‘Unsung hero’ comes through
North Andover High senior James Testa was among the eight boys Mike Muldoon (with help from coaches) selected as an “Unsung Hero” package before the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic started.
Well, he didn’t let people down with the selection.
While Testa had played sparingly heading into the tournament at Merrimack College — his missed all summer and fall league games due to stress fracture in his back — he may have been the spark that keyed North Andover’s title win over Methuen High.
Testa was expected to play a few minutes in the third quarter, but Coach Paul Tanglis couldn’t take him out. He was playing too well, with six points, six rebounds and two steals, keying the Knights’ second half dominance.
Ben steps up big-time
Another hoopster whose performance may have gone unnoticed — see “unsung” in dictionary — in the other boys championship game of the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic was Andover High senior Ben Brown.
Brown was given the unenviable task of covering Central Catholic’s Tyler Nelson. In fact, he wasn’t just “covering” Nelson, but he was supposed to not let him get the ball.
Brown did more than admirable job face-guarding Nelson, who struggled to get 11 points while wearing a bandage over his left forearm a month after he fractured it in a fall league game.
In fact Brown outscored Nelson, tallying 12 points, including two 3-pointers.
Hoop tourney a big hit
While the committee will be meeting to talk about the pluses and minuses of 2013 Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic, overall it has to be considered a huge success.
Over the last decade the tournament’s excitement had diminished. It had lost the holiday luster, with alums and college kids making visits. But it all returned this past week.
The committee will be meeting in a few weeks to discuss issues, like turning 50-100 people away because of full capacity.
“It was a great start,” said tournament director Rich Napolitano. “We are getting a lot of feedback, most of it good. We are already excited about next year.”
Commonwealth Motors has committed beyond this year. The Merrimack Valley auto dealership’s involvement included 16 student-athletes receiving $1,000 apiece.
The popular one-day seminar for golf course professionals, committee members and golfers will be held at Andover Country Club on March 25.
The NEGSS is a joint effort of the United States Golf Association’s Green Section, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England (GCSANE) and the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA).
“When we first launched the seminar in 2012, we were not sure if it would become an annual event but it has expanded each year,” said Peter Costello, a member of Cohasset Golf Club who serves as NEGSS chairman. “The USGA Green Section approached us about hosting again in 2014 and we readily accepted the challenge and embraced the opportunity to educate and communicate with the golf community.”
The New England Green Section Seminar brings together not only golf industry professionals from across the Northeast, but it has also been a draw for individual golfers. Last year’s event was attended by more than 70 individuals who served on committees at their golf facility or simply were members looking to learn more about golf course maintenance.
Pats tickets on sale
Hours after locking up their 12th win of the season — a 34-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium — the Patriots learned that they will host an AFC Divisional Playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m.
A limited number of individual tickets will go on sale Monday, Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. exclusively through Ticketmaster.