ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Soneta Srey of Lynn Classical took home the South MVP honors.
By HAROLD RIVERA
LYNN — The 13th Agganis All-Star girls basketball game was a close affair for the first 25 minutes of play. But when the South team found its rhythm in the second half, a 28-9 run propelled it to a 48-24 win over the North on Monday night at Lynn Classical.
The South stars were directed by Katelyn Leonard, the girls basketball coach at Swampscott. The chance to coach a group of talented players, many of whom give her headaches in Northeastern Conference matchups throughout the regular season, was a special one.
“Absolutely, it was great to be able to coach them,” Leonard said. “For once they were on my side. That was excellent and it made coaching the game even more special.”
Leonard’s South team was led by Classical’s Soneta Srey’s 11-point performance. Srey, who’ll attend North Shore Community College in the fall, iced the win with an eight-point run in the final stretch of the game and was named the South team’s Most Valuable Player.
“Soneta had those acrobatic finishes at the basket,” Leonard said. “I don’t even know how she was getting the ball up there. She was all hustle and hard work. For the last game of their senior careers, it was a great way for them to go out.”
On the North side, the MVP award winner was Bishop Fenwick’s Samantha Mancinelli. The Fenwick point guard, who’s bound for Roger Williams in the fall, finished with eight points.
The all-star game was a back-and-forth affair in the early goings. The South team raced out to a 6-3 lead but Elizabeth Kirschner (Hamilton-Wenham) netted a three-pointer to even the game at 6-6. Nene Onwuogu (Peabody) sunk a hook-shot to reclaim the lead, 8-6, for the South with 15 minutes remaining in the half. Kelsey Daly’s (Ipswich) conventional three-point play gave the North a 9-8 edge. Onwuogu drained a pair of free throws with 1:50 to play to give the North a five-point cushion at 20-15. That’s where the score stayed at halftime.
Melissa Gray (Peabody) hit a three-pointer to open the second half and from there, the South began to find its rhythm. Five minutes later, Meaghan Gotham (Revere) netted a jump shot to open up a 12-point advantage for the South at 29-17. Olivia Valente (Saugus) and Srey added a pair of buckets in the paint, helping the South build a sizable 15-point lead at 35-20.
“We played very loose,” Leonard said. “I told them to just keep attacking and to shoot when they were open. This was their game to show off their skills and show what they can do, and that’s exactly what they did.”
Srey took over with her eight-point run in the closing minutes, and the South walked away with the 48-24 win.
“It was a lot of fun,” Leonard said. “The girls all kind of seemed to know each other. They worked the ball well and at the same time they were hustling and playing hard. That made it even more fun.”
“I think it’s a special game to be able to play in,” Leonard added. “It was a lot of fun, they all had a lot of fun. It was a pleasure for me too, to be a part of it.”
Key contributors for the North included Fahey (eight points) and Kirschner (five points). Top performers for the South included Onwuogu (eight points), Gray (six points) and St. Mary’s Temi Falayi (six points).