Central Catholic Raiders Boys Basketball '18-'19

Central falls to Lynn English in North title game

LOWELL — So many chances fell just short for Central Catholic down the stretch.
In the final 90 seconds alone, a 3-pointer that appeared destined for the net spun around and out, a layup took a funny bounce and went free, and a loose ball as the clock ticked down just eluded a few Raider hands before turning into points at the other way.
Trailing by a point with just over minute to play, No. 3 Central Catholic could not find the key shot, and fell to top-seeded Lynn English 67-60 in the Division 1 North championship game at the Tsongas Center.

“It’s a tough game and a tough loss,” said Central Catholic head coach John Walsh. “Lynn English is a terrific team, especially defensively.
They made some big plays late. 
“We had that three go in and out when we were down one point, and they go down and hit a three and that hurt. Things like that are a huge part of the game. And they did a great job.”
This marked the first trip to the Division 1 North title game for Central (21-4) since the 2013-14 season, when the Tyler Nelson-led Raiders topped Andover on the way to the state title game. That was their second straight North crown.
“In a game this tight, it becomes a battle,” said Walsh. “Neither team can really run the sets they want to run. We tried to spread the guys our and run some pick and roll stuff.”
That worked very well for more than a half. Heading into the second quarter tied 11-11, Central Catholic seemed to steal the momentum from English (21-1) heading into halftime.
A 3-pointer by George Smith and a jumper by Jalen Aquino gave the Raiders the lead, and after a quick English run, Aquino knocked down a trey from the corner.
Kevin Constant then drained a rare 3-pointer from the top of the key — three of his game-high 29 points — and a Xavier McKenzie jumper sent the Raiders into halftime leading 34-31.
“Kevin is a really good player that really takes it to the rack hard,” said Lynn English senior Calvin Seng. “Central is a really tough team that plays so well together. Coach told us we had to communicate or we would be in trouble. We tried to sag off of them and let them get some shots off.”
Central senior Cam Homsey knocked down a 3-pointer early in the third to make it 42-38 Raiders.
But, from there, Central fell into a shooting slump. The Raiders didn’t hit another shot for the rest of the third — and the Bulldogs eventually went on a 13-2 run to take a 54-48 lead two minutes into the fourth.
Constant snapped that skid with a pair of layups, and Smith hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 54-52 with just under five minutes to play.
Constant kept rolling, hitting a jumper with just over a minute left to make it 57-56. But the go-ahead shot didn’t fall, and English hit a trey with 53 seconds left to make it 60-56.
The dynamic Constant added two more layups in the final 30 seconds, but Lynn English answered each one to lock down the victory.
“Kevin played his heart out,” said Walsh. “The whole team did. The seniors played so hard. They wanted to win so bad, but so did Lynn English.”
English will now play South champ Newton North in the state semifinals at the TD Garden on Tuesday.
“This is a great bunch of kids that worked so hard,” said Walsh. “You feel bad because it hurts. But they had a very good season.”
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Boys Basketball, 03/09/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central's trio delivers

LAWRENCE — Championship teams always rely on their best players to shine when the spotlight is brightest.
And Tuesday night in the Division 1 North semifinals, Central Catholic got huge games from standouts George Smith, Kevin Constant and Jalen Aquino as the No. 3-seed Raiders outlasted No. 2 Lowell, 67-61, in a wild battle between MVC rivals in front of a crowd of 2,500 vocal fans.
Smith led the way with 22 points, which included four free throws in the final 11 seconds, Constant had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks and Aquino had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The talented trio, who were complemented with a more than solid game from Cam Homsey, who had two 3-pointers and was 4 for 5 from the field while netting 10 points, will now take the Raiders to Saturday’s 7:45 p.m. North finals at the Tsongas Arena against No. 1 seed Lynn English.
“This is huge and probably the biggest win I’ve had because we’re going to the North finals,” said an excited Smith. “We went when I was a freshman but this is bigger because I’m more of a leader.”
Smith not only was lethal on the line but he carried the Raiders in the second quarter. With Central trailing 17-16 after the first quarter, Smith had 12 of the team’s 14 points in the second quarter. That, plus an energetic defense which forced 10 Lowell turnovers in the frame, gave the Raiders a 31-30 halftime lead.
“George Smith just doesn’t want to lose and will do whatever it takes,” said Central coach John Walsh. “You want him to take charge in a game like this.”
In the third quarter, it was Aquino who took charge. Held scoreless in the first half, he nailed two 3-pointers and had 10 points as the Raiders had a superb quarter, hitting 10 of 13 from the floor and outscoring Lowell 23-13 to take a 53-42 lead into the fourth quarter.
Moreover, Aquino held Lowell sharpshooter Carlos Nunez, who had four 3-pointers in the first half for 14 of his team-high 22 points to just one point in the third quarter.
“I felt like I was overplaying him (Nunez) in the beginning,” said Aquino. “I felt (at halftime) that I wasn’t doing everything I’m capable of. I felt like I had to leave everything on the floor in the second half.”
Constant, meanwhile, was a force throughout the game, scoring nine points in the first quarter and contributing on defense all game. Not known as a deep threat, his second 3-pointer of the game, with 2:02 left, gave Central a five-point cushion, 60-55, allowing the Raiders to seal it on the line.
Lowell stayed close throughout the second half thanks to Nunez and the acrobatic drives of Justin Villanueva (13 points) and Rashawn Settles (10), but its shooting tailed off in the second half and its 21 turnovers proved costly.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to these kids,” said Walsh. “Every one of them came to play today and the defense came through when we needed it.
“I didn’t know what to expect from this team at the beginning of the year, but it’s really come on. I thought, after we won at Andover, we started to put things together and that this might be possible.”

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Boys Basketball, 03/06/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central fends off Cambridge in quarters

LAWRENCE – With several Raiders ailing from the flu, Central Catholic caught a break when a snow storm that never materialized postponed its quarterfinal showdown with Cambridge Rindge & Latin a day.

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Boys Basketball, 03/03/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders rout Chelsea in opener

Third-seeded Central Catholic boys basketball led by 16 after the first quarter and 48-16 at halftime on its way to an 85-44 rout of No. 14 Chelsea in the first round of the Division 1 North tournament. George Smith had 14 points with four 3s for the Raiders, who will host either Everett or Cambridge on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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Boys Basketball, 02/26/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

10 in a row

The Central Catholic boys basketball team will be one of the hottest heading into the state tournament. The Raiders (19-3) won their 10th in a row, beating Everett 65-45. Kevin Constant (23) and George Smith (17) led the way offensively.

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Boys Basketball, 02/20/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Mr. Smith

George Smith was on fire with 23 points on three 3-points to lead Central Catholic to a 83-55 win over Methuen.


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Boys Basketball, 01/22/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Andover snaps 7-game losing streak to Central

LAWRENCE — Leave it to veteran Andover coach David Fazio to succinctly sum up things:
“Gutsy, that’s what I call it from our guys … Gutsy, that’s a good headline.”
Despite three starters fouling out – two of whom combined to play fewer than four minutes of the second half – Fazio’s Golden Warriors put themselves squarely in the MVC Large mix with a 71-62 win at Central Catholic. 
The win snapped a seven-game Andover losing streak to the Raiders. Andover won 62-55 on Jan. 8, 2016.
“This is big, very big,” said Kyle Rocker, who poured in a game-high 26 points. “In my three years here, I haven’t gotten a win against Central, so this is special. … Having this momentum right now is great.”
Andover (5-1 MVC, 7-2 overall) built a 14-point lead early in the third by harassing the Raiders, who had trouble shooting over the Warrior zone. In the first half, the Raiders were 4-of-18 from distance while missing 19 of 27 total field goals.
But Central (4-1, 7-2) clawed back with a press which forced 11 turnovers the final 12 minutes. Back-to-back buckets by Kevin Constant had the Raiders within three at 56-53 with 4:20 left.
Colin Kirkpatrick, who scored all eight of his points in the fourth, sandwiched a 3-pointer and two free throws around an Aidan Cammann layup to restore order at 63-53. Central was unable to get within six the remainder of the way as the Warriors scored 25 in the fourth.
“Both teams had a lot of guys in foul trouble,” Fazio of the 42 fouls – 27 on his Warriors. “We lost our starting point guard (Emmett Kim) on the second play of the fourth period, and he’s been running the point for us for three years. And, all of a sudden, we have young guys in there, and they were just gutsy.”
One of those young guys was the 6-foot-5 freshman Cammann, the first player off the Warrior bench who scored his team’s final five points from the line and finished with eight points.
“These kids play a lot of basketball, and they know if they’re on the floor for us that we have confidence in them,” Fazio said. “That’s obviously the best game of (Cammann’s) early career. He’s going to be a great player.”

Central ice cold
The fouls didn’t hurt Andover much, however, as Central converted only 10 of its 31 attempts from the line. The Raiders also shot just 33.9 percent from the floor (21-62).
Andover, meanwhile, had a strong shooting night, making 22 of 43 attempts. Stephen Shaw was the second Warrior in double figures with 17.
“We can shoot the ball,” Fazio said. “There’s no doubt. I thought Kyle Rocker was immense tonight. He made big shot after big shot and was strong with the ball. He made great plays for us, and I think he grew up a lot tonight.”
Andover, which also won at Lawrence on Tuesday to avenge a Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic loss, gets a reprieve from conference play Sunday against Lexington before playing host to North Andover on Friday.
Central was paced by George Smith’s 19 points while Kevin Constant and freshman Xavier McKenzie added 13 and 11, respectively.
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Boys Basketball, 01/11/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Constant pressure

Kevin Constant was on fire with a team-high 28 points to lead Central Catholic boys basketball to a 72-62 win over Dracut. The Raiders improved to 3-0.


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Boys Basketball, 12/18/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Constant effort

Central Catholic blitzed Chelmsford behind Kevin Constant (25 points), Cam Homsey (13), George Smith (10) and Xavier McKenzie (10).

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Boys Basketball, 12/14/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central rallies

Central Catholic used a late 24-7 run to down St. Mary's, 69-63, in Lynn. George Smith had 25 for the Raiders. St. Mary's had held a 56-45 lead midway through the fourth. Kevin Constant scored six points in the closing minutes to help turn the tide.

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Boys Basketball, 12/07/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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