EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 6, 2010

Feeling like a Celtic

By Chris Smith, Dave Willis and Hector Longo

Nicole Boudreau said she felt like a pro after beating Central Catholic at the TD Garden yesterday.

"I feel like a Boston Celtic right now," she said, standing in the media room of the Garden. "I mean it's the greatest feeling ever beating Central. And it's all the merrier that it was in the North finals at the Garden. That makes it so much sweeter. They are a great team and we had to fight every second to get that win."

With her three 3s yesterday, Boudreau now leads the area with 82 3-pointers. It's not surprising then that her favorite Celtics player is sharpshooter Ray Allen. Boudreau said she actually once met Allen. She as well as teammate Natalie Gomez-Martinez and Central star Katie Zenevitch once roomed with Allen's daughter at a Boston College basketball camp.

"We all looked at each other and we were like, 'Hold on, is that Ray Allen?'" Boudreau said. "We were all just so surprised."

Free throw woes

Central was just 2 for 11 in the first half and 10 for 21 for the game from the charity stripe.

"That was what our halftime speech was about," Central coach Sue Downer said. "If we make our foul shots than we're at a tie game or at least right in it. It was absolutely huge going into half."

Hook-shot layup

Andover's Aly Fazio made an interesting lay-up where she hooked it up and banked it off the backboard.

"I'm so short, compared to everyone else that I kind of just hook it up there," said the 5-3 Fazio.

Natalie Gomez-Martinez added: "I never see anyone do that. But it goes in and she knows it so we're like, 'Keep going with it.' Everybody has a different weird thing and that's hers."

Fazio steps up

A week then opened on a downer for the Andover High Fazios couldn't have climaxed higher.

Sophomore Aly Fazio was big for the Golden Warriors last night, hitting a key three, a tough lefty runner and the clinching free throw late.

"Her best game of the year," said coach Jim Tildsley. "She had a couple of huge steals and made some big, big shots when we needed them. An unbelievable game, I'm just so happy for her."

Fazio's effort was a bit of revenge for the Raider boys knocking off her dad and big brother back in the North quarterfinals Sunday.

Aly watched the Central student section get some zingers off against her brother.

"They always chant 'DJ!' to me, and 'Aly!' to him, and I take that as a compliment when they compare me to him," said Fazio. "It's funny, when I fell tonight and hurt my calf (in the fourth quarter), he came down to the sideline and told me to get right back in the game. I knew I had to be in there."

Force off bench

Tori Brillaud played well off the bench for Central. She played 21 minutes and scored eight points. She also guarded Nicole Boudreau some, helping limit the sophomore to two points in the third and three in the fourth quarter.

"Tori I thought did a great job on her but we switched a couple different people," Central coach Sue Downer said. "Tori played great and she made some huge baskets for us."

Optimistic about next year

Central loses Eagle-Tribune Player of the Decade Katie Zenevitch, who is headed to BC, but it has all four other starters returning. Melissa Miller, a 6-foot junior all-conference forward, who had a strong year by averaging 12.5 points per game and all-conference guard Gabie Polce, who averaged 10.5 points per game. Both already have Division 2 scholarship offers.

"I'm absolutely optimistic," Central coach Sue Downer said. "Yes, we graduate Katie who I can't even put into words what she has meant for our program, but I think we're going to be good next year."

Zenevitch was 7 of 16 from the floor and grabbed an impressive 18 rebounds with three blocks and two assists.

Kudos to Caveney

Andover star Nicole Boudreau admitted the play shocked her.

"I was already running back on defense," said the sophomore. "I didn't know we had the ball. But Devon (Caveney) just gave up her body."

In a game full of huge plays, it was the freshman Caveney who turned in what may have been the most eye-popping of the day at the 2:27 mark of overtime. After an Andover miss, the ball was loose on the court with two Central Catholic players seemingly easily within reach of the ball.

But Caveney flew in from behind, dove outstretched between the two standing Raiders to recover the ball as if she were a football player diving on a fumble. She was then able to get a pass off to set up a Golden Warriors bucket.

"I was just thinking that I had to have that ball," said Caveney. "I knew I had to get it. I felt like it was a big play."

Caveney finished the game with five points, and received plenty of credit from her coach.

"Devon hit a big 3-pointer for us in the first half and a key driving layup in the third quarter," said Jim Tildsley. "She plays with a lot of cool for a freshman."

Tsongas sellout

As for the tremendous crowd estimated at about 8,000 for the Central-Prep game, one MIAA rep notes: "This many people wouldn't have fit in Tsongas Arena." ...

Central coach Rick Nault on Monday's matchup with 21-1 Madison Park:

"They're athletic 1 through 8, bigger in terms of bulk, they defend well, a tough, tough matchup. We may have to do some things differently."

The Cardinals beat Mansfield, 72-60, last night in the South final.

Guarding Zenevitch

Andover seniors Alex Alois and Dianna Bill did the dirty work covering Boston-College bound Central star Katie Zenevitch.

"They played with so much heart," said Andover coach Jim Tildsley. "Zenevitch is the best player in the state. She finished with 20 points, but it was a VERY tough 20 points."

At 5-foot-9, Alois was first charged with covering the 6-foot-3 Zenevitch, and held her to five points through the first half. She continued to excel in the second half before fouling out before overtime. Bill, also listed at 5-foot-9, took over in OT.

"Alex did an outstanding job before she fouled out," said Tildsley. "Then we called on Dianna and she came up very big. She also had to cover (6-foot) Melissa Miller and did a very good job."

Touching moment

While her team was in the middle of the postgame, on-court celebration, Andover senior Alicia Scarpa climbed over the boards to give her dad a hug. Proud papa, Carmen Scarpa, started in the 1982 North title game for Andover. The Golden Warriors led Patrick Ewing and Cambridge Rindge and Latin in the fourth quarter before falling in a thriller.

Fazio steps up

A week then opened on a downer for the Andover High Fazios couldn't have climaxed higher.

Sophomore Aly Fazio was big for the Golden Warriors last night, hitting a key three, a tough lefty runner and the clinching free throw late.

"Her best game of the year," said coach Jim Tildsley. "She had a couple of huge steals and made some big, big shots when we needed them. An unbelievable game, I'm just so happy for her."

Fazio's effort was a bit of revenge for the Raider boys knocking off her dad and big brother back in the North quarterfinals Sunday.

Aly watched the Central student section get some zingers off against her brother.

"They always chant 'DJ!' to me, and 'Aly!' to him, and I take that as a compliment when they compare me to him," said Fazio. "It's funny, when I fell tonight and hurt my calf (in the fourth quarter), he came down to the sideline and told me to get right back in the game. I knew I had to be in there."

Asking for trouble?

Central Catholic junior Jaycob Morales went to coach Rick Nault and asked for Pat Connaughton.

"He got us the last time, and I wanted another chance at him," said Morales of the St. John's Prep junior scoring machine. "It was my time to stop someone, and I feel like I did a good job."

Connaughton, who had 26 in the previous meeting with Central, led the Prep with 18 points, but on 6 of 16 shooting.

Morales added a pair of threes for the Raider cause as well.

Tsongas sellout

As for the tremendous crowd estimated at about 8,000 for the Central-Prep game, one MIAA rep notes: "This many people wouldn't have fit in Tsongas Arena." ...

Central coach Rick Nault on Monday's matchup with 21-1 Madison Park:

"They're athletic 1 through 8, bigger in terms of bulk, they defend well, a tough, tough matchup. We may have to do some things differently."

The Cardinals beat Mansfield, 72-60, last night in the South final.

Kudos to Caveney

Andover star Nicole Boudreau admitted the play shocked her.

"I was already running back on defense," said the sophomore. "I didn't know we had the ball. But Devon (Caveney) just gave up her body."

In a game full of huge plays, it was the freshman Caveney who turned in what may have been the most eye-popping of the day at the 2:27 mark of overtime.

After an Andover miss, the ball was loose on the court with two Central Catholic players seemingly easily within reach of the ball.

But Caveney flew in from behind, dove outstretched between the two standing Raiders to recover the ball as if she were a football player diving on a fumble. She was then able to get a pass off to set up a Golden Warriors bucket.

"I was just thinking that I had to have that ball," said Caveney. "I knew I had to get it. I felt like it was a big play."

Caveney finished the game with five points, and received plenty of credit from her coach.

"Devon hit a big 3-pointer for us in the first half and a key driving layup in the third quarter," said Andover head coach Jim Tildsley. "She plays with a lot of cool for a freshman."

Guarding Zenevitch

Andover seniors Alex Alois and Dianna Bill did the dirty work covering Boston-College bound Central star Katie Zenevitch.

"They played with so much heart," said Andover coach Jim Tildsley. "Zenevitch is the best player in the state. She finished with 20 points, but it was a VERY tough 20 points."

At 5-foot-9, Alois was first charged with covering the 6-foot-3 Zenevitch, and held her to five points through the first half. She continued to excel in the second half before fouling out before overtime. Bill, also listed at 5-foot-9, took over in OT.

"Alex did an outstanding job before she fouled out," said Tildsley. "Then we called on Dianna and she came up very big. She also had to cover (6-foot) Melissa Miller and did a very good job."