Published January 2, 2019


MELROSE — Last week, the Lynnfield boys’ basketball team dropped two games against Danvers and Melrose bringing their record to 1-4 on the early season.

In the first game against Danvers on Dec. 23 at LHS, the Pioneers overcame a 22-point deficit in the first half but could not finish it after taking a late lead. In the second game, Melrose dominated in the paint and Lynnfield’s offense simply could not find the basket.

Comeback against Danvers comes up short

Coming off the season’s first win, the 1-2 Pioneers looked to reach .500 going up against the Danvers Falcons. Early on, things were not looking good for the Pioneers as the Falcons jumped out to a commanding 18-point lead at halftime.

Lynnfield would not back down though and began to chip away at the daunting deficit. With just over six minutes remaining in the game, Steve Dwyer gave the Pioneers their first lead of the game on a layup down low. The Falcons would take the lead back with two minutes to go, and would not relinquish it, securing the win over Lynnfield 68-65.

JACK FORD (22) knocks down a runner against Melrose during Lynnfield’s latest game on Dec. 27. The Pioneers hit the road on Wednesday to play Hamilton-Wenham before returning home on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. to play a 5-1 Newburyport team. (James Cranney Photo)

Melrose pulls away, 59-37

After a close game against a tough Danvers opponent, the 1-3 Pioneers went on the road to battle the 3-1 Red Raiders of Melrose. Going up against towering Melrose forwards Luka Vlajkovic and Brandon McSorley, Lynnfield would have their hands full in the paint.

The Red Raiders came out of the gate hot, starting with an early 8-0 run. The Pioneers did eventually stop the bleeding late in the quarter when junior guard Clayton Marengi drove to the hole for a tough bucket. From there, McSorley continued to dominate in the paint, giving Melrose a 16-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Lynnfield’s defense turned it around only allowing seven points the entire quarter. On the offensive side of the ball, the Pioneers slightly began to find some momentum. After a Marengi layup, sophomore guard Jack Ford picked a Red Raider’s pocket and laid it in making it 16-7. Before halftime, Lynnfield was able to get big buckets down low from sophomore Khad Connell and junior Anthony Hunt making it 23-11 going into the locker room.

Marengi’s quick bucket kicked off the second half by cutting the Red Raider’s lead to just 10. After the next possession, the Pioneers found themselves only trailing by seven when Jack Ford buried a deep three. Then the deficit dropped to five following another Ford steal and score. Things were looking up for Lynnfield but a Holden Symonds 3-pointer was just what Melrose needed to regain momentum.

Going into the fourth quarter trailing 37-25, the Pioneers needed to find a way to put up points and slow down the tough Melrose forwards. Unfortunately for Lynnfield, they would do neither. In the end, the Red Raiders rolled to a 56-42 victory bringing Lynnfield’s record to 1-4 on the season.

Despite early struggles, Pioneers’ head coach Scott MacKenzie knows Lynnfield is knocking on the door.

“We’ve played ten halves of basketball and we only have one half of basketball that I would say was subpar and that was our first half against Danvers,” said MacKenzie. “Ultimately, what the kids have established is that they know how to compete.”