Published in the December 16, 2015 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The girls’ basketball team returned to action this week and is prepared to compete against elite teams in the Cape Ann League large division.
The Pioneers concluded the 2014-15 season with a 13-7 record. Lynnfield qualified for the Division 3 North state tournament. After being awarded a first round bye, the Pioneers fell to Bishop Fenwick in the quarterfinals.
Lynnfield has undergone several big changes since last year. Former head coach Bob Melillo stepped down last spring after he was selected to become North Reading’s next head coach. Jim Perry was hired to replace to Melillo recently and he’s thrilled to begin coaching the Pioneers this week.
“I am proud to be named the new girls’ basketball coach,” said Perry. “I have been coaching for 15 years, seven years at the high school level. I coached at Nazareth Academy in Wakefield and was the girls’ varsity coach at Saugus High School. Lynnfield has a great basketball tradition and I was excited when the coaching position opened up.”
Perry said he has high hopes for the Pioneers this winter.
“I am looking forward to a great season,” he said. “The team has performed well both in practice and preseason scrimmages. We are missing a returning captain due to an injury and we are expecting our underclassmen to step up and play well.”
Three senior captains will be leading the Pioneers this winter, Abbie Weaver, Kelly Look and Marie Norwood. Norwood said she is looking forward to this season.
“What I am most excited about for this season is the amount of young players we have on the team,” said Norwood. “I look forward to seeing how much they, especially the four sophomores, progress. This is a team of girls who really like, respect and support one another and who will always push one another to be better. I think we all love the game and we are all looking forward to having fun, and hopefully winning a few games.”
“I think that our team has some things to work on but we have a lot of potential to be successful,” said Weaver.
Look concurred with Norwood and Weaver’s sentiment.
“Losing our two top scorers and going into CAL Large this year will be our biggest challenges,” said Look. “However, we have great coaching and a hard working, athletic group who want to be successful. If we keep working hard and together, we should be successful and hopefully make it back to tournament this year. We’re all excited to see what this season brings.”
In addition to the three captains, the Pioneers are also welcoming back Olivia Costello.
The Pioneers’ also have several promising new additions in Julianna Passatempo, Elizabeth Shaievitz, Mackenzie O’Neil, Shannon Furey, Marina McMahon, Annie Sanford, Kaitlin Flanrery and Jessica Dwyer.
When asked what the Pioneers’ strengths are this winter, Perry commented, “The team’s strengths are our quickness and athleticism, speed and basketball IQ.” He said the Pioneers need to “work on rebounding and free throw percentage.”
Perry said assistant coach Peter Bocchino will be a “valuable asset to the staff and brings years of AAU coaching experience to the program.” Perry noted Bocchino is the founder of Saugus Travel Boys’ Basketball.
The Pioneers faced Triton on Tuesday, Dec. 15, taking place after deadline. Lynnfield travels to Pentucket on Friday, Dec. 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Pioneers host Masconomet on Monday, Dec. 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m.