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January 20, 2013

Hammel, Rangers fire Friday night warning shot

Tuesday night, Methuen’s Cooper Hammel struggles, fouls out and is shut out in a loss to Haverhill.

Friday night, the 6-foot-3 Ranger guard erupts for 25 and shoots heavily-favored Lawrence right out of the gym in a stunning performance.

Who can explain sophomores?

Anyhow, the victory could be considered a turning point in the 3-7 season for Methuen, a team featuring 10 underclassmen and five prominent sophomore returners.

“It was a great learning experience for our young kids,” said Ranger coach Matt Curran. “We got a little frustrated at one point after taking the big lead. But (senior) Nathan Bueno really helped to keep them together. Even I lost it on them at one point, but he just said, ‘Coach, we’ve got this,’ and they really hung tough.”

For Hammel, it was yet another eye-opener, one that should have people taking note, not just about him, but the entire squad.

“Cooper Hammel is the kid everyone is talking about, putting up games like last night,” said Curran. “And they’re also talking about Tim Galloway-Burke, just because he’s so big and played for us.

“Cooper is so streaky. The other night in practice, he took 50 jumpers and made 40 of them. To see him come back last night is a good sign, from my standpoint and his.”

Hammel, who averages 15.6 points a night, has clearly developed the right mentality in the early going, as it comes to handling adversity.

“As a team, this one says no matter who we play don’t back down,”Even coming after a tough loss vs. Haverhill, we struggled but we’re going to keep coming back. Going in last night I had to forget about Haverhill. I know what I’m capable of. I just put all that in the past and moved forward.”

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