EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 10, 2013

Haverhill's dunking freshman

Michael Muldoon
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Precocious


Not too many freshman guards dunk in varsity games but Haverhill’s Saul Phiri did it vs. Tewksbury. The 6-2 Phiri is more than just a leaper as he’s averaging 12.0 points and has 16 3-pointers.

Popular guy

Noah Vonleh (@Noah_Vonleh35) didn’t join Twitter until Feb. 2 and the Indiana basketball recruit from Haverhill already has 2,471 followers. It shouldn’t be confused with @NoahVonleh which was in use just in October and had 862 followers.

Worthless stats

ESPN bills Bradford Doolittle as a basketball stats expert a la baseball sabermetricians. I’m not buying it. He spit out the numbers and came up with a list of the top 10 perimeter defenders in the NBA and the Celtics’ Avery Bradley isn’t on it.

Many think he could be the best perimeter defender so to not make the top 10 is a joke. And 36-year-old Vince Carter is No. 8? He couldn’t defend 12 years ago never mind as an aging vet.

Still a warrior

Former Salem and Merrimack softball star Alex Gallant is a graduate assistant in the Merrimack athletic department.

Baseball fanatics

There is a junior baseball standout at Spanish River (Fla.) High by the name of Fenway Parks. Six years ago an Indiana couple named their son Wrigley Fields.

Cakes are baking

UTL birthday wishes go out to ex-BC basketball captain from Andover Ted Kelley (49 today), world class runner Matt Downin from Hampstead (36 today), former Eagle-Tribune Athlete of the Year Dr. Ethan Philpott from North Andover (turns 38 tomorrow), Rochester Rattlers lacrosse player Steve Boyle from Derry (turns 26 Tuesday), St. Lawrence-bound hockey star Brian Ward of Haverhill (turns 21 Thursday) and BC distance runner/3.80 GPA student Alana Poretta from Pentucket (turns 21 on Thursday).

All in the family

New coach Tracy Vadala, who replaced her sister Kristen after last year, is keeping it rolling with the Andover gymnastics team, which finished 9-1. Tracy was a standout gymnast at Salem High and went on to star for the Merrimack College softball team. Another sister, Leeann, is a Golden Warrior assistant.

45-year streak

Why was the Coventry (R.I.) High hockey team delirious after beating Mount St. Charles? It was the Oakers’ first win over the Mount in the Coventry program’s 45-year-history.

Toe the line

Add to the All-Name team Classical High of Providence 1,000-point scorer Terrill Toe.

Hoop hyperbole

Bill Walton is prone to hyperbole but he really lost it when UCLA beat No. 6 Arizona 84-73 recently in Tucson. He gushed it was “one of the most impressive victories in the history of this incredible program.”

Considering it was a January win and the Bruins have won 11 national titles, I’d say UCLA has 100-plus more impressive wins.

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