dorathy ezemba

Morrison: Elementary School Tournament is top-notch

Denzel Guillen gets ready to shoot a free throw. 


One of my favorite events of the year is the Lynn Elementary School Basketball Tournament. It may be because I’m a sucker for cute kids playing sports, especially when that comes in the form of a peanut-sized fourth-grader using all the strength she can muster to hit the backboard. But that’s not all of it.

I have to give due recognition to tournament organizer Sean Morris and the rest of the staff and coaches that make the tournament run. The first time I covered the event last year, I was shocked at how smoothly everything ran. Any tournament that size (with 32 teams) is bound to have its hiccups. But if it says on the schedule a game will start at 5:15, you better believe tip-off is going to be at 5:15. There are uniforms with names and numbers, and even — this is my favorite part, as a photographer — full rosters for every team. I cannot stress how rare that is. Even high school teams struggle to assemble an up-to-date roster for a game at times.

And then there are the games themselves. Some are blowouts; some teams struggle to even score a basket. But there are plenty of tight contests. I watched one of those Wednesday evening, as the Washington boys beat Shoemaker, 25-23. I love how into the game the fans, players and coaches were. You would have thought you were watching a high school tournament game, just in a smaller gym with less people and pocket-sized players.

Washington held the advantage for most of the game, but Shoemaker clawed back into it, taking the lead as time was winding down in the second half. But free throws from Donel Kabongo and Denzell Guillen iced the victory for Washington.

The tournament is special because it brings people from all over the city together to watch games that are competitive, yet fun for both teams, winners and losers. It’s not always the best basketball; I’ve seen more jump balls and kids wrestling on the ground for possession in the first few days of the tournament than I saw all of the high school season, but it’s a really fun brand of basketball that’s entertaining for everyone. If you’re around Pickering Middle School over the next few days, it’s worth it to stop in and watch a game or two. They go pretty quick, even with the 20-minute halves, and admission is only a dollar. And chances are, especially as the field narrows and the stronger teams start clashing, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.

Congratulations to Paris Wilkey for earning Northeastern Conference co-Player of the Year honors, along with Revere’s Valentina Pepic. I was thrilled not only that Wilkey was recognized for her efforts, but also that her teammates, Soneta Srey and Jeylly Medrano, as well as English’s Dorathy Ezemba, were also named to the all-star team. All four of these girls are such fun players to watch. When Wilkey is on (and not double or triple-teamed), she can take over a game. The same goes for Ezemba, who is just an all-around tough player. She was a force for the Bulldogs this year. Medrano is a strong point guard for Classical with a lot of talent.

But I really want to talk about the only senior in that group, Srey. She’s been so much fun to watch over the past couple of years. She’s one of the scrappiest players I’ve seen, always diving for loose balls and playing lockdown defense. Srey isn’t one of the most naturally talented shooters, but she’s so athletic, it doesn’t matter. She drives through the paint and gets to the hoop. And if you’ve ever seen her play volleyball, you know that even though she’s not tall, she can compete with anyone for rebounds thanks to her jumping abilities. Srey is always all smiles; she looks like she’s having a great time on the court. And that makes her so much fun to watch.

The beginning of the spring season has to be a challenging time for coaches. The games are coming up quick; many baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis and track teams play the first week of April. And the majority of those teams will only have maybe a week of outdoor practices under their belts by then. Coaches can work on fundamentals and conditioning while cooped up inside, but for baseball and softball especially, you just can’t replicate being outside.

For example, at English, baseball coach Joe Caponigro was itching to get on the field to work on fly balls, since it’s impossible to track them in the gym. At Tech, the softball team has to split the gym with track, meaning that it can’t set up a batting cage or find a good spot for pitchers to practice.

But then again, most schools in the area are dealing with the same issues. It might take a while for these teams to find their rhythm once the season starts.

Gray propels Peabody over English

Melissa Gray led all scorers with 21 points in Peabody’s win over English. 


LYNN– With five wins in its last six games coming into Friday night’s matchup with English, the Peabody girls basketball team was looking to keep things moving in the right direction against a gritty Bulldogs group. Thanks to a strong performance from Melissa Gray, the Tanners stayed hot with a 67-28 win over English at Peabody High.

“When she (Gray) gets open and her shot starts to fall, she’s on,” Peabody coach Stan McKeen said. “She didn’t play in the last quarter, but our defense was the difference in the game. It’s been the difference in the last five games.”

Gray, a senior guard and team captain, led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Tanners raced out to a first-quarter lead as Gray scored five points and Alyssa Alperen flashed an early hot-hand with six points in the period. Tommi Hill knocked in a three and a floater in the paint to keep the Bulldogs close at 18-9.

“Early in the season, we were getting behind and struggled to get back in games,” McKeen said. “We’ve abandoned the zone on defense, we’re strictly playing man to man now and it has worked.”

Gray took center stage in the second quarter and English had no answer when the ball was in her hands. Peabody staged a 16-0 rally and Gray accounted for 15 of those points. With their senior guard on fire, the Tanners built a 22-point advantage and led 40-18 at the half.

“She’s (Gray) a great shooter,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said. “She shot the ball well and we didn’t bump her. We didn’t play that physical Lynn English girls basketball.”

McKeen added, “Our defense was the turning point in the game tonight. It was a great effort.”

With a 22-point lead, the Peabody offense continued to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the third quarter. This time, it was Nene Onwuogu who carried Peabody with seven points in the period. The Tanners led 59-27 after three.

By the time the fourth quarter started, the deficit was too steep for English to climb back in. Peabody (7-4) rolled to the 67-28 victory.

“I give my team credit for fighting,” Charles said. “We got to give some young girls minutes in the game. It wasn’t the way we’d like to, but we have to find some positives in the tough loss.”

Charles added, “Every night’s a tough, competitive game in the NEC. Tonight wasn’t all that competitive but we’ll learn and get better.”

Nine different players scored for the Peabody side. Onwuogu logged a double-doubled at 14 points and 11 rebounds. Alperen scored eight points, while Katie Wallace and Hannah Pellizzaro each added six.

For English, Rachel Calnan scored eight points. Hill and Dorathy Ezemba each added seven.

Both teams play again on Tuesday as English visits Danvers and Peabody travels to Classical. The Rams defeated Peabody when the two teams met earlier this season.

Harold Rivera can be reached at 

School Roundup: Wallace, Tech grab a big win

Belmin Berilo scored 13 points in Tech’s win


The Lynn Tech boys basketball team grabbed a big win on the road, beating division foe Essex Tech, 59-54.

The Tigers move into second place in their division with the win. Rob Wallace scored 18 points, while Trevon Baldwin and Belmin Berilo each scored 13.

“It felt like we played together and we finally fought the adversity,” Tech coach Stevie Patrick said. “We had the lead, then we lost the lead, and then we figured out to get the lead back.”

The Tigers return to action on Tuesday when they host Whittier.

“I believe they’re starting to figure it out and believe in themselves,” Patrick said. “We’re 3-1 in our division which puts us in second place, so we’re happy about that.”


Marblehead 60, Danvers 42

The Magicians were carried by Derek Marino, who logged a double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

“He’s (Marino) found his way around the rim a little bit,” Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said.

Patrick Bugler scored 14 points, while Bo Millett grabbed ten boards with five blocked shots. For Danvers, Justin Roberto scored 19 points.

“We didn’t play for a full week but the kids came out with a lot of energy,” Giardi said. “We kept it going and we kept it going for the whole 32 minutes.”

The Magicians are back in action on Tuesday when they host Peabody.

Peabody 67, Gloucester 42

The Tanners thumped Gloucester behind a strong performance from Matt D’Amato, who led Peabody with 27 points and four assists.

“He came out and shot the ball really well in the second half,” Tanners coach Thad Broughton said. “He had six three-pointers and he was really our spark.”

Chris Canela added 13 points, five assists and three rebounds.

Peabody (8-2) visits Essex Tech on Sunday. “We just want to continue to come out with the same type of energy we’ve been playing with and not be complacent.”

Beverly 69, Whittier 58

Pat Gavin logged a double-double with 20 points and ten rebounds. Luigi Derrane scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Toskany Abreu and Hugh Calice each added 12 points. The Panthers move to 7-2 on the season.

BC High 70, St. John’s Prep 68

Nate Hobbs led the Eagles with 18 points while Jarnel Snow-Guzman added 13 points. The Eagles host Malden Catholic on Monday night.


Classical 39, Swampscott 30

In a low-scoring contest, Paris Wilkey had the hot hand for the Rams. Wilkey scored a game-high 20 points and Soneta Srey added ten. The Rams (10-3) will host Salem on Tuesday.

“We’re happy to be at 10-3,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “There’s probably a couple of games that we’d like to have back. We have a busy week next week so we’ll enjoy the win tonight and get back to practice tomorrow.”

Peabody 60, Gloucester 41

The Tanners were led by Melissa Gray, who put up 18 points, and Catherine Manning, who coach Stan McKeen said had “a phenomenal game,” adding 12 points and 10 rebounds. Katie Wallace also had a strong game, just missing a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

“We played a good game, we were up 18 at the half, so we kind of maintained the spread all game,” McKeen said. “We played good defense and made our shots.”

The Tanners take on Marblehead on Tuesday.

Lynn English 43, Salem 26

The Bulldogs were led by Dorathy Ezemba who scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. English (3-7) clashes against Winthrop on Tuesday.


Northeast 86, Lynn Tech 75

The Tigers logged a total of 17 second and third place finishers but just one first-place winner. Coral Gonzalez was the lone first place winner, in the 500-yard freestyle. Antonio Morales finished in second in the 100 butterfly, Jin Purdy finished second in the 200 individual medley and the 200 breastroke. Tech returns to the pool at home on Monday against Northeast.

Harold Rivera can be reached at 

Magicians sneak past Bulldogs in closing minutes

Marblehead’s Virginia Linzitto drives for a layup between Shayla Manon and Julianna Perry of English. 


MARBLEHEAD — If the Lynn English girls basketball could play with the type of drive and passion at the end of games the way it does at the beginning, things might be a lot different.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Bulldogs got off to a blistering start, but limped home in the fourth quarter. As a result, Marblehead dropped English to 2-7 with a 38-35 win.

“We certainly didn’t have the energy at the end of the game that we had in the beginning,” said English coach Mackenzie Charles. “We had too many turnovers and we gave them too many points in the paint.”

Actually turnovers plagued both teams. However, once Marblehead found its rhythm, early in the second half, the Magicians kept it up while English faltered on a number of occasions.

“I think they just got tired,” said Marblehead’s Wayne Hanscom. “I think we were tired too. They don’t have much depth and neither do we.”

The 5-4 Magicians started out colder than a polar vortex. English came out of the gate running, and built up a 9-0 lead before the Magicians could get a bucket. Ely Guity and Dorathy Ezemba, who scored nine first-quarter points between them, gave English a 13-6 lead after one.

It didn’t get much better for Marblehead at the beginning of the second quarter either. Rachel Calnan and Sheyla Manon scored back-to-back hoops to open the period, and it was 17-6, English. That’s where the Bulldogs started to cool off.

Marblehead co-captains Lindsay Walker (game-high 17 points) and Ashley Stiles (10) began to take over. They made it a point to go to the basket. If they could not hit their shots from the floor, they hit them from the line. Walker sunk four free throws and Stiles one more to close the gap to 18-11 by the break.

It may have been only a 7-point lead, but Marblehead couldn’t do much from the floor in the third quarter either. The Magicians did just enough to keep the game under control. It took a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the period by English’s Tommi Hill to get the lead up to five (27-22) with eight minutes to go.

The fourth quarter turned into a good battle. Walker hit two baskets right away to whittle English’s lead down to a point, but Calnan hit one to get it back up to three (29-26). Both teams went through large stretches of missed baskets and turnovers before Walker brought Marblehead to within a point again (29-28) before Hannah Garthe hit a trey with 3:54 to go to give the Magicians their first lead of the game (31-29). Guity tied it back up right Walker and Stiles hit back-to-back baskets to make it 35-31.

Guity sunk a basket in to make it a two-point game, and Marblehead’s Montana Joyce hit one free throw after that, but it was still a one-possession game with 30 seconds to go.

English was angling for a 3-pointer in hopes of tying the game and sending into overtime, but Marblehead guarded the perimeter effectively and Ezemba settled on a two-pointer, which forced English to foul. Stiles hit two free throws to put the game out of reach as time ran out.

Steve Krause can be reached at 

GIRLS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: English defense steps up

Ely Guity and the Bulldogs closed out a win over Gloucester on Tuesday. 


The Lynn English girls basketball team has struggled to close out games this season. Tuesday night, they finally finished a game the way they’d hope to. Behind a number of key stops down the stretch, English downed Gloucester, 52-46.

“They played together and they played hard,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said of his players. “We played really good defense with key stops at the end of the game. We haven’t finished a game all season, we’ve been having problems with that. We’ve been struggling with rebounds so I think the combination of those things equalled a win.”

Dorathy Ezemba led the winning efforts with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

“She (Ezemba) rebounded well,” Charles said. “She pushes the ball well and she’s very physical.”

Ely Guity scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished five assists.

“She (Guity) had a great game, five of her rebounds were on the offensive glass,” Charles said. Charles also credited Rachel Calnan and Shelya Manon for their performances in the win. English is back in action on Friday when the Bulldogs visit Marblehead. “We’ll get back to practice tomorrow and work hard,” Charles said. “We understand this in a win but Friday’s another game.”

Lynn Tech 44, Greater Lawrence 28

Alondra Sanchez had the hot hand offensively for the Tigers, putting up 17 points. Annmarie Texiera added eight and Jamila Constantine scored six. Malvelis Hernandez was solid on defense.

The Tigers (3-5) had to climb back from an early 8-0 deficit, but coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said that after a few timeouts and conversations with her team, something clicked.

“We turned up the pressure and worked very well together,” Wechsler said. “It was like a switch flipped and we started to figure it out. It was an overall great team win.”

Revere 65, Swampscott 56

A tied game after a quarter, the Patriots outscored the Big Blue 21-6 in the second quarter to pull away. Despite putting up 24 points in the third, Swampscott couldn’t claw all the way back into this one.

Valentina Pepic led Revere with 24 points, Pamela Gonzalez added 18 and Meghan Gotham chipped in with 10.

Archbishop Williams 77, Bishop Fenwick 44

Sam Mancinelli logged 15 points for the Crusaders, five assists and four steals, while Fredi DeGuglielmo added 14 points and Jaxson Nadeau had eight points and four steals.

Peabody 53, Salem 32

The Tanners (3-3) got 13 points from Melissa Gray and nine points and 14 rebounds from Nene Onwuogu. Katie Wallace had eight points.

Peabody will take on Winthrop on Friday night.

Swampscott’s defense stands strong in win over English

Swampscott’s Hannah Leahy reaches out to try and deflect a rebound pulled down by English’s Rachel Calnan.


LYNN — The Swampscott girls basketball team prides itself on defense. Tuesday evening, the Big Blue brought their defensive showcase to the Boverini Tournament at Lynn English as they topped the Bulldogs, 44-32.

English started the game off on the right foot as Dorathy Ezemba scored six points in a first quarter that ended in a 10-10 tie. From there on out, the Bulldogs struggled to find rhythm on offense.

“I thought we took a step back in the communication phase today,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said. “Some of the girls were a bit overwhelmed with the tension of that game, so that was new to them. We have to play with a better effort, consistently.”

On the flip side, the Big Blue could hang their hats on another strong defensive performance as they held a talented Bulldogs team, that suits plenty of scoring weapons on its roster, to just 32 points.

“For us it’s defense first,” Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard said. “We know if we can limit teams in scoring, we can win the game.”

The Big Blue built their first stable lead of the game in the second quarter when they came out of the gates with a 5-0 run. Rachel Calnan stopped the bleeding for English when she knocked down a free throw to get the Bulldogs back on the board. Swampscott led 22-15 at the half.

In the third quarter, Swampscott opened with a pair of buckets from Hannah Leahy and Ella Parker. English’s Shelya Manyon sunk a hook shot seeking to get the Bulldogs back in the game, but Swampscott’s Maggie DiGrande hit a three-pointer in retaliation. The Big Blue led 35-23 after the third quarter.

In the fourth, English began to find life again. Tommi Hill hit a three pointer and Ely Guity knocked in a jump shot to cut Swampscott’s lead down to seven points.

“In the late third quarter and early fourth, it seemed like they played a little better,” Charles said. “We just can’t dig a hole like that and expect us to get out of it.”

Unfortunately for English, Swampscott buckled down on defense in the final minutes of the game and walked away with a 44-32 win. The Big Blue advance to the championship game of the tournament today at 5 p.m., where they’ll clash against St. Mary’s.

“I know they’re really tough,” Leonard said of the Spartans. “It’s good to play good teams. They can only make us better. We’re going to go right at them and give them the best game we can.”

Ezemba led the Bulldogs with 11 points. English will face Classical in the consolation game today at 2 p.m.

Harold Rivera can be reached at