Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
Matt Boen, Mansfield
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Justin Daniels, Attleboro
Declan Walmsley, Franklin
Will Laplante, King Philip
Matt Boen, Mansfield
Jack Colby, Mansfield
Matt Hyland, Mansfield
Jordan Darling, Milford
Trent Santos, Taunton
Tyler Stewart, Taunton
Davenport Division Co-MVPs
Amari Brown, Oliver Ames
George Ladd, North Attleboro
Davenport Division All Stars
Ryan Connerney, Canton
Dylan Gordon, Foxboro
Alex Penders, Foxboro
George Ladd, North Attleboro
Brody Rosenberg, North Attleboro
Amari Brown, Oliver Ames
Drew Baxter, Oliver Ames
KC Ugwuakazi, Stoughton
Matt Baskin, Sharon
Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
Sharon, 50 @ Milford, 62 – Final – Six players in a game-changing second quarter as Milford turned a close game into a comfortable lead that it never relinquished. The Hawks had a 10-6 lead after eight minutes before exploding for 24 points in the second quarter with Ben Blanchard scoring seven of his 13 points and Jordan Darling netting seven of his 16 points to help Milford get the win. Wes Solomon and Max Martin each connected from three-point range while Ralph Franklin Jr. and Brady Olson each scored in the second to give the Hawks a 34-15 lead at halftime. Blanchard added two more threes and Darling connected from three in the third as Milford carried a 48-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Sharon had 10 players get into the scoring column as Rohan Prakash came off the bench to tie for a team-high eight points.
Stoughton, 53 @ Oliver Ames, 62 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Oliver Ames overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to pick up a win over Stoughton, clinching sole possession of the Davenport division title. The Black Knights had a great start, putting up 17 points in the first quarter and 19 more in the second to build a 36-26 lead at halftime. But OA’s defense limited the visitors to 13 points in the third and just four in the fourth, and on the offensive end the Tigers cashed in on 23 offensive rebounds to get the win. OA exploded for 26 points in the third to take a 52-49 lead into the fourth. With points hard to come by in the fourth, Stoughton got possession back down 56-53 with 1:35 to play but an issue with the official book resulted in a technical foul on the Black Knights. OA sank both free throws, snapping a 3:30 scoreless drought. OA got a big stop and Amari Brown (23 points) scored in transition to ice the win. Drew Nickla (16 points, 11 rebounds) was the catalyst behind the offensive rebounding surge while Drew Baxter added nine points and six rebounds and Will Whiteside had seven points and 14 rebounds. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi had 16 points and eight rebounds while senior Waseem Sablon added 13 points.
Taunton, 59 @ Attleboro, 56 – Final – Taunton got just enough stops down the stretch, including a go-ahead three-point attempt from Attleboro with five seconds to go, to earn the win on the road and keep its division title hopes alive. Senior Tyler Stewart scored six of his 20 points in the final frame and junior Tristan Herry hit a huge three with just over four minutes to go to put the visitors up 56-54. Attleboro tied the game off a Taunton turnover with senior Justin Daniels, who scored a career-high 29 points, converted a layup with three minutes to go. Stewart put Taunton ahead with a free throw and the Tigers blanked the Bombardiers the rest of the way. Junior Trent Santos added 13 points and junior Faisal Mass had 11 points in the win for the Tigers. Evan Houle and Alec Eaton chipped in with nine points apiece for Attleboro.
Mansfield, 74 vs. Lowell Catholic, 57 – Final – Holding a six-point lead at halftime, Mansfield dropped 21 points in the third quarter to turn its advantage into 57-42 going into the final quarter. Brendan Foley, Jack Colby, and Matt Hyland all hit from three-point range and had five points apiece in the third to help the Hornets pull away for the win. Senior Matt Boen led the offensive charge with 20 points along with nine assists and six rebounds. Hyland finished with a career-high 17 points an eight assists while Foley had 12 points and Colby chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Oliver Ames, 63 @ Stoughton, 15 – Final – Oliver Ames completed a perfect 10-0 season with a win on the road over Stoughton. Caroline Peper led the balanced scoring attack for the Tigers with 12 points while Kelsey Yelle added 10 points and Caroline Flynn chipped in wit nine points. Freshman Jasmyn Cooper finished with eight boards in the win.
Oliver Ames, 66 @ Sharon, 47 – Final – After a close first quarter, Oliver Ames broke the game wide open with 22 points in the second frame and never looked back for a win on the road. The Tigers held a slim 11-10 lead after eight minutes of action before winning the second, 22-6. Kevin Duggan scored six of his eight points in the frame, Amari Brown (17 points) and Trey Buggs (career-high 15 points) each had four while Drew Baxter (15 points) and CJ Santos each connected from downtown. OA had a total of nine players reach the scoring column, owning a 33-16 halftime lead and a 49-24 advantage through three quarters. Sophomore Matt Baur led the hosts in scoring with 16 points while junior Sam Cohen added 10 points.
Attleboro, 55 @ Foxboro, 33 – Final – Attleboro used its pressure man-to-man defense to force turnovers and cashed in in transition on its way to a win on the road over Foxboro. The Bombardiers jumped out to a 16-7 lead after a quarter and then had its best offensive period in the second with 21 points. Evan Houle scored 10 of his 13 points in the opening half, Justin Daniels had eight of his nine by the break, and Alec Eaton scored all seven of his points in the first half for Attleboro, who had 10 players get into the scoring column. Junior Dylan Gordon led Foxboro with 13 points while senior Myles Horsley and sophomore Alex Penders each had nine points.
North Attleboro, 51 @ Canton, 67 – Final – Canton led by four after one quarter but then went on an 18-8 run to close out the half with a double-digit lead. North tried to rally in the fourth, scoring 23 points in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback. Amanda Kaiser was the top scorer for the Rocketeers with 16 points, 10 of them in the fourth. Taylor McMath scored 11 and Siobhan Weir added eight in the loss.
Mansfield, 63 @ Notre Dame Academy (Hingham), 60 – Final (OT)
North Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. North scored twice in the first and twice more in the third to pick up the road win. Nik Kojoian scored a pair of goals and assisted on another and Brady Sarro found the back of the net twice to lead the Rocketeers. Kyle Gruber had the shutout, including a big stop on a second period breakaway by Joe McNulty. Stoughton/Brockton goalie Ryan Spano (51 saves) had a strong game to keep the Black Knights in the game.
Canton, 120.55 @ Franklin, 142.25 – Final
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The defensive game plan for the North Attleboro boys basketball team was clear and concise: try and stop Amari Brown.
Short of the kitchen sink, the Rocketeers threw everything — and nearly everyone — at trying to stop the senior guard. The plan worked enough for the hosts, who made just enough plays down the stretch on the offensive end to earn a 48-43 win over Oliver Ames, handing the Tigers their first loss of the season.
“Amari is one of the best players in the league, he’s tremendously dangerous in transition, even on made baskets and he’s able to score before your defense is set,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “And then even in the half court he’s so quick, he can make the three, and the element of his game that gets overlooked is he’s so strong, even at whatever he’s at height-wise, he’s able to get guys in the box and score. Our game plan was pretty straight forward, we wanted to build a wall and really pack it in around him. And we had to get back on transition defense and rebound because OA does a great job crashing.
Brown, one of the top players in the Hockomock League and one of the leading scorers this season, accounted for over half of the Tigers’ points (24) in the first meeting between Oliver Ames and North Attleboro, a win for the former back at the start of January.
North Attleboro boys basketball
In order to prevent an encore performance, North Attleboro sprinted back on defense to prevent transition opportunities, brought double teams to contest three-point looks, and built a “Big Red” wall with up to three or four players in the way on the defensive end to try and prevent one of the most dynamic guards in the league for getting to the rim.
Oliver Ames’ defense was up to the task as well, holding the hosts to just seven points in the second quarter and 17 total first half points. Both teams started to pick it up offensively in the third and North’s offense had just enough of a run in the final quarter to create enough separation to hold on.
“I thought out guys were focused defensively and that was the difference,” Mulkerrins said, holding the visitors to just three made three-pointers and forcing the Tigers into 15 turnovers. “We definitely weren’t in cruise control on offense but I felt like our defense was so solid that our offense would figure it out and we have a lot of high IQ guys that will make plays for us. And we made just enough of them to get the win.”
North Attleboro nearly matched its first half offensive output in the third quarter, turning a one-point deficit through 16 minutes of action into a three-point edge going into the final frame.
North Attleboro boys basketball
Gavin Wells, one of eight Rocketeers to hit a field goal, opened the quarter with a corner three, and senior Jason Rodriguez drove hard to the rim for a layup and then got out in transition, resulting in two free throws and a 38-32 lead two minutes into the fourth.
Brown (eight points) hit a free throw to cut the deficit to five but North Attleboro senior George Ladd (19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) came back with back-to-back field goals to give the hosts their largest lead, 42-33, and forced an OA timeout with 4:41 to play.
Different faces stepped up for OA as the Tigers grinded their way back into the game. Jake Grimaldi came off the bench for two in the post, Brown hit another free throw, and Drew Nickla added two more from the line to make it 42-38 with three minutes left.
Wells hustled to earn the Rocketeers a second chance on the offensive board before the teams traded turnovers, the latter a steal from Brody Rosenberg that resulted in a layup from Casey Poirier.
With under a minute to play, Drew Baxter (13 points) earned a trip to the line and sank both chances and Oliver Ames’ full court resulted in a traveling call to get the ball back. Will Whiteside got an open look from straight away and drained it and what was once a nine-point lead shrunk to just one, 44-43, with 40.4 seconds to play.
“That’s not a lot of difference between that game and what we’ve been doing all year,” said OA head coach Don Byron. “We’ve managed to be on the right side of the games before this but they’ve all been around this. It wasn’t that much out of character. I think sometimes the thought of a big game, doesn’t necessarily get you nervous but you get caught standing around waiting for something to happen. I think we did a lot of that early on. Defensively we were still pretty good, put ourselves in a position to win.”
The Tigers were whistled for an off ball foul in the post and Ladd sank both attempts of his one-and-one from the line with 27.5 to go. OA launched two threes to try and tie the game but couldn’t convert and Ladd came down with the second miss, went to the line again, and iced the game with two more free throws.
“I never felt like the game got away from us, OA’s defense is so solid, they are bumping cutters, and so much of our offense is dictated by moving the ball, moving people, moving defenders, and they were doing such a good job grabbing and holding, matching wanting what we wanted to do,” Mulkerrins said. “We never got really going offensively but I had faith we could make plays down the stretch.”
North got off to a strong start with Edan Kelley hitting his first shot in his first game back and Ladd going for six straight and an 8-0 lead. OA responded with strong defense, forcing Rocketeer turnovers into layups for Whiteside and Brown while Trey Buggs added a three to get within three, 10-7, after a quarter.
The Tigers’ strong defense continued into the second quarter, limiting the hosts to seven points on 3-for-11 shooting from the field with four turnovers. That gave the visitors enough of a chance to claw their way through North’s tough defense. Baxter hit an early three and then drove to the basket for two, Jaden Krowski cut to the basket to beat the shot clock, and Nickla scored the final four points of the quarter as OA staked an 18-17 halftime lead.
North Attleboro hit on six of its nine field goal attempts in the third quarter to jump back ahead. Jared Vacher sandwiched a pair of buckets around a putback from Ladd, Tommy Onorato drained a three-pointer when Ladd was triple-teamed in the post, and then Ladd himself stepped out of his comfort zone and sank a rare corner three.
“Eight guys got into the scoring column for us, which was great to see,” Mulkerrins said. “We know what George is going to bring and that he’s going to get a lot of attention. We just keep preaching movement off the ball and cutting to the rim. I have a lot of faith in everyone on this team.”
Oliver Ames (6-1, 6-1) travels to rival Sharon on the same day.
Attleboro, 44 @ Franklin, 60 – Final – Franklin established a lead after a quarter, built on it by halftime, and pulled away with a dominant third quarter to avenge its loss to Attleboro. The Panthers were up 31-20 at the halftime break before winning the third quarter, 20-4, to put the game away. Declan Walmsley (13 points) hit a pair of threes in the third, Andrew Byfield (11 points) added five points and both Jake O’Brien and Zach Harvey added four as the Panthers took a 51-24 lead into the final frame.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Stoughton, 47 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Drew Nickla beat the shot clock with a spinning shot in the lane with just over a minute to go and the Tigers hung on for a win over the Black Knights. Nickla scored eight of his career-high 20 points as the Tigers raced out to a 21-6 lead through eight minutes, and carrie a 29-17 advantage into halftime. OA led by 10 (42-32) going into the fourth but a late 7-0 run from the Knights made it a two-point game in the final minutes, setting up Nickla’s big basket. Amari Brown added 11 points for OA in the win. Brett Pendenza scored a team-high 18 points for Stoughton while KC Ugwuakazi chipped in with 10 points.
Mansfield, 74 @ Milford, 36 – Final – After a close first quarter, Mansfield extended its lead to double-digits by halftime and never looked back in a win over Milford. The Hornets held a slim 10-8 lead after a quarter, pushed the advantage to 30-16 at halftime, and went off for 22 third quarter points for a 52-30 edge going into the final frame. Senior Matt Boen led the way with a team-high 30 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two assists, junior Chris Hill added 15 points, five rebounds, and four steals, and senior Brendan Foley finished with 10 points.
King Philip, 55 @ Taunton, 84 – Final – Taunton’s offense was too much too handle for the visiting Warriors as the Tigers scored 40 first half points and exploded for 29 points in the third quarter to pull away. The Warriors kept pace with the hosts through the first eight minutes, trailing by just two, 21-19, after the first. Taunton’s offense kept rolling with 19 more points in the second for a 40-28 lead at halftime before its 29-point third made it 69-43. Junior Trent Santos scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the third. Tyler Stewart added 16 points, Josh Lopes finished with 13 points, Nigel Choate chipped in with 11 points and Danny MacDougall scored 10 points for Taunton. Sophomore Will Laplante led KP with a game-high 20 points.
Franklin, 47 @ Attleboro, 28 – Final – Franklin closed out is second straight unbeaten regular season with a sweep of the Bombardiers. Olivia Quinn led the Panthers in all 10 games this season, including 16 points against Attleboro. Elizabeth Wilson, who recently committed to Endicott College, chipped in with nine points for the Panthers.
Sharon, 22 @ North Attleboro, 65 – Final – North celebrated senior night with a strong defensive performance and a big win. All four seniors hit double digits for the Rocketeers. Amanda Kaiser led the way with 19, including 12 in the opening quarter. Lydia Santos added a dozen, Siobhan Weir had 11 points, and Cailyn Maxcy scored a career-high 10. North led 40-16 at halftime, but allowed only six points after the break and North coach Nikki Correia praised her team’s pressure defense for creating easy baskets on the other end of the floor.
Stoughton @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to TBD.
Milford, 41 @ Mansfield, 61 – Final – All 10 Hornets scored for Mansfield on Thursday, as the Hornets pulled away for a big win. Olivia Salisbury scored nine point to pace Mansfield, while Abby Wager and Kayla Vine each scored eight points. Jillian Michelson was Milford’s top scorer with 10 points.
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames avenged its loss to the Black Knights on Wednesday evening with a 2-1 win on Thursday afternoon. Freshman Jack Corey scored his first career goal while classmate Andy Livingstone scored the game-winner late in the third for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 49 @ Foxboro, 45 – Final – Oliver Ames opened the second half with a big run and then held on as Foxboro made a fourth-quarter push. Similar to Friday night’s game, OA turned a close game at halftime (25-25) into a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter, this time using a 15-2 run to start the third quarter. But Foxboro didn’t back down, battling back in the fourth to make it a one-possession game late. Junior Dylan Gordon stole a pass and scored with just under a minute to go to make it 48-45 but the Tigers were able to hold on for the win. OA senior Amari Brown led all scorers with a game-high 28 points, scoring 14 points in each quarter. Sophomore Alex Penders scored a career-high 19 points while Gordon added 14 points.
Canton, 16 @ Mansfield, 55 – Final – Mansfield’s defense pitched a first quarter shutout and allowed just one first half field goal in a big win over Canton. Baskets from Brendan Foley, TJ Guy, Matt Boen, Brian See, and Chris Hill helped the Hornets establish an 11-0 lead after eight minutes, and junior Matt Hyland helped Mansfield extend the lead to 26-3 at half. Guy added eight of his game-high 15 points in the third quarter. Mansfield’s Matt Boen and Canton’s Eric Mischler each had eight points.
North Attleboro, 42 @ Mansfield, 69 – Final – Mansfield came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 39 points in the first half to take control of the game and never looked back. Brooke Berube led all scorers with 14 points and Abby Wager added 12 points and a strong all-around game on both ends of the floor to help the Hornets pick up the non-league win. Kayla Vine also had 12 points for Mansfield. North tried to chip away at the lead in the second half and had it down to 13 with five minutes to play, but couldn’t get any closer. Taylor McMath had 12 points to pace North and Amanda Kaiser added six.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ King Philip, 8 – Final – King Philip lit the lamp four times in the opening period and tacked on three more in the second period on its way to a big win over Oliver Ames in a non-league clash. Conor Cooke (Paul McDonald, Aidan Boulger) and Brad Guden scored just a minute apart to get the scoring started while David Lawler (power play from Boulger, Max Robison) and Rocco Bianculli (Kevin Birenbaum) added two more late in the period. Boulger added two goals in the second, Sean Crowther added another goal, and Shaun Fitzpatrick capped the scoring in the third.
Stoughton, 2 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 5 – Final
King Philip, 5 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Jen Daniels scored twice and three Warriors each scored once as King Philip avenged its loss to Franklin to split the seasons series. Kara McWhinnie, Sydney O’Shea, and Kelly Holmes also scored for KP.
King Philip, 129.70 @ Sharon, 108.70 – Final
King Philip, 36 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – Franklin set the tone on both ends of the court early and never looked back in a big win over King Philip. The Panthers scored 18 points in the first quarter while limiting the visitors to three points. Senior Andrew Byfield anchored the strong start, scoring 10 of his team-high 16 points in the opening quarter. Franklin took a 33-17 lead into the halftime break. Franklin senior Declan Walmsley added eight of his 13 points in the third quarter. Danny Clancy led the Warriors with 10 points.
Foxboro, 39 @ Oliver Ames, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game – After a back-and-forth first half, Oliver Ames blew the game wide open with a dominant third quarter. The Tigers held a 27-23 lead at the break but switched to a 2-2-1 press that completely changed the game, forcing nine Warrior turnovers. OA outscored the visitors 23-2 in the frame to turn a close game into a runaway win. Senior Amari Brown scored half of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter while Drew Baxter (10 points) had four of his six steals. Will Whiteside added 13 points for the Tigers in the win. Dylan Gordon led Foxboro with nine points while sophomores Sam Golub and Alex Penders (nine rebounds) had eight points each.
Stoughton, 54 @ Canton, 59 – Final – Stoughton whittled down a double-digit deficit to just two with under a minute to play but Canton got a big stop and held on for the win. Canton exploded for 21 points out of the gate and took a 35-26 lead into halftime and a 43-36 advantage in the fourth. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the final frame, helping make it a 56-54 game but the Black Knights saw the go-ahead three go in-and-out. Canton sealed it with a defensive rebound and a quick push up court for a quick two from senior Eric Mischler (eight points). Canton senior Will Keefe accounted for half of the Bulldogs’ eight threes, finishing with a career-high 14 points to lead the way. Ryan Connerney (three triples) added 12 points and Steven Burbank scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Stoughton senior Elisha Claude added 10 points, all in the second half, for the Black Knights.
Sharon, 54 @ Foxboro, 53 – Final (OT) – Foxboro sank the game-tying three in the final seconds to force overtime but its look at the game-winner was just off the mark in overtime as Sharon picked up a win on the road to open the season. The Eagles held a 50-47 lead late but Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon hit the tying shot from downtown just before the buzzer to force the extra period. After getting a stop, Sharon senior Kiran Chandrasekaran (career-high 15 points) scored on a tough take to the basket and on the next possession, junior Sam Cohen (career-high 16 points) intercepted a pass and went in for two and that was enough offense for the Eagles, who saw Foxboro’s last second go-ahead shot hit off the back of the iron off a floater in the lane. The Warriors held a slim lead through each of the first (16-14) and second (30-27) quarters before the Eagles tied things up after three (39-39), getting three-pointers from Chandrasekaran and Cohen in third quarter. Will Hippler and Jordan Barboza each hit a big three-pointer in the fourth for the Eagles. Foxboro sophomore Alex Penders dropped a career-high 17 points to lead all scorers.
North Attleboro, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames outscored the visiting Rocketeers 16-3 in the second quarter to take the lead and the Tigers never trailed the rest of the way, holding off as North Attleboro’s last second chance was just off the mark. Drew Nickla (career-high 15 points) converted a traditional three-point play off an offensive rebound with two minutes left to put the Tigers ahead 39-33 but a three from North’s Brody Rosenberg (10 points) kept the visitors in it. Nickla added a free throw to push it to 40-36 but Casey Poirier answered with a nice take to the basket. Trey Buggs hit a pair of free throws for OA with under a minute to go to make it 42-48 but Jimmy Caraballo answered to cut it back to two. After a missed free throw, the Rocketeers raced the length of the court but their layup attempt just before the buzzer just missed. OA senior Amari Brown shined in the game, tying a career-high with 24 points to lead all scorers. North Attleboro senior George Ladd had a team-high 12 points.
Foxboro, 56 @ Sharon, 19 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from the game. Three players reached double figures to power Foxboro to a season-opening road win. Freshman Erin Foley scored 13 points in her varsity debut and Katelyn Mollica added 13 of her own along with five assists and five steals. Aislinn Servaes chipped in with 12 points and three steals. Foxboro led 11-4 after the first quarter and broke the game wide open with a 19-2 second quarter. After the Warriors took the third quarter 15-4 to extend the lead to 35, Sharon kept battling and had its best quarter in the fourth (11-9). Freshman Rachel Hager led the way for the hosts with eight points, including a pair of threes in the fourth quarter. Foxboro freshman Camryn Collins also impressed in her debut, scoring seven points, dishing out four assists, and recording three steals.
Franklin, 51 @ Milford, 22 – Final – Franklin opened the season with a big win on the road. Olivia Quinn scored a game-high 19 points to pace the Panthers, while Brigid Early and Kayleigh Houlihan each added eight in the win.
Mansfield, 2 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip lit the lamp three times in the second period, including two straight in the final six minutes, to skate to a season-opening win over Mansfield. After a scoreless first period, KP senior Conor Cooke put the Warriors ahead early in the second. Mansfield answered when junior Brayden Purtell found the back of the net. The Warriors struck twice late in the period, Cooke returning the favor to freshman Brad Guden for his first career goal to make it 2-1, and sophomore James Boldy (from Guden and Shea Cunningham) adding another two minutes later for a 3-1 lead. Guden scored his second goal of the game (fourth point) on a feed from David Lawler to make it 4-1. Mansfield’s Dillon Benoit scored with 6:36 left in the game to make it 4-2. KP sophomore Kyle Abbot made 25 saves to earn his first career win in net.
Sharon is looking to make some noise in the Davenport division this season and three-year player John Baez will be a key piece to the puzzle for the Eagles. A strong two-way player, Baez runs the Eagles’ offense from the point guard position and anchors the defense with his aggressive on-ball perimeter defense. We’ve seen flashes over the past two seasons of what Baez can do on the offensive end and this could be the year it all comes together. With a couple of good shooters surrounding him, Baez should have some space to work with and his decision making will be key on offense. His instincts on defense can help turn into points on the offensive end for the Eagles.
Milford is one of the hardest teams to stop when they have momentum on their side, feeding off the energy both on and off the court. Senior Ben Blanchard is a perfect fit for that type of offense, an instant boost on the offensive end when the Hawks need it. Blanchard can score in a variety of ways, including slicing through defenses with confidence to finish at the rim. But he really sets himself apart with his shooting touch from deep. In his first year as a starter, Blanchard averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game, hitting a career-high 28 points twice. With a very senior-heavy team that includes a lot of weapons, defenses are going to have to find a way to give extra attention to covering Blanchard.
Simply put, Mansfield senior Matt Boen is one of the most versatile players to play in the Hockomock League over the past decade. A HockomockSports.com First Team selection a season ago, Boen is a true “stat stuffer.” He shot nearly 50% from the field last season and averaged 14.6 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists. And when it comes to the defensive end, he has great instincts reading plays and passes, averaging over three steals a game last year while collecting 6.9 boards. Each of the past two seasons we’ve seen him really improve on the offensive end, becoming a crafty finisher at the rim with both his right or favored left hand. And just about any given time during the game, Boen is a threat to catch fire from downtown. He will certainly be in the Kelley-Rex division MVP discussion.
Oliver Ames graduated five of its six top scorers from last year’s squad so head coach Don Byron will certainly need some new names to step up. But the good news for the Tigers is that Amari Brown, who led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game, is back to run the offense. Brown enters his third year on varsity and that familiarity will be key as new faces integrate themselves into the lineup. Brown is a solid shooter but his strength is in his ability to attack the basket successfully. Not only does his quickness and savvy ball handling allow him to get past defenders, Brown is really good at finishing through contact. Brown scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games and will likely be one of the top scorers in the Davenport this year. On top of all his offensive prowess, Brown is a strong defender, earning HockomockSports.com All-Defensive Team honors last year with 32 steals.
Milford senior Jordan Darling makes the list for the second straight year, and for good reason. The Hawks have a very talented roster this season and were probably primed for a run at the sectional title. But winning the Kelley-Rex division this season would be a pretty impressive accomplishment in its own right. Darling is a big reason why the Hawks are being mentioned at the top of the division race. The combination of size and skill he provides down low makes him a really tough matchup for opponents. He can step out and take on defenders while attacking the basket or he can post up down in the paint and go to work with his back to the rim. He was second on the Hawks last year with 13.5 points, doubling his production from sophomore year to junior year. Look for that production to continue to rise this season for Darling (9.7 rebounds).
Mansfield’s TJ Guy is one of the toughest matchups in the league and is poised for a big senior season as the Hornets push for a ninth-straight division title. Guy can score from all over the court, improving his three-point shot last year, but really excels at attacking the basket. Usually matched up with someone with size, Guy uses a quick first step and his speed to his advantage and can score through contact, a crafty finisher down low. He shot an impressive 53% from the field last season, always a reliable option to clash the glass. Not only is Guy a force on the boards, he has great vision for a big man as seen by his 2.5 assists last season.
A three-year starter, North Attleboro senior George Ladd enters this shortened season as one of the top players in the Davenport division. Often tabbed as an “old-school” type player by opposing coaches, Ladd is a true throwback that mostly plays inside the three-point line. We saw during his sophomore year his ability to finish down in the post, and that continued last season. But he really improved with his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. We’re expecting another big step this season for his senior year. He averaged a team-high 14.9 points per game last season with a relatively inexperienced group around him. Now, he’ll have a strong group of weapons around him that will give him some more space. Ladd is also one of the best rebounders in the league (10.1 last year), especially on the offensive end that gives the Rocketeers second and third chances.
Canton missed out on the postseason last year, battling through growing pains with nearly an entirely new lineup. One bright spot that emerged from last season was Eric Mischler, who enters his season as one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. He’s a tough matchup for defenders, constantly working off-ball to find space to work with. He’s a dangerous catch and shoot scorer but can also be successful with the ball in his hands. He’s a good finisher around the rim, using his length to convert at the rim. He was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer a season ago with 13.2 points per game, hitting over 20 points five times including a career-high 36 point showing on the road at OA. The Davenport is wide open and Canton has a strong core of players led by Mischler on the offensive end.
There’s a lot of ways to sum up Tyler Stewart’s junior season but the best way we can describe it is “dominant.” Stewart had a breakout season for the Tigers, really emerging as a threat on both ends of the court. Stewart was a walking double-double, cleaning up the glass on both ends while doing a great job finding ways to score down low. His patience down low was key, often using fakes to get open looks or get to the free throw line. He averaged a team-high 17.8 points per game (61.5% from 2-pt range), 12.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists along with a handful of blocks. Stewart is surrounded by a bevy of weapons (Josh Lopes, Trent Santos, Tristan Herry, etc.) so it’s tough to double him but that’s what opposing defenses will have to do to try and slow him down. Now, fingers crossed that Taunton can get on the court this year.
Franklin had a very strong senior class last season so a lot of the spotlight went there but one player that really improved and impressed by the end of the season was Declan Walmsley. Through the first 13 games of last year, Walmsley only reached double-digits in scoring once but then finished the season by reaching that point in six of the last 11 games. With an even more expanded role this season look for the senior guard to really emerge as one of the top offensive threats in the league. He showed off his touch from three-point range last year but can cause a lot of damage in and around the rim. At 6’2, he can really be a tough matchup for opposing guards. Walmsley could be the breakout player of the season.