Lady Warriors Stomp Central Catholic in Christmas Tournament’s First Round
Andover held off a late comeback and ended the game on 10-1 run for the 53-43 victory.
The Lady Warriors improved to 5-0 on Tuesday night and, to make things sweeter, it was over their biggest rivals and toughest competition.
Andover, defending Division I State Champions, held off the Raiders of Central Catholic, with a 53-43 win in the first round of the Greater Lawrence Christmas Basketball Tourney at Methuen High School.
"It's just a great rivalry and it's nice to be on top tonight," said Warriors head coach Jim Tildsley.
Andover has crushed the opposition throughout the season and improved to a stout 5-0, though the ten point win was their lowest margin of victory in the young season.
"They are a great team and they're going to be unbelievable all year," Tildsley said of the Raiders who are arguably the best competition the Warriors' 2010-11 schedule has to offer.
Andover jumped out to strong leads gaining a 23-9 advantage in the second quarter and a 31-18 lead in the third.
Andover's three Boston Globe All Scholastic captains led the way to Andover's dominant leads and contributed on both sides of the ball.
Senior point guard Natalie Gomez-Martinez contributed 12 points and created turnovers in the backcourt which led to easy layups.
The other half of Andover's ridiculously talented backcourt, junior shooting guard Nicole Boudreau, dropped 15 points to lead all scorers.
"These two guards are very special," said Tildsley. "We depend on them a lot."
Boudreau had a huge impact on the game despite foul trouble. Her four fouls took her off the court late in the game and allowed the Raiders to come within a single point.
Consecutive turnovers that led to Central Catholic layups had the Warriors clinging to a 41-39 fourth quarter lead.
Boudreau drained a shot to extend the lead to four but a quick three pointer by Central Catholic's 5-foot, 8-inch forward Tori Brillaud brought the Raiders within one, prompting a timeout from the Andover bench.
"We made a couple mistakes, turnovers offensively, and they came back and got lay-ups; next thing it was a one point game," said Tildsley.
From there the Lady Warriors took control of the game and didn't let go, ending the game on a 10-1 run.
"Mentally they could have folded and they didn't," said Tildsley.
Central Catholic's 6-foot, 1-inch senior captain Melissa Miller was instrumental in the Raiders' comeback. The forward scored 10 points on the night and eight in the fourth quarter, which put Central Catholic in position to take control.
It was sophomore forward Casey McLaughlin who led the Raiders in scoring. The 6-footer led the way with 12 points, six coming off free throws.
Andover's sophomore forward Jackie Alois also figured in the scoring leaders with nine points.
Andover advances to the tournament semifinals against Lowell to be held in Methuen on Mon., Dec. 27 at 6p.m.
Would anything short of a tournament championship be a disappointment for this edition of the Lady Warriors?
"Yes," said Tildsley.
"We want to win the MVC (Merrimack Valley Conference)," he said.
"We want to win the Lynn Tournament ," he said.
His team and his town now have high expectations after last year's state title.
"What happens in the States happens," said Tildsley of the looming state tourney which will commence in the spring.
For now, it is all about Lowell on Monday, and a win would put Andover in the finals on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Methuen High School will host the festivities at 7:30 p.m. Should Andover falter, the consolation game would be the Wednesday night at 6 p.m.
Andover handled Lowell once already this season, destroying the Red Raiders in a 55-38 game on Dec. 11.
Central Catholic was dealt its first loss and now stands at 3-1.
Note: There were errors regarding days and times of the tournament in the original article. We have made corrections to the article.