He confronted the Central dominance — the elephant in the room as he called it — head-on with his team.
“This is your legacy, your team, your season,” Fazio told his team.
Equally as important, he devised some box-and-one and triangle-and-two defenses to take the Raiders’ marvelous guard Tyler Nelson (11 points) out of his game.
The same Tyler Nelson who was the most impressive player on the floor last Friday night in Central’s game with St. Anthony’s, arguable the premier high school program in the country.
Central coach Rick Nault was less than pleased with his team. He quickly shot down any excuses that playing St. Anthony’s was too much of an emotional roller coaster.
“Giribaldi had 27 points against us, I can’t remember the last time a guard did that to us,” he said. “I thought we’d come in fired up playing Andover in the championship game. We dug ourselves such a big hole and we couldn’t get Tyler untracked. I’m not happy at all.
“We are what our record is (3-2). We are average. We have to get better. It starts with me.”
He doesn’t look at this as a fluke.
Not with the Blue and Gold featuring Giribaldi, hotshot freshman E.J. Perry, 6-5 center Connor Merinder, improbable hero Gabriel Hernandez (2 3-pointers, one a half-court bomb just before the first-quarter buzzer) and underrated seniors John Pisacreta and Ben Brown.
Andover didn’t seem to think it was a fluke either. We’ll soon see.
In case you are wondering: Andover-CCHS Round 2 is Jan. 10 at Dunn Gymnasium.