The best story in the aftermath of the recent sad death of longtime basketball coach Mike Rowinski came from Northern Essex Community College.
On the day of Rowinski’s death, Haverhill’s Neph Carmona, who had played for Rowinski at Georgetown High, was so distraught that Northern Essex coach Darren Stratton gave him the day off from practice.
The next day (Jan. 14), in a game against Roxbury Community College, Carmona had the game of his life.
He had a career-high 18 points and was the game hero when, with the Knights trailing by two points, he scored with one second left and was fouled.
Before going to the line, he winked at Stratton and said, “Don’t worry coach, I’ve got this. This is for Coach Mike.”
He swished the shot, giving Northern Essex the 70-69 win.
“It was a great moment,” said Stratton. “Mike had to beg me to give Neph a chance and this was like paying him back.”