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Central Catholic ends English girls hoop team’s season

LAWRENCE – The English girls basketball team ran into a more experienced, and, simply, better version of itself last night at Central Catholic, and the result showed it.Even though the records were similar, and the teams were only one apart in seeding (eighth for Central, ninth for English), the Raiders asserted themselves in the second quarter and ran away with a 74-48 win.So, it’ll be Central playing top-seeded Acton-Boxborough Friday (7) in the Division 1 North quarterfinal.”We knew they were going to pressure us, so we practiced for it,” said Central coach Susan Downer. “We went five on offense and six on defense, preparing for that pressure. We were able to handle it well, with quick passing.”Pressure, of course, is English’s game. The Bulldogs tried, but they simply couldn’t fluster the Raiders – especially junior forward Kelly Mikus (15 points) and sophomore Kate Zenevitch (another 15).”We had some good performances,” Downer said.English coach Fred Hogan also had a game plan – to (hopefully) take the air out of the ball and work for a shot with about 15 seconds left on the clock. But Central got wise to that and put on a little pressure of its own.”We’re young,” said Hogan, “but we’ll be back. All things considered, with our youth and inexperience, it’s been a good year. We hope we can build on it.”English hung with the Raiders in the first quarter, and actually led, 15-13, after eight minutes.”They came out strong and really played us well,” said Downer.”That was our plan,” Hogan said. “We wanted to come out fast and set the pace.”However, one of the reasons Central trailed early was that Raiders were cold – especially in the paint.”At halftime,” Downer said, “we pointed that out ? that most of our misses were from the paint. We were missing bunnies.”Those shots started falling in the second quarter ? while English’s were going everywhere but in the net. The visitors scored a grand total of four points in the quarter while Central had 15, making its lead 28-19 at the break.The Raiders increased that lead to 20 (51-31) after three quarters, and poured it on even more in the fourth. It didn’t help English’s cause that both Jeanette Anderson (held to seven points) and Jenicia Duggins fouled out with plenty left on the clock in the fourth quarter.”I also think,” Downer said, “that our ability to go nine deep off the bench may have worn them down, and that their two big players getting into foul trouble helped us, too.”But,” she said, “they’re both excellent players and you’re going to be hearing a lot about them.”Also having a solid game for English was Lashaunda Hogan, who poured in a game-high 24 points, many on acrobatic shots.”We’ll have to come back next year,” Hogan said. “We asked a lot from our young kids, and it really hurt us when (Trinity) Neubert went down (with an injury) because she’s a senior, and you need someone out there with all these young kids.”

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