By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield High boys’ basketball team performed one of the biggest turnarounds in the state this season. After going 1-19 last winter, they finished at 14-7 this year as they were nipped by host East Boston, 56-54, in the MIAA Division 3 state tournament preliminary-round.
In the Cape Ann League, they went 9-5 as they finished in second place in the CAL Kinney Division behind Newburyport.
“I give all of the credit to the kids,” said Pioneers head coach John Bakopolus, who just completed his third year at the helm. “They worked very hard in the off-season and I was happy for them.”
Lynnfield will lose four seniors to graduation, Alex Gentile, Cam Marengi, James Sharkey and Sam Gazit. Gazit, unfortunately, missed the year due to a shoulder injury while Gentile and Marengi were the two captains.
Gentile was voted the CAL Kinney Division MVP along with being a CAL First-Team All-Star as the point guard averaged a team-high 14 points per game. Marengi, a guard, averaged 7.5 points while Sharkey, a forward, was the team’s defensive specialist.
“The seniors were great leaders by example,” stated Bakopolus. “They set the foundation for the program and made it fun for me. I am going to miss them.”
Next year, the team should be in good shape as they are expected to return nine veterans led by sophomore Gavin Deluties, who made the CAL Second-Team All-Stars this year averaging 12 points. The guard led the team in 3-pointers with 40.
Chris Daniels is another key player coming back as the forward will be a senior next year. The team’s top rebounder this winter, Alex Fleming, is also slated to return, as the forward will be a junior next season.
“The goal is to keep building from what we did this year,” said Bakopolus, about next year’s squad. “We have a good, experienced core coming back.”