ANDOVER — It might still be early-season basketball on the calendar, but the defending state-champion Central Catholic girls appear more than capable of another deep late-season run.
Last night in the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic nightcap, the Raiders ran off with their third straight rout, whipping Pinkerton 59-33 despite scoring only four points in the final quarter.
“I’m excited,” senior forward Amanda Williams said about the upcoming campaign after scoring a game-high 21 against the Astros. “I’m excited to start the year and do as well as we did last year. We just have to keep working hard and keep getting better.”
Like they did in victories over Methuen and Haverhill, which were outscored by a combined 80-34 in the opening halves of their respective games, the Raiders broke open the last night’s affair game with a strong first half. Central turned a 13-8 opening-quarter lead into a commanding 31-16 advantage with an 18-point second.
The Raiders assisted on seven of their nine first-half field goals. Although five different players recorded at least one dish, Caitlin Dell’Orfano led the way with three assists.
“What we love to do as a team is to run and use our trailers,” said Williams, who is averaging 17.7 points through three. “So, we love to pass the ball. We’ll make the extra pass to get the open layup or best shot. We love to work as a team.”
Before it was over, Central posted 14 assists on its 21 field goals, including 13 of 19 through the first three quarters.
“I think what we’re looking to do on transition is to execute things,” Central coach Sue Downer said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I do see some good passing. There are some positives with our offensive game, but it’s always a work in progress.”