By Michael Muldoon
---- — LAWRENCE — In the 39-year history of the Greater Lawrence Christmas Basketball Tourneys, there was never a banquet like last night’s.
Sixteen teams (eight boys and eight girls) and over 300 players, coaches and team managers gathered at the Relief’s In.
For the past four years, the banquets were just for seniors or captains. This also was the first time the complete boys and girls teams gathered together.
It was all part of the coming together of the newly-named Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic.
Tournament sponsor Charlie Daher, owner of Commonwealth Motors, gave out a $1,000 scholarship to a senior on each of the tourney teams.
“Long before you were born, I remember going to the tourney,” said Daher. “You are really a part of history. This is an opportunity to bring back the greatness again.”
Guest speaker Jim Young of Merrimac spoke about leadership and responsibility.
Young related how he has had to keep a positive attitude for his young children after he lost both of his arms in a near-fatal accident on the job as an electric lineman.
The longtime local referee concluded his remarks with, “Most of all, don’t yell at officials!”
The pasta dinner was donated by Terry Holland and Stachey’s Olde-Time Pizzeria.
The 39th annual boys tournament will tip off at Merrimack College on Dec. 21 while the 26th annual girls tourney will begin Dec. 23 also at Merrimack.
Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic
(All Games at Merrimack College)
Saturday, Dec. 21 (Boys)
2 p.m. (Hixon): Whittier vs. Methuen; 3:45 p.m. (Licare): Pinkerton vs. Central Catholic; 5:30 p.m. (Hixon): North Andover vs. Salem; 7:15 p.m. (Licare): Andover vs. Lawrence
Monday, Dec. 23 (Girls)
2 p.m. (Hyde): Lawrence vs. Methuen; 3:45 p.m. (Hyde): Salem vs. Andover; 5:30 p.m. (Stephenson): North Andover vs. Westford; 7:15 p.m. (Stephenson): Pinkerton vs. Central Catholic
Friday, Dec. 27 (Consolations)
2 p.m.: Girls Hyde Division; 3:45 p.m.: Boys Hixon Division; 5:30 p.m.: Girls Stephenson Division; 7:15 p.m.: Boys Licare Division
Saturday, Dec. 28
1:45 p.m.: Girls Hyde Division; 3:30 p.m.; Boys Hixon Division; 6 p.m.: Girls Stephenson Division; 8 p.m.: Boys Licare Division