Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Sarah Deyo, Attleboro
Julia Strachan, Attleboro
Hannah Jerrier, Canton
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Lily Sykes, Foxboro
Ali Brigham, Franklin
Shannon O’Connor, King Philip
Meg Hill, Mansfield
Jen Peel, Mansfield
Kate Irwin, Milford
Ashley Ahern, North Attleboro
Caroline Collard, North Attleboro
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Emma Eberhardt, Sharon
Val Whalen, Stoughton
Lily Patneaude, Taunton
Mish Logie, Attleboro
Emma Murphy, Canton
Grace Tamulionis, Foxboro
Carli Koffinke, Franklin
Julia Leroux, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Dahlgren, Milford
Samantha Taggart, North Attleboro
Niyera Mitchell, Oliver Ames
Shira Stoller, Sharon
Lili Njeim, Stoughton
Mackenzie Handrahan, Taunton
For the first time since the inaugural HockomockSports.com Charity Basketball Classic, a pair of seniors won the Three Point Contests. Mansfield’s Phil Vigeant and North Attleboro’s Ashley Ahern came away with the hardware at Mansfield High School, edging out Taunton’s Tommy MacLean and Attleboro’s Julia Strachan in the finals.
Both Ahern and Strachan put on a show in both rounds. Strachan had the highest total of any shooter – male or female – in the first round, connecting on 19 shots from beyond the arc. Ahern wasn’t far behind, hitting 17 trifectas to advance to the finals. In the final round, Ahern caught fire and hit an impressive 20 shots (on 25 tries) to edge Strachan (16 makes in the final). Ahern set the record for most three’s made by a female (20) in a round and tied Mansfield’s Ryan Boulter for most makes in a round for either male or female. Her total of 37 shots made between two rounds is also an event record. Only North Attleboro’s Brent Doherty (39) made more in 2016, but went to overtime in the final.
On the boys side, Vigeant had the top score in the first round with 16 shots made. MacLean made the final with 15 made shots, just edging Stoughton’s Matt Valle (14). In the final, Vigeant hit his very last shot to get 14. MacLean hit his final three shots but came up just short with 13.
Though MacLean came up short in the final, he now holds the record for all-time shots made in HockomockSports.com Three Point Contest History. In four years, MacLean has drained 65 trifectas. North Attleboro’s Brent Doherty sits in second all time with 62 while Boulter is third overall with 44. Sharon’s Jimmy Fitzhenry hit 12 shots in the first round, setting a new school record for a male player. Valle’s 14 threes is also a Stoughton record for a male shooter.
BOSTON, Mass. – Things were looking good for Foxboro after pitching a shutout in the third quarter, seizing control of its D2 State Semifinal against Arlington Catholic.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t quite keep up with the outstanding defense.
The Warriors kept Arlington Catholic without a point for a near 12 minute stretch — the final 3:50 of there first half, the entire eight minutes of the third quarter and the first couple of seconds of the fourth quarter.
However, Foxboro went just 1/10 from the field in the final frame. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ offense finally came to life, scoring 18 points — eight from the charity stripe — and picked up a 37-30 win over the Warriors to advance to the D2 State Final on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, the shots just weren’t falling in the fourth quarter,” said Foxboro head coach Lisa Downs. “To hold a team like that scoreless in third quarter, it was looking pretty optimistic for us. But the shots just weren’t falling tonight.”
Arlington Catholic surged to a 19-10 lead halfway through the second quarter but Foxboro’s defense — and offense — turned it up. The Warriors didn’t allow any points the rest of the half while rattling off a 7-0 run. To start that run, junior Ashley Sampson (13 points, 11 rebounds) drained a three to eclipse the 1,000 point mark for her career.
“Obviously it’s great for her to get her 1,000th point and we’re extremely proud of her,” Downs said. “But she could have cared less about that tonight. She just wanted to win. That attitude bodes well for everyone on the team. The team chemistry, that’s what I’m going to miss more than anything to tell you the truth.”
“I honestly really didn’t care about scoring the 1,000th point, we just wanted to get the win,” Sampson said. “It didn’t happen but we’re going to work just as hard as we did this year to try and get back here next year and hopefully get the ‘W.’”
Riley Collins (five points) added a basket and Grace Tamulionis (five points, six rebounds) converted a put back just before the buzzer to get the Warriors within two, 19-17, at the break.
“We definitely had our looks,” Downs said. “Especially in the first half, we had some bunnies and some short jumpers. Usually our shooting percentage is far better than it was tonight, which will happen, but usually our defense will make up for that and give us additional opportunities. And we had those tonight, but they were very aggressive on defense. Ashley was getting double teamed, sometimes triple teamed and we just weren’t reversing the ball quite enough.”
Foxboro kept the momentum up in the third quarter. Lily Sykes gave the Warriors the lead with a three 90 seconds into the third quarter. Sykes added a free throw, Sampson hit three free throws and Collins drained a three in the final minute to give the Warriors a 26-19 lead through three.
“Those kids from Foxboro, their heart was ridiculous,” said Arlington Catholic coach David Brady. “I thought they scratched and clawed within the rules of basketball to rebound the ball. You get to this point, nobody wants to lose, nobody wants to quit. Foxboro was an incredible team tonight.”
Arlington’s offense came to life in the fourth quarter, mainly by attacking the basket and getting to the line. Erin Donlan (13 points) broke the scoreless streak with a free throw eight seconds into the final frame. Donlan then added two more free throws and then hit a layup to cut the deficit to 26-24. Monica Rayo (eight points, five points) then tied the game with just under six minutes to play and hit another basket a minute later to give the Cougars a 28-26 lead, capping a 9-0 run.
Foxboro’s offense finally broke into the scoring column in the fourth quarter, taking the lead back on a three from Tamulionis at 29-28. Lauren Flahive stretched the lead to two with a free throw with 2:31 to play, but that would be the last of Foxboro’s scoring.
AC’s Lena Perez 11 points, 15 rebounds) tied the game off an inbounds play with just under two minutes to go. Foxboro came up empty on its offensive possession, and the Cougars’ Alexandra Bell (eight rebounds) his a turn-around jumper with 1:20 to play to give AC the lead back.
Foxboro missed a shot and then had a turnover on the next possession, forcing the Warriors into foul mode. AC made five free throws in the final 44 seconds to seal the deal.
“I think defensively we were scrappy as we always are. We created opportunities for ourselves but on the offensive end, when we didn’t set the offense exactly as we normally do, we weren’t getting the looks we normally do. The ones we were getting weren’t the ones we wanted, it just wasn’t our night unfortunately.”
Brady admitted the Cougars’ main defensive game plan focused on Sampson.
“They hit some big shots but we had to live with it a little bit,” Downs said. “To try and take Sampson away, are you kidding me? That girls fantastic. It takes a village to stop her, she’s something else.”
Foxboro girls basketball finishes the season at 22-3 and as Davenport division champions.
Foxboro junior Ashley Sampson has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for March 5th through March 11th. Sampson is the 24th athlete selected for the 2016-2017 school year and the 12th selection during the winter season. She is the third girls basketball player and second Foxboro athlete to be selected this winter.
Sampson, who was selected as the Hockomock MVP by the league’s coaches, scored a game-high 20 points on Monday at Massasoit Community College to help the Warriors win the season series with North Attleboro and advance to the Div. 2 South final. Against Westwood in the South final at Brockton High, Sampson was once again the game’s top scorer with 19 points, as Foxboro claimed its first sectional title since 2003.
“Ashley has really stepped it up for our team each week this season and this past week has really proven what a true leader she has become,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “She not only has led our team each time she steps on the court, but, she does so with a quiet sense of confidence that everyone looks up to.”
Downs added, “The success our team has enjoyed would not have been possible without her.”
In addition to her scoring numbers, Sampson also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists against North and grabbed 10 boards and had four steals against the Wolverines. She has also provided timely scoring for the Warriors, with 12 of her 20 points against North coming in the second half and eight points in the fourth quarter against Westwood to bring Foxboro back for the win.
Sampson and Foxboro will face North champion Arlington Catholic in the state semifinal on Monday night at 5:45 p.m. at the TD Garden. Sampson enters the games just nine points shy of 1,000 for her career.
The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.
BROCKTON, Mass. – Two years ago in the Div. 2 South final, freshmen Ashley Sampson and Grace Tamulionis combined for 20 points in a loss to eventual state champion Duxbury. On Saturday afternoon, Sampson, Tamulionis, and the Warriors returned to Brockton High and used that experience to good effect to rally Foxboro in the fourth quarter.
Sampson scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the final quarter (and added 10 rebounds as well) and Tamulionis scored six of her 11 points in the fourth to bring Foxboro back from a point down to beat Westwood 47-38 and claim the program’s first sectional title since 2003 and book a trip to the TD Garden.
“I think having been in here before, even though it was two years ago, was a huge advantage,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “I’m sure that a lot of their team hadn’t been in this venue with this many people. Even though they’re juniors, they play like seniors and they weren’t cautious at the end.”
Tamulionis added, “Knowing the environment really helped with all the fans and I know freshmen year everyone was nervous but this year almost all of us had been here before so it really helped.”
The Wolverines did not look overwhelmed by the environment early and came out strong in the first quarter with senior forward Carly Sugrue knocking down a pair of threes and scoring eight of her 13 points. Haley Connaughton also hit one from deep and Allison Morin had three assists, as the Westwood offense was clicking at the start.
Sampson was keeping the Warriors afloat on the offensive end with eight points in the first, all coming off drives to the basket. Foxboro’s aggressiveness driving to the basket led to seven Westwood fouls in the opening quarter. Junior Shannon Smally (six rebounds) also provided a spark with three points and a couple boards in the first.
“She did a lot of the things today that we’ve been asking her to do all along,” said Downs of Smally. “Luckily, it’s gotten to the point that she’s doing things in March we asked her to do in December, but she timed it perfectly.”
Foxboro trailed 17-14 after one and would continue to struggle shooting from the outside for the better part of the next two quarters. The Warriors stayed in the game in large part due to a defensive effort that held the Wolverines to only 21 points over the final 24 minutes.
“We just had to focus on our defense,” said Sampson. “Our shots weren’t falling, but our defense is what got us back into it.”
With Westwood leading 24-19, Foxboro inbounded the ball to Lily Sykes for a half-court heave as the half expired. The horn sounded and the shot fell short, but an official’s whistle blew just before the clock read all zeroes and Sykes made 2-of-3 free throws to cut the lead to just three.
In the second half, Downs made a change and put Sampson on Sugrue, a switch that limited the Westwood forward to just two points after the break.
Downs explained, “Ashley’s got these long arms because Carly does a good job with these step back jumps and Ashley can just get a little more in her face.”
Foxboro finally found the range from three. Sykes (seven points) buried her only shot of the game to cut the lead to 26-24. After a Westwood basket, Sykes drove baseline and kicked it all the way out to the three-point line for Riley Collins to knock one down and tie the game. The Wolverines responded with four straight but then again Collins got a clean look and hit from three sending Foxboro into the fourth down just 32-31.
Tamulionis said, “No one got frustrated and I think that really helped. When coach called timeout, she just kind of settled us down a little and we knew that we had to step it up.”
Catherine Bonfiglio (team-high 14 points) started the fourth with a drive to the basket to extend the lead to three, but her six points accounted for all of Westwood’s points in the fourth. After a ragged start in which both teams missed a lot of open looks, Foxboro clamped down and contested every Westwood chance.
On the other end, Sampson, the Hockomock League MVP, started to assert herself. She drove baseline and finished with a reverse layup plus the foul and then knocked down a jumper off a Sykes assist to give Foxboro its first lead (36-34) since the first quarter.
When asked if she knew that it was time to be aggressive at that point, Sampson replied, “I don’t know. When I got the third foul, I kind of got into my own head. I just had to calm down and play.”
Tamulionis stepped up next, knocking down a long jumper off a Smally kick out to extend the lead to four and then stepped a couple feet further back to drain an open three that made it 41-36 with 1:05 remaining.
Foxboro went 6-of-8 at the line in the closing minute to complete its run as the top seed in the South by lifting the sectional championship trophy.
“I knew we had it in us,” Downs said, “and I never panicked too much because I could see it in their eyes that they had this game within their grasp and it was theirs to win or lose. Defense was going to win it for us.
“It’s so exciting. The girls knew that they could win today and never looked back.”
Tamulionis said, “It’s awesome. The whole year, the whole team has worked so hard and we deserve it. Everyone has done a great job all year.”
Foxboro (22-2) advances to the Eastern Mass. final at the TD Garden on Monday at 5:45 to play the winner of Arlington Catholic and Hamilton-Wenham.
TAUNTON, Mass. – Mansfield came into Friday night’s Div. 1 South final at Taunton High allowing only 37 points per game, including just 31 points in each of its two playoff victories. Of course, the Hornets had not faced a team like Braintree this season.
The Wamps, perennially one of the top programs in the state, nearly put up double what the Hornets were allowing per game this season. Braintree knocked down nine three-pointers (seven in the first half) and, even with star guard Keelah Dixon sidelined with an injury for the third and fourth quarters, rolled to a 72-43 victory and the team’s fifth South title in the past six years.
“They’re great off the dribble, they had some great drives and when we did double they kicked out,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “We’re a really good defensive team and they were simply at another level tonight executing, shooting…they’ve got a lot of kids who can score in different ways.”
He added, “Offensively, I thought we were okay but the more shots they made our morale dropped a little bit and they just pulled away.”
The Hornets were hanging around early in the game, trailing 10-6 midway through the first quarter, but the Wamps went on a 15-4 run to break the game wide open. Adriana Timberlake (team-high 17 points) and Jenna Roche (14 points) knocked down three from beyond the arc and Isabella Tonetti added eight points in the first.
It only got worse for Mansfield in the second, as the Hornets were held to just two points on a basket by senior Jen Peel (seven points), while Braintree continued to pile on with 15 to hold a 40-12 lead at the break. Dixon (13 points) added seven in the second before hobbling off at halftime.
“They’ve got nine, 10 kids who can play and, you know, they can all handle the ball, they can all shoot the three if you leave them open, and they’re a handful to handle defensively,” said Redding. “On the other end, they’re as good as anyone defensively. That’s a tough combination. We’re a good team and we certainly met our match and were humbled tonight.”
Mansfield rarely gives up 20 points in a half, but on Friday the Hornets twice allowed Braintree to score 20 points in a single quarter. That included the third, as Timberlake scored eight points, including a pair of threes, and Roche added eight of her own.
The third was also Mansfield’s top offensive quarter with 17 points. Junior center Meg Hill scored six of her game-high 19 points (to go along with 10 rebounds), Ann Maher scored off a Mady Bendanillo assist and Peel (eight assists) and Erin Daniel each nailed threes.
Hill added another seven points in the fourth and Maggie Danehy showed flashes with a finish despite contact, but the Wamps continued to execute perfectly against the Hornets defense and cruised to another sectional title and trip to the TD Garden.
Redding noted, “I like how we battled. We scored 30 in the second half. Obviously, it’s too little, too late, but the kids have a lot of heart and played more like our team in the second half.”
Mansfield will bring back all but two players for next season, as it tries to three-peat as Kelley-Rex division champions.
“Our kids had a great year,” Redding said. “To get to the final is a great achievement and it’s tough to lose like this but I’m just so proud of what we had to do to get here. Thirteen of the 15 are back and maybe this experience will get is a little deeper next year.”
One of those seniors who will not be back next year is Peel, who has been a starter for the Hornets for three seasons and turned into one of the top guards in the league. Peel found it tough to score consistently in the playoffs, but Redding knows that the Hornets will miss her next year.
“She’s seeing everyone’s best defender,” explained Redding. “Every time she gets the ball, they’re going to double and help and she’s just not getting much space to breathe let alone shoot. She finds a way; she’s such a competitor.”
Mansfield finished the season at 20-4 and 15-1 in the Hockomock League.
BROCKTON, Mass. – Prior to Tuesday night’s Div. 1 South semifinal between Mansfield and Wellesley at Massasoit Community College, questions were being asked at the press table about whether or not either team could get to 40 points.
The two teams are among the best in the state on the defensive side of the ball and both have held opponents under 40 points per game this season, including Mansfield’s Hockomock-best 37.4. In the opening round, Wellesley held Marshfield to just 32 and the Hornets limited high-scoring Attleboro to only 31.
It was never going to be a pretty game, never going to be a shootout, but in the end Mansfield did just enough on offense and once again clamped down on defense to win 40-31 and advance to the South final on Friday night.
“It was a grind,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding admitted after the game. “This bracket is just brutal with good teams and good defenses. Right now, it’s just survive and move on and for the first time in I think six years we’re back in the final.”
He was quick to praise the Raiders, adding, “I thought maybe we could get close to 50 and hold them to 40, but they were very good defensively. They’re quick, well-coached, they took things away that we normally wanted to do.”
Mansfield was able to get out to an early lead in the first quarter by holding the Raiders to just four points. Offensively, Jen Peel could not find her own shot (scoring only five points and making one shot from the field), but she dished out three of her five assists and had a pair of steals.
When Kara Bendanillo drove and kicked out to the corner for an Emily Vigeant three, the Hornets had an 11-4 lead after one. After Wellesley cut the lead to just three, Mansfield responded with an 11-3 run sparked by sophomore point guard Mady Bendanillo, who scored five of her 11 points in the quarter.
“We call a lot of different stuff where she’s got to get the ball to a lot of different places,” said Redding of Bendanillo, “and it’s just amazing how she runs the offense. I think she may have come out for a minute or two in the first half and that’s it; she can go for 32 minutes and she doesn’t take a possession off.”
Meg Hill scored inside to start the run and then Bendanillo started to get out on the break. She finished in transition off an Ann Maher pass and then tipped the ball loose to Maher who fed it right back for another basket on the break, plus the foul.
“If Jen has to play the point then she has to do all that work bringing it up and she doesn’t get the points, so Mady has certainly been a key to transition from losing all those seniors to this group,” said Redding. “Her playing the point and creating chances for Jen has been one of the secrets of our success.”
The Hornets led 22-13 at halftime, but things fell apart offensively in the third quarter. The Raiders stymied Mansfield on nearly every possession, holding the Hornets without a made field goal and to just four points from the line in the quarter. Luckily for Mansfield, the defense did not miss a beat and did not allow Wellesley to get going, with the exception of Gianna Palli, who scored 12 of the Raiders’ 19 points in the second and third quarters combined.
“No, not at all,” said Hill when asked if it was easy to get going against the Raiders defense. “We’ve always heard about Wellesley’s defense and it was important that we kept taking shots…She was really long (Wellesley forward Dorian Cohen), so over the head wasn’t working and bouncing was too low to the ground and it was just hard to get the perfect combination but in the end it worked out.”
Hill, who was not feeling well on Tuesday, finished with a team-high 14 points and 13 rebounds, but the combination of Cohen and Leo Sperling made it very difficult to get the ball to her in the post. Even with the struggle to score, Mansfield led 26-23 heading to the fourth.
After a couple more free throws, Bendanillo stole the ball from Sperling, who had just grabbed a defensive rebound, and laid it in for the Hornets’ first made basket of the second half (10-1/2 minutes after the break). The Raiders battled back with Kelcie Zarle scoring in transition and then Palli adding a three-point play that cut the lead to five points with about a minute remaining.
Peel continued to struggle, making her lone basket on a drive to the hoop in the fourth, but she pulled off the pass of the game to set up Hill for the killer three-point play that sealed the win. Driving down the left side of the lane, Peel angled as though she was going up for the shot but with her left hand bounced a pass around the defender to the waiting Hill, who finished it with contact.
Hill joked, “If I’m being completely honest, I had no idea where the ball was and I just kind of hoped it would work.”
Redding added, “It got it to six or seven and everybody, I think, took a breathe of relief that we had a little cushion again and then we went to man and they went a little cold shooting and we made some free throws.”
It may not have been the prettiest win, but at this stage of the season there are no extra style points to be awarded. Redding certainly did not mind how the result was attained.
He said, “At this point we’ve got to be considered one of the top defensive teams. We’re holding people to 30 points on a regular basis and if we do that we can win any night.
Hill agreed, “It’s amazing, I can’t wait. It’s just live to play another day.”
Mansfield (20-2) will await the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal between Braintree and Newton South on Friday night at 5:30 at Taunton High. The Mansfield boys will follow in their final against Needham at 7:45.
“Hey, a Hornets doubleheader on Friday night in Taunton, it should be fun,” said Redding. “At this point, we’re playing on house money, so we’ll just show up and go for it.”