Eagles Honor Cronin With Comeback Victory

Sharon boys basketball
Sharon junior Andrew Burton makes a move against a Norwood defender in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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SHARON, Mass. – Before Sunday’s matinee meeting between Sharon boys basketball and Norwood, the Eagles honored former longtime coach Basil Cronin, who passed away last year.

Cronin coached basketball at Sharon High for 37 years, including a 17-year stint as varsity head coach from 1983 to 1999. The Eagles won four league titles in the span and climbed to the top of the mountain in 1991 with a Division 2 State Championship.

While this year’s Sharon squad continues to grow, it honored Basil the best it could, orchestrating a gritty come-from-behind 70-66 win over the visiting Mustangs.

“That was the goal, we wanted to get a win after recognizing Coach Cronin,” said current Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “Our freshmen coach Larry Yaffe, who played here for Basil, did such a great job setting everything up. We had a lot of alumni here, Mrs. Cronin was here, so getting a win was really a cherry on top of a great afternoon.”

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The Eagles trailed after both the first and third quarters, faced a seven-point deficit early in the fourth, and were behind with under 30 seconds left. Sharon outscored the Mustangs 13-3 over the final three minutes, and 6-1 the final minute, to secure the victory.

Norwood led for the majority of the fourth quarter, answering anytime the Eagles made a bucket to try and get back in the game. With Sharon trailing 63-57, junior Andrew Burton (13 points, eight rebounds) sliced through the defense for a layup. The Eagles got a key stop and Andrew Strong (13 points) converted a pair of free throws to get Sharon within two.

The Mustangs had two chances to extend the lead but couldn’t convert against Sharon’s defense, and Burton hauled in a big defensive rebound and converted on the other end with another strong take to tie it at 63-63 with 1:23 to go.

Sharon briefly took the lead when Burton sank a free throw, but Norwood cashed in on a foul away from the basket, hitting both free throws to retake a 65-64 lead with a minute to go. The Eagles missed on the ensuing possession and even sent Norwood to the line, but the Mustangs only hit one of two free throws.

Ferguson put in a lineup of shooters for the ensuing possession, and the spread offense worked out. The Eagles moved the ball around the court with a lot of off ball movement, the rock ending up in the hands of Ben Kaplan (11 points) in the corner. The senior didn’t hesitate and drained a three to put Sharon up 67-66 with just 22 seconds left.

“It was a three or we’d get someone going downhill for a layup,” Ferguson said. “With the guys we had one the court, we’re able to spread the floor and didn’t have a post presence. We wanted to spread them out and a senior made a big play on a big shot. Aidan is our best shooter but we have enough trust in all the guys on the floor to make that shot.”

Sharon forced a travel on Norwood’s ensuing possession and Aidan Kane (10 points) pushed the lead to two with a free throw. The Mustangs were whistled for an illegal screen on their next possession and Burton iced the game with a pair of free throws in the final seconds.

Norwood had five offensive rebounds in the first quarter and capitalized on the second chances to put together an 11-4 run. Sharon sophomore Kiran Chandrasekaran drained a three in the final seconds to pull the Eagles within four, down 16-12 at the end of one.

Sharon kicked it into gear in the second quarter, opening the frame with a 13-0 run to take the lead. Strong set the tone with a steal and traditional three-point play on the first play of the quarter. Alec Filipkowski added a three pointer, sophomore Hank Ward (eight points, four rebounds) converted a putback, Kaplan got a kind bounce on a corner three and then converted after a Norwood turnover for a 25-16 advantage.

The Eagles led 30-25 at the halftime break.

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In the third, the Mustangs opened with an 8-2 run to take the lead before Burton scored to take it right back. A Norwood three was answered by a bucket from Chandrasekaran off a feed from freshman John LaraBaez. Senior Alex Kaufmann put the Eagles ahead 42-41 with a traditional three-point play, but the Mustangs closed the quarter with an 8-4 run to seize a 50-45 advantage after three.

“It felt similar to the Walpole game but this time we had to fight back,” Ferguson said. “It shows a lot about these guys, especially the younger guys on the floor for some of those runs. It shows they’re going to be able to step into this spot down the road. And we had a couple of seniors made some big plays for us. It’s a good mix of kids and our younger kids are learning from our seniors. Now we have to take that next step.”

Sharon boys basketball (2-15 overall) will try to make it two in a row when it hosts Foxboro on Tuesday at 6:30.

Sharon Holds On To Earn First Win Over Walpole

Sharon boys basketball
Sharon’s Aaron Strong goes up for a shot in the first quarter against Walpole. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WESTWOOD, Mass. – While there are plenty of different coaching philosophies in the game of basketball, you can essentially split coaches into two groups: those who foul up by three late in the game, and those who don’t.

You can count Sharon’s Andrew Ferguson among the former group.

Right after Sharon senior Aaron Strong (career-high 19 points) sank two free throws to make it 61-58 with 5.2 seconds left, the Eagles fouled, sending Walpole to the line to shoot two with 3.3 to go.

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The strategy worked out, as the first free throw was off, forcing the Rebels to purposely miss the second. A loose ball ended up with a jump ball with 0.3 left, and Walpole’s last-second desperation three was off the side of the backboard, giving the Eagles their first win of the season.

“We were very worried of Matt Falvey getting open and hitting a three,” Ferguson said. “We wanted to put them on the line, and then if he missed it, have to make that decision to miss the second. Nick Stamm knew exactly what we wanted to do right away, he did such a great job in the fourth quarter on [Falvey]. We felt fouling was the best strategy for us in that spot. With under 10 seconds left, didn’t want to get caught on a switch on a screen and it ended up working out.”

Ferguson’s concern about Falvey was beyond warranted as the senior guard scored a game-high 29 points, keeping the Rebels within striking distance until their fourth-quarter push that nearly stole the game.

Sharon had a 12-point lead at halftime and entered the final quarter with a 51-42 advantage and control of the game. The Eagles had an answer for Walpole’s early push as Caleb Gayle (eight points, seven rebounds) had back-to-back baskets and Stamm drove to the hoop to put Sharon ahead 57-46 with just under six minutes to go.

Walpole refused to go quietly, hitting a three after Sharon missed a pair of free throws. The Rebels got a turnover on the ensuing inbounds and converted a three-point play to make it 57-52.

After an empty trip, Falvey scored his lone two points on the final quarter with a nice take to the basket.

“That was Nick Stamm’s job, I told him ‘Don’t let him breath’ in the fourth quarter,’” Ferguson said. “Nick knows what his role is and he’s embraced it. He really stepped up to help us in the fourth.”

Sharon had a chance to answer but missed two more free throws. After trading misses over the next two minutes, Walpole made it a one-point game on two free throws from Brian DiPasca (18 points).

Sharon once again failed at the free throw line but forced a turnover on the defensive end to keep the lead. Despite a missed three, Sharon got the offensive rebound and Strong hit one of two chances at the line to push the lead to 58-56 with 1:32 to play.

With 30 seconds to play, Walpole came out of a timeout with a play to try and get level. It looked like the play was going to work when Connor McDonough got free on a curl but Ben Kaplan made a terrific block from behind off the backboard and Strong grabbed the rebound.

“We thought we could pressure them a little bit,” Ferguson said of the defense early on. “They have a young point guard so we were very successful with Ben [Kaplan] and Aaron [Strong] at the top of that 22. But Falvey was really killing us so we switch to the box-and-one and we really shut him down in the fourth quarter. Other guys stepped and hit shots for them but I’m proud of the defensive effort from my guys tonight.”

Strong hit one of two from the line to push the lead to 59-58, but Walpole sophomore Jack Connell drove to the basket for two, cutting the lead to one again. Sharon was almost called for a 10-second violation in the backcourt but Ferguson called a timeout. Out of the timeout, Strong got the ball, was fouled, and hit two free throws to seal the win.

“I told Aaron that I trusted him, that I trusted he would make the free throws,” Ferguson said.

Sharon trailed twice in the early minutes of the game but went ahead 14-10 by the end of the first quarter and never relinquished the advantage.

The Eagles had their best stretch of the first half at the very end of the second quarter. Holding a 22-18 advantage, Sharon closed the first half with an 11-3 run.

Aidan Kane (18 points) drove to the rim for two, Gayle hit a mid-range jumper and Kaplan took it strong to the basket for a 29-19 lead. Strong had one of his six steals and converted an easy two and Kane drilled a three on a feed from Stamm just before the buzzer to make it 33-21.

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Sharon’s lead expanded to as much as 15 when Strong converted a layup with five minutes to go in the third quarter, but Walpole rallied to get within seven with under two minutes left in the period. JuniorAlec Filipkowski drilled a three to push the lead back to double digits.

“They ramped up their defensive intensity, they were cutting off the lane really well and we just weren’t making our foul shots,” Ferguson said of what changed in the fourth quarter. “We got to the free throw line but just didn’t cash in there. We’re going to shoot a lot of foul shots tomorrow in practice. Mike [Masto] does a great job with Walpole and they really ramped up their defensive intensity. We have a young group experience wise so we will work on that in practice and get better.”

Sharon boys basketball (1-4) returns home for a Hockomock League game against Davenport division rival North Attleboro on Friday, January 4th at 6:30.

King Philip Pulls Away From Sharon In Second Half

Sharon boys basketball
King Philip junior Chris Roy (22) goes up for a shot against King Philip’s Andrew Burton (33) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – First year King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano made it clear that defense was a priority when he took over the reins of the Warriors’ program.

So it’s no surprise that at halftime, trailing 32-21 to Sharon, that DeStefano challenged his team to make a big commitment to the defensive end of the floor for the final 16 minutes.

His team delivered.

The Warriors held the Eagles to just four points in the third quarter, creating a double-digit lead that it used to come away with a 73-53 decision over Sharon.

“It was all about the defensive effort,” DeStefano said of the big third quarter. “The guys really committed to the defensive end, they boxed out well and didn’t give up a lot of rebounds. I challenged them at halftime to be better on the defensive end and they responded.”

King Philip’s defense was strong from the get-go of the second half, forcing a turnover on Sharon’s first possession, resulting in a putback from Sam Sesay (10 points, seven rebounds).

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While Sharon took the lead back on a bucket from Andrew Burton (six points, six rebounds), King Philip outscored the Eagles 16-2 over the final 6:24 of the period.

After a turnover, Tim Nault (seven points, seven assists) converted a layup to re-take the lead, Sesay converted another putback on KP’s third shot of the possession, and Sesay scored again on a feed from Chris Roy (13 points) after another Eagle turnover.

Holding a 39-34 lead, the Warriors forced back-to-back turnovers, the first resulting in a bucket from Tyler Nault, the second two points from Sesay off a feed from Tim Nault.

Bruce Saintilus (six points) set up Andrew McKinney (five points, five rebounds) for a bucket and then took advantage of another Sharon turnover for two points while being fouled. Although he missed the free throws, the Warriors grabbed two offensive boards, the second resulting in two more from Saintilus and a 49-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

After hitting six triples in the first half, the Warriors adjusted and attacked the basket more in the third quarter. KP went 9-for-17 from two-point range in the frame and didn’t hit a three.

“I told the guys at half that we can’t rely on the three all game and we’d have to take it to the hole more,” DeStefano said. “We’re not going to be able to sustain the shooting, we needed to attack. We still took too many threes in the second half, and they weren’t all bad but we needed to attack more.”

A big reason for the success from in close was Sesay, who scored eight of his 10 points and grabbed six of his seven rebounds in the third quarter alone.

“He’s a physical specimen. He gives us toughness down there. He knows his role on the team, he doesn’t try and do anything out of his comfort zone. He’s there to bang down low, get boards, a lot of little things and he’s accepted that role, and he played well tonight. And he’s been huge in practice with challenging guys, he’s really become a leader for this team.”

Sharon made it interesting by opening the fourth quarter with a 7-1 run to make it a seven point game, down 50-43 with 6:38 to play in the game. Aidan Kane (career-high 22 points) scored on a feed from Ben Kaplan (10 points), Burton hit a pair of free throws, and Kane sank a triple on a pass from Alex Filipkowski to get close.

The Eagles had two chances to get closer after forcing a KP turnover and getting a stop on defense, but a missed triple and then a steal and layup from Warrior junior Alex f (career-high 18 points) swung the momentum back with the hosts.

A triple from Fritz extended the advantage to 12 for the Warriors but Sharon kept it close, and a putback from Kiran Chandrasekaran (nine points) made it a single-digit deficit but KP answered right away when Tyler Nault buried a three.

“We stopped attacking the basket,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson of what changed in the third quarter. “We’ve been preaching going downhill on offense and we kept going side to side. It was a little reminiscent of the first quarter against Mansfield, we looked a little intimidated and they ramped up their defensive pressure. Unfortunately a couple of shots didn’t fall, a couple of loose balls they beat us to, and we have to get better at those things but I think we will.”

King Philip had a strong shooting night overall, hitting 42% of its shots from the field. But the Warriors were particularly successful from three-point range early on.

The Warriors hit four of their first five attempts from deep in the opening quarter with Roy leading the way. The teams traded early threes, with Sharon holding an 8-7 advantage after a bucket from Aaron Strong. Roy put KP ahead with a layup, extended KP’s lead with a jumper and hit his second three of the frame with a minute to go to help KP lead 17-14 after one.

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The Eagles battled back in the second quarter, limiting KP to just two triples in the frame. The Warriors led 25-16 with 5:28 to go, but Sharon closed the with a 16-6 surge to take the lead at the break. Kane had back-to-back triples to get within two and Kaplan drained a triple later in the quarter to take the lead. Sharon led 32-21 at the half.

“We had come in with a plan to switch up defenses with them and they really shot us out of our zone early,” Ferguson said. “We went to the man, and did a really good job with it at the end of the first quarter and the entire second quarter. But third quarter, we seemed to get a little tired and had some foul trouble. We lost Aaron Strong to injury, and it just wore on us a bit. They killed us on the offensive glass, getting second and third opportunities. And on top of that, they shot really, really well tonight and we couldn’t keep up.”

King Philip boys basketball (1-2 Hockomock, 1-2 overall) is back in action on Thursday when it takes on New Mission at Auburn High. Sharon (0-3, 0-3) will try to bounce back when it takes on Hingham at Westwood High on Friday evening.

Borde Leads Foxboro Past Sharon In Davenport Clash

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro sophomore Brandon Borde converts a layup in the first half against Sharon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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SHARON, Mass. – With 29 career starts already under his belt, it’s easy to forget that Foxboro’s Brandon Borde is just a sophomore.

And you’d never know it based on his performance on Saturday night. Borde poured in a career-high 25 points in a dominant effort, helping Foxboro pick up a 73-46 win over the Eagles in the first Davenport division game of the season.

After starting all but one game during his rookie year (senior night), Borde wasted little time getting going during his seventh start of this season. He scored 11 points in the first quarter, helping Foxboro build a double-digit lead it never surrendered.

By halftime, Borde had already surpassed his career-high mark with 19 points and then added six points in the third quarter before resting for the majority of the final frame.

“We’ve been really begging him to be more aggressive in terms of looking for his own shot and attacking the basket,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “He’s such an unselfish kid and such a good passer that a lot of times he defers and he doesn’t realize how good he is.

“Obviously he got going tonight and I think he started to realize he could score almost at will and his confidence really got going. You can see what he’s capable of when he’s that aggressive. Hopefully, that aggressive mindset will become the norm.”

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The Warriors and Eagles matched one another through the first five and a half minutes, but Foxboro seized control of the game by closing with an 11-0 run. A free throw from Bobby Harrison and three free throws from Joe Morrison after the buzzer sandwiched a 7-0 run from Borde himself.

Up 10-8, Borde hauled in a defensive rebound before converting at the rim on the other end. After Sharon came up with a block, Borde drained a three on a feed from Anthony Mollica, Sharon missed a three and Borde pulled up in the lane for another two to make it 17-10 with under a minute to play in the first.

The sophomore kept it going in the second quarter. When Sharon’s Malik Lorquet opened the frame with a traditional three-point play to give the home side some momentum, Borde answered with a strong take to the rim himself, converting while being fouled; he also converted the free throw.

After sophomore Will Morrison hit a pair of free throws, Borde read a cross-court pass, picking it off and laying it in for an easy two. Sharon’s Jayvon Monteiro responded with a layup of his own but Borde drained his second triple of the half on a pass from Joe Morrison, giving Foxboro a commanding 30-13 lead.

Foxboro took a 39-18 lead into halftime.

“We were right there with them for the first six and a half minutes but that last minute and a half really killed us in the first quarter,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We knew how good they were defensively, Jon does such a great job with them. Joe Morrison did a great job, Brandon Borde did a great job. Our offense just got stagnant, we didn’t move the ball enough. We went a little one-on-one too much, and that’s a credit to [Foxboro]. They were able to take us out of what we wanted to do by executing what they wanted to do.”

Foxboro put to bed any hopes of a comeback with its best offensive quarter of the game, pouring in 21 points in the frame on 53% shooting. Both Joe Morrison (two three’s) and Borde scored six points in the quarter while Teddy Maher and Ryan Hughes each contributed.

Mollica capped the quarter with his first field goal fo the game, a three-pointer after Joe Morrison forced a turnover on the defensive end.

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With both teams playing their starters, Foxboro held the Eagles to 38 points on 35% shooting from the field while forcing 17 turnovers. It marked the sixth time in eight games an opponent has scored fewer than 5 points with Mansfield (50 points) and Franklin (52 points) the lone teams to reach the half-century mark.

“Defense is where it all starts for us, and it’s a huge point of pride for us,” Gibbs said. “I think that’s definitely our calling card as a team. We have a lot of quick, tough, physical guards that are really good at containing dribble penetration. I think we make it tough for teams to get into the paint and break us down off the dribble. We just have some tough-minded kids, they really work at it, they’re really coachable. It’s definitely something we take a lot of pride in.”

Lorquet led Sharon with 11 points and six rebounds while Lester High and Jimmy Fitzhenry each scored 10 points for the Eagles.

Foxboro boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 7-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Stoughton. Sharon (0-4, 1-6) will try to get back on track on Tuesday when it hosts North Attleboro at 6:30.

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Shooting, Rebounding Woes Plague Sharon In Loss

Sharon boys basketball
Sharon’s Malik Lorquet fights for a loose ball with Walpole’s Trey Wilkes. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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WESTWOOD, Mass. – Sometimes there’s one specific stat or play that a coach can point to that changes the game. Unfortunately for Sharon, it was a handful of stats and combination of plays that resulted in a 59-54 setback to Walpole in the first round of the Westwood Holiday Tournament.

The Eagles had a strong defensive performance, helping force 23 Rebel turnovers, but cooled down considerably on the offensive end after a red-hot start. Sharon shot just 15% from three-point range (3-for-20) and hit just 54% of its free throw attempts (13-for-24) while losing the rebounding battle to Walpole, 39-26.

“It was a combination of things,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “Since I’ve been the freshmen coach here I’ve been preaching layups and free throws. We missed too many layups and we missed too many foul shots. I think if we made some of those layups and those foul shots and we get going from inside, then those threes start falling. I think we settled for too many jump shots instead of taking the ball to the basket.”

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Despite the final numbers, Sharon’s offense was nearly unstoppable for nearly the opening five minutes. After giving up the opening bucket of the game, the Eagles went on a 16-0 run over a four-minute span to seize a 16-2 lead.

Over that stretch, the Eagles made seven of their eight field goal attempts. Using a fast tempo, the Eagles quickly turned stops on defense into transition offense. Ben Kaplan (nine points) split right through the lane to start the run and Alex Kaufmann (16 points) sandwiched two layups around an assist to Kaplan for three.

Out of a timeout, Kaufmann converted a traditional three-point play and senior Malik Lorquet (13 points, seven rebounds) scored back-to-back baskets underneath to stretch the lead to 14 points.

“We have to be a one-stop defense and we have to rebound the basketball and run from there,” Ferguson said. “When we did that, we were successful. But when they beat us on the glass, they were more successful than we were.”

But the Rebels’ offense came alive as well. Walpole closed the quarter on a 7-2 run and then continued that run in the second quarter. In a stretch that saw three missed free throws and a pair of turnovers, Walpole knotted the game at 19.

“I looked over at my staff when it was an eight or ten point lead and asked, ‘Why does this feel like just a two-point lead?’ We got complacent, we didn’t have the killer instinct,” Ferguson said. “I think we lacked it some coming off the bench, I think we lacked it some in our starting group. I think they went in here to kind of roll them over after that first four minutes. And Walpole is a very good coached team, [Walpole head coach] Mike [Masto] does a great job. We knew they weren’t going to lay down, and they didn’t. We weren’t really able to finish off the game.”

Holding a 24-23 lead, Sharon got back into the driver’s seat and finished the half with a 9-1 run; a traditional three-point play from Jayvon Monteiro, a layup from Kaplan, a putback from Lorquet and a bucket from Kaufmann, leading 33-24 at the half.

Walpole had its best quarter of the game in the third, scoring 18 points while holding the Eagles to just eight points.

Sophomore Aidan Kane drained a three off a feed from Lester High to give Sharon a 40-34 lead with 3:13 to go in the third quarter. But from there, Walpole surged ahead with an 8-1 run to close the quarter. The Eagles were without three starters due to foul trouble for the end of the third and beginning of the fourth.

The Rebels built its largest lead of the game at that point when Brett Lavanchy (13 points, 10 rebounds) converted off a Sharon turnover to make it 51-46.

But Sharon didn’t go away quietly. As Monteiro drained a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game. After a stop, Lorquet converted down low to get within one, 51-50, with 3:24 to play.

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After a minute without scoring, Walpole scored down low for a 53-50 lead and the Rebels’ defense got a stop, with Lorquet picking up his fifth foul on an over the back call.

Walpole pushed it back to five, 55-50, with 1:03 to play. The teams traded two throws apiece to keep the lead at five. Sharon’s Max Tarlin hauled in a late offensive board to give the Eagles a shot at a three, but the chance rimmed in and out.

Tarlin added two free throws to bring Sharon within three with 3.4 seconds to go, but Walpole was able to inbound the ball and make its free throws.

Sharon boys basketball (0-3 Hockomock, 0-4 overall) is back in action on Saturday when it will play host Westwood in the consolation round of the tournament at 5:00.

“We can’t let this snowball to 0-5,” Ferguson said. “Tomorrow will show us what we’re really made of. If we show up and lie down, it really hurts us going into the league and puts us behind the eight ball. But I have faith in my guys that they’ll show up tomorrow and give a good effort. We really want to come out of here with a W and I think we’ll work hard to do that tomorrow.”

Oliver Ames Rides Strong Defensive Effort Past Sharon

Oliver Ames boys basketball
Oliver Ames’ Jake Erlich (left) and Sean O’Brien (3) surround Sharon’s Jayvon Monteiro in the third quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com
 
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – For the second straight game, an improved defensive performance in the second half led Oliver Ames to a win.

The Tigers ramped up the aggressiveness of their 2-3 zone in the second half, holding Sharon to just five points in the third quarter to turn a deficit into a lead, and eventually a 57-49 win over the Eagles in an early-season rivalry game in front of a packed crowd.

“I thought we did an exceptional job in the second half with the defense,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “On the defensive side, it wasn’t too bad early but when you don’t make shots you spend an awful lot of time on the defensive end. We kept Malik [Lorquet] somewhat quiet in the second half and we got out of almost all of the shooters besides a couple of breakdowns.

“Sharon, OA is special. It almost was like a playoff atmosphere. A lot of the kids went through their first varsity experience on Tuesday, but this atmosphere is the next level. You have to be able to tune out the background noise and just play basketball, and I thought especially in the second we did a nice job doing that.”

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Trailing by six at the halftime break, Oliver Ames opened the second half with a 12-0 run over the first 4:20 of the quarter. OA’s zone paid off right away as the Tigers forced a shot clock violation on Sharon’s first possession of the half.

Jack Spillane (game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) started the run by draining a three-pointer and Ethan Eckstrom (eight points, nine rebounds) converted a putback and scored down low on two of the next three possessions.

Sharon got a stop but was called for a technical, allowing Spillane to hit two free throws. Just over the midway point of the quarter, Spillane went over the top of a switch with Sean O’Brien and drained another three from straight away to cap the run, giving the Tigers a 34-28 lead.

During that stretch, the Eagles had a pair of turnovers, went 0-for-2 from two-point range, and 0-for-4 from three-point range, all but one attempt coming in the final seconds of the shot clock.

“They were very aggressive in the way they were attacking the wings,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We had a couple of guys out of position and we just got a little soft with the way we were taking it to the basket, we had to be stronger. Malik got into a little foul trouble and we kind of lost our way offensively. We’re better when we’re attacking the basket and I think we kind of lost that in the third quarter.

The Eagles finally got on the board with just under three to go on a floater from Jayvon Monteiro, but five straight points from OA senior Matt Muir (11 points) – two on a strong baseline drive and a corner three on a drive and kick from Spillane gave OA its largest lead – 39-32 – late in the third.

“I think when we got the ball inside, we needed to finish a little bit better,” Ferguson said of his Eagles, who shot 32% from the field with just eight free throw attempts (compared to 26 from OA). “We needed to do a bit better from the free throw line…I would have liked to get to the free throw line a little bit more, maybe as much as they did.

“But we kind of let outside factors and some physical play get us out of the way we want to play. That’s a credit to Oliver Ames, they took us out of our game plan. And unfortunately we had a little shut down from some guys, and that’s what happens in a Hockomock League game. If you score five points in a quarter, you’re not going to win very often.”

After going 0-for-7 from three-point range in the third quarter, Sharon got back on track when Jimmy Fitzhenry (nine points, eight rebounds) and Aidan Kane hit back-to-back triples to tie the game a minute into the final frame.

But the Eagles offense cooled once again. Two free throws from Spillane put OA up 41-39, only for Sharon to go 0-for-4 from three-point on its next two possessions, concluding three misses on one possession. Muir made Sharon pay with a corner trey to make it 44-39.

“I think Matt can be that 10 point a game kid,” Byron said of Muir, who hit three triples. “He might not throw 25 on you, but he’s a good consistent spot-up option. A lot of the things we do are based on Jack and penetration. And it can draw a lot of attention, and it did tonight, and they came with Matt’s guy.”

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A three from Alex Kaufmann brought the Eagles within two but that would be the closest they would get the rest of the way. Two free throws from Spillane plus a strong take from Eckstrom restored a two-possession lead.

O’Brien (12 points) delivered the dagger with a three with two minutes to play, putting OA up 51-42.

“He was a JV kid last year, he was really good over at Stoughton too,” Byron said of O’Brien. “He’s really poised, doesn’t make a lot of mistakes for a kid who’s only got two games under his belt. He’s been terrific, really solid for us. He’s a competitive kid and he wasn’t affected by the atmosphere.”

Kane hit a three with 17.6 seconds left to make it 53-49, but OA didn’t turn the ball over and took care of business at the free throw line to ice the game.

Lorquet finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Eagles.

Sharon’s offense got off to a strong start against the zone, dropping 16 points — including three triples — in the opening quarter. The Eagles added 12 more points in the second quarter, owning the glass 11-6 in the frame.

Meanwhile, Oliver Ames got off to a slow start, hitting just one field goal (5-of-6 from the free throw line) and six turnovers. The offense came alive a bit in the second quarter, going 3-for-6 from downtown to get within 28-22 at the break.

Sharon (0-2, 0-2) will look for its first win of the season when it hosts Attleboro on the same day.

“It’s good to be 2-0 for a variety of reasons…having to play Stoughton in there place is never easy,” Byron said. “Any road game is tough, but over there can be particularly tough. And then Sharon is a good team, I think they’re going to contend in the small side. It’s kind of a wide-open race on that side and Sharon is pretty darn good. They have some explosive scorers so we’re really happy with what we were able to do in the second half, especially defensively.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friberg, North Attleboro Overcome Sharon in Overtime

North Attleboro boys basketball
North Attleboro’s Hacmoni Cuevas drives to the basket in the first half against Sharon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – Standing at 6’6, North Attleboro senior Jonny Friberg often gives the Rocketeers the edge in the paint.

But due to foul trouble, North Attleboro was forced to find other ways to keep pace with the red-hot shooting Sharon Eagles.

While the Rocketeers did enough to keep pace, Friberg came back in midway through the fourth quarter. He went on to score eight points down the stretch, including the tying basket with 5.9 to send the game into overtime. And in overtime, he scored North’s first nine points and the Rocketeers came away with a thrilling 81-75 win over the Eagles.

Friberg finished with a career-high 27 points and hauled in 13 rebounds to lead the Rocketeers.

“Everything starts with [Friberg] inside and then with the shooters on the outside,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “[Foul trouble] is something we’ve unfortunately had to deal with before. I’m really happy with how Tommy [Reynolds] and Moni [Cuevas] played inside. Hats off to Sharon, they played their butts off tonight. It’s frustrating when Jonny goes out but we’re a team and we have to win like a team, which I think we did tonight.”

It seemed like there would be no stopping the Eagles, especially after they connected on their 12th three pointer (on just 20 attempts) with just under four minutes to play in the game to go up 64-55. Jimmy Fitzhenry’s (16 points) trifecta capped a 10-1 run over the first 4:09 of the period for the Eagles.

“It reminded me of some games against Milford in the last couple of years where we fight back and they counter punch,” Mulkerrins said. “It speaks to the kids’ mental toughness, not giving up in that situation. There wasn’t much to say then we needed to defend better. They have some great kids, [Sharon coach Andrew] Ferguson does a great job with them.”

But North chipped away with Friberg finally back on the court. Senior Brent Doherty (17 points, five assists) drained a three in response to stop the run and after a stop, Friberg hauled in the defensive board and then converted on the other end. Another stop and another Friberg board led to a jumper from Doherty to make it a two point game.

Sharon’s Alex Kaufman (15 points) extended the lead back to four but Friberg hit back to back buckets down low to tie the game with 1:32 left.

With under 30 seconds to play, Sharon senior Ricardo Ripley (17 points) came away with a steal at midcourt that turned into two free throws to put the Eagles up 68-66.

Friberg took a pass from North sophomore Josh Montague (eight points) and muscled in the tying basket with 5.9 to play. Sharon’s buzzer beater attempt came up short.

In overtime, it was all Friberg – no one else on the Rocketeers attempted a field goal. After Sharon took a brief lead on a free throw, Friberg converted his own miss. Reynolds drew a charge on the other end for the Rocketeers and Friberg hit a free throw on the other end.

Kaufman drove to the basket to cut the deficit to two (73-71), but the Rocketeers simply went back to Friberg, who made a nice move in the post for two. Kyle McCarthy (six points, five rebounds, seven assists) hauled in a Sharon missed three and then assisted on another Friberg basket to put North ahead 77-71 with a minute to play.

Along with his 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, Friberg had seven of his 13 rebounds.

“This was a huge game for us,” Friberg said. We always preach getting the ball inside because we can have success there. If I don’t have something I’ll pass it. I just took advantage of what we had. The foul trouble is frustrating because I want to be in there but you just have to deal with it.”

McCarthy added three free throws down the stretch and Chad Peterson (eight points, four rebounds) also had one.

“We tried like hell to get [Friberg] his fifth foul but he’s just so big, he finishes around the basket so well,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “He’s gotten so much better than a year ago. I’m looking at the fourth quarter and overtime stats and he just killed us. We did a good job on for three quarters, and it helped he was in foul trouble. But him and Brent, those are big time players and we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch.”

The nine point fourth quarter deficit that the Rocketeers overcame wasn’t the largest deficit they erased during the game. After Sharon took a 20-17 lead after the first quarter, the Eagles rattled off a 13-5 run to build an 11-point lead with less than three minutes until halftime.

But a three from McCarthy, two free throws from Friberg, a put back from Montague and a corner three from Montague helped Big Red get within one. A late three from Ripley gave the Eagles a 36-32 lead at halftime.

Doherty was a big reason that North Attleboro entered the final quarter of the game tied. Doherty netted 10 of his points in the third quarter alone, including a three to open the frame, a field goal that gave North it’s largest lead (46-48) and five straight points late that had the game tied 54-54 after three.

“I don’t know what he was in the first half, he just was off,” Mulkerrins said of Doherty. “It almost felt like he was second guessing his shooting and decision making. We told him at halftime if he’s open just shoot the ball. We said that too everybody. It was huge to get Brent going. The second half by Brent was huge, a lot of contributions from guys in the second half.”

Cuevas finished with eight points and four rebounds while Reynolds had seven points, three rebounds and two assists for Big Red.

Malik Lorquet added eight points and nine rebounds for Sharon.

North Attleboro boys basketball (10-7 overall, 7-6 Hockomock) moves into a tie for the lead in the Davenport division with the win. The Rocketeers have the chance to clinch a playoff berth on Friday on the road at Stoughton. Sharon (3-13, 2-12) has a week off until they are back in action with a trip to Stoughton on Valentine’s Day.

Eagles Ride Strong Defensive Effort Past Canton

Sharon boys basketball
Sharon’s Ricardo Ripley celebrates a late bucket in the fourth quarter. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
PROVIDENCE, RI — When all was said and done, the focus for both coaches was the same: defense.

Sharon and Canton both utilized a 2-3 zone but their respective coaches had vastly different outlooks on how things worked out.

Eagles head coach Andrew Ferguson said it was the best defensive effort from his side all season.

Bulldogs skipper Ryan Gordy had just the opposite outlook on his team’s defensive effort, saying it was the worst output for Canton.

No surprise based on each coach’s feedback, Sharon won the game, 62-53.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I think defensively we were so much better than we better than when we played them the first time,” Ferguson said. “We communicated much better, we took away the corner three which killed us the first time. I think we did a great job on Devin Foster, who’s just a terrific player. We knew if he got going, their guys would feed off that so we started with him. I know [Tony] Harris got a bunch and hurt us but defensively, that’s the best effort we have given for 32 minutes.”

The Eagles limited Canton to just six points in the opening quarter and then used a late surge – scoring seven points over the final minute of the first half, including five from senior Ricardo Ripley — to take a 23-18 lead into the locker room.

“It wasn’t about offense tonight, it was about our defense,” Gordy said. “We gave up a lot of uncontested shots, we didn’t compete hard enough defensive to win a game. That was probably the worst defense we played all season.”

Ben Stamm hit an early three pointer in the second half, Jimmy Fitzhenry (14 points, five rebounds) added one of his own and with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter, Ricardo Ripley (13 points) drained one from deep to give Sharon a 36-29 lead.

But Canton would close the gap with Foster driving to the basket for two and Austin Maffie draining a three to make it a two point game. Sharon once again had a response as Tommy Modelevsky connected from deep. Yet again, Canton chipped with with a layup from Maffie and two free throws from Brian Albert pulled the Bulldogs within three through three quarters.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Sharon took little time to build an early lead in the fourth quarter with a quick 7-0 run. Lester High drained a three for his lone bucket of the game, Ripley drove to the basket for two and Malik Lorquet hit two free throws — all while the Eagles defense kept Canton off the board to start the quarter.

“That’s what you need, guys to step up,” Ferguson said of getting buckets here and there from role players. “Tommy had a big three, Lester had a big three, and Ben hit a big three right at the start of the second half. We need those guys. We’ve been relying on Ricky and Malik, and Jimmy’s gotten better, but you have to have those side guys come in and hit shots. And add in Jayvon Monteiro, he played great defense and Sammy Kirshenbaum rebounded pretty well. That’s what we need from these guys day in and day out.”

“They hit shots – they didn’t hit shots last game,” Gordy said. “Sometimes it comes down to making and missing. I want to give them credit for shots, but we do close out drills all the time and we didn’t close out correctly all game. It’s a maturity issue right now. You can’t beat Franklin and then lose to Sharon in one week, it’s a maturity issue.”

Danny Hartnett connected on a three to get the Bulldogs’ offense back in gear and Harris scored twice in low to make it a three point game. Sharon sophomore Alex Kaufmann hit a pair of free throws to make it 53-46 but two from Harris and two free throws from Foster made it a one possession game with 2:22 to play.

But from there, Canton’s offense went cold while Sharon was successful from the free throw line. The Eagles ended the game with a 9-3 run, with seven points coming on free throws.

“That’s the difference — when we’re not active and we’re not cutting off passes, it’s an ugly defensive scheme,” Ferguson said of his zone being active, causing Canton problems. “But when we get active, when Malik can control the middle, Xavier [Hackett] helps us rebound, and when we aren’t giving teams second and third chances, we’re a pretty good defensive team. When we start giving up extra opportunities get into trouble.”

Sharon improves to 3-10 on the season, and 2-9 in Hockomock play. The Eagles will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Franklin. Canton (6-7, 4-7) looks to bounce back on the same day with a visit from Oliver Ames.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friberg’s Late Basket Lifts North Attleboro Over Sharon

By Anthony Rinaldi, HockomockSports.com Contributor

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The North Attleboro boy’s basketball team used a total team effort on both offense and defense, resulting in a 54-52 victory over the Sharon Eagles on Tuesday night at Ken Pickering Gym.

It came down to the final play for the second straight game for Big Red, but this time the final basket fell in their favor.

With the Rocketeers up 50-46, Sharon’s Jimmy Fitzhenry hit a three to cut the deficit to one. North Attleboro’s Chad Peterson then responded with a mid-range jump-shot to push the North’s lead back to three. Fitzhenry came back and hit another big three to tie the game late in the quarter.

North Attleboro did not score on their next possession but the Eagles couldn’t break the stalemate with their offensive possession either. North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins called a timeout and, out of that timeout, the Rocketeers swung the ball around. Eventually the ball ended up in the hands of Jonny Friberg, who turned and missed his first bid but caught his miss and put it right back up and in to give North a 54-52 lead with 2.5 seconds left.

Sharon tossed up a half court shot but it hit the backboard and fell to the floor to give North the victory.

“For us as a program that’s trying to learn how to win, we’re still learning but tonight goes a long way in pressing upon them the value of playing hard every possession,” Mulkerrins said.

In the first quarter North Attleboro came out of the gates hot scoring 19 points. Defensively, the Rocketeers switched from a 2-3 zone to a man to man defense possession by possession.

“The logic behind the defense was, Sharon has some kids with really good foot speed and some certain match ups on our end we didn’t feel really great about, we also thought that by mixing up our defense it will mask some of our problems but also give them a pause, they run a ton of set plays and playing some 2-3 would take it out of them some,” Mulkerrins said.

In the second quarter it was mostly all Sharon, who outscored the Rocketeers 15-6. The Eagles started off the quarter with an 11-0 run to take a 23-19 lead. However, a couple of nice passes from Brent Doherty (13 points) to Friberg (14 points) kept North in the quarter going into halftime only down by two.

“We challenged them all week in practice because the second quarter is where the wheels came off last week against Foxboro,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We had a good group defensively and we used our defense to push our offense.”

The third quarter was back and forth between both teams. North Attleboro senior Thomas Reynolds really was the engine that made the Rocketeers go in the frame. He scored six of his eight points to go with six rebounds and an assist in the quarter to help push the Rocketeers.

For Sharon it was senior Ricardo Ripley (17 points) who kept the Eagles in the third quarter, scoring Sharon’s last four baskets and keeping the Rocketeer lead at three going into the final quarter.

North Attleboro (5-4 overall, 2-3 Hockomock) will take on Davenport rival Stoughton at home on Friday at 6:30, while Sharon (2-5, 1-4) will travel to Canton the same day for a 7:00 tipoff.

Boys Basketball: 2016-17 Davenport Division Preview

2016-2017 Davenport Boys Basketball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Davenport Boys Basketball Preview

Canton

2015-2016 Record: 2-18
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ryan Gordy

After a difficult 2015-2016 season, the Bulldogs are looking to build on a strong offseason to have successful season this time around. Canton returns a strong core group that has a year of varsity experience under their belts now.

Junior Tony Harris had a strong sophomore year, leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 13.6 points per game and should be a big factor on both ends of the court this season. Sophomore Devin Foster had a terrific freshman season and will pair with junior Jake Verille, who saw plenty of time a year ago, to form an experienced backcourt.

The Bulldogs will rely on that experienced back court to pace the offense. Canton has a handful of weapons that can connect from deep as well. Defensively, expect Canton to rotate small and big lineups, depending on the matchup.

“The feeling around our program is that we are building momentum and have a chance to be pretty good relatively soon,” Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said. “This is a connected team who will be ready to grind out the always tough Hockomock League schedule.”

Foxboro

2015-2016 Record: 19-5
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Jon Gibbs

Out of all of the teams in the Davenport division, the Warriors certainly have the most holes to fill from a year ago. HockomockSports.com First Teamer Alex DuBrow (15 PPG, 7.1 APG, 2.8 SPG), leading scorer Jason Procaccini (16.3 PPG) and leading rebounder Robbie Lowey (10.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG) all graduated.

The good news is that Foxboro does have some players coming back that have varsity experience, including Joe Morrison, Jamaine Few, Andrew Block and Mark Clagg – his fourth year on varsity. Freshman Brandon Borde could make an impact right away for the Warriors as well.

The Warriors will continue to prioritize defense and rebounding again this season but the offensive game will have to change. Without their top three scorers, Foxboro will rely on sharing the ball and a balanced scoring attack for this season.

“We have a group of high character kids that are working extremely hard every day, they are fun to coach,” Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs said. “Practice has been very competitive, and we are focusing on daily improvement. If we stay committed to continuing to get better, we believe that we will be in position to achieve our goals at the end of the year.”

Milford

2015-2016 Record: 10-11
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round
Coach: Paul Seaver

After making a big jump in wins last season, head coach Paul Seaver and his Scarlet Hawks are looking to continue that trend in the 2016-2017 season. Milford qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2013 a year ago and are looking to make it two seasons in a row.

One big challenge will be replacing some of the scoring that graduated. Leading scorer Dimitry Torres (14.5) and second leading scorer Dwight Anderson (12.7) both are gone but senior Zack Tamagni, who scored 10.4 points a game a year ago, is back to lead the Scarlet Hawks this season.

Tamagni, who will pace the offense from the point guard position, will be helped along by senior Anthony Arcudi, who saw plenty of minutes a season ago, and junior Kayden Kelley, who begins his third year on varsity.

Arcudi will help replace some of the outside shooting that graduated while Kelley will give Milford a presence in the post. Tamagni can score from multiple spots on the court and his ability to move the ball and find the open teammate will pay dividends this season.

“Our goal this season is take the next step forward with our program,” Seaver said. “We have some production to replace, but we have the leadership and experience to do so. This is my third season at Milford and I believe that this is the best defensive team that I’ve had.”

North Attleboro

2015-2016 Record: 8-12
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Sean Mulkerrins

A switch to the Davenport division might have come at the perfect time for the Rocketeers, who have a strong core of experienced players looking to make a push for the postseason.

The Rocketeers have seven varsity players back from a year ago, including seniors Brent Doherty and Jonny Friberg, who have both started since their sophomore seasons. Doherty was third in scoring in the Hockomock a year ago with 16.8 points per game, as well as 4.2 RPG and 3.0 APG while Friberg offered Big Red rebounding (5.8 RPG) and a post option on offense (8.8 PPG).

Doherty and Friberg have a strong supporting cast with Kyle McCarthy, Chad Peterson, Tom Reynolds and Hacmoni Cuevas all getting plenty of minutes last season. The Rocketeers deployed more man-to-man defense a year ago after relying on zone the year prior. Expect Big Red to mix it up this year, and with experience using both, the defense could be a solid weapon.

“We believe our strength will be our experience in running our system,” North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins said. “The experience should allow us to develop a more consistent offense which relies on ball movement, spacing, and great shot selection.”

Sharon

2015-2016 Record: 12-10
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Andrew Ferguson

Sharon is bringing back just three players from a year ago so the Eagles will be relying on new faces to step up for the 2016-2017 season.

Though just three players are back, three-year starter Ricardo Ripley is one of them. His experience and skill will be vital, quarterbacking the offense and leading the charge defensively. Both Jimmy Fitzhenry and Malik Lorquet picked up varsity experience last year and will likely see expanded roles this year.

Expect the Eagles to use their speed and athleticism on both ends of the court to try and bother teams. Offensively, Sharon has a couple of shooters that can help space out the floor, which can provide Ripley with the space he needs.

“We’re going to need some of our less experienced varsity players to step up throughout the year,” Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson said. “There is some great chemistry on our team and we’re pushing each other in practice, so hopefully that extends into the season.”

Stoughton

2015-2016 Record: 7-13
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: John Gallivan

The Black Knights will be relying on a big senior class in the 2016-2017 while trying to get back to the postseason and make a push for the division title.

Stoughton has 10 seniors, including captains Ryan Sullivan, Cam Gomes and Matt Valle. Junior Cam Andrews is also a captain for the team. The Black Knights were able to give teams problems with their pace last year and will look to do the same again this year.

With plenty of athletes, the Black Knights will use their speed to try and run past teams while applying lots of pressure on the defensive end. Andrews (12.9 PPG as a sophomore) is one of the top returning scorers in the league and can be a handful for defenses to deal with.

“All four are captains and have two to three years of varsity experience each,” Stoughton head John Gallivan said. “Although we aren’t a real tall team, we have great speed and quickness and plan to play fast as much as possible.”