LAWRENCE — It’s no secret that there are many high school coaches who would like their team to play the game the way Central Catholic does.
After two encounters with the Raiders, most recently a suffocating 63-46 decision at home last night, Lawrence’s Raymond Nunez is near the top of that list.
“Right now, we need to work on being able to play team defense,” the rookie head coach said. “We need to be able to keep their guards out of the paint, and our secondary needs to be able to rotate to the right spots. It just comes down to taking pride on defense.”
The same philosophy extends to the offensive end, where Nunez feels “we have to make the proper reads, be unselfish, swing the ball and pass it all around. That’s what we’re trying to instill — that the team is bigger than one person.”
The Lancers (now 5-3) managed that for a four-minute stretch of the third quarter. Junior Roberto Speing (team-high 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks) had a nice dish to Esmelin Romero for a 3-pointer, sank a pair of putbacks and was immense in the paint in a 12-2 run that cut the Raider lead to six at 35-29.
But Central (8-1) played at a high level of unselfishness all night, getting assists on all but two of its final 12 baskets to extend the lead back to 19 after three quarters (51-32) before settling for a 17-point win.
“We want each other to do well,” said co-captain Doug Gemmell (12 points and 9 boards). “If Lucas (Hammel) comes down and hits Joel (Berroa) with a nice pass, the next time down, Joel’s going to be looking for Lucas.”
The dishes were plentiful and blue-plate all the way. Led by Hammel’s seven assists and five more from Nick Cambio, the Raiders rang up 19 dimes on 27 field goals. In comparison, Lawrence had but three assists on 20 baskets.