LAWRENCE, Mass. — Central Catholic has won games in every kind of fashion this season. The Raiders have won on the road, at home, in different states and in holiday tournaments.
The only kind of win they haven’t had yet is a victory after a loss.
Mark that one off the list.
The Raiders followed up their first loss of the season with a 57-53 victory over host Lawrence — a team they have defeated three times this season — on Tuesday night, in a Merrimack Valley Conference matchup.
Raiders coach Rick Nault saw his team go through a couple of good practices leading up to Tuesday’s matchup, and was happy with the way his team responded from the first hiccup on the schedule.
“I think sitting in that locker room after that Lowell game, which Lowell really took it to us, each kid to a man said let’s not have this happen again,” said Nault, whose team moved to 16-1 on the season. “It’s a very determined group I’ve got. I’ve had a lot of good teams in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever had as a hard working team as this group right here. They truly believe in each other.”
Cambio steps up: One thing that sets the Raiders apart from other teams in Eastern Mass. is the fact that they can roll out a handful of players and not miss a beat.
The latest player to step up was the 6-foot-5-inch, sophomore Nick Cambio. Cambio scored six points and finished with six rebounds (five in the second half and four of those on the offensive glass). It wasn’t all about the stats for Cambio, as he helped spark a 7-0 run to help the Raiders take a 40-30 lead in the third quarter.
Cambio fumbled a pass on the break, but hustled back on defense and blocked a Lancers’ lay-up attempt hard off the glass. He quickly got in on the play on the other end and dished off to Luis Puello for an easy bucket. Cambio also showed off his range with a corner 3-pointer, which was originally posted as two points, to cap off the run.
It’s becoming normal for Nault to see his young big man be a part of so many important victories this season.
“It seems like every big game he’s the difference,” said Nault. “Every time we beat a real, real strong team he’s the guy who kinds of shifts things for us. I thought he was the key.”
Offensive drought for Lancers: The Raiders switched to a press — something that Nault doesn’t usually deploy — in the second half for stretches and also took the Lancers top scorer in the first half, Franklin Martinez, out of his comfort zone in the first half.
Martinez, who scored two points after scoring a game-high nine in the first half, saw Puello and Lucas Hammel on him for most of the fourth quarter and the Lancers offense didn’t score a field goal for the first half of the period.
“We are going through stretches where we just aren’t getting any flow to the game,” said Lancers head coach Paul Neal, whose team is now 11-4. “They did a nice job of taking us out of the stuff we wanted to do. We are a team that has to play with rhythm, and we just couldn’t get it together.”