Cheers to the Andover High and Central Catholic High boys hoop teams, who offered up some thrilling basketball Tuesday night as they both won playoff games to set up a showdown in the North Finals at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Saturday. The Warriors and the Raiders are two of eight Division 1 teams left standing, and you can’t say they didn’t work hard for it. Andover held off a furious late charge to beat Everett 49-48 and earn its first trip to the finals in 15 years. Central, down 9 points in the third quarter, came from behind to beat longtime rival St. John’s Prep of Danvers in overtime, 81-74. The Tsongas Center will be packed Saturday as the two local arch rivals meet for the fourth time this season (2-1 Andover advantage). Winner goes to the Garden for the East Finals. No matter who wins, we expect another thriller.
Cheers to state Rep. Brad Hill, who announced last week he will seek re-election to a ninth term this fall. That should be seen encouraging news by all, no matter their politics. That’s because the Ipswich Republican has not only come back to serve in the Legislature after spending two months recovering from a bone marrow transplant as part of his cancer treatment but has also regained sufficient strength to commit to serving another two-year term. And that’s especially good news to his family and those who have elected him to the State House over the past 16 years. Hill, the House minority whip, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008 but did not make his battle with the disease public until last November, when he knew he’d have to take time off from the State House to recover. Welcome back, Rep. Hill, and best wishes for good health and continued success in the future.