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December 30, 2012

Three days Central will never forget

Christmas Tourney romp caps historic run

LAWRENCE — So you thought Central Catholic would come out flat?

I could make an inappropriate Kate Upton comment here, but suffice it to say the Raiders were anything but flat. They flattened Lawrence, 77-59, last night to capture the 38th annual Greater Lawrence Boys Christmas Basketball Tourney.

It capped an unforgettable three-day rollercoaster ride that a group of 17-year-olds and all those who bleed Central Red, White and Blue will never forget.

Raider coach Rick Nault said, “It was a war vs. Andover (a 2-point win Thursday in the Christmas Tourney semis) with tons of intensity and emotion. Then to go up vs. a national power (a near Do You Believe in Miracles? upset of Chaminadian proportions before falling 54-50 to defending national champ St. Anthony’s on Friday).

“We went toe to toe with them and had a shot to win.”

Then, of course, their birthright, winning the Christmas Tourney. Dick Licare, who was in the house, got the dynasty rolling and the seventh-year head coach Nault has filled those Shaq-sized shoes and, if possible, kicked it up a notch.

“It’s impressive. I don’t know if many others could do it,” said Nault proudly of a trifecta which would make you a fabulously wealthy man at Rockingham Park.

Lawrence’s best chance was to punch Central in the mouth early and have the Raiders realize these three wins in three nights is too much even for their stratospheric standards.

Being an ignorant sportswriter, pardon the redundancy, I asked Nault what they’d be doing today.

He rightly looked at me like I had two heads.

“They’ll get a couple days off,” he said. “What they did is amazing.”

Apologies to our president, but this was the Audacity of Hoop.

Let’s face it, you have to be a little arrogant to schedule a national power between the semis and finals of the Christmas Tourney. But when you’ve now won the 8-team tourney 13 times in the last 17 years, well you can do stuff like that.

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