EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 30, 2012

MVP Gemmell leads Raiders to promised land

Christmas Tourney Notebook
Michael Muldoon

---- — LAWRENCE — Central Catholic fans were dancing in the aisles and it looked like most of them were doing the Dougie.

Doug Gemmell was named MVP, scoring 12 of his 17 points in the first quarter as the Raiders bested Lawrence, 77-59, to capture the 38th annual Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney.

Gemmell scored 43 points in the three wins but he seemed to get them when they mattered most for the balanced Raiders. He was quiet much of the night but took over down the stretch in the thrilling semifinal win over Andover.

Coach Rick Nault loves Gemmell’s game but is more ebullient in praise of his leadership skills.

“What he does, I can’t even put into words,” said the seventh-year coach with the mindboggling 142-17 record. “I’ve had a lot of great players, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a player with Dougie’s leadership.”

Thoughtfulness and leadership usually go hand in had. Gemmell was asked what was in the fancy box. It was a birthday cake for Nault, who turned 41 on Friday.

Gemmell is a big guy (odds are he had a slice or two!) but he’s worked hard to increase his conditioning. Several times he sprinted the length of the court ahead of much smaller players.

Gemmell was humbled to join the greats who’ve been tourney MVP.

Like former teammate and fellow Windhamite Carson Desrosiers, former teammate Jimmy Zenevitch, McDonald’s All-American Scott Hazelton, Central assistant Jonathan Cruz, UMass final four forward Rigo Nunez of Lawrence, Celtics draft pick Todd Orlando of Andover, BC captain Ted Kelley of Andover and UMass Lowell national champion Leo Parent.

“It’s an honor to be placed even in the same category,” said Gemmell, or Bubba as his family calls him. “It’s awesome.”

It was three grueling and indescribable days with the win over Andover, the showdown with famed St. Anthony’s of Jersey City and last night’s title game.

So how does the hero celebrate.

“I’m going home to sleep,” said the weary star with an ear-to-ear grin.

Repeat after me

Three Christmas Tourney standouts were named All-Stars for the second year in a row. Central junior Tyler Nelson (2011 MVP), Central senior Doug Gemmell (2012 MVP) and Lawrence senior Tre’Von Farley were all repeaters.

They were joined by Lawrence junior Roberto Speing, Central senior Joel Berroa and Boudreau Sixth Man Award winner senior Sam Dowden of Andover.

Follow Michael Muldoon on Twitter under the screen name @MullyET.