By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
BLACKSTONE, Mass. – Canton took a quick breather from Hockomock League play on Monday night and made the 45-minute drive to head coach Jim Choquette’s old stomping ground at Blackstone-Millville Regional. The trip was well worth it, as the Bulldogs returned home with ther first win of the season.
Sophomore Hannah Jerrier led the way for Canton with 14 points and 10 rebounds and the Bulldogs broke the game open with a 15-0 starting in the second quarter that led to a comfortable 46-30 victory.
“One of the things that we keep saying is to be consistent through four quarters and piece it together when we go through a substitution or something bad happens,” said Choquette,” who coached at BMR for four seasons prior to coming to Canton.
“We’ve had a few close games now where we’re really starting to learn that process of okay what does it really take to win this game.”
The Bulldogs jumped all over BMR to start the game. Senior Meaghan Hunter got things started with a corner three and then Jerrier started to get going on the glass. The sophomore forward scored six points and Canton led 9-1 and looked on the verge of putting the game away.
Instead, Canton took its foot off the pedal for a second and the Chargers started to find a groove. BMR started to get to the basket and switched to a full-court press that cause the Bulldogs issues. BMR scored 13 straight points and held a 14-9 lead after the first.
“We made a few coaching errors where we pressed them,” Choquette explained, “and they scored then we pressed them and they scored again where it was finally that’s not the trick tonight; let’s just get back to our solid halfcourt defense and that did the trick tonight.”
Jerrier started the second with a rebound put back and the foul off a missed free throw. Hunter added a layup and Emma Murphy knocked down a jumper for a quick 6-0 run to regain the lead at 15-14.
After a BMR basket, senior point guard Shannon Foley threw a perfect pass to hit junior Taylor Carrington on a back cut for a layup. The Chargers scored again to lead 18-17, but it would be the last point BMR would score until late in the third quarter. Canton went on a 15-0 run to grab total control of the game.
“They made a comeback and got back into the game,” said Choquette, “but you could tell from the bench, the encouragement of the two senior captains, saying settle down let’s get back to what we’ve been doing successfully.”
In the third quarter, Casey Shea (eight rebounds, four blocks) scored four points, both on offensive rebounds, Jerrier again finished around the rim, Hunter (eight points, seven boards) buried her second three of the game and Murphy scored in the paint. BMR was struggling on the glass and struggling to contain the Bulldogs offense.
“They’re being more aggressive and starting to get more free throws,” said Choquette of his team’s offensive attack. “It’s starting to click.”
“Our bigs are pretty quick so when you get it inside most bigs on most teams think this girl is a little bit quicker than I’m used to, so I think that’s a nice advantage.”
The Chargers scored four points for the second consecutive quarter and with five seconds left in the third Canton built its largest lead when Julia Hamilton quickly got the ball up to Foley, who buried a three at the buzzer. It was 37-22 heading to the fourth.
A Murphy offensive rebound basket and another two for Jerrier extended the lead to 20 points and Choquette was able to empty his bench to cruise to a solid win.
He said, “When we went to halftime, we said hey we let our guard down at the end of the first quarter start of the second…I said at the start of this quarter let’s lock it down on defense, that’s the No. 1 thing we have to do…and it started to pay off and they wanted to do it more and more and that carried us.”
The Bulldogs schedule has been very difficult in the opening weeks. Canton has already played Franklin, Foxboro, Mansfield, and Oliver Ames, which at the time were all ranked in the top 20 in the state. Also, Canton has yet to play a home game.
On Friday, the Bulldogs battled Stoughton and, although they lost by one point, gained a lot of confidence that they could compete. That confidence rolled into Monday’s non-league road win.
Choquette said, “In our first set of games, we didn’t have a great opportunity to win. We competed and we worked hard but the abilities of those teams…I think we went into the Stoughton game thinking it’s not going to be one of those situations.”
He continued, “It doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but this is a team that we can compete with and we can challenge. We had a lot of excitement and got off to a great start and hit some shots in the first quarter.”
Canton (1-6, 0-5) will try to continue the forward momentum on Tuesday with its first home game of the season. The Bulldogs will welcome three-time defending Kelley-Rex champ North Attleboro.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
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