At some upcoming, Perry Family gathering in Andover, Uncle James Perry will see his oldest nephew, E.J. Perry IV, and talk about the good old days a couple of decades ago when the Merrimack Valley Conference played the doormat role in Division 1 North.
“Yeah, that’s a nice little league you play in EJ. You weren’t around yet, but I remember the day (for Malden Catholic) I carved up Central Catholic,” James might say. “It came on a day that went on to be known as ‘Black Sunday’ because all four MVC teams — Andover, Central, Haverhill and Methuen — were ousted on the same day, on the same floor (Salem) in the quarterfinals.”
Nice, little league? Man, how things have changed.
With the bulk of the sectional boys action set to commence, all eyes in D1 North are split between No. 3-seeded Andover and No. 4 Central.
Believe it. The respective student sections are already scouting out the best spots at Tsongas Arena, home of a potential Saturday night, March sectional final epic.
If they meet, it will be for all the marbles in the North.
And they will!
The past performances say so.
Look at the paths taken by these two teams to get to where they are at, Andover 16-4 and Central 17-5.
Quality wins? Central bested top-seeded St. John’s Prep in a thriller in Lawrence before back-to-back wins over B.C. High and Cambridge while Andover KOd the No. 2 Everett by halftime before winning on Central’s homecourt to end the regular season.
Don’t look any deeper than that in this grouping.
No. 6 Lynn English? They are talented, but with losses to the Prep and another Central victim, BC High, I don’t see them making a run past the MVC teams or the Prep.