CANTON, Mass. – Leading by six in the closing minutes, the Foxboro offense suddenly went cold. The Warriors slowed the game down to run the clock and things stalled on that end of the court, allowing Canton to rally and send Thursday night’s game into overtime.
For the first two minutes of OT, it remained a struggle to score and a Fay Gallery free throw put the Bulldogs in front 54-53. When the Warriors needed it most, the offense clicked back into gear, closing the game on an 11-0 run, including a clutch three by freshman Camryn Collins with Foxboro leading by just a point, to finish league play with a 64-54 road win.
“We did what we needed to do against a great team,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “To end against a team like that and to know that we got progressively better over the course of the season is really rewarding.”
Foxboro entered the fourth quarter leading by two and threatened to pull away after Jordyn Collins (10 points and seven rebounds) got an easy bucket off an assist by Andrea Slattery and then her sister Camryn turned a steal into a layup and a 47-41 advantage.
Canton hit a couple of free throws to try and chip away, before Katelyn Mollica (game-high 22 points) hit a deep three to extend the lead to seven, which was the largest lead for either team to that point in the game. Two more at the line for KKiara Cerruti (nine points and 10 rebounds) was matched by another Jordyn Collins jumper.
It looked like Foxboro was going to put the game to rest, but Canton continued to claw back into it with a solid defensive effort. Fay Gallery (12 points) faked out her defender and laid the ball in to make it 52-47. After a Foxboro free throw, Cerruti was able to bully her way into the lane and finish with a scoop. Sydney Gallery (team-high 13 points and eight rebounds) got into the lane and knocked down a short jumper to tie the game at 53 with 50 seconds remaining.
The Warriors worked the ball around, but with just two seconds on the shot clock an inadvertent whistle forced them inbound on the side. Foxboro didn’t get a shot off on time, giving Canton the chance to win it with 20 seconds left. The Bulldogs also failed to get up a shot in time, as the clock ran out on regulation.
“In the timeout, I said, we’re going to need to come up with a rebound and we have a chance to win it and if we don’t come up with the rebound then they have the chance to win it,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “We tried to get the ball to the right people and without a doubt Foxboro’s defense is one of the best in the league. If we can give ourselves a chance, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Both teams stayed tight at the start of OT. After Fay Gallery put Canton in front, the Warriors finally got something to fall. Hannah Blake (11 points and seven rebounds) knocked down a jumper in the paint to make it 55-54. Next time down, freshman Erin Foley (eight points) swung the ball around to her classmate and Collins, who had struggled from the field to that point, drilled the biggest shot of her rookie season, putting the Warriors up four.
“She’s getting more consistent with taking that shot,” Downs explained. “I tell her, I have confidence in you take that shot because she’s got a great first step to the basket but if we have her just do that then they’re going to keep giving her that outside shot. She’s got to show that she’s got that range.”
Mollica went 4-for-4 from the line and Blake added a late jumper to push the final lead to double digits.
Choquette said, “When you play Foxboro, there’s a lot of focus on what Katelyn Mollica is doing but give credit they had some other players right behind her who stepped up.”
The game was close throughout. An end-to-end first quarter saw the teams evenly split 30 points. Mollica got off to a good start with seven in the first and Slattery knocked down a three off the bench. The Gallerys paced the Bulldogs with Sydney scoring six and Fay adding five.
In the second, Canton grabbed a slim lead. Samya DaSilva (12 points and six rebounds) was a force in the paint, Cerruti got her first basket to make it 26-20, and Kayla Albert (six points and eight rebounds) closed out the half with a tough finish to make it 28-24. Foley kept Foxboro close with five of her eight points in the second.
Downs said, “The freshmen are getting better with every game. If this was a regular season, who knows where they’d be at come this time. That’s a great team and it’s so good to play against them because it makes us better.”
The Warriors rallied in the third to jump in front. Mollica again was the key. She buried a three after Blake’s offensive rebound and kick-out and then added another to make it 41-36. Fay Gallery answered back with a three of her own, assisted by Marissa Staffiere, but Mollica followed with another jumper. DaSilva cut the deficit to two (43-41) with a good post move right before the end of the quarter.
“It wasn’t a loss because of lack of effort,” said Choquette. “Everyone who walked into that game did everything they could. They just hit a couple of really good shots and ultimately that was it.”
Foxboro (8-2) has closed out league play for the season, but will take on King Philip next weekend. Canton (3-5) has three more league games to play, starting with a home-and-home against Stoughton on Monday and Tuesday afternoon.