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Central Catholic Raiders Boys Basketball '07-'08

Fri, Jan 04, 2008 07:30 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Andover 8 12 9 14 43
Central Catholic 7 8 11 24 50

Central rallies, survives Andover

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Saturday, January, 05 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

Central Catholic didn't exactly solve Andover High's vise-like defense, especially that mesmerizing 2-1-2 halfcourt trap.

The Raiders basically survived the determined Warriors, riding a blur of an 11-0 flurry midway through the second half for an ugly, yet still impressive, 50-43 win before a standing-room crowd of about 1,400 last night.

For 29 of the 32 minutes, Andover had its way.

"We dictated tempo, we played our style, and we had them going East to West," said Warriors coach Dave Fazio. Oh, for that three minutes, though.

Central's guard tandem of Wilfredo Pagan and Billy Marsden were granted barely a crack of space to maneuver. And they made good on it.

Pagan hit a spin move in the lane with 15 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting an Andover lead, which had once been eight earlier in the period, to three, 29-26, headed to the fourth.

The senior then bounced out of the gate, nailing two free throws and a 3-pointer for Central's first lead of the night at 31-29.

Andover had one final gasp when the tenacious one, Greg Cook, buried a top of the key 3 for a 37-36 Warrior lead, only to be matched by the incomparable Marsden, who to that point was sputtering through one of the worst shooting nights (0 for his first 10) of his life.

"Maybe we thought too much about blowing them out by 27 the last time, and we thought it was going to be more of the same," explained Pagan of the Raiders' struggles. "Andover came out with intensity and passion. It took a long time for us to match it."

Marsden went on to score six straight points and yank down one huge offensive rebound to pad the advantage as the 5-0 Raiders pulled away.

The one thing Central did cash in on was the advantage in fouls, through the second half especially.

Andover, now 5-2, got to the foul line once after the break, as the Raiders were whistled for only four fouls. Meanwhile, Central was at the 10-foul double-bonus with over five minutes left and hit 20 of 24 from the line in the final two quarters, 24 of 29 for the night.

"As embarrassed as I was after the Christmas Tourney loss, I'm that proud of my kids tonight," said Fazio, who showed his frustrations verbally late, picking up a technical with 1:09 left. "We just didn't get any help at all, and that's a tough advantage (24-to-2 from the line) to overcome.

"I thought we played Andover basketball tonight. If you come into our gym, you're going to have to play well to beat us." Cook paced the Warriors with a game-high 17. Tristian Shannon added nine points and Zach Burdeau showed no apprehension taking it to the gigantic Raider front line, scoring eight.

Marsden, who had one point with four minutes left, finished with a team-high 14. Every one of Pagan's 11 points were huge, while sophomore skyscraper Carson Desrosiers was a point short of a triple-double, scoring nine with 14 rebounds and 10 blocks.

The night also marked the return of Adrian Gonzalez to the Central lineup. The senior, still recovering from a strained oblique muscle, came off the bench to score 10 points.

"It's a little sore, but it feels great to be back," said the two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star, who showed he could take a hit when he was steamrolled by Burdeau on a late layup attempt. "The four games I missed are in the past now. Hopefully, this team has a lot of good things ahead, and I want to be a big part of it."

2 Story Comments

0         RRobichaud

Hector Longo's description of this game angered me enough to comment. After reading it I came away with the impression that Andover won the game. I agree that emotion allowed Andover to win the first three quarters. But in his article he gave Central no credit for being mentally tough to win the game. Instead he implied that Central got a little help from the guys in the striped shirts. Was the victorious coach unavailable for comment after the game? It would have been nice to hear from him. I do have to say it was worth the price of admission to see Dave Fazio finally get a T. I have no problem with you giving Andover credit for playing inspired ball but your description of the game was totally one-sided and did a diservice to anyone who wasnt fortunate enough to be there.

Report! #1 01/05/2008 12:52 PM

0         kenworthpaintingllc

You must be new to the area. This is the Andover Tribune when it comes to High School Sports. I have lived in this area all my life (64 years) when Methuen won the Dalton Trophy in the 70,s You had to read it in the globe.

Report! #2 01/08/2008 07:28 PM