ANDOVER — Max Silveira has heard the talk.
But he’s not buying that Central Catholic, Andover’s opponent Thursday at Lawrence High in the semifinals of the 38th annual Greater Lawrence Boys Basketball Christmas Tourney, is unbeatable.
“I don’t think that’s the case at all,” said the senior point guard. “We beat them in the summer and we’ve been playing real well. I think we have a very good chance.”
It doesn’t help that 6-4 Connor Merinder, one of the area’s top sophomores, is out with a broken wrist. But Andover thinks it can offset the Raiders’ intimidating height with its speed.
That quickness caused North Andover fits in the Golden Warriors’ opening round overtime victory.
Silveira, who averaged 6.2 points as a part-time starter last year and was averaging 8.7 points in Andover’s first three games, exploded for a career-high 17 points. He was 11 of 12 from the line, had a key late 3-point play and made a long pass to David Giribaldi for a late lay-up.
“That was definitely a big win,” said Silveira, who is doing a little bit of everything this season with averages of 5 assists, 2 steals and 4 deflections a game. “In terms of them being No. 2 (ranking in Eastern Mass.), we don’t look at rankings. We knew we had a good chance regardless of the rankings.”
It’s good he and the Golden Warriors don’t look at the rankings, which admittedly can be quite subjective. But Central is No. 1, and nobody who follows Massachusetts boys basketball would dispute that. Both clubs enter with 4-0 records.
Andover coach David Fazio wasn’t sure that Silveira would develop into a ballplayer when he moved to Andover from Wakefield four years ago.
“His improvement over the last four years has been remarkable,” said the 18th-year Andover coach. “He’s a much better athlete than anyone gives him credit for.”