The Pentucket Regional girls basketball team that Andover High defeated in the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic semifinals on Thursday actually has a pair of Andover sports connections.
One of the Panthers’ standouts, senior guard Gabby Bellacqua, is the daughter of former Andover High basketball and soccer standout Paul Bellacqua. Paul was the Eagle-Tribune boys soccer MVP in 1999, and was twice an Eagle-Tribune All-Star honorable mention in hoops.
Another connection is top Pentucket assistant coach Matt Willis, who was an assistant coach for the Andover High girls basketball team that advanced to the Division 1 semifinals in 2015, and an assistant for the Golden Warrior football team, working with now NFL QB E.J. Perry IV. He’s also my little brother.
Finally, a shout out to the Panther program. The Eagle-Tribune, in it’s Tuesday editions, missed the fact that coach John McNamara’s club took the 2019 Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic Blue Division title over Central Catholic in a thriller. Angelica Hurley was the MVP that year.
Ba sets record
Methuen High’s Ibrahima Ba set a new modern school record in the 60-meter hurdles, with a 9.14 at the MSTCA Holiday Challenge on Wednesday. More impressive, it was his first time ever running that race. It’s the modern record since the hurdles have changed over the years. Ba was an Eagle-Tribune All-Star in the 400 hurdles in the spring.
Methuen college commits
A few Methuen High athletes have annou nced their college sports futures.
Wrestler Dom Gangi will next compete for New England College, Kian Greeley — who caught 28 passes for 345 yards, scored four touchdowns and was an MVC All-Star in the fall — will play football for Salve Regina, and Joey Casarano will play lacrosse for Clarkson University.
Brady and Lamar
Through the first 76 starts of his NFL career, Baltimore Ravens quarterback and MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson owns a 57-19 record. Know who else went 57-19 though his first 76 NFL starts? None other than Tom Brady.
Does that mean anything? Perhaps not, since Brady had led the Patriots to three Super Bowls during that stretch. But it’s still intriguing.
The winter sports season fully underway, we at The Eagle-Tribune still want to honor the area’s high school captains as part of our Captains Corner series. Coaches — or parents or the athletes themselves — who would like their captains featured are welcome to submit a photo to email@example.com. Photos should have all captains featured and ideally in uniform.
One Final Thought
As Michael Muldoon used to say, “If you can bring a smile to someone’s face today, just do it!