One win and two losses bring boys’ hoop to 8-9

Feb 7, 2019 by

Community comes together to honor Coach Canty

Published February 6, 2019

By JAMES CRANNEY

LYNNFIELD – As time begins to dwindle on the season, the Lynnfield boys’ basketball team continued to make a push for tournament play. Last week the Pioneers went 1-2 dropping games to Melrose and North Reading, but winning a big game against Manchester-Essex who is currently in first place in the CAL Baker Division. With only four games left on the schedule, the Pioneers will need to keep finding the win column if they want their season to continue.

Melrose hangs on

Coming off another three-game win streak, the Pioneers looked to make it four in a row last Sunday afternoon when the 7-4 Red Raiders of Melrose came to town. The last time the two teams met in December, the Red Raiders were able to control the game early and win comfortably. This time on their home court, the Pioneers would keep it a little closer. In the end, Melrose would pull away for a 66-59 victory handing Lynnfield their eighth loss of the season.

Pioneers bring down first-place Manchester-Essex

Lynnfield looked to get back in the win column Tuesday night when they battled the 11-4 Manchester-Essex Hornets.

In the first half, both teams went back-and-forth leading to a 24-24 tie going into halftime. The Pioneers began to pull away as they led 36-30 going into the fourth. Lynnfield continued their solid play in the final quarter and finished the job securing a 49-42 victory over a battle-tested Manchester-Essex squad.

THE CANTY FAMILY (middle) was supported by Pioneers past and present before the boys’ basketball game on Friday. The community came together for a tribute to coach Kevin Canty who passed away last year. Canty, a 1970 graduate of Lynnfield High School, was the freshman basketball coach at LHS for over 30 years and was one of the founding members of the Lynnfield Junior Sports Program. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Hornets prevail on emotional night for Lynnfield

Before the Pioneers took on North Reading last Friday night, there was a touching ceremony honoring the legacy of coach Kevin Canty who passed away last April. Lynnfield head coach Scott MacKenzie presented coach Canty’s family with a gift before members of the current team and team’s past joined them at center court for a picture.

“If you think about all of Kevin’s years of experience that he had, he was 100 percent comfortable being a guy who coached and worked with kids at the below varsity level, meaning it wasn’t about him,” commented coach MacKenzie. “I think Kevin genuinely wanted to make an impact on younger kids’ lives, and he did.”

When it was time for tipoff, the Pioneers looked inspired. On the first possession, Jack Ford (11 points) drove to the basket making one of two free throws after getting fouled. On defense, Lynnfield’s full court press stifled the Hornet offense early causing several turnovers. Pioneer guard Anthony Hunt (16 points) then fed Khad Connell (10 points) with a great pass below the basket where Connell finished for the bucket.

The next time up the floor, Lynnfield’s Jackson Cleary delivered another great pass to Connell who put it in for an early 7-2 lead. At this point, Hornets head coach Joe Casey had seen enough and called a timeout with 6:09 left in the opening quarter.

Coming out of the timeout, Hunt came through again for the Pioneers driving to the hoop getting an and one. Lynnfield led 10-2 but a Cody Cannalonga 3-pointer stopped the bleeding for the Hornets and changed the pendulum of momentum. North Reading then went on a 10-0 run and dominated the rest of the quarter leading 21-13 after one.

Anthony Hunt cut the deficit to five when he opened the second quarter with a bucket from downtown. The Pioneers would make it a one possession game when Clayton Marengi (10 points) executed a floating hook shot in front of the basket with just over six minutes before halftime. Both teams would exchange blows for the remainder of the quarter and would go into their locker rooms with North Reading up 28-26.

The Hornets would begin to take over as the third quarter began. Lynnfield found themselves down 11 points early but a quick three from Marengi and a basket from Hunt would make it a two possession game.

It was a bit of a stalemate from there as the Pioneers and Hornets traded baskets. Late 3-pointers from Ford and Maxmilian Boustris would only have the Pioneers trailing by five going into the fourth quarter.

Two quick Hornet 3-pointers extended the deficit to 11, but a Marengi 3 and Cleary basket following an offensive rebound would once again make it a two possession game with five minutes remaining. However, North Reading finally pulled away following a Jack Keller three-point play with 3:34 left in regulation. The Pioneers would be unable to keep up and dropped their ninth game of the season falling 65-54.

Now at 8-9 with only so few games left on the 2019 schedule, it’s gut check time if the Pioneers want a taste of the postseason. Lynnfield played Danvers (Monday) and Georgetown (Tuesday) after press time. They host Triton on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. To achieve their ultimate goal, the Pioneers will have to have strong performances in these games and no one knows that more than coach MacKenzie.

“When we come back on Sunday, the message is we have three games in five days, and we got to win them.”

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