Central Catholic Raiders Girls Basketball '08-'09

Wed, Mar 04, 2009 07:00 PM @ Lynn English
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Central Catholic 17 10 22 15 64
Lynn English 22 14 8 6 50

Raiders roll on

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Wednesday, March, 04 By Alan Siegel
Staff writer

SALEM — The ball hit the rim, bounced straight up, then dropped through the net. Out came the cellophane-wrapped bouquet. Katie Zenevitch, who’d just scored her 1,000th career point, smiled, gave Central Catholic coach Sue Downer a hug, and moved on.

“She didn’t care about the flowers,” Downer said. “She was like, ‘I don’t care about this, I want to win the game.’ I think it was a huge turning point. I think everything just kind of worked at that point.”

The bucket — a 3-pointer from the wing — tied the score at 5:02 in the third quarter. It was one of many clutch shots the third-seeded Raiders hit en route to a 64-50 comeback-victory over second-seeded Lynn English in the Division 1 North semifinals. Central overcame a 36-27 halftime deficit, outscoring the Bulldogs 37-14 after the break.

“Some of the girls before the game were a little bit nervous,” said Zenevitch, who finished with 23 points and 25 rebounds. “I was too. But we pulled it out.”

The Raiders kept their cool in a chippy contest at Salem High’s Veterans Memorial Field House. Fouls were relatively even — Central committed 12, English committed 16 — but play got increasingly physical as the evening wore on. Hard fouls seemed to pile up.

“It was a great energy game,” said Downer, whose team will face Lowell Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the North Final at Emmanuel College in Boston. “Of course you get into it. It’s a very feisty game. We knew that going in.”

Zenevitch called multiple huddles to calm her teammates.

“All the games now there’s been some pushing and shoving,” Zenevitch said. “Sometimes you don’t get the calls.”

In the end, it didn’t really matter. Central began the third with a 22-4 run to open up a nine-point advantage. And when things got tight in the fourth, the Raiders buckled down. After Miranda Hogan’s trey from the corner cut the lead to 51-47, Central responded by going on a 7-0 run. Hoops by Zenevitch and Melissa Miller (15 points) and a three by Gabie Polce (13 points) gave the Raiders a 58-47 cushion with 5:42 remaining.

Miller and Polce, a pair of sophomores, were outstanding down the stretch.

“The great thing is, they went through this last year,” said Downer, whose club lost to Andover in last season’s North final. “You think, ‘they’re sophomores, that’s a lot to ask.’ But you know, I expect that out of them.”

Polce’s poise was evident even before tip-off. The talented singer belted out the Star Spangled Banner in uniform!

“I like to just stand there and kind of be on my own,” Polce said. “Then I go out and put all that energy on the court.”

It was essential for Zenevitch to have Polce as an outlet.

“She’s an awesome teammate. Words can’t even explain it,” said Zenevitch, who helped hold Division 2 Caldwell College-bound Jeanette Anderson, the cousin of former Lynn stars Antonio and Anthony Anderson, to 10 points. “When I’m open she gets me the ball. When I’m double-teamed and I tell her to go the basket, she’ll be there.”

To think, the comeback almost never happened.

“This is not the team I’ve coached the whole year,” Polce recalled Downer saying at halftime.

But then the Raiders, who beat top-seeded Lowell twice during the regular season, got tough. As Zenevitch said, they pulled it out.

Said Downer, “It’s an awesome win.” 

Game Statistics:

Central Catholic (64): Zenevitch 9-4-23, Miller 6-3-15, Polce 5-2-13, O'Connor 6-1-13, Mikus 0-0-0, Martin 0-0-0, Evangelista 0-0-0. Totals 26-10-64

Lynn English (50): Duggins 3-6-12, L. Hogan 1-1-3, Dupree 2-0-4, Murkison 4-0-10, Anderson 3-3-10, M. Logan 4-0-11, Vaughan 0-0-0, Nguyen 0-0-0. Totals 17-10-50

3-pointers: CC — Zenevitch, Polce; LE — M. Hogan 3, Murkison 2, Anderson

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