2022 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars

Below are the official 2022 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Trent Santos, Taunton

Hockomock League All Stars

Evan Houle, Attleboro
Lanse Dorcelus, Canton
Dylan Gordon, Foxboro
Alex Penders, Foxboro
Henry DiGiorgio, Franklin
Sean Vinson, Franklin
William Laplante, King Philip
Matt Hyland, Mansfield
Chris Hill, Mansfield
Brody Rosenberg, North Attleboro
Zach Tagliamonte, Oliver Ames
Matt Baur, Sharon
Connor Andrews, Stoughton
Rayan Sablon, Stoughton
Trent Santos, Taunton
Faisal Mass, Taunton
Tristan Herry, Taunton

Honorable Mentions
Alvin Harrison, Attleboro
Matt Chafin, Canton
Ryan Leclair, Foxboro
Sean O’Leary, Franklin
Braeden Sottile, King Philip
Andrew Slaney, Mansfield
Jake Soares, Milford
Casey Poirer, North Attleboro
Drew Baxter, Oliver Ames
John Baez, Sharon
Liam Pearl, Stoughton
Matthew Small, Taunton

Below are the official 2022 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. 2022 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars

Sharon’s Mello-Klein Still Dancing in the Elite Eight

Jordan Mello-Klein
Jordan Mello-Klein was named the MOP of the East Regional after leading Bentley to three wins and its first berth in the Div. II Elite Eight since 2010. (SportsPix)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

Although the 2020-21 season was canceled due to the pandemic, the core of Bentley’s team remained committed to practicing as often as allowed. With an extra year of eligibility offered to the seniors, including Sharon’s Jordan Mello-Klein, the focus was on returning to the court and making the most of one final season.

So far, it has worked out even better than the Falcons could have imagined.

With an 82-75 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) at the Dana Center, top seed Bentley (25-4) earned its fourth Div. II East Regional title in program history and its first since 2010. Mello-Klein, who played two years at Sharon before transferring to Thayer Academy, led the Falcons with 17 points and added eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists in the regional final and was named the region’s Most Outstanding Player (MOP).

The Falcons, reseeded as No. 4, will now face No. 5 Northwest Missouri State, the two-time defending national champions, in the Elite Eight.

“I don’t really have any words for it, it’s incredible,” Mello-Klein explained. “It’s something that we’ve kind of talked about since I came in but to see it really happen is incredible and to do it with the guys that I came in with who are now my best friends and coaches who have meant so much to me and put so much trust in me it’s incredible to see it come full circle.”

It has been a dream season for the Falcons, who claimed the NE-10 regular season title and, avenging a pair of losses to Franklin Pierce during the season, won the conference tournament as well. Now, Bentley is trying to put the final touches by getting to the Final Four for the third time in its history.

“We knew that we had chemistry from all of us playing together but to accomplish the regular season, the NE-10 playoffs, and the regional, I would never have said that,” Mello-Klein explained. “Even one of those things is extremely hard.”

A fifth-year senior point guard, Mello-Klein has been racking up the individual awards this season as well. In addition to being named the MOP of the regional, he was named first team All-NE-10 and the MOP of the NE-10 Tournament. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 steals and 37.7 minutes this season, finishing third in the NE-10 in rebounds, assist, and steals and leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Mello-Klein also scored his 1,000th career point earlier this season (he had 1,130 as of the end of the regular season). “In all honesty, it doesn’t matter as much as winning everything,” he said about the individual accolades. “They’re fun to get, just certifies what I’ve been doing for all these I can’t even tell you how many years, but to win the stuff with your best friends means so much more than anything.”

He credits the experience on the roster as one of the major factors for Bentley’s success this season, and the willingness of the players to continue putting in the hard work last year even when there was no promise of games being played.

“The whole class came back with hopes that we could accomplish something,” he said. “We sat down a year ago and made it a priority to make it happen this year and we did it.”

The pandemic and the loss of a season added a new perspective to getting on the court every day, one that has fueled the Falcons’ upperclassmen.

“When basketball is taken away from you, and I’m a guy who’s never gone a day without it, when you’re getting a week or two taken away from you, it makes you understand that this is a finite time that we have playing college basketball,” Mello-Klein reflected.

“When this season started, every single thing we took advantage of, every single practice, every single game. We didn’t look forward at all because it’s my last season, so selfishly I don’t want this to end and I want to prolong my career as long as possible. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far.”

Mello-Klein played two seasons at Sharon, earning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year honors as a sophomore, before transferring to Thayer. It was a sacrifice of time and the chance to play with hometown friends, but also a commitment to playing at a higher level of basketball. He also admitted that he missed the atmosphere of a high school gym during a playoff run.

“It’s a completely different atmosphere at prep school,” he explained. “When I was at Sharon, we were pretty decent, so we’d get a pretty good crowd and everything but at prep school it’s non-existent.”

The crowds have come out to cheer on the Falcons in the postseason and Mello-Klein is looking forward to keeping this run going as long as possible and add themselves to a select list of Bentley teams under head coach Jay Lawson, who is in his 29th season, to make a tournament run.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “Bentley is a historic program. To be one of the groups that he talks about as those special teams, it’s incredible, and we’ve got another chance to do something even more special on Tuesday and hopefully that will continue on.”

Bentley will face Northwest Missouri State on Tuesday at 1:00 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.

Mansfield Upended By Norwood In Double Overtime

Mansfield boys basketball Trevor Foley
Mansfield sophomore Trevor Foley chases down a loose ball after forcing a turnover in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 MANSFIELD, Mass. — Behind a spectacular defensive effort, the Mansfield boys basketball team battled back to get in position to take the game.

But the signature run that the Hornets have used to put away teams time and time again just never came to close it out.

The Hornets dug themselves out of a 15-point second half hole, erased a seven-point deficit in the final 90 seconds of regulation but couldn’t quite put the finishing touches on the big comeback, falling 57-51 in double overtime to Norwood in the Division 2 Round of 8.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I thought our defense was pretty spectacular,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan, who saw his team force the Mustangs into 25 turnovers. “I thought we did an awesome job on [Noah Beaudet]. I thought we were able to minimize their other guys’ chances and really put ourselves in a position to come back. The problem was, for whatever reason, the second half of the year we’ve struggled scoring. In the first half…you only have 14 points, you can’t do that against a team at this level.

“We continued to stay true to ourselves defensively and started to make some plays, hit a couple of shots. I just can’t say enough about their effort and commitment to playing the right way and playing hard. You can’t get a better high school game out of this.”

Mansfield boys basketball

The Hornets were limited to 14 points total in the opening half, and a bucket just seconds into the start of the second put the Mustangs ahead 29-14. Mansfield refused to go quietly and outscored the visitors 14-4 the rest of the way in the quarter to get back into it.

After an early bucket, sophomore Trevor Foley (16 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three steals) turned a steal into an emphatic one-handed slam to bring the hosts within a point, 33-32. Mansfield tied it on a free throw from junior Chris Hill (14 points, six rebounds), who tacked on a three a couple of possessions later to tie it 36-36.

Norwood star junior Noah Beaudet broke free for a rare open look and drained a triple and scored three from the foul line to bring the Mustangs back in front, 44-37, with 1:47 to go.

Senior Andrew Slaney connected on a corner three and the Hornets trapped immediately on the inbounds and forced a turnover, resulting in a quick layup from senior Matt Hyland (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, five steals).

Mansfield forced back-to-back turnovers but missed the front end of a one-and-one and had another chance blocked. With 26 seconds left, Hyland found Hill on a backdoor lob play and Mansfield tied it 44-44. The Hornets got another stop on defense with 10 seconds to go but a layup chance was off the mark for the hosts to send the game into overtime.

Points were at a premium in the four-minute overtime period. Hyland lost control in the paint but the ball fell right to Foley for a layup with 2:17 to go. Hill grabbed a steal but the Hornets missed on a chance to extend the lead. Hyland had a steal on the next possession but the Hornets turned it right back over and Norwood tied the game on a putback from Ziad Awde.

Both teams missed on a three in the final minute as the game went double overtime, tied 46-46.

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield sandwiched a pair of misses around a turnover, and Beaudet converted to put the visitors ahead. A free throw cut it to one but a tough jumper from Beaudet extended it back to three, 50-47. The Hornets couldn’t get anything to go on their next trip, and Norwood turned an offensive rebound into two points, 52-47 with 1:15 to go.

Foley scored to cut it to four but the Mustangs did enough at the line to keep the advantage the rest of the way.

“I think it just came down to us missing some bunnies, we had our opportunities. I thought in the first half we were forcing some action and then we got to a point we weren’t forcing it, but there were some opportunities when it looked like easy baskets that we just didn’t put in the hole. I’m not sure we shot great from the foul line either. Those two things…you can’t shoot yourself at this level. Defensively, we did it…we played great on defense and played as good as we could on defense.

“But offensively, I thought there were a lot of times we got exactly what we wanted but didn’t capitalize on it.”

Mansfield had an uncharacteristic day on the offensive end, shooting under 30% from the field overall and under 20% from three-point range.

Hill scored the opening basket of the game but it would end up as Mansfield’s lone lead of regulation. Hyland had the two other buckets but Norwood claimed a 14-6 lead after one.

An early three from Hill gave Mansfield a good start to the second quarter, and points from Foley and Anthony Sacchetti made it 14-13 before Mansfield’s offense went cold and the Mustangs closed the half on a 13-1 run.

Foley ignited the Hornet offense with back-to-back buckets in the third, Hyland and Caden Colby each had one from in close, and Slaney added a three. By the end of the third, Mansfield closed the gap to just five, 33-28.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets lose five seniors to graduation including Hyland, Sacchetti, Slaney, Jack Lasbury-Casey, and Riley Waldron.

“They are tremendous kids,” Vaughan said. “This was just a great group, starting with the seniors all the way through. Nice kids, came to work every day and never complained. I had no issues with this team all year long. They were great, it was a fun team to be around.”

Mansfield boys basketball finishes the season at 21-5.

Cold Stretch Dooms Taunton Against Wachusett

Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos
Taunton senior Trent Santos goes up for a three-point shot in the second half against Wachusett. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 TAUNTON, Mass. — Three years ago, Trent Santos, Tristan Herry, and Faisal Mass were thrust onto Taunton’s varsity team and right into the lineup after the Tigers lost nearly all of its anticipated starters due to disciplinary issues.

Taunton boys basketball

Since then, they’ve been one of the best trios in the Hockomock League, capped by the program’s first outright Kelley-Rex division title this season.

That wild journey came to an end on Wednesday after as the Tigers couldn’t overcome a cold stretch that spanned the second and third quarters, and a relentless effort on the offensive glass from visiting Wachusett. The 11th-seeded Mountaineers emerged with a 62-51 win to end Taunton’s season.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was a great stretch,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey of the past three seasons. “They measured up in every aspect. Practices have been great. They come in, full effort, they are committed. The off days, they don’t have to be here but they are. Just the right attitude, it’s been a real good three years.”

That trio led the Tigers to 34 league wins in the past three seasons, second only to Mansfield. Santos became the first 1,000-point scorer for the Tigers since 2014 and the trio combined to score over 2,100 points and played in four postseason games together, even without playoffs last year.

It was a game of runs in the first half, each team taking a turn with the wind in their sails. A 9-2 burst from the visitors to open the game was answered with a 14-7 run from the Tigers. Santos quickly matched his output from the first round in the opening minutes and drained a three inside the last minute but Wachusett’s Adam Bates was equal to the task with one of his own to make it 16-16.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton carried some of its offensive momentum into the second quarter and quickly built on it. Santos (19 points, three rebounds) ignited the offense, dropping in a floater and then finishing through contact for a traditional three-point play while senior Jordan Costa contributed to the run from the free throw line. He was then fouled on a three-point shot and made all of his free throws. Mass (17 points, nine rebounds) then got one to go from the block and the Tigers had an 11-0 run to start the second.

After trading some buckets, including a strong take from Herry (eight points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals), Santos picked up his second foul and was forced to the bench midway through the quarter. Taunton’s offense stalled while Wachusett responded with its own 11-0 run to finish the quarter, including a three-point play and a three-pointer from Tucker McDonald.

That run put Wachusett ahead by a point, 30-29, at the halftime break.

Wachusett’s run didn’t stop with the buzzer though. The Mountaineers opened the third with a 9-1 surge, taking advantage of three offensive boards and two forced turnovers. In total, it was a 22-1 run for the visitors as the Tigers went without a field goal for nearly eight minutes.

And to make things worse for the Tigers, Wachusett hauled in nine of their 13 offensive boards in the second half.

“We came back, we were up 11 and thought we could turn the corner,” Dacey said. “We missed a free throw, gave up a couple of threes, and all of a sudden the momentum was right back in their hands. It was simple mistakes that doomed us, stuff that has hurt us all year long. A missed block out, a bad closeout, bad decision making…stuff you can’t come tournament time and we paid for those mistakes tonight.

“[Offensive rebounding] was the game. They didn’t outsize us really but those are hustle points, that’s just hustle and effort. They committed to that and we didn’t match it. We didn’t respond to what we had to, I didn’t think it was a matter of size. Giving up those extra possessions just killed us.”

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton refused to go without a fight despite the long cold stretch. Santos drained a three just before the midway point of the third. Minutes later, Mass had a three-point play and then scored off a feed from sophomore Troy Santos and the Tigers trailed by just three, 41-38, going into the fourth.

Taunton boys basketball

The Tigers cut it down to one point on a pair of occasions in the fourth. A putback from Herry early on made it 41-40 before McDonald sliced down the lane for two. Herry then found Mass for two to get it back to one, 43-42 as the clock ticked under five minutes to go.

Wachusett got a huge three from Jake Chaisson, just his first bucket since a layup gave the Mountaineers a 4-2 lead in the opening minutes. Taunton came up empty on a take to the rim and Wachusett answered with another triple, this one from Nick Ciccone for his first points of the game, and suddenly the Mountaineers surged ahead 49-42.

Taunton cut it down to five twice, both on points from Mass, and the Tigers had three looks on one possession after a pair of offensive boards but couldn’t get a shot to fall. A stop led to a free throw from Mass to make it a four-point game, 51-47, with just under two minutes to go but McDonald went iso and sank a fadeaway three from the corner for the nail in the coffin.

“We went 19-3 and won the Hock championship, and like I told them, it ends this way for all but five teams,” Dacey said. “It’s too bad but that’s the reality of tournament play.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

As for the new tournament format, Dacey was in favor of the new matchups that it brings. A handful of early-round games wouldn’t have happened under the old sectional format, including this game and Franklin’s clash overtime clash with CM last night.

“I don’t have a problem with [the new format],” Dacey said. “There’s so much media out there, we got a good look at them and we had a scout at their last game. And just playing different people, that’s certainly more interesting than playing the same guys you play in the season. I kind of like the format…I’m not going to like the drive to Springfield some day but it makes it more interesting.”

Taunton boys basketball finishes the season at 19-3 and as back-to-back Kelley-Rex division champions, the latter their first-ever outright crown.

Taunton Escapes Upset-Minded Concord-Carlisle

Taunton boys basketball Faisal Mass
Taunton senior Faisal Mass splits a pair of Concord-Carlisle defenders for a second half basket. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 TAUNTON, Mass. — Survive and advance.

It might not have been Taunton’s motto heading into their clash with 38th seeded Concord-Carlisle, but after a stiff test from the visiting Patriots, it is now.

Behind a big performance from senior Faisal Mass, who tied a career-high with 25 points, and a boost off the bench from Cyrus Morissette and Jordan Costa, the 6th-seeded Tigers escaped with a 64-59 win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Concord-Carlisle proved to be a worthy challenger right out of the gate. The Patriots kept pace with the Tigers throughout the first half, and any time Taunton looked like it might create some separation, CC answered with a big shot paired with a defensive stop.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton took the lead at the end of the first quarter on a late bucket from Morissette, who had one of his best offensive performances of his young career with 11 points. The Tigers never trailed from that point on, though not without constant pressure from the visitors.

“They were mixing up their defenses,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. They had a triangle-and-two, a box-and-one, a 1-3-1, and they just kept mixing them up. We didn’t react to that well at all. We have set offenses for each of those defenses but one person always was out of place. Just a little bit of panic and that’s all it was, a lack of composure at times on our part. And then when you don’t close out on their three-point shooters, you got trouble.”

“They’re pretty good, they put a lot of stress on you offensively. Their ranking was misleading, they aren’t a 38-seed. That doesn’t look like a 38-seed.”

Mass (six points, four assists) really got going on the offensive end in the third quarter, putting up nine of Taunton’s 15 points as the Tigers built a 48-40 cushion going into the fourth. Costa had a pair of putbacks in the first few minutes of the final frame and Mass had a basket and a free throw as Taunton’s lead peaked at 55-43 with 4:51 to play.

But just as Taunton settled into its biggest lead of the game, the Patriots responded with their best stretch of the contest. A 2-2-1 press resulted in a pair of quick Taunton turnovers as CC’s Liam Harrington (19 points) and Tucker Barach (17 points) turned steals into easy layups.

Then came another Tiger turnover on the offensive end and the Patriots punished the hosts with a three from Benjamin Brown, to make it 56-51.

Taunton boys basketball

The Tigers finally broke the press and sophomore Troy Santos found junior Matt Small, who alertly found Mass down low for two to briefly stop the bleeding.

Carl Headges drained a three for the visitors while Small tacked on a free throw for Taunton. Troy Santos added another with 1:47 to go to extend the lead to 60-54 but Headges drove for two. Taunton stepped out of bounds on one end and then Headges drained another three — the Patriots’ 10th make on 36th attempt from deep — and Taunton’s once 12-point lead was down to one, 60-59, with 47.4 to go.

Taunton got the ball where it needed to as Mass took his man one-on-one and drew the foul, sinking both free throws with 22.1 seconds remaining. The Tigers got their first fortuitous bounce on the other end as the ball hit off a Concord-Carlisle player’s foot and went out of bounds. Senior Tristan Herry (eight points) sank two more free throws with 10.3 seconds left to ice it.

“That was a little bit of grit,” Dacey said of grinding it out at the end. “We had to get a stop and we had some loud turnovers before that to bring the game into a competitive state. All we had to do was get the ball over halfcourt, and again it came down to one guy being out of place. We have to tune it up.”

Although Taunton senior Trent Santos (five points, nine rebounds) got free and buried the first shot of the game, the Patriots’ had a clear plan on defense to try and deny the Hockomock League MVP the ball as much as possible. That meant opportunity for others, and Morissette and Costa (nine points, four rebounds) took advantage in the first half.

Taunton boys basketball

Morissette entered late in the first and closed the period with a strong drive to the basket for two just before the buzzer to put Taunton ahead 15-14.

Costa, who missed the last nine games of the season due to injury, made his return in the second and made an instant impact. He hauled in a missed three and converted a putback, and then played good defense on the other end and got the rebound.

Two plays later, Herry kicked it to Morissette for an open three that put Taunton ahead 22-16. The Tigers forced a turnover and Morissette battled through contact for two on the next trip. The Tigers got a key stop and then Mass found Costa for two more as Taunton opened up a 26-16 lead in the second.

“Costa was big, Cyrus too,” Dacey said. “Those were hustle points from those two, those are points that are always going to be there. But we have to refine how we run stuff against these junk defenses. We got a warning tonight and now let’s see how we handle the warning.”

Taunton had a slow start to the second half with just four points over the first four minutes, and the Patriots used a 10-4 burst to cut the deficit down to one possession.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mass responded with a strong take for a traditional three-point play and then Trent Santos finished a tough layup for just his second bucket of the game. Morissette added another basket and Mass finished with four straight points to close the quarter.

“He was taking it off the dribble, which will be open,” Dacey said of Mass. “When he gets that man-to-man look, he can go by them. That was our “adjustment” — give the ball to Faisal and take it to the rim. Given who was out there, he was the guy to go to in that late situation. A couple of other guys were in a funk and [Faisal] has always been confident, he wants the ball.”

Taunton boys basketball (19-2) advances to the Round of 16 to take on #11 Wachusett, who secured a 75-55 win over Bridgewater-Raynham. The MIAA has yet to post the date and time but the game is likely to be Wednesday.