Published December 26, 2018


LYNNFIELD — Last week, the Lynnfield boys’ basketball team went 1-1 bringing their record to 1-2 on the season. Following a tough loss to Rockport on Tuesday 47-41, the Pioneers were able to bounce back on Friday picking up the season’s first victory blowing out Masco 59-37.

Fall to Rockport, 47-41

After a tough season opening loss at Pentucket, the Pioneers were on the road again to do battle with the 1-3 Vikings of Rockport. Lynnfield would give the Vikings everything they had but would yield the same result of their previous game coming up just short 47-41.

Rout Masco, 59-37

An always tough Masco (0-1) team came into town last Friday night to take on the Pioneers. Coming into the home opener at 0-2, Lynnfield wanted to make a statement to the rest of the league that despite their inexperience, this young team can still ball.

The Pioneers mixed things up defensively, applying a full court press on every Chieftain offensive possession. The heavy pressure kept the Masco boys on their toes as they coughed the ball up several times in their own end. Despite the great play on defense, Lynnfield could not generate much offense in the opening quarter as Masco lead 15-10 going into the second.

KHAD CONNELL (13) and the Pioneers tip off against Masco on Friday night at LHS. Lynnfield picked up a big win over the Chieftains, 59-37. (James Cranney Photo)

Junior center Khad Connell kicked off the second quarter powering his way into the paint for a hard fought layup. Connell as well as junior Anthony Hunt built some Pioneer momentum delivering two vicious blocks on the defensive side of the ball. Lynnfield’s defense continued to shine and eventually the offense soon followed. With 1:02 remaining before halftime, junior captain Clayton Marengi tied the game up with a big 3 from beyond the arc. The Pioneers would find themselves in the lead for the first time when sophomore guard Jack Ford closed out the first half with a midrange jumper.

Coming out of the locker room the Pioneers picked up exactly where they left off. Right off the bat, Ford fed Marengi down low to extend the Lynnfield lead to four. From there, the stout Pioneer defense continued to fluster the Chieftains with the heavy press.

“Incredibly happy with the guys especially in the second and third quarter holding them to 12 or 13 points, that’s the difference in the game,” said a beaming Lynnfield head coach Scott MacKenzie after the game. “Our ability to make things really hard for them is essentially what wins the basketball game.”

With each passing turnover, Lynnfield continued to pad their lead. After yet another Masco mistake, forced from heavy Pioneer pressure, Jack Ford pulled up from the corner and drained a 3 extending the lead to 11. Several minutes later, Ford once again found nothing but net from downtown giving Lynnfield a 39-28 lead going to the final quarter.

Masco took a page out of the Pioneer’s playbook in the 4th quarter by attempting to implement their own full court press. The Chieftains were able to go on a 5-0 run to start the quarter, but it would not be enough. With 5:07 left in the game, Lynnfield got some more Jack Ford magic when he completed a four-point play after sinking his third 3-pointer. Clayton Marengi later hit his third 3-pointer, leading to coach MacKenzie emptying his bench.

The final would be 59-37 in favor of the home team. As a young group, getting that first win of the season was absolutely critical for Lynnfield. Coach MacKenzie and his players have plenty to build off from here in terms of momentum.

“We don’t have to come in and x and o to death,” said MacKenzie. “We just want to keep focusing on what we’re trying to do well, which is put a little pressure on the other team and see what happens.”