Boston High School: Darion Summers

D1 Girls Final: Central Catholic 53, Holy Name 48

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
1:32
AM ET


WORCESTER, Mass. --- Senior forward Casey McLaughlin was in eighth grade in 2009 when Central Catholic defeated Shepherd Hill 67-62 to win the Division 1 state championship. After three straight years of watching Merrimack Valley Conference rival Andover hoist the state championship trophy McLaughlin and her Central Catholic teammates seized their opportunity on Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The Stonehill-bound McLaughlin scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead Central Catholic (22-5) to the MIAA Division 1 state championship as they defeated Holy Name (23-3), 53-48.

“I wanted it so bad,” McLaughlin said after the game. “We all wanted it. None of us had been this far in the playoffs ever. This was my senior season and I just wanted to go out with a bang.”

McLaughlin, who never stops working on both ends of the court, found her angles to the basket as she repeatedly beat the Holy Name defense to the right and finished at the basket.

“She is so quick,” Holy Name head coach Barry Finneron said of McLaughlin. “She catches it and gives you that little head fake to the middle and then she is down the lane.”

Central Catholic jumped out to an early 17-8 lead after one quarter of play as the tandem of junior point guard Courtney Walsh (13 points) and McLaughlin accounted for 13 of Central’s 17 opening quarter points.

Holy Name, led by junior point guard Aryauna Perez (12 points), fought back in the second quarter as they cut the deficit to six and gained momentum with under 10 seconds remaining in the first half.

With less than 10 seconds on the clock Central Catholic junior guard Alex Nagri would come up with one of the biggest plays of the game. The 5-foot-2 Nagri stole the ball and found junior forward Amanda Williams (10 points, 10 rebounds) for a successful And-1 conversion with 6.7 seconds remaining in the half. The play helped shift the momentum and give Central Catholic a 31-22 lead at the half.

“I know that I am obviously short,” Nagri said. “They had some shot blockers and some big people so after the steal I saw Amanda and I knew my job was to get it to her and she did a great job of catching and scoring it.”

Holy Name junior center Brianna Frias (six points, 11 rebounds) came out of the half time break and showed why she is one of the top talents in the state as she was aggressive on the glass and sparked the Holy Name effort on the defensive end of the floor. The staunch defensive effort by the Naps would help cut the Central Catholic lead to six points at 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

Holy Name sophomore guard Gabrielle Guenther (11 points) nailed two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter but Central would answer back as Walsh, McLaughlin and senior guard Darion Summers made big plays down the stretch to ensure the victory.

Summers scored her only two points of the game on two clutch free throws down the stretch to help seal the win.

“I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Central Catholic head coach Susan Downer said. “I am just so proud of them. They dug, made plays when we needed to, stuck to our game plan, we switched some things up in the third quarter, it is just amazing.”

Arms distance: As hard as Holy Name fought throughout the game they could never cut the Central lead to under five points. Each time the Naps would hit a big shot to shift the momentum Central would stay poised and answer back with a basket of their own.

“I think our transition play is the best part of our game,” Nagri said. “I think that we just stuck with our plan, got key defensive stops and pushed the ball in transition and that is what ended up helping us keep the lead.”

The future: It may not be too far fetched to think that we could see this match-up again in next year’s final. The future is very bright for both Central Catholic and Holy Name as each team graduates only three players from their current rosters.

Central graduates one of the state’s best forwards in McLaughlin, along with Summers and guard Allison Tierney. They return four starters in Walsh, Williams, Nagri, and guard Caitlin Dell’Orfano, who are all veteran juniors.

Holy Name also returns four of their starters in Frias, Perez, sophomore forward Lauren Willard and junior guard Ama Biney (11 points, four steals).

Holy Name graduates starting forward Malissa Saad (eight points, eight rebounds) along with center Megan Thornton (two blocks) and guard Eva Katana.

“Malissa Saad is just awesome,” Finneron added. “She just carried us at times and as a senior she played great for us, especially in the third quarter.”

Div. 1 Girls: Andover 56, Central Catholic 36

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
11:33
PM ET
HAVERHILL, Mass. --- Merrimack Valley Conference Large rivals Andover and Central Catholic met again for the fourth time this season in the D1 North sectional semi-finals on Tuesday night. With Andover winning the prior three contests, Andover Coach Jim Tildsley knew this game would present a big challenge.

“We were concerned with them coming in as the No. 12 seed and playing so well, beating two very good teams in Billerica and Westford on the road,” said Tildsley.

[+] EnlargeDevon Caveney
Ryan Kilian for ESPNBoston.comAndover's Devon Caveney scored 12 of her 16 points in the first half to give Andover an early cushion.
Andover did not look concerned on the court, however, as they would come out and take immediate control of the game early and often on their way to a 56-36 victory.

“I am really proud of my kids,” said Tildsley. “There is so much pressure on these kids with everyone talking three-peat, three-peat. They are just taking it a game at a time and coming to every game focused and ready to play.”

Andover (24-0) set the tempo early as they extended their full court pressure defense right off the opening tip. The pressure and aggressive ball denial was effective as Andover held Central Catholic (14-9) scoreless until the two minute mark in the first quarter. Andover led 11-2 until the first quarter buzzer sounded when Central Catholic guard Courtney Walsh drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11-5 after one quarter of play.

“We came out and stymied them with our defensive pressure,” said Tildsley. “That was the whole key to that game. We had to come out during those first four minutes of the game and really play and we did.”

The offensive star on the night was Andover junior guard Devon Caveney, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the first half.

“It is all about confidence,” said Tildsley of his junior guard.

Andover’s Nicole Boudreau saw constant double teams on the evening as Central aggressively tried to take her out of the game with varying gimmick defenses and aggressive ball pressure.

“They were triple-teaming Nicole so one of us had to be open,” said Caveney. “I knew I had to hit those shots if we wanted to get the lead going and I did.”

Caveney converted three separate three-point play opportunities, with the most impressive being a baseline 3-pointer to start the second half that she drained while hitting the floor after contact. She made the free throw, completing the four-point play, which continued the second half momentum for the Golden Warriors and put the game well in hand.

Central Catholic received strong efforts on the night from junior center Casey McLaughlin (10 points, 13 rebounds), sophomore forward Amanda Williams (seven points, 11 rebounds) and sophomore guard Walsh (nine points).

Miss Stat Sheet: Boudreau definitely knows how to fill up a stat sheet as the reigning ESPN Boston Miss Basketball found ways to dominate the game without having one of her typical high scoring evenings.

Boudreau scored a game-high 17 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, dished out five assists to go along with six steals and five blocked shots on the evening.

“Nicole made some great passes tonight.” said Tildsley.

Two of her best passes came in pressure situations with three Central defenders draped all over her. She had the presence of mind and strength to thread the ball, both times, through the entire defense to open teammates under the basket on the opposite side of the court.

Central’s Youth: Central Catholic will only be better when the ball is thrown up for the 2012-2013 season opener. They return all but two seniors and the future looks as bright as the past has for the Raiders.

McLaughlin is only a junior and has been playing regularly since her freshman year. Walsh and Williams are both sophomores. They also return sophomore defensive specialist Alex Nagri, junior sixth-woman Darion Summers and five other underclassmen who all saw playing time at various points in the season.

Another Title Run: The elephant in the room for the Andover girl’s basketball program is their impressive late season undefeated record and their prior two seasons Massachusetts State Championships.

The road to their third consecutive state championship does not get any easier as they will face the winner of Thursday’s other D1 North semi-final match-up between Lincoln-Sudbury and Masconomet. The sectional finals will be played at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass. on Saturday as a part of a big day of sectional finals for the North sectional girl’s and boy’s basketball championships.

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