FOXBORO, Mass. – Coming into Monday night’s opener of the annual Warrior Classic, Foxboro had won twice by more than 50 points, seven times this year by 40 or more points, twice by 30-plus, and four times by 20 or more. All but five games this season had been decided at least double digits (including a 10-point overtime loss to Coyle & Cassidy in the season opener).
The Warriors had lost only twice this season, only once in the last 19 games, and completed the program’s first perfect run in the Hockomock League. Foxboro was hoping for a challenge to get them ready for the postseason, although it would be fair to say no one was expecting five-win Hanover to be the team that would provide it.
Instead of being another comfortable victory, Foxboro was given all it could handle by the Indians on Monday and needed a season-high 29 points from senior Ashley Sampson, including 13 in the fourth quarter, to pull out a 66-59 victory.
“We just haven’t been challenged and I think this was good for them,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “It lets them get a taste of teams that are better than what they’ve been facing recently. This tournament is always a great dress rehearsal for the state tournament.”
From the start, Hanover played like a team that was heading to the playoffs, breaking the Foxboro press and creating easy scoring opportunities at the rim. After a layup by Kathryn Fallon (11 points), Foxboro trailed 11-8 and there were some stunned faces in the stands.
Katelyn Mollica (12 points) came off the bench and provided a spark to close out the first quarter, as Foxboro was forced to go small in order to matchup with the Indians. She drove baseline for a layup and then scored in transition after one of Sampson’s four steals. Lily Sykes (six points) drilled a three to put the Warriors up four but a three-point play by Clare Connolly cut the lead to 15-14 after one.
“We like to play man-to-man defense and with a smaller team that was pretty much four guards, it wasn’t a great matchup for us,” Downs explained. “We did have to go to more zone than we typically ever would have to, but we did it decently. That’s something we have to work on to have it ready to go.”
The Indians continued to play well into the second, taking a 20-16 lead, before Foxboro finally put together one of its trademark runs. The Warriors scored the next 14 points to lead by double digits for the first time.
Half of those points came from the line, including five free throws from Sampson, who scored seven of Foxboro’s 14 points during the run. Mollica also knocked down a three after a Grace Tamulionis offensive rebound and kick-out pass. Tamulionis finished with seven points, eight boards and six assists.
Leading 32-24 at the break, Foxboro came out for the third quarter trying to get the ball into the paint, where the Warriors had a distinct size advantage. Sampson posted up first and drew a foul and then Shannon Smally (eight points) got the ball several times in the post, scoring six points in the third.
Downs said, “We knew that we had a height advantage tonight, so we wanted to make sure we were jamming it in there. Ashley’s tough under the basket, so that’s something we want to have in our back pocket.”
Hanover never caved and continued to cut into the Foxboro lead. Erin Flynn (10 points) scored five straight and Janey Devlin scored seven of her 19 points in the third. The Indians were controlling the glass, getting two and sometimes three looks at the basket.
“We had some breakdowns, especially the rebounding,” Downs admitted. “Sometimes we’d have Abby [Hassman] in there alone representing us in the rebounding department. We have to do a little less spectating once a shot goes up.”
The came continued to be tight throughout the fourth quarter, a rarity for the Warriors this season. A Flynn three pulled the Indians within one at 52-51 and after Sampson got to the basket with a baseline drive, Devlin answered with a put-back.
Sampson started to take over down the stretch, as the Warriors got the ball into the Adelphi University-commit’s hands on every possession. She got a finish at the rim off a Tamulionis assist and then knocked down a step-back jumper on the baseline. Mollica added an almost identical jumper and Sampson made 4-of-5 from the line to close things out.
It was a scare, but maybe it was a scare that the Warriors needed at this point in the season.
“We find out how they’re going to do with a little more pressure, a little more chaos on the floor than they’re used to and then we see how they react and what we have to work on in the next week,” Downs remarked.
Foxboro (19-2, 16-0) will face Natick in the final of the Warrior Classic on Tuesday. Natick rolled past Hoosac Valley by 30 points on Monday.
Attleboro, 46 @ Mansfield, 64 – Final
Canton, 44 @ Milford, 45 – Final – Milford junior Brendan White hit a three with 0.4 seconds left while being fouled, elevating the Hawks to a win after a wild final minute. Milford had a 42-40 lead with under 30 seconds to play and even got a stop but a jump ball gave Canton the ball back. Devin Foster (17 points) hit three free throws after being fouled to take a 43-42 lead, and after a Milford turnover, Foster hit another free throw to give the Dogs a 44-42 lead. But White took a pass from Kayden Kelley (10 points, 10 rebounds) and hit the winning shot while being fouled. Andrew Fraioli added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Milford while Tony Harris had 16 points for Canton.
Foxboro, 59 @ Stoughton, 53 – Final – Foxboro hit six three-pointers in a 30-point third quarter, turning a 32-16 deficit at halftime into a 46-46 tie heading into the fourth quarter. Bobby Harrison scored five of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter while Joe Morrison added 12 points and Matt Rongione had 11 points, including three triples in the third. Anthony Mollica added five of his eight points in the fourth quarter for Foxboro. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews had a team-high 18 points while senior Steevens Phelimond had a career-high 16 points for the Knights.
Sharon, 45 @ North Attleboro, 58 – Final – North Attleboro senior Chad Peterson returned from injury and scored a career-high 23 points, draining seven three-pointers to lead the Rocketeers to a win over Sharon. Peterson hit four triples in the opening quarter, two more in the second and another in the fourth. North led 34-27 at halftime and 43-38 at the end of three. The Rocketeers clinched the game with a 15-7 fourth quarter. Josh Montague added 11 points for Big Red while Jacob Petersen finished with eight points. Sharon’s Malik Lorquet had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and nine blocks while Alex Kaufmann added 14 points.
Mansfield, 58 @ Attleboro, 40 – Final – Meg Hill had her 12th double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds and she also added four blocks. Hill is now seven points shy of 1,000 for her career. Ann Maher and Sydney Mulkern each added nine points for the Hornets. Sam Pierce paced Attleboro with 11 points and Liv McCall added eight.
Milford, 42 @ Canton, 38 – Final
Stoughton, 19 @ Foxboro, 74 – Final – Foxboro went on a 17-0 run after the opening basket by Stoughton to take control and added a 10-0 run to close out the first half. Ashley Sampson was the game’s top scorer with 18 points, while Grace Tamulionis added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors. Foxboro also got 12 points from Lily Sykes and nine points from Abby Hassman. Val Whalen led the Black Knights with six.
Taunton, 42 @ Franklin, 69 – Final
King Philip, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 61 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Kayla Raymond continued her stellar play this season, scoring 31 points and hauling in 10 rebounds to led the Tigers to a win at home. Alex Sheldon added nine points and 14 rebounds while Erin Holmberg chipped in with eight points.
North Attleboro, 47 @ Sharon, 24 – Final
Mansfield, 146.8 @ Oliver Ames, 142.1 – Final
Canton, 62 @ Oliver Ames, 50 – Final – Canton turned a five-point lead after one quarter (14-9) into a 34-17 lead at halftime. The Bulldogs kept that lead through three quarters before OA made a late charge, cutting the deficit to single digits (54-45) with 1:36 to play. Canton closed the door though, picking up its 12th win. Canton junior Devin Foster poured in a game-high 27 points while seniors Jake Verille and Tony Harris each had 10 points for the Bulldogs. OA senior Jack Spillane finished with a game-high 22 points while Jake Erlich added 10 points.
Sharon, 48 @ Franklin, 78 – Final – Franklin scored 39 points in each half, building a double-digit lead by halftime and never looking back. Franklin sophomore Chris Edgehill scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Panthers while senior Paul Mahon added 14 points. Malik Lorquet had 13 points to lead the Eagles while Aaron Strong added 10 points.
North Attleboro @ King Philip – Postponed to Wednesday, 1/31 at 6:30.
Milford, 41 @ Mansfield, 72 – Final – After a close first quarter, Mansfield outscored the visiting Hawks 17-5 in the second quarter to take a 37-19 lead into the halftime break. Milford outscored Mansfield 17-13 in the third quarter but the Hornets dominated the fourth quarter (23-5) to earn the win. Mansfield hit 13 three-pointers, including five by senior Tyler Boulter (19 points), three from Tommy Dooling (nine points) and two from John McCoy (19 points). Sam Hyland added nine rebounds and six assists for the Hornets. Brendan White had a team-high 10 points for the Hawks.
Stoughton, 74 @ Taunton, 85 – Final – Taunton poured in 31 points in the third quarter, turning a two-point lead at halftime (39-37) into a 70-49 lead heading into the final quarter. Despite Stoughton dropping 25 points in the final frame, the Tigers hung on for the win. The Tigers had a balanced scoring attack with senior Lens Esquil scoring a team-high 18 points, sophomores Dante Law and Naz Kenion each netting 14 points and senior Malik Charles finishing with 12 points. Stoughton senior Colin Sanda scored a career-high 20 points for the Black Knights.
Attleboro, 37 @ Foxboro, 67 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 18 points and Lily Sykes added 15 as the Warriors rolled to another big win and stayed unbeaten in the league this season. Abby Hassman chipped in with a big game on the glass for Foxboro, pulling down 18 rebounds.
Oliver Ames, 62 @ Canton, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames pulled away in the second half to beat Canton on the road. The Tigers led 31-25 at half. Kayla Raymond finished with a game-high 15 points and hauled in eight rebounds to lead the Tigers while Alex Sheldon added 11 points, including going 7-for-8 from the free throw line, and pulled down eight boards.
Franklin, 63 @ Sharon, 40 – Final – The Panthers clinched a postseason berth with a win at Sharon. Ali Brigham led the way with 18 points, while Bea Bondhus added 12 and Megan O’Connell had 10 for the Panthers. Franklin coach John Leighton said it was a “great team effort.”
King Philip @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Wednesday, 1/31 at 6:30.
Taunton, 41 @ Stoughton, 60 – Final – The Black Knights made it five wins in a row thanks to a 16-0 run to start the second half. Val Whalen paced Stoughton with 16 points and 19 rebounds while junior Lindsay McDonald added a spark with eight points and 11 rebounds. Aliyah Wright added 13 and five assists and Jordan Motley chipped in with 10 points, as the Black Knights closed within a game of .500.
Mansfield, 1 @ Norwood, 1 – Final – Jake Lund scored early in the second period to help the Hornets earn a point on the road against Norwood.
Franklin, 2 @ Ursuline, 1 – Final – Regan Paterson scored a pair of goals to lead the Panthers to a road win.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – For three quarters, Oliver Ames did its best to make life difficult for Davenport division leader Foxboro in its visit to the William F. Nixon Gym on Friday night. Playing without the team’s and the league’s top scorer, senior Kayla Raymond, the Tigers turned up the defensive pressure and forced the Warriors to grind out each possession.
Unfortunately for the hosts, all it took was one big quarter for the Warriors to break the game open and get another league win. Foxboro closed the first half on a 10-3 run to lead by double digits, used a 21-0 run to start the second half to build a big lead, and withstood a late OA rally to win 61-39.
It was the eighth time this season that Foxboro has won by at least 20 points, although few 20-point wins were as difficult as this.
“I honestly thought we saw that Kayla wasn’t playing and decided to take a night off a little bit,” admitted Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “There’s no excuse for that. OA is always going to be a quality team…and they’re always great defensively, so we should’ve been ready for the pressure.”
OA needed an offensive spark without Raymond and in the first quarter sophomore Erin Holmberg provided that lift with seven of her 11 points, including the Tigers’ lone made three on the night. Junior Alex Sheldon (12 rebounds) added six of her game- and career-high 20 points in the first.
“We don’t have Kayla obviously but nobody has to do anything extraordinary,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook about the message prior to the tip. “Everybody has to do their job and maybe a little extra and we’ll be okay. Just keep digging, just keep digging, just keep digging.”
She added, “Play good defense, try to limit them to one shot, limit their threes and we’ve got a chance. And for three quarters of the game that’s exactly what they did.”
Even with the defensive pressure ramped up, Foxboro held an 18-13 lead after one quarter. Lily Sykes (12 points and six assists) had seven points and Grace Tamulionis (team-high 19 points) knocked down a pair of threes for six points.
The second quarter was even better for the OA defense, stifling the Warriors and limiting the transition game that allows Foxboro to create so much separation, but the offense struggled. A floater on the baseline by Holmberg cut the OA lead to 19-15, but the Tigers would only get one more basket (a layup by Ally Scolnick off a Katie Flynn inbound pass) in the second.
Foxboro started to push the lead with a 10-3 run to close the half. Ashley Sampson (16 points, six steals, and four assists) scored plus a foul and got to the basket on a Sykes assist to make it 29-18 at the break.
The Warriors came out of the break a totally different team. Sampson scored in the half-court and instantly the full-court press started to force turnovers. Tamulionis drilled her third three of the game off an Abby Hassman assist and then Tamulionis assisted on a Sykes three.
“She’s instrumental,” said Downs of Tamulionis. “She works hard and she has a beautiful shot and I think the less time she has to think about that shot the better off she is. We recognized that she was the open player and she hit some big shots for us.”
Suddenly, the floodgates were open for Foxboro.
Sampson twice scored off her own steals, Tamulionis added five more points, Sykes scored in transition, and Shannon Smally (10 rebounds) scored all four of her points in what ended up being a 21-0 run (31-3 including the second quarter) and a 50-18 lead.
“They played a little better in the third quarter and the defense picked up a little bit,” said Downs. “We were able to get a few deflections, a few steals, and that generated layups and then we just got the momentum.”
With the game seemingly out of reach, OA started to settle down again and began a big run that would see the Tigers creep back within reach. Caroline Flynn scored off a Meg Holleran pass, Scolnick scored on the break and Sheldon added two more to make it 52-24 heading to the fourth.
“These were significant minutes in terms of pressure,” said Clement-Holbrook about getting playing time for her younger players. “We were playing against Foxboro’s first five, so I think it was a good barometer for us to see who can do what in what situations. I thought they adjusted.”
OA continued to grind in the fourth quarter. The Tigers held Foxboro without a point for six minutes, scored the first 15 points of the fourth (21-2 run overall), and climbed back with 13 points. Sheldon was the major force in that run, as she scored 11 points in the fourth quarter alone, twice getting on the break for three-point plays.
“It was awesome,” said Clement-Holbrook of the comeback. “We’re really proud of them. Hopefully we can not revert back from this point now, hopefully we can move it forward.”
When asked about the fourth quarter, Downs replied, “Not pretty at all.” After dropping back into a half-court defense, Downs called for the press for the final minutes and Foxboro ran off nine straight (five from Tamulionis) to seal the win.
“They’re more comfortable in the press,” Downs said, “so we were in half-court because of the score but once they chipped away a little we went back and they were like, okay this is where we’re comfortable.”
Foxboro (12-2, 10-0) will have another crossover game on Tuesday when Attleboro pays a visit. Oliver Ames (8-4, 7-3) will be on the road Tuesday to face Canton.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro’s loss on Monday to fellow Div. 2 state title hopeful Hopkinton, which ended a 10-game win streak, delayed the Warriors booking a place in the state tournament, but the wait only lasted about 24 hours.
The Warriors seemed to have a renewed energy coming off the loss and rolled to an 85-27 victory over visiting Taunton on Tuesday to book a spot in the postseason earlier than in any other of head coach Lisa Downs’ seven seasons in charge. The win also marked a milestone for Downs, who earned her 100th victory as coach of the Warriors.
“I haven’t really had much time to think about it because all I’ve been thinking about is that loss last night to tell you the truth,” she said with a laugh. “I’m very lucky. There’s no way I would have 100 wins without the talent I’ve had coming through the ranks.”
After a trip to the TD Garden last winter, Downs believes that this year’s team has the potential to be the best in her time as coach thanks to the talent and the togetherness in the squad.
She explained, “This year I have the unique situation of having all those talented kids on the floor. The team chemistry we have, and it’s definitely obvious on the court, and there’s nothing like that. They all want to see each other do well.”
Senior Ashley Sampson, the Adelphi University-commit and reigning Hockomock MVP, was the star again on Tuesday with 26 points, six steals, and five rebounds, but the Warriors also got 19 points and nine rebounds from freshman guard Katelyn Mollica, eight points and five boards from Chelsea Gibbons, and six points and 10 assists from senior Lily Sykes.
“We’re a little shorthanded, but they play so well together,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan, who was missing his two leading scorers, junior Lily Patneaude and senior MacKenzie Handrahan.
He added, “They’re so talented, they’re long, they play good defense, they trap well, they make basketball plays and they’re going to do well in the state tournament.”
Hannah Moniz (10 points) drilled a three off an assist by Jaelyn Fernandez early in the first quarter that cut the Foxboro lead to 5-3, but, as they have so many times this season, the Warriors turned it one and broke the game wide open. Foxboro went on a 12-2 run to close the quarter and then added the first 10 points of the second.
Sykes knocked down both of her threes during that run and then assisted on a Sampson three. Sampson picked up a steal and raced down for a layup and Mollica knocked down a shot off another Sykes assist.
Moniz hit a three and scored all five of Taunton’s points in the second but Shannon Smally added four points in the post, Lizzy Davis scored on an offensive rebound, and Mollica drilled a three to push the Foxboro lead to 41-10 at the half.
The third quarter was even more prolific for the Warriors. Sampson scored plus a foul to kickstart a 10-point third, while Mollica buried a pair of threes in the quarter. Grace Tamulionis drilled a three and Abby Hassman scored four points, as Foxboro got points from nine different players.
Sykes continued to be the catalyst for the Foxboro offense, which has been highlighted by the extra pass to find open shooters. Downs said of Sykes, “She loves it. She would rather pass it to someone that’s open than take her threes. She’s just such a smart, heads up player, but she finds the girls that most other guards would not.”
Taunton continued to play hard into the fourth quarter, despite trailing by more than 50. The Tigers were starting three freshman and brought a freshman and eighth grader off the bench. Sonya Fernandez scored and got fouled on a drive, Tori DaRosa knocked down a pull-up jumper in the lane and eighth grader Abigail Souza (who also played in the freshman and JV games on Tuesday) buried a straightaway three for her first varsity points.
“You’ve got to take the positive from it over the last couple days, between injuries and everything going on,” said Harrigan about facing two of the top 10 teams in the state in a span of three days (the Tigers faced Coyle & Cassidy on Sunday).
He continued, “Hopefully this will help us become a little deeper and we still have a good shot at the state tournament and we’re going to work to get there. We had to get through some of these games and it’s unfortunate that we had to get through with a couple of injuries.”
Nine of the 11 wins for the Warriors this season have been by at least double digits and six wins have been by more than 30 points. Monday against Hopkinton was the second loss of the season (and first to count in the MIAA standings) and Downs saw it as motivation for the second half.
“We are going to have games like we had tonight and that’s honestly not going to prepare us for the Hopkinton game, but they realize they’re human, they’re beatable, and if we don’t show up any given night then that could happen,” she said.
“The sky’s the limit with this team and they hold their own destiny.”
Foxboro (11-2, 9-0) will put its unbeaten league record on the line against Oliver Ames on Friday, while Taunton (6-8, 4-5) will try to get back to .500 in the MIAA standings when it hosts Canton on Thursday.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – With only a few minutes left in the first half, Franklin sophomore center Ali Brigham made a scored in the lane to put the Panthers ahead 17-12 against defending Davenport division champion Foxboro. It would be Franklin’s largest lead of the game.
Up until that point, the Warriors were struggling to get anything going on offense during Tuesday night’s Hockomock League matchup. Three-pointers were clanging off the rim, the Panthers’ were dominating the glass, and Franklin’s zone defense seemed to have Foxboro off kilter.
But the experienced Warriors settled down, started to knock down shots, and turned the game on its head in a hurry. After scoring only 12 points over nearly 11 minutes of the first half, they scored 12 in the final three-plus minutes of the second quarter and never looked back.
Foxboro rolled off 20 straight points between the second and third quarters (including the first 18 points of the second half), closed the game on a 52-16 run, and ran out to a 64-33 victory.
“We were missing a few shots in the first half and the girls were critiquing themselves a little bit,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “Once they just settled in during the third quarter and they started hitting a few shots, you could feel the gush of confidence coming back.”
Franklin took an early lead during a first quarter that was largely dominated by both teams’ pressure defenses. After Brigham (12 points and 15 rebounds) scored of an assist by freshman Elizabeth Wilson, the Panthers took an 8-3 lead. Foxboro battled back to tie the game but Bea Bondhus got free on the baseline for a buzzer-beating layup off an inbounds to make it 10-8 after one quarter.
Brigham started to take over in the second with a personal 7-0 run that made it 17-12. Needing a spark, Foxboro got momentum not from its experienced stars but from newcomer Katelyn Mollica (18 points, three assists, and three steals). The freshman guard got a steal and scored on the break to cut the lead to three, as part of her six points in the quarter.
“She’s completely comfortable with them and what I love about her the most is that if she makes a mistake you’d never know it in her body language,” said Downs. “She never alters her game, never gets down on herself, just gets back and tries to get the next defensive stop.”
Grace Tamulionis knocked down a three off an assist by Ashley Sampson to put Foxboro ahead and Lily Sykes (10 points, six assists, and three steals) nailed one from distance as well. After a Calen Frongillo reverse brought Franklin within one, Sampson closed the half with a drive at the buzzer to give Foxboro a 24-21 lead at the break.
It was the start of a 20-0 run that sealed the win.
Sampson, the reigning Hockomock League MVP and Adelphi University-commit, took over the game in the second half. She scored 17 of her game-high 21 points after the break and added five rebounds, four assists, and four steals with her future college coach in the stands watching.
She started the half with four quick points then assisted on a jumper by Mollica. Sykes kicked a pass out to Tamulionis for her second three of the game and assisted on a jumper by Abby Hassman. Mollica drilled her second three of the game and then Sampson buried one as well and suddenly it was a 42-21 lead.
“I thought our 1-3-1 zone worked well in the first half but we were getting tired and we had to adjust,” said Leighton. “In man-to-man they really started exposing every open shot and taking advantage.”
He added, “We’re young. When they went on a run, instead of reacting, we kind of imploded for a bit. That’s something we have to learn from; it’s a great lesson for us.”
Franklin scored only three points in the third quarter, all three by Megan O’Connell (seven points and six rebounds), and the on-the-ball pressure of the Foxboro guards made it very difficult for Brigham to get any touches in the post. The reigning Underclassman of the Year was held to just a single made free throw in the second half.
“I thought Shannon [Smally] and Grace did a great job on Brigham, but more so it was the guards making it difficult for their guards to find her in there,” said Downs. “What we lack in height, we make up for in tenacity.”
Leighton explained, “I thought our offense broke down with ways to create for her. We started doing the ‘just stand underneath and throw it to her and hope something good happens,’ which just isn’t good basketball.”
The Panthers tried several different defensive looks in the game, but Foxboro’s experience was evident with the ball moving from player to player and the extra pass giving the Warriors consistent open looks. Foxboro added 21 points in the fourth, putting the game away and ensuring there was no comeback.
“We hadn’t practiced [the 1-3-1 zone] this week,” said Downs, “but they have it in their back pocket what we need to do – just making that extra pass, rotating the ball and knowing that we have shooters all around the court.”
Foxboro (3-1, 3-0) will try to extend its three-game win streak when it hosts fellow Div. 2 competitor Hopkinton on Thursday, while Franklin (3-1, 2-1) will host Coyle & Cassidy in an exclusion game.
Stoughton, 57 @ Attleboro, 72 – Final – Attleboro turned a one-point lead after one (17-16) into a 12-point gap by halftime (38-26) and never looked back against the visiting Black Knights. The Bombardiers shot 11-for-19 from three-point range (58%) with junior Mason Houle hitting five, netting a career-high 19 points. Sophomore Qualeem Charles also had a career night, netting a personal best 21 point while hauling in 18 rebounds. Junior Dom Victor added 10 points for Attleboro, who led 52-43 after three quarters. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews notched a team-high 17 points while Colin Sanda produced 13 points for the visitors.
Canton, 59 @ Mansfield, 67 – Final – Canton took a one-point lead after the first quarter, and a three-point lead into the fourth but Mansfield outscored the visitors 23-12 in the final frame to pull out the win. Mansfield opened the fourth quarter on a 13-4 run to create the separation. Senior John McCoy (10 rebounds) led the way for the Hornets with a career-high 22 points while Damani Scott dropped a career-high 13 points along with 12 rebounds. Canton’s Tony Harris scored a career-high 23 points with 11 rebounds while junior Devin Foster added 13 points.
Foxboro, 57 @ King Philip, 48 – Final – Foxboro senior Joe Morrison played the role of run stopper, draining a key three-pointer with just over a minute to play to help the Warriors survive a comeback attempt from King Philip. Foxboro built a 46-29 lead with just over a minute to play in the third quarter before KP put together a comeback over the next eight minutes. KP outscored Foxboro 16-5 during the stretch, closing the gap to just five (50-45) before Morrison buried the big shot. Morrison finished with a game-high 20 points, sophomore Brandon Borde added a career-high 15 points and Bobby Harrison added a career-best 10 points for Foxboro. King Philip senior Pharoah Davis led the hosts with 16 points, Brendan King added 11 points and junior Kyle Layman chipped in with 10 points.
Milford, 36 @ Franklin, 55 – Final – Franklin sophomore Chris Edgehill exploded for a career-high 28 points, helping the Panthers race past Milford. Franklin built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and kept a comfortable cushion the rest of the way, leading 34-21 at the break. Junior Jalen Samuels added 10 points and eight rebounds in the win for Franklin. Andrew Fraioli led Milford with eight points.
North Attleboro, 51 @ Taunton, 72 – Final – Taunton’s offense scored 20 or more points in two quarters and had 11 different players find the scoresheet in a win over North Attleboro, who was playing its season opener. The Tigers raced out to a 22-10 lead after the first quarter with sophomore Dante Law scoring seven of his team-high 18 points and junior Lou Vendrell netting six of his eight points in the frame. North junior Josh Montague scored 18 of his career-high 25 points between the second and third quarters. Taunton junior John Martins added 10 points while senior Lens Esquil added nine and sophomore Prince Brown chipped in with eight points.
Attleboro, 46 @ Stoughton, 43 – Final – The Bombardiers rallied from eight points down in the final quarter by outscoring the Black Knights 19-8 in the fourth to earn Marty Crowley’s first win at Attleboro. Abby Struminski hit a go-ahead three to put Attleboro in front and Jordyn Lako and Sam Pierce hit free throws to seal the victory. Pierce was Attleboro’s top scorer with 16 and Nyah Thomas added 11. Aliyah Wright led Stoughton with 15 points while Jordan Motley had eight points and 17 rebounds.
Mansfield, 67 @ Canton, 35 – Final – Mansfield bounced back from a loss to Foxboro with a road win at Canton. Mady Bendanillo and Meg Hill were the top scorers for the Hornets, each with 13 points.
King Philip, 21 @ Foxboro, 65 – FinalLily Sykes scored 21 points and Ashley Sampson had 14 to lead Foxboro to a second straight victory in the league. Abby Hassman also chipped in with 14 rebounds in the win.
Franklin, 58 @ Milford, 47 – Final – Three players scored in double digits, as Franklin improved to 3-0 on the season. Bea Bondhus scored 19 points, Megan O’Connell scored 17 and Ali Brigham had 10 points for the Panthers. Gillian Valanzola was Milford’s top scorer with 13 points.
Taunton, 50 @ North Attleboro, 29 – Final – The Tigers made it three wins from three games with a road win at North. Mackenzie Handrahan led Taunton with 17 points and nine rebounds and Lily Patneaude added 11 points in the victory. Julia Santos was the top scorer for North with nine points.
Oliver Ames, 54 @ Sharon, 27 – Final – Oliver Ames’ defense limited the Eagles to just 12 points at halftime, building a double-digit lead and never looking back. OA senior Kayla Raymond recorded a game-high 13 points while junior Alex Sheldon added 12 points for the Tigers in the win. Ally Brown scored eight points to lead the Eagles.
The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.
Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.
One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.
Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-14 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.
Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.
Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.
“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”
2016-2017 Record: 22-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal Coach: Lisa Downs
After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.
Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.
The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”
2016-2017 Record: 9-11 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.
The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.
Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.
“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.
King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.
Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.
Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”
2016-2017 Record: 20-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.
The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.
Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”
2016-2017 Record: 10-11 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.
The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.
Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.
Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”
Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.
The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.
The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.
North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 13-8 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.
The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.
In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.
“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.
Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.
Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.
Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”
The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.
Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.
Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-21 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.
The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.
Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.
Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”
Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Girls Cross Country All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Abby Hassman, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Shea Jamieson, Attlboro
Jamyang Lhadon, Attleboro
Kelly Neuendorf, Attleboro
Luisa Oliva, Attleboro
Abby Hassman, Foxboro
Katrina Albert, Franklin
Nicole Clermont, Franklin
Kate Hartnett, Franklin
Sydney Hawkins, Franklin
Erin Quinn, King Philip
Margaret Riley, Mansfield
Stephanie Hawkins, North Attleboro
Angela Kaiser, North Attleboro
Megan Leary, North Attleboro
Elizabeth Peckham, Oliver Ames
Madeline Peckham, Oliver Ames
Nia Mainer-Smith, Taunton
Lily Valcovic, Taunton
Foxboro sophomore Abby Hassman has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Oct. 22 through Oct. 28. Hassman is the eighth player selected for the 2017-18 school year, first cross country runner to be selected, and first Foxboro athlete to be chosen this fall.
Hassman capped a successful individual cross country season with an impressive first place performance at the Hockomock Cross Country Championships held this past weekend at the Wrentham Development Center. Hassman finished in a time of 19:03.22, which was 24 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Katherine Hartnett of Franklin.
“Abby works incredibly hard, and she makes everybody on the team better,” said Foxboro coach Joe Cusack. “Winning the league championship was something that I was hoping she could pull off if she ran well. She took the lead right before the mile, and pulled away to win by 24 seconds. She was really confident to take the lead that early, and she knew there were some excellent girls chasing her so she never let up.”
In the 2016 race, as a freshman, Hassman took third behind Franklin’s Nicole Clermont (who took third this year) and Hartnett. She improved her time at the Wrentham course by more than 50 seconds to jump into first, with a time that would have won the 2016 race as well.
Hassman finished the 2017 Hockomock campaign unbeaten, winning all five of the team’s dual meets during the season before taking first at Hocks.
It has been an impressive sophomore campaign for Hassman, who also plays basketball and lacrosse for Foxboro. She finished 16th in Div. 2 at the annual Twilight Invitational and closed out the league season with wins against Canton and Milford, finishing alongside teammate Lindsey Nelson (who took seventh in the league meet) to help the Warriors finish 3-2 in the Davenport division.
The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.