BOYS’ BASKETBALL | LOWELL 72, CENTRAL CATHOLIC 58
LAWRENCE — In an early season test for the fourth-ranked Lowell boys’ basketball team, the Red Raiders followed the lead of senior Alex Rivera.
The star guard produced a game-high 27 points and collected 12 rebounds as fourth-ranked Lowell stayed unbeaten, defeating No. 3 Central Catholic, 72-58, at Memorial Gymnasium to keep a firm grasp atop the Merrimack Valley Conference.
“Anytime you win at Central is a good win,” said Lowell coach Bobby Michalczyk.
“I am happy with this. I mean, we still have a long ways to go but as for right now we are in a pretty good spot.”
Lowell (6-0) turned up the defensive intensity late in the third quarter to pull away in a game that was tightly contested. With the score knotted at 55, Rivera drained a 10-foot step-back that sparked a 9-1 Red Raiders’ run in the final two minutes of the quarter.
Junior guard Justin Villanueva contributed 4 of his 15 points to the run and also was tasked with defending Central senior Colin Brandanese the entire night. The 6-foot-3-inch Villanueva held the 6-5 Brandanese to 7 points.
“That kid is awesome,” said Michalczyk of Villanueva. “We tell him to go guard their best player all night, and he roughly shuts him down. Then he contributes on the offensive end, which is an additional bonus.”
Central Catholic (3-2) trimmed the deficit to 61-52 with 4:40 remaining on an acrobatic layup by junior guard Kevin Constant.
But the Raiders wouldn’t get any closer.
Junior Otoagua Okonoboh’s layup on the ensuing Lowell possession pushed it back to double-digits, and after a steal by sophomore Nathaniel Siow classmate Carlos Nunez finished the fastbreak layup for a 65-52 margin.
Rivera had the hot hand in the first half for Lowell – drilling six of his seven 3-pointers. But it was Constant (team-leading 20 points) who gave the Raiders a 35-32 advantage at the half.
Lowell went on to outscore Central Catholic, 40-23, in the second half.
“He told me how to use an illegal lacrosse stick,” a college teammate told author Ian O’Connor in the new book about the Patriots coach.Continue reading »
The lefthander dropped to 0-6 in six career starts in New York since joining Boston as the Red Sox again failed to clinch the AL East.Continue reading »
Back-to-back losses in the Bronx has given rise to concerns historic regular season will go for naught in postseason.Continue reading »
The new receiver didn’t appear limited in drills despite reports of a hamstring injury.Continue reading »
A review of Gordon’s performances in six games in 2017 and 2018 show three areas he can contribute to immediately in New England.Continue reading »
The Celtics coach said “we should have everybody full go” when camp begins next week.Continue reading »
Yankees have renewed sense of confidence and hope for postseason after back-to-back wins over the Red Sox.Continue reading »
Author Ian O’Connor believes Tom Brady eventually was worn down by Belichick’s “unforgiving” ways.Continue reading »
“Words can’t explain how much I love you and miss you” Smart wrote.Continue reading »