Pioneers fall short against Pentucket

Lynnfield's Melissa Morelli had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Pioneers' loss to Pentucket

LYNNFIELD — The Pioneers may not have won the game, but the Lynnfield girls basketball team put a scare into one of the most accomplished programs around Friday night at Lynnfield High before going down to last year’s North Division 2 champion Pentucket Sachems, 63-42.
Lynnfield led 16-14 after one quarter but could muster only two points in the second quarter to trail 37-18 at the half. The Sachems stretched the lead to 43-22 with three minutes left in the third quarter, but the Pioneers made a game of it with a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to only nine, 43-34, with eight minutes to play. Unfortunately, that was as close as they came, as Pentucket took advantage of a slew of turnovers and fatigue and ran them ragged in the final quarter to seal the win.
“We ran our offense perfectly in the first quarter and dug in on defense, so much so that they had to call the first timeout and that’s not something you see very often when you play against Pentucket,” said Pioneers’ coach Peter Bocchino. “That alone is really good for the morale of the team. Tonight we played two quarters, the first and then the third, when we made that nice run to get the deficit to under 10 points. The problem is we had foul trouble and ran out of gas, which leads to a lack of execution. The only thing Pentucket had against us tonight was their press, which we struggled with, and the off-ball screens which we didn’t communicate or call out well.”
Pentucket coach John McNamara said he was happy to get a win.
“Lynnfield played well, they played tough and out-rebounded us for the most part, so I give them all the credit for a good game,” McNamara said. “That’s a well-coached team and they’re going to win some games this year. We need to learn from this and get better and I am sure Lynnfield will as well.”
Junior captain Melissa Morelli was a force in the paint at both ends of the court. She posted a double-double with a team-high 12 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Cate MacDonald, despite spending nearly the entire second quarter on the bench with three fouls, wasn’t too shabby either with 10 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
Lynnfield had no answer for Pentucket junior guard Jess Glavin, who led all scorers with 22 points, 15 of them coming on five threes.
“I told the girls that their 12 (Glavin) was  their shooter, but even so we lost sight of her,” said Bocchino. “The communication to call out where she was just wasn’t there and she was just wide open at times and made us pay.”
Lynnfield got off to a strong start and led 10-6 after a baseline drive and layup off the glass by Morelli and floater by twin sister Tori Morelli (3 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks). The Sachems went on an 8-4 run to tie the game, 14-14. But Lynnfield closed out the quarter with a buzzer-beating bucket by Tori Morelli (from Grace Klonsky) to lead 16-14.
Melissa Morelli bumped the lead to 18-14 just a minute into the second quarter but that was it for the Pioneers as Pentucket closed out the half (with MacDonald on the bench for six minutes) with a 13-0 run.
With three minutes left in the third quarter, the Pioneers looked to be dead in the water, trailing by 21, 43-22 after Angelina Yacubacci drained a trey. MacDonald sliced the lead to 43-24 with a power drive, then Tori Morelli made a free throw to make it 43-25. With 1:36 left, MacDonald converted two free throws and Melissa made a jumper to cut the deficit to 43-29. Freshman Riley Hallahan (3 rebounds) drained a three, then, after a MacDonald block, Klonsky (6 points, 3 rebounds) went coast-to-coast  with an underhanded reverse layup at the buzzer to make it a 9-point game, 43-34.
Pentucket sealed the game with a 10-0 run at the beginning of  the fourth quarter.
“We had a nice comeback in third quarter but we need to get better in terms of conditioning to be able to play four quarters,” said Bocchino.
For Lynnfield, Waisnor (6 points, 5 rebounds) and Ava Buonfiglio (2 points, 2 rebounds) also scored.

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