EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 26, 2013

Unsung Heroes of the Christmas Tourney

Michael Muldoon

---- — Saluting the overachievers and the quiet leaders in the.

Contact Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.

Reid Bryant

Andover High

Giving Back

Reid volunteers at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club and spent eight days with his family helping in Haiti last summer.

The junior made varsity in basketball and baseball as a freshman but his career has been slowed by a dislocated kneecap suffered in the summer of 2012. It’s required two surgeries.

“I’m not going to give up,” he vowed.

Coach Dave Fazio said, “He has yet to miss a practice. He schedules physical therapy around practice. He’s helped us with everything from videography, stats, drills and game planning.”

His brother, Nate, was a two-sport Andover athlete. His father, well-known local referee Dan Bryant, and uncles, Bill and ex-UMass standout QB Tim Bryant, all were talented athletes at Lawrence High.

Anthony Crespo

Central Catholic

Mom Knows Best

Crespo was cut as a freshman but wouldn’t quit and made varsity last year.

“I love basketball so much,” he said. “It was heartbreaking. My mother (Grace Crespo) taught me to never quit.”

Coach Rick Nault said, “Not only is he the hardest working player on our team, but he will see regular time in the rotation because of his ability to defend multiple positions.”

The senior from Methuen works at New Hampshire Beach Pizza in Salem. He volunteers at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club and is a fan of grape leaves, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, Kanye West, LeBron James and Central guidance counselor Patricia Bell.

His sister, sophomore Meray Crespo, plays JV basketball for the Raider girls team.

Chen Chen

Lawrence High

Basketball Fanatic

Chen may be the most rabid NBA fan in the area. Even while earning top grades (ranked in top six percent of his class) and playing for the Lancers, he watches 5-7 NBA games a week.

Topping his Christmas wish list is a pair of Nike Kobe 8 sneakers. The 5-9 junior point guard’s favorite player is Rajon Rondo.

Another ex-point guard, Lancer coach Raymond Nunez, calls Chen his favorite player.

Nunez said, “He embodies what Lawrence and Lawrence basketball are all about. He is a young man of character with an incredible work ethic.”

Chen plays No. 1 singles in tennis and is on the soccer team. He moved here from the town of Pubei in China five years ago. His career highlight was beating Central Catholic in a JV basketball game.

Andre Lopez

Methuen High

Lock-Down Defender

Coach Anthony Faradie said, “He’s a great kid who works extremely hard on the defensive end. He carried us against Whittier when we didn’t play well. He just locks down on defense.”

The 5-10, 180-pound sophomore also plays baseball for the Rangers. A fine student, his name can often be found on Methuen’s “highest honors” list.

His aunt and uncle, Eagle-Tribune All-Star gymnast Holly (MHS ‘00) and golfer Jon Desrochers (MHS ‘96), were standouts at Methuen and Springfield College.

His all-time favorite teacher was Jeanne Molloy at Timony Grammar School. For Christmas, the Russell Westbrook fan was hoping for some Jordan Gamma Blue 11s under the tree.

James Testa

North Andover High

Passing the Testa

The 6-2 senior forward is battling his way through a back injury which had him in a brace for four months. The stress fracture is better now and he’s seeing some playing time.

“It’s been a long recovery but his attitude, work ethic and commitment have never been in question,” said coach Paul Tanglis. “He is a great young man.”

James is a 5-8 high jumper in spring track. Testa’s father, Jim, did basketball and track for the Knights and his brother, sophomore David Testa, is a track athlete.

Testa is on the school’s robotics team and plans to study computer science in college. His favorite teacher is history teacher Deborah Blackwell and his favorite singer is Trace Adkins.

Danny Courter

Pinkerton Academy

Courting Success

Courter, who is ranked in the top two percent of his senior class and scored a 1,960 on his SATs, hopes to study biomedical engineering. He’s been accepted to Hofstra, Maine and George Mason and is still waiting on BU, his favorite school.

The 6-3 tri-captain is a member of the National Honor Society, won the St. Anselm Book Award and Pinkerton’s Commonwealth Classic scholarship, plays the trumpet in the marching band and is a waiter at the Birch Heights retirement home.

Coach Pete Rosinski said, “He’s just a phenomenal kid, an extraordinary young man. He’s a great captain and a great, great human being.”

Courter’s favorite teacher is math teacher Lawrence Robillard, who he calls “a cool cat.”

Zach Farah

Salem High

Mr. Hustle

Coach Rob McLaughlin gave a perfect illustration of how much a hustler junior Zach Farah is. He said Farah did the “Dave Cowens slide” like the ex-Celtics’ famous diving, kamikaze save on a loose ball in the 1974 playoffs.

“He’s a great kid and loves to compete,” said McLaughlin. “He brings a great work ethic and intensity to everything he does.”

His father, Gilbert Farah, was an athlete at Lawrence High and his brother, sophomore Matt, plays football for the Blue Devils.

Zach was a reserve on the state champion volleyball team and coordinates children’s parties at the Brentwood Commons. His favorite teacher is geometry teacher Robert Carpinone and he enjoys wakeboarding at Arlington Pond and the family’s place in Maine.

Jonathan Ledee

Whittier Tech

Call of Duty

Ledee’s guilty pleasure is the video game “Call of Duty” and the 5-foot-6 (oops, 5-6 and a quarter!) junior from Haverhill always answers the call of duty for the Wildcats.

“He’s a kid not getting a lot of playing time but he’s working real hard to get better,” said coach Joe Boland. “He’s dedicated and committed to the program. He’s a good kid in school and in the community.”

His sister, Aneisha Berrios, was a track captain at Lawrence High last year.

Jonathan, who is studying electrical engineering at Whittier, lists as his favorites the “Rocky” movies, Ray Allen and LeBron James, the singer Drake, pizza, “Family Guy” and history teacher James Donahue Jr.

His dream car is a white Mercedes ISL.