Central Catholic Raiders Girls Basketball '10-'11

Sun, Feb 06, 2011 01:30 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Andover 21 14 9 13 57
Central Catholic 12 17 14 18 61

Central beats Andover

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Sunday, February, 06 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

LAWRENCE — It seemed like nothing would change.

Despite having a decided height advantage, Central Catholic couldn’t get consistent production in the paint against unbeaten Andover in its first two battles. The hard defensive work of Jackie Alois and Nicole Boudreau down low prevailed before and threatened to work again through the first half of Round 3 yesterday.

But the Warriors introduced a new wrinkle — fearless penetration to the basket and toward Central’s twin towers of Casey McLaughlin and Melissa Miller. With another dimension to defend, the Raiders fell behind by 12 points early and, after a Devon Caveney 3-pointer 1 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, trailed 38-29.

Andover was marching toward a series sweep, then Central responded. An extended defense held the Warriors without a field goal for over eight second-half minutes and to only five for the entire half. Offensively, pick-and-roll plays away from the hoop gave McLaughlin and Miller room to operate and rebound.

More importantly, Central boosted its aggressiveness and intensity on both ends of the floor, closing the game with a 16-6 run and a 61-57 victory.

“I knew if I took it strong, I could get some points off that,” said McLaughlin as her amped-up style not only created points (a team-high 23) but increased opportunities (10 second-half rebounds) and foul trouble for Alois (fouled out with 3:08 left).

McLaughlin kick-started the turnaround as her fluid play in the lane got her half of Central’s 14 third-quarter points along with the layup that gave the Raiders (15-2) their first lead of the day to open the final period. This combined with defense that held Andover (15-1) to 1 for 18 shooting.

“(Central) kind of clogged the middle and we didn’t react well,” explained Boudreau, who led Andover with a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds and six steals. “It was their same basic defense but they just executed better.”

Miller, a tri-captain, netted eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter.

“It was not just from coach (Sue) Downer, it was from the captains. ... Everyone knew we weren’t playing our game,” Miller said. “We didn’t come out with our intensity like we should have, but when we did, that’s when we started to play our game.”

Miller personally responded after Boudreau buried a pair of clutch 3-pointers that put Andover ahead by six points. With a putback and pick-and-roll with Gabie Polce, the senior got Central within two points and ahead in all-important momentum.

Alex Borelli — submitting 16 points and 11 boards in “one of the best high school games I’ve seen her play” Downer said — drilled a foul line jumper to tie the game. Courtney Williams’ steal and subsequent deep jumper put the Raiders on top. And after two Boudreau free throws re-tied it, another Miller putback and two driving layups from McLaughlin made the score 59-53 and essentially salted away the victory.

“We had Jackie in foul trouble, and she’s part of the big picture in our defense,” Boudreau said. “That hurt us in the end.”

“We relied on the perimeter game a little too much,” Downer said. “In the second half, every time we wanted to get the ball inside. We executed the things we wanted to do. Bottom line: we came through in crunch time.”

Rejecting the dagger

After a game-long climb to the lead, Central saw Andover phenom Nicole Boudreau bury a pair of 3-pointers set up by steals from teammates Jackie Alois and Natalie Gomez-Martinez.

Now trailing by six at 51-45, momentum seemingly shot with 6:05 left, Raiders coach Sue Downer called timeout and set the stage for an impressive comeback.

“I told them that we can cave in or we can step up. I told them to play the hardest six minutes they’ve got.”

What resulted was a 16-6 run driven by senior Melissa Miller and sophomore Casey McLaughlin that earned Central Catholic only its third victory over Andover in the past 13 meetings and first since Jan. 8, 2010.

“This could have gone one of two ways but the girls responded,” Downer concluded.

Game Statistics:

Andover (57): Nicole Boudreau 9 2-2 24, Devon Caveney 5 4-4 16, Natalie Gomez-Martinez 4 6-9 14, Olivia Biles 1 0-0 2, Ally Fazio 0 1-2 1, Jackie Alois 0 0-2 0, Mollie Maturah 0 0-1 0. Totals 19 13-20 57

Central Catholic (61): Casey McLaughlin 10 3-6 23, Alex Borrelli 6 0-0 16, Melissa Miller 5 2-2 12, Courtney Williams 1 1-2 3, Tori Brillaud 0 3-4 3, Courtney Walsh 1 0-0 2, Gabie Polce 1 0-1 2, Alex Nagri 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-15 61

3-pointers: A — Boudreau 4, Caveney 2; CC — Borrelli 4

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