EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 26, 2014

Central takes first step with ease

Pettway delivers 18 points in career night for Raiders

LAWRENCE — It wasn’t so much of a warning as it was wishful thinking by Central Catholic boys coach Rick Nault.

“When we get that other scorer in the backcourt like we did tonight,we’re pretty tough.”

Now, the key for the Raiders, winners over Charlestown, 74-56, in the Division 1 North opener, is to keep the trend alive.

Next up for fourth-seeded Central is No. 5 Cambridge in the quarterfinals here Friday at 7 p.m.

With Charlestown spinning myriad defensive looks, all built around slowing Tyler Nelson, it was lightning sophomore A.J. Pettway, who stepped into the fray and took advantage, pouring in a season-high 18 points.

“A.J. was the difference tonight, he was the key,” said Nault. “He made big shots, took it strong to the basket and took advantage of everything they gave us.”

Sure, the incomparable Nelson did his damage, tossing in 15 of his game-high 19 in the first half as the Raiders built a 36-21 advantage.

From there, Nelson’s shadow grew closer and closer and he just watched Pettway and his mates hold the comfy advantage.

Zero points on zero third-quarter shots for the patient senior and the Raiders led 53-38 after three.

“Tyler’s done so much more than score for us this year, and he showed it again tonight,” said Nault.

Charlestown would not get closer than 15.

Nick Cambio was his usual disruptive self on the Central baseline, dropping in 16 points. Freshman Kevin Fernandez was a pest all night in the back court defensively and continues to progress on offense.

“The last five or six games he has really given us a lift,” said Nault.

Central Catholic 74, Charlestown 56

Charlestown (56): Jimmy Edwards 3 2-4 8, Charles Washington 1 0-0 2, Jovani Harper-Lopez 1 0-0 2, Taris Wilson 7 0-0 14, Chris Conway 5 1-3 11, Freddy Oliveira 3 0-1 6, Oliver Benner 4 3-6 11, Warfa Abdullah 1 0-0 2, Totals 25 6-14 56

Central (74): Sam Lara 1 0-0 2, Nick Boes 1 0-0 3, Tyler Nelson 7 4-4 19, Aaron Hall 2 4-6 8, A.J. Pettway 4 7-8 18, Alex Santos 1 0-0 2, Nick Cambio 5 6-6 16, Kevin Fernandez 2 0-0 4, Pat Sullivan 1 0-0 2, Totals 24 21-24 74

3-pointers: CC — Boes, Nelson, Pettway 3

Charlestown (10-11): 7 14 17 18 — 56

Central Catholic (18-5):19 17 17 21 — 74

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