Central Catholic Raiders Girls Basketball '21-'22

Central dominates Feehan; Andover up next

LAWRENCE – A week ago, after knocking off Concord Carlisle in their state tournament opener, "Andover" was a forbidden word for the Central Catholic girls.

“They know better (than to even think about Andover),” said Raider coach Casey Grange said after the playoff opener.

Friday night on their home court in the MIAA Division 1 state quarterfinals, the Raiders earned the right to again think about the top-seeded Warriors and a shot at vindication. No. 4 Central drilled No. 5 Bishop Feehan of Attleboro, 63-50.

In a matchup that seemed all but predestined when the pairings were announced, it will be Andover-Central Catholic: Round 3, in the state semis with the right to play for a championship hanging in the balance.

“It’s great. We’ve been wanting another shot at them, and I feel like we’re so well-prepared,” said Central’s sensational sophomore Ashley Dinges, who continued her assault on the D-1 field with 26 points and 18 rebounds. “We’ve played some really big teams since then. We’ve all put so much hard work and effort into everything. We have the mentality we can do anything we put our minds to.”

Central, now 19-4, assumed control early on against Feehan, building a 16-8 lead after one quarter and holding the margin at 28-20, going into halftime.

Dinges, who is averaging 28.3 points a game in the postseason, owned the third quarter with a dozen points, five boards and one silky no-look assist to Leah Deleon as Central bumped the advantage to 14 at 47-33. Feehan would not challenge again.

“This group is just so fun to work with because they don’t care about anything. They’re fearless, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky. If they’re playing LeBron James they don’t care,” said Grange of her group’s handling this quarterfinal challenge with relative ease. “They’re like ‘Let’s go!’ I’m throwing up because I’m so nervous and they’re laughing at me because they’re ready.”

Dinges doesn’t sound like a sophomore when she speaks of the Raiders' confident, laid-back approach.

“Practices are literally so intense that games feel like practice,” said the 6-footer. “We just beat each other up and we’re best friends after. We get in the games, and we are used to getting beat up. It’s the perfect scenario.”

Central got a dozen from sophomore sniper Sam Guertin, who canned four 3-pointers. Seniors Claire Finney (9 points) and Arlenis Veloz (8) were all over the floor, per usual.

And now the countdown begins. The Merrimack Valley champion Warriors knocked off Central twice on their way through a perfect conference campaign. The last came on Central’s senior night, a two-point decision that belonged to Andover’s Amelia Hanscom, who had a career-high 24 points in that one.

“We believe we can put it together and give them a good game,” said Grange.

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Girls Basketball, 03/12/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Comcast Champions

Central beat Newton North 57-47 in the finals of the Comcast Tourney. Tourney MVP Ashley Dinges had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks. Claire Finney took two huge charges and had 11 points. Lenny Veloz finished with 12 points. Finney and Veloz were All-Tourney.

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Girls Basketball, 02/21/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Finney, Central roll

Claire Finney scored 18 points as Central Catholic rolled past Franklin 54-35. Ashley Dinges kept rolling with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

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Girls Basketball, 02/19/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Dinges, Veloz star

Ashley Dinges (29 points, 18 rebounds) had another monster night and Arlenis Veloz added nine points on three treys as Central downed Billerica, 58-37. 

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Girls Basketball, 02/15/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Dinges' record day

Ashley Dinges went off for 37 points — breaking Brigid Hegarty's Central Catholic single-game record of 36 points set in 2002 — as the Raiders topped North Andover 63-42. Claire Finney added 15 points for Central, which held the Scarlet Knights scoreless in the third quarter.

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Girls Basketball, 02/09/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Hanscom, Andover hold off Central Catholic

LAWRENCE – A year ago, the Central Catholic girls ran the power sweep on Andover, knocking off the Warriors all three times they met, including an overtime slugfest for the MVC Cup Championship.

This Andover High team seems pretty intent on a complete reversal. Sunday night, the Warriors outlasted host Central for the second time this season, 49-47, spoiling the Raiders Senior Night and lassoing sole possession of the 2022 conference title.

“When it came to it, our composure, it was getting close there in the second half but we pulled it out,” said Andover junior Amelia Hanscom. “Our effort, our hustle and overall our intensity, we just stuck together and pulled it out.”

Andover broke to a quick lead, weathered every flurry gritty Central could muster and ultimately did just enough in the fourth quarter to claim the decision.

Victory was by no means easy, the Warriors just found a way behind Hanscom in a rugged fourth quarter that opened with the teams knotted at 36-36.

Hanscom just willed herself into the paint and scored Andover’s first eight points of the fourth, pushing the Warriors to the front at 44-42 with just under two minutes to play.

Free throws, as they were all night (for the game Andover was 19 for 27 while Central was just 5 of 7), proved pivotal the rest of the way.

Anna Foley swished two and so did Marissa Kobelski to push the margin to 48-42 with 1:02 to play.

Raider sophomore Ashley Dinges sliced that margin in half with a traditional 3-point play, setting up a wild final sequence that saw Central get two opportunities to score or even tie (with a 3). But the Raiders were turned away.

“We didn’t convert when we needed to,” said Central coach Casey Grange. “We put ourselves in good positions. We got the stops and the rebounds when we needed them, but we just couldn’t convert on the offensive end.”

Andover finally put it away with a Michaela Buckley free throw with 5.1 seconds to play. Down 4, Central got a layin from Arlenis Veloz at the buzzer to account for the final margin.

“We made one more play than them today, and that’s what you get from the Andover-Central rivalry,” said Hibino.

Hanscom paced the Warriors with 24 points on a night in which she just refused to relent.

“Amelia played great, establishing herself on the block as like an old-school, big guard,” said Hibino. “She just gets to her position and does her thing. She’s tough as nails.”

The paint on this night was her domain.

“I’ve always been a driver. People tell me to shoot, but I really like to drive. I know it’s my best bet, especially when we want to get to the foul line,” said Hanscom. “That’s what I had to do to help get us a win tonight.”

Foley had 13 as the two Andover top guns clicked on 15 of 20 from the line.

Dinges put the Raiders on her shoulders, matching Hanscom with 24, and Claire Finney had eight. Shea Montague canned a pair of big threes as Central rallied from an early deficit that was as large as nine in the second quarter.

Both teams' leading scorers in Sunday night''s showdown between Central Catholic and Andover, won by the Warriors 49-47, finished with 24 points.
For Central's Ashley Dinges, it was the ninth time this season the sophomore topped the 20-point mark for the Raiders. She is now averaging 22.0 points a game.
But for Andover's Amelia Hanscom, her double dozen represented a career high. The junior, whose previous high this year was 18 points, is now averaging 13.0 points a game on the year. 
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Girls Basketball, 02/06/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Dinges, Raiders roll

Ashley Dinges scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and five steals as Central Catholic rolled over Tewksbury 61-43. Claire Finney added 12 points while Lenny Veloz had five assists.

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Girls Basketball, 01/29/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Dinges, Medina shine

Ashley Dinges scored 23 points and added eight rebounds as Central Catholic beat Lawrence 70-26. Tyanna Medina starred with 22 points for the Lancers. 

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Girls Basketball, 01/25/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Finney hits six 3's

Claire Finney knocked down six 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 22 points as Central Catholic beat Haverhill 65-32. Raider Ashley Dinges recorded her tenth double-double in 10 games with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Kya Burdier led the Hillies with 11 points.

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Girls Basketball, 01/23/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central tops unbeaten Chelmsford

Ashley Dinges had 22 points and 19 rebounds to help lead Central Catholic girls basketball to a 54-47 win over previously unbeaten Chelmsford. Shea Montague had 11 points and Kathleen Smith had five points and 10 rebounds as the Raiders closed out a grueling stretch of four games in six days.

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Girls Basketball, 01/16/22 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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