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January 12, 2014

Santos back as Central's X-factor

For a kid that is averaging a mere 4.7 points a game, nobody in the sellout crowd at Andover High Friday night could doubt the impact that junior Alex Santos makes in the lineup at Central Catholic.

“Without Alex, (David Giribaldi) had 27 on us, and what did Alex hold him to tonight?” queried Central coach Rick Nault, knowing the answer was seven points. “Alex did an incredible job.”

Santos has not been spoken of so glowingly in the early going by Nault as he was sent to the bench for two of the biggest games in the Raider season, the Christmas Tournament finals and the St. Anthony’s of Jersey City game.

“I’m now on track,” said Santos. “I feel more like part of the group than I was. I just made some dumb mistakes and I learned from them.”

Santos, at 6-feet, is long and athletic, kind of in the vein of a Luis Puello — although Puello might go down as the best on-ball defender this region has ever seen.

He couldn’t wait for the challenge of the all-league Gribaldi last night.

“He’s so quick and athletic, such a great player,” said Santos. “He like’s it physical and that’s the way I like to play, too.”

Remember, these two teams get to hook up again Feb. 13.

More Friday night fallout

Andover coach David Fazio took the loss hard, especially the way his team played in the second half.

“They got us,” said Fazio. “The Christmas Tourney win was last year. It’s old news. This is tonight. If the best thing that happens to this basketball team is winning the Christmas tourney, then it’s not a good year.” …

Talk about a tone-setter. Lost in the Raider win Friday night was the start by Nick Cambio, who had six points and three offensive rebounds in the first three minutes.

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