The McNiece Pavilion at BC High was buzzing with excitement after one quarter of basketball when unranked Arlington Catholic led 13-7 over MVC heavyweight Central Catholic. But the No. 2 Raiders snapped out of their slump in the second quarter and took home a 55-47 win in the first round of the Comcast Tournament.
Sophomore Casey McLaughlin (20 points, 12 rebounds) was limited to just 2 points in the first quarter but scored 6 in less than 2 minutes to start the second. Kayla Awizsus added 2 for the Cougars following McLaughlin's first layup to widen the gap to 15-9, but two more field goals from McLaughlin and a Tori Brillaud jumper tied the score 15-15 with four and a half minutes left in the second quarter. Central outscored Arlington Catholic 16-4 in the second.
Central coach Susan Downer said after struggling in the first quarter, her team needed anything to happen to help break through.
"She's our leader in everything so she really got us going," Downer said.
Arlington Catholic's defense limited McLaughlin and Central Catholic to nine points in the third, but the Cougars couldn't come up with more than seven points themselves and headed into the final 8 minutes trailing 32-24.
After making 1 of 2 from the line to start the fourth, Arlington Catholic junior Nicole Catizone nailed a 3-pointer, reducing the deficit to five points, but Central Catholic senior Gabi Polce answered with a field goal to start an 8-0 run which sealed the game.
"I think it was pretty evident that we haven't played in 10 days," Downer said of her team. "I don't think we played a good game at all. We won, we'll take it but we certainly have to play better tomorrow."
Central Catholic plays No. 5 Newton South Sunday in the championship game at 2:30 p.m. Newton South (19-0, 16-0) took down Newton North 63-45 in the first round.
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