EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

March 19, 2013

Editorial:Central girls battle their way to basketball title

Congratulations to the Central Catholic girls basketball team on winning the Division 1 state championship.

Central, which had finished the regular season in February on a down note, roared through the state tournament to the championship game at the DCU Arena in Worcester Saturday night. The Raiders beat Holy Name of Worcester 53-48 for the state title.

Central, highly touted at the beginning of the year, was a bit of a disappointment in the regular season losing their final game to Division 3 Pentucket for a 16-5 mark. That’s not generally the record of a state champion.

“I’ll bet a lot of people didn’t think we’d be here after some tough losses,” Central’s senior captain, Casey McLaughlin, told sports editor Bill Burt after the title win. “But we did it. We came together as a team. We never let it get us down. And we won a state title. I can’t believe we won a state title.”

Central toughed it out through the tournament run, including a gutsy 55-51 win over Braintree at the TD Garden in the semifinal game.

McLaughlin, who is headed for Stonehill College, was the game MVP with 27 points. Guard Courtney Walsh contributed 13 points while Amanda Williams added 10 points and 12 rebounds. Williams and Walsh, along with Alex Nagri and Caitlin Dell’Orfano are expected to return to form the core of the Raiders squad next year.

“This has been one of the best years I’ve had coaching because the girls never gave up. Never,” said Central coach Sue Downer. “These things don’t happen without players that are committed to winning.”

Grit and determination win championships — in life as well as sports. Central’s team members will carry this lesson with them the rest of their lives.

Congratulations on a well-deserved state championship.

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