EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 16, 2013

Sports in a Minute


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — OPP UNDER THE GUN

A Round 4 67, 5-under par, might be too little, too late for Andover’s Rob Oppenheim at the Web.Com Tour qualifying tournament at La Quinta, Calif.

Oppenheim’s four-round total in the final stage stands at 74-75-73-67 — 289, and he currently resides in a tie for 117th.

The event, with a $510,000 total purse, is for standing on the Web.Com Tour, the step below the PGA Tour. Just by reaching the final stage, Oppenheim has conditional status. He is/was gunning for some sort of exempt status out of the gate, which comes with a top 45 or better finish.

To accomplish that, he’ll need to be lights-out over the final two rounds as those guys are all 280 or better right now. But if there is a player on that tour who can shoot birdies, it is Oppenheim. Maybe, there is a 65-65 finish in his future.

Either way, we’ll be watching as the Web.Com Tour opens for real on Feb. 21 in Panama.

REALLY, HOOPS ALREADY

Wow, it seemed like instead of being in the Memorial Gym on Friday night, watching Central topple upset-minded Methuen, I should have been at Veterans Memorial Stadium watching the Division 1 Super Bowl champion Raiders take on Division 3 champion Tewksbury.

I like the Raiders in that mythical battle, by the way. Just for the record, Central would have been too big and too strong inside and would have worn the Redmen down. It would have been a classic, but I like Central.

Interesting that all three major Boston/state polls had the 12-1 Raiders listed ahead of 13-0 Tewksbury.

But that’s a side note. Hoops is upon us. And it’s time to get into that state of mind.

The MVC looks to be set for another great winter on the boys side. Hopefully, the kids continue the trend of coming out to support their teams. The student sections for Methuen and Central Catholic were outstanding on Friday night.

Even Tyler Nelson was pumped up by his classmates.

“Come on, they brought back the parting of the Red Sea!” an excited Nelson, who hopes to be back for the Christmas Tourney, said.

Let’s see, there was a “Green Man” and a “Red Man” on Central’s side, not to be outdone by a pair of “Blue (Power) Rangers.”

And I didn’t think you could find any of those this close to Christmas.

CLASS MOVE

Give it up for Haverhill High boys coach Mike Trovato. The Hillies coach was all for re-scheduling Friday night’s opener with Tewksbury.

Both Haverhill and Tewksbury are expected to be players in the MVC small race. How fair would it be to see the title potentially decided in December when a handful of Redmen, including captain Kevin Dick, have just come off the Gillette Stadium turf less than a week before it?

Good for the Hillies. That’s sportsmanship.

CONNECTIONS CROSSED

In case you missed it Saturday, it was Notre Dame 79-72 over Indiana in the Crossroads Classic at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Haverhill’s Noah Vonleh tangled with the Irish’s Zach Auguste in a meeting of former Mass. Rivals AAU products. Each had interesting, yet foul-plagued lines. Vonleh hit 4 of 5 shots for eight points and yanked down six rebounds in just 21 minutes of work. Auguste played 14 minutes and scored six points with a pair of blocks. Both ended with four fouls.

Notre Dame money man Pat Connaughton, the St. John’s Prep grad, played 33 minutes, tossing in 14 points (5 of 7 from the field) and hauled in nine rebounds.

SHOUT OUT TO THE WILDCATS

As someone who lived in the Granite State for about 10 years of my life and has scores of friends and relatives, who graduated from the school, I have to give a shout out to the UNH Wildcats for their immense, 20-17, Saturday night football win in the NCAA quarterfinals at Southeastern Louisiana.

Talk about extremes. The Wildcats go to the bayou country and win, then come back home to snow and now have to prepare for a short week and a Friday nighter at of all places, North Dakota State, for the NCAA semis. Should be balmy on the high plains this time of year, eh?

That, my friends, is a steep challenge. Here’s hoping coach Sean McDonnell’s crew can keep it going.