NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Foxboro senior Brandon Borde was certainly happy when he scored his 1,000th career point, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. And how it happened was pretty cool, too.
The Warriors’ once 14-point second-half lead had dwindled over the third quarter and the Red Rocketeers were threatening early in the fourth, getting within five.
Just three points away from the milestone, Borde instead recorded an assist to Will Morrison for a three-pointer, and two possessions later, the senior guard got within one point when he converted down low on an inbound pass from Donald Rogers.
The next possession up, Borde (21 points, four rebounds, four assists) used a screen to break free from his man, taking a pass from Ryan Hughes in the corner and hit nothing but net from three-point range, surpassing the milestone with 5:55 left. The shot also proved to be the dagger the Warriors needed to fend off North Attleboro.
Foxboro went on to pick up a 68-57 win, clinching a share of the Davenport division title alongside Stoughton and Milford, who also won on Friday night.
“It means a ton to me, since I was a little kid, I’ve pictured this,” Borde said. “I came to the high school games, shooting around in the gym, watching all the guys ahead of me. It means a lot to represent the town in that way, and I wouldn’t have gotten here without all of the guys I’ve played with since my freshman year to now.
“We had a lot of adversity, dealing with injuries, so [the division title] means a lot. We had two big things happen besides the 1,000, we won a share of the division and we qualified for the state tournament so it was a big night for the team. And it was nice to hit it on a three, kind of cooler than a layup.”
For Foxboro, it was the punctuation of a run that sealed the win, a division title, and a playoff spot. The Warriors had an 11-point lead at halftime (39-28) and pushed the lead to its peak at 44-32 with 6:43 to play on a layup from Borde.
But North Attleboro refused to go away, getting six straight from sophomore Brody Rosenberg — three from deep, three the traditional way — and two more from senior Josh Porter. Junior George Ladd, who was the focus of the North offense for most of the night, got going in the post, scoring through contact to make it 46-42.
Borde stemmed the tide with a finish through traffic and Morrison (15 points, three assists) set up Rogers (15 points, five rebounds, four assists) for a triple, one of 10 made from downtown from the Warriors.
Edan Kelley answered from deep and Ladd (20 points, seven rebounds) added a traditional three-point play but Hughes (eight points, nine rebounds) had four points for the Warriors in the final minute to keep the visitors ahead 55-48 through three quarters.
“In the second half, they really went inside to Ladd and take advantage of their size to get some easy baskets,” Gibbs said. “We had to make some adjustments on how we were defending the post. I was just really proud of the resiliency of our guys. The first half went pretty smoothly for the most part but then they cut it down to four, and the momentum had totally turned.
“Given the circumstances, the pressure of what was at stake, the way the game was going on the road, we could have folded but we didn’t. I thought we really locked in, we got some big stops, got some big rebounds, and we came down and executed on offense and guys made some big shots. I was just really proud, that’s what you hope your team is going to do with a lot of seniors and they did that tonight.”
Ladd sank a pair of free throws to get the Rocketeers within 11 with just under five minutes to go and North’s defense got back-to-back stops but the offense couldn’t cut into the deficit any further. A long possession from the Warriors ended in a three from Rogers on a pass from Dylan Barreira.
“They were the better team tonight, I thought their kids played really hard,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Brandon Borde is a really tough player, it’s a great achievement to get 1,000 points. He’s a tough matchup. I thought our kids fought hard we just had too many breakdowns, especially on defense. To Foxboro’s credit, when we made a mistake, they generally finished. That was probably the difference.
“It’s frustrating because our guys are better than some of the breakdowns we had. [Foxboro] had a good game plan, they wanted to get us into help, get us into rotation and our rotation was just not where it needed to be. It’s basic fundamental things that we need to be better at and stuff that I have to do a better job of getting them to the level they need to be defensively in the Hockomock League.”
Rogers got Foxboro off to a strong start, getting to the basket three times for six points in the opening quarter while Borde and Hughes each had four, and Morrison hit the first of his five three-pointers. North Attleboro senior Ethan Friberg hit three three-pointers to keep the Rocketeers close, down 17-13 after one.
Borde had a steal and layup to push Foxboro’s lead to nine in the second, and Barreira finished off a three-point play at the midway point of the second to push the Warriors’ lead to 28-17. Tommy Whalen, Rosenberg (13 points, six rebounds), and Ladd kept the Rocketeers in it but Liam Devlin scored off his own miss and then beat the buzzer from three-point range to give Foxboro its 39-28 halftime edge.
With the win, Foxboro earns a share of the Davenport division title, the program’s third since 2016. The Warriors share the crown with Stoughton and Milford, the Warriors split the season series with both teams. Foxboro had to win its final two games to earn a share.
“I just said to them in the locker room, out of the three league championship teams I’ve been fortunate to coach, I’m most proud of this one because of the adversity that they’ve had to overcome,” Gibbs said. “A lot of things in the team with injuries and illnesses that have made it tough for us to have competitive practices at times, made it hard to establish roles and rotations.
“And we’ve had some tough, heart-breaking losses to good teams over the course of the season and every time that happened, they bounced right back. I think throughout the season, we showed a lot of resiliency and that was on full display tonight when North made that run. I’m just really proud of them.”
Foxboro boys basketball (9-7 Hockomock, 11-8 overall) will wrap its season up with three non-league games, starting with a first-round matchup in the Warrior Classic against Holliston on Monday at 2:45. North Attleboro (4-12, 5-14) will close the season with a trip to rival Attleboro for a non-league game on Wednesday.