By Michael Muldoon
---- — Some struggle under the hottest spotlights. Andover’s Max Silveira excelled.
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 this season, exploded for a career-high 17 points, including hitting 11 of 12 from the free throw line, in a huge victory over rival North Andover in the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney this winter.
Andover coach David Fazio wasn’t sure that Silveira would develop into a ballplayer when he moved to Andover from Wakefield four years ago. But the senior point guard has stepped up as a key player for the Golden Warriors this season.
“His improvement over the last four years has been remarkable,” said Fazio. “He’s a much better athlete than anyone gives him credit for.”
Much taller, too!
A disappointed Silveira just shook his head when a preseason basketball previews and the Christmas Tourney program listed him at 5-11.
“At the doctor, I was measured at 6-feet and three quarters of an inch!” he insisted.
He’s measured up just fine for the Blue and Gold. Especially when the lights shine brightest, which he proved again in the tourney opener and last winter when he scored his previous career high of 15 points against Central.
“At the end of the game, we want the ball in his hands,” said Fazio. “He’s at his best in the big games.”
Silveira, who attended the Pike School in Andover while growing up in Wakefield, said he’s been thinking of adding another sport.
Andover assistant coach Carol Martini was so impressed watching Silveira play touch football in gym class that she encouraged him to go out for the varsity team. He nearly did.
Although he’s just 150 pounds, he said fear never entered the equation.
“I used to play in middle school,” explained Silveira. “I was a running back. I think I could definitely take the hits.”
He’s strongly considering track this spring. His parents, Doug and Ellen Silveira, were runners at Tufts with Doug’s accomplishments including a sixth at New Englands in the 1,000 meters. His brother, Sebastian, who is on the varsity soccer team, is an up and coming runner. He placed sixth in the 400 meters as a freshman last spring in the MVC Meet in 53.48 seconds.
Silveira takes his academics seriously, too. He might prep at Phillips Andover or Exeter and is also looking at some top academic schools like Tufts, Bard and Williams. Silveira, who would like to play college basketball, is taking AP physics and AP Spanish and scored 2,010 on his SATs.
In his blood
Max Silveira’s aunt, Stacy Silveira, is well known in certain parts of the area girls basketball community.
It was March of 1987 and now defunct St. Mary’s of Lawrence had a team to be reckoned with. The Chargers were led by 5-9 Sue Stewart, now the successful head coach at Central Catholic. She earned All-Scholastic honors and was headed to Merrimack on a scholarship.
The Chargers were flying high after Stewart went wild with a 37-point effort in the Division 2 North semifinals, leading her team back from a 20-point second quarter deficit to beat North Andover, 73-70.
Sure, unbeaten Wakefield would be tough, but folks in the Merrimack Valley figured the top-seeded Warriors would learn a tough lesson just like the Scarlet Knights.
But Stacy Silveira took on second-seeded St. Mary’s and its Big 3 and they simply had no answers for her in a 78-54 romp.
As I wrote, “Stacy Silveira, the 6-foot-1 freshman sensation, set the tone early with 10 points, 3 blocks and 3 rebounds in the first period.”
She finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds although St. Mary’s coach Barry McCloskey questioned my numbers. He said a couple of days ago that 20 rebounds seemed much more like it.
So special that Silveira received her first recruiting letter as an 8th grader from UConn coach Geno Auriemma.
Sadly, a couple of devastating knee injuries later in her Wakefield career kept her from realizing her big-time basketball destiny.
But she has done well off the court. She practiced law and lived in Andover for seven years. She moved to Lynnfield in 2011 and now practices law there.