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March 15, 2013

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Central's Courtney Walsh usually comes through in the clutch

Central Catholic junior Courtney Walsh has been known to step up big in big games.

Don’t forgot: as a freshman she scored the game-winning goal in the Raiders’ 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury in the Division 1 state soccer championship game.

Tomorrow, Walsh will attempt to win her second state high school title — this time in basketball, the sport she plans to play in college.

She definitely has stepped up big lately, scoring 16 points in a Division 1 North final victory over Westford Academy and a game-high 19 points in a state semifinal win over Braintree on Monday at the TD Garden.

Walsh and Central play Holy Name at 5:45 p.m. tomorrow at the DCU Center in Worcester.

“There’s a reason Stonehill has offered her (a basketball scholarship) already,” Central coach Sue Downer said about Walsh. “I thought she played great (against Braintree). She provided that other offensive option that we need.”

Walsh is averaging 9.6 points per game. That is down from her 12.0 ppg last year when she was named all-MVC and an Eagle-Tribune Super Teamer.

But last year was different as Downer asked Walsh to assume more of a scoring role during the second half because both Casey McLaughlin (knee) and Caitlin Dell-Orfano (ACL) were sidelined.

Walsh did just as her coach asked, averaging 16.0 points per game in February after averaging 9.0 points a game earlier that year. Then in the 2012 playoffs, she poured in 16 points in win over Billerica and 19 points in win over Westford before scoring nine in a loss to Andover.

With both Stonehill-bound McLaughlin and Dell’Orfano back this year, Walsh has taken a backseat to McLaughlin as the top scorer. The junior has been more of a ball-handler who has looked to distribute first and shoot second.

“Obviously Casey has been unbelievable down low and she’s been getting a lot of our points,” Walsh said. “I shoot when I have an open shot but look down low, too, because our bigs (McLaughlin and Amanda Williams) have been playing really well lately.”

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