LAWRENCE — Central Catholic lost a lot of talent from last year’s girls basketball team, but the Raiders may not miss a beat when it comes to piling up wins this season.
Senior co-capts. Melissa Lucas and Kaylyn Grange are the only returning starters for coach Sue Downer’s team, but the Raiders have added heralded freshman center Katie Zenevitch.
“I think she is the best freshman center that’s come into this league for many years,” Andover coach Jim Tildsley said. “I’ve been coaching in the Merrimack Valley for 15, 16 years and she is the best I’ve seen as a freshman center.”
Having the confident and talented Zenevitch up front allows Lucas to focus on her role as a small forward.
“When she’s underneath, I don’t have to worry about certain things that I would have to worry about before,” Lucas said. “I know she’ll help me out underneath and I have the security of knowing she’s going to be there.”
“I have seven new team members this year. We’re going to get better,” Downer said. “I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been so successful is we do progress and we do get better as the season goes. One of the most important things you can do as a coach is progressively get better.”
The Raiders only loss in the young season was to rival Lowell on Dec. 15.
“We lost to Lowell, but I was so happy with the way we played,” Downer said. “They were tough and they played a hard one.”
Lucas said the expectations of the team this season are simple — win it all.
“I expect us to go to the state finals,” Lucas said. “I know we have it. We have all the keys. We have the coach, we have the forwards and the guards and we have the desire. I know we can go to the finals.”
— GAYLE SIMONE