Published in the February 22, 2017 edition
By DAVID McCOUBREY
LYNNFIELD — The North Reading Hornets are a good basketball team. At 9-5 in the Cape Ann League, they remain one win away from a tournament berth. But on Friday, Feb. 10 in Lynnfield, the Hornets ran into the buzz saw that is the Lynnfield Pioneers.
The Pioneers won 83-63 and they remain undefeated in the league, improving to 14-0 (14-1 overall). Their average margin of victory this season is over 18 points per game, and they are really rounding into form as the tournament approaches.
It also helps to have such a dynamic duo in Louis Ellis and Billy Arseneault. These two continue to cement their status as two of the best players in the Cape Ann League, putting up gaudy numbers game after game.
Senior forward Ellis, a rangy player who can score from anywhere on the court, torched the Hornets for 34 points. At 6’4”, his ability to stretch the floor and hit threes terrorizes opposing defenses.
Junior point guard Arseneault is a waterbug on the court, all quick blasts of movement. He collected five steals. He also poured in 25 points and dished 10 assists. Together, the tandem scored 59 of the team’s 83 points.
Senior forward Mike Carangelo also made his voice heard, collecting seven rebounds and chipping in eight points.
The goal for the Pioneers was clear: push the tempo. “The game plan was centered on getting early offense for ourselves and stopping North Reading from doing the same,” head coach Scott MacKenzie said. “We ended up with close to 40 points in transition and off of secondary break looks, and there were large stretches of the game where we made it difficult for North Reading to push the ball at the pace they like.”
MacKenzie, never shy to critique his team, albeit constructively, was pleased with the effort.
“This was a great team win for us against a very good and well-coached opponent,” he said.