Andover Golden Warriors Boys Basketball '13-'14

Sat, Mar 08, 2014 07:45 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Central Catholic 12 17 9 21 59
Andover 11 12 20 10 53

Central beats Andover in North final

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LOWELL — Andover High had all but snuffed out any offensive spark Central Catholic had left on this region’s grandest stage.

The Golden Warriors, seeded first but an underdog in this one, were on the verge of history, leading 43-38 into the fourth quarter.

Central senior Tyler Nelson had his own kind of history in mind, though. Already entrenched as one of the most storied playoff performers we’ve seen, the Fairfield-bound senior added one more chapter, nailing four fourth-quarter three-pointers — all from well beyond the arc, helping to lift the Raiders to the 59-53 victory and their second straight Division 1 North championship.

Now two wins from a state title, Central moves to the Boston Garden tomorrow in a showdown with South champion Catholic Memorial.

“So many times in this run, we’ve been in that kind of situation, since the Cambridge game,” said Nelson, who led all scorers with 20 points on the night. “I think at that point we just started to relax a little bit and the guys picked it up and really just got it done.”

It’s easy to relax when your All-Scholastic shooting guard starts uncorking 25-foot missiles that repeatedly find nothing but the bottom.

And that’s just what happened.

Nelson pulled Central even with a top-of-the-key triple that sent the Raider fan section into a state of delirium.

A dish to Nick Cambio for two more put the Raiders ahead for good with 4:24 left.

Gritty Ben Brown answered to squelch the noise, only to have Nelson up the decibel level once more with a step-back 25-footer.

“Ty’s the man,” said Cambio, who added 13 points, “Whenever you need him, he makes big three-pointers. He came up huge with those shots at the end. We won the game because of it.”

Andover, which will enter the 2014-15 season as the clear-cut favorite in the North with the return of three all-leaguers, fought to the end.

Conference co-MVP David Giribaldi, seeing waves of Raider defenders, soared skyward and swished a baseline jumper, then made 2 of 3 free throws when he was flattened on a 3-point try.

And when freshman E.J. Perry IV buried a trey inside the final minute to slice it to 54-53, the Warrior fans heeded coach David Fazio’s pleas to erupt.

But Central, and not just Nelson, have been impervious to pressure in this four-game run to the Garden.

Sophomore A.J. Pettway (9 of 10 from line) and Cambio each made two free throws to place this one in the win column.

“You have to give so much credit to Andover, I mean they are great kids and they play so hard,” said Raider coach Rick Nault. “They play the game the right way. And when you look at things, we went 2-2 this year. We just happened to get this one, which is the big one.”

Giribaldi led Andover with 19 points and Perry IV had 11.

Aaron Hall, who with Cambio dominated inside early, hurt Andover with 13 big points and 9 rebounds.

Game Statistics:

Andover (53): Ryan O'Connell 3 1-3 7, Ben Brown 2 0-0 6, John Pisacreta 2 0-0 4, David Giribaldi 5 5-7 19, E.J. Perry 4 1-2 11, Connor Merinder 3 0-0 6, Totals 19 7-12 53

CC (59): Aaron Hall 6 1-2 13, Nick Cambio 5 3-3 13, A.J. Pettway 0 9-10 9, Pat Sullivan 1 0-1 2, Tyler Nelson 7 0-0 20, Alex Santos 1 0-0 2, Totals 20 13-16 59

3-pointers: A — Brown 2, Perry IV 2, Giribaldi 4; CC — Nelson 6

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