By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Contributor
MANSFIELD, Mass. – In typical Mansfield fashion, the Hornets moved the ball around the perimeter from player to player, eventually a pass finding its way to a wide-open Max Boen. The senior guard drilled the three-pointer, putting an exclamation point on a game-changing swing from the Hornets.
After holding a slim lead (22-21) at half, Mansfield rattled off an 11-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half to create the necessary separation for the rest of the way in a 54-49 win over previously unbeaten Attleboro.
Sam Goldberg (15 points, nine rebounds) started the run with a putback, Tyler Boulter (eight points, three rebounds) added a layup, Christian Weber (13 points) drained a three and Boen (seven points, eight rebounds, three assists) hit a free throw before his big three.
“I think we did a good job of wearing them out,” Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan said.
The Hornets stifled the previously undefeated Attleboro offense with a full court press for all 32 minutes.
With scoring hard to come by for either side in the first, Mansfield opened the game with an inbound pass to Boen for an easy layup. Sam Hyland shadowed the Attleboro ball carrier all the way up the backcourt forcing a turnover, darting the other way to give the Hornets an early 4-0 lead.
“There were times during the game that they had trouble breaking the press, trying to run their half court stuff and still get a good shot,” Vaughan said. “I thought we did a good job of taking them out of the stuff they had been doing.”
But as the first quarter dragged on, Attleboro settled in. Bombardier senior Jake Dunkley hit a three and added another bucket to spark the visitors, who trailed 10-7 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
“I think early on, they started scoring and we were struggling to score,” Attleboro head coach Mark Houle said. “Finally we isolated Jake down low and got a basket.”
Dunkley (20 points carried Attleboro through a strong second quarter. He opened the frame with another three from the corner, then proceeded to work the post. He backed his defender down, pivoted and finished a fade away jumper.
On the next Attleboro possession Dunkley drained another triple. After a basket from Berlyns Abraham (seven points, 10 rebounds), Attleboro had its lone lead of the game, 17-15.
“It came down to balance,” Houle said. “They had better balance on offense than we did overall.”
Mansfield stayed persistent in the third quarter not allowing Attleboro to diminish the Hornet’s 11-0 run. Goldberg and Weber each worked their way through the Bombardier defense and found their way to the room.
Weber began at the top of the key, he stutter-stepped left, passed an Attleboro defender and finished with a right-hand layup. By the finish of the third quarter, Mansfield was up 41-30 — the difference equalling their run to open the half.
“I knew (Attleboro was) going to be ready” Vaughan said. “We got up 12 or 13 and I said to the guys this game was not over.”
Attleboro lingered in the fourth quarter with Nate Douglas (seven rebounds) scoring seven of his nine points in the frame. The Bombardiers came within five points following a Dunkley basket and missed Mansfield free throws but the late surge was not enough as the Hornets closed the game out.