ANDOVER — Tatum Shaw was in middle school when Andover won the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic two years ago, but she’s heard about what it takes to win.
After all, she has the hero of that championship-game win over Bishop Guertin two years ago, Gia Bramanti, standing next to her during each huddle.
Shaw, a rising sophomore, is ready to have her tournament moment — especially if it means leading the Golden Warriors to a Christmas crown on their home court. On Thursday, she scored 13 points and drilled a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter as No. 2 Andover defended its turf with a hard-fought 49-41 win over No. 6 North Andover.
“It’s on our home court, so we want to win it for our school,” said Shaw. “It’s our home, and we don’t want anyone to beat us here.”
It’s been two years since she sunk the game-winning free throws in the Christmas tourney title game, and Bramanti is still starring for the undefeated Warriors (5-0). In fact, the senior was averaging an area-high 24.3 points per game heading into Thursday.
But, led by the efforts of junior Hannah Whipple, North Andover (1-4) held Bramanti to just 2 points in the opening half.
While Bramanti found her shot, Shaw provided the bulk of the offense. She scored 8 of her 13 points in the first half, and drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 15-14 lead at the break.
A key reserve last year, Shaw, who was averaging 11.8 ppg heading into Thursday, has stepped into a prominent starting role. Although to those who had been following, her rise isn’t unexpected after a successful summer with her club team Evolution Elite 2021.
“She just has a good feel for the game,” said Andover coach Alan Hibino. “Her No. 1 attribute is just her overall confidence in herself, and letting the offense work for her.”
After halftime, Bramanti found her groove offensively.
She scored 16 of her game-high 18 points during the final 16 minutes, finishing a crucial bucket down the stretch to put the Warriors up 46-41 with 50 seconds left. Junior Shea Krekorian (9 points) scored five straight points in the fourth quarter for the Warriors, and Megan Zalanskas (4 points) iced the game with free throws.
After averaging 74.5 points over their first four games, Hibino was happy to prove that his Warriors can win with defense. That defense will be tested on Saturday when Andover clashes with rival Central Catholic — the tourney’s No. 2 seed — in the semifinals (6:15 p.m. tip).
No. 1 Bishop Guertin and No. 4 Westford play in the other semifinal at 4:30 p.m.
“No matter how much we score, we pride ourselves on defense,” said Hibino.
Norah Connors (13 points), Caitlin Panos (7 points), Emma Liporto (7 points) and Hannah Whipple (6 points) all played well for the Knights, who will play No. 7 Londonderry in the consolation bracket on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.
Raiders roll after halftime
ANDOVER — Second-seeded Central Catholic got all it could handle from No. 7 Londonderry Thursday evening.
But after a back-and-forth first half, the Raiders relied on defense to pull away, outscoring the Lancers 21-8 in the third quarter to roll to a 65-41 win in the first round of the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic. The Raiders (4-1) will now play No. 3 Andover in the semis on Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
“We were shaking off the rust from Christmas I think,” laughed Central coach Casey Grange. “We’re focusing every day on how to be a better team defensively. But overall I thought we did a nice job in the second half.”
Junior Nadeshka Bridgewater led the Raiders defensively.
The 5-foot-3 sparkplug hounded the Londonderry guards in the backcourt and came away with a handful of steals. She also was fearless driving to the hoop and finished with 10 points.
Emily Downer led the Raiders offensively with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Star senior Kaylee Thomas added 13 points on a pair of 3s, and Adrianna Niles also had 10 points and 7 rebounds.
“We look forward to this every year,” said Grange. “We’ve never won it, so that’s been our goal every year. I told them that we couldn’t win it all tonight, we’ve just got to win one game at a time.”
Central Catholic 65, Londonderry 41
Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic
Londonderry (41): Coleen Furlong 0-0-0, Michelle Marino 1-0-2, Courtney Shay 7-4-21, Paige Velie 0-0-0, Ashley Rourke 5-2-13, Maddie Haggett 1-0-2, Ashley Schmitt 0-0-0, Katie Sullivan 0-0-0, Kaelyn Rourke 0-0-0, Kylee McGurn 0-0-0, Delaney McGurn 1-0-3, Kayla Miles 0-0-0, Olivia Yerian 0-0-0. Totals 15-6-41
Central Catholic (65): Nadeshka Bridgewater 5-0-10, Claire Finney 2-2-6, Kaylee Thomas 5-1-13, Adrianna Niles 5-0-10, Emily Downer 6-0-14, Juliana Porto 0-0-0, Claudia Porto 1-0-3, Mary Gerard 2-2-6, Lily Angluin 0-0-0, Maggie Smith 0-0-0, Kaitlyn Quinn 0-2-2, Lindsey Bohenko 0-0-0. Totals 26-7-65
3-pointers: CC — Thomas 2, Downer 2, C. Porto; L — Shay 2, A. Rourke, D. McGurn
Londonderry (0-3): 17 10 8 6 — 41
Central Catholic (4-1): 17 15 21 12 — 65
Andover 49, North Andover 41
North Andover (41): Caitlin Panos 3-0-7, Emma Liporto 1-5-7, Norah Connors 3-5-13, Hannah Whipple 2-0-6, Julia Daigle 1-0-2, Sara Mellody 2-2-6, Emma von Sneidern 0-0-0, Katherine Robie 0-0-0. Totals 12-12-41
Andover (49): Shea Krekorian 3-2-9, Taylor Landry 0-3-3, Tatum Shaw 5-0-13, Gia Bramanti 6-6-18, Megan Zalanskas 0-4-4, Sarah Sullivan 0-0-0, Alexa Pacy 1-0-2, Brooke Hardock 0-0-0. Totals 15-15-49
3-pointers: A — Shaw 3, Krekorian; NA — Connors 2, Whipple 2, Panos
North Andover (1-4): 8 6 7 20 — 41
Andover (5-0): 8 7 15 19 — 49