WRENTHAM, Mass. — King Philip came out and landed a haymaker against North Attleboro, but the Rocketeers refused to go do without a fight.
The Warriors jumped out to a 17-point lead less than six minutes into the game but had to hold off a handful of comeback attempts from the visiting Rocketeers to eventually secure a 60-50 win on Friday night.
Senior Tommy Martorano hit a trio of three-pointers and scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the opening frame, Tommy Kilroy (10 points, nine rebounds, three assists) tossed in another three for the Warriors, and the hosts turned a quick 11-0 lead into a 19-2 advantage after a transition bucket from Trevor Clyde.
While it wasn’t much in the grand scheme of the game, North Attleboro closed the first with a quick 7-0 burst and that would be a sign of things to come as the Rocketeers continually scratched and clawed their way back into the game.
“Any good team in this league, they are going to come back,” said King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano. “It’s a game of runs and it’s about how you respond. We knew they would and they did a good job making us uncomfortable with their pressure, we struggled against it for long stretches and I thought that carried over into our defense and our intensity.
“I’m happy the boys were able to roll with the punches and find a way to get through it, and that’s what they were able to do tonight.”
The lead ballooned back to 17 in the third quarter (36-19) after Grant Kinney (12 points, six rebounds, three assists) cashed in on a North turnover with a layup and Tommy McLeish (three points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks) scored in the post. But once again, there was no quit in North Attleboro as they responded with a 15-3 run over the final five minutes of the quarter. Sophomore Chase Frisoli (career-high 16 points, four rebounds) hit a pair of threes and Jonnie Obuchowski (10 rebounds, four assists) added one after an offensive rebound from Ryan Bannon. Frisoli sank another triple after Obuchowski crashed the offensive glass and then beat the shot clock with a mid-range jumper. A free throw from Givany Carney (team-high 17 points) trimmed the once-double-digit advantage down to just five, 39-34, with under a minute to play in the third.
“That’s where the frustration stems from because it’s not our first rodeo at this point,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins about having to overcome the early deficit. “We’ve had too many instances where we aren’t ready to play or not ready to execute part of the gameplan. We put ourselves in holes, and to come back was good. I’m proud of them for that, it speaks to their character and their mental toughness, but sooner than later we have to learn it because we’re making it too difficult for ourselves.”
As the game continued to play out, the Warriors got the shot they needed to answer as Kinney buried a corner three with just seconds left for a 42-34 lead going into the fourth.
KP kept the momentum to start the fourth, landing yet another heavy punch that could have put North away. Martorano (four rebounds) sank another three and then found Clyde out in transition for two more to give the Warriors a comfortable 47-34 lead.
Jack Munley cut to the rim for two for an immediate response from the Big Red, Frisoli attacked the rim for two more, and Munley found Carney for a three on the next trip to get within two possessions at 47-41.
“I thought we were stagnant offensively, credit to KP because their defense was good,” Mulkerrins said. “They got in the paint a lot better than we might have expected and took away some of our drives. I thought the press just freed us up a little bit. We were pressing on offense because we were playing so poorly on defense. I think once they saw the ball go in, they relax a little bit and were able to play a little bit.
“And we had some guys come off the bench play well. I thought our senior captain Jack Munley came in and had the best game he’s had, not to say he hasn’t played well before but he wasn’t getting a lot of rotational minutes and tonight he was an instant spark for us.”
North nearly got closer but KP got a couple of stops and Kilroy snatched an offensive rebound and found Martorano for a much-needed three for KP. A baseline jumper from Kinney was true and once again the Warriors had a double-digit lead with just 2:33 to go.
Derek Maceda answered for North with a strong take and a KP turnover resulted in a layup for Frisoli. North Attleboro, which used a press for the majority of the game, forced another turnover and Obuchowski dished one to Carney in the corner for three, and suddenly the Rocketeers were within four — the closest they had been since the first minute of the game — with just 1:33 to play.
But before North could get established defensively, KP senior Will Laplante (11 points, seven rebounds, three assists) sprinted up the court and found a gap in the middle, dropping in a floater for two. Martorano helped force a turnover and Laplante punished the visitors with a triple with a minute to go, pushing the lead to 57-48, which proved to be the final punch the Warriors needed.
“That was a big five points that Will had in the last couple of minutes. We had some guys hit some big shots when we needed it, and that’s what makes teams great when they can respond in those situations and they did a good job of that tonight.
“We’re still learning to play with the lead. It’s a work in progress and we’re still learning but it’s only the halfway point so we’re getting there.”
North’s 7-0 surge to end the first turned into a 14-3 run overall as the Rocketeers carried some momentum into the second to make it a six-point game. But as they would do the rest of the way, the Warriors responded when they had to as Laplante, Kilroy, and Martorano scored to give KP a double-digit lead, 31-19, going into the half.
King Philip boys basketball (5-3 Hockomock, 7-4 overall) hits the road for a visit to Canton on Tuesday while North Attleboro (0-8, 0-9) will visit Foxboro.
King Philip, 40 vs. Xaverian, 66 – Final – King Philip fell behind by double-digits in the first quarter and couldn’t recover against Xaverian’s lengthy zone defense. Sophomore Brandon Nicastro hit a pair of threes and finished with a team-high 10 points while Tommy Martorano, who else had a pair of threes, added eight points.
Mansfield, 68 vs. Bishop Feehan, 55 – Final – Mansfield erased a 22-point deficit and surged past Bishop Feehan in the second half to beat the Shamrocks in stunning fashion. The visitors raced out to a 33-11 lead in the second quarter but Mansfield closed the gap by finishing out the first half strong. Chris Hill scored nine of his 14 points in the second and Eddie McCoy had six of his career-high 21 points as the Hornets closed the deficit to 37-24 by half. The Hornets carried that momentum into the fourth and opened with a 22-8 run to take the lead at 46-45 and the teams entered the fourth locked at 50-50. Davon Sanders (14 points), Caden Colby, and McCoy each hit a three and six different Hornets scored to bring the hosts back into the game. Trevor Foley added six of his 14 points in the fourth, and both Sanders and McCoy had five points while the Hornets’ defense limited the Shamrocks to just five points.
Attleboro, 57 @ Taunton, 64 – Final – Attleboro cut the deficit down to four with just over a minute to play but Taunton closed the game strong for the win. The Tigers jumped out to a lead with 22 points in the opening quarter, carrying a similar advantage into halftime (39-28) and into the fourth quarter (47-39). Attleboro’s Hayden Crowley scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, Michael Beverly had seven points in the second half, and Jaiden Outland added 10 of his 16 in the second half to get the Bombardiers within four, 58-54, with 1:16 to play but Taunton closed it out. Junior Troy Santos paced Taunton with a team-high 24 points, Chris Volcy added 14 points, Tyson Carter chipped in with 13 points, and freshman Jakari Innocent finished with 11 points.
Franklin, 72 @ North Attleboro, 59 – Final – Locked in a one-point game just over a minute into the fourth quarter, Franklin ran away with a win behind a strong final six minutes. North Attleboro sophomore Jonnie Obuchkowski scored a layup with 6:20 to play, bringing the Rocketeers within a point at 55-54 but Franklin senior Justin Allen (10 points) answered with a deep three and the Panthers outscored the hosts 14-5 the rest of the way. Bradley Herndon, who scored a career-high 20 points, hit a free throw and scored off an offensive rebound and Sean O’Leary converted a putback as the Panthers pushed the lead to 63-54 with 4:43 to play. Franklin forced a pair of turnovers, including a steal from Allen, that both led to transition layups for Herndon to help pull away. O’Leary carried Franklin through the first three quarters, finishing with a game-high 28 points. North Attleboro had a balanced scoring attack, led by senior Givany Carney with 13 points. Obuchowski finished with 11 points while sophomore Chase Frisoli added 10 points.
King Philip, 61 @ Milford, 55 – Final – King Philip fell behind by double-digits going into the fourth quarter but dominated the final eight minutes to pull out a comeback win on the road at Milford. The Scarlet Hawks held a one-point lead after the first quarter (20-19) but the Warriors won the second frame by a point, sending the teams into the locker room at halftime tied 34-34. Milford’s offense continued in the third with 15 points while the Warriors went cold, netting just five points, as the Scarlet Hawks staked a 49-39 edge going into the fourth. In the fourth, KP erupted for 22 points, their best offensive quarter, while the Hawks went cold from the field. Tommy Martorano scored 10 of his 12 points in the final frame while Grant Kinney, Tommy Kilroy, and Brandon Nicastro (10 points) also contributed to the big fourth. Will Laplante also had five points in the fourth but really shined in the first half, scoring 19 of his game-high 27 points in the opening half. Luca Testa led Milford with 16 points and Gus Coutinho added 10 points.
Sharon, 64 @ Mansfield, 60 – Final – Sharon used a balanced offense and a physical defensive effort to secure one of its biggest wins in recent history, knocking off Mansfield for the first time since 2008. Jacob McLoughlin led the charge with 19 points, Nate Katznelson added 18 points, and Dante James finished with 16 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. Tyler Goodman, James, and McLoughlin all hit from downtown in the second quarter to help the Eagles establish a 31-26 halftime lead. McLoughlin (9), James (3), and Katznelson (6) accounted for all of Sharon’s points in the third as the lead increased to 49-41 going into the fourth. Mansfield battled back, including a deep three from JT Veiking with 12 seconds left to make it a two-point game. Matt Baur hit two free throws for his only points of the game and the Eagles stole the ensuing inbounds pass to seal the win. Veiking and Trevor Foley each scored 13 points to lead the Hornets while Chris Hill chipped in with 12 points.
Oliver Ames, 58 @ Canton, 31 – Final – With four players in double digits and dominant second and third quarters, OA snapped a five-game losing streak and earned its second win of the season. The Tigers led 10-8 after one, but scored 20 points in each of the second and third quarters, while holding the Bulldogs to single digits in each quarter. Freshman Avery Gamble was OA’s top scorer with 16 points, as well as six rebounds and four steals. Freshman Kamryn Derba and juniors Sarah Hilliard and Kaydance Derba each finished with a dozen points for the Tigers. Samya DaSilva was the game’s top scorer with 18, including all nine of Canton’s second quarter points. Erin Beatty and Emily McCabe each scored three for the Bulldogs.
Stoughton, 27 @ Foxboro, 77 – Final – Foxboro dominated for the third straight game, remaining unbeaten in league play this season and keeping hold of its lead in the Davenport division. Addie Ruter continued her strong sophomore season with a game-high 22 points. Camryn Collins added 17 and Kailey Sullivan also finished in double digits with 14. Stoughton was led by Raina Tat’s seven points, while Leah McCarty scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds.
North Attleboro, 17 @ Franklin, 64 – Final – Franklin’s defensive pressure shut down North to secure a win that keeps the Panthers within one of league leader Attleboro. The Panthers held the Rocketeers to six points in the first quarter, 15 for the half, and then clamped down even further after the break. North was held to a single basket in the second half, a fourth quarter bucket for Maryellen Charette. After doubling up the Rocketeers in the first half, 30-15, a 24-0 third quarter broke the game wide open. Katie Peterson led 11 Franklin scorers with 11 points. Chloe Fales and Bridget Leo each added nine points and Lizzie Newman chipped in with eight. Sam Faria and Katie Corsetti were North’s top scorers with six points apiece.
Milford, 32 @ King Philip, 44 – Final – KP bounced back from a tough loss to Foxboro by putting together a strong defensive performance and pulling out a win against Milford. The game was close after one quarter, with Emily Croteau scoring nine of Milford’s 12 points to keep the Hawks within two. Croteau finished with a team-high 14. Emily Sawyer added six points in the first and five in the second, on her way to a game-high 15, putting the Warriors up 29-21 at the break. Kylie Watson buried a pair of threes in the first half to help KP build its lead. The second half was all about defense. KP held Milford to only a single point in the third quarter, a free throw by Brooke Ferreira, but only managed six points of its own, half of them by Maddie Paschke (who finished with 11). The Hawks were able to score 10 points in the fourth, but only outscored the hosts by one, as KP held on for the win.
Mansfield, 68 @ Sharon, 51 – Final – Mansfield came flying out of the gates, scoring 21 points in the first quarter and 38 in the opening half to build a lead it wouldn’t relinquish and secure a fourth straight victory. Abby Wager scored a team-high 22 and she combined with Kara Santos to score 13 of the team’s 21 in the first. Santos finished with nine points, as did Bridget Hanley. Mansfield also got seven points apiece from Rose Maher and Olivia Salisbury in a strong team performance. Sharon tried to rally in the second half, scoring 34 points as a team, but only cutting four points off Mansfield’s halftime advantage. Jasmine Davis continues to be one of the league’s top scorers, finishing with 27 points and also grabbing 19 boards and blocking two shots. She scored 19 in the second half and went 15-of-17 from the line. Eva Poulton added 10 points for the Eagles.
Taunton, 6 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final
Taunton, 43 @ Attleboro, 83 – Final
Foxboro, 55 @ Sharon, 92 – Final
Franklin @ North Attleboro, 7:15
Taunton, 73 @ Attleboro, 94 – Final
Foxboro, 84 @ Sharon, 68 – Final
Franklin @ North Attleboro, 7:15
Franklin, 133.65 @ King Philip, 138.00 – Final
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro, 7:30
Attleboro has consistently been in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division in recent years, and if the Bombardiers are going to be there again this year, they will have to do so with a lot of new players to the varsity level.
Not only did the Bombardiers graduate a sizable senior class, but the majority of them were also key pieces in longtime head coach Mark Houle’s lineup and rotation. Add in the transfer of promising 6’5-forward Trevor White, and Attleboro has very few pieces left from last year. But that’s not to say Attleboro is without talent. Junior Neo Franco is coming off a very successful first year with the team, earning HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team honors. Jaiden Outland saw more and more minutes as the season went on and he showed what he’s capable of with a career-high 18 points in Attleboro’s win over Durfee in late February last year; he could be poised for a big year. Senior Michael Beverly is the third returner for the Bombardiers after picking up some minutes last year while newcomer senior Justin Hanrahan could be a key piece right away.
Another reason for optimism is that most of the new faces in the lineup this year played for the Bombardiers’ JV squad last season, which posted an impressive 19-2 record. Seniors Spencer Sherck, Zyeem Charles, Nathan Hodson, and Michael Alfonso will provide key leadership for Houle this year. Junior Max Crawford will join sophomores Dante Monestime, Hayden Crowley, and Brady Erwin as potential contributors for the Bombardiers.
“We need to continue our commitment to be a highly competitive defensive team, our communication, and understanding of defensive concepts is a priority and is a reason we were one of the top defensive teams in the league last year,” Houle said.
2021-2022 Record: 9-11 Coach: Eric MacKinnon
Canton surprised a lot of people on the outside of the program with a nine-win season that certainly was good enough for a playoff spot, but the Bulldogs have put that seeding drama in the rearview mirror and are now focused on surprising people again this year.
In order to do so, the Bulldogs will need new players to step up as second-year head coach Eric MacKinnon only has one returning starter from last year. Matt Chafin emerged as a top perimeter option, averaging 8.8 points per game last year (reaching double figures in just under half of the games). Although he isn’t returning from last year’s lineup, Julius Hicks provides a big boost for MacKinnon and Bulldogs, coming back after missing all of last season with an injury. Hicks would have certainly been in the rotation last year and will be a vital piece this year. Junior Zaza Francoeur is an athletic wing player that can impact the game on both ends of the floor for the Bulldogs.
Defense emerged as one of Canton’s strengths a season ago as the Bulldogs bought into MacKinnon’s game plan. Canton allowed the least amount of points against in the Davenport division at 50.6, and they will look to replicate that again this year.
“With our personnel and style of play we have the ability to score from the perimeter and play inside-out at times,” MacKinnon said. “Our length and athleticism should allow us to get out in transition.”
Foxboro is one of the few teams in the league that has more familiar faces returning than not, and after only missing out on the Davenport title by one game last year, the Warriors are aiming to compete with defending champs Sharon and division newcomer Mansfield for the top spot this season.
The Warriors boast one of the better senior classes, anchored by HockomockSports First Team selection Alex Penders. Penders, a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last year and recently committed to play at Ithaca next year, is joined by classmates Sam Golub, Ryan LeClair, and Andrew Finn. Golub and LeClair played a lot of minutes for head coach Jon Gibbs last season and both improved as the season went on. Having three experienced players will certainly give the Warriors an advantage, especially on the defensive side of the ball where Gibbs always has his teams prepared.
Penders can score in a variety of ways and will be a matchup problem for most teams in the league. Golub is a proven shooter that can get hot at any time while LeClair is a pesky defender, and as seen by his performance on the road at Stoughton last year, is a capable scorer. Penders will certainly be the focus of the offense but he’s a very unselfish player and Foxboro should have a good balance in the scoring column. While the Warriors have a strong senior class, they’re still a relatively young team. With only two juniors, the rest of the roster is filled by six sophomores and two freshmen. Junior Ryan Cotter and sophomores Ryan Kelley and Nolan Gordon will be names to keep an eye on.
“This is a very hard-working and coachable group that is improving on a daily basis,” Gibbs said. “We have a very exciting blend of experienced veterans and newcomers who are hungry to contribute. If we can defend and rebound at a high level, the potential is there for a very successful season.”
2021-2022 Record: 21-4 Coach: CJ Neely
Entering the past two seasons, there was a lot of unknown for the Panthers after graduating a large senior class each year. It’s the opposite this year as Franklin graduated just three players and has the majority of last year’s squad that went 21-4 back in the fold.
After a third-place finish in the Kelley-Rex last season, Franklin could be the team to beat this go around. Junior Sean O’Leary highlights a talented and experienced group of long, athletic players. O’Leary, a 6-foot-4 forward that can score from anywhere on the court and was named to the HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team last year, will be one of the top players in the league this year. Junior Andrew O’Neill (8.8 points per game) is another returner and head coach CJ Neely will lean on a small but talented senior class that features Ben Harvey (HockomockSports All-Defensive Team), Justin Allen, Geino Scaringello, and Hayden Morandi.
Juniors Hansy Jacques, Bradley Herndon, and Andrew Benoit were all on the team last year and could see increased minutes this season. There will be more opportunities on offense for players to step up with the graduation of Sean Vinson (12.8 ppg) and last year’s leading scorer and HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Henry Digirogio (16.1 ppg) has opted not to play this year. And promising sophomore Caden Sullivan, who likely would have been in the rotation, will miss significant time due to injury.
“The preseason has been very competitive at practice,” Neely said. “We have a great group of guys who really care for each other. While we do have a good amount of returning players, there is a lot of playing time up for grabs and it will be a daily challenge for guys to earn roles. I have been most impressed with how committed and focused the players have been each day on the court and in film sessions to always look for ways to improve as a group. It will be fun to watch them grow and compete all year.”
2021-2022 Record: 6-16 Head Coach: Dave DeStefano
King Philip brings back a good portion of its roster and is looking to book a spot in the tournament and contend for the Kelley-Rex division title.
The Warriors are one of the few teams in the league that brings back their leading scorer from a year ago in Will Laplante, a seasoned veteran that has averaged over 16 points per year in each of the last two seasons. Laplante is joined by senior Grant Kinney, who had some breakout games last year, and Tommy Martorano, who showed that at his best (a career-high 36 points) that he can score with the best players in the league. That trio is three of KP’s top five scorers from a year ago. Senior Colin Peck, a 6-foot-2 forward, will likely see an expanded role after playing some valuable minutes last year.
Juniors Tommy McLeish and Trevor Clyde, both 6-foot-3 forwards, have made a big jump from last year and will be key pieces for head coach Dave DeStefano this year. New additions Danny Silveria and Peter Cataldo, both juniors, look to factor in as key defensive pieces for the Warriors. Sophomore Tommy Kilroy didn’t see a ton of minutes early on last year but his role expanded as the season went on, scoring in double figures against Mansfield and in a win over Xaverian. Fellow sophomores Brandon Nicastro, Drew Laplante, and Jack Assini will all looking to contribute this season as well.
“The boys have really committed this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The limited practices so far have been really competitive. It’s no secret that our defense has to drastically improve to be competitive in the league. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense, we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2021-2022 Record: 21-5 Coach: Mike Vaughan
Mansfield had its incredible streak of nine straight Kelley-Rex division titles come to an end last season, and now the Hornets start a new chapter as they begin their first season in the Davenport. Expectations remain sky-high for the Hornets, who are an immediate favorite for the division crown.
The Hornets have two of their best scorers back from last year in senior Chris Hill (12.5 ppg) and junior Trevor Foley (8.2 ppg), but Mansfield did graduate its leading scorer in Matty Hyland and lost five of its top seven scorers. That means there’s a lot of opportunity for new faces to step up. Hill has probably played more varsity minutes than anyone else in the league and he can compete at a high-level night in and night out. Foley really emerged as a top player by the end of the season, averaging over 16 points per game in March.
Senior Caden Colby was part of the rotation last year and will see a bigger role this year while classmate JT Veiking is a 6-foot-5 forward that can score on the perimeter or down low. Senior Michael Creedon rounds out the senior class and can provide a spark with increased minutes this year. Junior Eddie McCoy is poised for a breakout year, an athletic wing player that can attack the rim and cause problems for opposing defenses. Juniors Brandon Jackman and Davon Sanders should see time in the Mansfield backcourt this year.
“This season will be our tallest team in my tenure, it will be fun to see what different things we can do on the defensive end,” Vaughan said. “Offensively we should have plenty of power to put points on the board but the big question mark will be how quickly we can find our max compete level.”
2021-2022 Record: 2-21 Coach: Paul Seaver
Milford had an entirely new team last season and was the youngest team in the league. With just four seniors gone from last year, the Hawks are still a young team but head coach Paul Seaver believes his group learned a lot last year and is trending in the right direction.
The Scarlet Hawks have three of the top four scorers from last season back in the fold, including junior Jake Soares (8.0 ppg), sophomore Andrew Rivera (7.8 ppg), and senior Wyatt Zagami (7.1 ppg). Zagami, who can really fill it up when he’s on a hot streak, is joined by classmates Guy Saintyl, Jacob Ligor, and Joe Buckley to round out a small senior class for the Hawks. Soares was probably Milford’s most consistent player for the first two months before an injury ended his season early, and Rivera showed some glimpses of high-level play throughout the year.
Having a year of experience will be key, especially as a lot of other Hock teams are featuring a lot of first-year varsity players. Sophomore Luca Testa is another young player that saw a lot of minutes for the Hawks last year and will be a key piece during this campaign. Sophomore Gus Coutinho is a dangerous shooter and freshman CJ Farrell could be an impact player right away as well.
“Last season we were very young and very inexperienced,” Seaver said. “We learned how to compete while playing a tough schedule. Now with double digits returnees, we not only aim to improve on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball – we aim to improve in all aspects. Our goals and expectations will be what we make them and what we do with the opportunities that are given to us. I have a great crop of kids who are committed, hard-working individuals who continue to climb the ladder and do things the right way.”
2021-2022 Record: 5-15 Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
North Attleboro battled through an up-and-down season last year that featured some impressive wins — like a double-digit victory over Foxboro and a sweep of Stoughton — as well as some tough losses, like to Foxboro in overtime and to rival Attleboro by just three points. The Rocketeers graduated their two leading scorers from a year ago but return the majority of a roster that was playing their first varsity minutes last year.
Besides its four seniors last year, the rest of the Rocketeers were brand new to the varsity level. That means this year’s group will feature a bit more experience, albeit North is still on the young side. Givany Carney is North’s most experienced player and will be one of the go-to options on the offensive end of the court. Carney is a crafty player that does well getting to the rim with a good combination of speed and size. Senior Jack Munley is a tone-setter and can change the momentum of a game with his effort while senior Derek Maceda showed glimpses last season as a potential go-to guy offensively, both on the perimeter and attacking the basket.
Sophomores Ryan Bannon and Chase Frisoli both played some valuable minutes as freshmen and should see increased roles this year. Bannon is a solid defender and can be a contributor on the offensive end while Frisoli is a high-IQ player with range. Junior Chris Hanewich is another player that head coach Sean Mulkerrins is relying on to contribute on both ends of the floor. With some good experience, North will be looking to establish itself as one of the hardest-working teams in the league, which starts on the defensive end.
“We have a roster of kids who are working hard to improve and learn our system,” Mulkerrins said. “Our practices have been very competitive. We are very focused on building and maintaining our team culture so we are prepared to compete against the talented basketball programs in the Hockomock League.”
2021-2022 Record: 10-12 Coach: Oliver Vil
Oliver Ames is going to have a new look this year under second-year head coach Oliver Vil. The Tigers lost the majority of the team that won a preliminary playoff game last season and missed out on the Davenport division title by just a game.
Not only will the lineup feature new faces, but it will also feature a lot of new faces as the Tigers have a deep group this year. Senior captains Chris Elias and Ari Spiliakos are two returners that will be leaders for the team both on and off the court. Senior Nick Asiaf is a capable ball handler and can attack the rim while seniors Nick Rhodes and Jaden Graham provide key depth. Sophomore Cole Craffey played some meaningful minutes a year ago and will be one of the Tigers’ go-to options offensively this year. He’s very confident with the ball and can score inside and out.
With seven of their top eight scorers from a season ago gone, there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up. Freshman Solen Lolonga was in the starting lineup for the Tigers’ season-opening win over Southeastern and had a strong showing with 19 points. Vil also has a deep junior class that features Jake Willard, Daniel Casey, Andrew Sullivan, and David Rodgers, who all played in the win.
“Our strength this season on offense will be our ability to move the ball and create shots for one another,” Vil said. “We will have the same defense approach as last season, forcing our opponents into taking difficult shots and limiting transition offensive baskets. We now have minimal room for careless mistakes to compete in an already difficult conference. I am extremely excited to battle a plethora of well-coached disinclined teams every night we step on the floor to play a game this season.”
2021-2022 Record: 12-9 (Davenport division champions) Coach: Andrew Ferguson
Sharon won its first Davenport division title in eight seasons last year and with its top three scoring options back in the mix this year, the Eagles will be in contention to repeat that feat again this year.
Senior Matt Baur and juniors Jacob McLoughlin and Nate Katznelson give Sharon one of the top trios of players in the league. Baur, who earned HockomockSports First Team honors last year after averaging 15.1 points and 6 rebounds a game, is the heart and soul of the team. He leads by example both on and off the court and is the engine of the team. He doesn’t have to fill up the scoring column to have a big impact on the game. Both Katznelson and McLoughlin emerged as top players in their first season and will be vital pieces this year.
Senior captains Jack Bates and Tyler Goodman both came off the bench as key pieces for head coach Andrew Ferguson last year and will see increased responsibility this year. Bates is a pesky defender and a good floor general while Goodman can provide a spark with his shooting. Senior Dante James, an athletic wing player, comes over from Mansfield and should give the Eagles a big boost with their depth. Juniors Ryan Brown, Anthony Piron, and Cam Sherman provide backcourt depth while juniors Zach Wise, Jaden Segal, and sophomore Sam Letendre provide physicality to the Eagles’ frontcourt.
“With a small senior class, this team is blending experience with youth and has already begun to form a tight bond both on and off the court. Our practices have been super competitive and we look forward to competing against a very strong schedule.”
2021-2022 Record: 9-11 Coach: Evan Taylor
Last season, Stoughton entered the final stretch of league games right in the mix for the Davenport division title but ended up on the outside looking in finishing in a tie for fourth and just missing out on the postseason. With just a few returners back in the mix, the Knights will be looking for a new group of players to lead them into the tournament and contend for the division crown.
Stoughton has two major challenges to address this year, one on each side of the ball. The Black Knights lost their three top scorers from last year with Connor Andrews (19.9 ppg) and Cash Mathurin (5.9 ppg) graduating, and Rayan Sablon (18.3 ppg) transferring out. Head coach Evan Taylor will lean heavily on his four returning players to try and fill that void. Senior Jayden Costa Haywood played some meaningful minutes a season ago and has taken a big leap and the Knights will look for him to provide an offensive punch. Junior Liam Pearl (5.2 ppg) also worked his way into the rotation and made some key shots in clutch moments, including at Foxboro and at home against Canton. Sophomore Matthew Greenspoon (5.6 ppg) is the top scorer back from last year and will look to build on a strong debut season as a freshman.
The other challenge for Stoughton will be on the defensive end as the Knights look to make a drastic improvement after allowing over 60 points per game last year. On top of the returners, Taylor is looking for senior Tagh Swierzewski and junior Jarred Daughtry to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball. Other newcomers include senior Obioma Dike, juniors Elijah Connor, and Nathan Figaro, sophomore Mykel Thomas, and freshmen Anthony Alessi and Aiden Rideout.
“Defense has been the main focus at the start of this season,” Taylor said. “Our goal is to be a top three defense in the league with a lot of great on-ball defenders and high IQ players on the
2020-2021 Record: 19-3 (Kelley-Rex division champions) Coach: Charlie Dacey
This season will mark a new chapter in the storied history of Taunton basketball. After back-to-back Kelley-Rex championships, including the program’s first outright title a year ago, the Tigers will have a lot of new faces in the lineup this year.
The biggest challenge will be replacing the production from one of the best trios in the Hock in recent history in Player of the Year Trent Santos, Faisal Mass, and Tristan Herry, who combined for just under 75% of the team’s scoring last year. One of the familiar faces returning to the starting group is junior Troy Santos, who has the most career points of anyone on the roster. Santos showed some flashes last year but will have a lot more looks this year. Seniors Chris Volcy and Alvinsky Morisseau, and junior Tyson Carter are also returners from last year and figure to see increased minutes this season.
Senior Chris Perault could be the biggest addition for the Tigers, a player that can score both from the perimeter and attacking the basket. Santos will factor in as one of the top shooters both on the team and in the league while Volcy has really improved from last year and could be a top scoring option for the Tigers. Longtime head coach Charlie Dacey is looking for Dimari Brown and Travis Johnson to provide a spark on the low block, plus some more faces to step up off of the bench.
“This year’s Taunton team will be very different from last year. This edition will be faster without a singular scorer, points can come from a variety of styles,” Dacey said. “Speed and aggressive defense will be the key to Taunton’s success this year.”