Central Catholic Raiders Girls Basketball '07-'08

Sun, Feb 03, 2008 01:30 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Masconomet 15 15 11 15 56
Central Catholic 10 11 13 16 50

Masco gets defensive, tops Central

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Katie McMahon, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Sunday, February, 03 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

LAWRENCE | Masconomet is playing with the kind of patience, discipline and quality that could ensure a deep run into the Division 2 playoffs.

In their first big road test of the season, the Chieftains confidently took the Central Catholic court and virtually owned it all afternoon. Making the Division 1 Raiders look more like the visitors, Masco led for the last 25 of the game's 32 minutes on route to a 56-50 victory, its 11th in a row and 13th in 14 games.

The road map to victory was convincing | deny Central's passing lanes to slow down its offense, collapse on ball handlers in the low post, and, most importantly, only fast-break when it's effective to do so. Knowing when to push the ball is important, and the Chieftains instinctively followed the right path.

With athletic 5-7 junior Jamie White (6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocked shots) leading the Masco defense, the Raiders looked jittery and anxious with the ball. Central's first possession set the tone as White got her hand on three passes, deflecting two and knocking the third out of bounds. Passes and shots looked rushed due to her presence as her speed made it look like there were several No. 10's flashing around the court.

"Jamie is so good out front, making the other team uncomfortable in their offense," Chieftain head coach Bob Romeo said. "And because she can do that, it allows Annie Burns, Meredith DeAngelis and Krissy DiBenedetto to really stay aggressive in the passing lanes. Jamie covers more ground than two normal people. It's unbelievable."

Masco's persistent defense forced 16 Central turnovers in the first half, allowing the visitors to get a nine-point lead at the break. The gap was expanded to 13 quickly on a pretty wraparound pass from Carolyn Stewart (team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds) to DeAngelis for a layup and on a sweet backdoor baseline drive by DiBenedetto (13 points and 9 boards) rewarded by White's entry pass.

Central, now 9-6, responded behind sophomore Katie Zenevitch (20 points and 21 rebounds) to close to 43-40 with 5:26 left in the game, but a pair of dagger-like 3-pointers from Annie Burns (16 points, 3 of 5 from 3-point range) wrapped around a Stewart hook shot from the lane stretched the gap to 11 and cemented the victory.

"That was huge," Central head coach Sue Downer said. "We had two turnovers there that were crucial. Turnovers have been like a monkey on our backs all season and we've got to learn to value the basketball."

"Central is a good team with a lot of pride," Romeo concluded. "We told the girls they've got to be tough and we stayed tough."

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