Central Catholic Raiders Boys Basketball '15-'16

Mon, Dec 28, 2015 06:15 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Methuen 11 13 7 7 38
Central Catholic 8 12 9 20 49

Central owns 4th quarter, rallies past Rangers

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Monday, December, 28 By Michael Muldoon

NORTH ANDOVER —  Dante Rivera's lefthanded drive followed by another lefty drive by David Dizazzo (team-high 13 points) put Methuen up 35-31 with five minutes left. 
Everything seemed in place for the Rangers to punch their ticket to the championship game of the 41st annual Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic.
But the swarming Central Catholic defense, led by perimeter greyhounds Tanahj Pettway, Victor Mwaurah and Jeremy Urena, took its toll and the Ranger offense went south in a hurry. That D combined with some inspired late play by Ian Carmichael sparked the Raiders to a supremely misleading 49-38 win.
This was no 11-point game.
Central will take on tourney newcomer Londonderry Wednesday in the title game at North Andover High's Crozier Fieldhouse at 8 p.m.
 "I said before the game (to the players), it would be a rock fight and they want to beat you more than anything," said Raiders coach/birthday boy Rick Nault. who got exactly what he wanted for his 44th birthday.
"I thought our depth at that position (backcourt) wore them down."
The Rangers (2-4), who led most of the first three quarters, were held to a mere 14 second-half points in the defensive struggle and just five in the final 11:38.
But with Central (4-1) not exactly lighting up the scoreboard either, it was anyone's game.
Trailing by 4 with five minutes left, Pettway (game-high 20 points) sank two pull-up jumpers and Steven Hajjar hit both ends of a 1 and 1 to give Central a 37-35 lead. Then Carmichael soared for a tip. Andrew Marcelino answered with an up-and-under hoop and the free throw to cut the Raider lead to 39-38 at the 1:56 mark.
But the 6-7 Carmichael hit 1 of 2 after his offensive rebound then threw down a dunk. He corralled a man-sized rebound in traffic to almost seal the deal in the final minute. Central scored 7 points in the final 33 seconds for the misleading final score.
On his slam, Carmichael (14 points) soared like his uncle, North Andover High's Hall of Fame triple jumper Jamie Noble.
 "There is nothing like it. It's a great feeling," said Carmichael, who lives in Atkinson. "I didn't even play some games last year. I'm just enjoying the ride."
Nault said as a freshman, he wasn't sure if Carmichael would ever be a factor.
"Now he might be the best center in the league," the coach said proudly. "Ian was immense. He had four rebounds in a crowd in the last four minutes. He changed the game."
The Raiders are banged up with All-MVC guard Kevin Fernandez (foot) still a few weeks away and Sam Lara (sprained ankle in the opener) sitting out and probably a game-time decision for the final.
Of course, nobody will ever weep for the vaunted Raiders but it's a feather in their cap to reach the finals starting three sophomores (5-10 Pettway, 6-3 Hajjar, 6-4 Colin Bradanese). Pettway is no ordinary 10th grader, as he proves on a nightly basis.
Excluding when it was two four-team divisions the last two years, it would have been the gutty Rangers' first appearance in the Christmas Tourney finals since 2000. 
Aggressive senior guard Dizzazo continued his strong play with a team-high 13 points for Methuen and undersized center James Ogunjobi (8 points) battled relentlessly against the bigger Raiders.
 "We played hard, We fought," said senior guard Keegan Lannon, Methuen's lone returning starter. "It was just a few bounces one way and a few bounces the other."
Central always seems to get those bounces, that's why they have a record 18 Christmas Tourney titles. And are one win away from No. 19.

Game Statistics:

Commonwealth Classic Semifinal

Methuen (38): Dante Rivera 1 0-1 2, Kashous Solomon 0 0-0 0, Evan Hardy 2 0-0 5, Keegan Lannon 2 0-0 6, James Ogunjobi 3 2-4 8, Andrew Marcelino 1 2-5 4, David Dizazzo 5 1-1 13, 14 5-11 38

Central Catholic (49): George Grillakis 0 2-4 2, Bret Edwards 0 0-0 0, Victor Mwaurah 2 0-0 5, Jeremy Urena 0 0-1 0, Tanahj Pettway 8 4-4 20, Dennis Quinn 0 0-0 0, Colin Bradanese 1 2-2 4, Steven Hajjar 1 2-2 4, Ian Carmichael 5 4-5 14. Totals 17 14-18 49

3-pointers: M -Lannon 2, Dizazzo 2, Hardy; CC - Mwaurah

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