Central Catholic Raiders Boys Basketball '20-'21

Sat, Feb 06, 2021 07:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Haverhill 15 12 7 14 48
Central Catholic 12 19 16 12 59

Central wins only home game

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

Friday, February, 05 By Jeff Hamrick

LAWRENCE – When a late scheduling change brought them home for the first time this season, the Central Catholic Raiders apparently needed time to adjust to the friendly confines.

But with three pairs of socially distanced parents on hand for senior night, they eventually sent all six spectators home with a smile.

Central Catholic needed most of the first half to get reacclimated, but the Raiders put away visiting Haverhill in the second half for a 59-48 victory on Friday – two nights after they needed a three at the buzzer from Marcus Rivera to win at Haverhill.

It was Central’s first and only home game of the season, and only game with a nonessential personnel witnessing the action.

“One of the things that is different this year is there’s no crowd,” said Raider junior guard Xavier McKenzie, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “We have to find intensity within ourselves and the bench. Once the bench gets locked in, it gives the people on the court some intensity. We embrace that in practice about always being together.”

Looking for the program’s second win over Central since 2005, Haverhill seemed ready to finish off the upset bid it nearly pulled off on Wednesday, taking a six-point lead midway through the second period.

Phillip Cunningham sparked the Hillies (2-6) with 14 first-half points, including a driving lay up that provided a 22-16 advantage with 3:57 left before intermission.

But Jeff Goguen came off the bench with a baseline drive that woke up the Raiders and ignited a 15-6 run that included three’s from Guguen, Rivera and McKenzie that resulted in a 31-26 lead that Central never relinquished.

The Raiders (6-2) extended that advantage with a 13-4 run to start a third quarter that began with a Nate Godin three and a drive by McKenzie, who scored 14 during the middle quarters. McKenzie’s three-point play off another lay up kept Central’s lead at 13 entering the fourth.

“My team believes in me to run the offense,” said McKenzie, who is averaging 19.4 points. “At first, I wasn’t able to get the shots I wanted. I had to stay focused, and then I got to the rim when I needed to.”

Haverhill, however, cut the lead to single digits several times in the fourth but could get no closer than seven with 4:54 left on a drive by Cunningham, who had a season-high 20 points. The Hillies hurt themselves by committing 10 of their 15 turnovers in the second and third quarters. Haverhill was called for travelling eight times.

“It’s been our biggest problem all year, the fact that we turn the ball over,” Haverhill coach Souleymane Wane said. “Our point guard position is something that we’ve struggled with this year. We’ve really had a problem taking care of the ball. And if you don’t take care of the ball, you don’t give yourself a chance to score.”

Central, on the other hand, had only seven turnovers, which offset a poor shooting night that saw the Raiders convert 21 of their 58 shots (36%).

“All season we’ve kind of struggled to shoot the ball,” first-year coach Mark Dunham said. “We’ve relied on our defense and trying to take care of the ball. Tonight, I thought we did a good job of that. (McKenzie) and (Rivera) have really done a good job of getting the offense into (running sets). We’ve been really getting open shots, they just haven’t seemed to fall this year.”

Game Statistics:

Haverhill (48): Phillip Cunningham 8 4-10 20, Angel Burgos 1 1-4 4, Junior Efosa 0 0-2 0, Zach Guertin 0 1-2 1, Enrique Alvarado 2 0-0 4, Elias Polanco 2 1-1 5, Elijah Haas 5 0-1 11, Phelan Belin 0 0-0 0, Alex Fuller 0 0-0 0, Colin Snyder 1 0-0 3. Totals 19 7-20 48

Central Catholic (59): Xavier McKenzie 8 4-5 22, Joey Hart 1 0-0 2, Marcus Rivera 4 2-2 12, Nate Godin 2 2-2 8, Jermaine Wiggins 1 2-6 4, Jeff Goguen 4 0-0 9, Domenic Malvey 0 0-0 0, Markys Bridgewater 1 0-2 2, Isaac Bonilla 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-17 59

3-pointers: Haverhill — Burgos, Haas, Snyder; CC —

0 Story Comments