ANDOVER — Nadeshka Bridgewater helped the Central Catholic girls’ basketball team close out a pivotal Merrimack Valley Conference win over rival Andover in thrilling fashion on Friday night.
With 15 seconds remaining and Central leading by a point, Andover guard Tatum Shaw created a turnover and fired a pass ahead to Taylor Landry in the open court.
Using her electrifying speed, Bridgewater (16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals) sprinted back and deflected the pass off Landry, denying the Warriors a chance to take the lead.
Seconds later, the junior guard calmly sank a pair of free throws, clinching the Raiders’ 49-46 victory over seventh-ranked Andover.
“When she [Nadeshka] gets after it I really don’t think anyone can go by her,” Central Catholic coach Casey Grange said. “She’s just so athletic and she’s matured a lot mentally.”
With the victory, Central avenged a 73-65 defeat to Andover in the Commonwealth Motors Classic in late December.
So what was different this time around?
“We communicated more, we changed the way we played defense, we outrebounded them,” Grange said. “Our defensive intensity was pretty different.”
The No. 17 Raiders (6-3) trailed, 20-19, at halftime but used a 20-10 run in the latter stages of the third quarter to open up a 42-32 advantage.
Bridgewater and senior guard Kaylee Thomas (7 points) combined for 13 points in the decisive quarter.
“It was really fun and really intense,” Bridgewater said. “We worked hard for this and we knew this was going to be a good competition. We had to stay focused.”
Gia Bramanti (18 points) led the fourth-quarter charge for Andover (8-2).Matt Doherty can be reached at email@example.com.