2020 Hockomock League Golf Preview

Hockomock League Golf
Mansfield’s Ryan Dow tees off during the 2019 Hockomock League Championships at Blue Hill Country Club. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2020 Hockomock League Golf Preview

Attleboro

2019 Record: 6-10
Coach: Jon Burre
Despite graduating over a half a dozen seniors from last year’s squad, head coach Jonathan Burre is excited to see what the new faces will bring to the table this season. One constant the Bombardiers have is junior captain Brendan Raymond, who led the team with an average score of 40.3 last year as a sophomore. Not only is Raymond a solid player on the course and great around the greens, but Burre also said he’s a great leader for the young squad.

Junior captain Parker Sackett, junior Jackson Sweeney, and sophomore Carter Shelton are all back after picking up valuable match experience last season and will be counted on to be key scorers for the Bombardiers, who are playing out of Stone-E-Lea Golf Course for the third straight season. Sophomore Leo Lombardo has made a big leap and will factor into the scoring for the squad while freshmen Dane Holske and Ryan Hill have shown promise in tryouts and practices.

“I like what I have seen from the underclassmen and I am looking forward to seeing who steps up and grabs those last few match spots each week,” Burre said. “The team has been coming in each day with good attitudes and competing at practice. We are well led by our captains and ready for the season!”

Canton

2019 Record: 13-1 (Davenport division champions)
Coach: Mike Barucci
The three-time defending Davenport division champions will be looking to stretch the streak to four this season, which would be a program first. The Bulldogs earned their third straight crown last season on the back of Hockomock League MVP senior Chris Lavoie, who led the league in average for the regular season, as well as a very deep lineup behind him. The Bulldogs will host division foes at Blue Hill Country Club on the challenger course.

Canton also won three straight league titles from 1998-2000 and the Bulldogs head into this season as the favorite to win a fourth straight Davenport title. Despite losing Lavoie to graduation, Canton returns three other Hock All-Stars in juniors Conor Hunter, Will Gefteas, and Michael Leonetti — all three shot an average of under 40 during breakout sophomore campaigns. They will be joined by four-year starter Thomas Singleton in the quest for a four-peat in 2020. Head coach Mike Barucci praised the improvement of senior Owen Donovan and expects a lot of golfers to be in the mix for a spot in the lineup including Nate MacDonald, Andrew Middleton, Aiden French, Charlie Cohen, and Ryan Doucette.

“We have a lot of depth this year and a lot of guys returning who have experience playing in matches,” Barucci said. “We should have a very competitive and exciting season.”

Foxboro

2019 Record: 10-6
Coach: Jared Tise
It might be a month later than anticipated but the Foxboro Warriors are excited to hit the links and get back out on the course to try and build on their 2019 campaign. Posting an 8-2 record against division foes and a 10-win season overall — the squad’s best in nearly a decade — Foxboro is looking to challenge Canton for the top spot in the Davenport.

Teeing off on the front nine at Foxborough Country Club, the Warriors will be anchored by a pair of senior captains in Dylan Quinn and Luke Davies. Quinn, who qualified for states as an individual last season, spent the summer improving all parts of his game and will be in the mix among the top golfers in the league this year. Davies was apart of the Warriors lineup each match last season and head coach Jared Tise expects him to be a big factor this year.

“[Davies] has improved to come out of tryouts as our number two player,” Tise said. “Luke, like Dylan, has worked very hard this summer improving his game while keeping his strength of iron play.”

Foxboro will turn to a handful of juniors to round out the top four this season, including Jack Rounds, Matt Fossella, Jack Watts, and Dylan Pothier. Rounds and Fossella each played in all of Foxboro’s matches last season while Watts and Pothier gained some valuable experience; all four are likely to factor into scoring this year.







Franklin

2019 Record: 14-4
Coach: Dustin Picillo
With six starters returning from last year’s 14-win team, including five experienced seniors, the Panthers are primed to make a push for the Kelley-Rex division title. After sharing the crown with OA in 2018, the Franklin finished second last year but will be one of the top challengers as rival Mansfield looks to repeat. Franklin calls Franklin Country Club home and will host teams on the front nine (par 35).

Spearheading the way for the Panthers will be senior Jack Paterson, returning after a stellar 2019 campaign. After finishing the regular season in the top five with an average score of 38.2, Paterson capped the season by shooting a 76 at Blue Hill Country Club to take home the individual title at the Hockomock League Championships. Seniors Nolan Norton, Brian Sandham, Sean Connelly, and Pat Dolan, who is coming off a breakout season in 2019, will make up the backbone of the Panthers this season. Juniors Caroline Woelfel and Jack MacKinnon will also be in the mix after gaining valuable experience on the course a year ago, while underclassmen Jack Hagerty, Ben Paterson, and CJ Steel have impressed in the early going.

“We are excited about our team this year,” said head coach Dustin Picillo. “Greens are firm and fast at FCC which has given us an early test of where we are at. We’re excited to get started against Attleboro.”

Hockomock League Golf

King Philip

2019 Record: 9-5
Coach: Myles McHugh
Despite a late start to the season, King Philip is aiming to be a spoiler in the Kelley-Rex division title hunt this season. Coming off a nine-win season, the Warriors are hoping to take the next step this year. Junior captain and Hock all-star Mike Matheson will lead the way for the Warriors, fresh off a strong 2019 campaign in which he averaged 39.9. He will be joined by senior captain Aidan Leonard, a four-year member of the program who will provide leadership and guidance for a squad with 11 juniors and nine underclassmen.

Head coach Myles McHugh will be leaning on Jared Curran, Pat Reardon, and Kevin Birenbaum — three returners from last season. Juniors Timmy Hartwell and Markus Paschke have shown a lot of improvement from a season ago and will be in the mix for the starting lineup when the Warriors tee off at Wentworth Hills Country Club. Sophomore James Boldy and freshmen Ethan Sullivan and Tyler Douglas have impressed in the early tryouts and practices and will be pushing for spots in the KP lineup.

“With 21 players on the team this year, the eight varsity travel spots are sure to be hotly contested,” McHugh said. “And as always, I would like to thank Wentworth Hills Country Club for hosting our team. It’s is a beautiful course that has afforded us a strong home course advantage for several years now.”

Hockomock League Golf

Mansfield

2019 Record: 14-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
Coach: Chris Hall
The Hornets had a banner year in 2019, winning the Kelley-Rex division for the first time since 2015 and went on to take first place at the Hockomock League Championship with a 12-stroke margin of victory. With virtually its entire starting lineup back this season, Mansfield enters the season as the favorite to repeat as division champions under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Chris Hall.

Playing the front nine at Norton Country Club its home course, the Hornets will face stiff competition as they try to secure another division championship. But with a strong senior class that features 11 golfers, Mansfield remains the team to beat. Ryan Dow, who led the team with an average of 38.8 and placed second at each of the last two league championships, is joined by brothers Jason See (39.1) and Brian See (39.5) at the top of the lineup for the Hornets. And don’t forget senior Nate Morreale (40.3), who took home the individual title as a sophomore at the 2018 league championship meet. Mansfield boasts incredible depth with seniors Joe Gormley (41.8) and Ava Haggis (42.8), both consistent scorers over the past couple of seasons, back in the lineup.

“Rounding out the team are a variety of incredibly talented senior athletes, mixed with a strong group of juniors and underclassmen looking to complete,” Hall said. “The Hornets have truly worked together to build a successful program at Mansfield High School. While our short term intentions are clear, the future is bright for the Hornets.”




Hockomock League Golf

Milford

2019 Record: 3-12
Coach: Jason Potty
Milford is hoping to have a bounce back season after just three wins in 2019. Hosting division rivals at Hopedale Country Club (par 35), the Scarlet Hawks will lean heavily on their most experienced golfers as they battle against Kelley-Rex foes this season. While the Hawks will have home course advantage against most of its new division rivals, they will be venturing to a handful of courses for the first time this season.

Seniors Dave Pacella (captain) and Wesley Murdock will lead the way and have a big impact for Milford this season. They will be joined by juniors Ronan Fleming and Tom Donato, who both picked up valuable experience last season as sophomores. After that, the Hawks will turn to youth to fill out the lineup card. First-year sophomores Eric Farrell and Tyler Caldon are going to be in the mix while freshmen Anthony LaPierre, Nate Lawrence, Jacob Hipolito, and Joe Pezza have shown promise early on and could factor into the scoring for Milford.

“We’re really excited that we actually have a season even if it is shortened so the seniors can have a nice send off and young guys can get match experience and play the other golf courses in the Hock,” said head coach Jason Potty.

Hockomock League Golf

North Attleboro

2019 Record: 8-8
Coach: Steve Nelson
After spending the past two seasons on the gridiron, junior Tyler DeMattio will be hitting the links this season and will be one of the main players for a Rocketeers squad that is looking to break Canton’s streak atop the Davenport division. With football pushed to the wedge season between winter and spring, athletes have the opportunity to participate in a different fall sport and DeMattio is taking advantage, trading his helmet and shoulder pads in for a driver and putter.

Along with the addition of DeMattio, the Rocketeers have sophomore Jake Gaskin back in the fold at Heather Hill Country Club. As a freshman, Gaskin burst onto the scene with an average of 40.6 during the regular season and tied for North’s top score at the league championship match. With a year under his belt, Gaskin will likely be in the mix among the top golfers in the division. Senior co-captains Aidan Weir (43.6) and Sam Gallagher (43.0) will lead the way both on and off the course this season. Head coach Steve Nelson has eight golfers battling it out for the last four spots, hoping the competition among teammates will bring out the best when the Rocketeers tee off this week.

Oliver Ames

2019 Record: 9-5
Coach: Ryan Riley
After a four-year stint in the Kelley-Rex that featured three division titles, the Tigers are back in the Davenport where they won four straight titles from 2012-2015. With its seven-year title streak snapped in 2019, Oliver Ames is looking to knock off three-time defending champion Canton behind a deep, but young, squad.

Head coach Ryan Riley will lean on senior captain James Walsh and junior captain Jo Jo Gaultier to provide some stability to a team that graduated six seniors, including all three of its participants in last year’s league championships. Senior Logan Domenico and junior Carter Allbritton have match experience and will be key pieces this season while junior Jake Kaplan has impressed in the early going. Freshmen David Rodgers and Sean Kearns don’t have any match experience yet but will be in the mix for the Tigers’ starting lineup. Oliver Ames plays off the white tees at Pine Oaks Golf Course in Easton.




Hockomock League Golf

Sharon

2019 Record: 5-8
Coach: Thor Van Vaerenewyck
Sharon lost two starters to graduation and has just one senior on the team this year, but with two of the top returning golfers back in the fold, the Eagles will contend against division foes this year on the front nine at the Cape Club of Sharon.

Senior Ethan Skelly has been among the league leaders in each of the past two seasons (37.5 average over two seasons) and that trend is likely to continue this year. Skelly, who finished tied for sixth at Hocks last year, is joined by juniors Nathan Daley and Eric Carter, who not only picked up valuable match experience last year but were key contributors in the Eagles’ starting lineup. Daley had a strong finish to his 2019 campaign with a fourth-place finish at Hocks while Carter has shown improvement from a year ago. Juniors Owen Kevorkian and Rosie Leonard will also factor into the scoring for Sharon after getting their feet wet last season.

Hockomock League Golf

Stoughton

2019 Record: 1-14
Coach: Brett Boyd
With all eight starters back from a year ago, the Black Knights are aiming to have an improved season on the links. Led by senior captain Max Huminik, who had the top average on the team and was the team’s medalist in almost all matches, the Knights are hoping to increase the win count this year under fifth-year head coach Brett Boyd.

Juniors Anthony Hearn and Patrick Smith are aiming to build on some great rounds from last year, gaining valuable experience as sophomores on courses they will see again this season. Senior Jake Curtis will be another key contributor for Stoughton, who hosts teams on the front nine at Easton Country Club. Curtis is a consistent player and will likely factor into the scoring in each match. Boyd noted how all four golfers have made great adjustments off the team and have positioned themselves to improve their scoring. Jonah Hochberg, Brooke Bulger, Joseph Mark, and Joseph Rush have impressed early on and will be battling for spots in the starting lineup.

“I’m looking forward to having the same squad back from last year that now has experienced playing in matches and seen these other courses,” Boyd said.
“It will only help make us more competitive down the stretch.”

Hockomock League Golf

Taunton

2019 Record: 2-13
Coach: Brad Koneski
The Tigers boast four returning starters from last year’s squad and are aiming to improve as the season progresses. The Tigers are set to tee off on the road against King Philip but later in the week will entertain the Warriors, as well as the rest of the Kelley-Rex division, at Segregansett Country Club.

Seniors Spencer Andrews, Colton Fagan, Dillon Schofield, and Kyle Robinson are the key contributors back for the Tigers in 2020 and will all be important pieces for this season. All four were apart of the Tigers’ starting lineup a year ago and that experience should help as they battle through a loaded Kelley-Rex division. Head coach Brad Koneski, now in his sixth season at the helm, also expects Nathan Fernandes and Alex Dias to factor into the scoring for the Tigers this season.

Tellier’s Pro Dream Comes True, Signs with Red Sox

Nate Tellier
Former Attleboro standout Nate Tellier, shown here pitching for UMass Dartmouth, signed a free agent contract this week with the Boston Red Sox. (UMass Dartmouth Athletic Communications)

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Nate Tellier is living the dream of kids and baseball fans (of all ages) throughout New England. The former Attleboro High standout and All-Little East Conference pitcher and outfielder at UMass Dartmouth put pen to paper Tuesday on a three-year free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox. He has been invited to join his hometown team at spring training in March.

“There is no better feeling,” Tellier explained, still obviously coming to grips with a wild week that saw him invited to the Kelly Rodman Memorial Summer Rivalry Classic in Hartford on Friday, where he struck out the three batters he faced, to being offered a contract four days later by Red Sox scout Ray Fagnant.

“[Ray] texted me Monday at 11:30 at night and was like, want to meet tomorrow?” Tellier said. “I just thought we were going to talk…then he asked, ‘Do you want to be a Boston Red Sox? We’ve got a contract with your name on it right here.’ It was unbelievable.”

Telier continued, “It’s always been my dream to play for the Red Sox. It’s a dream come true. I’m just blessed because not many people get to live out their dream like I am right now.”

It has been a roller coaster year for the fireballer. At the beginning of his senior season in February, Tellier was recognized by Perfectgame.org as the No. 4 prospect nationally in Div. III. As a center fielder and closer for the Hawks, he was named Little East Player of the Week after the first three games and was batting .436 as UMass Dartmouth jumped out to a 9-1 record.

Then the world changed. The COVID-19 pandemic ended the spring season and Major League Baseball announced that it was shortening its amateur draft to just five rounds. “I was pretty disappointed because being a DIII player I’m not going to get drafted in the top five rounds,” Tellier admitted.

With a potential pro career seemingly stalled, Tellier, who graduated this spring with a degree in biology, joined the Brockton Rox of the Futures League for summer baseball and started considering his options for one more college season. Three saves and 19 strikeouts in 11-1/3 innings with the Rox, while regularly hitting 94-95 mph on the gun, caught the eye of scouts again and earned Tellier his chance to impress in Hartford.

“It’s been a roller coaster of a year, but it all worked out in the end,” he said. “Hopefully it’s the beginning of a long career.”

Tellier had an impressive career at Attleboro. His senior season, he went 3-0 in the regular season and led the Hockomock League in strikeouts (65) and ERA (0.60). He struck out 16 in an eight-inning no-hitter against North Attleboro, outdueled Norwood’s Sean Mellen (Northeastern University) in the first round of the playoffs, shutting out the Mustangs over nine innings and having both of Attleboro’s hits in a 1-0 win, and battled a sore shoulder in a close South semifinal loss at Silver Lake against Gatorade Player of the Year Anthony Videtto (UMass).

The talent was evident, but, according to former Attleboro coach Matt Bosh, it was the work ethic that turned Tellier from a 4-foot-11 freshman into a pitcher capable of signing with a big league club.

“His commitment is off the charts,” said Bosh. “He’s going to outwork everybody at any level he competes at and that’s how he’s always been. He would make other players around him better because they would see the best player on the team working the hardest. That’s a luxury for any coach.

“He’s made himself into a professional athlete. All that hard work paid off for him and it’s what he deserves.”

Tellier added, “Ever since I was seven it’s just been baseball, baseball, baseball, just full throttle. I don’t think I’ve gone a day without baseball since I was seven and just all the hard work that I put in, all my friends who’ve been pushing me, and it’s paid off.”

In a Boston Globe article by Alex Speier on Wednesday, Fagnant said, “Good story, but most importantly, at the end of the day, you’ve got big league tools. That’s the most important part. It’s a big arm, he’s a strong kid, and he’s athletic. It will be fun to watch his progress.”

Minor league baseball has been closed down for the summer, due to the pandemic, so Tellier will have to wait until March 3 before he reports to Red Sox camp. In the meantime, he will continue to go through his throwing program and work out and try to get used to the fact that his dream of being able to say, “I have to report to spring training with the Red Sox,” has come true.

“It hasn’t sunk in,” Tellier said with a chuckle, as he tried to describe his feelings. “I still can’t believe that I’m with the Boston Red Sox.”

Tellier is one of two members of the Attleboro High class of 2016 to sign professional contracts this year. He joins classmate Kyle Murphy, who signed with the NFL’s New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in April and is taking part in the team’s training camp.

Attleboro’s Tellier Making His Pitch as National Prospect

Nate Tellier
Former Attleboro standout Nate Tellier heads into his senior season at UMass Dartmouth as one of the top DIII baseball prospects in the country. (UMass Dartmouth Athletic Communications)

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It is only three games into the new baseball season and already former Attleboro High standout Nate Tellier is racking up the recognition at UMass Dartmouth. Prior to the start of the season, the senior center fielder and relief pitcher was named one of the top Div. III recruits in the country and this week was named the Little East Conference Player of the Week after sweeping a weekend doubleheader against Becker College.

Tellier has started on fire at the plate, going 6-for-10 with three doubles, a home run, a team-high seven RBI, a stolen base, and five runs scored. He went 4-for-6 with a three-run homer and drove in five RBI in an 11-1 win against Becker that opened the weekend series.

He has only made one appearance on the mound for the 3-0 Hawks, working around a pair of walks to throw a scoreless inning.

On the mound is where the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Tellier is making his biggest impression on scouts. Perfectgame.org named him the No. 4 prospect nationally in Div. III. He was the top-ranked prospect in New England and just one of two from the region to be named.

“It means the world to me that my hard is being recognized but it doesn’t mean that’s all there is,” said Tellier a couple days after the season-opening win against Emerson College. “It’s cool to be recognized but it doesn’t mean anything for the future or that I can stop working.

“It kind of just drives me a little bit more because it means that I’m that little bit closer. It gives me more reason to work towards that goal at the end of being drafted.”

A two-time all-conference selection, Tellier has impressed in his three seasons in Dartmouth. He is a career .338 hitter with nine career homers and 84 career RBI, with at least 50 hits in all three seasons. He moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation his sophomore season, but moved back last spring. He has a career record of 3-4 with 10 saves, an ERA of 2.72, and 63 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched (which works out to 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings).

When asked what he likes best about being the closer, Tellier said, “Just the compete level coming into a game either tied or up or down by one or two and knowing you have to compete at your best to be able to come out on top.”

He added, “You’re not throwing that long so you go out there and you don’t have to pace yourself, you just throw as hard as you can for about 15 pitches and you’re good.”

Tellier, who has also played the past three years with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks in the NECBL, continues to improve each year. He allowed just 14 hits in 29 innings last season and struck out 41, an average of 12.72 per nine innings. He admits that he had a lot to learn about pitching when he got to college, despite a dominant senior season at Attleboro, and that he is much more comfortable on the mound than earlier in his career.

“In high school, I could just throw hard and that would work,” he explained. “I could get by with that only. I had to develop a couple of pitches because in college you’re not going to get by for long just throwing hard without location or off-speed stuff.”

He is working on his breaking ball, a change-up, and a two-seamer, developing a repertoire of pitches to fool college hitters. It has been a process, but Tellier feels like he has found a groove on the mound.

“When I got to college I had no idea what I was doing out there,” he said. “I just hoped the ball was going where I wanted it to, now I know the ball is going where I want. I’m a lot more comfortable.”

It was also a process in the field, as he moved from shortstop to the outfield and Tellier sees improvement in how he tracks balls off the bat and the angles that he takes to get to balls in center. His growth at the plate has been obvious and also been a benefit to his pitching.

“You get to see the ball from both sides and sometimes on the mound you think, if I was a hitter what would I be thinking in this situation?” Tellier remarked.

At Attleboro, Tellier was 3-0 his senior season, blowing teams away with his fastball. He struck out a league-high 65 batters that season, including 16 over eight innings in a no-hitter against North Attleboro, and had a league-low ERA of 0.60. He only allowed three earned runs all season and pushed the Bombardiers to the Div. 1 South semifinal.

Still, there is so much that Tellier wishes he had known about pitching then. He said, “I just wish I had been a better locator. I wish I knew how to take care of my arm. In high school I didn’t do any bands, I barely used any ice, I just went out and threw and that was it.”

After helping UMass Dartmouth reach the Little East title game last spring, Tellier is looking to bring home a title this season and believes that this is a team filled with the talent to accomplish that goal. In the process, he will also be working towards the dream of being selected in the MLB draft or possibly find a spot with an independent league team.

“Most of college, I’ve been working hard but haven’t been noticed,” he said. “Sometimes you think that it’s not going towards anything or not really paying off that well and so it weighs on you sometimes, but knowing that it’s paying off and that people are noticing keeps me driving.”

With one last collegiate season ahead, Tellier knows to not take anything for granted.

“I’m excited. I’m just taking all the experience that I’ve had the past three years and putting it all into this one season and leaving it all on the field. Hopefully, afterwards I’ll move on to bigger and better things.”

Mansfield Rallies To Edge Attleboro In Quarterfinals

Mansfield boys basketball TJ Guy
Mansfield junior TJ Guy (4) goes up for a shot against Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles and Bryant Ciccio in the third quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Just minutes after a thrilling high school game between Hockomock League rivals Mansfield and Attleboro, Hornet head coach Mike Vaughan summed it up perfectly.

“You could have charged double and people still would have gotten their money’s worth.”

In front of a packed standing-room-only crowd inside James Albertini Gymnasium, the third meeting between the Hornets and Bombardiers proved to the best of the series. And in the end, it had the same result as the first two with top-seeded Mansfield clawing out a 54-52 win over Attleboro in a D1 South Quarterfinal clash.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

How it played out, however, was far different from the two regular season meetings between Kelley-Rex foes. This go-around, Mansfield had to dig itself out of a 12-point hole in the second half, and after struggling from the free-throw line all game (11-for-26), sank clutch shots from the charity stripe in the final seconds and held their breath as a near full-court heave from the Bombarders just missed at the buzzer.

“Just play harder, play with a sense of urgency,” Vaughan said of the turnaround. “I talked with the two seniors Sammy [Stevens] and Drew [Rooney], told them they weren’t going to go out this way and to put it all on the line, leave it on the table and see what happens.”

What happened was a new aggressive approach from junior TJ Guy (11 points, seven rebounds), attacking the basket with a purpose. And while that set the table for the comeback, the space it created allowed junior Matt Boen (22 points, four rebounds, four assists) to carry the Hornets over the hump and into the lead.

Attleboro’s Nick McMahon (13 points, seven rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to give the visitors a 37-25 edge with 4:49 left in the third quarter, the first time the Bombarders pushed the advantage to 12 points. Guy sliced through the defense for two, was fouled after collecting his own rebound after getting to the basket again, and once again attacked the basket for a traditional three-point play.

“I thought TJ did a good job coming out in the third and being aggressive to the basket and that opened things up and guys had to make shots,” Vaughan said. “We needed multiple people in the room to fight and he took it to heart. And what I was proud of TJ about is when they started to adjust to what he was doing, he came down three straight possessions and distributed the ball, so we didn’t end up just watching him every time.”

Nonetheless, McMahon answered with a triple on the other end and Attleboro once again had a 12-point advantage, this time at 42-30 with 3:23 left to play.

After four straight takes from Guy, the Hornets found space on the perimeter and Boen sank a triple to get the run going. An Attleboro turnover resulted in another triple from Boen after a feed from Guy. A handful of empty possessions from both sides preceded yet another three from Boen with just 12 seconds left in the third and the Hornets cut the deficit to just 42-39 entering the fourth quarter.

“TJ is a special player for them and he’s got quick feet, he got to the rim a couple times in the third quarter,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “And that matchup favored them when TJ had the ball in those situations and he kind of took the game over. He’s a very good player, and once he gets his, we started to collapse a bit and then they start kicking it out and Boen went off. They have some terrific players and when they needed it, those guys stepped up.

“That kind of changed the flow of the game and it coincided with their defensive pressure too.”

Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio (11 points, three assists) pushed the Bombarders’ lead to 44-39 to open the quarter but a 5-0 spurt from the Hornets — a free throw from Boen, two from Stevens at the line, and a steal from Brendan Foley that led to a bucket from Boen — tied things up with 5:52 to play. Both Foley and junior Jack Colby gave the Hornets strong minutes defensively in the fourth quarter.

“I thought Matty was awesome in the third quarter and we needed someone to step up and start playing,” Vaughan said. “I think Matty was kind of holding back [in the first half] for some reason, whether it was the atmosphere or the first playoff game where he’s ‘the man.’ It’s our first tournament game, some guys have more experience. I think he just needed a half to figure out how he could be effective and once the first one falls, he started to play with confidence.

The Bombarders missed on a pair of three-point chances before Rooney went up and under for two, only for Attleboro senior Qualeem Charles (10 points, nine rebounds) to answer on the other end.










“They forced some turnovers in the second half,” Houle said, the Bombardiers with eight turnovers after the halftime break. “I thought our rhythm on offense was pretty good early but they got us to turn the ball over and really pressured us. You get energy off of the defense and that’s what they did.

“We like to be in these grind it out games, I had a lot of confidence we would find a way to tie it up and get the win, but [Mansfield] has some terrific players too.

Stevens came up with a big block in the lane and Boen hit his sixth triple of the game to put the Hornets ahead with 3:29 to go. Attleboro once again was off the mark from three, and then had a possession in which they missed two more. Stevens deflected a pass that led to a steal from Boen, but Attleboro got the stop and McMahon hit a little runner in the lane to make it 49-48 with 1:16 to go.

Attleboro got the turnover it needed but came up just short on a baseline layup take. Stevens hit both from the line with 23.3 left for a 51-48 lead and Guy added another for a 52-48 advantage.

McMahon made two at the line to get within two before Stevens hit another for a 53-50 lead. McMahon kept the Bombarders in it with two more from the line before Boen pushed the lead to 54-52 with 3.7 seconds left. Attleboro’s heave at the buzzer was off the back of the rim.

“I’m certainly very proud of our guys and the effort we had tonight and throughout the season, especially our seniors and the amazing crowd we had tonight,” Houle said, with at least half of the crowd at Mansfield clad in Attleboro blue. “You see that many kids and that many fans there before a game, it really shows how much like this group and that made me proud. This has been a terrific group.”

Mansfield built a 15-13 edge after one quarter due to some strong shooting from the perimeter. Boen, Rooney, and freshman Chris Hill all hit from deep while Guy and Stevens had success down low. Attleboro kept pace by going to the hoop, as both Charles and Lorenzo Wilson had four points each.

The second quarter belonged to the Bombardiers, outscoring the hosts 14-2 in the frame to build a double-digit lead by halftime. The Hornets had four turnovers against a strong Attleboro defense and went 0-for-8 from the floor. Mansfield’s only points came at the line, although they missed six straight at one point.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

On the flip side, Jason Weir hit his first of three made three-pointers and Ciccio went off his nine points in the quarter, including an impressive bucket to beat the buzzer where he split a pair of defenders and nailed a pull up jumper.

“I thought in the first quarter we were okay,” Vaughan said. “I think we were ahead as many as five and then we get to the second quarter and we scored two points. When’s the last time we scored just two points in a quarter? I think we just had to find our rhythm.”

Mansfield boys basketball (21-3) advances to the D1 South Semifinal against #4 Needham, who took down #5 Newton North 59-46. The Hornets and Rockets will tipoff at 3:30 on Sunday at Taunton High. Attleboro finishes the season at 17-7.

Ciccio Clutch Free Throws Lift Attleboro to Playoff Win

Attleboro boys basketball
Senior guard Bryant Ciccio sank a pair of free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining to lift Attleboro a playoff win against Brookline. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With Brookline leading by a point and the shot clock turned off, Attleboro’s first effort to try and regain the lead was off-line. Tim Callahan corralled the rebound to keep the possession, and Attleboro’s chance of winning Tuesday night’s Div. 1 South opener alive.

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Callahan got the ball in the hands of senior guard Bryant Ciccio. There was no one that the packed gym wanted to see have the ball more than the recently-named Hockomock League MVP.

The Bombardiers cleared out, leaving Ciccio one-on-one well beyond the three-point line. He dribbled the clock down to five seconds before dipping his shoulder and taking off down the lane. As he went up for a shot, he drew a foul with 3.2 remaining. The gym was loud and he was trying to earn the first playoff win of his career, but Ciccio showed no nerves, sinking both free throws to put Attleboro back in front.

“They were in a one-and-one situation and it’s either draw a foul or get to the hoop on that one, take an easier shot than a hard one,” said Ciccio. “But, I love being under pressure. I live for that and I want to take those shots at the end of the game.”

Brookline tried to get the ball up the floor for one last shot, but Nick McMahon got the slightest touch on the second pass on the sideline and the clock ran out on a 50-49 Attleboro win. It was the program’s first tournament victory since 2008.

“There’s 13 seconds left and the ball is in the hands of a player that we have a lot of faith in that’s going to make a play and he made a terrific play, got fouled,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “To be put in that position and to knock down those free throws at home in a state tournament game, I’m very proud of him.”

It was always likely to be a close game and it played out that way right from the opening tip. Neither team managed to build more than a five-point edge in the first half and the lead changed hands nine times.

The Warriors were causing problems with their athletic wings, as Ben Murray (16 points) and Lucio Dahlstedt-Brown (15 points) combined for 11 points in the first. Murray’s drive put Brookline ahead for the first time at 11-9.

Attleboro answered back by going inside to senior center Qualeem Charles (16 points and nine rebounds). He scored a layup plus the foul off an offensive rebound and then came back with another and-one off a pass from Ciccio. Callahan (six points) nailed his second three of the quarter to put the Bombardiers ahead 18-14 after one.

Dahlstedt-Brown nailed a three to put the visitors up 25-23 in the second, but Attleboro came right back. Ciccio (14 points) knocked down a shot to tie it and then Jason Weir (six points) got free on a pick-and-pop for his lone three-pointer of the night. After a Brookline basket, Weir lobbed a pass over the top for another Charles layup and McMahon (eight points and six rebounds) turned a steal into a fast break basket and Attleboro’s largest lead, 32-27.

Brookline closed the gap to one, but Ciccio hit a tough floater in traffic to put Attleboro up 36-33 heading into the locker rooms. That would be where the Attleboro offense would stay for the bulk of the third quarter.

The Bombardiers went nearly six minutes of the third quarter without scoring a point, but remained in the game thanks to its defense holding Brookline to just six over that same span. Attleboro turned to its bench, trying to give the starters a much-needed rest and the likes of Evan Houle, Justin Daniels, Lorenzo Wilson, and Adam Pearlstein kept the hosts in it.

“This team’s a tight-knit group,” said Ciccio. “We fight for each other, play hard for each other, and everyone on this team will do what it takes to win the game. We knew if we kept playing hard on defense then the offense would come.”

Ciccio drilled a long three to tie the game at 39-39, Attleboro’s first points of the second half and he followed with a jumper that tied the game again. Charles came back in and scored off a McMahon assist and, improbably, Attleboro took back the lead at 43-41 entering the fourth quarter.

“We had some young kids come in there in the third quarter and they haven’t played a heck of a lot of minutes this year but they gave us three really good minutes and it was a stalemate,” said Houle. “We talk about being a team and those 30 seconds, two minutes, three minutes that we got from some of our reserves tonight were really key for us.”

Charles got a put-back and McMahon had a drive to the rim to extend the lead to six points and it looked like Attleboro might be starting to pull away. The Warriors responded. Alex Socorro scored his only three points of the game and got Brookline to within one with 3:16 left to play.

Attleboro got one at the line on its end and Brookline got one at the line on the other end. After a big offensive rebound by Devani Perez, Murray went to the basket and finished in traffic, giving the visitors the 49-48 lead with just 46.3 to go.

The Bombardiers had one last chance to get over the first round hump and it was no surprise it was the MVP that had the final say.

“There were times in the first half when they got in their rhythm and they were getting to the middle and they were running some really good stuff offensively,” said Houle. “In the second half, it was just getting back to our basics, trying to control the ball better, the on-ball defense was good…the tempo of the game was what we wanted.”

Attleboro (17-6) will now take on top seed Mansfield in the quarterfinal on Friday night. It is the third meeting between the teams this season, with the Hornets winning each of the first two. There is plenty of respect between the teams and players and few secrets.

“I love all the kids from Mansfield,” Ciccio said. “We all compete so well against each other and it’s always a good game. Everyone gets their money’s worth when we play.”

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Attleboro Runs Past North and Into the Postseason

Attleboro girls basketball
Meghan Gordon scored 16 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to help Attleboro win its season finale at North and clinch a playoff berth. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The playoffs started a couple days early for Attleboro and North Attleboro. The two teams met in a winner-take-all regular season finale at the Pickering Gym on Wednesday afternoon, both looking to book a spot in the state tournament.

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Attleboro broke open a close game with a 16-2 run to start the second half and never allowed the Rocketeers to pull any closer than nine points in the fourth quarter, pulling out a 55-42 victory and making the state tournament for the first time in four years.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “First of all it’s a North game and a rivalry game and then on top of that you’re both playing to get into the tournament and our kids played hard start to finish today. We played well in the first half but our kids played harder in the second even after they made that last push on us.”

Senior Nyah Thomas (13 points, five rebounds, and four assists), who will be making her first tournament appearance, added, “This means everything. We had so much energy today. We talked about it all year, leading up to this, we knew we were making tournament and we didn’t want to go home today.”

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively in the first quarter. Thomas got to the rim off the dribble and then off an assist from Meghan Gordon. After a step-back three by Regan Fein (nine points) put North ahead, senior Liv McCall was able to hit on a reverse.

The Rocketeers ran a perfect set in the closing seconds to get an open three for Summer Doherty to grab an 11-9 lead after one.

McCall (team-high 17 points) had arguably her best game of the season and she sparked the Bombardiers to a halftime lead. She drove to the basket to tie it and then knocked down a three after Thomas got Attleboro out in transition. Thomas added three points in the second and also assisted on a basket for Gordon.

North looked tentative, especially on the boards where Attleboro dominated. Gordon (18 rebounds) and Ryan Johnson (11 rebounds) controlled the paint for the visitors.

“We did not play the way we can play,” admitted North coach Nikki Correia. “We let balls roll on the floor, they were the first to go get them, second , third, fourth to go get them. I think in the second half we picked it up, but it was too late of a run.”

Attleboro went into the break leading 23-19, but came out of the locker room intent on taking control of the contest. The Bombardier scored the first 11 points of the second half and had a 16-2 run to lead by as many as 18.

Crowley said, “We told them that it was a good first half but we need to play harder in the second half because they’re not going to go away. And they did, they listened. We put the pedal to the metal and got out in transition, we took better care of the ball in the second half, and better decisions with the ball get you better baskets.”

Gordon was the spark in the third, scoring nine of her 16 points in the quarter. She started it with an offensive rebound and putback, then Thomas got out on the break for two. Johnson kicked it out to Thomas, who banked in a three and suddenly the lead was 11. After five straight free throws (four from Gordon), Emma Reilly drove to the hoop and Gordon added two more points off yet another offensive board.

North’s only points came from a layup by Amanda Kaiserr. It was her first basket of the day, as she was shadowed by Gabby Bosh throughout the game. The Rocketeers had more success in the second half in getting Kaiser a few looks, but shots weren’t falling for the junior.

Trailing by 18, North put together a mini-rally to stay within arm’s reach heading to the fourth. Olivia Forbes (12 points and four steals) got an and-one and Fein knocked down a jumper. After an Attleboro free throw, Eliza Dion (six points and seven rebounds) got to the rim for two and cut the lead down to 40-28 after three.

Attleboro regained the edge with an 8-2 run to start the fourth quarter. Gordon scored four more, corralling a loose ball for a short jumper and then finishing after a drive and dish from Thomas.

“Meghan’s a special player,” said Crowley. “She’s been a double-double machine for us down the stretch. At a young age, she’s matured quickly and she’s a big part of what we’re doing.”

Thomas praised her teammates for taking on some of the scoring load, “It’s amazing because then the focus isn’t always on us. If they’re scoring then we’re deep. You can’t just cover me and Liv, you have to cover Meghan too and then Ryan on the boards, and we’re playing really well together.”

Kaiser (seven points) knocked down a jumper but McCall responded with a high-arcing three off a Thomas pass and the Bombardiers led by 18 again. Once again, with the season on the ropes, North answered back, going on a 9-0 run to get as close as nine points. Forbes buried a three, Doherty got a steal and an and-one, and Kaiser nailed her only three of the game to make it 48-39.

McCall hit two at the line and Johnson grabbed an offensive board and finished. McCall then drove right down the lane and scored to put Attleboro up 54-39. She scored eight points in the fourth to help put the game away.

“Liv McCall had her best game of the year today and we needed that from her,” said Crowley. “Both of our seniors played great and you need senior leadership, especially in a tournament-like game, basically a play-in game.”

Correia was obviously disappointed with the result, but was happy with the fight that her team showed in the second half.

“I’m extremely proud of my girls,” she said. “It’s my first year here and for them to get where they got to and give themselves chance to play one game to get in. They fought for me all year and I’m proud of them for that.”

Attleboro (10-10) will now await Friday’s seedings to see who it will face in the postseason.

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