Showing Gritty Side, Foxboro Rides Defense to D2 Final

Foxboro girls basketball
In front of the Foxboro student section, sophomore Kailey Sullivan lines up a three-pointer. The Warriors closed on a 14-3 run to secure a title game berth. (Josh Perry/

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BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – In the quarterfinal against Chicopee, Foxboro went on a run over the second and third quarters that turned the game into a rout. Monday night’s Final Four game at Bridgewater-Raynham High, against top-seeded Walpole, was never going to be comfortable.

With only five wins all season of less than 20 points, the Warriors rarely play in tight games, but to reach the Div. 2 final, they were going to need to bear down, fight through every half-court possession, and show that there is a gritty side to their game.

No problem.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foxboro closed the game with a 14-3 run, a stretch filled with huge hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and secured a 51-34 win over the Timberwolves, booking a return to the state championship game for the first time since being named co-champs in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

“No,” Foxboro coach Lisa Downs succinctly replied when asked if she was surprised that her team could put in a defensive performance like this. “I think these girls do it day-in, day out and they rely on each other out there. Our help defense has improved so much. They just work as a great unit out there. I was thrilled with how they executed.”

Junior guard Erin Foley added, “We came into it knowing they work hard on offense, they push on offense, they’re very aggressive, very fast, so we worked on our help defense all week. We worked hard, everyone worked together, and we go the job done on defense.”

Right from the start, it was obvious that this was not going to be a shootout. Both teams were physical, aggressive, and fundamentally sound on the defensive end, making each possession a test of patience.

Foley got the night started by burying a corner three. After Walpole got the next six points to grab the lead, Kailey Sullivan (12 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks) drilled a straightaway three to tie it. It was the only basket of the first half for Sullivan, the team’s leading scorer.

Brooke Walonis (seven points) scored the next four to put Walpole back in front, but Foley (10 points, six rebounds, and three steals) snatched an offensive rebound and went up strong for two. Camryn Collins (game-high 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals) would take a nice feed from Addie Ruter for a layup and then sliced down the lane for two and a 12-10 lead after one.

If anything, things got tighter in the second quarter. Catie Hurley (seven points) was a tough matchup for Ruter in the paint and she restored Walpole’s lead with an and-one, then added another tough finish at the rim. Collins answered with a drive and a nice look-ahead to Foley for a transition bucket.

“Cam, her athleticism was on display for everyone to see tonight,” Downs explained. “The amount of times that she was able to get a tip out there, and that led to a lot of turnovers that she instigated and we were able to score off those as well.”

After Collins hit a pull-up jumper from the top of the key, the game was tied at 18 apiece. The Hockomock League MVP capped off an eight-point quarter with a pair of free throws and a layup on the break to put Foxboro ahead by four going into the locker room.

Downs was pleased to be in the lead, even with Sullivan and Ruter (two of the team’s three leading scorers) held to just three points. She explained, “I knew the fouls had the potential hurt us (Collins and Ruter each had to sit with two), but we did what we needed to do, hit our free throws. That’s a quality team that can shoot from the outside and is very physical inside so we needed to make sure we maintained our composure out there.”

The third quarter was a struggle for both teams, combining for just 15 points total. Walonis drained a three and Isabelle Adams (seven points) knocked down a jumper off an offensive rebound to put Walpole ahead 24-23 with nearly half of the quarter played.

Foxboro closed every quarter well and the Warriors used an 8-0 run to grab the lead back. Collins drove and dished to Isabelle Chamberlin (five rebounds, two blocks, and two charges taken) for her lone basket of the night. Collins then dove on the floor to keep a possession alive at mid-court, fired a pass to Chamberlin, who fed it to Sullivan for a layup.

With the Foxboro crowd’s energy adding to the team’s momentum, Collins again drove, drew multiple defenders, and found Foley for a huge three right in front of the student section.

“Tonight I came into it thinking it’s the No. 1 seed, what do we have to lose?” Foley said about her best scoring night of the playoffs. “It’s a great shooting night for everyone and I did knock down some threes. I was happy about that, it got us off to a great start.”

Downs, who praised Foley and Chamberlin for rising to the challenge with the top scorers struggling, remarked, “Erin was assigned Adams to just shut her down and really make her life a living nightmare, and she did that. She wreaks havoc on defense. She has that energy, that little spark we needed because everyone does focus on those three and when one or two of them are having a lot of pressure on them we need someone to step up.”

Adams started the fourth with a reverse to get back within three, but Foxboro scored seven straight to open up a double-digit advantage. Ruter sank a baseline jumper for her first points of the night and Sullivan drilled a three after Collins skied for a rebound and kicked it out to the wing. Sullivan came up short on another three from the corner, but followed her own shot and knocked down a floater.

Walpole wasn’t going quietly. Freshman Bella Bingham got a pair at the line and leaked out after a rebound by Hurley for a transition basket, getting the Timberwolves as close as six.

Ruter, who was scoreless for three quarters, started to take over. Another big hustle play gave the Warriors a second opportunity and Chamberlin slipped a pass to Ruter for two. With 3:45 to go, Ruter buried a tough turnaround over Hurley to restore the 10-point lead. She finished with her fourth double-double in four postseason games, scoring 10 points (all in the fourth) and grabbing 10 boards.

Foxboro hit 8-of-12 free throws down the stretch, pushing the lead to 17 and allowing the Warriors to count down the final seconds before celebrating a chance to play for the state title.

“We had a great team our freshman year with Katelyn Mollica, Jordyn [Collins], all of them, we thought we’d make it far but then COVID happened,” Foley said when asked about what this run means. “It’s great to have a long run in this tournament and we’re already here and we’re at the state championship.”

Riding a 19-game win streak, Foxboro (23-1) will face No. 6 Dracut, which upset No. 2 seed Medfield, at the Tsongas Center at a date and time to be determined.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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