The 39th annual Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney underwent numerous changes to try to regain the old magic.
It’s now the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic thanks to a generous sponsorship from Charlie Daher and his son, Charles, and daughter, Kim, all from Andover.
There are two four-team divisions. It’s back at Merrimack College. The girls and boys tourneys are now linked at the hip.
But what was really needed was some drama. Some of that good, old-fashioned, make the hairs stand up on your arms drama that has a jam-packed crowd howling for more.
Andover boys provided it five-fold last Saturday night with a stunning win over Central Catholic, which has ruled the tourney with an iron fist, winning six of the last seven titles.
That didn’t matter much to David Giribaldi. Nothing much seems to matter to David Giribaldi.
The Andover junior just goes out there and he might hit five straight 3-pointers with a hand in his face or he might miss 10 straight shots. And the next shot, he’ll take it and expect to hit it.
In this David and Goliath story, David (Giribaldi) won.
Giribaldi’s full arsenal was on display with a virtuoso 27-point performance (11 for 21 shooting, 4 for 7 on 3-pointers, four steals) in a 72-68 win before an overflow crowd of 1,300 at the Volpe Complex in the finals of the Licare Division (top four seeded teams).
(An aside to the 50 to 100 people who couldn’t get in to the packed gym: You missed quite a show.)
“This is the best feeling ever,” said Giribaldi, who bounced back from a couple clunkers prior to the Commonwealth Classic to earn tourney MVP honors.
When asked if there was pressure, Giribaldi shot back, “No way! You can’t think about it.”
Every time he hit one of his floaters or step-backs or fearless drives against the giants, I’d hear in the back of my head college basketball analyst Bill Raftery shouting, “Onions!”