Reebok roundball

The Reebok Fall Ball basketball league taps off Wednesday at the North Andover Youth Center with games at 5:15 p.m. (North Andover-Andover), 6:25 p.m. (Lawrence-Westford), 7:35 p.m. (Central Catholic-St. John's) and 8:45 p.m. (Methuen-Salem). Pelham has a bye week.

Players to watch include North Andover's Zach Karalis, Methuen's Kyle Mansour, Lawrence's Tre'von Farley, Andover's Craig Luschenat, Central's Luis Puello, Pelham's Derek Defranzo and Salem's Andrew Ruffen.

Day late, dollar short

The USA Weekly newspaper insert dated Sept. 2-4 wrote "no wedding bells to report" on Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter and actress Minka Kelly. No doubt that was accurate since their break-up at least a week earlier was plastered all over the papers!

Ranger risk

Methuen has a talented young football staff. It has to be the youngest staff in the state and likely the youngest in area history. Rookie head coach Tom Tone is 28, Jeff Molesso is 27, Matt Willis is 24, and the rest of the staff (excluding freshman coaches) is young former Rangers: John McCarthy (Class of 2009), Ryan Dugan (2005) and Tony Curet (2002).

You have to wonder, though, if it would have been advisable to bring on a veteran presence.

Haverhill's second-year coach Tim O'Connor went in the opposite direction and added Hall of Famer Dan Rorke to his staff. Rorke has nearly 50 years of coaching experience.

White vs. Flanagan

Windham's Scott White fondly recalled playing against the late Mike Flanagan. White was an All-Scholastic at Andover High while Flanagan, who had a memorable pitching career with the Baltimore Orioles, was a two-sport great at Manchester Memorial, leading the Crusaders to Class L basketball titles in 1970 and 1971.

"Flanagan was a great basketball player," said White. "We played them in December 1970 and he was so tough that nobody could really guard him. It was close. It was one of four games we lost that year."

Clifford released

Former Salem star Pete Clifford, 27, was among the 26 players released by the New York Jets in the last day of NFL cuts. The 6-7, 316-pound former Michigan State captain has had previous tryouts with the Cardinals and Titans.

bizarro world

Add to the All-Name team Mass. high school football stars Darian Sousa-Bizarro of New Bedford and Witchevalence Exilhomme of Malden.

Missing information

I always get a kick out of information left out of sports biogs. Last year Fairmont State (W. Va.) University didn't mention in its six-paragraph write-up on quarterbacks coach Shannon Kelley that he was married to Olympic legend Mary Lou Retton of Fairmont, whose cousin, Joe Retton, had an historic 478-94 record as the Fairmont St. basketball coach.

anderson's achievement

Mal Anderson of Haverhill will receive the lifetime achievement award later this year from USA Table Tennis. He is already in their Hall of Fame. He has taken an amazing 55,000 table tennis photographs in the last 55 years.

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