Coming into the Division 1 North girls’ basketball semifinal at Lawrence High, Central Catholic coach Sue Downer knew her team had to do a couple of things to win — show heart and play until the final buzzer.
“Our theme for this year is heart, that’s the other thing we talked about,” Downer said. “Having courage and being together as one.”
And that is what No.4 Central Catholic (19-1) did as the Raiders stormed back from a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat No.5 Masconomet (20-1), 49-43, Wednesday night.
With Masconomet clinging to a 39-31 lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game was stopped because Chieftains guard Nicole Femino had to leave with an ankle injury. When play resumed, Central Catholic scored 6 straight points to pull within 2.
A layup and foul shot by Amanda Williams (14 points) gave the Raiders the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter.
“I think she struggled a little bit throughout the game,” Downer said about Williams. “She’s a senior, she’s the co-MVP of our league and we were waiting for her to make a play like that.”
Masconomet looked like it didn’t miss a beat coming out for the second half, scoring 5 straight points, while forcing the five straight Raiders turnovers.
But with two minutes left in third quarter and its season on the line, Central Catholic knew it was time to step up.
Downer implemented a full-court press that threw Masconomet off of its game plan.
“It was huge.” Downer said “We got a lot of turnovers off of it. It’s a hard press to get in against a good team like this, who is athletic and quick, but we had to take some risk.”
Central Catholic will play the winner of Lynn English and Woburn at the Tsongas Center on Saturday.
Coyle & Cassidy 56, Ursuline 28 — Senior center Linsay Bumila collected a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Warriors (18-3).
Stoneham 66, Arlington Catholic 50 — The Spartans (13-10) outscored the host Cougars, 31-10, in the fourth quarter.