Published in the March 1, 2021 edition.
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — The Middlesex League’s girls’ basketball coaches recently voted on All-Stars for the 2021 season. Two members from Wakefield High made the list: Junior Ashlee Purcell and sophomore Emma Shinney.
Purcell led the Warriors in scoring with 12.5 points per game and in steals with 5.3 per game.
“By the end of the season, you could make the case that Ashlee was the most explosive player in the league,” said Wakefield head coach Jason Pavey. “She can get points in bunches and her presence on the defensive end really sets the tone for our team.
“Her athleticism stands out, but Ashlee made great strides to improve her game. She had 20 points each vs. Melrose and Woburn the last week of the season which showcased her growth. Her outside shot became more consistent and she really understands how we want to play defense from a team standpoint.”
Shinney led the Warriors in assists with 5.1 and also averaged 8.4 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.9 steals per game. The sophomore has started every game in her first two seasons.
“She’s really a classic point guard who looks to get everyone involved,” said Pavey. “Her court vision and ability to get the ball ahead is really what drives this offense. This year, she started to look for her shot more and is becoming a deadly 3-point shooter. Her six 3’s vs Arlington is the most we’ve seen here in a long time…maybe ever. The great thing though is a few days later she goes out and gets 10 assists against Watertown. She is developing a great feel for the game.”
Wakefield finished the season with a record of 9-4, including a playoff win on the road against Woburn. That victory was their sixth in a row. Wakefield fell to undefeated and eventual champion Burlington 29-27 in the semifinals.
For Shinney and Purcell, as is typically the case with All-Star selections, their accolades and respect from opposing coaches was earned through hard work and dedication to the team.
“When your most talented players are also your hardest working players, it helps establish the culture we want to have and translates into team success; which I think we achieved this season,” said Pavey.
Burlington was first in the Freedom Division with three All-Star selections. Wakefield, Watertown and Wilmington each had two All-Stars. Stoneham and Melrose had one.