MILFORD, Mass. – Coming off a pair of close losses, the Milford boys basketball team knew it couldn’t let another opportunity slip away.
A one-point loss to Taunton preceded a rare division home defeat to Stoughton last week but with a strong emphasis on defense and a career night from junior Jordan Darling (33 points, 12 rebounds), the Scarlet Hawks put an end to the brief skid with an important 73-61 verdict over visiting Oliver Ames.
The Hawks were the lone Davenport team to win on Tuesday, a week after the division was swept by the Kelley-Rex.
Milford turned the game on its head with a terrific third quarter, doubling its output from the first half in just eight minutes while its defense got the job done against a Tigers’ squad that can score in a variety of ways.
“We came out [in the second half] with a sense of urgency,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “Our defense led to offense is the best way to put it. We had our opportunities in two games last week and we didn’t capitalize so we came into this game really focused on our team and what we can do.
“We put a real emphasis on defense the last couple of days and looking at the score, we held them to 40 points from the field so I thought our defense was phenomenal. I think our defense is what won us the game tonight.”
A back-and-forth first half featured 21 combined fouls and 23 combined free throw shots, so there wasn’t much rhythm for either side. Darling got off to a strong start with seven points in the first quarter while Dom Schofield, Colby Pires (11 points, eight rebounds), and Ben Blanchard (12 points) all scored to help the Hawks seize a 13-8 lead early.
Oliver Ames briefly overcame a tough first shooting quarter (2-for-10 from the field) for its best offensive stretch of the night. The Tigers went on a 12-0 run in the middle of the second quarter that featured seven straight from senior Evan Craig (15 points, eight rebounds), a layup and free throw from Amari Brown (12 points, five rebounds, four assists), and a mid-range jumper from Jay Spillane to go ahead 20-15.
But the Tigers’ offense cooled over the final four minutes of the second quarter, and for the majority of the game. Milford countered with an 11-4 run to end the quarter that was capped by a layup from Ralph Franklin Jr. at the buzzer that gave the Hawks a 26-24 lead at halftime.
Blanchard opened the third quarter with a three and the Hawks were off and running from there. And even when Milford was off the mark on its first shot, like it was on two of its next four possessions, the Hawks shined on the offensive boards. In both cases, it was Darling that collected the offensive rebound and went right back up for two, and junior Sean Murray chipped in with a putback of his own to give the hosts a 37-28 lead at the midway point.
The Hawks pushed the lead to double-digits for the first time on a layup from Blanchard, and the offense closed the quarter with an incredible surge.
Franklin Jr. scored off an assist from Tyler Wetherbee, Darling converted in the post and then on a breakaway after a steal. Weatherbee used a nifty feed from the baseline to find Darling for two more before Oliver Ames looked to put a stop to the bleeding by sinking its first three (after missing its first 12 attempts) via Owen Friel (10 points) with just a couple of seconds left in the third.
But Milford had one more punch to deliver as Darling banked in a shot from just over half court to beat the buzzer and give the Hawks a 52-36 advantage through three quarters.
“This is one of those ones where we got thoroughly outplayed in every phase,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “Right down the line, defensively not good, offensively bad choices, bad shooting, and on and on…just felt like we got outplayed.
“Because we’re not shooting well (19-for-59 FG), we’re in transition defense all the time. We usually shoot the ball better and can set the defense. And they hurt us on the boards all night.”
Pires opened the final quarter with a three, Murray scored down low, and Pires finished off his own miss as the Hawks pushed the lead to 59-38 early in the fourth. The Hawks held OA without a made field goal for the first three minutes, limiting the Tigers to just three free throws.
OA senior Ryan Burkett (13 points, 12 rebounds) scored down low but a three-point play from Darling with 2:50 left in the game gave the Hawks their largest lead at 64-46 and capped the junior forwards’ big night.
“He’s always up for the challenge, there’s no doubt about it,” Seaver said of Darling. “And obviously tonight was a career night for Jordan but just after the game, I heard someone tell him how many points he had but he said the team won, that’s all that matters. That sums up the type of kid he is and the team-first attitude everyone on this team has.”
The teams combined for 20 free throws in the final two minutes of action to bring the final score to 73-61.
Milford boys basketball (5-4 Hockomock, 6-4 overall) moves into sole possession of first place in the Davenport just past the midway mark and will travel to Canton on Friday. Oliver Ames (4-5, 8-6) will try to bounce back when it visits King Philip on the same night.
Canton, 39 @ North Attleboro, 54 – Final – North Attleboro’s defense limited the visiting Bulldogs to single digits in each of the first two quarters and finished strong in the fourth to pick up a win. The Rocketeers had their best offensive quarter to start the game as four players found the scoring column to build a 17-5 lead. North junior George Ladd scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the first half while Edan Kelley added seven of his 10 points in the first two quarters. Josh Porter, Tommy Whalen, Brody Rosenberg, Jared Vacher, and Ethan Friberg (eight points) all scored in the fourth to help the Rocketeers secure the win. Matt Giglio and Eric Mischler each scored eight points for Canton.
Foxboro, 70 @ Sharon, 50 – Final – Foxboro scored 18 or more points in three quarters on its way to a big win on the road over Sharon. The Warriors exploded for 23 points in the opening eight minutes and responded well when the Eagles closed the deficit to five points early in the third quarter. Foxboro led 34-24 at halftime and extended that advantage to 52-40 after three quarters. Senior Brandon Borde scored all of his team-high 20 points in the first three quarters while senior Ryan Hughes closed the game strong with nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Donald Rogers added 14 points and Kevin Gallagher chipped in with nine for Foxboro. Caleb Gayle paced Sharon with 16 points.
Oliver Ames, 54 @ Franklin, 57 – Final – Senior Chris Edgehill scored a season-high 26 points and the Panthers held off a late rally from Oliver Ames to get the win. Oliver Ames held a 17-11 lead after a quarter of play and took a 24-23 advantage into halftime but Franklin used a big third quarter to take the lead for good. The Panthers poured in 23 points in the third with senior Brayden Sullivan scoring nine of his 11 points in the frame and both Edgehill and Steven Karayan hit from three to give Franklin a 46-37 lead heading into the fourth. OA had a shot to tie it at the buzzer but it was off the mark. Evan Craig scored a team-high 13 points for OA, Owen Friel added 12 points, Jay Spillane chipped in with 11 points, and Ryan Burkett added 10 points for the Tigers.
Mansfield, 71 @ King Philip, 66 – Final – Mansfield closed the third quarter on a 12-5 run to turn a deficit into a lead and held on for a close win on the road at KP. The Warriors took a 45-40 lead in the third quarter but the Hornets got three-pointers from Sam Stevens (30 points), Jason See (eight points), and freshman Chris Hill to seize a 52-50 lead after three quarters. Stevens added two more threes in the fourth quarter and TJ Guy scored half of his 12 points in the final frame to help the Hornets close the door. KP senior Robert Jarest scored a career-high 22 points, including 13 in the first quarter. Chris Roy added a career-high 16 points for KP while Alex Fritz finished with 13 points.
Stoughton, 67 @ Milford, 60 – Final – Stoughton led at the end of each quarter and five Black Knights scored in the fourth to help secure a key division win on the road. Stoughton led 19-16 after a quarter, took a 33-31 edge into halftime, and held a 49-43 advantage through 24 minutes of action. In the fourth, senior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored six of his team-high 22 points in the fourth, Myles Grigalunas-Powell added three points in the fourth, Tahkwan Gates Brown added half of his eight points in the fourth, Tommy Sanda (eight points) drained a three, and Brett Pendenza scored a basket. Pendenza scored a career-high 15 points to give Stoughton a big boost, including three three-pointers between the second and third quarters. Jordan Darling led Milford with 17 points, Ben Blanchard added 16 points, and Colby Pires finished with 11 points.
Attleboro, 66 @ Taunton, 62 – Final (OT) – Meghan Gordon scored a career-high 20 points to power the Bombardiers to an overtime win at Taunton. In a game that went back-and-forth right to the final whistle, Nyah Thomas scored 19 and Liv McCall scored 10 for the visitors. Attleboro shot 7-of-9 from the line in the extra period to pull out the win. Kameron St. Pierre scored a game-high 22 points for the Tigers and Jaelyn Fernandez added 20, but Taunton wasn’t able to make enough plays down the stretch of regulation or OT to pull out the victory.
North Attleboro, 53 @ Canton, 48 – Final – North used a big third quarter to grab control of the game heading into the fourth and then held off Canton to pull out a big road win. The Bulldogs led 20-15 at the break, but North won the third quarter 25-12 to take a 40-32 lead into the final eight minutes. Amanda Kaiser was the star for the North offense. Kaiser wasn’t feeling well coming into the game and had only two points at halftime, but she exploded for 19 of her team’s 25 points in the third, burying five threes in a row. She scored 24 of her game-high 26 in the second half. “She was in a zone and we just let her go with it,” said North coach Nikki Correia. “When a shooter gets that hot you just create space for them and give them the green light.” Summer Doherty was clutch at the line in the final quarter, hitting 7-of-7 down the stretch to help North hold on.
Sharon, 24 @ Foxboro, 66 – Final – Foxboro made it three straight wins with another strong defensive performance and four players scoring in double digits. Lizzy Davis paced the offense with 14 points and Katelyn Mollica scored 12. Forwards Yara Fawaz and Abby Hassman each scored 10 points in the win.
King Philip, 55 @ Mansfield, 59 – Final – Neither team led by more than four points at any point in a game that was back-and-forth throughout. Becca Hottleman knocked down a free throw that put the Hornets up by two with less than a minute to play and then a Mansfield steal turned into a Kayla Vine layup for a four-point edge with 20 seconds to play. Vine led the way for the Hornets with another 20-point night. Ashley Santos added nine and Brooke Berube scored eight. Claire Keswick was the top scorer for KP with 12 points. Faith Roy and Emma Glaser each scored eight for the Warriors. Mansfield led by a single point after one quarter and at halftime, extended it two by the end of the third quarter and then scored 19 points in the fourth to pull out the win.
Milford, 31 @ Stoughton, 57 – Final – Stoughton used a balanced attack to pick up a key win over a division foe in visiting Milford. Shyanne Trinh had 14 points, Aliyah Wright added 13 points, and Jess Maddalena finished with 11 points. Kyla Sheedy-Goff was a force defensively with six blocks for the Black Knights.
Attleboro, 35 @ Taunton, 59 – Final
Stoughton @ Canton, 7:00
Milford @ Foxboro, 7:00
King Philip @ Franklin, 7:00
North Attleboro, 49 @ Sharon, 74 – Final
Attleboro, 53 @ Taunton, 41 – Final – Attleboro’s Ella Lynch-Bartek and Brenna O’Connell finished first and second, respectively, in both the 50 free and 100 free to help the Bombardiers pick up a win over Taunton. Lynch-Bartek qualified for sectionals with her time in the 100 free. Faith Morrison added a win in the 500 free and Jackie Lynch-Bartek took first int he 100 breaststroke. Attleboro’s 200 free relay team of Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Ella Lynch-Bartek, Brenna O’Connell, and Rachel Priestley placed first.
Stoughton @ Canton, 7:00
Milford @ Foxboro, 7:00
King Philip @ Franklin, 7:00
North Attleboro, 73 @ Sharon, 85 – Final
Attleboro @ King Philip, 7:30
Canton @ Taunton, 8:00
North Attleboro @ Mansfield, 7:00
King Philip, 54 @ Attleboro, 62 – Final – Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio connected on a key three-pointer in the final minutes of the game and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final quarter to help the Bombardiers pull out a win over visiting King Philip. With the game tied 42-42 through 24 minutes of action, Ciccio netted eight of his team-high 15 points in the final quarter while classmate Qualeem Charles (12 rebounds) netted half of his 12 points in the fourth. Nick McMahon (nine points) and Jason Weir (six rebounds) also had key buckets in the fourth for Attleboro. King Philip, which led by three after a quarter (19-16) and outscored the hosts in the third to bring the game even heading into the fourth, got 25 points from senior Alex Fritz while classmate Andrew McKinney added 10 points.
Sharon, 43 @ Canton, 60 – Final – Canton won each quarter but it was its lopsided second quarter that created the necessary separation to secure a win over visiting Sharon. The Dogs held a 14-11 lead through eight minutes but limited the Eagles to just five points in the second while its offense produced its best frame of the game with 17 points, creating a 31-16 advantage at halftime. Junior Eric Mischler drained three of his five triples in the second quarter, totaling 11 of his career-high 25 points in the frame to help Canton create its big lead. Nick Cushman gave the Bulldogs a big boost, scoring nine second half points while senior Kyle Fitzgerald scored all seven of his points after the break. Andrew Burton scored a team-high 12 points for the Eagles, who were limited to just one three-pointer in the second half and three total for the game. Caleb Gayle added 10 points for Sharon.
Stoughton, 46 @ Foxboro, 64 – Final – Foxboro had one of its best offensive quarters of the season, exploding for 26 points in the third quarter to turn a close game into a runaway win over visiting Stoughton. The Warriors built a 16-10 lead through eight minutes and took a 26-19 advantage into the locker room at halftime. A 7-0 run to start the third sparked the big quarter as Foxboro held a 52-35 advantage with one quarter to play. Senior Brandon Borde scored seven of his team-high 21 points in the third, Ryan Hughes had six of his nine points, Will Morrison (10 points) drained a pair of three-pointers, and Kevin Gallagher added a trifecta of his own. Senior Tahkwan Gates Brown netted a team-high 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to pace the Black Knights. Ahmad Jahed and Myles Grigalunas-Powell each chipped in with eight points.
Milford, 56 @ North Attleboro, 46 – Final – Milford built its lead over the first two quarters and got key contributions up and down the lineup to stay in front the rest of the way. The Scarlet Hawks jumped ahead 19-12 after a quarter and pushed the advantage to 29-20 at halftime. Milford senior Colby Pires scored 13 of his career-high 23 points in the first quarter whole Ralph Franklin Jr. (eight points) and Matty Varteresian (six points) combined to score all 10 of Milford’s second quarter points. Pires went back to work in the third, hitting two more threes while Jordan Darling and Dom Schofield also scored to keep Milford up 43-33 going into the fourth. Junior Ben Blanchard helped put the game away with an early three, scoring eight of his 10 points in the fourth. Junior Edan Kelley scored a career-high 17 points to pace the Rocketeers, who were without leading scorer George Ladd (illness). Ethan Friberg added 13 points for North.
Mansfield, 71 @ Oliver Ames, 59 – Final – Trailing at halftime and holding just a one-point lead after three quarters of action, the Hornets used a strong start to the fourth quarter to pull away from the win. Five Hornets factored into the fourth quarter scoring with senior Sam Stevens scoring seven of his 19 points, junior TJ Guy adding six of his 20 points, and Cincere Gill giving the visitors a boost with five of his seven points. Drew Rooney (seven points) and Matt Boen (16 points) also scored in the fourth, a period in which the Hornets won 22-11. Oliver Ames had a 24-point second quarter to take a halftime lead. Junior Amari Brown scored seven of his game-high 24 points in the second while Jay Spillane had seven of his 12 points and Ryan Burkett netted six of his 11 points.
Attleboro, 44 @ King Philip, 62 – Final – KP broke the game open by winning the third quarter 18-6 and pushing the lead out to double digits. Emma Glaser was the top scorer for the Warriors with 14 points. Faye Veilleux and Claire Keswick each scored 11 in the win.
Canton, 44 @ Sharon, 20 – Final – Canton locked down on the defensive end in the fourth quarter, holding the Eagles to just two points and running away with a road win. The Bulldogs led by only two points after one quarter (8-6) and extended that to six (17-11) low-scoring first half. Canton held Sharon to single digits in all four quarters and extended the lead to 28-18 heading into the final eight minutes. Fay Gallery paced the visitors with 15 points and Kiara Cerruti scored 10. Lilah Milton added eight points and freshman Erin Beatty made her varsity debut and added to the team’s strong defense in the fourth.
Foxboro, 79 @ Stoughton, 39 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. For the second time this season, Foxboro shutout an opponent in the first quarter, while scoring more than 20 points of their own. The Warriors raced out to a 23-0 lead after the opening eight minutes, extending the lead to 31-0 before Stoughton got on the board. Foxboro led 49-11 at halftime. The second half was just about even, with the Black Knights continuing to battle despite the deficit. Katelyn Mollica scored 27 points through three quarters, burying seven three-pointers in the process, but Foxboro had a number of players step up. Jamie DeVellis came off the bench and scored 11 points, Lizzy Davis scored 10 points, and Hannah Blake scored nine. Abby Hassman (nine rebounds and five assists), Shakirah Ketant (eight rebounds) and Yara Fawaz (11 rebounds and six assists) each scored six points. Shyanne Trinh scored 22 points over the final three quarters and Aliyah Wright added seven points (six in the fourth quarter).
Taunton, 18 @ Franklin, 66 – Final – Ali Brigham scored 17 points and Olivia Quinn added 12 to help the Panthers continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Oliver Ames, 58 @ Mansfield, 38 – Final – The Tigers took control from the start, leading 18-4 after the first quarter and 33-12 at the half to earn a road win and extend their win streak to four. Caroline Peper scored 13 to lead the way for OA, while Tate Hadges and Jess Erlich each scored nine. For the second straight game, Kayla Vine scored 20 points to lead Mansfield. Ashley Santos chipped in with eight in the loss.
North Attleboro, 53 @ Milford, 23 – Final – North Attleboro tossed a shutout in the second quarter, outscoring the Hawks 15-0 in the frame, and allowed only two points in the first half. Big Red led 24-2 at the break, but Milford won the third quarter 11-10. North pulled away with 19 points in the fourth. Amanda Kaiser caught fire from three-point range, knocking down five shots from beyond the arc, on her way to a game-high 19 points. Regan Fein scored 15 and Summer Doherty scored 11 in the win. North coach Nikki Correia praised her team’s full-court defense and the control that the Rocketeers played with on the other end.
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:00
Sharon @ Foxboro, 7:00
Mansfield, 73 @ Franklin, 92 – Final
Milford @ Stoughton, 6:00
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:00
Sharon @ Foxboro, 7:00
Mansfield, 56 @ Franklin, 107 – Final
Milford @ Stoughton, 6:00
SHARON, Mass. – A typical high school basketball game will feature plenty of momentum swings and runs over the course of 32 minutes.
The Sharon and Milford boys basketball teams managed to fit all of the drama into the fourth quarter and overtime on Sunday afternoon. Although the Eagles managed to erase a large second half deficit, and another Milford lead in the final seconds, the Hawks prevailed with a 79-78 overtime victory on the road.
“That was just a classic, wild high school basketball game, that’s the only way to sum it up,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver.
The Hawks’ lead ballooned to as much as 18 halfway through the third quarter, and the advantage sat at 55-42 with the visitors just eight minutes away from a win.
The Eagles had other plans, however, dominating the fourth quarter to the tune of an 11-0 run over the first four minutes, putting the Hawks’ lead in serious jeopardy. Despite a timeout to try and stop the bleeding, Sharon continued on, pushing the run to 17-0 to seize a four-point lead with two minutes to play.
But as shocking as the run from the Eagles was, so was the response from the Hawks, which was a 9-0 burst in a one minute span, turning a four-point deficit into a five-point lead. Again, Sharon refused to fold by rattling off a 7-2 burst over the final 20 seconds, capped by sophomore John Baez’s ridiculous three-pointer that beat the buzzer to force overtime.
“That was mostly just effort,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson of the comeback. “We got down 18 points in the third quarter so we called a timeout, switched up our defenses a little bit. The kids worked unbelievably hard on the defensive end, we found some shots on the offensive end with it. But it comes back to their effort and hard work.”
Sharon senior Andrew Burton (24 points, five rebounds, six assists) gave the hosts the lead in the overtime period before Milford senior Colby Pires (19 points, nine rebounds) answered with his fifth three-pointer of the game to put the visitors in front.
Baez knotted the score with a free throw before Ralph Franklin Jr. sank one of his own to put the Hawks back in front. Junior Matt Baskin (career-high 27 points, eight rebounds) sank a pair from the line on one end but a foul on the box out allowed Jordan Darling (22 points, 14 rebounds) to reciprocate on the other end for a 72-71 lead.
Baskin drove through the lane for two more for a lead with 1:20 to play but it was Darling again who had the answer, finishing over good defense down low. Tyler Wetherbee and Darling combined for three free twos as the Hawks’ defense picked up key back-to-back stops on defense.
Caleb Gayle brought the Eagles within two but Ben Blanchard (20 points) converted two huge free throws in the final seconds. Senior Aidan Kane sank a three at the buzzer to bring the final score to a one-point game.
“Give [Sharon] all the credit,” Seaver said. “We played well enough to build a double-digit lead, I think we got it up to 18 at one point. And they are the ones who hit shots in the fourth quarter and more importantly got stops. It took us forever to finally get a basket to fall. At the end of the day, a win is a win in this league. Everybody you play on any given night is good and you have to be ready to go. But a win is a win.”
Blanchard was a big reason that Milford got off to a strong start, hitting three trifectas in the opening eight minutes, slashing to the basket for another two for 11 of Milford’s 20 first quarter points.
The Hawks used an 11-3 burst in the second quarter to create the separation it carried into the fourth quarter. A three-pointer from Kane brought the Eagles within one possession at 22-19 but Darling hit four straight free throws, Pires knocked down a three, Blanchard scored again, and Ralph Franklin Jr. finished at the rim for a 33-22 advantage.
While Milford’s offense continued its normal pace in the third quarter, Sharon got a huge boost from Baskin. The junior wing scored 12 of his points in that quarter, keeping the Eagles within shouting distance entering the fourth quarter. He hit twice from three-point range and had three buckets driving to the hoop.
“We think he can be a very good player in this league and he’s gaining confidence in each practice, in each game,” Ferguson said about Baskin, who transferred into the program this season. “We’re in his ear about it. He creates a lot of mismatches with his height, length, and offensive ability. If they put a big on him, he can take them off the dribble or if they put a smaller guy on him, we can put him in the post and he made some nice post moves today. He really asserted himself for the first time this year.”
Burton sparked the fourth quarter with four straight points and Baez added a free throw. The Eagles took advantage of a foul and a technical foul, making two of the four three throws and Cam Baker (10 points) scored on the ensuing possession to make it 55-51.
“Their zone really slowed us down,” Seaver said. “We tried to get it to the high post, we tried to dump it down and we actually had a lot of good looks from the outside but we just went ice cold for a long stretch. That translated to a poor defensive end during their comeback but credit Sharon. Credit their zone, they did a good job changing the pace on us. In the end, we made one more play, hit one more free throw, and that’s what we needed.”
Kiran Chandrasekaran took a feed from Burton and finished to make it 55-53 and Burton tied the game after a fast break. Burton gave the Eagles the lead with a free throw and Baskin pushed it to 59-55 with a three-pointer with two minutes left.
Pires played the role of hero for the Hawks. After Darling hit a free throw, Pires sank two technical foul free throws and then drained a corner three on the ensuing possession. After the Hawks drew a charge, Pires sank another triple and Milford suddenly had a 64-59 lead.
“Colby is a three-year varsity player, a two-time captain, a two-year starter and he’s kind of the heart and soul of this program,” Seaver said. “He made senior plays and he made winning plays. That’s who he is, that’s what he does and most importantly he showed it on the court today for us.”
Baskin hit two free throws with 20.3 seconds left only for Blanchard to answer with two of his own with 11.5 seconds left. Burton drove to the hoop for two and the Eagles were able to create a turnover on Milford’s inbounds pass. Baez beat the buzzer with a three to force overtime.
“It’s a matter of mentality,” Ferguson said of what can turn games like this into a win. “Yeah, maybe this group hasn’t won a lot of basketball games but they want to win basketball games. We saw that there. I have to coach it better, we have to get a little better with our execution, and we have to maintain our emotions. I think that hurt us today. Hopefully, these experiences are building the confidence that will help us in the long run.”
Milford boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) moves into sole possession of first place in the Davenport with the win and will be back in action on Wednesday against Mansfield. Sharon (0-4, 0-5) will host Taunton on Tuesday in search of its first win.
Attleboro, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 52 – Final – After a close first half, Attleboro created its separation between the third and fourth quarters before holding off a late surge from Oliver Ames. A three-point lead at halftime (30-27) ballooned to 45-34 as the Bombardiers held the hosts to seven points in the third quarter. The Tigers went on an 11-0 run late to cut into Attleboro’s 17-point lead but ran out of time as the visitors took care of business at the free throw line. Qualeem Charles got Attleboro off to a strong start with 11 of his 20 points coming in the first quarter, giving Attleboro a 20-15 lead after eight minutes. Senior Bryant Ciccio hit a pair of threes in the third, finishing with 10 of his game-high 25 points in that quarter to help create the needed cushion. Tim Callahan added a big three in the fourth quarter while Nick McMahon had a strong game defensively. Jay Spillane paced OA with 15 points while classmate Owen Friel added 13 points and Ryan Burkett finished with 12 points.
Canton, 42 @ Stoughton, 61 – Final – Stoughton built a double-digit advantage in the first quarter and never looked back to pick up a win over neighboring Canton. The Black Knights jumped ahead 15-5 after the first and were able to double the lead heading into the fourth quarter with a 46-26 lead. Stoughton senior Obinna Ugwuakazi (five steals) scored seven points in the opening quarter to help build the lead and added eight more in the third to help expand it, finishing with a game-high 25 points to pace the Black Knights. Tahkwan Gates Brown added 11 points and Myles Grigalunas-Powell chipped in with eight points. Eric Mischler had a team-high 11 points for Canton while senior Mike Dorcelus scored 10 points.
Foxboro, 37 @ Milford, 61 – Final – In what was a close contest for the majority of the game, Milford’s defense limited Foxboro to just five fourth-quarter points to pull away for a large margin of victory. “We did a good job defensively against a very good opponent,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver, noting the balanced offensive attack and timely shots on the offensive end of the court. Milford had five players score in each quarter, increasing its lead each frame. Milford expanded its 14-12 lead after one to a 28-20 advantage at halftime. A strong third quarter pushed the lead to 44-32 going into the fourth. The Hawks hit five of their six threes after the break with Ben Blanchard (eight points) and Tyler Wetherbee (12 points) each responsible for a pair. Colby Pires had a team-high 13 points while Ralph Franklin Jr. added 12 points. Jordan Darling added eight points and Dom Schofield, who also had a second half three, finished with six points. Senior Donald Rogers scored 14 points for Foxboro, who was limited to just one made three-pointer in the contest.
King Philip, 62 @ Taunton, 73 – Final – Taunton pushed its three-point halftime lead to a 55-47 lead through three quarters, and finished strong with 11 points in the final three minutes to secure a key division win over King Philip. The Tiger trailed by one after a quarter (16-15) but held a 37-34 lead at the halftime break. With just under three minutes to go, the Tigers led 62-56 and went on to close out the win. Junior Tyler Stewart scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the first half while sophomores Tristan Herry and Trent Santos along with junior Josh Lopes came up with key buckets in the second half to secure the win. Stewart and sophomore Faisal Mass (10 points) helped the hosts create the lead at the break. Herry added six of his 10 points in the second half, Santos scored 10 of his 15 points after the break, and Lopes added eight of his 15 in the second half for Taunton. Andrew McKinney scored a team-high 21 points for the Warriors while Alex Fritz added 19 points.
Sharon, 37 @ North Attleboro, 46 – Final – The Rocketeers buckled down defensively in the second half, limiting the visitors to 14 points over the final 16 minutes, while exploding for their best quarter of the game in the fourth to secure a win. North held an early 13-8 advantage after one period of play but Sharon took a 23-22 lead into the locker room and a 29-28 advantage into the fourth. Senior Ethan Friberg came up big on the offensive glass, scoring eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter to help the Big Red get the win. Junior George Ladd added 10 points while senior Josh Porter chipped in with nine points. Sharon senior Andrew Burton scored a game-high 15 points and junior Matt Baskin added eight points for the Eagles.
Oliver Ames, 44 @ Attleboro, 27 – Final – Tate Hadges scored 12 points and Caroline Flynn (eight rebounds) added 11 as the Tigers pulled out a tough win on the road with a strong defensive performance. Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall scored seven points apiece for the Bombardiers.
Stoughton, 43 @ Canton, 35 – Final – Stoughton’s Aliyah Wright recorded a double-double, Shyanne Trinh led the team in scoring, and Kyla Sheedy-Goff gave the Black Knights a big boost to deliver a key division win on the road at Canton. Wright had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Trinh recorded a team-high 14 points to go along with four steals, and Sheedy-Goff finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Milford, 14 @ Foxboro, 86 – Final – Katelyn Mollica bounced back from a tough shooting night against Canton on Thursday with a 26-point night against Milford on Friday. Shakirah Ketant added 15 points and Lizzy Davis chipped in with 12 for the league-leading Warriors. Ten players scored for Foxboro.
Franklin, 67 @ Mansfield, 39 – Final – Franklin controlled the paint to earn the big road win. Ali Brigham scored 20 points to lead the way and fellow forwards Olivia Quinn (16 points) and Meghan O’Connell (11 points) also had big nights. The Panthers jumped out to a 22-3 lead after one quarter and also held the Hornets to just four points in the third, as they built a 34-point advantage heading into the fourth. Mansfield was paced by Kayla Vine’s 17 points and freshman Abby Wager’s 11. Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “Their post players were just too much for us. They dominated the paint and got a bunch of second chance points.”
Taunton, 33 @ King Philip, 60 – Final – The Warriors got back into league play with a bounce back victory over Taunton. The game remained close until the third quarter when KP’s high-tempo style started to wear the Tigers down and allowed the Warriors to pull away. Faye Veilleux was the top scorer for KP, pouring in 17 points in the win. Claire Keswick and Emma Glaser each scored 10 points in the win. Sonya Fernandez led the Tigers with nine.
Attleboro, 75 @ King Philip, 92 – Final – Derek Whyte and Jake Hokanson each won a pair of individual races and made up half of the winning 200 medley relay team to help King Philip pick up a division win over Attleboro. Whyte touched first in both the 500 free (4:59.72) and 100 backstroke (1:01.15) while Hokanson earned first place in both the 100 breast (1:10.89) and 200 IM (2:14.58). Whyte and Hokanson were joined by Andrew Pham and Jackson Klein to win the 200 medley relay (1:53.95).
Results: 200 Medley Relay – 1. King Philip (Derek Whyte, Jake Hakanson, Andrew Pham, Jackson Klein) – 1:53.95 | 2. Attleboro (Matt Marcil, Alex Harrop, Brett Wortham, Colton Mangion) – 2:06.03 | 3. Attleboro (Robert Winkler, Damien Geltrude, Kyle Norman, Zack Moore) – 2:09.39 200 Yard Free – 1. Cam Stringfellow, KP – 2:04.30 | 2. Dylan Nisbet, Att – 2:22.51 | 3. Brett Wortham, Att – 2:39.33 200 Yard IM – 1. Jake Hokanson, KP – 2:14.58 | 2. John Donis, KP – 2:35.06 | 3. Alex Harrop, Att – 2:38.97 50 Free – 1. Matt Marcil, Att – 25.46 | 2. Jackson Klein, KP – 25.49 | 3. Andrew Pham, KP – 26.56 100 Yard Butterfly – 1. Andrew Pham, KP – 1:03.82 | 2. Alex Harrop, Att – 1:09.34 | 3. Kyle Norman, Att – 1:19.85 500 Yard Free – 1. Derek White, KP – 4:59.72 | 2. John Donis, KP – 6:32.20 | 3. Colton Mangion, Att – 6:50.13 200 Yard Free Relay – 1. King Philip (Morrsion, Donis, Hokanson, Klein) – 1:44.03 | 2. Attleboro (Matt Marcil, Alex Harrop, Dylan Nisbet, Brett Wortham) – 1:49.47 | 3. Attleboro (Zack Moore, Damien Geltrude, Kyle Norman, Zach Dorrance) – 1:56.33 100 Back – 1. Derek Whyte, KP – 1:01.15 | 2. Robert Winkler, Att – 1:24.02 | 3. Andrew Greaves, Att – 1:24.70 100 Breast – 1. Jake Hokanson, KP – 1:10.89 | 2. Matt Marcil, Att – 1:13.35 | 3. Damien Geltrude, Att – 1:17.53 400 Free Relay – 1. King Philip – 3:55.28 | 2. Attleboro (Colton Mangion, Zach Dorrance, Kyle Norman, Dylan Nisbet) – 4:24.77 | 3. Attleboro (Robert Winkler, JR Sarcione, Andrew Greaves, Brandon Sanford) – 5:09.89
Canton, 88 @ Oliver Ames, 71 – Final
Foxboro vs. Norton, 7:00
North Attleboro @ Stoughton, 3:00
Sharon, 68 @ Milford, 94 – Final
Attleboro, 77 @ King Philip, 87 – Final – King Philip’s Megan Campbell won a pair of individual races and helped a relay team win another as the Warriors took a win over Attleboro. Campbell was first in both the 100 yard butterfly (1:11.44) and the 200 yard free (2:07.17) and was part of the 200 medley relay team that won in 2:09.71 along with Abby Lyons, Morgan Sachleben, and Olivia Bailey.
Results: 200 Medley Relay – 1. King Philip (Lyons, Sachleben, Bailey, Campbell) – 2:09.71 | 2. King Philip (Lauren Klein, Lia Burns, Emily Campbell, Bri McMaster) – 2:11.13 | 3. Attleboro (Ella Lynch-Bartek, Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Faith Morrisson, Rachel Priestley) 2:11.52 200 Yard Free – 1. Megan Campbell, KP – 2:07.17 | 2. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att – 2:08.07 | 3. Abby Lyons, KP – 2:29.31; 200 Yard IM – 1. Morgan Sachleben, KP – 2:28.75 | 2. Lia Burns, KP 2:49.34 | 3. Shanise Tolliver, Att – 3:08.02 50 Yard Free – 1. Brenna O’Connell, Att – 28.88 | 2. Cate DiGiacomo, KP – 28.94 |3. Bri McMaster, KP – 28.91; 100 Yard Butterfly – 1. Megan Campbell, KP – 1:11.44 | 2. Emily Campbell, KP – 1:11.60 | 3. Lily Scheurger, Attleboro 1:30.75 100 Yard Free – 1. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:00.09 | 2. Lauren Klein, KP – 1:03.63 | 3. Cate DiGiacomo, KP -1:05.33 500 Yard Free – 1. Olivia Bailey, KP – 5:50.98 | 2. Faith Morrison, Att – 6:47.34 | 3. Bri McMaster, KP – 6:54.31 200 Yard Free Relay – 1. King Philip (DiGiacomo, Freese, McMaster, Klein) – 1:57.31 | 2. Attleboro (E. Lynch-Bartek, F. Morrsison, R. Priestley, J. Lynch-Bartek) – 1:58.83 | 3. King Philip (E. Campbell, B. Avignon, Burke, Foster) – 2:06.69 100 Yard Back – 1. Olivia Bailey, KP – 1:08.19 | 2. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:08.38 | 3. Abby Lyons, KP – 1:17.44 100 Yard Breast 1. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att 1:15.52 | 2. Faith Morrison, Att – 1:26.52 | 3. Rachel Priestley, Att – 1:28.39 400 Yard Free Relay – 1. Attleboro (Brenna O’Conell, Tolliver, Cronin, Danho) – 5:05.34 | 2. Attleboro (Schuerger, Torres, Masandrea, Sutherland) – 5:23.78
Canton, 73 @ Oliver Ames, 95 – Final
Foxboro vs. Norton, 7:00
North Attleboro @ Stoughton, 3:00
Sharon, 92 @ Milford, 78 – Final
Attleboro vs. Norton, 4:30
King Philip, 127.70 @ Franklin, 136.50 – Final
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro, 7:30
2018-2019 Record: 18-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Attleboro fulfilled high expectations last year with a terrific regular season but had its postseason run cut short in the opening round of the tournament. With an experienced, battle-tested, and deep group of seniors, the Bombardiers are hoping to take the next step during the 2019-2020 season.
The Bombardiers have seven seniors on the roster with six having plenty of valuable minutes at the varsity level. It all starts with a pair of four-year varsity players and captains Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles. Both have played over 60 games for head coach Mark Houle and earned HockomockSports.com First Team honors a year ago. Ciccio (14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is like a coach on the floor and Charles (13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is a matchup nightmare and one of the most dominant post players in recent years.
But there is much more to the Bombardiers, such as senior captain Tim Callahan. Callahan had a strong junior season with 7.7 points per game and can change a game with his outside shooting. He will also be relied upon to anchor the defense. Guard Nick McMahon and forward Lorenzo Wilson provided a spark off the bench last season and will be key pieces this season. And senior Jason Weir is back in the mix after missing last year due to injury. Weir showed flashes during his sophomore season, a versatile player that can play in the post or step outside and knock down a three.
Attleboro has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and that will make them difficult to defend. They have a couple of good weapons that can score down low and then a handful of shooters, so the inside-out game will be a big part of the game plan. Charles gives the Bombardiers protection around the rim while all five players are the court will have to contribute on the boards to eliminate second-chance points.
“We will rely on a battle-tested group of seniors, but we will need our underclassman to continue to develop and be ready to step in and play important roles on the team,” said head coach Mark Houle. “We have a hard-working group of players who compete and challenge each other every day in practice.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-10 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
After winning back-to-back Davenport division titles, the Bulldogs know it will be a grind to try and get a third with a big target on their backs.
Gone is the program’s all-time leading scorer and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devin Foster, who was one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league over the past two seasons. That means there is going to be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up for the Bulldogs. Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said this year’s team will be a “much more space and paced” orientated team. Gordy is expecting a more spread out opportunistic approach that will feature contributions from anyone who checks in.
While Foster graduated, the Bulldogs do have a handful of talented and experienced players back on the roster. Senior Kyle Fitzgerald is the top returning scorer from a year ago, netting double figures in six contests. He is also a workhorse on defense and will be one of the leaders on the court. Robbie Gallery, Matt Giglio, and Eric Mischler were all starters at some point during the 2018-2019 season so Gordy will have some veterans to lean on during the year. Gallery, Giglio, and Mischler all showed the ability to come up with a big shot at any time and will help space the floor.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking at their versatility and depth to give them flexibility. Gordy believes he has a strong mix of players that will allow him to switch things up and adjust each and every game. Sophomore Lanse Dorcelus earned minutes for the final month of last season and could be a key piece this season.
“We feel like our program is healthy and players have made a commitment to growth,” Gordy said. “This season we are going to focus on the process and maximizing the strengths of our players. Our culture and direction has been a bright spot as we focus on the player person and team development each practice and game. We’re excited to see where we are and where we can get too.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Gibbs
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Foxboro boys basketball team this season. The good news is that the Warriors expect to once again be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The bad news is for the rest of the Hockomock League as Foxboro boasts an improved offense, and combined with their traditional tough defense, has the Warriors in position for a Davenport division title.
With four of their five top scorers back this season, including senior Brandon Borde (team-high 15.3 ppg) and junior Kevin Gallagher (12.9 ppg), the Warriors are looking to ride a balanced approach on offense to improve their scoring after finishing 10th in scoring in the Hockomock League last season (54.4 points per game). Borde is one of the most experienced players back in the league and has the ability to create his own looks as well as lead the team as the floor general. Gallagher had a breakout sophomore season and can really fill up the scoring column, especially from deep.
Borde and Gallagher will also get help from senior Will Morrison, who can catch fire from deep, and senior Ryan Hughes, who can give opponents trouble in the paint. All four players are returning starters from a season ago, so that gives Foxboro an advantage, especially defensively. Head coach Jon Gibbs called the defense the “foundation” of the team. Foxboro has consistently been very fundamentally sound and disciplined on the defensive end.
Seniors Dylan Barreira, Michael Devlin, Liam Devlin, and Donald Rogers all played important minutes last season and will provide a lot of depth for Foxboro.
“We have been making progress each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been very competitive so far as guys work hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we stay hungry, humble, and unselfish, it has the potential to be a very successful season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Central Quarterfinal Coach: CJ Neely
Ever since the Hockomock League split into two divisions, Franklin has entered each season as one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex and that looks to be the case yet again this year.
As it does each and every season, defense comes first for the Panthers. Franklin was the best defensive team in the Hockomock League last year, allowing just 48.9 points per game. Not only did the Panthers lead the league in that category, they were the lone team to keep opponents under 50 points on average. It’s the second straight year they’ve had the best defense in the division and third straight year they are in the top three. There are a lot of talented individual defenders on the team but year in and year out, Franklin’s team defense gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Panthers boast the top returning scorer in the league in three-year starter Chris Edgehill. Edgehill, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last season, is an absolute handful to deal with on the offensive end of the court. He can score in a variety of ways, and on top of that, he is very good at getting teammates involved (four assists per game last year). Seniors Jack Rudolph and Steve Karayan are also back after playing valuable minutes last season and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
“We have a lot of guys who worked really hard in the offseason to improve and are excited to get on the court,” said head coach CJ Neely. “It’s a great group of people who have a lot of fun together. We need to stay aggressive and share the ball. We hope that strong team defense will continue to be something that defines our program.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
With a solid group of players returning from last season, second-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping to guide his Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
The Warriors showed flashes throughout last year, including an upset win of Kelley-Rex champions Mansfield on the road. But they were also on the wrong end of a handful of close games, losing five games by five or fewer points. With a year of experience in DeStefano’s system, and for a lot of players their first year of varsity under their belts, King Philip is hoping to turn those close games into wins.
KP boasts two returning starters in Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney, both standing at 6’3. Fritz had a breakout junior campaign and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Hockomock League with 15.5 points per game. He was able to score in a variety of ways, including through contact at the rim, and will be a vital piece this year. McKinney was fifth on the team in scoring last year, scoring in double-figures in five contests, including a career-high 19 points at Stoughton. Senior Tommy Donahue looks to give the Warriors a strong presence in the post while classmates Owen Conlin and Chris Roy look to be in the mix. Seniors Robbie Jarest and Tom Weir are back in the mix after a year away from the program.
Defensively, King Philip will be relying on its size and physicality. While Donahue (6’5) will be the main rim protector, having long guards and forwards will help KP make life difficult for opponents. The Warriors will need to improve on the defensive end after surrendering a division-high 63.7 points per game last year. DeStefano is looking to get some contributions from junior juniors Donte Barros, Cole Breen, Joe Cullen, Evan Stephens, Will Kinney, and Jake Silveria while sophomores Charlie Grant and Braeden Sottile will likely be in the mix too.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commitment on the defensive end of the floor. 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.”
2018-2019 Record: 22-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Mike Vaughan
The Hockomock League continues to run through Mansfield.
The Hornets have won the Kelley-Rex division title in eight of its nine years, and it looks like Mansfield will be the team to beat again this year. Three players that burst onto the scene last year – Sam Stevens, TJ Guy, Matt Boen – are now three of the top players in the Hock heading into this season. Mansfield certainly graduated a lot of talent in Tommy Dooling, Damani Scott, and Khristian Conner, but with those three starters back plus seniors Drew Rooney and Makhi Baskin, as well as a handful of newcomers ready to make an impact, Mansfield is poised for another deep tournament run.
Stevens (11.2 ppg) will be one of the toughest players to stop with his ability to finish around the rim as well as deadly three-point shooting, Guy (10.9 ppg) is very good in the post on both ends of the floor, and Boen (9.5 ppg) can score in a variety of ways. All three are capable of filling up the stat sheet on any given night. Baskin provides a lot of energy and can change the game with his effort while Rooney showed last year that he can matchup with some of the top players in the league on the defensive end.
Juniors Brian and Jason See are both strong shooters that work tirelessly on both ends of the floor and should be in the mix for the Hornets this year. Juniors Jack Colby and Brendan Foley will be looking to bring a spark off the bench while sophomore Matt Hyland and freshman Chris Hill are promising young players that could contribute right away.
“I think our depth and ability to play different styles will be a strength of this team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I’m excited to see where this team can get to as they continue to work hard in practice and mix their individual talents to form our team identity. Transition play, scoring inside and out will be strength on offense. Playing solid man to man and uptempo defense with our depth could create some issues for our opponents.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paul Seaver
After a season of ups and downs, the Milford Scarlet Hawks are hoping last year’s growing pains transition into a playoff berth this season.
With a large group of returnees, the Hawks will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title. While head coach Paul Seaver returns the majority of his team, he will need some of the those players to step up on the offensive end the fill the void left by graduation. The Hawks graduated its top three scorers, including the second-highest scorer in the league in Brendan White (18.2 ppg). That means there will be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up and contribute.
Junior Jordan Darling (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior Colby Pires (6.1 ppg) are the top two point producers back this year while junior Dom Schofield also returns after starting as a sophomore. Darling started 19 games this year and was selected to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team after a strong season on both ends of the court. Pires is a leader both on and off the court and plays well in all aspects of the game, and Schofield gives Milford a strong post presence on the defensive end, recording a team-high 38 charges taken last season.
Ralph Franklin Jr., Matty Varteresian, Tyler Whetherbee, and Ben Blanchard all saw time throughout last season and could all be in line for bigger roles this season.
“Our depth will matter, our balance will matter, our chemistry is this group’s most important attribute,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We were the youngest team in the league last season and this group has a lot of players back who are attacking this year with a chip on their shoulder. This group defines what Milford basketball is and that’s a testament to who these kids are hard workers and higher character individuals. I could not be any more excited to coach and work with these kids on a daily basis.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
There are going to be a lot of new faces dawning the Big Red uniform this winter. After losing nine seniors to graduation, head coach Sean Mulkerrins has just three players back from last year’s nine-win squad.
With a large amount of new players comes a large amount of opportunities. The Rocketeers graduated its two top scorers but bring back senior Ethan Friberg (7.0 ppg) and junior George Ladd (7.4 ppg) to lead the charge offensively this year. Friberg, standing at 6’5, can cause problems in the paint but also van step out and play along the perimeter. Ladd had a breakout sophomore season and was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team. He is a little of a throwback player that is very fundamentally sound on the offensive end. Senior Josh Porter, the third returner, saw an expanded role at the end of last season and played well.
Defensively, the Rocketeers will be focusing on limiting opponents to one shot per possession. With some size in the frontcourt, North will try to make it difficult to finish at the rim, and with all five players committed to rebounding, try and minimize second-chance points.
“There will be a lot of new faces with opportunities to make an impact on this year’s team,” Mulkerrins said. “There will definitely be some growing pains and the sooner the new faces adjust to the rigors of varsity basketball, the better we will be.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
Last season, Oliver Ames came up just one game shy of the state tournament. Goal number one for the 2019-2020 season is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
With a strong mix of experienced players and hungry new additions, Oliver Ames is ready for the grind that is the Kelley-Rex division and the Hockomock League.
“The expectation is to always get [to the tournament], that’s our first goal,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “We’re pretty optimistic but we know it’s going to be a grind, you have to show up every night, you can’t take a night off.”
Byron has been impressed with his guard play so far this preseason, and that will likely mean featuring three guards in the lineup for the majority of the time. Senior Jay Spillane is a returning starter while classmate Owen Friel and junior Amari Brown were top options off the bench a season ago. Spillane can score in bunches, especially from the outside, while Friel combines a solid shooting game with a hard-nosed defensive approach. Friel’s ability to guard a variety of position makes him a valuable piece in the lineup while Brown is a crafty player that does a nice job getting teammates involved.
Senior center Evan Craig (6’5) will be joined by classmate Ryan Burkett (6’2) in the frontcourt. Both picked up valuable minutes at the varsity level last year and Byron is hoping that will help with their expanded roles this year. Senior guard Adam Cann and junior forwards Trey Buggs and Drew Nickla will provide depth for the Tigers.
“It takes some time to get accustomed to the varsity speed and what we expect at this level,” Byron said. “All of these kids gained experience with us last year, and that year of experience is invaluable.”
2018-2019 Record: 3-17 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
After a couple of down seasons, the Eagles will be making a strong push to get back into the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Sharon boasts a number of players who gained varsity experience that will be looking to help the program bounce back. The first being senior Aidan Kane, the team’s leading scorer last season with 11.5 points per game. When he’s on from keep, Kane is one of the top three-point shooters in the league. He has the ability to change a game very quickly if he gets hot from deep. Senior Andrew Burton emerged as one of the Eagles’ top players last year and could be poised to have a breakout year. Sophomore John Baez will start at the point after joining the varsity team for the final month and a half last season.
The Eagles will be relying heavily on its frontcourt to step up on both ends of the court. Senior Caleb Gayle is a traditional post player that will compete hard on both ends of the court, senior Cam Baker is fundamentally sound and a reliable option and junior Hank Ward picked up valuable minutes as a sophomore and will be an important part of the rebound game as well as defensively. Senior Aaron Karten will be in the mix as well, giving the Eagles an athletic frontcourt.
Junior Jordan Barboza should give the Eagles a spark off the bench this year and head coach Andrew Ferguson will look for him as an important defensive piece. Kiran Chandrasekaran had flashes of the strong play off the bench last year and should see an expanded role this year, while junior transfer Matt Baskin could provide a needed scoring punch.
“This group has worked tremendously hard in the offseason and the preseason and is looking to translate that into success throughout the regular season,” Ferguson said. “Many of the players have gained valuable experience at the varsity level over the past two years and our senior class are tremendous leaders who provide a great example for our younger players.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-11 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Preliminary Round Coach: John Gallivan
Stoughton ended its playoff drought last season and with a good amount of those players back again this year, the Davenport division title and a deep playoff run could be in the forecast this season.
The Black Knights have their leading scorer back in 6’5 senior forward Obinna Ugwuakazi, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game with nine double-doubles last year. His athleticism and ability to finish through contact made him a tough matchup for opponents, and he will be at the forefront of the Stoughton offense again this year. Fellow senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, who also stands at 6’5, is also back and we could see the duo play together at times which will certainly make life tough for opponents.
Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell is back for his third year on varsity. After improving each of the past two seasons, the 2019-2020 season could be a breakout year for Grigalunas-Powell, who can score from three-point range but is also a crafty finisher attacking the rim. Ahmad Jahed had flashes of strong play last year and will be back in the mix again this year, and the same goes for Tommy Sanda. Juniors Brett Pendenza and Jake Queeney are also back after earning some minutes last year.
“We feel like we can score this year both from downtown and from down low,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “And with our size in the paint, we hope to make it difficult for opponents to score consistently.”
2018-2019 Record: 15-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Charlie Dacey
After a strong regular season, the Taunton boys basketball team flipped a switch in the tournament and made a run to the D1 South Semis, nearly knocking off powerhouse Mansfield. With a taste of postseason success, the Tigers are hoping to replicate that success this year with another impressive playoff stretch.
The Tigers boast speed, skill, and depth this season and will be in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. While Taunton lost a lot of production from last year (Lou Vendrell, Mike Quinn, John Martins, Wesner Charles), there are a handful of players battling to earn their chance at minutes in the Tigers’ lineup. One constant in that lineup over the past couple of years is senior Dante Law, who enters his fourth year with the varsity group. Law was Taunton’s leading scorer a year ago with 14.1 points per game but none of the other returners were over five points a game, meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up.
Seniors Fabio Goncalves (6’6) and Aiden Pelot, as well as junior Tyler Stewart (6’6) make up the frontcourt for the Tigers. All three played at the varsity level last year and will be key pieces at helping the Tigers defend and win the battle on the boards. Law will be joined by junior Josh Lopes, who showed flashes during his sophomore season, DaeDae Kenion, and sophomore transfer Tristan Herry as key pieces of the offense.
The Tigers are also excited about the depth on the team this year. Junior Danny MacDougall earned starting minutes last year and is a reliable option in a variety of roles while Trent Santos, Logan Lawrence, and Jonathan Torres will all be in the mix for Taunton.
“With this team, press and run should be ‘Plan A’ although there are skills available to play at a slower pace,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Vinnie Holmes, Mansfield
Kyle Fitzgerald, Canton
Hockomock League All Stars
Qualeem Charles, Attleboro
Michael Strachan, Attleboro
Jason Weir, Attleboro
Austin Jordan, Franklin
Thomas Gasbarro, Franklin
Evan Wertz, Franklin
Jack Nally, Franklin
Jake Davis, Franklin
Sean Piller, King Philip
Ryan Halliday, King Philip
Robert Jarest, King Philip
Terence Guy, Mansfield
Vincent Holmes, Mansfield
Michael Debolt, Mansfield
Nicholas Marciano, Mansfield
Cincere Gill, Mansfield
Jason Comeau, Mansfield
Nathan Cabral, Oliver Ames
Daniel MacDougall, Taunton
Jack Connolly, Canton
Kyle Fitzgerald, Canton
John Hagan, Canton
James Murphy, Canton
Robert Gallery, Canton
Aidan Dow, Foxboro
Shayne Kerrigan, Foxboro
Anton George, Foxboro
Michael Sheehan, Foxboro
Luke Rosa, Milford
Colby Pires, Milford
John Kummer, North Attleboro
Ethan Mottinger, North Attleboro
Ethan Friberg, North Attleboro
John Saab, Sharon
Carlvin Laguerre, Stoughton
Anthony Pizzano, Stoughton
Chris Ais, Stoughton
Christin Ais, Stoughton
MILFORD, Mass. – Trailing by three points at halftime of a road game that it had to win in order to reach the state tournament, Foxboro came out of the break with the mission of taking control of the game at the line of scrimmage. Mission accomplished.
The Warriors dominated up front on both sides of the ball in the second half on Friday night, putting pressure on quarterback Colby Pires to disrupt the Milford offense and opening holes for senior quarterback Shayne Kerrigan to exploit on his way to 141 second half yards and a pair of scores. Foxboro turned the game on its head and won 21-10.
“As you get as old as I am, you get a little philosophical and I just said there’s not too many chances in life that you can control your own destiny and this is one of them,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli, who earned his 275th career win on Friday. “They took the cue and I couldn’t ask anything more of them.”
He added, “We played better in the second half. The kids came to play and I’m so proud of them. I’m pretty sure that puts us in. I don’t really care where, just as long as we’re in.”
Foxboro came out of the break and marched right down field. Kerrigan (22 carries, 169 yards) called his own number eight times, helping the Warriors get all the way down to the Milford 26, but on third down he tried to go to the end zone and was picked off by Grant Scudo. On second down, the Hawks gave the ball right back when Luke Rosa (14 carries, 65 yards) lost the ball when fighting for extra yards and it was scooped up by Rashaad Way.
With the ball back in their hands, the Warriors went back to the ground game. Kerrigan, Brian Derba, and Luis Sulham all got touches to get inside the 10-yard-line. Chris McNamara pushed the ball to the goal line and on the next play Kerrigan broke the plane on a QB sneak for a 14-10 lead with just 1:24 left in the third quarter.
“Up front I think they physically beat us in the second half,” said Milford coach Anthony Vizakis. “They wanted it and they physically pushed us around. Our kids fought, I thought they did well, but it just wasn’t good enough.”
After a Milford punt, Foxboro’s offense went back to work and got the ball to the Milford 18 after a 45-yard run by Kerrigan, but on third and eight his pass to the end zone was picked off by Carter Scudo.
The visitors’ defense was equally strong up front. Nick Cherry was dominating up the middle with Anton George controlling the edge. Cherry tipped a pass at the line that was nearly intercepted and Jon Moses got pressure on Pires (14-of-33, 106 yards) and batted a pass down.
Despite there being six minutes left, Vizakis decided to go for it on fourth and 10 from his own 29. The pass fell incomplete and Foxboro had the short field only for a bad snap and a 20-yard loss derail the chance to put the game away. Again, the Foxboro defense shut things down. George tipped a first down pass and, following an 18-yard completion to Maxwell Martin, Pires was forced into four straight incompletions, Mike Sheehan’s pressure forcing another turnover on downs.
“They put us in position,” Vizakis said of his defense. “They gave us two shots to win it, but we just didn’t execute, we didn’t capitalize on those opportunities, and we’ve just got a lot of correcting to do.”
This time the Warriors took advantage, as Kerrigan burst through a hole on the right side of the line and raced 44 yards to pay dirt to seal the win.
“He was better than advertised,” Martinelli said about Kerrigan. “He just has that knack, he’s not that big, he’s not overly fast, but he has great vision and a quiet confidence in his abilities and you can’t coach any of those things. We’re lucky to have him.”
Foxboro drew first blood on its second possession of the game. Kerrigan pump-faked towards a receiver screen, caught the Milford defense jumping forward, and then hit Elijah Lewis in stride for a 55-yard touchdown to grab a 7-0 lead.
Milford went three-and-out on its first possession but the Hawks, who had only scored one touchdown in two games coming into Friday night, put together an eight-play, 65-yard drive to answer immediately. Rosa got the ball on the first five plays and, with the help of a face mask call, got the Hawks to the Foxboro 13. After a penalty and then a 17-yard completion to Danny Farrelll to round out the first quarter, Rosa punched it in from two yards out on the opening play of the second.
“It was two teams that were 3-3, each beat the same two teams, and each lost to the same two teams [in the league], so I knew it was going to be a game like that, back-and-forth,” Martinelli said.
The Hawks have had trouble finishing drives in recent weeks and that was no different on Friday. Pires finally got some rhythm in the passing game on the next possession, connecting with Scudo, Farrell, and Matt Varteresian to get down to the Foxboro 11, but a delay of game forced third and long and CJ Cerrella’s 30-yard kick slipped wide of the left upright.
Cerrella put an end to Foxboro’s next drive with a sack of Kerrigan and Milford once again got into the red zone, but a drop and then pressure by Sheehan forced another field goal attempt. This time, Cerrella was on target from 37 yards on the final play of the half to send the Hawks into the locker room up 10-7.
Milford (3-4) had already sealed its spot in the tournament and could still end up with a home game in Div. 3 South, but they will have to find renewed momentum after suffering a third straight defeat.
Vizakis explained, “It’s almost like a brand-new season. I just asked them, which Milford team is going to show up for this new season. We’re in the playoffs, we’re most likely going to be on the road, and the goal we set at the beginning of the year is still there, but we need to execute and tackle and make plays.”
Foxboro (4-3) got the win it needed to seal a playoff spot and now awaits its seed to see who it will face in Div. 5.
MILFORD, Mass. – A matchup featuring two of the most prolific offenses in the Hockomock League turned into a defensive struggle.
Both Stoughton and Milford entered Saturday’s Davenport division dual averaging over 25 points per game and known for their big play ability. The Hawks have tormented teams through the air while the Black Knights have a plethora of backs capable of breaking a big run on any play.
With that in mind, it became a defensive chess match between the two sides.
The Black Knights loaded the secondary and didn’t allow Milford quarterback Colby Pires (29/42, 207 yards) to complete a pass for more than 30 yards. On the flip side, the Hawks limited Stoughton’s longest run of the day to just 21 yards.
In the end, Stoughton’s bend-don’t-break defense proved enough and the Black Knights got a big boost from its passing game to prevail 14-10 on the road.
“We just didn’t want them to hit any home runs,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “You have to try and get pressure, and we got some. I’m mostly a zone [defense] guy, and I’m not saying that’s the only way to play defense. But I know at this level, as long as no one beats you over the top you can live for another play. I’m not saying it’s the best, and then you have to tackle. Their quarterback is tough, [Luke Rosa] is tough, they hurt us but we adjusted to it better in the second half.”
The biggest play of the game came in the form of a third down conversion that helped the Black Knights kill the rest of the clock to hold onto the win.
Savion Scott had a 61-yard touchdown erased on a holding call — the second straight flag on the Black Knights — and Stoughton was forced into a 1st and 35 from its own 28-yard line with 4:39 left in the game.
Junior quarterback John Burke (5/11, 109 yards passing; seven carries, 33 yards) scampered for 11 yards, and junior Christian Ais (eight carries, 33 yards) picked up three yards on second down putting Stoughton in 3rd and 21 from its own 42-yard line.
Burke lofted a pass down the right sideline that got caught up in the wind. Milford’s safety floated over to try and make a play on the ball but Stoughton junior Jake Queeney cut in, jumped up to grab the ball before the defender, took a hit that spun him to the ground, and held on for a 31 yard gain and a first down with 3:38 to go.
Queeney also hauled in a second quarter touchdown over terrific defense to put the Black Knights on the board.
“He’s a great player, he made two big catches for us today,” Burke said. “We had two penalties in a row but it was a huge catch for us. It was a quality opponent to get a win over. I think we’re in good shape, we just want to get a home game wherever that will be.”
Two plays later, Burke scrambled for a first down that forced Milford to take its last timeout with 1:43 left and the Black Knights were able to run the clock out with its final three plays.
“They are tough, they are physical, and this was a game with where the team with the least amount of mistakes, the team that makes one more play comes out on top,” said Milford coach Anthony Vizakis said. “That’s a great team, we tip our hats to them and hopefully we’ll see them in the playoffs.”
Milford’s opening drive was a sign of things to come throughout the game. The Hawks ran 14 plays but covered just 45 yards. The longest play of the drive came when Pires hit Rosa (eight catches, 87 yards) for 15 yards out of the backfield, and the Hawks even converted a fourth down on the drive.
But when they got close to the red zone, Stoughton’s defense clamped down. A two-yard pass from Pires to Matt Varteresian preceded back-to-back runs from Rosa for six yards. On fourth and two, Pires hit Carter Scudo (eight catches, 34 yards) but Christian Ais made a tackle for a two-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
Stoughton’s offense didn’t fare any better as they lost 10 yards in a quick three-and-out.
Milford orchestrated another lengthy drive, moving 44 yards on nine plays. But the drive stalled again as it approached the red zone. This time the Hawks settled for a 37-yard field goal from CJ Cerrella to take a 3-0 lead with 11:10 left in the second quarter.
The Black Knights finally got their offense going on their third drive of the game. Stoughton marched 80 yards on six plays to find the end zone. Christopher Ais (15 carries, 72 yards) had the longest run of the day for Stoughton with a 21-yard run on first down. Four plays later, Burke kept it himself to convert a fourth and one with a 16-yard rush.
On the next play, Burke delivered a pass down the middle that Queeney was able to haul in with a defender in his face. After catching the pass, Queeney fought his way for extra yards and stretched the ball into the end zone. Anthony Girolamo’s extra point put Stoughton up 7-3 with 3:10 left in the second quarter.
Milford opened the second half with its most complete drive of the game, covering 55 yards in seven plays to find the end zone for the first time. The Hawks opened with a halfback pass as Scudo hit Rosa for 32 yards, which was the longest play of the day for the hosts.
Pires hit Xavier Hilton three plays later to convert a third down and get inside the 10-yard line. On third and goal from the two, Pires connected with Rosa in the flat and he went in for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead with 7:40 left in the third quarter.
Stoughton wasted little time responding, using nine plays to go 51 yards to get the lead back. Christopher Ais started the drive with a 14-yard run and converted a third down with a two-yard plunge up the middle three plays later.
Senior quarterback Clayton Rahaman took over under center for the drive and connected with Christian Ais for a nine-yard gain to convert another third down and move inside the red zone. Christian Ais picked up seven on the ground on the next play and Christopher Ais followed his blocking to the left following that, just reaching the ball across the goal line for a five-yard touchdown.
After Girolamo’s extra point, the Black Knights held a 14-10 lead with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
Milford’s first drive of the fourth quarter ended with a turnover on downs after an incompletion on fourth and one from the Stoughton 21-yard line. The Hawks’ second drive of the final quarter yielded just five yards and ended in a three and out.
“Their defense is solid, they are very well-coached and have a ton of athletes over there,” Vizakis said. “They didn’t want to get beat deep, so we knew we’d have to sustain drives with shorter yardage gains and more plays. After long drives like that, you have to put it in for points. We just didn’t capitalize enough today.
“We just couldn’t execute when we got down towards the red zone. That’s a big difference in the game, you have to be able to get points out of those drives.”
Stoughton football (3-1 Hockomock, 5-1 overall) closes its Hockomock schedule on Friday when it hosts North Attleboro at Canton High School. Milford (2-2, 3-3) will try to secure its spot in the tournament and push for a home game when it hosts Foxboro on the same night.