EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 2, 2013

Dynamic duo

Without two starters, Nelson and Berroa take charge in easy win

By Dave Dyer
ddyer@eagletribune.com

---- — LAWRENCE — It is definitely not a case of addition by subtraction.

But, last night in the Division 1 North quarterfinals, Central Catholic didn’t lose a thing without All-MVC stars Doug Gemmell (concussion) and Nick Cambio (hamstring), both of whom are expected to be out the rest of the season.

With Tyler Nelson and Joel Berroa leading the way with 23 points apiece, the Raiders (19-5) crushed Cambridge Rindge & Latin in the Division 1 North quarterfinals, 73-53. And it wasn’t as close as the 20-point differential would suggest.

The win sets up a rematch with archrival Andover, which upset St. John’s Prep last night, in the Division 1 North semifinals.

Central Catholic scored the first seven points of the game, led 19-7 after the first quarter, 35-17 at halftime and never let the Falcons (13-9) get closer than 11 in the second half.

Although Nelson and Berroa were the offensive catalysts throughout the game, 6-foot-6 junior Aaron Hall provided a spark. Starting just his second game of the season, he opened the game with a drive to the basket, scored another early hoop and was active around the basket throughout the game while chipping in with eight points.

“We still have three starters and they have to step up and play bigger roles, and our guys who were on the bench need to step up,” said Central coach Rick Nault. “I thought Aaron Hall played a great game for us. I thought he played great at both ends of the floor.”

But it was Nelson and Berroa who proved unstoppable. Nelson had 15 points in the first half on 5-of-8 shooting, with nine points coming from three 3-pointers while Berroa took over in the second half with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Two baskets came on nifty pick-and-roll plays with Nelson.

The Raiders also scored 10 points on fast breaks following steals.

“(Without Gemmell and Cambia), we really have to turn it up defensively — we have to score points off of our defense,” said Nelson. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”

In fact, with some stifling man-to-man defense, the Raiders held Cambridge’s two leading scorers, forward Marcus Faison and sophomore guard Isaiah McLeod to a combined two points at halftime and 15 for the game. Only junior center Fredens Deneus (18 points, 14 rebounds) had any success for the Falcons.

The Raiders now advance to the semifinals against upset winner Andover, and Nault — even without Gemmell and Cambio — isn’t about to be satisfied with a win or two.

“These kids are starting to believe in themselves and I believe in them,” said Nault. “We can still come together and win games.”

agateHed:Central Catholic 73, Cambridge 53

agateText:Division 1 North Quarterfinals

Cambridge (53):@zzAgate:agateText: Lucas Hammel 3 1-2 7, Tyler Nelson 7 6-6 23, Jamahl Lopez 1 0-2 2, Anthony Crespo 0 0-0 0, Joel Berroa 10 1-2 23, Aaron Hall 4 0-0 8, Alex Santos 1 2-2 4, Nick Boes 0 0-0 0, Mike Barry 3 0-0 6, Ryan Barry 0 0-0 0, Andrew Hamel 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 10-14 73

agateText:Cambridge (53):@zzAgate:agateText: Isaiah Mcleod 5 3-3 15, Elijah Booken 1 0-0 2, Marcus Faison 0 0-0 0, Malik Hill 1 0-0 2, Demetrius Woodson 1 0-0 3, Robell Grbryrhu 1 0-3 2, Fredeus Deneus 7 4-7 18, DeAndre Shouder-Williams 2 1-2 6, Dawshawn Loney-Bailey 1 0-0 2, Carl Graham 0 3-4 3. Totals 19 11-19 53.

agateText:3-pointers:@zzAgate:agateText: CC — Nelson 3, Berroa 2; C — McLeod 2, Shouder-Williams, Woodson

agateText:Cambridge (13-9):@zzAgate:agateText:  7 10 19 17 — 53

agateText:Central Catholic (19-5):@zzAgate:agateText: 19 16 18 20 — 73