LAWRENCE – Too many missed layups, a handful of clanked foul shots, and defensive breakdown or two.
“That’s all it takes against them,” lamented Andover High coach David Fazio. “You have to cash in against them when you can. And we just didn’t do that.”
The Golden Warrior punishment on this Saturday night was a 64-51 loss at the hands of No. 1 Central Catholic before a sellout crowd here at Memorial Gymnasium.
It was Central’s second win over Andover this year and puts the Warriors a pair of games behind the Raiders, stuck in a third-place tie with Lowell in the MVC large.
Junior Tyler Nelson led all scorers with 18 points on 6 of 13 shooting for the 12-1 Raiders (9-0 MVC), but it was Central’s height advantage which made the difference.
The Raider plan was simple. Whoever 6-4 Sam Dowden was covering would stay in the deep corner.
With Andover’s lone big man in the corner, Central’s other two big men would crash the offensive glass hard.
Most of the night, Dowden drew Doug Gemmell (6 points, 8 rebounds) and that allowed both Joel Berroa and Nick Cambio to seek and destroy in the paint.
“I guess I got my groove going today,” said Berroa, who had a dozen points and at 6-foot-4 was often defended by a sub-6-footer.
Cambio, at 6-foot-6, feasted on the glass as well, tossing in 14 points with eight boards.
Andover, which is still without 6-foot-5 sophomore Connor Merinder, simply had no answer for the size difference.
“You have to make them uncomfortable, and we did all we could to make that happen,” said Fazio.
Andover made repeated runs at the Raiders, only to be turned away.
Styles simply didn’t matter after the break as Central led 33-26 at the turn.
In the third, the teams played up and down, trading hoops and haymakers. Andover, however, couldn’t carve into the 7-point lead.