By Christopher Smith
---- — WORCESTER — In the eighth grade, Amanda Williams was a huge fan of none other than then-Central Catholic star Katie Zenevitch, now at Boston College.
Williams watched from the stands as Zenevitch carried the Raiders to the 2009 Division 1 state title — although Williams didn’t attend the championship game.
Williams said she wanted to be there so bad but she had a previous commitment.
“I don’t remember (what), but I went to all the games before that,” Williams said.
Little did Williams know back then that she would be one of the key starters for Central’s next state championship squad. Williams, a 6-foot forward, netted 10 points yesterday to help lead the Raiders over Holy Name 53-48 in the Division 1 championship at the DCU Center.
“This is so amazing,” Williams said. “I knew we could do it but, when it happens, it’s just a whole new feeling. Reality hits — we won, we did it. We worked so hard and then we did it.”
Central coach Sue Downer said Williams embraced her role in the postseason.
“She and (6-footer) Casey (McLaughlin) have complemented each other so well in this postseason,” Downer said. “They kind of instinctively know what each other is going to do. Amanda has been huge for us.”
Both McLaughlin (27 points) and Williams dominated inside against Holy Name 6-2 center/Providence-bound star Brianna Frias, who was held to just six points.
“With all the attention focused on Casey, who’s usually double-teamed, it leaves Amanda wide-open,” Central guard Alex Nagri said. “And Amanda finishes and capitalizes on her opportunities. ... When Casey can’t finish or when Casey is having a rough game and they’re really covering her, Amanda steps up and she finishes.”
Yesterday, both McLaughlin and Williams were stellar. Both girls also were front-and-center, pushing Central up the court and leading the Raiders’ fast-paced offense.
McLaughlin added: “When I had (Frias) on me, I knew (Williams) would always be there for that open look down low. She just finished strong. She got on the boards. She looked to push.”
Once a fan, always a fan as Williams has followed Zenevitch’s career at BC.
“I’ve been watching the last couple of (BC) games on TV,” Williams said, adding that it is quite interesting to see Zenevitch and Andover’s Nicole Boudreau, once rivals, play on the same team.
The Central junior also said that it has been quite an honor to play with McLaughlin, who certainly is the most talented Central inside player since Zenevitch.
“Both are very strong players,” Williams said comparing Zenevitch and McLaughlin. “They’re both strong leaders and they want to win. And they are very tough.”