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Northern Essex Community College
100 Elliott Street
Haverhill MA 01830

PH: 978-556-3820
FX: 978-556-3115

Lane Glenn

Athletic Director
Sue MacAvoy

General email


FTE Enrollment

College News
Raw Potential : Talented freshmen abound at Northern Essex
October 31, 2013

By Dave Dyer ddyer@eagletribune.com HAVERHILL - If you like fast-break, pressure basketball, you'll love the 2013-14 Northern Essex Community College men's basketball team. The Knights are quick, they're fast and they can score. However, they also lack size and, with only one returnee from last year's 13-13 squad, they're inexperienced. "This is the youngest and smallest team I've ever had," said 13-year head coach Darren Stratton. "If we stay healthy and everyone stays eligible, this could be a special team, but it's going to take some time. "We're so young, we're going to make mistakes. But we're going to grow together and we'll be better the second semester than the first semester." The only returnee is Georgetown's Neph Carmona, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who will probably start at forward despite his limited size. Stratton hopes he can be a stabilizing presence. Beyond Carmona, the entire roster is comprised of freshmen, several of whom are extremely talented but few of whom have size. The tallest and one of the most talented is 6-foot-5 Javonte Forbes, who has moved to the area from Miami, along with 5-8 guard Peterson Morency. They were teammates at Miramar High. The next tallest if 6-4 Benjamin Morency, who played inside at Peabody last year but will be more of a wing man for the Knights as will be 6-1 Derek Andreoli, a 6-1 slasher who was second-team all-conference three years ago as a senior at East Providence (R.I.) High. Another likely wing is 6-2 Whittier Tech grad Ryan Grant from Haverhill. The three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star, who scored 1,432 career points, has looked good in practice and may see some time as a backup point guard. Promising shooting guards are 6-foot Colin Collins, who averaged 7.8 points a game last year at Charlestown, and 6-2 Kyle Sangster, who was the leading scorer for Malden Catholic last year and twice was named first-team all-Catholic Conference. Other players from the area who could be factors are former Whittier player Marck Galva, who transferred from Anna Marie College, former Haverhill player Parker Rogers and 6-3 forward Chris Corey of Londonderry. Galva, however, is still waiting for an NCAA waiver before he's eligible and Rogers is slow recovering from a high ankle sprain. "We'll attack with a basically four-guard lineup and hope to wear teams down," said Stratton. "We have to run. We could be in some trouble in a half-court game." The Knights open their season Friday against the home team in the New Hampshire Tech Tournament and will play the University of Maine at Augusta Saturday. "I'm looking forward to the season because it's a close-knit group and it has potential to be good," said Stratton. "But it'll take time."

October 31, 2013

January 14, 2013

By Jeff Hamricksports@eagletribune.com

HAVERHILL — While it wasn’t as significant as turning his life around, Kyle Davis proved last night he also makes an impact on a basketball court.

After suffering through a 9:30 stretch in the second half without a field goal, Northern Essex Community College rode a Davis rampage that turned an eight-point deficit into a 73-68 victory over Massasoit.

The 23-year-old Davis, who spent the better part of the first six months of the year in prison after pleading guilty to a February 2011 charge of distributing marijuana, rallied the Knights with a 55-second burst in which he scored four points, pulled in three rebounds and had an assist on a full-court pass that resulted in a Junior Veras layup. The run cut Massasoit’s 59-51 lead with 6:39 remaining into just a two-point advantage with 5:44 left.

“We just called a timeout, and this group was really tight,” said Davis, who finished with season-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. “Everyone looked each other in the face and that brought us together.”

A pair of Veras free throws, five straight points by Franklin Martinez, and a driving Damian Lugay layup completed the turn-around that gave NECC (3-2) the lead for good at 66-65 with 1:40 left.

Davis dropped out of Haverhill High School his sophomore year but earned his GED in 2007, the same year he would have graduated.

“I got into a lot of trouble,” said Davis, who is on track to graduate in the spring. “I got into a lot of bad stuff with a lot of bad people.”

About 15 months ago, his girlfriend gave birth to the couples’ daughter, Ava Marie, which proved Davis’ wake-up call.

“I got sober — I’ve got two years in February,” said Davis, who approached NECC coach Darren Stratton and assistant Joe Tardiff about playing after enrolling at the school. “I’ve come a long way in the last year. Going from a 0.3 (GPA) in high school to a 3.3 is an accomplishment. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling.”

Stratton is enjoying his on-court accomplishments just as well. Last night, he helped put the finishing touches on Massasoit with four points in 16 seconds that provided a 70-65 lead with 66 seconds left.

“Last week in a team meeting, Damian Lugay told Kevin ‘you’re the heart and soul of this team,” Stratton said. “I thought that was big.”


Massasoit (68) — Alain Lenord 3 1-2 8, Romain Phoenix 2 2-2 7, Sayvonn Houston 7 4-6 18, Kwame Lee 6 8-8 21, Andrew McCarthy 5 0-0 10, Darren Thompson 1 0-0 2, Stefan Vukovic 1 0-2 2, Tariq Tate 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 15-20 68.

NECC (73) — Jarvis Castro 1 0-0 2, Damian Lugay 4 7-9 15, Matt Sifferlen 3 1-3 7, Kyle Davis 10 0-2 21, Will Angelini 1 0-0 3, James Morgan-Themes 0 0-0 0, Franklin Martinez 3 0-0 8, Ryan Freeman 2 0-0 4, Junior Veras 3 5-6 11, Neph Carmona 0 0-0 0, Desmond Obi 1 0-1 2. Totals 28 13-21 73

3-pointers: M — Lenord, Phoenix, Lee; NECC — Martinez 2, Davis, Angelini.

Down, but not out
January 14, 2013

Sidetracked again, Alicea vows to return for Northern Essex

HAVERHILL — Jaylin Alicea is back on track again.

But last month, when the Northern Essex sophomore from Lawrence was playing in the Knights’ preseason jamboree in New Jersey, he wondered if he was off it for good.

Alicea, who sat out last year while becoming academically eligible, was playing defense in the Knights’ third game after standing out in the first two games, when tragedy struck.

“I was just waiting for my man and I shaded over to my left side and then I felt it,” said the 5-foot-9 Alicea. “I knew right away it (foot) was broken. I’ve never felt such pain.”

And the physical pain probably wasn’t as bad as the emotional pain.

“I didn’t think I’d play basketball again,” said Alicea. “And it crushed my family, my friends, even the community. They were looking forward to coming to see me.

“I was so excited to be playing again after last year. I was ready to get on the court and happy to be playing against good competition, looking forward to the challenge, and then it all seemed to be over. I was really down about it.”

Time tends to heal most wounds, however — even emotional — and, with support from his teammates, Alicea has since pulled himself out of the dumps and is thinking positive.

“It took me about two weeks to look at it differently,” he said. “I’m still young (20-years-old) and I know I’ll be back. I’m still motivated because basketball is my ticket to a better life. I’ll rehab and be back stronger. The plan is to come back (to Northern Essex) next year and make something positive out of it.”

This is good news not only for Alicea, but for Northern Essex coach Darren Stratton, who considers Alicea — who was All-Scholastic as a senior Lancer and had a sensational state tournament — as one of the best players he’s ever had.

“We’ve got a pretty good team this year (currently 5-2), but with him (Alicea) on the court, it’s like night and day,” said Stratton. “Even in the two games he played (in New Jersey), he put on quite a show. College coaches (who were there) were definitely taking notice.

“He just has so much talent, there’s no question he’s at least a Division 2 (scholarship) player and maybe Division 1.”

To get a scholarship, of course, Alicea must not only get back on the court, but he must remain academically eligible. In the past, without the lure of basketball to make him work, that would have been a serious problem. But, after surviving last year, he’s not concerned.

“The year I had off not playing basketball helped me man up,” said Alicea. “I know what’s important and I have to get an education if I want to improve myself.

“I always think about high school and I wish I had listened when I was always told to do my homework. Coach (Paul Neal) always told me that, but I was stubborn and wouldn’t do it. I regret it now.”

Stratton has confidence that Alicea will stay on track until next year.

“The weekend we went to New Jersey, we didn’t get back until 2 a.m.,” said Stratton. “The next morning I had to go back to the campus and I saw Jaylen heading to class on his crutches for a 9 a.m. class. That was a good sign ... I think he’s matured a lot and can do it.”

There are two factors that should help Alicea stay on track. One is a “buddy system” implemented a few years ago by Stratton in which players are hooked up with a teammate so that they can check on each other, making sure that assignments are done, classes are attended and there is no problem getting to practice on time. Alicea is paired with Haverhill’s Kyle Davis.

“He (Davis) calls me, makes sure I’m doing my homework, sees if I need a ride, things like that,” said Alicea. “I like it — it helps all of us.

“I get a lot of help, so I don’t have any excuses. Coach’s wife (Elizabeth Stratton) has helped tutor me in math and that’s helped, and my teammates back me up.”

Meanwhile, Alicea is doing his part for the team, showing up for practices and games, despite his lack of mobility. He has more than a month left of a hard cast on his foot, followed by a month or more with a soft cast and then rehab. He won’t be back on the court until at least March.

“I’m still part of the team 100 percent,” said Alicea. “I still want to be here — I can still make a difference, talking to the other point guards. I make sure they know what to do, how to become a better point guard.”

High school heroics As a senior at Lawrence, Jaylen Alicea eclipsed 1,000 points for his career and was an All-Scholastic player. He was at his finest during a remarkable 2011 state tournament during which the No. 15 seed Lancers advanced to the Division 1 North finals before falling to eventual state champion St. John's Preps. Following are his final four games in that run, Lawrence 82, Cambridge Rindge & Latin 78 -- Scores 35 points and has a triple double to almost single handedly topple the North's No. 2 team. Lawrence 81, Westford 80 -- Pours in 38 points and was 9-for-9 from free throw line. Lawrence 75, Lynn English 67 -- With the pressure on, goes remarkable 17-for-17 from the line and scores 28 points in victory over No. 3 seed. St. John's Prep 87, Lawrence 73 -- Despite tremendous defensive pressure, scores 30 points in his final high school game.

Unsung Veras does his part for Knights
January 14, 2013

By Dave Dyerddyer@eagletribune.com

HAVERHILL — Unlike the much acclaimed Jaylen Alicea, Junior Veras has never been a headline-type player.

A 6-foot-2 “tweener,” the sophomore from Lawrence does not have great statistics and he is not overly flashy. And yet, as Northern Essex has put together a 5-2 record, head coach Darren Stratton calls Veras perhaps his most valuable player.

“He does everything for us, whatever I need,’ said Stratton. “He leads the team in charges — he’s got 21 in seven games which is incredible — and he’s our best defensive player.

“He can play anywhere and guard really quick guards or big men. Against Bristol (Community College), we needed someone to guard their biggest guy and he came in and shut him down.”

Veras definitely enjoys doing the dirty work.

“I love playing the bigger guys because they think they’ll pick on me,” he said. “Some people are afraid of the charges, but I think it’s fun. They can hurt, but I just think ahead to the next play.”

Although Veras started every game for the Knights last year, after a couple of games this year, he volunteered to come off the bench.

“I was struggling the first couple of games, and I can see the way the game is going (while) on the bench,” said Veras. “I try to play hard and they use me as a spark, to keep everyone focused. Good things seem to happen when i come off the bench.”

Veras’ unselfish attitude does not surprise Stratton.

“I can’t say enough good things about him,’ said Stratton. “He’s really one of my favorite players I’ve had here.”

Veras began his college career at UMass Lowell but he didn’t play there because he was coming off knee surgery the summer before. Then, when his mother got sick, his grades went down and he eventually returned home to help out.

After a half year of inactivity, Veras transferred to Northern Essex and, missing basketball, decided to join the team.

“It helps me when I play,” said Veras. “I always want to be a student-athlete.”

In addition to his contributions on the court, Veras is also helping off the court as a mini-mentor for the injured Alicea. After all, he has spent time off the court with a serious injury himself.

“I tell him to stay positive, that every day will get better, even if it doesn’t seem that way,” said Veras. “I tell him to work so that it (injury) doesn’t happen again. I always talk to him about this.”

Veras is unsure if he’ll continue his career next year at a four-year school or whether he’ll try joining the work force. But Stratton is sure of one thing.

“Whatever he does, he’ll work at it and be a success,” he said.

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