been a work of art, but Andover High still walked off the TD Garden court hoisting the Division 1 North trophy.

The Golden Warriors held off fast-closing Acton-Boxboro, 57-51, behind another brilliant performance from sharpshooting junior Nicole Boudreau (34 points, 15 rebounds).

Boudreau, the Mass. Gatorade Player of the Year, sealed the deal with a late 3-pointer (she had 6) and a steal and traditional three-point play.

“It sure wasn‘t easy,” said point guard Natalie Gomez-Martinez. “But we pulled together, hit a few shots and finished them off. In the end, that’s all that matters. And it feels awesome to win here again.”

Despite battling foul trouble and cold shooting, the No. 2 Golden Warriors kept their composure and closed out No. 5 A-B yesterday afternoon on the Boston Celtics’ home court in front of a crowd of approximately 2,000 fans.

“We had our highs and lows,” said center Jackie Alois. “But we won at the Garden and that is a great achievement. It is so exciting.”

Andover moves on to face South champion New Bedford (24-0) in the Division 1 state semifinals on Monday, back at the TD Garden.

“It is such a great feeling to win here,” said guard Ally Fazio. “We just had to keep shooting. Our shots weren’t falling, but it was the championship game and we told ourselves to keep shooting. It feels awesome.”

Andover trailed by a point after the first (13-12), then managed to turn that into a 33-22 advantage by halftime.
But, leading 49-32 after three quarters, the Golden Warriors saw Acton-Boxboro cut the lead to just six before a pair of defensive stands clinched the victory and set off a wild celebration at halfcourt.

It was even sweeter because A-B ousted the Andover boys team in the North quarterfinals.

“We had problems but still earned the win,” said Nicole Boudreau. “I think this is a wake-up call for us. We had won every tournament game by 20 points or more. It’s good to have a close one, and a win’s a win.”

The Golden Warriors battled foul trouble throughout, with Alois fouling out in the fourth quarter and Gomez-Martinez forced to the bench in the third with four fouls. Boudreau also picked up her fourth foul late. But that wasn’t about to change the team’s approach.

“We’re an aggressive team,” said Alois. “We’re going to play aggressive. We’re not going to back down. My sister (last year’s starting center Alex Alois) fouled out last year, so I think it was destined to happen.”

That aggressiveness proved valuable in the final moments. Boudreau’s steal and defensive pressure forced an air ball to close out the win, which came despite some shaky free throw shooting for Andover (15 of 27).

Boudreau was again the hero with 34 points while Devon Caveney added 11 and Gomez-Martinez chipped in with eight.

While Gomez-Martinez ended up with a rare extended stay on the bench, she wasn’t about to sit with a towel over her head. The senior tri-captain kept a smile on her face, leading the cheers.

“We don’t like winning by single digits,” said Gomez-Martinez. “But I told the girls that we had the game all along. We had it from the start. We just had to pick our heads up when something went bad and keep playing.”

The Warriors admitted that Wednesday’s big win over archrival Central Catholic may have had a negative effect.

“I think we were a little hung over from the Central game,” said Caveney. “But we didn’t play our best game and still beat (Acton-Boxboro) by six points. If we played like we can, it could have been a lot different.”

It may not have been perfect, but Andover still had the chance to celebrate with the trophy and kiss the Boston Celtics logo — which is becoming something of a tradition for the Golden Warriors, who on Monday will play for their third trip to the title game in four seasons.

“To come in and win here in three of my four seasons in unbelievable,” said Gomez-Martinez, a four-year starter. “Coming out and playing here is so much fun. It is very memorable.”

Up Next: Unbeaten Whalers

No. 1 New Bedford (24-0) edged top-seeded Mansfield (now 24-2) 47-46 in the Division
1 South title game on the Garden floor following Andover’s win.

Andover (24-1) and New Bedford will meet back at the Garden Monday at 7:45 p.m.

Mansfield lost to Andover in the state semis last winter. New Bedford lost to the Golden Warriors, 61-34, in the 2008 state semis.

The Whalers average 63 points per game led by seniors Alyssa Roach (18.7 ppg) and Arielle Gomes (13.0) and junior Allexia Barros (13.7).

“We’ll watch the game and work on a few things,” said sharpshooter Devon Caveney. “But we will come back Monday just fine. I feel like we’re going to play great.”

Tradition of excellence

It was the Golden Warriors’ second straight Division 1 North crown, third in four years and seventh in 15 years.
Andover has won two state titles (2010, 2003) and has played in the Division 1 state final five times.

'Super Clutch' Boudreau does it again

By Christopher Smith

BOSTON — Andover coach Jim Tildsley didn’t hold back.

“He looked at me and said, ‘You’re playing like absolute crap!’” Nicole Boudreau said of their conversation after the first quarter. “Hey, I couldn’t argue with him.”

The Boston College-bound junior had scored just three points and needed a wake-up call.

She got it.

Then it was another classic performance by arguably Massachusetts’ most clutch high school female athlete.

Boudreau carried the Golden Warriors to a 57-51 victory over Acton-Boxboro in the Division 1 North championship game at the TD Garden.

The 5-foot-9 Boudreau netted 34 points, including six 3-pointers. Although hardly physically imposing, she also grabbed an eye-popping 15 rebounds and made five steals. Furthermore, she netted a halfcourt 3-point shot right before the halftime buzzer sounded. 

Boudreau was magical in every way. She took control of the game and even gained respect from the rowdy A-B student section.

She definitely needs a nickname. How about “Super Clutch”?

Super Clutch — by far — is the best high school female athlete I ever have seen and she added to her local legend yesterday.

She’s so good in the clutch because she is such a tremendous shooter to begin with. 

“My son and I, none of us (in the family) can compete with her because she doesn’t miss,” Boudreau’s father, Richard Boudreau, said. “She’s always had the great hand-eye coordination. Early on, she just loved to shoot ... and she just worked at it.”

Richard said his daughter played AAU last summer with two stress fractures and a bulging disc in her back.
“She actually played with a back brace,” Richard said. “It was the only way the coach would let her play would be with the back brace.”

Yesterday’s performance may have been her most remarkable. She was without her talented backcourt partner, Natalie Gomez-Martinez, for much of the second half and Andover struggled shooting.  

Gomez-Martinez sat out a good portion of the second half in foul trouble after committing her fourth with 3:38 remaining in the third.

“Everything gets harder for me (with Gomez-Martinez on the bench) because now I have to take up the ball and now I have to worry about (being the point guard),” Boudreau said.

Boudreau’s halfcourt, buzzer-beating 3-pointer came right after Acton-Boxboro had netted a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to eight points with barely any time left in the first half.

Boudreau actually posed after taking the halfcourt shot as though she felt there was no chance the ball wouldn’t go in.

“After practices and stuff I shoot halfcourt shots just for fun,” she said. “I guess it pays off.”

When Acton-Boxboro cut the deficit to nine points with 1:28 left in the third, Boudreau responded with a 3-pointer and three-point play to build the Golden Warriors lead back to 15 points.

“I didn’t really come out and play the way I could (in the first quarter) so I love when Mr. Tildlsey gets in my face and tells me stuff like that because it just encourages me even more,” Boudreau said.

“I knew I had to step up. We couldn’t shoot the ball very well tonight. So I tried to step up, make some shots, and it was definitely good to get a little bit of a boost with that halfcourt shot that went in.”

Boudreau’s best

Nicole Boudreau has always had a flair for the dramatic:

1. Yesterday’s 34-point, 15-rebound classic vs. A-B.

2. Her 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine steals in the Division 1 North title game overtime win against Central Catholic last year.

3. 39 points on 9-of-12 shooting from 3-point range in a win over Central Catholic in the 2009 Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney title game.

4. 39 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and six steals in the AAU Division 2 national championship game last summer in Florida to lead the New England Shooting Stars to the title.

5. In a 3-point contest with all-time area scoring champ Chris Vetrano of Andover last summer, she won “The Battle of the Sexes,” 22-13.

Game Statistics:

Acton-Boxborough (51): Lily Barnard 1-0-2, Abby O'Brien 2-0-4, Elizabeth Belanger 9-7-25, Jackie Watts 4-1-9, Hannah Foley 4-2-11. Totals: 20-10-51

Andover (57): Ally Fazio 1-2-4, Natalie Gomez-Martinez 2-4-8, Devon Caveney 3-3-11, Mollie Maturah 0-0-0, Olivia Biles 0-0-0, Nicole Boudreau 11-6-34, Jackie Alois 0-0-0. Totals: 17-15-57 

3-pointers: A-B — Foley; A — Boudreau 6, Caveney 2  

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