Stoughton, 67 @ Franklin, 77 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Franklin created separation in the opening quarter and that was proved to be the difference in a non-league crossover clash between the Panthers and visiting Stoughton. The hosts used a 15-3 surge in the first quarter, outscoring the Black Knights 22-10 overall in the first eight minutes. The game hovered around the 10-point cushion the rest of the way, with Stoughton winning the second (17-16) and fourth (21-18) quarters while Franklin edged the visitors in the third (21-19). The closest Stoughton got the rest of the way was seven, down 34-27 in the second quarter, and Franklin had the lead up to as much 19 (49-32) in the third. But the Black Knights continued to make a game of it, the game playing out like a one-possession game throughout. Stoughton made it an eight point game, 70-62, in the final minutes but Jake O’Brien delivered a dagger three, one of 13 made triples for the Panthers. Declan Walmsley saved the best for last, dropping a career-high 34 points (on 71% shooting) along with 11 rebounds in the final game of his high school career. Junior Sean Vinson came off the bench and added a career-high 12 points and six rebounds while Alex Newman had nine points and four boards for the hosts. Senior Waseem Sablon hit six threes for a career-high 22 points for Stoughton while junior KC Ugwuakazi had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Jake Queeney finished with 10 points and three assists.
Foxboro, 78 @ King Philip, 68 – Final – Foxboro led by 20 points at halftime and then had to hold off a furious KP comeback to close out the season with a seventh straight victory. KP got the lead down to as little as four in the second half, but the visitors made the plays down the stretch to secure the win. Katelyn Mollica closed out her stellar career with by scoring a career-high 35 points. The two-time state champion, Stonehill College-commit, and league’s leading scorer finished her career with more than 1,400 points, which puts her fourth all-time in program (and school) history. Caroline Aaron was the spark for KP, as she also put up a career-high, scoring 26 points in the loss. Jordyn Collins added 13 points and Hannah Blake and Erin Foley both had 11 for Foxboro.
Stoughton, 24 @ Oliver Ames, 71 – Final – Oliver Ames’ offense was firing on all cylinders on Saturday morning, pouring in 42 first half points in a big win over Stoughton, clinching the Davenport division title. Junior Caroline Peper led the way in scoring with 19 points while senior Kelsey Yelle added 17 points and 15 rebounds in the win. OA recorded 28 assists as a team.
Canton, 59 @ Attleboro, 52 – Final – Canton held off a late Attleboro comeback to close out the season with four straight wins. Kiara Cerruti paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 17. Sydney Gallery added 15 and Fay Gallery chipped in with 11 for Canton. Attleboro cut a 10-point lead in half with a minute remaining, but the Bulldogs had enough on both ends to finish with the victory. Meghan Gordon was Attleboro’s top scorer with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Kayla Goldrick scored 11 points and Narissa Smith and Emma Reilly both finished with eight. Attleboro coach Marty Crowley called it a “great Hock game between two good teams.”
North Attleboro, 3 @ Mansfield, 9 – Final
MANSFIELD, Mass. – For nearly three quarters, the Franklin boys basketball was following its gameplay to near perfection.
The Panthers were sharing the ball on offense, cutting to the basket, and hitting open looks from outside. And the defense was on point too, keeping the Hockomock League’s leading scorer Matt Boen in check for over 20 minutes.
But as the visitors learned the hard way, anything short of a full 32-minute performance isn’t enough to beat the Hornets.
Franklin’s double-digit second half lead evaporated, shrinking over the final minutes of the third quarter and disappearing by the midway point of the fourth. Instead, it was Mansfield who walked away with a double-digit victory, 60-50, behind a big second half turnaround.
There wasn’t much separating the teams throughout the first half but a pair of late threes had the Panthers up 32-24 at the halftime break. Franklin added two more from downtown range in the opening minutes of the third and suddenly, what was once a back-and-forth game that featured lead change after lead change, was looking like a runaway win for the Panthers up 42-27 at the midway point of the third.
“I just thought we had to exert ourselves a little bit on both ends of the court,” offered Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan.
It started with defense as the Hornets held the visitors without points for nearly five minutes. In fact, Mansfield allowed just two points over the final five minutes of the third quarter. And with stops on the defensive end came some confidence on the offensive end.
Boen got the offense going with a floater from the baseline and senior Brendan Foley had an easy layup after a nice back cut. After two more free throws from Boen, junior Matt Hyland (14 points, five rebounds) hit a big three and junior Chris Hill had a nice take to the rim.
Boen capped Mansfield’s 13-2 run by hitting both of his chances from the free throw line and just like that, the deficit was just four, 44-40, going into the fourth. Mansfield went 19-of-25 from the line while Franklin was 4-of-6.
Mansfield boys basketball
“It helped they missed some shots that they didn’t miss in the first half,” Vaughan added. “They shot the ball really well, they did some things to put ourselves in some bad situations. Historically I like to give Franklin credit for their defense but [on offense] they put us in some situations that don’t normally get put in with their cutting and their movement, they were really committed to it. And I don’t think it was a lack of effort as much as really good design by them. And they hit shots to follow it.”
Franklins seemed to shake off the Hornets’ run when senior Andrew Byfield scored down low and freshman Henry Digiorgio had a big steal that ended up with a free throw. But by this point, Mansfield was in a rhythm as Jack Colby (12 points, nine rebounds) hit two free throws after a big defensive board and Boen tied the game with five minutes to go with a triple.
Mansfield got a stop and Boen, who was limited to just five points on 3-of-3 shooting in the first half, drained another triple to put the hosts ahead. Byfield answered with a putback on one end but Colby corralled an offensive rebound on the other end, completing a traditional three-point play after being fouled on the putback.
“We have to be consistent throughout the game,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Everything we did to get that lead went out the window when they started to make that run. Honestly, I didn’t think we handled it well mentally…we started doing things that were out of character, different from what we were doing in the first half…the ball movement, the patience, the sharing the basketball, following the scout defensively…instead we started to press a little bit trying to make plays instead of letting it come to us. We had a very specific plan defensively and I thought we got away from that and they got free.”
Mansfield boys basketball
Franklin shot 46% from the field (11-of-24) in the first half but managed just seven makes (7-of-28) in the second half, including just 2-of-12 from three-point range.
Another Franklin miss allowed Mansfield to get out and run and Boen attacked the rim for two, and following a Franklin turnover, it was two more points for the senior guard for a 57-50 lead with just over two minutes to go.
“I thought we tried to make up their entire run on one possession,” Neely said. “We knew they’d make some plays but instead of buckling down when it happened, it seemed like we started to panic a bit and take shots that were uncharacteristic to what was giving us success. You can’t allow that to happen against Mansfield, they’re a great team, they are disciplined and they aren’t going away.”
An off-ball offensive foul gave the Hornets the ball back and Hyland made the most of a second chance opportunity, darting to the basket for two to ice the win.
“Once we figured their pace on offense to at least slow them down some, they missed a couple shots, and we were able to go down and score a couple in a row,” Vaughan said, “We found some rhythm and it felt like they got a little tight. As they say, you’d rather be playing well in the fourth than the first.”
Franklin’s best offensive quarter was the second with five of their six makes from the field coming from three-point range. Sean Vinson hit the first one, Jake O’Brien (14 points) hit three in a three minute span, and freshman Henry Digiorgio had another. Declan Walmsley (11 points, nine rebounds) added two three-pointers in the game while Alex Newman had one as the Panthers finished with 10 makes from downtown.
Mansfield boys basketball
Boen ended up with 12 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. With Franklin paying extra attention to the senior guard, and with Hornet senior forward TJ Guy out with an injury, Mansfield needed other players to step up. Both Hyland and Colby answered the call.
Both players scored five points in the opening quarter to help the Hornets keep pace with the visitors, who hit three trifectas in the opening eight minutes. Digiorgio (10 points) hit two of those to help the Panthers build a 15-14 lead after one quarter.
Hyland continued to attack the basket in the second quarter while Franklin’s defense continued to limit Boen’s touches. In the second half, Colby made a lot of hustle players, including a team-high four offensive rebounds, to help spark the comeback.
“Hyland and Jack stepped up and had some big plays for us,” Vaughan said. “And granted, [Boen] hit some shots too which built our confidence. When he scores, the level of pressure for the other guys goes down. They have some room to make a mistake because they know he’s going to find a way to make a basket. Then all of a sudden, they’re making baskets too and that inflates the confidence. Both Hyland and Jack came up with big plays right when we needed them to.
“I talked to Jack earlier this season about how we needed him to be a competitor, not just someone who sits in the corner and shoots threes. We need a mixture of both and he’s really taken that to heart. If he just sits in the corner and shoots, I can sub someone else in for that. If he’s grabbing rebounds, plays defense, contests defense, I can’t replace him. He becomes one of the guys I have to leave on the floor for most of the game. And Jack, out of all kids on this team, has made an unbelievable commitment to the game and now you’re seeing the fruits of his labor, it’s paying off. Now we need to see him committed to that style of play each game.”
This will be the quickest turnaround between games for the two rivals as Mansfield (6-0 overall, 5-0 Kelley-Rex) travel to Franklin (4-3, 4-3) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
“It was what you’d expect for a Saturday morning game, it didn’t feel like either team was there defensively,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “We were out of it defensively all day. It was a close game in the second half and we were acting like we were down 20. We have to get over our mistakes quicker, we have kids that dwell on them too long.”
The Tigers carried a 55-51 advantage into the fourth quarter but the lead didn’t last long as the Panthers came out strong to start the final period. Jake O’Brien (13 points) finished through contact and Declan Walmsley (20 points, six rebounds, four assists) hit two from the line then drained a straightaway triple to put Franklin ahead 58-55, just its second lead after a brief one-point edge in the second quarter.
But there was no quit in the Tigers, orchestrating a run that would put them ahead for good. Senior Josh Lopes, who had been held scoreless through three quarters, hit one from the line and then finished off a traditional three-point play following a Franklin turnover.
Taunton got a stop and junior Trent Santos (nine points) dropped a pass down low for senior big man Tyler Stewart (15 points, 15 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass, four assists) to finish. Franklin senior Zach Harvey (12 points, six rebounds, nine assists, three steals), who had a terrific all-around game for the Panthers, made a diving save out of bounds that resulted in a layup for Andrew Byfield to keep it a one-point game at 61-60.
“We spent a lot of time on the offense at practice after Thursday’s game, we knew we had to get better and take care of the ball better and have more effective movement,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely. “I thought the guys did a really good job, I was really happy with how we moved the ball and our patience. You could see what we’re capable of on offense when we moved the ball so hopefully, the guys learned their lesson.
“But we gave them too many opportunities on the defensive end, we didn’t secure enough rebounds or finish off defensive possessions like we usually do and that crushed us. You can’t let a really good team like that have second or third chances like that.”
Taunton boys basketball
Stewart, who drew double teams all game, showed off his passing skills with a nice feed to Faisal Mass (five points, six rebounds), who was cutting baseline for an easy two. Mass then blocked a putback attempt and two plays later, junior Tristan Herry (14 points, four rebounds) found Lopes for a big three and a 66-60 lead with under three minutes to go.
Walmsley answered for the Panthers with another three to make it a one-possession game but Santos confidently sliced through the defense and dropped in a floater as the clock ticked under two minutes to go. Franklin was off the mark on a three and Stewart pushed the lead to six on a free throw.
O’Brien found space and converted at the rim for two to make it 69-65, and the Panthers got an important stop but Herry was the first to the floor to pounce on the loose ball for the offensive rebound (Taunton’s 18th offensive rebound) and got a timeout to keep possession with 29.2 seconds to go. Santos hit two from the line to ice the win.
“[Tristan] is the energizer bunny for us, he really is,” Dacey said of Herry, who not only grabbed the key offensive rebound but also shined defensively and stepped in to take charges. “And the other kids feed off of it too, and they feed off of Danny [MacDougall] too. We have some guys that are laid back, and that was one issue today where we had too many guys too laid back simultaneously. So getting the energy from those two guys really helped.”
While MacDougall didn’t factor into the fourth quarter scoring, he played a huge role through the first three quarters for the hosts. He came off the bench and hit two shots in the first quarter and grabbed two boards, helping the Tigers to a 22-19 lead after eight minutes.
Taunton boys basketball
He added two more field goals in the second quarter with nice takes to the rim and dished out three assists, while Isiah Seldon also came off the bench for a pair of field goals in the second as Taunton staked a 41-35 halftime lead.
Franklin made it a two-point game early in the third before Santos pushed it back to five with a three. Then MacDougall came up with a steal and found Lopes streaking up the court. Lopes’ feet were accidentally tripped up by a defender and he tossed the ball up as he was falling out of bounds, and MacDougall alertly sprinted the floor and grabbed possession, and laid it in for two and a 51-44 lead. MacDougall finished with a career-high 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
“Danny’s unbelievable…he did a good job today,” Dacey said. “We felt like we weren’t losing anything, there wasn’t a drop off when we put Danny in today. He really helped out.”
While Herry and MacDougall provided a big energy boost for the home team, Harvey did the same for the visitors. The senior guard was a menace on both ends of the court, locking up one of the Tigers’ top guards while running the offense.
On top of his career-high 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting), he dished out a career-high nine assists with only two turnovers, grabbing three steals on defense. His ability to penetrate the defense led to easy layups and open looks from three-point range for the likes of Walmsley, Alex Newman, and freshman Henry Digiorgio (13 points, 3-of-8 three point).
“Zach’s a captain for us for those types of reasons,” Neely said. “He doesn’t do many of the fanfare things that everyone sees, but it’s nice to see he get some assist numbers. But his contributions go far beyond the stat book. He was spraying it around and getting guys good looks, he takes on tough defensive matchups. He had Lopes today and held him scoreless until the fourth. I’m really happy for him because he had a great game, I just wish it could have been a ‘W.’”
Taunton (2-0) returns to action next week on Tuesday when it travels to take on Kelley-Rex newcomer Milford. Franklin (4-2) will try to snap its current two-game skid when it makes the trip to take on rival Mansfield on the same day.
“I thought our defense was pretty good,” Dacey said. “That’s a lot of motion, you can’t duplicate what they do in practice. If they were hitting their shots we would have been in trouble because they had some decent looks.
“We were hitting the threes [early] which certainly helps. Then we kind of insisted on shooting them as the game went on, which drives me crazy.”
Dacey coached at the sub-varsity level for over a decade, including seven years at Taunton, before taking over for the 1989-1990 season.
“It’s always a matter of longevity,” Dacey said of his milestone win. “We’ve got a little bit of a culture here in Taunton and there’s an expectation here. But it’s the kids, it’s true, it’s all about the kids. You don’t get this many wins without having some good, coachable kids and this is the most coachable group I’ve had in a while.”
The Tigers didn’t show much rust at the start of the game, shooting just under 50% from the floor and connecting from three-point range four times. The pace was frantic from the start, with the teams combining for over 50 possessions in the first eight minutes.
Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball
Junior Faisal Mass (13 points, six rebounds) converted a pass from Trent Santos (10 points, four rebounds) on the opening possession and the Tigers were off and running. Tyler Stewart (11 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks) scored down low, Josh Lopes (11 points, four rebounds) scored five straight surrounded by a pair of Franklin turnovers, and Santos sank a three as Taunton jumped out to a 12-5 lead just over three minutes in.
Santos hit his second trifecta of the period, Stewart hit two from the line after being fouled, and Lopes capped the quarter with his second three-pointer to give Taunton a 20-11 lead after one.
That momentum continued into the second as senior Danny MacDougall came off the bench to give the Tigers an early boost. After a free throw and a Franklin turnover, MacDougall knocked down a corner three. Taunton’s defense kept the hosts off the board for almost three minutes to start the second.
After a little lull, Mass sank a corner three and Nigel Choate came up with a steal, the Tigers eventually getting a three-pointer from Tristan Herry to make it 30-15 just past the midway point of the second. Lopes scored at the rim, Stewart cleaned up a miss with a putback, and Herry made a late layup for a 36-20 halftime lead.
“I think the start of the game was, unfortunately, the difference right off the bat,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “It felt like they got all 20 points in the first five minutes. It’s a big hole to dig against a really good team. It was a game we could have easily lost by 30 but credit to our guys for sticking with it. I thought defensively we did a really good job but scoring 46 points isn’t going to get it done.
“Just too many turnovers throughout the game really hurt us. Credit them for their defensive pressure, they had some blocked shots early so we were a little tentative taking it to the rim at times.”
To no one’s surprise, Franklin didn’t lay down and slowly crawled its way back into the contest. Even though Mass hit a three to open the second half to give the Tigers a 19-point lead, it would be the last triple for the visitors. And the Panthers held Taunton to just six points the rest of the third.
Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball
Freshman Henry Digiorgio connected from downtown early in the frame andAndrew Byfield (from Zach Harvey) added another triple as the Panthers stayed within striking distance. Despite limiting Taunton to just nine points in the quarter, Franklin entered the fourth quarter staring at a 45-30 deficit.
Taunton’s offense continued to sputter against Franklin’s aggressive defense. Not only were the Panthers doing a good job taking away open looks on the three-point line, Franklin put plenty of attention on Stewart, who dominated the paint all of last season.
Missed free throws and turnovers plagued both teams for the first four minutes of the final period, so when Santos finished off a fast break transition basket to make it 49-35 with 4:33 to go, Taunton’s lead looked safe.
But Byfield (nine points, six rebounds, two blocks) crashed the offensive boards for two, Jake O’Brien (17 points) drove the lane and hit a floater, and Declan Walmsley (nine points, eight rebounds) went coast-to-coast for two and suddenly it was just 49-41 with 2:27 to play.
“I don’t think fatigue was the issue but it was like, what’s going on?…we just lost our mojo [in the second half],” Dacey said. “The difference in games played matters. This is the first time we’ve been at game speed, and it certainly showed in places.”
Taunton turned it over coming out of a timeout and Walmsley found Byfield for two. The Tigers had three chances at stopping the run but couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Franklin’s three-point attempt was off with under a minute to go and Stewart hit one free throw after grabbing the defensive rebound.
Two more from Mass pushed it to 52-43 but a corner three from Alex Newman brought it back to a six-point game. Taunton made enough from the line down the stretch to hold on.
“They have three or four guys that can easily be a league all star so it’s kind of like pick your poison, trying to figure out which guy you want to stop,” Neely said. “We saw it last year, you stop one and another one gets going. They are a great team, I feel bad they don’t have a state tournament to play in because that’s one of the best teams around.”
Taunton (1-0) will host Franklin (4-1) in a rematch on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM.