Not too many observers felt that the Lynn Classical girls basketball team would be extending its season beyond the February school vacation.
But head coach Tom Sawyer has done an excellent job blending the talents of the players on his squad and giving them the confidence and the in-game strategy that they needed to maximize their potential – and the unheralded Rams are in fact preparing for the State Tournament that gets underway next week.
Classical (11-8) will compete in the Division 2 North Sectionals after missing the tournament last year. It is the Rams’ second appearance under Sawyer, who is in his fourth season after succeeding Classical Principal Gene Constantino as head coach.
“I’m very happy with the season,” said Sawyer.
“The kids have improved tremendously from the beginning of the year until now and the attitude has been terrific all year long.”
Two Northeastern Conference All-Star players, senior captain Diamond Doe and junior captain Hannah Byrne, led the way to a successful campaign.
Doe averages 16 points a game and her skills have blossomed this season. Byrne, a superb softball player as well, averages 15.5 points and 12 rebounds a game. Doe and Byrne will compete in the NEC All-Star Game Friday at 6 p.m. at Marblehead High School.
“They have certainly been the leaders of the team,” said Sawyer.
Point guard Tashanna Brown, a junior, has been very efficient at the helm of the Classical offense. Brianna Capone, a junior, has excelled at the other guard spot. Senior forward Dora Malila has provided some rebounding and strong defense alongside the Big Two of Doe and Byrne in the frontcourt.
Junior guard Marina Fernandez has been a valuable reserve for the Rams.
Sawyer said his team’s journey to the tourney may have surprised girls basketball fans on the North Shore.
“We’re a tournament team and I’m not sure how many folks would have guessed that at the beginning of the year, but through hard work and a good attitude, the kids have been able to put 11 wins on the board to-date,” said Sawyer.