Pioneers beat Winthrop for first win

Published in the January 24, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD – The LHS girls’ basketball team went 1-2 during a three-game homestand that started with their first win of the season on Wednesday night against Winthrop, 42-33. The Pioneers were led by sophomore Victoria Morelli who scored 12 points and picked up nine rebounds. Co-captain Liz Shaievitz chipped in nine points while Melissa Morelli added five points, seven rebounds and four steals.

The Pioneers then jumped back into CAL play as they hosted two of the better teams in the league with Pentucket coming to town on Friday and Masco on Monday. While Lynnfield dropped both games, progress can be seen head coach Jim Perry as a young team learns what it takes to win in a very competitive league.

CO-CAPTAIN Emory Caswell fights for a loose ball against Masco on Monday night at LHS. Caswell showed great leadership by setting the tone on defense against a tough and physical Chieftains team. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

“They’re starting to play harder than they have in the past,” said Perry. “We are getting a full 32 minutes of effort out of our team. The speed of the game is tough in this CAL Division. Teams shoot the lights out of the building in this league, so if your not protecting the perimeter you’re going to get beat.”

Lynnfield competed hard from the outset against the 7-1 Chieftains who are currently first in the Kinney division of the Cape Ann League. Facing a relentless full court press, the Pioneers moved the ball as a team to break it, and freshman point guard Grace Klonsky showed her potential by creating for her teammates and scoring the first bucket of the game on a mid-range jumper.

The defense came out strong with plenty of intensity led by senior co-captain Emory Caswell, whose steal led to a break for fellow co-captain Liz Shaievitz who attacked, drew a foul and hit both free throws. Melissa Morelli later picked up a nice dish from senior co-captain Mackenzie O’Neill to make the score 8-6. While the Pioneers hung in for most of the opening frame, Masco’s high-powered offense started to get going and the Chieftains controlled the offensive glass to take an 18-8 lead after one.

Masco keep the pressure on in the 2nd quarter as their press continued to cause problems for Lynnfield. Masco’s Sara Fogarty saw her shot fall in the 2nd enough to gain confidence for the whole team.

Shaievitz hit a nice jumper from the elbow, but Masco found their groove on both ends.

Shaievitz and Caswell continued to show great leadership as they dove on the floor at the defensive end with their team down 31-13 at the half. It was proof that the four seniors on this team are setting a great example for the seven underclassmen.

Lynnfield upped the intensity to start the second half. Caswell found Morelli for the first bucket of the half, but Masco continued to hit their shots despite great defense and closeouts from the Pioneers. LHS closed the quarter strong as O’Neill hit a three and Morelli beat the buzzer off an assist from Klonsky.

In the 4th, Lynnfield’s defense again stepped it up on the first possession as Megan Nevils blocked a shot and the team later forced a shot clock violation.

“I thought Megan Nevils played very well especially on the defensive end and rebounding,” said Perry.

Maggie Weaver then hit a three and later added a nice runner in the lane as the senior put up five points in just three minutes.

“Maggie Weaver, 5 points in three minutes; I thought that was pretty awesome,” said Perry.

Ava Bonfiglio, a swing player who was called up from the JV for this game, also chipped in four points in the 4th quarter.

Overall, Lynnfield outplayed Masco in the 4th quarter, 12-7. Another positive was Lynnfield’s free throw shooting as they went 9-10 from the line.

While there was some promising play from players such as Shaievitz who coach Perry gave a nod to after the game for her shooting and leadership, the Pioneers still have some priorities to work on for the rest of the season.

“Masco is one of the top-tier teams in our league so this wasn’t totally by surprise tonight we just have to protect the ball better,” said Perry. “We also missed a lot of easy shots around the basket, so protecting the ball, making our shots and rebounding were the three issues we had tonight.”

Lynnfield will have some opportunities to get back in the win column, including a trip to Ipswich on Tuesday night, as the focus will turn to trying to pick up victories against teams the Pioneers know they can compete with.

“We’re going to try to win the games we can win,” said Perry. “Ipswich, Winthrop, Georgetown, Manchester-Essex, Newburyport; these are games that hopefully we will be in the mix and we can pull out . The goal for the rest of the season is to win the games we are supposed to win.”