Central Catholic Raiders Girls Basketball '07-'08

Sat, Mar 08, 2008 05:45 PM @ Neutral Location - Tsongas Arena
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Playoff Game Division 1 North - Finals
Central Catholic 5 7 18 13 43
Andover 18 12 14 11 55
Katie McMahon, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Hughes relishing final shot

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Saturday, March, 08 By Alan Siegel
Staff writer

LOWELL | "Can you hold this for a second?"

Lauren Hughes smiled and passed the Division 1 North trophy to her sister, Samantha.

Finally, the 5-foot-9 senior forward can give it back to big sis.

Five years after Samantha's three-point play with about a second left gave Andover a Division 1 state championship, the Golden Warriors are on the cusp of an Eastern Massachusetts title. And once again, a Hughes is leading the way.

Lauren scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed five rebounds last night. Nothing flashy but, like usual, it got the job done. She is used to being a lunch-pail player. But leading Andover in scoring? That's a rarity.

"It definitely is," she said after the Golden Warriors defeated Central Catholic 55-43 in the North final. "Especially with the shooters we have. I just picked up the pace today."

"What can else can you say?" Andover coach Jim Tildsley said. "The past month for her has been unbelievable. She goes against girls four inches bigger than her."

Lauren knows it'll be over soon. She's applied to Big Ten and Southeastern Conference schools. Given the high level of play there, her hoop career is fleeting. But that's fine, she said.

"I'm trying to play like it's the last game I'll ever play, which it could be," she said.

As long as she goes out battling, there will be no regrets. "I'm not playing basketball ever again," said Lauren, who hopes to have two games left in her career (EMass final, state final). "I'm playing like it."

She covered Central Catholic center Katie Zenevitch (Who's five | not four | inches taller than Lauren) alone. The 6-2 center scored 16 points, but was largely kept in check.

"I just had to face her the whole time," Lauren said. "I couldn't help anyone underneath. I just had to stay in front of her and make sure she didn't get the ball."

Samantha, who's been keeping the scorebook from the bench for the duration of the Andover playoff run, was impressed. "If anyone was going to do it," Samantha said, "it was going to be them."

"Them" meaning Lauren and fellow seniors Meghan Thomann, Laura Renfro, Ilana Cohen, Jordy Shoemaker, Kelly Driscoll, Kit Heinrich, Shannon Cooney, Jess Miller and injured Amanda Fantini. It's their first trip to TD Banknorth Garden, a fact that's not lost on anyone.

"It's my fourth year, we hadn't gone past the (North semis)," said Lauren, whose older brother Bobby was also a four-year mainstay at Andover. "So it's great to be here." "I'm their good-luck charm," Samantha joked.

Bob Hughes, their father, was a happy man afterward. Two title teams and, "My daughters have been on both," he said. But this season, he added, "We want to take it two more games if we can."

From the chilly Tsongas Arena tunnel, he recalled the day when his older daughter converted the biggest play in Andover basketball history.

Lauren, a seventh grader at the time, was watching from the Worcester Centrum stands eating pizza.

Tuesday against New Bedford, at the Garden, she'll get a chance to make some history of her own.

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