Central Catholic Raiders Girls Basketball '07-'08

Fri, Feb 29, 2008 07:00 PM @ Acton-Boxboro
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Playoff Game Division 1 North -Quarterfinals
Central Catholic 13 20 20 17 70
Acton-Boxboro 10 18 18 19 65

Acton-Boxboro is Dunn, Central topples top seed

  • Currently 0.0 with 0 votes.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Saturday, March, 01 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

Enduring a grueling regular season schedule makes the playoff successes that much sweeter.

As a member of the Merrimack Valley Conference with a tough non-league schedule, Central Catholic regularly plays the state's best teams.

Two of the league's best, Andover and Lowell, already make up half of the Division 1 North semifinal bracket. And the winter-long battles prepared Central well for action outside of the league regardless of how good the opponent is. Just ask top seed Acton-Boxboro, which fell to the Raiders, 70-65.

Now standing at 15-7, No. 8 Central will take on fourth seed Lexington (17-4), a 46-43 winner over No. 5 Peabody last night. The Colonials wrap up their year with a 18-3 record. "We just beat the No. 1 seed and we feel pretty damn good," said Raider head coach Sue Downer, whose club beat Archbishop Williams, the top team in Eastern Mass., in their regular-season finale. "We're just a team that obviously is peaking at the right time."

Not only is Central peaking, but jelling strongly on both ends of the court.

First it was a variety of zone defenses that an anxious A-B squad couldn't pass the ball through. An extended zone trap led by Jackie Vienneau and Riley Dunn shackled the Colonials' guard play and allowed the Raiders to grab the lead late in the first quarter.

Then Central finished with a crushing man defense that at least kept the Colonials at arm's length. And through it all, 6-2 sophomore Katie Zenevitch ruled the paint with 17 rebounds and seven steals.

Offensively, Zenevitch shook off a tough shooting start to lead all scorers with 25 points (9 of 19 from the floor), but the evening's clutch performance came from Dunn. After holding a lead as large as 11 points midway through the third quarter, Central encountered A-B's final run. As Lauren O'Brien (14 points) helped keep the Colonials in the game, a backdoor layup from Katie Awiszus (14 points) combined with two layups from Katrina Rubner (12 points) to draw the hosts within one (55-54) with 4:02 left in the game.

But just 22 seconds later, Dunn took a pass from freshman Gabie Polce (8 points) at the top of the key and calmly drained a 3-pointer to push the gap to four. A-B never got within one possession the rest of the way thanks to a driving layup by Vienneau and to Dunn.

Intentionally fouled four times, Dunn hit on 7 of 8 free throws to finish with 17 points and keep the Raiders on their path to the semis.

"We want the ball in her hands when they start fouling," Downer said. "She's an amazing free throw shooter."

"I've been in this situation before so it's not really a big deal for me," Dunn, a tri-captain, explained. When asked of her other late-game heroics, she replied with a chuckle, "A lot of games. My whole life, really."

"Everybody made big plays," Downer said. "We were telling Jackie she was a little apprehensive going to the hoop, then she went to the hoop on a great play for a huge basket. People look at Katie as a physical player but she is also a fantastic passer who can break a press and find an open player when she's double- or triple-teamed. They made plays with good instincts."

And as for the upcoming semifinal bout with Lexington (date, site and time TBA), Downer feels confident. "We can definitely play with them," she said.

0 Story Comments