LYNN — The theme of Monday night’s Lynn Classical girls basketball banquet was “you don’t get to be good by accident.”
The Rams had their most successful season since the Monique Lee-led team went undefeated in 2003-2004 and made It to the Division 1 North state tournament final.
This year’s team was 19-1, and had two players — Paris Wilkey and Irianis Delgado — make the all-Northeastern Conference team. In addition, the Rams ran the table in the NEC and, as coach Tom Sawyer said, “outside of a few close games, it was a pretty dominating season for us.”
Highlights, he said, were victories over NEC state tournament mainstays in Beverly, Danvers and, especially, Revere.
It was assistant coach Helen Ridley one of only five Rams to eclipse the 1,000-point career mark (another being Wilkey, who achieved that feat early in January), “you didn’t go 19-1 by accident. You had to work hard to get this far. And you know what makes it worthwhile? This,” she said, referring to the crowd of family, friends and supporters at the Old Tyme on Boston Street.
“The friends you made, and the life lessons you learned. I didn’t always go our way, but we learned how to work.”
Classical’s magical season ended prematurely (for the Rams, at least) with quarterfinal loss to Wilmington in the MIAA Division 2 North state tournament.
“We lost to a very good team,” said Sawyer, ‘but it wasn’t for lack of trying. They made a few more plays than we did.”
Sawyer, who earned the NEC Coach of the Year award, also said what impressed him most about his girls “wasn’t just what we won; but the way we won. With good sportsmanship.”
Wilkey was named offensive player of the year and Tyrah Horton defensive player. Delgado was named most improved player, Jeylly Medrano received the Lady Ram Award, Maryah Chandler the coaches award and Jazzmine Massie the award for academic achievement.
Each of the team’s six seniors were given time to talk about their seasons wearing the green and yellow Classical uniform. Also, the players were given out-sized posters with their pictures and a summation of the season.
Finally, in one grand gesture that illustrated how special Sawyer and the coaching staff thought the season was, the coached wrapped up the Northeastern Conference championship banner and let the entire team open it.
Sawyer is not resting on his laurels either.
“I think we can win the Northeastern Conference next year too,” he said.