Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Sarah Deyo, Attleboro
Julia Strachan, Attleboro
Hannah Jerrier, Canton
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Lily Sykes, Foxboro
Ali Brigham, Franklin
Shannon O’Connor, King Philip
Meg Hill, Mansfield
Jen Peel, Mansfield
Kate Irwin, Milford
Ashley Ahern, North Attleboro
Caroline Collard, North Attleboro
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Emma Eberhardt, Sharon
Val Whalen, Stoughton
Lily Patneaude, Taunton
Mish Logie, Attleboro
Emma Murphy, Canton
Grace Tamulionis, Foxboro
Carli Koffinke, Franklin
Julia Leroux, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Dahlgren, Milford
Samantha Taggart, North Attleboro
Niyera Mitchell, Oliver Ames
Shira Stoller, Sharon
Lili Njeim, Stoughton
Mackenzie Handrahan, Taunton
For the first time since the inaugural HockomockSports.com Charity Basketball Classic, a pair of seniors won the Three Point Contests. Mansfield’s Phil Vigeant and North Attleboro’s Ashley Ahern came away with the hardware at Mansfield High School, edging out Taunton’s Tommy MacLean and Attleboro’s Julia Strachan in the finals.
Both Ahern and Strachan put on a show in both rounds. Strachan had the highest total of any shooter – male or female – in the first round, connecting on 19 shots from beyond the arc. Ahern wasn’t far behind, hitting 17 trifectas to advance to the finals. In the final round, Ahern caught fire and hit an impressive 20 shots (on 25 tries) to edge Strachan (16 makes in the final). Ahern set the record for most three’s made by a female (20) in a round and tied Mansfield’s Ryan Boulter for most makes in a round for either male or female. Her total of 37 shots made between two rounds is also an event record. Only North Attleboro’s Brent Doherty (39) made more in 2016, but went to overtime in the final.
On the boys side, Vigeant had the top score in the first round with 16 shots made. MacLean made the final with 15 made shots, just edging Stoughton’s Matt Valle (14). In the final, Vigeant hit his very last shot to get 14. MacLean hit his final three shots but came up just short with 13.
Though MacLean came up short in the final, he now holds the record for all-time shots made in HockomockSports.com Three Point Contest History. In four years, MacLean has drained 65 trifectas. North Attleboro’s Brent Doherty sits in second all time with 62 while Boulter is third overall with 44. Sharon’s Jimmy Fitzhenry hit 12 shots in the first round, setting a new school record for a male player. Valle’s 14 threes is also a Stoughton record for a male shooter.
BROCKTON, Mass. – North Attleboro won the first meeting with Foxboro this season, thanks in part to a huge fourth quarter by senior Ashley Ahern. With Ahern out injured for the second meeting, Foxboro ran over the Rocketeers and clinched the Davenport title with a 26-point victory.
On Monday night at Massasoit Community College, the teams met for the third time to not only decide the season series but also to see which team would represent the Hockomock in Saturday’s Div. 2 South final.
With Ahern in uniform for the introductions, but not able to play, North came in with the plan of slowing the game down, turning it into a half-court battle, playing physical defense, and trying to take advantage of its edge in size in the post. The game plan worked perfectly, but Foxboro showed that it had some grit to go along with its ability to put points on the board.
Behind a game-high 20 points from league MVP Ashley Sampson and 17 from fellow junior Lily Sykes, Foxboro defended, crashed the boards, and found just enough offense to pull out a 49-39 victory that earns the Warriors a second trip to the South final in three seasons.
“We did exactly what we needed to do to beat that team,” admitted North Attleboro coach Derek Herber from the first row of the bleachers following the game. “You can’t let them run, you can’t let them shoot all those shots…Through three quarters we did what we needed to do; we just needed a little more offense to get to that spot.”
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs recognized the difficulty of playing an opponent for the third time and credited her team for finding a way to win.
“At this point, jitters are normal and we’re in a different gym, some of these girls have been here and some have not, so we’ll take a ‘W’ any day,” she said. “It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but they played with heart.”
The first quarter was not pretty, but the Warriors had a lead and it felt like they were ready to pull away as they did on their home court three weeks ago. Sampson and Sykes split the scoring in the first, each with six points, but Foxboro lacked the typical frenetic pace that it usually plays at.
North was slowing things down and shots were not falling, which made it difficult to get into the full-court press the Warriors prefer. Sykes opened the second with a drive that extended the lead to eight, but it was the only made field goal by the Warriors in the quarter.
The Rocketeers climbed back into the game with Julia Feid (six points) scoring on a drive and Samantha Taggart drilling a three (her only basket of the game) to cut the lead to four. Emily Haskell gave North a big lift right before the break with a steal and a layup and then a runner on the baseline. The junior’s only four points of the game made it 20-17 at the break.
“I think we were beating ourselves to be honest with you,” said Downs. “We were overthinking our shots because we had some wide open looks and we were just thinking too much instead of releasing the ball. We were only up because of our defense.”
When asked about the sloppiness of the first half, Herber insisted, “Part of the sloppiness is that everything we do, they know, and everything they do, I know, so the sloppiness is playing a third game against a team you’ve seen in a high stakes game.”
In the third quarter, senior forward Caroline Collard started to get going for North, scoring six of her team-high 10 points. Liz Morehouse added three of her five points, including a turn around jumper from the left block. After Feid pulled up for a jumper and Collard scored off an Emily Schromm inbound pass, North was within one at 29-28.
Foxboro was still struggling to find the range and in desperate need of a spark. Sykes stepped up and drilled a three off a Sampson assist to extend the lead to four and then Sampson was able to beat Feid in the post for a layup to give Foxboro a six-point edge heading to the fourth.
“When the shots weren’t falling, we were getting into our own heads, so we just had to settle down,” said Sampson of the Warriors struggles on the offensive end of the floor. “In the third quarter, Lily hit some huge shots and I think once she did that it made everyone more confident.”
Things started to get going for Foxboro in the fourth quarter. Grace Tamulionis opened the quarter with a jumper that Feid answered with a drive, but then Sampson drove and kicked it out to Riley Collins for a straightaway three (her only point of the night) and Foxboro finally had some separation.
“At this point in the season, 22 games in, we’re still telling them to shoot with confidence,” said Downs. “Grace finally warmed up a little bit in the second half, which was huge, and Ashley, so we stepped up when we had to step up and played with grit.”
Tamulionis had six of her seven points in the fourth and Sampson added six as well. North did not give up with Schromm knocking down a jumper and driving the length of the floor for a layup plus the foul. She missed the free throw but grabbed her own rebound with North down 44-38.
The Rocketeers had only more chance to get closer but a long three by Feid was halfway down and popped out and Tamulionis clinched it with an offensive rebound and score on a missed free throw on the other end.
“I’m so proud of the way the girls played,” said Herber. “We held them down as best we could to get to that point. We tried to muck it up as best we could and slow it down and take advantage of our post players.”
When asked about his senior class and what they have brought to the program, Herber could not hide his emotions. He said, “Every year we try to focus on our seniors, but these kids have been with our program as long as I’ve been here, for three years, and they’re just great kids. I just wish better for them today.”
For Sampson and the Warriors the win means a return to Brockton High where the Warriors played eventual state champion Duxbury in 2015. Sampson said, “It’s really exciting. We have an opportunity to win the South final, so it’s just really cool.
“It’s definitely tough. They beat us the first time and we beat them last time by 20-something, so they were out for blood. They wanted it and so did we. It was tough but we had to be mentally prepared for it.”
Foxboro (21-2) will face No. 7 Westwood in the Div. 2 South final on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Brockton High.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Trailing by 11 points with eight minutes remaining is a difficult hole to dig out of, particularly when you have only managed 22 points in the first 24 minutes of the game, including just five points in the third.
Even facing tough odds, the experienced Rocketeers started the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s Div. 2 South quarterfinal against Duxbury in the Ken Pickering Gym believing they could win.
“We came in really confident and we all knew in the back of our minds that we were going to get this game,” said senior guard Samantha Taggart, who scored a team-high 16 points. “We played them two years ago, and got destroyed, and it was really important to avenge a loss like that and to get back to the semifinals.”
Not only did North have its best offensive output of the night in the fourth quarter with 14 points, the Rocketeers also held Duxbury scoreless, tossing a shutout in the fourth to pull off an epic comeback and earn a 36-33 victory.
“I didn’t know it was a shutout until the end of the game,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “That just talks about our senior leadership. They’ve been a great group of kids who knew from the beginning who they were. They were going to have to outwork teams and today they did that.”
The quarter started with North trailing 33-22. Caroline Collard (10 points, 11 rebounds) knocked down a jumper off a Taggart assist to get things started. North put the ball in the hands of sophomore guard Julia Feid to create and she drew a foul and made one of two at the line to cut the lead to eight points.
The second free throw bounced away and was chased down by Liz Morehouse, who could not get her shot to fall. Collard snagged another offensive board and swung the ball back to Feid for a straightaway three that got the crowd starting to believe a comeback was possible with 6:07 left to play.
Emily Haskell brought North within three points with a long jumper on the far side and suddenly the whole atmosphere in the building was changed. North fans were fired up and it only got louder when Taggart took the ball the length of the court for a layup that made it 33-32 inside the final two minutes. Collard grabbed her own miss, got fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws for North’s first lead since it was 10-8 in the first quarter.
On the other end, Collard blocked a pair of shots, her third and fourth of the night, and grabbed the defensive board to get North back the ball. Taggart was fouled and hit both her shots from the line to make it 36-33.
On Duxbury’s final possession, the Dragons continued to struggle finding a shot. Lill Foote was forced to throw up a fall away that was rebounded by Morehouse and set off raucous celebrations on the North bench.
“They played some great defense, we just had to play better offense for one quarter and that’s what we did,” said Herber.
Taggart added, “Our morale was really down in the third quarter because they went on a run. We talked about how we had to step it up on defense and we did exactly that. Everything just clicked together.
“I don’t think we’ve held anyone scoreless, but we’ve come close. I think this was the best defensive stand of the season and in such a big game too.”
North got off to a decent start offensively against the tall, physical Duxbury defense. Taggart scored eight of North’s 10 points in the first and the Rocketeers trailed by just two. Collard scored four points in the second and North continued to hang around, trailing by just four heading into halftime, 21-17.
“That whole first half, Sam kept us in it and gave us opportunities to be in this game,” said Herber. “We’re not a bunch of superstars. We’re going to fight through as best we can.”
Things changed in the third, as Duxbury started to get into a rhythm by getting the ball inside to senior forward Nicole Callander, who scored eight of her team-high 11 points in the quarter. Meanwhile, North got a three from Feid (seven points) and a drive by Taggart.
The Rocketeers were down but not out. North showed the tenacity that has allowed it to go 8-4 since an injury ended the season for senior Ashley Ahern, who was the team’s leading scorer.
“With Ashley, we’re a smaller team but a much faster team,” said Taggart. “Now that Ashley is out and Liz Morehouse is starting, we’re a taller team so it changes that whole aspect of the game, but we still work together. It’s a new style but we’re coming together and making it work.”
Taggart reflected on her final game at the Pickering Gym. She said, “It would have been heartbreaking if we had lost, but to come back from being down makes it that much better.”
Herber could not contain his excitement after the game. He said, “These kids are always fighting. We’re the smallest team then we’re the team that can’t shoot then we lose Ashley and we’re down 11 to Duxbury…I’m so happy that I’m just babbling on.
“Now we get another shot at the semifinal; not many kids can say they’ve been to the semifinal twice in a career.”
North Attleboro (18-6) will face top seed Foxboro in the Div. 2 South semifinal on Monday at 5:30 at Massasoit Community College. The teams split two meetings during the regular season.
Six girls’ basketball teams will begin their quests for a state championship when the state tournament begins this week. League champions Mansfield (Div. 1 South) and Foxboro (Div. 2 South) both earned the top seed in their respective brackets, but neither will have an easy road with league rivals like Attleboro, Oliver Ames, and North Attleboro posing major threats to bringing home a trophy. Milford will also represent the league as the lone Hock team in Div. 2 Central.
As usual, Div. 1 South is a loaded bracket with some of the top programs in the state, including defending state champion Bishop Feehan and perennial powers Braintree and Newton North. Mansfield (18-2) earned the top seed in a coin flip with the Shamrocks, who beat the Hornets in an exclusion game during the regular season. More important than the seed, Mansfield will now avoid the Shamrocks, the Wamps, and the Tigers until the South final.
Led by senior guard Jen Peel and junior center Meg Hill, the Hornets like to slow the pace down and focus on strong defense, which held teams to a league-best 38.0 points per game. Mansfield is young this season, but deep and versatile and head coach Mike Redding’s squad should match up well against the teams on its side of the bracket, including potential semifinal opponents Wellesley or Marshfield (which Mansfield beat 52-47 in December).
In order for the Hornets to get to the semifinals, they may have to go through Kelley-Rex rival Attleboro (15-7), which claimed the No. 8 seed and will host Brockton (Attleboro beat the Boxers 63-55 in December). The Bombardiers have scuffled down the stretch, losing seven of its final 14 games of the regular season, but closed it out by putting 94 points up on Durfee in the season finale.
With seniors Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan, Attleboro has a potent inside-out combo and has been one of the top offensive teams in the league this year, averaging a league-best 61.4 points per game. The issue for the Bombardiers will be trying to slow down Jen Peel and Mansfield in the quarterfinal, if they can get past a dangerous Brockton team in Tuesday’s playoff opener. Attleboro struggled in two losses to Mansfield in the regular season, but will be hoping third time is the charm to set up a potential rematch with Wellesley, which knocked the Bombardiers out of last year’s tournament.
Foxboro (18-2) has been on fire to close out the season, winning 12 in a row entering the playoffs, including a 20-point win over North Attleboro to claim the league title and an impressive overtime win over Lincoln-Sudbury in the end-of-season tournament. The Warriors will be led by league MVP Ashley Sampson, who scored 31 in that win over L-S and nailed a three-pointer that forced OT, but a strong supporting cast includes Lily Sykes and Grace Tamulionis. The scary part is that all three are juniors and will be back next winter as well.
The Warriors will not have an easy path in Div. 2 South, which is another loaded bracket, and will have to face one of the two finalists from 2016, either Hingham or Oliver Ames, in the quarterfinal and could potentially face the Rocketeers for a third time in the semifinal. Westwood, Nauset, and Falmouth, which knocked Foxboro out of the tournament last year, could wait in the sectional final.
Oliver Ames (13-7), the defending Div. 2 South champ, has had an up and down first season in the Kelley-Rex but managed to claim second in the division and is a sleeper to retain its South title. The Tigers will have a very difficult road to try and repeat with a trip to last year’s South finalist Hingham waiting in the first round and a potential meeting with Foxboro looming in the quarterfinal (the Warriors won the league meeting between the teams 51-35).
Kayla Raymond will be the focus of all of OA’s opponents, but trying to slow down the junior forward is easier said than done. If the Tigers can get support for Raymond from senior Niyera Mitchell and find consistent outside shooting, then OA will be a tough matchup. Losing sophomore guard Sadie Homer during the season and senior Francesca Calabraro prior to it has made things tougher but no one will take head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook’s team lightly.
North Attleboro (16-6) is another sleeper in Div. 2 South. Last year, the Rocketeers were knocked out in the first round by OA on a last second Raymond basket and could have made a similar run to the Tigers if they had made it through. This year, North comes in with six losses, but only one to a team in Div. 2 and that was the league final against Foxboro. Despite missing senior guard Ashley Ahern to injury, North earned an impressive come from behind win against Attleboro in the final week and has the potential to make a deep run this year.
The Rocketeers are loaded with experienced seniors, including forward Caroline Collard and guards Samantha Taggart and Emily Schromm, who have shown the ability to win close games against good teams this season. North beat Foxboro in the first meeting, beat Oliver Ames by one, and has also beaten potential tourney opponents Hingham and Westwood this year. North faces Madison Park to start and likely will face Duxbury in the quarterfinal to try and get a rubber match with Foxboro in the semifinal.
Milford (10-10) qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2012 and has shown immense progress in head coach T.J. Dolliver’s second season in charge. But, the Hawks have also struggled down the stretch, albeit against a tough stretch of league opponents including North Attleboro and Foxboro twice, OA, and Attleboro. The Hawks will be in Div. 2 Central and will likely face Marlboro in the playoff opener, which is a team similar to the Hawks that shoots a lot of threes and does not have a true post presence.
The Hawks will be counting on a big game from junior guard Kate Irwin, who has been among the league’s top scorers this season, but Milford has a lot of versatile players that can cause teams problems on the perimeter and in the paint, including senior Nicole Dahlgren. If the Hawks do get through the first round, then they will travel to No. 3 seed Groton-Dunstable and could face a couple of Eastern Mass. transplants in Hopkinton and Medfield.
FOXBORO, Mass. – For the past month, Foxboro and North Attleboro have been taking care of business on the court with half an eye on each other’s results. Since the two teams last met on Jan. 20, North went 5-2 (despite missing senior guard Ashley Ahern for all seven games) including a five-game win streak entering Friday night. Meanwhile, Foxboro rattled off nine straight wins, eight off those coming in the league.
Grace Tamulionis scored 11 points, knocking down a trio of three-pointers, and all four of her shots were assisted by Lily Sykes (seven assists). Kristen Bortolotti also got off to a strong start with six of her 12 points in the first.
“It’s what they’ve been doing,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “They’ve been hot for a while. Once they got that consistent third shooter then they present a matchup problem for anyone. I was hoping we could mix and match and keep them uncomfortable but unfortunately they came out and shot the ball very well.”
The lead stretched to as many as 18 in the second quarter, after a Lauren Flahive (six points) jumper, but North started to find the range on offense and slow down the Warriors. Samantha Taggart scored seven of her team-high 12 in the second and assisted on a Caroline Collard (seven points, seven rebounds) jumper that cut the lead to 28-21.
It was as close as the Rocketeers would get for the rest of the night. Hailey Maling drove and kicked out to Riley Collins for a three that regained a double digit lead for the hosts at the break.
“Obviously, we had a great first quarter and we were bound to have a little bit of an offensive letdown in the second, but to be up by 10 going into halftime I was pleased with that,” said Downs. “Just the way the came out and the amount of energy they showed, I knew we were in for a good game.”
Foxboro came out of halftime intent on putting the game away and that is what the Warriors did, using an 11-0 run to extend the lead to 21 points (46-25). Ashley Sampson (game-high 19 points) was the aggressor for the Warriors, scoring seven in the third including a corner three off a Sykes assist and then going coast-to-coast for a layup off a steal. Bortolotti and Tamulionis (18 points) each added four in the quarter.
“In the second quarter we were able to score and defend a little better and keep them disrupted. In the third quarter, we just couldn’t sustain it offensively,” said Herber, whose team trailed 50-32 entering the fourth.
On Monday night against Bridgewater-Raynham, Foxboro had only four players get on the score sheet, but on Friday eight Warriors scored at least two points. That balance made it difficult for North to send help for Emily Schromm on Sampson and the senior got into foul trouble in the third quarter. In the end, Schromm and Collard would both foul out.
“The problem is the third player,” Herber explained. “We can cover two, but the third player is a tough matchup for us. We need to keep our bigs in the game to score on offense but it puts them in a bind on defense.”
Foxboro also had a decisive edge on the glass, despite North’s advantage in height. The Warriors were plus-10 on the boards, which Downs credited to a total team effort.
She said, “That hasn’t been our story all season long…especially against a team that has some height on us…They were all contributing to keeping that ball and getting second and third opportunities.”
Julia Feid scored a traditional three-point play to cut the lead to 19 in the fourth, but Foxboro responded to seal the win and the title. Sampson hit a pair of free throws (two of her six points in the fourth and 13 in the second half) and then assisted on a Maling jumper. Maling then provided her second assist of the game on a kick-out to Tamulionis for a dagger three.
“You can’t win games with two or three girls scoring,” Downs said, “and we have scorers, so we have to make sure that we keep them in the offense and we’re rotating the ball to get different looks from different people so that we’re a hard matchup.”
After clinching its eighth league title and second in the past three seasons, Foxboro (16-2, 14-2) will try to sew up the top seed in Div. 2 South in its end-of-season Warrior Classic beginning with Whitman-Hanson on Monday. North Attleboro (15-5, 13-3) will also try to work on its seeding for Div. 2 South and get revenge for an earlier loss when it travels to Attleboro.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Trailing in the second half at home in front a packed crowd in the Kenneth Pickering Gym against rival Attleboro, the Rocketeers switched the defensive look to a 2-3 zone and turned the offense back over to senior forward Jonny Friberg and senior guard Brent Doherty.
After scoring 11 points in the opening quarter, Friberg had seen far less of the ball after the Bombardiers turned up the defensive pressure on the North Attleboro guards and had managed only two points in the quarter and a half since. Meanwhile, Doherty was held in check with just six points midway through the third.
That changed down the stretch.
North started to pound the ball into the paint in the final 12 minutes and Friberg (10 rebounds) responded with 11 of his career-high 24 points and Doherty added 11 of his 17 as well, as the Rocketeers turned an eight-point deficit into a 62-55 victory that extended their win streak to four games and moved them into a tie with Milford for the Davenport division lead.
“They did a great job adjusting defensively,” said North coach Sean Mulkerrins about Friberg’s drop from 11 points in the first quarter to none in the second. “They didn’t allow us to move the ball and then they doubled inside. At halftime we talked about using that to our advantage. We knew it would either get [Jonny] or a shooter and Chad [Peterson] and the guys on the perimeter knocked down some big shots.”
In addition to the change of emphasis offensively, which included getting the ball into the post quickly to force the Attleboro defense to send help on Friberg, the Rocketeers also switch into a zone that slowed down the Bombardiers.
“The change of pace kind of hurt us a little bit,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “In the end, they went to their strength; they went to Jonny inside and, as mightily as we tried to fight in there, we just didn’t have enough muscle.”
North took control in the opening half by getting the ball into the block where Friberg used his size to overpower the Attleboro defense. He scored 11 of North’s 20 points in the first with a series of baskets from in close and then a three to close out the half off a feed by Kyle McCarthy.
Despite Jake Dunkley’s seven points in the first, Attleboro trailed by six heading to the second. The lead grew to as many as 11 points (30-19), as Peterson drilled back-to-back threes and McCarthy came through with four of his six points.
After a timeout, Attleboro turned things around with pressure defense by freshman Bryant Ciccio (seven points) and seniors Nate Douglas (12 points) and Lucas Boucicaut (four assists). Forcing turnovers allowed the Bombardiers to get in transition and they closed the half with a 10-0 run. Douglas scored twice on offensive rebounds and Ciccio and Dunkley each grabbed steals and layups.
“I thought in the second quarter and definitely in the third quarter their athleticism, we started getting long in the legs,” said Mulkerrins. “We’ve played a lot of zone in the past but we haven’t played a lot of it this year and it’s a risk…but we made just enough plays.”
The run stretched to 14-0 and 19-3, as Attleboro turned the game around and built the lead to as many as eight points in the third quarter after Elvin Sam stole the ball from Friberg under the basket and fed it to Andrew Milliken (10 points) for the finish plus the foul.
North started to creep back into the game thanks to its seniors. Friberg drilled a straightaway three to cut the lead to five and then added a fall-away jumper to make it 44-41. Milliken scored off a Dunkley assist to make it a five-point game heading to the fourth, but North had stemmed the tide.
“We’ve been talking all season about being scoreboard watchers; we don’t want to be scoreboard watchers,” said Mulkerrins. “It shows the resiliency of the kids. I’m proud of them.”
Doherty started the fourth with a basket in transition and, after a Friberg free throw, scored again on the break to tie it. Douglas knocked down a big three to put Attleboro back on top but it was answered by three at the line from Peterson. The junior guard then pulled up and the free throw line to give North its first lead since the opening minute of the third quarter.
Friberg scored the next two baskets for North and the lead stretched to six. Attleboro tried to extend the game by crashing the boards and getting its chances at the line, but the Rocketeers closed out the game shooting 6-of-7 on free throws to earn the win.
“Down the stretch you have to execute,” said Houle. “Brent and Jonny made big plays in those situations and those are the players that need to make the plays and they did.”
Mulkerrins added, “I think it’s the maturity of the group…I was yelling at the guys the word complete; we needed to play a more complete game than we did against Foxboro because we knew Attleboro was going to bring it.”
North Attleboro (8-4, 5-3) will travel to Mansfield on Friday before facing Milford in a battle for first in the division at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday. Attleboro (8-5, 4-5) will try to put an end to its five-game skid (and help North) against Milford on Friday.
Lady Bombardiers Dominate Start to Finish Against North
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the opening game of a the basketball doubleheader at the Kenneth Pickering Gym, the Attleboro girls set aside the struggles of last week and put in a dominating performance to hand North Attleboro its first league loss of the season, 56-19.
Senior Sarah Deyo led the way for the Bombardiers with another double-double of 22 points and 18 rebounds. She also added five blocks, as the Attleboro defense held North scoreless for the opening seven-plus minutes, allowed only two points in the first, gave up seven points in the opening half, and only 19 for the game.
“We didn’t hurt ourselves,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “We kept possession, we got good looks…and the defense has always been really good.”
Deyo scored eight in the first and North did not get on the board until the closing minute when Caroline Collard knocked down a long jumper. Attleboro essentially put the game away with a 26-point second quarter, highlighted by Deyo scoring another six points and junior Sam Pierce scoring 11, including a deep three at the buzzer.
Senior Julia Strachan marked her return to North Attleboro, where she transferred from after her sophomore year, with 12 points and Jordyn Lako chipped in with five.
Patch said of the team’s ability to bounce back after the losses to Mansfield and Oliver Ames, “We just refocused everything and the girls have been doing a great job. It’s more of a team offensively rather than just a few great individual plays.”
North was shorthanded on Tuesday night with senior guard Ashley Ahern ruled out due to injury. Julia Santos led the way with eight points, Samantha Taggart added five, and Collard had four points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Attleboro (11-2, 7-2) stayed one-game back of Mansfield in the race for the Kelley-Rex title and will travel to Milford on Friday. North Attleboro (10-3, 8-1) has a one-game lead on Milford and Foxboro in the Davenport and will host fellow league leader Mansfield on Friday.
Attleboro, 59 @ Taunton, 68 – Final – Tommy MacLean scored 18 points for the Tigers and Lou Vendrell chipped in with 17. Taunton held Attleboro to six points in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory.
Stoughton, 65 @ Canton, 70 – Final – Sophomore Devin Foster paced the Bulldogs with 17 points and Tony Harris scored 15 points and pulled down nine boards, as Canton held off a “furious” rally by the Black Knights. Jake Verille scored a career-high 14 in the win. Cam Andrews had a game-high 24 points for Stoughton.
King Philip, 49 @ Franklin, 64 – Final – Freshman Chris Edgehill scored a career-high 16 points for the Panthers and Josh Macchi had 14 in the win.
Mansfield, 72 @ Oliver Ames, 42 – Final – The Hornets broke the game open with an 18-7 second quarter to take a 20-point lead by halftime. Christian Weber led the way for Mansfield with 17 points and Tyler Boulter added 15. Phil Vigeant (11 points) and Sam Goldberg (10) each reached double-digits for the Hornets.
Milford, 65 @ Sharon, 42 – Final – Zack Tamagni scored 22 points to lead the Hawks to the division win. Anthony Arcudi added 15 points and Kayden Kelly scored eight points and pulled in 18 rebounds. Sharon was led by Jimmy Fitzhenry with 11 points.
Taunton, 28 @ Attleboro, 66 – Final
Canton, 41 @ Stoughton, 54 – Final – Val Whalen had another strong game for the Black Knights, scoring 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Freshman Aliyah Wright added 10 points for Stoughton. Hannah Jerrier had a team-high 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 47 @ North Attleboro, 53 – Final – Ashley Ahern had a team-high 16 points for the second straight game to help North Attleboro take a two-game lead on the Warriors in the Davenport division. Samantha Taggart also scored 16 for North. Ashley Sampson had a game-high 21 for the Warriors and Lauren Flahive added nine fourth quarter points and pulled in nine rebounds in the loss that ended a six-game win streak for Foxboro.
Franklin, 67 @ King Philip, 36 – Final – Kate Morse was the top scorer for the Panthers with 15 points. Megan O’Connell added 11 for Franklin, while Ali Brigham and Erin Skidmore each scored 10 and Carli Koffinke had nine points. KP was led by Shannon O’Connor with 14.
Sharon, 37 @ Milford, 48 – Final – The Eagles battled back to cut the lead to eight points in the fourth quarter, but Milford’s Kate Irwin scored eight of her 15 points in the quarter, including 5-of-6 from the line, to seal the win for the Hawks. Emma Eberhardt led the Eagles with a team-high 13 points and pulled in 12 rebounds, while Shira Stoller scored eight and grabbed seven rebounds.
Stoughton, 1 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – P.J. Elliott scored a power play goal in the second period that turned out to be the game-winner. Jake Parker had the other goal for Attleboro. Ryan Chipman had the Stoughton goal. All three of the game’s goals were scored in the second period.
Masconomet Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames went 1-2 on the day, beating Burlington 47-24 but falling to Arlington (37-31) and to Masconomet (40-39). Anthony Berksza (145), Jay Fruci (220) and Dean Pacini (195) each went 3-0 on the day for the Tigers.
Canton, 87 @ Ashland, 89 – Final
Oliver Ames, 75 @ Franklin, 94 – Final
Milford, 106 @ Sharon, 62 – Final
Canton, 82 @ Ashland, 93 – Final
Oliver Ames, 57 @ Franklin, 113 – Final
Milford, 90 @ Sharon, 80 – Final
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro was trailing by a point as the clock wound down under 90 seconds remaining in Tuesday’s game at the Kenneth Pickering Gym. The Rocketeers needed someone to make a play to avoid the upset against an upstart Milford team that was trying to tie North for the Davenport division lead.
Senior Ashley Ahern picked the pocket of Jill Burley, her fifth steal of the game, and raced the length of the court for a layup to give North a 46-45 lead. It turned out to be the game-winning basket, as the Rocketeers locked down on defense and Ahern sealed the 51-45 victory by knocking down 5-of-6 free throws.
It was an impressive come from behind win for the hosts, who trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, but also an indication of how far Milford has come in head coach T.J. Dolliver’s second season that the Hawks had the division leaders on the ropes.
“They did,” replied North coach Derek Herber about Milford having the Rocketeers on the edge. “We’ve seen enough of them…I told my girls that they’re scrappy like us and they can shoot a little bit, so we’ve got to be ready to play. They came out right away and did exactly that.
“They’ve come a long way and credit to T.J., he’s put a team together over there and they’re going to be a problem throughout the season.”
The opening quarter was an indication of the confidence that the Hawks are playing with this season. In an end-to-end period that resembled a track meet as much as a basketball game, the Hawks got points from six different players and scored 19 points.
Christine Pye (eight points) knocked down a pair of long jumpers and Burley scored four of her eight points on a pair of runners in the lane. Nicole Dahlgren (12 points, eight rebounds, five assists) scored on an offensive rebound plus the foul then assisted on a three-pointer by Juliana Tracy.
North kept it close in the opening quarter with a strong offensive attack of its own. Ahern scored four of her game-high 16 points and sophomore Julia Feid added six of her seven points in the first.
The pace continued in the second quarter, but the scoring slowed down. The teams scored six points apiece and headed into halftime with the Hawks ahead 25-21.
In the third quarter, Milford came out strong and took a double digit lead. Kate Irwin flipped a pass over the defense to Dahlgren for a layup then Gillian Valanzola used a pump fake to get past Caroline Collard in the post for a basket. After Dahlgren scored on one of Burley’s six assists, she then managed to keep a play alive while falling to set up Irwin (six points) for a three.
North trailed 36-26 and Herber called timeout.
“We’ve got to execute better on offense,” Herber told his team. “We have a height advantage, so lets try to get the ball to Collard and if we get the shots off that look that’s what we need to do. We were able to put some pressure on their guards and get in their face a little bit.”
Feid snagged a rebound of a missed free throw and fed it to Collard for a layup to get North started. Collard then scored a layup in transition off an Ahern assist and another off of a Feid inbound pass to get the Rocketeers back within three. Collard scored 10 of her game-high 16 in the quarter.
North regained the lead before the end of the third on back-to-back steals and transition baskets by Ahern. Dolliver was left rueing the missed opportunity to put North away.
“We just turned the ball over too much and it was just…careless,” he said. “They played good defense on it, but they were passes that we could avoid. We definitely have to take care of the ball a little more and that was the difference.”
North extended the run to 13 straight points with a pair of free throws and then Samantha Taggart answered a Dahlgren jumper with a three-pointer that made it 42-38. Pye scored on a layup to cut the lead in half, but Liz Morehouse scored her only points of the night to push the lead back to four.
Pye was left open on an inbounds play for a layup and then Dahlgren buried a straightaway three-pointer that put Milford back in front by a point with time running out for North.
“I was happy to see that they bounced back,” said Dolliver of his team’s response to the North run. “I really love this group. That’s the No. 1 seed [in the division] and you had them, so it’s a good sign in that aspect but I hold them to higher standards now. They know how to take care of end-of-game situations.”
The North defense was aggressive throughout the second half with Ahern causing problems for Burley and Emily Schromm holding Irwin, who currently leads the Hockomock in scoring, to just six points. It was Ahern who made the biggest play, turning the game around for North when it needed a stop and scoring the final seven points of the game.
“They all know it too, she’s the heart of the team,” said Herber of Ahern. “They take their cue from her. If she’s up on her person and in their face then everyone else has to have the same mentality. She’s still a little banged up and she fought through it today.”
North Attleboro (9-2, 6-0) will continue a tough stretch when it hosts Foxboro on Friday in another game against a team that is one game back in the division. Milford (6-2, 4-2) will have no time to dwell on the loss, as the Hawks host Hopedale on Wednesday.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – The home team just would not go away. Despite trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter against Davenport division-leading North Attleboro, which came in with only one loss on the season, Stoughton continued to fight and twice cut the lead to as little as six points.
There was no panic on the North bench. With four seniors in the starting lineup and eight players returning from last season’s trip to the state title, the Rocketeers have plenty of experience in close games on the road.
Senior Ashley Ahern scored five of her team-high 17 points and dished out an assist for a Julia Feid three, as North went on a 10-0 run to put the game away late. The Rocketeers continued their unbeaten start to the league campaign with a 59-47 and extended their lead in the division to 1-1/2 games over Milford and Foxboro.
“We had a lot of these games last year and they’ve learned from them,” said North coach Derek Herber. “They’ve learned all the bad things that can happen and they persevere and hit the tough shots, get the big rebounds and go from there.”
North led 43-34 heading into the fourth quarter, but after Feid knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Rocketeers ahead by double digits freshman Shyanne Trinh (six points) drilled a three off a Val Whalen assist. On the next possession, Lili Njiem, Stoughton’s lone senior in the regular rotation, snagged an offensive rebound (her 12th rebound of the game) and laid it in to cut the lead to six.
Caroline Collard (12 points, 10 rebounds) hit a pair from the line, but freshman Aliyah Wright (11 points, nine rebounds) answered right back for the Black Knights with a drive to the basket. After a turnover, Jordan Motley (19 rebounds) had a chance to cut it to four, but her free throws would not fall.
North got the rebound and took control. Samantha Taggart hit Collard on a roll to the basket for a layup, then Ahern drew the defense and kicked out to Feid for a three in front of the North bench. Julia Santos kicked out to Ahern for a deep three and then she added a pair from the line to push the advantage back to 16.
“They are veteran and they’re solid and they’re tough and they win close games,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan about North. “They got it done.”
There was plenty for the Stoughton coach to be proud of on Friday night. The Black Knights played with intensity from the opening tip, dominated on the glass, and kept the Rocketeers off-balance on the offensive end of the floor.
Steele Jordan said, “I as impressed with their effort and their intensity. They really played hard. There’s a lot of winnable games in the Hock and we just have to believe that we can get it done.”
North jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, showing off the team’s depth. The Rocketeers would have eight players on the scoresheet in the game, including junior Emily Haskell, who scored all four of her points in the first to help out North ahead 14-8. Trinh hit a three at the buzzer to cut the lead in half going to the second.
Thanks to four points apiece from Ahern and Collard and contributions off the bench from Santos and senior Liz Morehouse (six points), North extended the lead to 10 by halftime.
“She brings energy all the time,” said Herber of Morehouse. “She does so many little things for us, the rebounding, the boxing out, the taking a charge. She’s one of those kids who knows what we need to get out of her and she knows her role and plays it the best.”
Stoughton hung around in the third and kept the deficit to single digits thanks largely to the play of Whalen. The junior forward put in a monster performance, pulling down 23 rebounds on the night and scoring 15 of her game-high 20 points after the break, including nine in the third quarter alone.
“She just goes so hard,” said Steele Jordan of Whalen. “She’s a workhorse and she gives me effort every night. She’s definitely progressed a lot from last year to this year. She’s got that mentality that I can compete in the Hock and I’m one of the best post players. I love that about her.”
Njiem added a three in the third and Wright had four points in the quarter, but North kept a solid lead thanks to its seniors. Ahern had five, Collard had four and Morehouse and Emily Schromm each had three in the period.
Stoughton never backed down, but in the end North made the plays to come out with the win. Herber explained, “We knew going in that it was going to be one of those games. We play the same style of basketball they do, slow it down, make it a little ugly, play good defense, rebound and get opportunistic offense.
“We were able to get some offensive looks off our press and pull it out.”
Steele Jordan added about the Black Knights, “I couldn’t be prouder to coach them and I keep telling them we can do this. There’s still a ton of season left. They’re starting to buy into it and that’s important when you’re young.”
North Attleboro (8-1) travels to Cranston East on Saturday and then will take on the two teams tied for second in the Davenport, starting with Milford on Tuesday. Stoughton (1-7) will look for its first league win of the season on Tuesday against Sharon.