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
BOSTON, Mass. – Things were looking good for Foxboro after pitching a shutout in the third quarter, seizing control of its D2 State Semifinal against Arlington Catholic.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t quite keep up with the outstanding defense.
The Warriors kept Arlington Catholic without a point for a near 12 minute stretch — the final 3:50 of there first half, the entire eight minutes of the third quarter and the first couple of seconds of the fourth quarter.
However, Foxboro went just 1/10 from the field in the final frame. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ offense finally came to life, scoring 18 points — eight from the charity stripe — and picked up a 37-30 win over the Warriors to advance to the D2 State Final on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, the shots just weren’t falling in the fourth quarter,” said Foxboro head coach Lisa Downs. “To hold a team like that scoreless in third quarter, it was looking pretty optimistic for us. But the shots just weren’t falling tonight.”
Arlington Catholic surged to a 19-10 lead halfway through the second quarter but Foxboro’s defense — and offense — turned it up. The Warriors didn’t allow any points the rest of the half while rattling off a 7-0 run. To start that run, junior Ashley Sampson (13 points, 11 rebounds) drained a three to eclipse the 1,000 point mark for her career.
“Obviously it’s great for her to get her 1,000th point and we’re extremely proud of her,” Downs said. “But she could have cared less about that tonight. She just wanted to win. That attitude bodes well for everyone on the team. The team chemistry, that’s what I’m going to miss more than anything to tell you the truth.”
“I honestly really didn’t care about scoring the 1,000th point, we just wanted to get the win,” Sampson said. “It didn’t happen but we’re going to work just as hard as we did this year to try and get back here next year and hopefully get the ‘W.’”
Riley Collins (five points) added a basket and Grace Tamulionis (five points, six rebounds) converted a put back just before the buzzer to get the Warriors within two, 19-17, at the break.
“We definitely had our looks,” Downs said. “Especially in the first half, we had some bunnies and some short jumpers. Usually our shooting percentage is far better than it was tonight, which will happen, but usually our defense will make up for that and give us additional opportunities. And we had those tonight, but they were very aggressive on defense. Ashley was getting double teamed, sometimes triple teamed and we just weren’t reversing the ball quite enough.”
Foxboro kept the momentum up in the third quarter. Lily Sykes gave the Warriors the lead with a three 90 seconds into the third quarter. Sykes added a free throw, Sampson hit three free throws and Collins drained a three in the final minute to give the Warriors a 26-19 lead through three.
“Those kids from Foxboro, their heart was ridiculous,” said Arlington Catholic coach David Brady. “I thought they scratched and clawed within the rules of basketball to rebound the ball. You get to this point, nobody wants to lose, nobody wants to quit. Foxboro was an incredible team tonight.”
Arlington’s offense came to life in the fourth quarter, mainly by attacking the basket and getting to the line. Erin Donlan (13 points) broke the scoreless streak with a free throw eight seconds into the final frame. Donlan then added two more free throws and then hit a layup to cut the deficit to 26-24. Monica Rayo (eight points, five points) then tied the game with just under six minutes to play and hit another basket a minute later to give the Cougars a 28-26 lead, capping a 9-0 run.
Foxboro’s offense finally broke into the scoring column in the fourth quarter, taking the lead back on a three from Tamulionis at 29-28. Lauren Flahive stretched the lead to two with a free throw with 2:31 to play, but that would be the last of Foxboro’s scoring.
AC’s Lena Perez 11 points, 15 rebounds) tied the game off an inbounds play with just under two minutes to go. Foxboro came up empty on its offensive possession, and the Cougars’ Alexandra Bell (eight rebounds) his a turn-around jumper with 1:20 to play to give AC the lead back.
Foxboro missed a shot and then had a turnover on the next possession, forcing the Warriors into foul mode. AC made five free throws in the final 44 seconds to seal the deal.
“I think defensively we were scrappy as we always are. We created opportunities for ourselves but on the offensive end, when we didn’t set the offense exactly as we normally do, we weren’t getting the looks we normally do. The ones we were getting weren’t the ones we wanted, it just wasn’t our night unfortunately.”
Brady admitted the Cougars’ main defensive game plan focused on Sampson.
“They hit some big shots but we had to live with it a little bit,” Downs said. “To try and take Sampson away, are you kidding me? That girls fantastic. It takes a village to stop her, she’s something else.”
Foxboro girls basketball finishes the season at 22-3 and as Davenport division champions.
Foxboro junior Ashley Sampson has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for March 5th through March 11th. Sampson is the 24th athlete selected for the 2016-2017 school year and the 12th selection during the winter season. She is the third girls basketball player and second Foxboro athlete to be selected this winter.
Sampson, who was selected as the Hockomock MVP by the league’s coaches, scored a game-high 20 points on Monday at Massasoit Community College to help the Warriors win the season series with North Attleboro and advance to the Div. 2 South final. Against Westwood in the South final at Brockton High, Sampson was once again the game’s top scorer with 19 points, as Foxboro claimed its first sectional title since 2003.
“Ashley has really stepped it up for our team each week this season and this past week has really proven what a true leader she has become,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “She not only has led our team each time she steps on the court, but, she does so with a quiet sense of confidence that everyone looks up to.”
Downs added, “The success our team has enjoyed would not have been possible without her.”
In addition to her scoring numbers, Sampson also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists against North and grabbed 10 boards and had four steals against the Wolverines. She has also provided timely scoring for the Warriors, with 12 of her 20 points against North coming in the second half and eight points in the fourth quarter against Westwood to bring Foxboro back for the win.
Sampson and Foxboro will face North champion Arlington Catholic in the state semifinal on Monday night at 5:45 p.m. at the TD Garden. Sampson enters the games just nine points shy of 1,000 for her career.
The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.
BROCKTON, Mass. – Two years ago in the Div. 2 South final, freshmen Ashley Sampson and Grace Tamulionis combined for 20 points in a loss to eventual state champion Duxbury. On Saturday afternoon, Sampson, Tamulionis, and the Warriors returned to Brockton High and used that experience to good effect to rally Foxboro in the fourth quarter.
Sampson scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the final quarter (and added 10 rebounds as well) and Tamulionis scored six of her 11 points in the fourth to bring Foxboro back from a point down to beat Westwood 47-38 and claim the program’s first sectional title since 2003 and book a trip to the TD Garden.
“I think having been in here before, even though it was two years ago, was a huge advantage,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “I’m sure that a lot of their team hadn’t been in this venue with this many people. Even though they’re juniors, they play like seniors and they weren’t cautious at the end.”
Tamulionis added, “Knowing the environment really helped with all the fans and I know freshmen year everyone was nervous but this year almost all of us had been here before so it really helped.”
The Wolverines did not look overwhelmed by the environment early and came out strong in the first quarter with senior forward Carly Sugrue knocking down a pair of threes and scoring eight of her 13 points. Haley Connaughton also hit one from deep and Allison Morin had three assists, as the Westwood offense was clicking at the start.
Sampson was keeping the Warriors afloat on the offensive end with eight points in the first, all coming off drives to the basket. Foxboro’s aggressiveness driving to the basket led to seven Westwood fouls in the opening quarter. Junior Shannon Smally (six rebounds) also provided a spark with three points and a couple boards in the first.
“She did a lot of the things today that we’ve been asking her to do all along,” said Downs of Smally. “Luckily, it’s gotten to the point that she’s doing things in March we asked her to do in December, but she timed it perfectly.”
Foxboro trailed 17-14 after one and would continue to struggle shooting from the outside for the better part of the next two quarters. The Warriors stayed in the game in large part due to a defensive effort that held the Wolverines to only 21 points over the final 24 minutes.
“We just had to focus on our defense,” said Sampson. “Our shots weren’t falling, but our defense is what got us back into it.”
With Westwood leading 24-19, Foxboro inbounded the ball to Lily Sykes for a half-court heave as the half expired. The horn sounded and the shot fell short, but an official’s whistle blew just before the clock read all zeroes and Sykes made 2-of-3 free throws to cut the lead to just three.
In the second half, Downs made a change and put Sampson on Sugrue, a switch that limited the Westwood forward to just two points after the break.
Downs explained, “Ashley’s got these long arms because Carly does a good job with these step back jumps and Ashley can just get a little more in her face.”
Foxboro finally found the range from three. Sykes (seven points) buried her only shot of the game to cut the lead to 26-24. After a Westwood basket, Sykes drove baseline and kicked it all the way out to the three-point line for Riley Collins to knock one down and tie the game. The Wolverines responded with four straight but then again Collins got a clean look and hit from three sending Foxboro into the fourth down just 32-31.
Tamulionis said, “No one got frustrated and I think that really helped. When coach called timeout, she just kind of settled us down a little and we knew that we had to step it up.”
Catherine Bonfiglio (team-high 14 points) started the fourth with a drive to the basket to extend the lead to three, but her six points accounted for all of Westwood’s points in the fourth. After a ragged start in which both teams missed a lot of open looks, Foxboro clamped down and contested every Westwood chance.
On the other end, Sampson, the Hockomock League MVP, started to assert herself. She drove baseline and finished with a reverse layup plus the foul and then knocked down a jumper off a Sykes assist to give Foxboro its first lead (36-34) since the first quarter.
When asked if she knew that it was time to be aggressive at that point, Sampson replied, “I don’t know. When I got the third foul, I kind of got into my own head. I just had to calm down and play.”
Tamulionis stepped up next, knocking down a long jumper off a Smally kick out to extend the lead to four and then stepped a couple feet further back to drain an open three that made it 41-36 with 1:05 remaining.
Foxboro went 6-of-8 at the line in the closing minute to complete its run as the top seed in the South by lifting the sectional championship trophy.
“I knew we had it in us,” Downs said, “and I never panicked too much because I could see it in their eyes that they had this game within their grasp and it was theirs to win or lose. Defense was going to win it for us.
“It’s so exciting. The girls knew that they could win today and never looked back.”
Tamulionis said, “It’s awesome. The whole year, the whole team has worked so hard and we deserve it. Everyone has done a great job all year.”
Foxboro (22-2) advances to the Eastern Mass. final at the TD Garden on Monday at 5:45 to play the winner of Arlington Catholic and Hamilton-Wenham.
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.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Coming off a difficult opening round game against No. 16 seed Scituate, top seeded Foxboro wanted to send a message right from the start in Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 South quarterfinal against 2016 sectional runner-up Hingham.
The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders, started 7-for-9 from the field, with six assists on those seven baskets, and scored 21 points in the opening quarter against the Harborwomen, nearly half of what they scored in the entire first round game.
Thanks to the strong start, Foxboro never trailed at any point against Hingham. In fact, the Harborwomen never got closer than nine points (midway through the second quarter) and Foxboro eased into the semifinal with a 62-39 victory.
“That first game jitters,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs about the Warriors’ struggles in the tournament opener. “Even though they seem like a confident team, in that we’ve been here, until you step on the court in the state tournament…they freeze up a little bit, the shots get a little bit tighter, but they came right into the game tonight ready to take care of business.”
Senior guard Kristen Bortolotti was injured prior to the beginning of the playoffs and in her absence, junior forward Shannon Smally was given a spot in the starting lineup. She made it count scoring six of her 10 points in the first and providing a spark in the post on both ends of the floor.
“That was huge,” said Downs of Smally’s contribution, “and it’s been right below the surface for the entire season and I’ve been begging her to unleash it and she did tonight. She was just confident out there; she was strong with the ball; she was doing the things that she shows in practice all along. She was huge for us tonight.”
Lily Sykes drilled a pair of threes in the first and Grace Tamulionis knocked down a baseline jumper and a three to help Foxboro extend the lead out to 10 points, 21-11, by the end of the quarter. Defensively, the Warriors also made a switch from their typical man-to-man to a 2-3 zone to try and limit Hingham’s ability to get into the paint.
“I’m mixing it up,” said Downs. “Their game is primarily driving, so we were just trying to take away the middle and force them to shoot from the perimeter. They were starting to hit some and we weren’t boxing out well enough, so I was more comfortable settling back into what we know best, which is man.”
The second quarter was very different for Foxboro, which only scored six points and made two shots from the floor, but the defense, whether in man or zone, clamped down and held Hingham to only one basket and three points. Senior Lauren Flahive was an important cog in that defense with four first half steals, as well as six rebounds and two assists.
“She does so much out there that even someone four inches taller than her couldn’t be doing,” said Downs of Flahive. “She does all those intangible things that, unless you break her game down, you’re not going to recognize she does. She’s so effective at her craft.”
The Warriors led by 13 at the break and never allowed Hingham to get any closer, although there was still some trepidation that the Harborwomen could go on a run.
Ashley Sampson, who was named Hockomock MVP by the league coaches, had picked up a third foul (in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity) and sat for a few minutes but Downs decided to bring her back with about three minutes left in the third and a 13-point lead.
“She’s smart enough that she’s not going to pick up that next foul,” Downs explained, “and I changed her defensive assignment too to someone who wasn’t as involved in the offense, but I needed her on the court.”
The move paid off. Sampson, who had only scored six points up to that point, buried a step-back three and then drove to the basket to close out the third quarter with Foxboro ahead by 17, 38-21.
In the fourth, Sampson took over. She scored 13 of her game-high 24 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line, as Hingham tried to extend the game with fouls. Tamulionis also came through in the fourth with five of her 12 points and Riley Collins nailed a corner three to add some separation in the final minute.
Although Hingham was never really that close in the second half, Downs admitted that it was only in the final couple of minutes that she started to feel like the game was in control.
She said, “I think it was only with four or five minutes left in the fourth that I said, okay I can breathe now. They’re a very good team and they came back against Oliver Ames. I never felt real comfortable until about four minutes left.”
As the Warriors move forward in the tournament, they will miss not having Bortolotti in the lineup but Downs is confident that the other players can pick up the slack on both ends of the floor.
“Of course it’s devastating not to have Kristen out there,” she said, “but if we all do just one or two more things that we don’t normally do…everybody pick up the slack a little bit, then everything will take care of itself.”
Foxboro (20-2) will face No. 4 North Attleboro in the Div. 2 South semifinal at Massasoit Community College on Monday night at 5:30. The teams split two meetings in the regular season.
#1 Foxboro, 45 vs. #16 Scituate, 37 – Final – Lily Sykes led the way for Foxboro with 20 points and Ashley Sampson added 16 for the Warriors. Foxboro will face No. 8 Hingham in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal on Saturday, 3/4 at 2 p.m.
#4 North Attleboro, 44 vs. #13 Madison Park, 17 – Final – Caroline Collard scored 12 points to lead the Rocketeers. North will face No. 5 Duxbury on Saturday, 3/4 at 6 p.m. in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
#9 Oliver Ames, 38 @ #8 Hingham, 45 – Final – Oliver Ames held a lead into the fourth quarter but Hingham was able to complete the comeback. Hannah Carroll had a career-high 15 points while Kayla Raymond added 12 points and Katie Flynn had 13 rebounds.
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, 69 vs. Randolph, 58 – Final – Foxboro had a strong third quarter, turning a five-point lead into a double-digit advantage (57-45) going into the final quarter. It was a balanced scoring attack for the Warriors with four players scoring in double-figures. Senior Andrew Block led the way with 14 points, freshman Brandon Borde added 12 points and Joe Morrison and Joe Bartucca each scored 10 points. Mark Clagg added nine points and Jamaine Few finished with eight points.
Franklin, 70 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 66 – Final – Franklin was impressive in the first three quarters, building an 18 point lead before Spellman closed the gap in the final quarter. Franklin senior Josh Macchi registered a career-high 22 points while junior Paul Mahon added 15 points and sophomore Jalen Samuels finished with 14 points.
Milford, 73 vs. Medway, 46 – Final – With its back against the wall, Milford put on a dominant performance to qualify for the state tournament for the second straight year. Scarlet Hawks seniors combined for 52 points to lead the way. Anthony Arcudi had a team-high 18 points while Nate Davila had 14 points, Zack Tamagni had 13 points and Alex Macek chipped in with seven points. Junior Kayden Kelley had 11 points and 17 rebounds in the win.
Oliver Ames, 66 @ Walpole, 53 – Final – Oliver Ames finished the regular season on a high note, taking the consolation game in the Rebel Classic at Walpole. Junior Jack Spillane poured in a team-high 25 points to pace the Tigers while Carter Evin added 15 points and Dylan Mahoney chipped in with 12 points. OA now awaits seeding for the D2 South tournament.
Sharon, 62 vs. Xaverian, 58 – Final – Sharon won the 2017 Walpole Hoop Classic win a win over Xaverian, ending the 2017 campaign on a four-game win streak. Junior Malik Lorquet was named tournament MVP, scoring 12 points and adding 14 rebounds. Junior Jimmy Fitzhenry was named to the all tournament team after scoring 14 points. Senior Ricardo Ripley finished with a team-high 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Stoughton, 64 vs. Tantasqua, 59 – Final – Stoughton junior Cam Andrews dropped a team-high 20 points and senior Cam Gomes chipped in with 13 points as the Black Knights advanced to the finals of the Warrior Classic to play Foxboro.
North Attleboro, 51 @ Attleboro, 47 – Final – The Rocketeers avenged an earlier loss to the Bombardiers. Emily Schromm was the top scorer for North with 13 points and fellow senior Samantha Taggart scored 12. Attleboro was led by Sarah Deyo’s 22 points.
Foxboro, 54 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 39 – Final – Recently named league MVP Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 27 points and senior Kristen Bortolotti added 12 in the win. Foxboro will face Lincoln-Sudbury in the final of the Warrior Classic on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Stoughton, 8 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Junior forward Brendan Campbell scored a career-best four goals to lead the Black Knights. Sophomore Sean Doherty netted a hat trick and classmate Luke Bainton found the back of the net once.
Franklin, 1 vs. Lasalle Academy, 4 – Final
King Philip, 1 @ Norwood, 4 – Final
Taunton, 3 @ Mansfield, 5 – Final – Mansfield scored three goals in the third period to earn two points and qualify for the state tournament. The teams were level 1-1 after the first period, and then 2-2 during the second period. Tim Arnold gave the Hornets the lead in the third period on assists from Chad Piotti and Cullin Anastasia. Freshman Chris Jenkins gave Mansfield a 4-2 advantage on the power play, taking a feed from Anastasia. Taunton cut the deficit to one but Matt Farragher scored a shot handed goal off an assist from junior Tyler Oakley. Joe Olsen scored in the first period on assists from Farragher and Oakley while Farragher scored in the second on an assist from Olsen.
Oliver Ames, 0 vs. Lowell Catholic, 1 – Final
Franklin, 0 vs. Ursuline, 3 – Final
King Philip, 0 @ Westwood, 3 – Final
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.