Kennedy becomes Lynnfield career scoring leader in boys hoop

LYNNFIELD ? The milestone occurred in the first period. The nearly-miraculous comeback occurred in the fourth period.With 28 points, Mike Kennedy became the Lynnfield High boys basketball program’s all-time leading scorer and almost led the Pioneers (10-8) all the way back from a 17-point deficit before Lynnfield finally fell to Ipswich, 70-59, Friday night, at Lynnfield High.With a free throw with 1:30 left in the first quarter, Kennedy recorded the 1,128th point of his illustrious career, eclipsing Chris Eckman, who set the mark in 1991. (Shae Fitzpatrick holds the all-time school scoring record.)Kennedy, a senior who is headed to Northeastern University on a soccer scholarship, is also Lynnfield’s all-time leading scorer in soccer.”It’s crazy. I can’t really describe it,” Kennedy said. “The biggest thing for me was to get it (record) as quickly as possible so we could focus on the game. I wish we had won, but it’s nice knowing I have the record.”After torching Masconomet for 43 points on Tuesday in a comeback win that clinched a tournament berth for Lynnfield, Kennedy came into Friday’s game three points short of Eckman’s record.He missed his first two field goal attempts before sinking a 17-footer from the left elbow as he was hammered to the floor. The ensuing free throw tied the record with 3:22 left in the first quarter.After missing two more field goals, Kennedy was fouled on a drive to the hoop. The first free throw hit nothing but net and the game was stopped briefly to commemorate the moment.”I was definitely very nervous,” Kennedy said. “I probably tried to force up a couple of shots early in the game.”The win was huge for Ipswich (9-8), which is one victory away from clinching a tournament berth. Andrew Gianakakis led the Tigers with 18 points, while Peter Karas added 14. Alex Lampropoulos chipped in with 12 points.Brian Corcoran and John Mehr scored eight points apiece for the Pioneers.Ipswich broke open a tie game with a 10-0 run that started with a baseline take by Gianakakis with 17.6 seconds left in the first quarter and ended with a layup from Gianakakis on a pretty feed from Lampropoulos with five minutes left in the second quarter.A 3-pointer from Jack Golesworthy peaked Ipswich’s first-half lead at 32-16 with 1:45 left in the second period, before Lynnfield closed out the half with a 6-0 run.The Tigers led by as many as 17 in the third period and still looked to be in control despite a long 3-pointer from the left elbow by Kennedy that made the score 46-33.Kennedy kept the comeback rolling with two more 3-pointers early in the second half, and then he scored five straight points for the Pioneers to cut Ipswich’s lead to 52-49, with 5:36 left in the game.Lynnfield had no answer to Gianakakis down low, however, and he scored seven straight points for the Tigers while the Pioneers only came up with one free throw from Jeff Milinazzo during a nearly 2-minute span.The Pioneers got no closer than five points the rest of the way, and Lampropoulos all but closed out the win for Ipswich when he hit a leaning 8-footer from the middle of the lane with exactly one minute left to make the score 65-56.”We really didn’t match their effort for the entire game,” Lynnfield coach Scott MacKenzie said. “We didn’t work as hard as they did, especially early in the game.”In spite of the loss, the night belonged to Kennedy, who has two more regular-season games and then the state tournament to add to his school scoring record.”It’s nice,” MacKenzie said. “He’s certainly the best basketball player I’ve seen at this school, and he’s the best player in the (Cape Ann) League. He’s been the best in the league for the last two years.”He’s the most dedicated athlete I’ve ever seen, both on a basketball court and on a soccer field,” MacKenzie added. “I told him how incredibly proud I was of him, because he deserves this. He’s really a special kid.”

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