LAWRENCE — Madison Borrelli pumped her fist during a brief and well-earned celebration with 2:54 left in the contest. She had just driven to the basket and made her layup while getting fouled.
The basket put Central Catholic ahead for the first time since early in the second quarter and capped a tremendous comeback after the defending state champion Raiders appeared on the verge of elimination.
If Central Catholic fans didn’t receive enough drama during the boys’ overtime victory over St. John’s Prep on Tuesday, then they bit the remainder of their nails off last night.
Down 12 points with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter, the second-seeded Raiders rallied for a thrilling 49-43 victory over third-seeded Masconomet in the semifinals of the Division 1 North playoffs at Lawrence High.
“I was just so excited because we were finally up in the game,” Borrelli said about her fist pump. “And I wasn’t making my shots and it just felt great.”
Central advanced to the Division 1 North final. On Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Tsongas Center it will play the winner of tonight’s Woburn (18-2) vs. Lynn English (22-0) game. After the girls’ game, the Central and Andover boys will play for the North title.
Borelli scored nine second-half points and completed her three-point play with 2:54 left to put Central ahead 43-40. That came right after Amanda Williams’ completed a three-point play with 3:33 remaining to tie it.
Borrelli, Williams, Courtney Walsh and Caitlin Dell’Orfano all produced in a big way offensively in the second half.
But the offense came when Central began to full-court press the Cape Ann League powerhouse.
Masco couldn’t handle the pressure, throwing balls away, traveling and missing easy baskets. In all, the Chieftains scored just six points in the final 9:40 of the contest.