EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 9, 2013

Super Saturday

5 area hoop teams gun for North titles at Tsongas today

(Continued)

Division 3 Boys, 3:45 p.m.

No. 2 Danvers (21-2) vs. No. 4 Wayland (19-4)

The Falcons have been the pick in Division 3 all year long, but Wayland opened some eyes with its semifinal dismantling of a previously perfect North Reading club.

Danvers beat Wayland in OT in last year’s semis and the 2011 quarters. Dynamic Jaleel Bell, a senior, will be out to change that little mini-trend in what should be a classic up-and-down affair.

Division 1 Girls, 6 p.m.

No. 3 Westford (20-4) vs. No. 5 Central (19-5)

A funny thing happened on the way to Central’s third shot at MVC champion Billerica. Westford stepped into the fray in the semis and knocked off the Indians. Still, the Raiders remain focused on the greater prize, and that would be a sectional title.

Casey McLaughlin unleashed a blue-chip performance in the semifinals vs. Andover. She’ll be tested today by Samantha Hyslip, who torched the Indians in a 21-point, 18-rebound effort in the semis. Hannah Hackley will require attention by the Raiders on the defensive end as well.

Watch for Central guard Courtney Walsh, who always seems to show up in the big ones.

Division 1 Boys, 7:45 p.m.

No. 4 Central Catholic (20-5) vs. No. 6 Lynn English (18-5)

If this were a UFC fight, Central would be the choke-out specialist, and the Bulldogs the knockout puncher.

But it’s a basketball game, and while both clubs will win or lose tonight with defense, they will do it with ridiculously divergent styles.

English wants to run you into the ground, cranking up the press and scoring predominantly off turnovers. The defense can be suffocating. And guards Stevie Collins, Erick Rosario and Fred Hogan Jr. make you pay. In the semis, Everett High had some success breaking the press and put up 87 points. It wasn’t enough.

Central must find a way to get the Dogs into a halfcourt game. There is no better halfcourt man-to-man team on the East Coast than the Raiders, who held Andover to 10 points — one second-quarter field goal —in the first half.

The Raiders will again be without Doug Gemmell and Nick Cambio, and they’ll have to continue the run short-handed as a team of destiny.

Tyler Nelson’s used this junior playoff season as a coming-out party of his own, while Joel Berroa remains one of the most unique talents in the North.

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