By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
LYNNFIELD — Four members of the Lynnfield High girls’ basketball team received awards at the team’s end-of-season banquet. Senior captain, Bella George, was given the team’s MVP Award for the second year in a row. The two-time Cape Ann League First-Team All-Star point guard led the team in scoring averaging 13 points per game.
The Pioneer Award, for hustle and energy, went to senior co-captain Maggie Ozanian. Sophomore forward, Taylor Valiton, took home the Coaches Award as she was the team top rebounder this winter while Erika Pasquale got the Most Improved Player Award. Pasquale, a sophomore guard who made the made the CAL Second-Team All-Stars this season, led the Pioneers in blocks.
After missing the state tournament by one win last year, the Pioneers qualified for the MIAA Division 3 tournament this season. They knocked off Southeastern Regional Tech, 41-27, in the preliminary round before falling to Dover-Sherborn, 57-24, in the Round of 32 game.
Lynnfield finished with a final overall record of 10-12. In the CAL, they were in 4th place in the Kinney Division going 4-9.
“I loved this year’s kids,” said Pioneers head coach Sue Breen, who just completed her second year at the helm. “We had only nine players and for three games we played only six due to illness and injures. They worked very hard and persevered.”
Lynnfield will lose four players from this year’s squad. Along with George and Ozanian, they will also lose fellow senior Charlotte Radulski to graduation.
“Bella and Maggie had to deal with three coaches in their four years with one being the Covid season,” pointed out Breen. “They were great captains with high basketball IQ’s. Charlotte is a good multi-sport athlete who hasn’t played basketball since she was in the 8th-grade and was a helpful addition.”
The other player the team will lose is sophomore Emilia Newmann who is an exchange student from Germany.
Lynnfield is slated to return five veterans next winter.
“We have a lot of multiple-sport athletes coming back that make up our core,” pointed out Breen. “They got a lot of experience this year.”
George was named to the CAL First-Team All-Stars for the second year in a row.
She had a season-high 24 points against Manchester-Essex and a 20-point game with 10 steals and eight rebounds against Amesbury.
“She was incredible,” stated Breen, about the captain. “She is a great leader who found a way to get her teammates involved. She was also a strong rebounder as well.”
Pasquale, a sophomore guard, made her first-ever post-season team.
“She led the team in blocks this year and is a very versatile player for us,” said Breen. “She is a great defender and was the point of our zone-trap defense.”
Pasquale averaged two blocks per game and played over 30 minutes per contest the final 10 games of the season like George.