MANSFIELD, Mass. – Coming into Friday night’s game against Oliver Ames in the Albertini Gym, Mansfield coach Mike Redding wasn’t sure what he would be able to get from senior guard Sydney Mulkern, who had been sick at practice the day before.
As it turns out, the Hornets got plenty from Mulkern. She came off the bench and scored a game-high 17 points, including 13 in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter, to provide the offensive punch in an otherwise defensive struggle with the Tigers, helping the Hornets pull out a 41-32 win.
“Syd was sick all week but she gave us some minutes and just made some big shots,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding said. “We really didn’t think she was going to play tonight. Yesterday she really looked awful and said she’d be able to help a little off the bench and she was probably the difference tonight.”
Neither team was really able to find a rhythm on the offensive side of the court.
The game was tied at 2-2 five minutes into the opening quarter. Maggie Danehy (13 rebounds) scored her only bucket on an offensive rebound to put the Hornets in front, but freshman Caroline Peper (nine points) answered with a three. Ashley Santos scored back-to-back baskets, but Ally Scolnick knocked down a three to tie it 8-8. Caroline Flynn also grabbed 10 rebounds in the first alone and finished with 20 boards for the Tigers.
Mulkern’s first points gave Mansfield a 10-8 lead after one, a lead that it would never relinquish.
The second quarter was even more difficult for both offenses. Mady Bendanillo (eight points and seven rebounds) scored to make it 12-8 but neither team would score again until there was 2:10 left in the quarter when freshman Hailey Bourne got her lone basket of the night for OA. Mulkern hit a layup and Megan MacVicar scored off a Bendanillo assist to make it 18-12 at the break.
“It was 18-12 at the half, come on girls can we score some points?” OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook was left asking at halftime. “We scored 57 against Foxboro and we only managed 12 in a half tonight. I’d be so happy with 41 as a points against game, but, I don’t know, offensively we just weren’t present.”
Mansfield came out in the second half and started to pull away, leading by as many as 12 points at one point. Mulkern started the third with a deep three off a pass from Kara Bendanillo (six steals and three assists). Peper cut the lead to 23-16, but Mady Bendanillo hit a huge three-pointer at the shot clock buzzer to put the Hornets up double digits and her sister followed with a layup in transition for a 28-16 lead.
“There were a lot of good athletes defending and the refs let us play us a little bit and it was just tough to get a good look,” Redding said. “Both teams are pretty well-coached on what the other team wants to do and we had some kids step up.”
OA continued to find points tough to come by, but the Tigers made a little run to cut the Hornets lead to just five. Sadie Homer got a steal and transition layup and twice Meg Holleran was able to find Scolnick (team-high 13 points) on consecutive backdoor cuts.
“We got into no rhythm but I think it was self-inflicted,” said Clement-Holbrook. “Not to discredit Mansfield’s defense because they always play good defense, but we were so out of sync. We had shot but we just didn’t finish them. We are much more capable of presenting ourselves in a better way but we just didn’t play up to our capabilities.”
Kara Bendanillo got out in transition to close the third with a layup and give the Hornets a seven-point edge heading to the fourth. Scolnick opened the fourth with a jumper to keep it close but then Mulkern broke the game wide open.
She sandwiched a Becca Hottleman steal and layup with a pair of threes (one after Kara Bendanillo kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound) to extend the lead back to 11.
OA kept the game on edge to the final whistle by causing havoc with a press, raising the energy of the team but not getting the Tigers any closer than eight points.
“We’d rather win ugly than lose. Defensively we played well but on offense we were just out of sorts,” Redding said. “We made enough shots but we never got into any rhythm and fortunately they didn’t either.”
Redding admitted that this was an important win for the Hornets, despite it still being early in the season. The Hornets, who are seeking a program-record fourth straight league title, trail division-leading Franklin by two games and are now tied with the Tigers for second in the Kelley-Rex.
“This was almost like an elimination game for us,” he said. “Now were still two back and Franklin still has OA twice, they have Foxboro, and we have Franklin at home. There’s a long way to go but you feel like we’re in it and now we need to go on a little run in January to be there in February and have a shot at a [title].”
Mansfield (5-3, 4-2) will face a tough test on Tuesday night with the visit of Canton, which has won five games in a row, while Oliver Ames (5-3, 4-2) will try to get back on track at home against Sharon before facing Franklin for the first time.
Foxboro, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 53 – Final – Oliver Ames used a 20-point third quarter to create a double-digit deficit and then held off Foxboro in the fourth to grind out a win at home over the Warriors. After combining for just 10 first quarter points (6-4, OA lead), the Tigers took a 19-12 lead into the locker room. OA then doubled its production from the first half with 20 points in the third with senior Sean O’Brien scoring seven of his team-high 15 points in the frame. Sophomore Amari Brown and senior Ethan Eckstrom each added nine points for Oliver Ames. Foxboro junior Brandon Borde scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the second half to help the Warriors stay within striking distance. Sophomore Kevin Gallagher added eight points for Foxboro.
Stoughton, 60 @ Franklin, 74 – Final – Franklin jumped out to a 22-8 lead after the first quarter and maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way. The Panthers led 38-22 at half and 52-31 heading into the final quarter. Senior Jalen Samuels scored a team-high 16 points while junior Chris Edgehill added 13 points, all coming in the first quarters for both players. Will Harvey added eight points for the Panthers, who connected on eight three-pointers. Stoughton junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell had a team-high 14 points while senior Zak Paquette finished with nine points.
Canton, 64 @ King Philip, 63 – Final – Canton senior Ryan Lentol converted a traditional three-point play with eight seconds left to give the Bulldogs a one-point win on the road. Lentol converted his shot to tie the game and then hit the free-throw to put Canton ahead. Devin Foster scored a game-high 31 points and had 12 rebounds while Lentol finished with a career-high 16 points. Canton connected on 20 free throws. KP led by as much as 11 in the third quarter but Canton closed the game and trailed just 45-43 heading into the fourth. KP senior Sam Sesay had a career-high 17 points, Tim Nault added 13 points, and Alex Fritz finished with 11 points.
Milford, 53 @ Mansfield, 62 – Final – Milford had a three-point lead at halftime, and took a 38-36 advantage into the fourth quarter, but the Hornets poured in 26 points in the final frame to earn the win. Sophomore Matty Boen scored eight of his 11 points in the final frame, Tommy Dooling added six of his 12 points in the fourth, and Damani Scott scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Junior Sam Stevens had a team-high 14 points for Mansfield, who shot 27-for-36 from the free throw line. Brendan White had a team-high 17 points for the Scarlet Hawks while sophomore Danny Corsini added 10 points.
Sharon, 34 @ Taunton, 72 – Final – Taunton outscored the visiting Eagles 25-3 in the first quarter on its way to a big Hockomock League win. Junior Dante Law scored a team-high 21 points and a total of nine Tigers found their way onto the score sheet. Wesner Charles added 12 points and Naz Kenion finished with 11 points. Sharon’s Ben Kaplan had a team-high eight points.
Franklin, 62 @ Stoughton, 36 – Final – Ali Brigham scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Panthers to a big win. Franklin broke the game open in the second half, after leading just 22-16 at the break. Megan O’Connell chipped in with 11 points in the win. Sydnee Hyacinthe was the top scorer for the Black Knights with 18 points.
Mansfield, 65 @ Milford, 22 – Final – Mansfield pulled out the big win against a hard-working Milford side thanks to balanced scoring. Ashley Santos scored 10 points for the Hornets, who also got six points apiece from four seniors: Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Abby Sullivan and Alicia Hottleman.
Taunton, 43 @ Sharon, 54 – Final – Emma Eberhardt returned after missing the last game with an injury and scored 18 points to help the Eagles pick up an important win. Telishya Herbert added 10 points and Ally Brown chipped in with six to help Sharon hold off a late charge by the Tigers.
King Philip, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Amanda Lewandowski scored a pair of goals and Gianna Cameron added a goal and an assist for the unbeaten Panthers. Gabby Colace (16 saves) earned the shutout in goal.
King Philip, 96 @ Attleboro, 74 – Final – Attleboro’s Colton Parkinson was a double-winner, taking first in the 200 IM and the 500 free, and Connor Dunn took first in the 100 free but the Bombardiers lost to King Philip.
Mansfield, 79 @ Oliver Ames, 87 – Final
North Attleboro, 72 @ Milford, 88 – Final
King Philip, 82 @ Attleboro, 88 – Final – The Attleboro girls swim team set 12 personal bests on its way to a win over visiting King Philip. Liz Saltz won the 200 and 500 free with state qualifying times in both, Jackie Lynch-Bartek took first in the 100 breaststroke, Ella Lynch Bartek touched first in the 100 free, and Tiffany Chin earned first in the 100 backstroke. Those four swimmers teamed up to win the 200 medley relay for the Bombardiers. Brenna O’Connell joined Saltz and the Lynch-Bartek sisters to win the 200 free relay.
Mansfield, 71 @ Oliver Ames, 91 – Final
North Attleboro, 79 @ Milford, 83 – Final
North Attleboro, 139.4 @ Oliver Ames, 138.2 – Final
Attleboro, 155.7 @ Braintree, 135.9 – Final
Attleboro, 39 @ Stoughton, 44 – Final – Stoughton hauled in eight of their 20 offensive rebounds in the final quarter and turned those boards into 12 points in a win over Attleboro. The Bombardiers led 34-26 after three quarters of play but the Black Knights won the fourth quarter 18-5 to earn the victory. Junior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored a career-high 16 points and hauled in 16 rebounds to lead the way for Stoughton while Eddie Aldama chipped in with 11 points. Senior Mason Houle had a game-high 17 points for Attleboro.
Franklin, 50 @ Canton, 52 – Final – With Franklin holding a 50-49 lead, Canton senior Ryan Lentol stole an inbounds pass, kept it in bounds while finding classmate Paul Corcoran (10 points) for a baseline layup to give the Bulldogs a 51-50 lead with 5.2 left in the game. Canton forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds and Devin Foster (20 points) hit a free throw in the final seconds to help the Bulldogs secure the win. Kyle Fitzgerald added 11 points in the win for Canton. Junior Chris Edgehill had a team-high 16 points for Franklin, Jalen Samuels added 13 points, and Will Harvey finished with 12 points.
King Philip, 46 @ Milford, 79 – Final – Milford scored 42 points in the first half and had four players finish in double digits in scoring in a victory over visiting King Philip. Brendon Sailer (18 points), Danny Corsini (15 points) and Colby Pires (13 points) all set new career highs in scoring while Brendan White had 17 points for the Hawks, which led 63-24 after three quarters. Timmy Nault and Sam Sesay (career-high) each had 10 points for King Philip while Andrew McKinney and Alex Fritz each finished with eight points.
Mansfield, 75 @ Sharon, 57 – Final – Mansfield built a 219-point lead by halftime, taking a 44-25 lead into the break, and never looked back in a win over Sharon. Damani Scott scored 19 of his career-high 29 points in the first half while Tommy Dooling (six threes) scored 16 of his career-high 22 points in the opening 16 minutes to help the Hornets build the big lead. Khristian Conner chipped in with 11 points for Mansfield. Aaron Strong led Sharon with 13 points while Andrew Burton chipped in with 12 points.
Oliver Ames, 45 @ North Attleboro, 46 – Final (OT) – North Attleboro closed the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run to help force overtime and then outscored the Tigers 6-5 in the extra period to get the win. A pull up jumper from Evan Rosenberg with just over 30 seconds left put North ahead 40-38 but Jake Erlich hit two free throws in the final seconds to send it to overtime. North Attleboro’s Jake Petersen scored five of his 11 points in the overtime period to lift the Rocketeers. Nate Gonsalves finished with a career-high 16 points for Big Red. Amari Brown paced Olier Ames with 13 points while Harry DeChellis finished with 10 points.
Stoughton, 51 @ Attleboro, 41 – Final – Aliyah Wright was the top scorer for the Black Knights with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Sydnee Hyacinthe had 16 points and six assists, as Stoughton won its second game in a row and moved above .500 for the first time this season.
Foxboro, 78 @ Taunton, 38 – Final – Four players scored in double figures as the Warriors made it three wins out of three to start the season. Katelyn Mollica led Foxboro with 18, but the Warriors also got 16 points from Yara Fawaz and 11 each from Abby Hassman and Chelsea Gibbons.
Sharon,, 29 @ Mansfield, 47 – Final – Sharon was down only six entering the final quarter but Mansfield finally broke the game open with a 14-2 fourth to pull out the win. Maggie Danehy scored 12 points and pulled down 14 boards in the win. Mansfield also got 10 points from Emily Vigeant and seven from Ashley Santos. Evanjuline Elisma paced the Eagles with nine points and Emma Eberhardt added eight.
North Attleboro, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 79 – Final – Ally Scolnick led the Tigers in scoring for the third straight game to start the season, tallying 17 points in the win. Caroline Flynn added 13 points and five assists, Tate Hadges had 12 points, and Alex Sheldon had 11 for OA. Tigers coach Laney Clement-Holbrook called it a great effort on both ends of the floor.
Taunton, 129 @ Oliver Ames, 131.65 – Final – Oliver Ames junior Lauren Picanzi took first in the All Around with a 35.2, including a 9.0 on both the beam and the floor. OA sophomore Ashlyn Latham placed fourth in the All Around, and tied for second with an 8.8 on floor.
Taunton, 48 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 38 – Final – Freshman Tim Luc and eighth grader Gerald Grealish each won a pair of individual events and Taunton swept the three relays to get a win over Coyle. Luc won the 100 fly (sectional qualifying 57.96) and 100 free (53.39) while Grealish touched first in the 100 backstroke (1:05.91) and the 200 IM (2:18.44). Freshman Brady Callahan won the 200 free (2:09.00) and was second in the 100 backstroke (1:06.54). Taunton dominated all three relay events, capturing the 200 Medley and 400 Free (Callahan, Grealish, Luc, Peter Ye), as well as the 200 Free (Johnathan Trinh, Khan Orgil Enkhbileg, Garrett Rainey, Martin Dafov).
Taunton, 55 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 33 – Final – Taunton took first and second in all but one individual event and swept all three relays in a win over Coyle. Senior Erin Schrama, senior Ashley Mitchell, and eighth grader Tiffany Ye were all double winners for Taunton. Schrama won the 200 IM (sectional qualifying 2:26.70) as well as the 100 breast (1:15.99) while Mitchell was a double winner in the distance events, tackling the 200 and 500 free events.
Mansfield, 62 @ Attleboro, 63 – Final (OT) – Attleboro junior Bryant Ciccio (24 points) hit a couple of clutch free throws between the end of regulation and the overtime period to help the Bombardiers earn the win. Mansfield senior Tommy Dooling (16 points) converted a putback with eight seconds left to give the Hornets a 58-57 lead but Ciccio hit a free throw with 0.6 seconds left to send the game into overtime. The Hornets held a 62-59 lead with under a minute to go in the extra period but a steal and layup from Mason Houle (10 points) made it a one-point game with 32 seconds to play. After getting a stop, Ciccio hit two free throws to put Attleboro up 63-62. The Bombardiers forced a backcourt violation, got the clock down to 2.4 seconds, missed a pair of free throws but prevented Mansfield from getting a shot off at the final buzzer. “I’m proud of our effort, we stayed together and made big plays tonight in crucial situations on both ends of the court,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We made it a priority to make the next play and didn’t panic.” Qualeem Charles added 15 points for Attleboro while Tim Callahan had 10 points. Damani Scott added 16 points and Matt Boen finished with 11 points for the Hornets.
Foxboro, 60 @ Canton, 65 – Final – Canton outscored Foxboro 43-31 between the two middle quarters, helping the Bulldogs turn an early deficit into a lead it never relinquished. Junior Kyle Fitzgerald scored 14 of his 16 points in those two periods while senior Devin Foster spread his 16 points out among all four corners. Ryan Lentol connected on four three-pointers for a career-high 14 points while Robbie Gallery added nine for Canton. Foxboro sophomore Kevin Gallagher scored a team-high 14 points, senior Anthony Mollica added 13 points, and junior Brandon Borde finished with 12 points.
King Philip, 39 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – After scoring 21 points in the first half, Franklin exploded for 21 points in the third quarter along to pull away from the Warriors. The Panthers led 21-13 at half but held a 42-29 advantage through three quarters. The Panthers added 20 more points in the final frame. Junior Chris Edgehill netted a team-high 16 points while Jack Rudolph added 14 points and Thomas Gasbarro finished with 13 points. Alex Fritz had a team-high 13 points for King Philip.
Sharon, 51 @ Milford, 66 – Final – Holding a three-point lead at halftime, up 28-25, Milford opened the second half with a 12-0 run and never looked back in a win over Sharon. Milford senior Brendan White poured in a career-high 29 points while hauling in 14 rebounds to pace the Scarlet Hawks. Brendon Sailer scored nine of his 13 points in the third quarter to help the Hawks create separation. Colby Pires and Jordan Darling pitched in with eight points apiece. Aidan Kane scored a team-high 12 points for Sharon with Ben Kaplan and Caleb Gayle each chipping in with eight points each.
Stoughton, 45 @ North Attleboro, 44 – Final – Stoughton junior Ajahn Rue hit the game-winning three pointer with 1.8 seconds left to lift the Black Knights to the win on the road. Stoughton led 42-41 late in the game before North Attleboro junior George Ladd drained a three to put the Rocketeers ahead 44-42. On the ensuing inbounds, Rue (12 points) brought the ball up and pulled up for the three to put the Black Knights back ahead. Stoughton junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second half, helping the Black Knights rally from a 26-19 deficit at half. Evan Rosenberg led North Attleboro with 12 points and Nate Gonsalves chipped in with 10 points.
Attleboro, 51 @ Mansfield, 63 – Final – Maggie Danehy had a career-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Hornets, helping Mansfield earn its first league win of the season. The Hornets trailed after the first quarter but an 18-10 second pushed Mansfield ahead for good. Sophomore Ashley Santos also had a career-high with 11 points in the win and Becca Hottleman had eight points and four assists. Attleboro was led for the second game in a row by Mackenzie Roberts, who scored eight, while Jordyn Lako and Liv McCall each had seven points.
Franklin, 62 @ King Philip, 34 – Final – Ali Brigham continued her strong start to the season, scoring 28 points to lead the Panthers to a second straight win. Franklin jumped in front 46-14 after three quarters with Megan O’Connell adding 19 points and Bea Bondhus scoring six. KP was led by Faye Veilleux with 14 points.
Milford, 41 @ Sharon, 54 – Final – Telishya Herbert scored a game-high and career-high 30 points, sparking the Eagles to their first win of the season. Emma Eberhardt added eight points in the win. Emma Lawrence scored 22 of Milford’s 41 points in the loss, which was a career-high for her, and Katie Maietta had eight in the loss.
North Attleboro, 51 @ Stoughton, 62 – Final – Sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe bounced back from a tough opener against OA with 19 points, seven assists, and four steals, while junior Aliyah Wright had 18 points and eight rebounds to get the Black Knights their first win of the season. Senior Lindsay McDonald double-digit rebounds for the second straight game, pulling down 18 boards in the win.
Oliver Ames, 63 @ Taunton, 51 – Final – OA pulled away late in a close game that featured a lot of runs from both sides and moved to 2-0 on the season. Senior All Scolnick paced OA with 22 points and classmate Sadie Homer ran the game at the point for the Tigers. Taunton was led by Jaelyn Fernandez with 17 points and Sonya Fernandez with 12.
Foxboro, 36 @ Taunton, 49 – Final – A sophomore, a freshman, and an eighth grader all won a pair of events to lead the Tigers to a win in their first meet of the season. Sophomore Garrett Rainey won both the 200 free and the 500 free, freshman Tim Luc won the 200 IM (2:20.92) and the 100 fly (59.12), and eighth grader Gerald Grealish touched first in the 100 free (59.21) and 100 breaststroke (1:12.13). Taunton’s 200 medley relay of Brady Callahan, Peter Ye, Tim Luc, and Martin Dafov and 400 free relay of Callahan, Grealish, Ye, and Luc both took first. The Warriors took first and second in the 200 relay with Ben Dorman, Thomas Perry, Dimitrios Davis, and Thomas VanDell taking first in 1:57 and the team of Jared Roke, Kris Andersen, Spencer SanBento, and Joseph St. Pierre coming in second. VanDell added a second place finish in the 50 free for Foxboro.
Franklin, 36 @ Stoughton, 7 – Final
Foxboro, 53 @ Taunton, 41 – Final – Foxboro took first place in six individual races and one relay race to earn a victory over Taunton. Pam Nelson and Lindsey Nelson earned a pair of wins, with Pam touching first in the 200 IM (2:31) and the 100 free (1:02) and Lindsey winning the 500 free (6:21) and 100 breaststroke (1:24), Sarah Egan won the 200 free (2:29) and Gina Ouellette earned first in the 100 fly (1:14). Foxboro’s 200 relay team of Nelson, Nelson, Ooullette and Egan earned first in 2:01. For Taunton, freshman Angelina Lynch won the 50 free (27.12) and eighth grader Tiffany Ye won the 100 backstroke (1:09.42). Taunton’s 200 medley relay of Jacalin Gallagher, Ye, Marisa Gay, and Lynch and the 400 free relay of Gallagher, Macey Jorge, Gay, and Ye both took first place.
Franklin, 73 @ Stoughton, 31 – Final – Franklin’s 200 free relay team of Heather McCarthy, Alyssa LaPuma, Katie Chew, and Katie Cashin qualified for sectionals with a time of 1:53.97.
2017-2018 Record: 9-13 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
The Bombardiers were just two wins shy of a playoff spot last season under new head coach Marty Crowley and Attleboro brings back three starters and has added several new faces to the roster to try and make a postseason push this winter.
The graduation of leading scorer Sam Pierce (16 points per game) means that a number of players are going to need to step in and make up for production on offense and on the glass. Senior point guard Jordyn Lako will be back to run the Bombardiers offense and provide three-point shooting, while junior Nyah Thomas is a versatile weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Both are also aggressive defenders, who set the tone on that end of the floor. Senior forward Mackenzie Roberts can score in the post or from beyond the arc and junior Liv McCall is a dynamic guard who is capable of big scoring nights.
Defense has always been the focus of teams that Crowley coaches and the Bombardiers will be no different. To keep up that defensive intensity, the Bombardiers have added depth to the rotation. Seniors Abby Struminski and Dom Garnes (who was out last season with an injury) provide leadership, while sophomores Gabby Bosh and Sonny Stuger and freshmen Meghan Gordon and Lillian Froio are newcomers to keep an eye on.
“Hopefully we can generate scoring opportunities off our defense and use our athleticism to create baskets,” said Crowley. “We have a great mix of experience and youth. We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been spirited and the kids have been working hard.”
2017-2018 Record: 10-11 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round. Coach: Jim Choquette
Last winter, Canton got a taste of the postseason for the first time in seven seasons and now the program will try to build on that momentum while finding a way to replace the scoring and rebounding of Hannah Jerrier, who averaged a double-double for the Bulldogs last winter. An exciting crop of underclassmen has been added to the roster and now Canton will try to build experience with a schedule that puts them on the road for the majority of the first half of the year.
While Jerrier will obviously be missed, the Bulldogs bring back the other four starters and other players with plenty of experience to try and make it a much shorter wait to get back into the playoffs. Senior point guard Julia Hamilton is back to run the offense, senior Erin Devine gives Canton control on the glass and a rim protector on defense, senior Molly Ludwig gives balance to the offense, and senior Maggie Connolly is one of the league’s top defensive players on the perimeter. Senior Nicole Galvin will add depth to the backcourt.
Junior Lilah Milton came on strong at the tail of end of last season, including a huge game in the playoff-clinching win over Weymouth, and could take up some of Jerrier’s scoring from the power forward position. Sophomore Kayla Albert gained valuable experience last season as a freshman and current rookies Sydney and Fay Gallery, and Kiara Cerruti have the potential to step right into the rotation and contribute.
“Details are everything to us,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “If our group of young talent and veteran leadership/experience can continue to stay focused on the details during the good times and tough times of a season then we should continue to improve and have a very excited and successful season.”
2017-2018 Record: 26-2 2017-2018 Finish: Won Div. 2 state championship. Coach: Lisa Downs
Last season was one to remember for the Warriors, who rolled through the regular season in dominating fashion and lived up to the team’s immense potential by bringing home the Div. 2 state title. With the graduation of a very strong senior class, the expectations are much lower for the Warriors this season but there are several returning players and new faces that have Foxboro coach Lisa Downs confident that the program can continue its recent run of success in the Davenport division.
Losing players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally is a challenge for any team, but the Warriors will bring back a pair of starters from the playoff run in sophomore Katelyn Mollica and junior Abby Hassman. Mollica is the team’s top returning scorer and will be one of the top point guards in the Hock with her ability to shoot and score off the dribble. Hassman gives Foxboro a strong presence on the glass and showed increased confidence in her offensive game at the end of last season. Senior Chelsea Gibbons and junior Lizzy Davis should see increased minutes and bigger roles in the offense this year.
Juniors Shakirah Ketant and Yara Fawaz should give Foxboro more depth in the post and contribute on the glass and both saw limited minutes in the playoffs last winter. Sophomores Adrienne Dunn and Jordyn Collins will be newcomers to the backcourt and have impressed during the preseason, while junior forward Anita Busznyak is expected to see a lot more time this year and could be a player to watch.
Downs is hoping this year’s team will learn from the graduating class. She said, “The time they spent practicing with and playing against these girls has really paid off – they know what is expected of them on the court and what is required to be a winning team. We have established a winning culture at Foxboro and the players know that I expect nothing more than what they should expect from themselves.”
2017-2018 Record: 15-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central first round. Coach: John Leighton
The Panthers bring back 10 players from last year’s roster, which reached the state tournament but lost in the opening round to Natick, and there are high expectations on Oak St. as the new season gets underway. Franklin enters the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and its balanced lineup has the potential to make a run in the state tournament as well.
Much of the enthusiasm for Franklin’s chances this winter come from 6-foot-3 center Ali Brigham. The junior recently committed to George Washington (where her father once played) and is the lone returning player from last season HockomockSports.com First Team. While she (deservedly) garners much of the attention, the Panthers have a number of other weapons to give the opposition headaches. Senior guard Bea Bondhus, who committed to Springfield College, is one of the top three-point shooters in the Hock and sophomore guard Elizabeth Wilson is back from an injury that cut short the promising start to her varsity career.
The Panthers will also bring back versatile junior forwards Megan O’Connell and Breanna Atwood, who add size in the paint but can also take defenders off the dribble or knock down outside shots. Seniors Hailey Sanders and Calen Frongillo add depth to the frontcourt, while senior Shannon Gray and juniors Kelsey MacCallum and Sydney Garilli are capable of stepping in at either guard position.
“It is our goal to compete each night and to improve from last year,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “With 10 returning players, we feel our experience will help us to better prepare for the season and compete against the best in our league.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
King Philip had to battle injuries throughout head coach Amy Siggens’ first year in charge, including a late season injury to leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, but the Warriors are healthy coming into this season and with a year to get use to a new system, confidence is high that KP can make a push up the standings and fight for a postseason berth this winter.
O’Connor is the key piece returning for the Warriors. A four-year varsity player who has been recruited by Div. I college programs, O’Connor gives KP a consistent scorer and someone who will draw opposing defenses. Senior Julia Leroux will be back at the point and running the KP offense, while junior Faith Roy is the team’s best outside threat and has developed as a ball-handler who can score in a variety of ways. Sophomore Emma Glaser, who battled injuries throughout her freshman season, will add versatility to the lineup and can play multiple positions and her classmate Courtney Keswick is a newcomer to watch in the backcourt.
The Warriors will also have strength in the post with senior Catherine Cummings providing a solid presence on the glass and junior Faye Veilleux giving KP length and athleticism at the forward position. Newcomers like junior Taylor Butler and returning senior Kendall Mason will give added depth and strong play on the defensive end of the floor.
There is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding our team this year with our sights on continued growth and improvement upon our overall record from a year ago,” Siggens said. “Our practices have been very competitive and I’m encouraged by our team’s attitude and overall interest in getting better. I like this team a lot and I look forward to the challenge of helping each girl reach her maximum potential.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-6 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
After three straight league titles and four trips to the Div. 1 South semifinal in the past four seasons (including back-to-back finals), Mansfield has been one of the most consistent teams in the Hockomock League, but the Hornets enter this season trying to replace Meg Hill, who scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more than 1,000 points in her stellar career. With 10 seniors and loads of athleticism, this might be a very different looking Mansfield attack, but one that has the potential to keep the Hornets right back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and capable of making another deep tournament run.
The Hornets have been known for slowing the ball down and running intricate sets, but this team is suited for getting up and down the court as quickly as possible, highlighted by senior guard Mady Bendanillo, one of the quickest players in the Hock. Senior forward Maggie Danehy has emerged as a strong interior scorer and someone who can control the glass, but she is also someone who can run like a guard and get out on the break for easy baskets. Seniors Sydney Mulkern and Erin Daniel add wing scoring and are both solid shooters who can spread the floor and open lanes to the basket.
Athletic senior forwards Emily Vigeant and Steph Kemp can outrun many of the guards in the league and senior point guard Kara Bendanillo is another speedster who can push the ball off makes or misses. Sophomore Ashley Santos saw time last year as a rookie and adds to the frontcourt depth and versatility, while junior Becca Hottleman will be back to give Mansfield another option at guard.
It is a different feel to the lineup but one that Mansfield coach Mike Redding feels can be effective. He said, “We need to rebound as a team and must change our style to up-tempo with defensive pressure/fast breaks and play to our strengths (athleticism and depth).”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central quarterfinal. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford coach T.J. Dolliver brings back six players from the team that not only reached the state tournament last season but also went on the road and beat Burncoat handily, the program’s first playoff win since 2001. The problem for the Hawks is that almost the entire rotation from last year’s team has graduated, including 1,000-point scorer Kate Irwin.
While this may be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, Dolliver sees it as an opportunity for players to step into new roles and establish themselves as starters and as regular contributors. The lone senior back from last year is forward Grace Risio, who Dolliver said made a difference when she was given the opportunity last year, and sophomore guard Jillian Michelson saw some time in the backcourt as a rookie.
The Hawks will have eight sophomores on the roster this season, so it is clear that Milford is going to try and build with youth, similar to several teams from last year. Among the players from last year’s roster, forwards Katie Maietta, guard Emma Lawrence, and forward Carly Ferreira all got time as freshmen and could see those minutes increase significantly this winter.
Dolliver said, “With our entire rotation graduating last year, there are a lot of opportunities waiting for everyone in the program. It will be exciting to watch who emerges within the group and elevates their game to compete at the varsity level.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Derek Herber
Last year was a tough transition season for the Rocketeers, as North Attleboro moved on from a number of players who were starters for several years and incorporated a number of new, young faces into the lineup. North had a better second half to the season and will try to build on that this winter with a more experienced group of players.
Senior Julia Feid is back on the wing and is North’s top returning scorer, coming off a season in which she averaged more than nine points per game. Fellow seniors Liz Smahi and Emma Noreck will add leadership in the backcourt and try to set the direction for the team this year. Junior point guard Olivia Forbes, who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last season, will be back to get the offense going and provide strong defense on the perimeter. Junior Eliza Dion also returns to add rebounding and interior scoring for a team that can’t count on a lot of height in the paint.
The North offense improved over the course of last season with the addition of sophomore Amanda Kaiser (8.6 points per game) and junior Julia Kleczkowski (40 percent from three-point range), who can both fill it up from the outside and who are both willing to take any shot that presents itself. Several newcomers will fill out the roster with the potential of adding important minutes over the course of the season, including sophomore Lydia Santos and Siobhan Weir.
“We will rely on Julia Feid to be our first option on offense and the sooner we can develop a consistent second option will be a factor in the early part of the season,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “The inside scoring option will hopefully be Eliza Dion, while both Amanda Kaiser and Julia Kleczkowski showed an ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting in limited time last year.”
2017-2018 Record: 16-6 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames will be making a transition this year following the graduation of Kayla Raymond, who was a two-time HockomockSports.com First Team performer and last year’s league MVP (and is already a three-time Rookie of the Week at Stonehill College), but the Tigers have a number of returning players to try and make up for Raymond’s production on both ends of the floor and make another run at a league title.
Senior Alex Sheldon grew in confidence over the course of last season and became a double-double machine by the end of the year, dominating on the glass and improving her finishing around the rim. Junior Erin Holberg emerged last year as a strong scorer on the perimeter with her touch from the outside and ability to take defenders off the dribble. Junior Meg Holleran is in her third season on varsity and is a tough, physical defender who can knock down shots from the outside.
Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a strong freshman season, playing several positions (from point guard to small forward), crashing the boards, and showing off decent range. The return of senior Sadie Homer will add energy on both ends of the floor and give the Tigers another strong outside shooter to stretch the floor, while senior Ally Scolnick came off the bench last season to add another shooter to the OA offense.
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said of the experienced returning players, “They will lead the youngest team OA has put on the court in quite a long time. We are looking towards gaining valuable game experience and coming into to our own as the season progresses.”
2017-2018 Record: 2-18 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sanda Lombardi
It was a tough winter for new Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi, as the Eagles struggled to a two-win season, but five of their losses were by 10 points or fewer and they return all but one player from last season’s team. With a year to get acclimated to Lombardi’s system, an experienced roster of returning players, and several newcomers, Sharon has its sights set on getting into the postseason for the first time since its run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.
Sharon returns its leading scorer and playmaker in senior Emma Eberhardt, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team last season, and she will once again be the focal point of the offense, as well as one of the team’s leading defenders. Eberhardt’s versatility as a wing player should open things up for junior guards Kaitlyn Wallace and Ally Brown, who will both fill in as ball-handlers after the graduation of Miranda Cheung. Wallace will extend defenses with her shooting from the outside and Brown adds energy to the backcourt defense.
Senior guard Bridget McManus will add depth and junior forward Telishya Herbert provides a strong presence in the paint. Junior Olivia Langol-Leonard added frontcourt depth and was active on the glass in her time on the court, while senior forward Evanjuline Elisma can score in transition and adds another solid wing defender.
“We only lost one player due to graduation,” said Lombardi. “We have the entire team back and we added some height. I’m excited to see what the season brings. The girls are working hard and our goal is to qualify for the postseason.”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton started last season with five straight defeats and only one win in the opening eight games, but the Black Knights turned things around with a vengeance, winning 11 of its final 12 games of the regular season and winning its opening game of the state tournament. Stoughton’s only two losses in its final 14 games of the season were to state champion Foxboro. That is a lot of momentum for the Black Knights to carry into this year.
It may be a little different look for Stoughton this winter after the graduation of Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Instead of being a team that dominates the paint, there will be a host of guards and wing players who can still battle on the glass, but will bring energy and tenacity on the perimeter on both ends of the court. Junior Aliyah Wright is back as the team’s point guard and her length makes her a factor guarding multiple positions. Senior Lindsay McDonald adds versatility as a combo guard and sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe is a dynamic guard and stretches defenses with her ability to shoot from the outside.
While there are a lot of familiar faces returning for the Black Knights, there are several players who will have more responsibility this year and the potential to make big contributions. Junior Lexi Baptista defends well at the forward position and gives a different look on the post, while seniors Hailey Egan and Heather Maddalena will add extra toughness to the backcourt. Junior Shyanne Trinh is still battling an injury at the beginning of the season, but she will give Stoughton a big scoring boost when she returns.
“This season will be all about our effort, energy and enthusiasm on defense,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The Black Knights will be most successful when we put in work on the defensive end and finish each play with a Black Knights rebound.”
2017-2018 Record: 7-15 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton started last winter well and had the potential for making a return to the state tournament, but injuries slowed things down for the Tigers and they missed out on the postseason. While the year didn’t end the way they would have hoped, a number of younger players were given valuable varsity experience and there are a number of returning players ready to make an impact.
Senior Lily Patneaude will be the player to watch for the Tigers, as the team’s leading scorer from last year. After battling an injury down the stretch, her return gives Taunton a consistent primary offensive weapon and takes some of the scoring pressure off her teammates. Senior point guard Alexa White is also back to provide leadership, energy, and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor. Sophomore Kelsey White showed flashes as a rookie of being the secondary scorer that Taunton needs, with her ability to knock down shots from the outside and take defenders off the dribble.
Even with a year of experience, Taunton is still a relatively young team. Sophomores Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will provide athleticism from the forward positions and give Taunton effort in the paint, while sophomore Tori DaRose, and freshmen Abby Souza (who saw brief minutes as an eighth-grader last season) and Braeley MacDonald give the Tigers depth off the bench.
“We have great group of enthusiast student athletes consisting of senior leadership, youth, athleticism, and talent,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “This team is looking forward to a fun and exciting season.”
Mansfield, 41 vs. University High of Newark, 73 – Final – Meg Hill scored 12 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and had five blocks but it was not enough for the Hornets against the defending New Jersey state champion. Ann Maher added eight points, Maggie Danehy had seven points, and freshman Ashley Santos had seven for Mansfield.
King Philip, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
Mansfield, 3 @ Taunton, 3 – Final
North Attleboro, 4 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Dedham, 1 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Quincy/North Quincy, 11 – Final
Norton Quad (Canton) – The Bulldogs dropped all three of its contests on the day against top-notch opponents. Canton lost to Walike (42-25), Norton (45-27) and Brockton (36-22).
Hanover Quad (Foxboro) – Foxboro went 3-0 at the Hanover Quad including a very close win over Hingham. Aaron Kaplan and Jeremy Neale had pivotal wins for the Warriors to give them their first win over Hingham since 2001.
Framingham Quad (Franklin) – Franklin continued its strong season with three more impressive victories. The Panthers beat Framingham (48-6), West Springfield (36-28) and Algonquin (58-21) to stay unbeaten in dual meets this season.
Midland Quabbin Duals (King Philip) – King Philip went 3-1.
Marshfield Quad (Mansfield, Taunton) – Mansfield picked up three wins to continue its strong season. The Hornets beat Monty Tech (45-12), Silver Laker (59-14) and Marshfield (45-21) but fell to Metheun (45-30). Taunton didn’t pick up any wins on the day but sophomore Woudanly Danger (220) went 4-0 on the day. For Mansfield, Antonios Sevastos (2-0), Will Stratton (4-0), CJ Glaropolous(4-0), George Glaropolous(3-0), Jayden Curley (4-0) and Vinnie Holmes(4-0) all went undefeated.
Cumberland (RI) Tournament (North Attleboro, Oliver Ames) – North Attleboro took second overall with 207.5 points while Oliver Ames finished in ninth with 63 points. North’s Mattuez Kudra earned a first place in the 220 bracket while Jake Direnzo (128), Chris Ferrigna (182) and John Kummer (285) each grabbed second. Brandon Belleton (138) and Cobey Williamson (126) highlighted OA’s day with fourth place finishes.
Quad Meet (Sharon, Masco, Marlboro, St. John’s Shrewsbury) – Sharon notched a pair of wins at the quad match on Saturday. The Eagles beat Masco (39-33) and St. John’s Shrewsbury (66-9) but were edged out by Marlboro (34-33). Tyler Cashton (152) went 3-0 on the say while Will Stern (120), Sam Mandelbraut (132), Matt Callan (138), Jon Wald (195), Dimitri Kalogeras (220) and Justin Wells (285) all picked up a pair of wins.
The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.
Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.
One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.
Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-14 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.
Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.
Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.
“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”
2016-2017 Record: 22-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal Coach: Lisa Downs
After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.
Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.
The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”
2016-2017 Record: 9-11 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.
The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.
Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.
“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.
King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.
Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.
Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”
2016-2017 Record: 20-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.
The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.
Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”
2016-2017 Record: 10-11 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.
The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.
Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.
Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”
Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.
The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.
The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.
North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 13-8 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.
The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.
In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.
“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.
Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.
Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.
Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”
The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.
Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.
Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-21 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.
The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.
Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.
Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”