But with a senior-laden team, Foxboro had no problems with the early start. The Warriors’ 21-point first quarter was its best offensive frame of the game, one in which it built a double-digit advantage that it never surrendered in a 58-39 conquest of division foe Canton.
The Warriors had six players register in the scoring column over the first eight minutes, connecting on eight field goals on over 60% shooting from the field, with half of the makes from downtown. And Foxboro got it done defensively too, holding the visitors to just three makes with three turnovers.
“It was a big part of what we talked about before the game, being a noontime vacation game,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “We talked about the team being more awake and ready to play would have a huge advantage in terms of winning the game. And I thought we really did a good job with that. I thought we came out with a ton of energy and a ton of fire.
Foxboro’s defense only improved over the next two quarters, holding the Bulldogs to nine points (no made threes) in the second quarter and just six points (on 20% shooting) in the third quarter.
“We set the tone with our defense, holding them to 10 points in the first quarter,” Gibbs said. “Even a lot of the shots they got were contested shots, tough shots. So our defensive energy that we brought in the first half was huge even though our offense was a little out of sync.”
Dylan Barreira’s (seven rebounds, five assists) offense rebound and free throw gave the hosts early momentum while Ryan Hughes (seven points, five rebounds), Brandon Borde (nine points, seven rebounds, four assists), and Donald Rogers (16 points, five rebounds) followed with consecutive baskets for a quick 7-0 lead.
Foxboro added to its offensive attack with a trio of three-pointers as junior Kevin Gallagher (17 points, four rebounds) sandwiched a pair of triples around one from Borde to extend the hosts’ lead to 16-6. Senior Liam Devlin made Foxboro’s fourth three of the opening quarter on a feed from Barreira while Borde finished off after a team offensive rebound to push the lead to 21-7.
Both defenses clamped down early in the second with each time scoring just once in the first three minutes but Rogers sank a big three off a feed from Michael Devlin. Another three minutes passed before Borde scored a tough jumper. Kyle Fitzgerald (six points) and Burbank each scored late in the quarter, and Robbie Gallery had six points and three rebounds in the first half, to keep Canton in shouting distance at halftime.
“Foxboro’s a good team and one of the better defensive teams in our league and the area, so if you get down early and dig yourself a hole, it’s really hard to come back on them with the way that they guard,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “We couldn’t string things together, they had an answer…if we did a few good things on defense, we couldn’t get it going on offense. If we did a few good things on offense, we couldn’t string together a few stops on defense. We have to be more consistent.”
Foxboro quickly extended its lead early in the second half as Gallagher opened up the third quarter with a triple, Rogers lowered his shoulder and drove hard to the basket for two. Canton sophomore Lanse Dorcelus (nine points) sank a three and the Bulldogs got back-to-back stops but couldn’t get any closer before Rogers answered with another strong take.
Dorcelus sank another three and Eric Mischler came up with a steal but Canton’s next trip came up empty and Hughes was left alone down low for an easy two and a 40-25 lead. Gallagher scored on a baseline take and Rogers beat the buzzer with a three as Foxboro closed the quarter on a 7-0 burst to take a 45-25 lead into the fourth.
“We talk a lot about handling and responding to advertising because in a league this tough, you’re not going to have any games where it goes your way for the entire 32 minutes,” Gibbs said. “There’s always going to be those runs and tough stretches from the other teams so we talk a lot about that and how to handle those moments.
“And the other part of that is having a veteran team full of experienced players that have been there before. They’ve been in that situation so many times so they don’t get rattled or panic because Canton made a big shot. I thought that was key for us in both of our wins this season that when the other team made a run, we were able to punch right back.”
The teams traded baskets for the first three minutes of the final quarter, keeping the lead around the 20-point mark until the reserves were put into the game. Gallagher scored Foxboro’s first five points while Dorcelus sank another triple for Canton.
Foxboro pushed the lead to 53-30 before Canton junior Colton Mirliani (nine points) came in and hit his first of three triples. Foxboro freshman Alex Penders scored his first basket with a three-pointer in the final minute.
Foxboro boys basketball (1-1 Hockomock, 2-1 overall) will take on a strong Needham team in the Westwood tournament on Sunday while Canton (0-3, 1-3) has a quick turnaround, traveling to Norwood on Saturday at 12:30.
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