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December 31, 2013

Sports in a Minute

‘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.

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