JUNIOR CAM Lippie had 19 points in Melrose’s 60-55 win over a tough Winchester team. (Jennifer Gentile photo)
Boys’ hoop team on 3-game winning streak
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High Red Raider basketball team is riding a three-game winning streak after impressive wins over Lynnfield, Stoneham and Winchester, starting on Jan. 12 and leading to Monday, Jan. 17, when Melrose edged Winchester (6-2) by a score of 60-55 at the Melrose Middle School gym.
In one week, Melrose has seen victories over Lynnfield, 61-37 at home, and later beat Stoneham on the road, 61-54. But it was a home game on Monday that saw Melrose improve their record to 6-5 to prove they can beat anyone in the Middlesex League. The Red Raiders battled back to beat Winchester, 60-55 in an evenly-match competitive game that came down to the final minute of play. Melrose was led in scoring by senior captain Zac Federico with 20 points. He combined for nearly 40 points with junior Cam Lippie (19 pts) who had another strong game and was a beast in the second half when Melrose erased a 47-42 deficit at the start of the fourth. In that final frame Melrose outscored Winchester 18-8, which was good enough for Melrose to pick up their 6th win of the year.
It was a rough start to the game for Melrose, who opened to a 3-11 deficit after multiple turnovers, missed rebounds and a struggle against a Winchester press. However, shots from Rob Colozzo, Zac Federico and a three by Owen Dewey helped Melrose climb to a 11-17 deficit at the end of one. Federico continued his hot hand in the second, along with senior Max Kirby, who stole a ball for a layup to keep Melrose close 16-19. Cam Lippie drew an and-one and Federico hit a three to tie things up 21-21. Lippie continued his hard work under the net, drawing another foul for an and-one and that gave Melrose their first lead of 26-24. From there it was simply a dogfight throughout the game, with Winchester not missing much and nailing several threes. Melrose’s Miles Nzui helped give Melrose a 29-28 advantage and Lippie hit two foul shots to give Melrose a 31-30 edge at halftime. Lippie and Federico found the net multiple times in the third, along with a key three pointer by Max Kirby. Then Rob Colozzo, on a fast break, found Lippie under the net to tie it at 42, but Winchester pulled ahead 47-42 as the third quarter closed.
Rebounding was key in the fourth and Lippie came through for Melrose, allowing the Red Raiders to maintain possession, and from there Rob Colozzo hit a clutch three to tie things up at 49 with 5 minutes left in the game. Colozzo came up key again with a basket to put Melrose up, 55-53. Cam Lippie delivered a beautiful one-handed layup to put Melrose up 57-55 and Federico’s trey with 30 seconds left essentially clinched the game for Melrose. It was a very satisfying win for Melrose as Winchester was coming off a two-game winning streak and had already topped Middlesex League teams Arlington, Reading, Woburn and Burlington.
Look for a hot second half of the season for this Melrose team who has all the ingredients needed to a healthy playoff run. The Red Raiders will next travel to Lexington on Friday for a 6:30 p.m. game before hosting Arlington on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.