By Joe Mitchell
The Lynnfield High School boys’ basketball team will begin a brand new campaign Friday night, Dec. 14, against host Pentucket. But this season might be more of a work in progress for veteran coach Scott MacKenzie’s team with a whole new starting five after last year’s group has long since graduated.
Perhaps the biggest of the team’s losses is point guard specialist and Cape Ann League Kinney Division Player of the Year Billy Arsenault. Besides being the architect of the team’s offensive game plan, Arsenault was also its sparkplug throughout the last four years. He’s now naturally playing on the next level at Assumption College.
The Pioneers are also missing all-stars Dan Jameson and Zach Shone, not to mention Matt Mortellite and Jason Ndansi.
With the presence of this rare quintet on the roster, the Pioneers had won three out of the last four CAL titles, including the last two. They ended up with 18 wins last winter. The Pioneers made it to one Division 3 North title game, only to lose a heartbreaker to Bedford, when these players were freshmen.
But McKenzie’s current crew is also quite athletic, led by junior captain Clayton Marengi, this year’s starting quarterback on the football team. Jackson Cleary is another returning vet, who will also be a captain.
Senior Stephen Dwyer, Jr., juniors Anthony Hunt, Khad Connell and Max Boustris, and sophomore Jack Ford are also back on the varsity. They will all get plenty of minutes this year to make up for lost time.
Juniors Pat Walsh and John Singer, and sophomores Luke Martinho, John Astrofsky and Blake Peters are new to the varsity. The loss of the likes of Arsenault has opened the door for these players to get a shot with the big club.
After the Pentucket opener Friday night, the local quintet will stay on the road to take on the Rockport Vikings Tuesday night, Dec. 18, before coming home to face Masco Friday, Dec. 21, and then non-league Danvers two days later at 3 p.m.