EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 28, 2013

Sports in a Minute: Haverhill's Phiri in exclusive company

Michael Muldoon
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — joining the greats

Was doing a little research and discovered this winter Haverhill’s Saul Phiri was just the ninth area boys hoopster in the 43-year history of the team named an Eagle-Tribune All-Star as a freshman.

The others were: Haverhill’s Noah Vonleh in 2010, Georgetown’s Jaymie Spears in ‘08, Central’s Jonathan Cruz in ‘03, Andover’s Chris Vetrano in ‘01, Andover’s Tommy McLaughlin in ‘98 and Whittier’s Luis Reyes in ‘96.

Unfortunately for the Hillies, Phiri has transferred to Worcester Academy.

professional duo

A couple recent stories mentioned North Andover High hockey teammates Steve Heinze and Ed Ronan went on to make the NHL. It’s believed only one other time did area teammates go on to play in the pros in any sport.

Ex-Lawrence High teammates Dave Rozumek (1976-79), the Salem High AD, and Ray Preston (1976-84) were both longtime NFL linebackers.

Fabulous five

Fairfield-bound Tyler Nelson from Central Catholic is believed to be only the fifth guard raised in the area to sign a Division 1 basketball scholarship.

The others were former Andover High stars: Joe Bramanti ‘11 (Wright St.), Chris Vetrano ‘04 (UNH), Sean Ryan ‘92 (Monmouth) and Ted Kelley ‘82 (BC).

Football guru

I’ve followed Massachusetts and New Hampshire high school football closely for 35 years and worked at The Eagle-Tribune for 27 years and I’ll say our football guy David Willis ranks up with the Herald’s Dan Ventura as the best in the biz.

Few can match D-Will’s combination of writing talent, knowledge and love of the sport, work ethic and above all award-winning videos. Check out on-line his piece on Pinkerton’s Manny Latimore to see what I’m talking about.

Foul mood

Chicago Bulls second-round pick Erik Murphy had a disastrous opening game in the Las Vegas Summer League. The 6-10 forward racked up a whopping 10 fouls in under 19 minutes of play and missed all six of his 3-point tries. He was 3-for-9 overall from the floor. In another game, he broke his nose.

It turned out, though, he played very well, averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting .548 from the floor and .500 on 3-pointers.

Long way to go

Plymouth Regional football coach Chuck Lenahan, 70, who will retire after this his 43rd season, has set the bar mighty high for Pinkerton’s Brian O’Reilly. Lenahan has the state and New England wins record (345-69-1 with 19 titles). O’Reilly, the second winningest coach in N.H. history, checks in at 260-102 with 10 titles.

Championship pedigree

The Loyola Marymount basketball team has three sons of ex-NBA players: walk-on Chris Mullin Jr. (son of Hall of Famer Chris), reserve Adam Drexler (son of Hall of Famer Clyde) and C.J. Blackwell (son of Cory).

headline of the week

Black Bears gifted with sacks of Cole.

That was the clever Portland Press Herald headline on a feature on UMaine pass rushing whiz Michael Cole.

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