Warriors pull out 52-48 triumph over Lexington

DANIELLA IANNUZZI, a senior captain and forward, was the game-high scorer with 20 points in Wakefield’s 52-48 triumph over Lexington on Friday night in the home opener at the Charbonneau Field House. (Donna Larsson Photo)

DANIELLA IANNUZZI, a senior captain and forward, was the game-high scorer with 20 points in Wakefield’s 52-48 triumph over Lexington on Friday night in the home opener at the Charbonneau Field House. (Donna Larsson Photo)


WAKEFIELD — The featured event at the Charbonneau Field House on Friday evening was the varsity girls’ basketball team taking on Lexington. The featured event lived up to its billing, too.

Head coach Meghan O’Connell led her team out on the home floor for the first time this year, coming in with a record of 0-1 following a loss to Woburn in its first game.

The Warriors put forth a total team effort to make this game theirs and, after a gritty performance, the home crowd saw them pull out a 52-48 victory to nab their first win of the season and improve to 1-1 in the early going this year.

“It’s exciting, it’s a good, good home opener,” coach O’Connell said after the win. “That was great to see they just mentally stuck with it, they stuck with what we were trying to do, which is awesome. They kept pushing, Lexington went on runs, it didn’t affect us. We came back and went on runs. The kids are mentally tough.”

Lexington came in as perhaps a slight favorite to win, boasting one of the most talented players in the Middlesex League on its roster in point guard Anna Kelly.

Wakefield made life exceedingly difficult for the visiting team’s star player holding her to just 15 points in the contest and keeping her in check with Jillian Raso in her face all night. Raso also chipped in five points on the way to victory.

“Defensively we were trying to not let number three touch the ball. Jill was face guarding her all night. We had Mia Joyce on her, too,” revealed the coach about her strategy to shut down the key player for Lexington.

The Warriors got off on the right foot in the opening quarter with senior point guard Amanda Boulter getting eight points in the first quarter including a pair of three-pointers.

“Boulter has been playing great, continuing to hit big shots and keep things under control,” O’Connell said of her senior guard, whose role has increased in the early season with her teammate, Nicole Galli, still sidelined with an ankle injury.

“(Daniella) Iannuzzi had some big baskets in there, Julia Derendal and Emma Butler (were) coming in tough on the boards,” added O’Connell.

Senior forward and captain Iannuzzi had a big night Friday. She had 20 points including five in the first quarter and one three to go along with stalwart low-post defense, timely rebounding and clutch free throws to help her team to victory.

Wakefield took a one point lead into halftime after it got some solid production in the second quarter as it managed to keep pace with Lexington and put up 13 points. Gabby Joly had a three-pointer go down in the quarter for three of her 10 points. Raso, Boulter and Iannuzzi combined to net the other 10 points in the second quarter as the Warriors took a 28-27 lead into the locker room.

Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter with Wakefield only scoring 11 points, while it managed to hold Lexington to just seven points. With just one quarter remaining, Coach O’Connell’s team needed to hold on for the final eight minutes as they led by a slim 37-34 margin.

It all came down to the fourth quarter and the final eight minutes were worth the price of admission for Wakefield fans. Despite leading heading into the fourth, Lexington battled back and stepped briefly out in front as Kelly knocked down a pair of threes for the Minutewomen.

Wakefield answered time and time again, and Joly countered Kelly’s treys with a three-pointer of her own to pick the team up. Iannuzzi added six more points including some big time clutch free throws. Grace Hurley played a major role in the fourth quarter, turning up the pressure defensively to cause Lexington to turn the ball over while providing the aggressive edge Wakefield was looking for offensively, taking the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line.

“Gab hit a big three late, Grace sealed it with twos,” O’Connell said.

Wakefield’s first win means they’re 1-1 after two games but the schedule continues to be brutal as the Warriors will host Reading on Tuesday night at 7  p.m. at the Charbonneau Field House.


WAKEFIELD 52, Lexington 48

At Charbonneau Field House


Lexington (48) — Kelly 6 0 15; Stigberg 0 0 0; Strohmyer 0 0 0; Van Arsdell 6 0 12; Samsel 0 0 0; Brown 3 0 8; Bernstein 4 0 8; Fein-Cole 0 0 0; Rotlevy 2 1 5; Antonevich 0 0 0. Totals 21 1 48.

WAKEFIELD (52) — Boulter 6 0 14; Iannuzzi 7 5 20; Derendal 0 0 0; Raso 2 1 5; Joly 4 0 10; Rossino 0 0 0; Hurley 0 3 3; Joyce 0 0 0; O.Dziadyk 0 0 0; Butler 0 0 0; H.Dziadyk 0 0 0; Story 0 0 0. Totals 19 9 52.

Score by Quarters — Lexington 13-14-7-14 — 48. WAKEFIELD — 15-13-11-13 — 52.

Three-point FGs — Lex, Kelly 3, Brown 2. Wak, Boulter 2, Joly 2, Iannuzzi 1.