Boys hoop wins three straight

Feb 7, 2018 by

Pioneers (13-3) two games up on Newburyport for 1st in Kinney

Published in the February 7, 2018 edition

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

LYNNFIELD — The LHS boys’ basketball team kept rolling last week as they won three in a row to bring their record to 13-3 overall and 12-3 in the Cape Ann League. The Pioneers now own a two-game lead on second-place Newburyport who they will host next Friday, Feb. 16.

Offense rules vs. Manchester-Essex

The Pioneers traveled to Manchester-Essex on Tuesday, Jan. 30 looking to rebound after a tough home loss to Masco during their previous game. Lynnfield responded with a clinic on the offensive end to win 74-45.

LYNNFIELD’s Friday night victory over North Reading was another hard-fought and physical rivalry game. Pictured here, Zack Shone fights through two Hornet defenders to get to the free thrown line. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

“I thought that was the best offensive game we’ve played all season by far,” said Lynnfield head coach Scott MacKenzie, who was happy with his team’s ability to move the ball, a key factor when teams try to double and deny Lynnfield’s Billy Arseneault.

“Any team is going to try to take Billy away and ball movement will lead to other kids scoring the ball,” said MacKenzie. “That’s how you win basketball games.”

The balanced scoring included 19 from Arseneault, a career-high 16 from Jason Ndansi, 16 from Zack Shone, 8 from Jack Ford and 7 from Clayton Marengi.

The Pioneers called a timeout after the Hornets raced out to a 10-0 in the first, but Lynnfield regained control and dominated the second half, 43-18.

“We played zone in the second half which we don’t normally do and it happened to be effective,” said MacKenzie. “The zone defense and our transition game complemented each other very well.”

More balance beats North Reading, 77-65

The Pioneers hosted North Reading on Friday night looking to sweep the season series after the Pioneers beat the Hornets, 65-60 on Jan. 12.

It was a similar story on the offensive end, as the Pioneers put forward another excellent second half featuring some swift passing and moving without the ball which helped their transition offense control the game.

The Hornets, true to form, featured plenty of size and toughness which on paper appears to be the antidote to Lynnfield’s smaller lineup. The Hornets picked up plenty of buckets at the rim in the first half and slowed down the Pioneers vaunted transition game to relative success as LHS led 33-26 at the half.

At the break, the Pioneers talked about getting back to quicker ball movement which would eventually wear the Hornets down.

“The scoring margin should have been bigger at the half,” said MacKenzie. “What we’re seeing is teams starting to really collapse on Billy and Zack. We talk about your internal clock. Catch, pass and move it, which makes things easier when the defense is coming at you. I thought in the first half we held the ball too long and in the second half we did a much better job.”

Lynnfield outscored North Reading 26-12 in the 3rd quarter, as seven different Pioneers scored at least a basket, led by 7 from Matt Mortellite, 5 from Shone and 4 each from Dan Jameson and Jason Ndansi.

That type of scoring output is expected from the senior starters, but it was two bench players who got a nod from the coach, as freshman Jack Ford and sophomore Clayton Marengi (9) provided an excellent boost.

“Clayton is starting to pick it up a little bit,” said MacKenzie. “He’s probably the best athlete on the team. He’s going to end up being a phenomenal offensive player.”

“Jack Ford and Clayton Marengi’s minutes are really valuable. Both of them are going be awesome players. They know how valuable they are to us. Fortunately for us during the next two years we are going to have a very nice duo.”

Top Georgetown, 67-59

The Pioneers hosted Georgetown on Monday night, and after some slow moments in the 2nd and 3rd, really picked it up in the 4th to score 22 points in the quarter and beat the Royals by eight.

Lynnfield got 20 points from Dan Jameson who hit five threes as he continues to be a major matchup problem for opposing centers. Arseneault chipped in with 18 and Shone added 15.

The Pioneers play at Triton on Friday night, followed by a trip to Danvers on Valentine’s Day.

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