FOXBORO, Mass. – Despite school being canceled in Foxboro due to a storm that never materialized, the Warriors began a very important week by hosting a non-league game with Bridgewater-Raynham, a team that they beat by nearly 30 points the first time around.
Monday’s second meeting was considerably closer. Foxboro had only four players get on the score sheet (and one of those players had a single point), but one of those four was junior guard Ashley Sampson and she scored a game-high 31 to lead the Warriors to a 56-44 win, their eighth in a row, and a sweep of the Trojans.
It also kicked off a busy week that could end with Foxboro clinching its second league title in three seasons.
“We like to control the tempo of the game and push the ball when we want to push it and slow it down when we want to slow it down,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs, “and they started to control the tempo, which is a little unsettling, but the girls righted the ship when they needed.”
At the beginning of the game, the Warriors looked like a team that was still enjoying a restful snow day and B-R was able to jump out to a 12-7 lead behind 10 first quarter points from senior Kelly Page (team-high 19).
“We were a little sluggish,” Downs admitted. “I love everything the same; I love routine. So, to not have the same routine, I don’t like it and they’re teenage girls and they need it the same every time.”
Foxboro woke up and found a groove to close out the first half on a 19-4 run to take control of the game. Grace Tamulionis (nine points, six rebounds, five steals, and three blocks) got things started with a jumper in the lane from a Kristen Bortlotti assist. Sampson scored in transition to cut the lead to one and, after the Trojans scored on an offensive rebound, Lily Sykes drove to the basket for two of her 15.
Sampson ended the first with free throws to give the hosts a 15-14 lead and Foxboro clamped down in the second quarter, allowing only two points to go ahead by double digits at halftime. Sykes and Sampson each scored four and Tamulionis drilled a straightaway three off a Lauren Flahive assist to make it 26-16 at the break.
B-R started to find its offense in the third quarter and cut the lead to as few as three points at 34-31. Page added another five points and Nina Morrison had seven of her nine in the third, as the Trojans took control of the glass and had Foxboro on its heels.
Needing a spark, Foxboro turned to Sampson and the junior delivered. She went on a personal 9-2 run and the Warriors regained a double digit lead. She scored on the break and then, after Sykes had one of her eight steals, Sampson added another layup plus the foul. Another Sykes steal led to another easy basket and Sampson capped the quarter with a reverse for a 43-33 lead.
“When Lily and Ashley are on together,” said Downs, “there’s not many teams that can stop that combination. Grace was a little off tonight offensively…but we did what we needed to do and at this point in the season I’m happy with that kind of win.”
Again B-R tried to cut into the lead in the fourth, but a Sampson three-point play made the lead nine points, then Sykes scored on a drive to the basket, and Tamulionis got an open look for three off an assist by Flahive (seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks), who also fed Sampson for a layup that put Foxboro up by 14.
“I thought for the most part we did well but it got a little frantic at the end,” Downs said. “We just have to remain more composed going into the tournament when the games start to get tighter.”
Foxboro (14-2, 12-2) will get back into league play with Canton on Tuesday night then a showdown with fellow league leader North Attleboro on Friday in a game that will decide the winner of the Davenport division.
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