Published in the December 6, 2017 edition

BILLY ARSENEAULT defends against Wakefield’s Andrew Miller during the Lynnfield boys’ basketball team’s first scrimmage of the year on Saturday. The Pioneers will rely on the reigning CAL MVP Arseneault to lead the team this season.


WAKEFIELD — The LHS boys’ basketball team traveled to Wakefield on Saturday for their first scrimmage of the 2017-18 season. The teams played four 12-minute quarters and reset the score for each quarter, so while there was no official winner, the Pioneers accomplished their goal of getting a large group of new players acclimated to how head coach Scott MacKenzie wants to play.

“Heading into the season this is as inexperienced as we’ve been in a while,” said MacKenzie. “We’ve graduated 15 seniors over the last two years and we’re carrying seven new guys on a 13-person team, so there is inexperience not just in terms of game play but also practice.”

Of the nine graduated seniors from last year’s CAL Champion 18-5 team, the Pioneers will miss guard Louis Ellis and forward Michael Carangelo the most. Both were excellent all-around players at different areas of the court. Lynnfield will need the seven returning seniors to step into more prominent roles, none more than reigning CAL MVP Billy Arseneault. Arseneault controlled the offense as a point guard last year, and the Pioneers will need him to be even more assertive this season as they work in the new players. Luckily for Lynnfield, that’s exactly the type of responsibility that number 11 is ready for.

“I’d be lying and doing him an injustice if I said that wasn’t the case,” said MacKenzie. “You don’t get a kid like Bill and not rely on him. From his perspective, he is the kid who wants to be relied on, so it’s really the perfect situation in that way.”

Some other key returning players in the backcourt are Zachary Shone, Jason Ndansi, Matt Mortellite, who was missing in this one with a concussion suffered during the Thanksgiving Day football game, and Owen Colbert. The Pioneers won’t have as much height this season, but they will count on returning senior forwards Daniel Jameson and Collin Fabbri.

While the Pioneers might not have won the quarters on the scoreboard against Wakefield, they showed some promise, led by Arseneault who hit a three in the final frame and showed his court awareness with multiple excellent passes on the break to go along with a couple of great moves and finishes at the basket. In the end, it was a good first step on a long journey. Lynnfield has two more scrimmages before they tip off the season with a home game against Danvers on Tuesday, December 12 at 6:30 p.m.