North Attleboro, 62 @ Sharon, 71 – Final – Sharon senior Matt Baskin connected on eight three-pointers, tying a career-high with 27 points to help the Eagles earn an upset win over North Attleboro. Baskin hit three triples in each the first and second quarters while Kiran Chandrasekaran (10 points) and Sam Cohen each added first half threes to help the Eagles build a 34-21 lead. The Rocketeers battled to make it a game as Brody Rosenberg (15 points) and George Ladd (23 points) each scored 10 third quarter points, getting the visitors within two points. Sophomore Matt Baur (eight points) hit a timely three for the Eagles and senior Jordan Barboza came off the bench to score eight points to keep the Eagles ahead. Casey Poirier added 15 points for North Attleboro.
Mansfield, 8 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 5 @ King Philip, 1 – Final
FOXBORO, Mass. – The final eight minutes of Wednesday afternoon’s contest gave us a glimpse into the future as a young Foxboro squad scratched and clawed its way back into the game, showing what the Warriors are capable of.
But the first 24 minutes belonged to North Attleboro, a veteran group that built a big cushion through the first three quarters and showed its experience by making enough plays down the stretch to fend off Foxboro’s ferocious comeback attempt, earning a 61-53 win.
North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd
The Rocketeers’ offense exploded for 21 points in the first quarter and added 19 more in the second, carrying a 17-point lead into the final quarter. The Warriors made things interesting, cutting the deficit to single digits with three minutes to play but North Attleboro did enough to close out the win.
“Basketball is a game of swings, I always say it,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “They are a younger team, we have an older group and I didn’t want us to have a hangover from the 23-point final to lead into this start so I want at them pretty hard yesterday and prior to the start of the game to stress how important a good start was. Jon [Gibbs] obviously does a great job and they came back with a counter punch and thankfully we had just enough of a cushion.”
North Attleboro followed a similar blueprint from its win over the Warriors (58-35) on Monday evening as Mulkerrins stressed the importance of a strong start, fully aware of what Foxboro can do (as seen in the fourth quarter).
The Rocketeers heeded the advice of their coach and came out flying in the first eight minutes. North score on six of its first eight possessions to build a 13-4 lead over the first four minutes of action. After missing on the first possession, Casey Poirier (nine points, five rebounds) took a feed from Edan Kelley (nine points) to break the ice and get the run started.
North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd
“North is an excellent team, they are a veteran team and they execute extremely well on offense,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “They get the ball to the right guys in the right places and put you in difficult positions. And defensively they are so well prepared and they do a great job taking away what you want to do, which is a credit to their coaches and players. Playing against a good team like that, it certainly gives us a good measuring stick moving forward.”
Brody Rosenberg (nine points, five assists, four rebounds) sniffed out a pass and laid it in for two and Poirier scored after Jared Vacher forced a Foxboro turnover. The Big Red missed on its first shot of the next possession but junior Gavin Wells (career-high 13 points) crashed hard and tipped it back in. North’s defense got its sixth stop of the game and Rosenberg cut to the basket, taking a feed from Kelley for two and a 10-2 lead, forcing the home side into a timeout.
Foxboro got one stop but couldn’t turn it into points and North came back down and senior George Ladd (21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) came down with a traditional three-point play. JuniorDylan Gordon (16 points) hit two from the line but Kelley answered with a three to make it 16-6, a double-digit lead the visitors would carry for the majority of the game.
“We knew that Foxboro would be ready and it wouldn’t be a continuation of what the scoreboard was from the first game,” Mulkerrins said of the strong start. “I was real happy with the way our guys were locked in. There were a couple of things, counters to the counters so to speak, that I thought we were ready for. Defensively we were locked in too.”
Ladd added two more and Rosenberg drained a three off a feed from Poirier and the visitors staked a 21-8 claim through one quarter.
Foxboro made things interesting in the opening moments of the second with back-to-back threes from sophomore Sam Golub (12 points, four rebounds) to get within two possessions but North responded with a pair of runs to regain a comfortable lead. Wells, Kelley, and Poirier all hit from two-point range and then Jason Rodriguez linked up with Ladd for two more. Ladd used a strong post move for two to cap a 10-4 surge that put the Rocketeers ahead 31-20.
North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd
Gordon finished at the rim to get Foxboro back into the scoring column but North used another run, this time a 9-2 spurt to close out the first half. Wells drained a corner three off a feed from Ladd and then Rosenberg rewarded Ladd for his movement down low. Kelley scored off a turnover and then fed Wells for two in the final minute to put North ahead 40-22 at the half.
At halftime, North Attleboro had 12 assists on its 18 makes from the field.
“Our guys have done a great job committing to sharing the ball with each other,” Mulkerrins said. “It starts with George because if your best player offensively isn’t willing to share the ball then it creates some issues. We know he’s going to get doubled, going to get tripled and he’s willing to share it and I think there’s a domino effect.”
Foxboro’s defense started to slow the Rocketeers’ offense in the third quarter, limiting the visitors to just 10 points on four makes from the floor while forcing three turnovers. Foxboro’s offense was steady. Four players scored for the Warriors with Gordon getting four, Golub and sophomore Alex Penders (16 points, 15 rebounds three blocks) had a bucket each, and Sean O’Leary drained a three but the deficit was 50-33 going into the final quarter.
The Warriors made things interesting with a quick 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter, Golub making an early three, and Gordon scoring four straight in just 1:30 of action. Six straight from Ladd, including a traditional three-point play, kept the visitors ahead, pushing the lead back to 56-42, but Foxboro continued to claw its way back.
“Penders is a heck of a player, he’s a bull,” Mulkerrins said. “We tried to go to George early and often to try and see what counter [Foxboro] would make defensively. They did a good job on him but I thought later in the contest, a couple of penetrations he made from the right-wing area, I thought he showed his senior stripes a bit there and made some big buckets for us.”
Penders had back-to-back strong takes down low and Gordon sliced through the defense for two more and the lead was down to just six, 56-48, with three minutes to go. Foxboro fouled to try and extend the game and North obliged with some missed free throws but the Rocketeers’ defense clamped down and didn’t let Foxboro get any closer.
Wells added four free throws down the stretch to help ice the game.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of their effort,” Gibbs said. “North made some timely shots throughout the game and we missed some shots that we probably hope to make. We had a couple of stretches where we got sloppy with the ball and had some turnovers and that allowed North to build a little bit of a lead.
“But at the end of the day, our effort and energy was phenomenal and it could have been easy for a team that’s 2-8 to quit when you’re doing 17 points going into the fourth quarter but we fought and scrapped and battled and made it a game and a had chance to steal it. I think that speaks a lot to the character of those kids and I’m really proud of that.”
North Attleboro boys basketball (7-2 Davenport, 7-2 overall) kept its hopes for a share of the division title alive with a win at the time but Oliver Ames won it outright with a victory over Stoughton later in the day. The Rocketeers travel to Sharon on Friday to close out their division schedule. Foxboro finishes its season at 2-8 in the division and 2-9 overall.
Stoughton, 46 @ Attleboro, 58 – Final – Stoughton surged back from a deficit in the first half but Attleboro didn’t let the visitors do the same in the second half in a crossover non-league win. The Bombardiers found success in the first quarter, building a 19-10 lead with five players contributing to the advantage but Stoughton stormed back in the second quarter with 16 points of their own to make it a two-point game, down 28-26 at halftime. Attleboro was able to create some separation in the third with Justin Daniels scoring seven of his 23 points in the ram and Evan Houle adding five of his eight points to grab a 43-37 lead. Daniels added eight more in the fourth to help the Bombardiers ice the win. Joe Francois-Annevil adde 12 points in the win and Chris Holcomb chipped in with nine points. Stoughton junior Connor Andrews hit four threes and finished with a career-high 17 points, Waseem Sablon added 12 points and Brett Pendenza finished with 10 points.
Foxboro, 35 @ North Attleboro, 58 – Final – Buoyed by a strong start, North Attleboro used a consistent offense and solid defense throughout to win the first meeting with the Warriors. The Big Red scored 16 points in the opening quarter and reached double figures in scoring in all four quarters, staking a 16-8 lead after one quarter and a 31-17 lead by halftime. North’s defense clamped down even more in the third, limiting the visitors to just six points to take a 42-23 lead. Senior George Ladd hit six shots from the field and went 7-for-8 from the line for a game-high 19 points to lead the hosts. Junior Casey Poirier added 12 points and Edan Kelley, who hit half of North’s four three-pointers, had 10 points. Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon had a team-high 16 points while sophomore Alex Penders chipped in with 11 points.
Sharon, 51 @ Oliver Ames, 54 – Final – In a much closer contest than the first meeting between the two teams last week, Oliver Ames was able to hold on to earn the season sweep and clinched at least a share of the Davenport division title with the win. OA held a slight advantage throughout, leading 13-7 after one quarter and a 25-23 at halftime. Sharon kept pace in the third as well, trailing just 42-38 going into the the fourth where the teams went back-and-forth, trading baskets to keep it close. Sharon’s Kiran Chandrasekaran hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to bring the Eagles within one, 50-49, with just under two minutes to play but OA’s Amari Brown (21 points) raced the length of the court and laid it in for two to extend the lead. Kevin Duggan added a free throw to push the lead to 54-49 but Sharon’s Sam Cohen sliced through traffic and finished up-and-under to make it a one-possession game with 1:45 to go. The score would stay that way and the Eagles had the final possession but OA’s defense didn’t allow the visitors to get a clean look at a tying three and held on the for the win. Drew Nickla added 10 points in the win, Will Whiteside chipped in with nine points and Drew Baxter finished with eight points for OA. Senior Matt Baskin led the Eagles, scoring 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Chandrasekaran and Cohen each finished with 10 points.
North Attleboro, 41 @ Attleboro, 54 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Bombardiers held North to six points in the second quarter to open up a 12-point halftime lead and never allowed the Rocketeers to mount a comeback in the second half. Narissa Smith got Attleboro off to a great start, scoring all 10 of her points in the first. Meghan Gordon scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the third to keep North at bay. Lindsey and Hailey Perry both knocked down big threes in the fourth quarter and Ryan Johnson had four of her eight points in the final eight minutes to secure the win. Amanda Kaiser tried to get North back into the game with seven of her game-high 13 points in the fourth and Siobhan Weir added four of her nine points, but Attleboro was able to maintain its double-digit advantage. Lydia Santos added eight points for North and Emma Reilly had seven for Attleboro.
Mansfield, 57 @ Taunton, 40 – Final – Ashley Santos scored a season-high 17 points, powering Mansfield to a road win in the season finale. Kayla Vine added nine points. Nine Hornets were on the score sheet on Monday, helping the team close the year with five straight victories. Sonya Fernandez scored 17 to lead the Tigers.
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton got a shutout in the season finale, securing the team’s third league title in four years and making the Bulldogs the first team to repeat as league champion. Faith Nelson had the eventual game-winner off a great assist by Payton McDonough. Maya Battista doubled the lead and Tess Khoury added a third for Canton. Ellie Rae Roberts closed out the win with a late fourth goal. Lizzie Tassinari and Meghan LaBelle each had two assists and Carolyn Durand picked up the shutout in net.
The decision was split after 32 minutes of action, North Attleboro claiming a double-digit first half advantage only for Canton to completely flip the script in the second half, stifling the Rocketeers’ offense and turning stops into points, and a deficit into a lead.
“We felt good about getting to overtime because we were on our last life for what felt like forever,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “To get to overtime, we stole the momentum and their bench quieted down a bit. It was big to get points on the first possession. For us, it was just continuing what got us back into it against their zone and we had to keep playing good defense. It was a great Hockomock basketball game, felt like a playoff game almost. We made just enough plays.”
North Attleboro boys basketball
North Attleboro’s lead at halftime, 26-10, took a major hit when Canton came out swinging in the form of a 10-2 run in just over two minutes of action, putting the hosts on their heels. By the end of the third eight-minute segment, North Attleboro’s lead shrunk down to just five, 31-26, the Rocketeers getting a much-needed three from senior Tommy Onorato in the final minute.
It turned out to be a sign of things to come for Onorato, who finished with a career-high 12 points, and the Rocketeers. Canton’s comeback continued into the fourth though as a pair of free throws from Steven Burbank (12 points, six rebounds) preceded a three from Will Keefe (12 points) that gave Canton its first lead since the opening moments of the game.
Eric Mischler (11 points, eight rebounds) sliced his way to the rim for two, the Bulldogs earned back-to-back stops and Keefe tossed another triple in and Canton, on the back of a 12-1 run, suddenly had a 40-34 lead with 1:34 to play.
“It’s kind of been like that in the Davenport this year, seems like one team brings it for a half and another brings it the other half,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “It was kind of the opposite when we played them at home, we had a good first three quarters and they came back in the fourth. We talked at halftime about how we could get back into this game. Instead of quitting, the kids made a commitment and the effort to really start rebounding and playing defense, which got us back into the game.”
North Attleboro had an answer to stem the tide. With the defense collapsing on him in the paint, senior George Ladd (16 points, 15 rebounds) dished it out to Brody Rosenberg (seven points), who hit his first field goal of the game with a triple to halve the deficit.
Ryan Connerney (13 points, five assists) pushed the lead back to five when he sank a pair of free throws but North Attleboro had another answer from downtown. This time, Casey Poirier (four points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals) dished it to Onorato for a three with 41.1 left to make it 42-40.
Canton added to its lead with a free throw but once again the Rocketeers, who had just five makes from three-point range through the first three quarters, hit their third three of crunch time. Poirier was short on his attempt from the corner but followed his shot, got the rebound, and dished it to senior Edan Kelley for a three – his first make of the game – from the top of the key to tie the game with 12 seconds to go.
“Tommy Onorato, I’m really proud of him, the second half of the season he’s really stepped into a nice role for us and understood what it took to be on the court,” Mulkerrins said. “Edan, a senior co-captain, missed some time this year and still isn’t completely back but hit a big shot. He’s got that big moment in him.”
The Bulldogs’ attempt at a game-winner was off the mark, only getting a chance to chuck a shot off an inbounds play with 0.6 seconds to go.
In overtime, the momentum swings continued back and forth as North opened the scoring when Ladd converted an offensive rebound but Canton went back ahead on their third look of the possession on a Mischler three, with Dillon Nguyen’s offensive rebound the catalyst of the play.
North Attleboro boys basketball
But just seconds after Mischler gave the visitors a slight lead, Rosenberg hit his second three of the night to put the hosts ahead. The teams traded stops as the game ticked under a minute to go, North Attleboro getting its biggest stop forcing a turnover. With the shot clock shrinking, Onorato stepped up and drained another three, this one with 14 seconds to go in overtime, to give North a 51-46 lead.
Canton fought to the very end, getting two free throws from Burbank to make it a one-possession game. A trap on the inbounds led to a jump ball and Canton getting possession back. Another foul led to two free throws from Connerney, making it a one-point game, 51-50, with 7.8 seconds to go.
The Bulldogs trapped once again and got another jump ball called, but the ball stayed with the Rocketeers. Rosenberg added a free throw to make it 52-50, and North Attleboro held on as Canton’s half-court heave was just off the mark.
North Attleboro had full control of the opening half, hitting 7-of-10 field goals from two-point range to go along with four three-pointers. And on the defensive end, the Rocketeers were doing just enough to keep the streaky Bulldogs from getting going.
Tied early, North closed the final three minutes of the first with an 8-0 burst. Onorato hit his first three of the game, Poirier added a triple, and Ladd attacked the rim for two and a 14-6 lead after one.
Big Red’s run continued into the second with Jared Vacher tossing in a three, Ladd getting back-to-back baskets and Nate Bennett scoring from in close for a 17-0 run in total. Jimmy Caraballo added a three as well as North staked a 26-10 halftime lead.
“Basketball is a game of runs and there’s some psychology behind it,” Mulkerrins said. “I thought the scoreboard was deceptive at half. I thought we played good but not as good as the other night and I felt Canton missed a lot of shots that they can make. I told them at half, if they make a couple in the second half they are going to relax, and then their defense will get better, and sure enough they hit some shots right away. Then the basket on our end starts looking smaller.
“Coach Gordy did a great job adjusting, made some changes. You never know exactly what you’re going to get with him, you’ll get the kitchen sink of tricks and if you aren’t mentally ready, which we learned on Monday night, you’re going to be on the wrong side of games against them. So hats off to them, they had a great season with a lot of great seniors, we have nothing but respect for that program.”
After North found success against Canton’s 1-3-1 defense in the first half, the Bulldogs elected to shake things up defensively, going with a 2-3 zone — a defense they hadn’t utilized all season.
Despite their inexperience in the set, the defense was very effective as North’s offense came to a screeching halt, managing just five points in the third. Meanwhile, those stops turned into buckets for the Bulldogs. Connerney scored on Canton’s first possession, Keefe got going with a triple, and Mischler added one from downtown as well. Burbank got a layup to fall and Canton’s 10-2 run to open the second half turned the game around.
“We haven’t practiced the 2-3 zone this season,” Gordy said. “Ladd’s a nightmare for us to match up with, Rosenberg, Poirier, and Kelley are all really good players. I didn’t think we could guard them man-to-man for an extended period of time. We had a lot of success with the 1-3-1 on Monday, they figured out some things tonight. They were getting to us on the glass so we went to the 2-3 to try and clean some things up on the rebounding which I thought helped big time in the game.
“It all flows, once you’re getting stops you can push in transition. Will Keefe got hot a little bit in the second half and a lot of those came from us getting stops, getting out, and not letting them set up in the half court.”
North Attleboro (5-2 Davenport, 5-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Foxboro. Canton wraps up its season at 4-6 in the Davenport and 4-9 overall.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The defensive game plan for the North Attleboro boys basketball team was clear and concise: try and stop Amari Brown.
Short of the kitchen sink, the Rocketeers threw everything — and nearly everyone — at trying to stop the senior guard. The plan worked enough for the hosts, who made just enough plays down the stretch on the offensive end to earn a 48-43 win over Oliver Ames, handing the Tigers their first loss of the season.
“Amari is one of the best players in the league, he’s tremendously dangerous in transition, even on made baskets and he’s able to score before your defense is set,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “And then even in the half court he’s so quick, he can make the three, and the element of his game that gets overlooked is he’s so strong, even at whatever he’s at height-wise, he’s able to get guys in the box and score. Our game plan was pretty straight forward, we wanted to build a wall and really pack it in around him. And we had to get back on transition defense and rebound because OA does a great job crashing.
Brown, one of the top players in the Hockomock League and one of the leading scorers this season, accounted for over half of the Tigers’ points (24) in the first meeting between Oliver Ames and North Attleboro, a win for the former back at the start of January.
North Attleboro boys basketball
In order to prevent an encore performance, North Attleboro sprinted back on defense to prevent transition opportunities, brought double teams to contest three-point looks, and built a “Big Red” wall with up to three or four players in the way on the defensive end to try and prevent one of the most dynamic guards in the league for getting to the rim.
Oliver Ames’ defense was up to the task as well, holding the hosts to just seven points in the second quarter and 17 total first half points. Both teams started to pick it up offensively in the third and North’s offense had just enough of a run in the final quarter to create enough separation to hold on.
“I thought out guys were focused defensively and that was the difference,” Mulkerrins said, holding the visitors to just three made three-pointers and forcing the Tigers into 15 turnovers. “We definitely weren’t in cruise control on offense but I felt like our defense was so solid that our offense would figure it out and we have a lot of high IQ guys that will make plays for us. And we made just enough of them to get the win.”
North Attleboro nearly matched its first half offensive output in the third quarter, turning a one-point deficit through 16 minutes of action into a three-point edge going into the final frame.
North Attleboro boys basketball
Gavin Wells, one of eight Rocketeers to hit a field goal, opened the quarter with a corner three, and senior Jason Rodriguez drove hard to the rim for a layup and then got out in transition, resulting in two free throws and a 38-32 lead two minutes into the fourth.
Brown (eight points) hit a free throw to cut the deficit to five but North Attleboro senior George Ladd (19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) came back with back-to-back field goals to give the hosts their largest lead, 42-33, and forced an OA timeout with 4:41 to play.
Different faces stepped up for OA as the Tigers grinded their way back into the game. Jake Grimaldi came off the bench for two in the post, Brown hit another free throw, and Drew Nickla added two more from the line to make it 42-38 with three minutes left.
Wells hustled to earn the Rocketeers a second chance on the offensive board before the teams traded turnovers, the latter a steal from Brody Rosenberg that resulted in a layup from Casey Poirier.
With under a minute to play, Drew Baxter (13 points) earned a trip to the line and sank both chances and Oliver Ames’ full court resulted in a traveling call to get the ball back. Will Whiteside got an open look from straight away and drained it and what was once a nine-point lead shrunk to just one, 44-43, with 40.4 seconds to play.
“That’s not a lot of difference between that game and what we’ve been doing all year,” said OA head coach Don Byron. “We’ve managed to be on the right side of the games before this but they’ve all been around this. It wasn’t that much out of character. I think sometimes the thought of a big game, doesn’t necessarily get you nervous but you get caught standing around waiting for something to happen. I think we did a lot of that early on. Defensively we were still pretty good, put ourselves in a position to win.”
The Tigers were whistled for an off ball foul in the post and Ladd sank both attempts of his one-and-one from the line with 27.5 to go. OA launched two threes to try and tie the game but couldn’t convert and Ladd came down with the second miss, went to the line again, and iced the game with two more free throws.
“I never felt like the game got away from us, OA’s defense is so solid, they are bumping cutters, and so much of our offense is dictated by moving the ball, moving people, moving defenders, and they were doing such a good job grabbing and holding, matching wanting what we wanted to do,” Mulkerrins said. “We never got really going offensively but I had faith we could make plays down the stretch.”
North got off to a strong start with Edan Kelley hitting his first shot in his first game back and Ladd going for six straight and an 8-0 lead. OA responded with strong defense, forcing Rocketeer turnovers into layups for Whiteside and Brown while Trey Buggs added a three to get within three, 10-7, after a quarter.
The Tigers’ strong defense continued into the second quarter, limiting the hosts to seven points on 3-for-11 shooting from the field with four turnovers. That gave the visitors enough of a chance to claw their way through North’s tough defense. Baxter hit an early three and then drove to the basket for two, Jaden Krowski cut to the basket to beat the shot clock, and Nickla scored the final four points of the quarter as OA staked an 18-17 halftime lead.
North Attleboro hit on six of its nine field goal attempts in the third quarter to jump back ahead. Jared Vacher sandwiched a pair of buckets around a putback from Ladd, Tommy Onorato drained a three-pointer when Ladd was triple-teamed in the post, and then Ladd himself stepped out of his comfort zone and sank a rare corner three.
“Eight guys got into the scoring column for us, which was great to see,” Mulkerrins said. “We know what George is going to bring and that he’s going to get a lot of attention. We just keep preaching movement off the ball and cutting to the rim. I have a lot of faith in everyone on this team.”
Oliver Ames (6-1, 6-1) travels to rival Sharon on the same day.
Canton, 32 @ Oliver Ames, 34 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Trey Buggs pulled down an offensive rebound and converted a layup all in one motion just before time expired to give the Tigers a win at home over visiting Canton. Canton junior Lanse Dorcelus tied the game at 32-32 with a pair of free throws with 12 seconds to play. OA’s first attempt at the game-winner from three-point range was short of the rim but Buggs crashed hard, catching the shot and putting it up and in off the glass for the win. Drew Baxter scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter for the Tigers, who turned a 19-15 halftime deficit into a 28-25 lead going into the fourth. Ryan Connerney scored a team-high 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Sharon, 53 @ North Attleboro, 59 – Final – North Attleboro raced out to an early lead and held onto it the rest of the way in a win on the road over Sharon. A 9-0 start helped the Rocketeers create the separation it needed for the rest of the way. North’s Casey Poirier hit a pair of threes in the opening quarter as the Big Red claimed a 12-9 lead after one, and senior George Ladd scored 12 of his team-high 18 points by the end of the second quarter for a 22-19 advantage at halftime. Six Rocketeers scored in the third quarter, including threes from Poirier and Brody Rosenberg (10 points). Gavin Wells scored all nine of his points in the fourth to help North seal the win. Sophomore Matt Baur paced the Eagles with 16 points and eight rebounds, senior Matt Baskin added 14 points, and senior Kiran Chandrasekaran chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds.
Canton, 2 @ Franklin, 1 – Final
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Foxboro, 7 – Final – Foxboro jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a win over Oliver Ames. OA freshman Matt Lawson scored for the Tigers while senior Ross Carroll played well. Freshman Nolan Gemmiti made 38 saves in net for OA.
Mansfield, 5 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – Mansfield senior Cam Hussey and junior Ryan Doherty each scored their first career goals to help the Hornets notch a win over North Attleboro. Hussey finished with two goals for the Hornets.
Taunton, 2 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final – Stoughton rallied for the tying goal with the goalie pulled and under a minute to play to earn a tie with Taunton. With 25 seconds to go, Colin Alessi buried the rebound off a shot from Charlie Caputo to make it 2-2. Ryan Flannery scored the first goal for Stoughton/Brockton. Jason Frates had a strong game in net for the Tigers.
King Philip, 1 @ St. Mary’s (Lynn), 7 – Final – Freshman Kelly Holmes scored the lone goal of the game for the Warriors with Ally Donovan and Jen Daniels recording assists.
Franklin, 144.30 @ King Philip, 132.10 – Final
Taunton @ Sharon, 6:15
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The North Attleboro boys basketball team was on the verge of running away with a win during the third period, but visiting Stoughton made enough plays to stay in striking distance.
When given a second chance to put the game to bed, the Rocketeers didn’t take their foot off the pedal and ran away with a 61-36 decision over the Black Knights.
North extended its lead to 15 points with three minutes left in the third but the Black Knights chipped away, led by some hustle plays from junior Connor Andrews. Andrews took a charge and hauled in a pair of defensive rebounds on one end, and scored five straight on the other end to keep the visitors’ hopes alive, down 36-26.
But the Rocketeers’ offense couldn’t be contained in the fourth quarter. Senior George Ladd (eight rebounds) scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the final frame, taking advantage of Stoughton turnovers and second-chance points. North ended up with 25 points in the quarter, pulling away for the win.
“In the third quarter we kind of relaxed a little and took our foot off the gas,” admitted North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins, who is in his eighth year at the helm. “In the fourth, I thought our defensive focus was better, our rebounding focus was better, and our attention to protecting the ball was better and I think that was the difference. We thought we had a better man-to-man defense scheme than we executed the first game so we worked a lot on that in practice.”
Junior Casey Poirier set the tone in the first minute, taking a charge as the Rocketeers’ defense forced back-to-back turnovers to start the quarter. On the other end, senior Edan Kelley (seven points, five assists) found Ladd cutting backdoor on an inbounds play, a lob finished plus the foul for a three-point play and the Rocketeers were off and running.
Kelley found Jared Vacher for two and Ladd hit two free throws after a Stoughton turnover. Kelley and Ladd hooked up once again with the latter using a nice scoop finish. Poirier’s hard drive drew the defense’s attention and Ladd was there to finish again. Vacher missed the front end of a one-and-one but grabbed his own miss and snuck a layup in.
Three of Stoughton’s next four possessions resulted in turnovers, the last two turning into back-to-back buckets for Ladd and Brody Rosenberg (11 points, seven rebounds), as North opened the quarter with a 17-7 run and took a 53-33 lead with just over three minutes to go.
North Attleboro boys basketball
“We’re not really a team that gets up and forces a lot of turnovers, we’re trying to play solid defense without giving up easy ones,” Mulkerrins said. “With everything going on this season, lack of practice, roster moves, I think that’s naturally going to lead to turnovers so if you can just be solid defensively, more often than not you’ll be in a good spot.”
Besides the first basket of the game from Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi (eight points, 11 rebounds), the Rocketeers never trailed. The response was a 14-2 run in the opening quarter. Rosenberg sliced through the defense, Ladd cleaned up a miss, Kelley confidently sank a triple, Poirier hit one from the line and Ladd scored again. Kelley scored back-to-back baskets and North stretched its lead to double digits in the opening quarter.
“When a couple of things go wrong, and it feels like we’re down a hundred then we try to make up all the points on one play instead of slowly chipping away at it,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Evan Taylor. “I think it starts with a better start at the beginning of the game.”
“I think the biggest concern is on the offensive end. We’ve been playing pretty well defensively, holding teams to reasonable scores besides tonight. But we’re just not scoring enough, we’re not being aggressive enough. I don’t think we’re being unselfish enough. We have too many guys looking for their own shot and it shows on the scoreboard. Our offense as a whole needs to play more together.”
The second was a bit better for the Black Knights, who outscored the hosts 10-9 in the frame. Both Andrews and Jake Queeney connected from three-point range to keep Stoughton close but North got some key contributions from its bench, as it did throughout the entire game.
After Queeney’s triple cut the deficit to four, Nate Bennett’s hustle led to a putback off his own miss. And Rosenberg hit a key triple late in the quarter, getting an open look after a nice off-ball screen from Jason Rodriguez.
The contributions from the bench continued into the third as Tommy Onorato knocked down a triple on one end and Rodriguez stepped in to take a charge on Stoughton’s ensuing possession.
“I have all the faith in the world in every single one of these kids,” said Mulkerrins, who played his entire available roster, most in meaningful minutes. “They are here every day, working hard in practice…we’re trying to pride ourselves this year on having really competitive practices and giving guys a chance. We talk about when guys come off the bench, the energy level has to go up. We had guys do that tonight, Jason Rodriguez stepped up and his focus was there, we got the ball in his hand on offense. I was really proud of the group tonight, they really made the best of their minutes.”
Stoughton got a stop early in the third but the defensive rebound was quickly turned over and Rosenberg dished it off to Ladd for two. Two more from Rosenberg and Onorato’s three pushed North’s lead to 32-17.
North Attleboro (2-1) returns to action on Tuesday when it travels to take on Canton (3-1). Stoughton (0-4) will look for its first win when it hosts Foxboro on the same day.
Attleboro, 60 @ Milford, 52 – Final – Attleboro opened its season with a win on the road, edging out the Scarlet Hawks in a close contest. With the gamed tied 51-51, senior Alec Eaton drained a three with just under a minute to give the Bombardiers the lead for good. The visitors led at halftime (31-25) but Milford rallied to take a 40-39 lead into the fourth. Eaton (10 points) had two threes in the fourth while Justin Daniels hit another and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the line in the final frame to help Attleboro secure the win. Daniels finished with a career-high 16 points while junior Evan Houle led the way for the Bombardiers with a career-high 17 points. Milford senior Jordan Darling had a game-high 18 points.
Canton, 45 @ Sharon, 42 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game.Canton’s Ryan Connerney scored eight of his career-high 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs held off a late charge from the Eagles to move to 3-0. After a slow first half from both sides, Canton’s offense got into enough of a groove to take a 10-point lead with three minutes to go. But the Eagles continued to claw back into it, getting back-to-back threes from Sam Cohen (11 points). Seven straight points from junior John Baez cut the deficit to just two, 42-40, with 25 seconds to go. Connerney, who went 6/7 from the line in the fourth, hit two more and then came up with a steal on the final inbounds play in secure the win. Eric Mischler added 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs while Matt Baskin had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles.
North Attleboro, 50 @ Stoughton, 42 – Final – North Attleboro took the lead after eight minutes of action and never surrendered the lead, keeping the Black Knights at arm’s length throughout the contest. The Rocketeers extended their lead each quarter, taking a 15-11 lead after one and a 29-23 advantage at halftime. North pushed the lead to 38-31 through three quarters before an improved defensive effort helped the Rocketeers slam the door shut. Senior George Ladd had a game-high 19 points, going 5-for-5 from the line in the fourth to help ice the win. Brody Rosenberg added 13 points and Casey Poirier finished with eight points for North. Waseem Sablon led the Black Knights with 11 points.
Milford, 39 @ Attleboro, 71 – Final – Attleboro had to wait a week before tipping off this season, but the Bombardiers put together a strong performance to open with a win. It was a two-point game (13-11) after one quarter but Attleboro pushed the lead to double digits by halftime and then broke the game wide open, as Meghan Gordon and Narissa Smith combined for 19 points in the quarter. Gordon finished with a career-high 24 points and Smith added 16 in her varsity debut. Head coach Marty Crowley praised his team’s defensive effort and a balanced attack on offense. Milford was led by Emma Lawrence with 13 points and Ashanty Barreto.
Sharon, 23 @ Canton, 54 – Final – The Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-point lead by halftime and never looked back, cruising to a second win of the season. Fay Gallery followed up her 22 points in the opener with 19 points against the Eagles, including 16 in the first half. She knocked down five three-pointers in the game. Sydney Gallery added 14 for the Bulldogs, nine in the second half, and Kiara Cerruti scored eight points. Canton had eight players score in the win. Gaby Cabral led the Eagles with seven points and Trinity Payne chipped in with six.
Foxboro, 48 @ Oliver Ames, 59 – Final – The Tigers outscored visiting Foxboro by 10 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win in their opener and hand the Warriors their first loss of the season. The Warriors took the lead early in the fourth but the Tigers won the final frame 15-5 to get the win. Senior Kelsey Yelle led the Tigers with 12 points and 12 rebounds while junior Caroline Peper added 10. OA head coach Laney Holbrook praised the effort of seniors Jess Erlich and Caroline Flynn. Sophomore Maddie Homer chipped in with nine points and tough defense. Katelyn Mollica scored 18 in the loss and Foxboro also got a strong performance from its freshmen, as Camryn Collins scored 11 points and Erin Foley added nine.
Franklin, 82 @ King Philip, 62 – Final
Franklin, 93 @ King Philip, 75 – Final
Stoughton, 54 @ Canton, 59 – Final – Stoughton whittled down a double-digit deficit to just two with under a minute to play but Canton got a big stop and held on for the win. Canton exploded for 21 points out of the gate and took a 35-26 lead into halftime and a 43-36 advantage in the fourth. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the final frame, helping make it a 56-54 game but the Black Knights saw the go-ahead three go in-and-out. Canton sealed it with a defensive rebound and a quick push up court for a quick two from senior Eric Mischler (eight points). Canton senior Will Keefe accounted for half of the Bulldogs’ eight threes, finishing with a career-high 14 points to lead the way. Ryan Connerney (three triples) added 12 points and Steven Burbank scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Stoughton senior Elisha Claude added 10 points, all in the second half, for the Black Knights.
Sharon, 54 @ Foxboro, 53 – Final (OT) – Foxboro sank the game-tying three in the final seconds to force overtime but its look at the game-winner was just off the mark in overtime as Sharon picked up a win on the road to open the season. The Eagles held a 50-47 lead late but Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon hit the tying shot from downtown just before the buzzer to force the extra period. After getting a stop, Sharon senior Kiran Chandrasekaran (career-high 15 points) scored on a tough take to the basket and on the next possession, junior Sam Cohen (career-high 16 points) intercepted a pass and went in for two and that was enough offense for the Eagles, who saw Foxboro’s last second go-ahead shot hit off the back of the iron off a floater in the lane. The Warriors held a slim lead through each of the first (16-14) and second (30-27) quarters before the Eagles tied things up after three (39-39), getting three-pointers from Chandrasekaran and Cohen in third quarter. Will Hippler and Jordan Barboza each hit a big three-pointer in the fourth for the Eagles. Foxboro sophomore Alex Penders dropped a career-high 17 points to lead all scorers.
North Attleboro, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames outscored the visiting Rocketeers 16-3 in the second quarter to take the lead and the Tigers never trailed the rest of the way, holding off as North Attleboro’s last second chance was just off the mark. Drew Nickla (career-high 15 points) converted a traditional three-point play off an offensive rebound with two minutes left to put the Tigers ahead 39-33 but a three from North’s Brody Rosenberg (10 points) kept the visitors in it. Nickla added a free throw to push it to 40-36 but Casey Poirier answered with a nice take to the basket. Trey Buggs hit a pair of free throws for OA with under a minute to go to make it 42-48 but Jimmy Caraballo answered to cut it back to two. After a missed free throw, the Rocketeers raced the length of the court but their layup attempt just before the buzzer just missed. OA senior Amari Brown shined in the game, tying a career-high with 24 points to lead all scorers. North Attleboro senior George Ladd had a team-high 12 points.
Foxboro, 56 @ Sharon, 19 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from the game. Three players reached double figures to power Foxboro to a season-opening road win. Freshman Erin Foley scored 13 points in her varsity debut and Katelyn Mollica added 13 of her own along with five assists and five steals. Aislinn Servaes chipped in with 12 points and three steals. Foxboro led 11-4 after the first quarter and broke the game wide open with a 19-2 second quarter. After the Warriors took the third quarter 15-4 to extend the lead to 35, Sharon kept battling and had its best quarter in the fourth (11-9). Freshman Rachel Hager led the way for the hosts with eight points, including a pair of threes in the fourth quarter. Foxboro freshman Camryn Collins also impressed in her debut, scoring seven points, dishing out four assists, and recording three steals.
Franklin, 51 @ Milford, 22 – Final – Franklin opened the season with a big win on the road. Olivia Quinn scored a game-high 19 points to pace the Panthers, while Brigid Early and Kayleigh Houlihan each added eight in the win.
Mansfield, 2 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip lit the lamp three times in the second period, including two straight in the final six minutes, to skate to a season-opening win over Mansfield. After a scoreless first period, KP senior Conor Cooke put the Warriors ahead early in the second. Mansfield answered when junior Brayden Purtell found the back of the net. The Warriors struck twice late in the period, Cooke returning the favor to freshman Brad Guden for his first career goal to make it 2-1, and sophomore James Boldy (from Guden and Shea Cunningham) adding another two minutes later for a 3-1 lead. Guden scored his second goal of the game (fourth point) on a feed from David Lawler to make it 4-1. Mansfield’s Dillon Benoit scored with 6:36 left in the game to make it 4-2. KP sophomore Kyle Abbot made 25 saves to earn his first career win in net.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming off a big loss to division rival Stoughton, North Attleboro boys basketball head coach Sean Mulkerrins was encouraged with how his young squad bounced back on the road at Oliver Ames.
But the Rocketeers, filled with a roster still getting its feet wet at the varsity level, let a double-digit lead and a win slip through their fingers on this past Friday night against the Tigers.
Fast forward to Monday night and the Rocketeers were deadlocked with visiting Framingham, tied at halftime and again after three quarters of action inside Kenneth Pickering Gymnasium.
The growth of the young Rocketeers, even just one game later, was on display as North Attleboro dominated the final eight minutes of the contest to earn a 51-38 win over the Flyers.
“We talked a lot after the last game about playing for 32 minutes,” Mulkerrins said. “I’m proud of the guys for coming out in those final eight minutes and lock it in mentally. We’re a young group, and that’s not an excuse, but experience does count for something.
“I thought our guys made a concerted effort on the defensive end and I thought we rebounded pretty well all night. In that fourth quarter, we got the ball inside to George [Ladd] a lot, and defensively I think we did just enough.”
Junior George Ladd poured in a career-high 26 points to go along with 14 rebounds and four assists while sophomore Casey Poirier chipped in with a career-high 15 points to pace the Rocketeers. Ladd (10) and Poirier (seven) combined to score all of North Attleboro’s fourth quarter points, a frame it won 17-4.
Poirier opened the fourth by taking a pass from senior Ethan Friberg and draining his third triple of the game, having hit two in the opening quarter. A steal from junior Edan Kelley led to another three attempt from Poirier, and even though it was off the mark, Ladd battled for one of his six offensive boards for an easy putback.
Poirier used a nice take to the basket for two and Ladd followed with a two of his own off a nice post move, turning to his left to finish. Framingham sophomore Dante Kikuba snapped the Rocketeers 9-0 run with a nice finish in traffic but Ladd came right back down and scored off a feed from Kelley for a 45-36 lead.
North’s defense got another stop, forcing a turnover and turned it into points on the other end. Poirier got around his man then used a nice behind-the-back dribble and hesitation move before sinking a floater. Kelley came up with another steal on the other end, senior Josh Porter hauled in an offensive rebound and then found Ladd in the post for another bucket and a 49-36 lead with two minutes to play.
“We made an effort to get [Ladd] the ball more [in the fourth],” Mulkerrins said. “Framingham does a good job of crowding the paint and I thought early on, guys were forcing it a little and they were almost surprised there were four guys there to defend. We ran a set that we had run against them last year, we did it a little in the first half and I knew I wanted to go back to it. I was expecting a counter in the third quarter so I waited until the fourth. And we ran a lot of our offense through him.”
The Rocketeers had a lead after eight minutes of play thanks in part to three-point shooting. Despite finishing 4-for-16 from downtown in the game, North Attleboro his three of those in the opening quarter. Poirier sank his first off a feed from Ladd with 4:37 left and then his second off another pass from Ladd with 1:06 to go.
“Casey is a sophomore but he has varsity speed,” Mulkerrins said. “What’s exciting tonight is that we played against a team that is extremely disciplined at being inside the paint and I thought he made a lot of good decisions in the second half. He made plays in tight windows and knocked down some shots.”
Friberg gave the hosts a little bit of a cushion, 13-9, at the end fo the first when he sank a triple with Ladd assisting once again.
Framingham came to life in the second quarter with senior Jack Murphy draining a corner three early, and senior James Allen hitting two from deep after coming off the bench for the Flyers. Senior Sam Whiting completed a traditional three-point play and scored four straight points to push Framingham’s lead to 25-17.
Kelley had a nice up-and-under finish to keep North close. Ladd then sparked an 8-0 run to close the quarter with a layup plus the harm, Poirier sank to free throws, and Friberg converted late to make it 25-25 at the break.
In the second half, the Rocketeers’ extended their defense to a three quarter press. While it only resulted in a pair of turnovers, North was able to slow Framingham down and limited the visitors to nine points in the third and four in the fourth.
“I thought our press did a pretty good job of just taking them out of their rhythm, giving them less time,” Mulkerrins said. “[Dante Kikuba] is a sophomore, I really like his game but I thought we were able to slow him down with that press. But it was really about triggering us defensively, trying to get us more involved.”
North Attleboro boys basketball (1-2 Hockomock, 2-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it travels to Lincoln-Sudbury for a 6:30 tip.