EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 22, 2010

Andover thinking only about Methuen, not Central

Girls Basketball

The last thing on Andover coach Jim Tildsley's mind is another rematch with archrival Central Catholic.

Or at least that what he says.

"We're not even thinking about Central," he said. "You've got to take one game at a time. I've seen teams get upset."

No. 3-seeded Andover is focused right now on playing No. 14 Methuen, which it has already beaten three times this year. Methuen and Andover play in the Division 1 North first round at Andover on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The game will feature the two top scorers in the area: Nicole Boudreau and Rashidat Agboola.

Methuen's Agboola averages 25.1 points per game; Andover's Boudreau averages 20.6 points.

Here is a glance at all the local teams that made the tournament:

Division 1 North

Andover (19-3)

Seed: No. 3

First playoff game: At home against No. 14 Methuen on Wednesday.

Player on fire: Natalie Gomez-Martinez. Scored 36 points in Andover's regular-season finale win against Bayview Academy. She averaged 20.3 points in her last four games.

Notes: Won its final nine games. ... Beat No. 1 Central two out of three times this year. ... Coach Jim Tildsley said everyone is healthy and ready to play. ... Sophomore Nicole Boudreau is second in the area with 74 3-pointers. ... Tildsley said: "Right now we're playing well as a unit. No one is worried about points. We just want to win. The thing people have to realize is we're still young. Usually in these type of tournaments, seniors win. We want to do well for our four seniors."

Central Catholic (19-2)

Seed: No. 1.

First playoff game: Bye in first round.

Player on fire: Katie Zenevitch, Won Comcast Officials Board 27 Basketball Tournament MVP by netting 33 points and collecting 31 rebounds in a win over Westford Academy on Feb. 14.

Notes: The defending Division 1 champs. ... Toughest competition appears to be No. 3 Andover. ... Central beat No. 2 Westford Academy by 10 points in the Comcast Officials Board 27 Basketball Tournament title game. ... "I think it's a tribute to the girls and how hard they've worked all season that we did get the No. 1 seed," coach Sue Downer said. "I think it's an honor but at the same time, when push comes to shove, you've got to go win games. It got us a bye and it got us a good situation to kind of go over some things that we need to and prepare our best."

Methuen (10-10)

Seed: No. 14

First playoff game: On road at No. 2 Andover on Wednesday.

Player on fire: Rashidat Agboola and has been on fire all year. Averages an area-best 25.1 points per game.

Notes: The first round is as pretty much as hard as it can get for Methuen, which plays No. 3 Andover. The Rangers have lost to Andover all three times they have played this year by scores of 75-42, 89-67, and 66-60. ... The Rangers stumble into the playoffs having lost seven of their last 10 games. ... "I think we need to focus more on us than on them," coach Karen McLaughlin said. "We need to take care of the basketball and we need to go out and play tough, tough defense."

Division 2 North

North Andover (14-6)

Seed: No. 6

First playoff game: Today at home against Gloucester at 7 p.m.

Player on fire: Erika Zahoruiko. Averaged 13.3 points in last six games of the regular season. Scored 18 points in regular season finale.

Notes: Has won three straight games. ... Has had trouble scoring at times. Averaged only 32.3 points per game in its six losses. ... Freshman Morgan Lumb has done well coming off the bench. She averages 8.8 points per game and scored in double digits in three of her last four games.

Division 3 North

Pentucket (22-0)

Seed: No. 1

First-playoff game: Friday at home against the winner of Swampscott-Bedford.

Player on fire: Erin McNamara, who averaged 20 points per game in final three regular-season games.

Notes: Not many teams have come close to Pentucket this year. "Twenty-two and 0 is great, but we've got to put that behind us," coach John McNamara said. ... The Sachems have won every game by double digits, except for one. That was a nine-point victory over Swampscott, which Pentucket might see again in the quarterfinal round. "Division 3 North, there's not a lot of teams in it but we've got some good teams we're going to have to face right away," McNamara said. "There's no cupcakes, that's for sure. We're going to start out facing either Swampscott or Bedford. We know a lot about Swampscott and their record (11-9) is a little deceiving because they had some sickness and injuries for about five games. So they are a very good team. And if Bedford can beat them, it just says how good Bedford is."

North Reading (14-6)

Seed: No. 6

First-playoff game: Thursday at No. 3 Stoneham in quarterfinals.

Player on fire: Kirsten Morrison. Averaging 17.3 points over her past four games.

Notes: The Hornets won final four games and five out of their final six games. ... First tournament appearance since 2007. Back then, they lost in the quarterfinals. ... Lost twice this season to second seed Ipswich and lost once to undefeated No. 1 seed Pentucket. ... In addition to Morrison, sophomore Lauren Hebert has been playing well. She is averaging 13.3 points in her past six games.

Division 4 North

Whittier (16-4)

Seed: No. 2

First game: Thursday at home against the winner of Matignon-Greater Lowell

Player on fire: Jessica Goulet. In the regular-season finale, she tied her season high for points in a game with 20.

Notes: Lost in the Division 4 North quarterfinal round last year. ... Lost two of final three games in the regular season. Coach Kevin Bradley said recently that his team must play better in the first quarter. In all four losses, Whittier has scored 11 or fewer points in the first period. "We go in slumps where we don't score right away, especially in the first period and then they have to scramble so hard," Bradley said. "If we start scoring in the first quarter, then we usually score a whole heck of a lot of points." ... Whittier has lost this season to the No. 6 seed Fenway.

Presentation of Mary (15-5)

Seed: No. 5

First game: Tomorrow at home against St. Clement at 7 p.m.

Player on fire: Kate St. Peter: Averaged 15.3 points in her last eight games.

Notes: Won 11 of its final 13 games. ... Kate St. Peter has been strong all year for PMA, averaging 12.1 points per game. ... Danielle Silva is playing well. She is averaging 7.6 points per game and has been in double digits in scoring in three of her past four games. ... PMA has had a little trouble scoring. It scored under 40 points in all five losses.

Georgetown (6-14)

Seed: No. 19

First game: Tomorrow at Maimonides at 7 p.m.

Player on fire: Morgan Gott. She is averaging just 4.7 points per game this year but averaged 14 points per last two games.

Notes: Georgetown surely is hoping for another miracle run like last year when it entered the tourney as the final seed only to beat the top three seeds to win Division 4 North before losing in the Division 4 state final.