Central Catholic Raiders Boys Basketball '16-'17

MVP Lara lifts defending champ over Andover in finale

METHUEN – They all kept saying the same thing: “They counted us out.”

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Boys Basketball, 11/29/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central big men dominate Londonderry

METHUEN — Colin Bradanese pilfered a Londonderry pass, dribbled the lengthened of the court with two Lancers on his hip, elevated and hammered a one-handed tomahawk dunk.

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Boys Basketball, 11/29/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central boys down Knights in Xmas semis

METHUEN — North Andover had the skill, talent and heart to stay with Central Catholic but, unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, they simply had no answer for big men Sam Lara and Colin Bradanese.

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Boys Basketball, 11/29/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Cambridge ends Central Catholic season

NORTH ANDOVER — The plan was fairly straightforward. Central Catholic knew that open 3-pointers would be hard to come by against Cambridge Rindge and Latin, especially after the Raiders lit it up during their last game against Everett.
The Raiders expected the Falcons would press hard around the perimeter, relying on their dominant frontcourt players to clean up anything that came inside. So the plan was this — go straight at All-Scholastic center Dimon Carrigan and beat the Falcons at their own game.
But as it turned out, that was a much tougher task to execute than it might have looked on paper.
“We wanted to be aggressive going to the rim and getting post scores, and they just blocked a lot of our shots,” said Central coach Rick Nault. “It seemed like every time we had a clean look at the rim they came out of nowhere and erased it.” 
Central Catholic played a strong game on defense, but undefeated Cambridge’s tall, athletic lineup proved too much as the Raiders lost 60-44 in Saturday’s Division 1 North Final in front of more than 2,200 fans at North Andover High School.
The game got off to a good start for Central, as the Raiders held the Falcons to just 2 for 13 shooting and seven points in the first quarter. Bret Edwards, who tied for the team lead in scoring with 14 points, drained a 3-pointer from 35 feet out at the buzzer to give Central at 12-7 lead after the first.
But after that, Cambridge got rolling and Central couldn’t stop the avalanche that followed. The Falcons outscored the Raiders 21-8 in the second quarter, shooting 8 for 10 from the field, primarily on transition buckets and put-backs following offensive rebounds. Cambridge led 28-20 at the half, and while Central did at one point pull within five points, the Falcons responded with another big run to essentially put the game away for good.
“You knew at some point they were going to make a big run,” Nault said. “They got to us on the offensive glass in the second quarter and they really dictated the tempo of the game, and again we had a hard time recovering from that.”
Although Central didn’t get the production it was looking for on the inside generally, senior forward Sam Lara did put forth a great effort, particularly late. Lara scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, most of which were hooks over the outstretched arms of the 6-foot-8 Carrigan and the 6-foot-5 UMaine football commit Daniel Rymer. 
Carrigan finished with a triple double, his second against Central Catholic this season. He finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks. Jakigh Dottin had 13 points and Kareem Octavien had 12, including three backbreaking 3-pointers. Cambridge (22-0), the defending Division 1 state champs, will now face Needham in the Division 1 state semifinals on Tuesday at the TD Garden.
Central Catholic isn’t normally anybody’s idea of an underdog, and under most circumstances a season with a Christmas Tourney title, an MVC Large title and a Division 1 North Final appearance would seem fairly routine for the Raiders.
But from day one, this year’s Central Catholic team has felt itself under siege. After All-MVC caliber players Tanahj Pettway and Kevin Fernandez abruptly transferred to new schools, Central was left with a roster without a superstar, and many around the area figured the team might take a step back as a result.
The remaining Central players heard all the rumblings, and took them to heart.
“We were projected to finish third in the MVC behind Methuen and sometimes North Andover too, and I feel like we really shocked a lot of people,” said junior Colin Bradanese. “I feel like we really improved a lot and we came a long way since day one.”
“I feel like we climbed the mountain this year,” said senior co-captain Victor Mwaurah. “We weren’t the most talented team and we weren’t the team expected to do the most, but we worked hard every day and I think everybody on the team accounted for that. I think it showed in our play and we had a terrific season.”
Though the sting of Saturday’s loss was painfully evident on the faces of the Central players and coaches, the Raiders said that once the disappointment from the defeat runs its course, they will look back on their season with pride.
“We hadn’t won the league in a couple of years and for us to do that without some guys we thought would be in our program, I’m incredibly proud of our guys,” Nault said. “Whenever you can win the Christmas Tournament, win the league and get to the North Finals, I don’t know if there is a coach in the state that wouldn’t call that a successful season.”
Central finishes the year 20-6.
Cambridge 60, Central Catholic 44
Division 1 North Final
Cambridge Rindge & Latin (60): Dimon Carrigan 6-4-16, Daniel Rymer 5-2-12, Jakigh Dottin 4-5-13, Jonathan Cenescor 0-0-0, Isaias Berhe 1-0-3, Aiden Keefer 0-0-0, Kareem Octavien 3-3-12, Malik Brandao-Correia 1-1-4. Totals 20-15-60
Central Catholic (44): George Smith 1-0-2, Kevin Constant 0-0-0, Bret Edwards 5-3-14, Victor Mwaurah 2-0-5, Dominic Keegan 1-0-3, Sam Lara 6-2-14, Manny Sanchez 2-0-4, Matt Downer 0-0-0, Dennis Quinn 0-0-0, Colin Bradanese 0-2-2, Andy Kalala 0-0-0, Jalen Aquino 0-0-0. Totals 17-7-44
3-pointers: C — Berhe, Octavien 3, Brandao-Correia; C — Edwards, Mwaurah, Keegan
Cambridge (22-0):      7 21 14 18 — 60
Central Catholic (20-6):     12  8 12 12 — 44
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Boys Basketball, 03/11/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Late Edwards hoop sinks Everett

NORTH ANDOVER — A deafening roar filled the gym at North Andover High School, and the more than 1,000 spectators rose to their feet as Everett’s Ghared Boyce dribbled the ball up the court. 
Trailing by three and blanketed by Central Catholic sophomore Kevin Constant, Boyce stepped forward, then back, looking for some kind of opening. Constant gave away nothing. Finally, with the clock ticking down, Boyce heaved up a prayer, and for a split second the gym fell into near silence as the ball floated in the air.
Pandemonium. When the would-be game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out, Central’s players poured onto the court and piled on top of one another in celebration, reveling in the hard-fought, 68-65 victory over No. 2 seeded Everett in Wednesday’s Division 1 North Semifinal.
“I feel like we’re the best basketball team in the state,” said an elated Colin Bradanese, who scored a team-high 20 points for Central, including a pair of 3-pointers and a dunk. “I feel great right now. I’ll come back down to Earth tomorrow and I’ll get right back to working but right now it feels great.”
It was an emotional win for Central, and a hard-earned one at that. Both teams spent nearly the entire game trading haymakers, with neither side able to pull ahead much more than a couple of points the whole way.
The difference down the stretch proved to be junior point guard Bret Edwards, who scored Central’s last four points, including a crucial lay-in with 12 seconds left to stretch Central’s lead to three.
“That kid’s got a lot of moxie,” said Central coach Rick Nault. “He’s the starting quarterback on the football team. He hasn’t forgotten the pounding that they (Everett football) gave to them a couple months ago, so he had a chip tonight.
“He had a real edge to him. He wanted to go at them, and even that last bucket he did, he made big plays inside during the second half but that last bucket obviously was probably the biggest play of the game.”
When it wasn’t Edwards, it was Constant, who enjoyed one of the best games of his high school career by playing shut-down defense while slashing to the basket at will in the second half. 
Constant helped get star Everett center Theo Zidor to foul out with four minutes to play in the game, and ultimately went 9 for 14 from the free throw line.
“I knew I had to hit them,” Constant said. “They were big shots, big free throws, we needed the points, they’re free, so I just took my time and knocked them down.”
Everett led 15-13 after the first, while Central pulled ahead 35-34 right before halftime on one of Dom Keegan’s five 3-pointers. Everett threatened to gain some separation early in the fourth quarter.
But a 9-0 run by the Raiders flipped the script and turned a five-point deficit into a 59-55 lead with 4:25 to play.
The Crimson Tide immediately responded with two quick buckets to tie the game with 3:35 to play, but after that Central made the key plays when it counted and Everett never led again. 
The closest the Tide came was after Edwards made a lay-up to make it 66-62, Boyce drained a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game.
But Everett opted not to foul on the ensuing possession, giving Edwards a chance to run the clock down until he saw an opening. His basket on the team’s final offensive possession gave the team breathing room, which the Raiders admitted afterwards they thought they might have needed.
“I was thinking it was good,” Bradanese said of Boyce’s last shot. “I was thinking we were coming right back in overtime and were going to give it to them, but it rimmed out so we won.”
Central Catholic 68, Everett 65
Division 1 North Semifinals
Central Catholic (68): Bret Edwards 5 0-1 10, Victor Mwaurah 2 1-2 6, Dom Keegan 5 0-0 15, Sam Lara 3 0-0 6, Colin Bradanese 7 4-6 20, Manny Sanchez 1 0-0 2, George Smith 0 0-0 0, Kevin Constant 0 9-14 9, Andy Kalala 0 0-0 0, Matt Downer 0 0-0 0, Almando Marinez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 14-25 68
Everett (65): Isaiah Likely 6 3-5 15, Ghared Boyce 6 7-8 21, Donnell Skeen 1 0-0 2, Theo Zidor 5 0-2 10, Jordan McAfee 7 0-0 17, Shooby Beldor 0 0-0 0, Gabriel DeSouza 0 0-0 0, Jalen Iles-Smith 0 0-2 0, Christopher Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Arlind Shehy 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 10-17 65
3-pointers: CC — Keegan 5, Bradanese 2, Mwaurah; E — McAfee 3, Gh. Boyce 2
Everett (19-3):     15 19 17 14 — 65
Central Catholic (20-5):     13 22 12 21 — 68
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Boys Basketball, 03/08/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central ousts Andover

LAWRENCE — The start wasn’t pretty. Turnovers and missed shots galore, and for long stretches the jam-packed Memorial Gym felt more like a library than the site of a decisive tournament showdown between bitter MVC rivals.
Central Catholic, at one point, had a 15-point lead in the third quarter, and eventually Andover coach Dave Fazio turned around after calling a timeout and challenged his contingent of fans to get loud. 
When “The Jungle” did, the team responded, and so did Central’s Red Sea. Just like that, it was Andover vs. Central basketball once again.
The Golden Warriors mounted a comeback, chipping away at the lead in front of an increasingly delirious crowd, and with just over two minutes to play, Andover was within one possession. All the momentum was on their side. 
But then Sam Lara stepped in and put a stop to it all.
Lara had two monster blocks down the stretch and knocked down four consecutive free throws in the final minute to extinguish Andover’s chances, helping Central clinch the 58-47 win in Saturday’s Division 1 North quarterfinal showdown. 
The St. John’s University-bound baseball pitcher finished with a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds, providing an emphatic exclamation point to the final home game of his career.
“They had all the momentum,” said Central coach Rick Nault before describing Lara’s the game-changing sequence. “You could just see the gym start to turn, our guys started to get that life again and we had lost a lot of that energy and confidence. Those plays changed things for us.”
Andover’s comeback began with 2:33 left in the third, at which point Central had just knocked down a shot to make it 39-28. Coming out of the break, the Golden Warriors immediately answered with an 8-2 run, going into the fourth quarter down by a much more manageable 41-36.
The Warriors kept pushing from there, drawing a fourth foul from Central star Colin Bradanese to open the fourth and then getting a couple of steals and baskets in transition from senior Tim Kalantzakos. 
By the time the Warriors pulled within three, it felt like things could start to avalanche, but then the Raiders got a couple of key breaks and were able to capitalize.
The first was a tough fifth foul call on Kalantzakos, who was having a terrific game and had played a big part in the comeback. Then Lara cleanly blocked a lay-up attempt that would have cut the lead to two, and on the ensuing trip down the court, junior sharpshooter Dom Keegan knocked down a 3-pointer which stretched the Central lead to 52-45 and sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
Andover responded with another basket to get back within two possessions, but then with under a minute to play, Lara knocked down all four free throws he attempted and stuffed another lay-up attempt in between trips to the line. When all was said and done, Central had a 56-47 lead and that was pretty much the end of that.
“Coach told us to play hard for 32 minutes and that’s what I did,” Lara said while walking to the locker room after the game. “No easy shots, nothing. I had fouls to give so I was going to go for it.”
The win marked Central’s fourth over archrival Andover this season, as the Raiders also won both regular season games and beat the Warriors in the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Tournament championship game. Despite that, Nault said afterwards he knew Andover was going to be a tough out, and they expected a tough, hard fought classic that would likely come down to the wire.
“This is why you put on a Central Catholic uniform,” Nault said. “To play in that type of game, and for the seniors to go out like that in front of that crowd against your archrival with a chance to go to the North semifinals, you couldn’t ask for a better scenario.”
Central Catholic (19-5) will now face No. 2 seeded Everett (19-2) in the Division 1 North semifinals, which will be played at North Andover High School at a date and time to be determined. Andover finishes its season 13-9 including 0-4 against the Raiders.
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Boys Basketball, 03/04/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central wins big, setting up rematch with Andover

LAWRENCE — Colin Bradanese and Sam Lara spent nearly half the game on the bench. Not because they were ineffective, mind you, but because they and the other starters were so dominant they weren’t needed after a certain point.
But when the final buzzer sounded on Central Catholic’s decisive 73-54 win over Lynn English in Tuesday’s Division 1 North first-round matchup, the two Raider big men knew they had a big test ahead of them.
“They’re a great team right now,” Bradanese said of archrival Andover, who Central will now face in the North quarterfinal. “(Max) Beati right now, he’s killing it, and Beasley is killing it, too. They’re a really good team right now. They’re playing at a high level.”
Central Catholic (18-5) and Andover (13-8) know each other better than just about anybody. 
They already have squared off three times, with Central winning both regular season meetings and the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Tourney final
Most of Andover’s team was in attendance for the first half of Central’s game on Tuesday.
If the state tournament’s first round was any indication, Andover vs. Central Catholic IV should feature a clash of big men playing their best basketball of the season. Andover’s 6-foot-8, 300-plus pound center Beati is coming off the best game of his career, dropping 31 points with 10 rebounds on Methuen, while Bradanese (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Lara (12 points, 6 rebounds) both had their way with the Lynn English frontcourt.
After Tuesday’s game, the Raider forwards acknowledged the challenge Beati will pose.
“I don’t know what exactly I’m going to do to stop that, his post game right now is really up there,” Bradanese said. “I’m going to try my best to D him up and limit his post touches and maybe his hook shots, I guess.”
“He’s beasting lately on the boards and offensively,” Lara said. “We’re going to have a matchup problem but we’ll see how it goes.”
There were no such problems for Central on Tuesday, as the Raiders started the game on a 12-0 run and led 25-10 by the end of the first quarter. Central pushed the lead to 43-23 at halftime, then 66-33 after the third, and by the time the fourth came the Raiders mostly relied on their reserves. 
Outside of Bradanese and Lara, Central also got fine performances from freshman George Smith (10 points), Dom Keegan (10 points) and Manny Sanchez (9 points). 
Lynn English (10-10) was led by junior Javonte Edwards (12 points). 
Central Catholic and Andover last met in the state tournament in the 2014 Division 1 North Final, which Central won 59-53 thanks to the fourth quarter heroics of Tyler Nelson. Central went on to reach the state final, where it fell to Springfield Putnam.
The Andover game will be Saturday at Central with the time to be determined, according to the Central athletics Twitter account.
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Boys Basketball, 02/28/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lawrence stuns Central

LAWRENCE — Lawrence High threw a monkey wrench into the MVC Large standings with a big 48-42 upset over Central Catholic Saturday at Central’s Memorial Gymnasium.
Central and Lowell both now have three MVC losses. 
The Lancers’ Juan Felix Rodriguez led all scorers with 14 points.
Lawrence coach Raymond Nunez said, “It was a great team win for the guys. It comes down to hustle and effort and Central had some shots that didn’t go down. We had a good number of guys rotating on Lara.”
The Commonwealth Classic Christmas Tournament MVP was held to two points.
Luis Reynoso had a big game for the 9-6 Lancers with 11 points and a load of rebounds.
The key was the second quarter where Lawrence outscored the hosts 11-3.
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Boys Basketball, 02/11/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Big bad Bradanese

Central Catholic's Colin Bradanese exploded for a season-high 36 points to help lead the Raiders past Billerica 77-51. Sam Lara had 12 points and Manny Sanchez added 11.

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Boys Basketball, 02/08/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Cruz at the buzzer!

HAVERHILL — With the score tied and five seconds on the clock, Haverhill put the ball in its best player's hands and watched him deliver.

Navin Cruz scored on a driving lay-up at the buzzer to help the Hillies beat Central Catholic in a 57-55 home thriller. The win broke a 19-game losing streak to the Raiders, and gave the Hillies a signiture win going into the home stretch of the season. 

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Boys Basketball, 01/31/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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