Franklin Falls To Cambridge In State Championship

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin’s Chris Edgehill attempts to dribble past Cambridge’s Kareem Octavien in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There’s a reason that Cambridge Rindge & Latin came into Saturday’s Division 1 State Final riding a 44 game winning streak.

The Falcons’ talent was on full display, and they got the most out of their size advantage to pick up their 45th straight win and second consecutive state championship with a 70-43 win over Franklin.

While the Panthers kept close for the first quarter, Cambridge built a double-digit lead going into the halftime break and never looked back.

“It wasn’t our best game, but [Cambridge] does a lot to make that happen,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “This wasn’t like the teams we had played during the year, when you drive to the lane, you get some space, all of a sudden there’s a 6’9 guy there cleaning everything up. It’s hard, he’s a good player and a difference maker for those guys in the interior.

“I thought we got to spots we usually get to in games and we tried to find his man when he came to block shots, but we couldn’t do that. And he’s tough on the boards and it’s not just him either, there’s a bunch of them out there. It’s a tough matchup.”

The 6’9 player that Neely referenced is Cambridge senior Dimon Carrigan, who proved to be the biggest difference maker. Beyond his game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds, Carrigan notched an impressive nine blocks and altering plenty of other shots, making it difficult for the Panthers to get anything inside.

“We had seen Franklin,” said Cambridge head coach Lance Dottin. “For us, we’re just going to compete every single possession – I said to them ‘when you get can to that level, you’re going to become a champion.’ I think you saw that, especially in the second half, we competed for every single possession and we were fortunate to come out on top.”

Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill scored seven of his team-high 12 points in the opening frame to help the Panthers keep pace with the Falcons. Edgehill’s step back three gave Franklin a 5-4 lead three minutes in and a three point play from sophomore Jalen Samuels (eight points, eight rebounds, three blocks) put the Panthers up 8-6.

But Cambridge’s Malik Brandao-Correia drained a three with a minute to play and Carrigan scored inside for a 17-12 lead after one.

Although Franklin kept it close in the first, its offense stalled in the second quarter, managing just six points on 2/11 shooting from the field.

Cambridge rattled off a 10-3 run over the first six and a half minutes of the second quarter. Samuels hit one free throw with 5:44 to play in the first half, but didn’t score again until Matt Elias drained a three with 1:15 to go. In that stretch the Panthers had an uncharacteristic seven turnovers.

“We’ve some teams like that but not to that caliber,” said junior captain Paul Mahon “They’re a great team, they play well together. They have a lot of height, a lot of talent. I think we’re capable of beating that team but not tonight. They’re a very talented team.”

Also in that time span, Franklin big man Connor Peterson — the Panthers’ counterpart for Carrigan — came back in after picking up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game. But his second stint was cut short because of his third foul.

“It kills you, to be honest,” Neely said of how the fouls change the game plan. “Those two quick ones — he’s our big guy, he’s going to go out there and battle. He’s usually allowed to be pretty physical, we kind of expected it not to be a high whistle game since it was the state final. We knew it’d be physical. They were both legit fouls but losing him, we had to put him back in because it’s the state final and he picked one up right away. It changes his game, he played a lot more hesitant.”

Cambridge extended its lead to 20 points just three minutes into the third quarter but the Panthers were able to claw back into the game.

Edgehill hit back to back buckets, the latter turning into a conventional three point play. Samuels then added two free throws to cut it to 13. Cambridge committed an offensive foul, Franklin broke the press and had a transition three attempt to cut it to 10, but the shot was short.

Cambridge then finished the third quarter with a 6-0 run to go up 49-30. The Falcons started the fourth with four straight points to go up 53-30. Franklin was unable to shrink the deficit the rest of the way.

“The kids have nothing to hang their heads about, they’ve gone further than any other team has in Franklin school history,” Neely said. “I told them ‘you’re going to put a banner up in the gym for being a sectional champion and you got to play in a state final. You’re probably the best Franklin team that;’s ever played. So there’s a lot to be proud of. We couldn’t get it done tonight but I think the true state champion won tonight, I think the best team in the state won. We were up for the challenge but I don’t think we were ready to play at this level.

Peterson finished with six points, Mahon added five points and senior Josh Macchi hauled in five boards.

While the Panthers will have to find a replacement for Macchi and sharpshooter Connor Goldstein, two of four graduating seniors along with James Hanlon and Michael Doherty, the future does look bright with four starters set to return for the 2017-2018 season.

“Great group of guys coming back,” Neely said. “We’ll certainly miss our seniors, they brought a lot to the table. One thing that made this team unique, and hopefully we can recreate it, is the unselfishness, the team first mentality…that’s something we try to pride ourselves on. This is the first team that really 100% bought in. There wasn’t a jealous moment, there was never an ‘I want mine’ moment, it was always about Franklin. It’s the best I’ve ever seen team chemistry come together in a season, that’s why I think we were able to make a run.”

“It’s been a crazy run,” Mahon said. “We always focus on the day to day stuff and we didn’t think we could get to this point. But we did, and it was really fun to be apart of this team. We’ll be back here.”

Franklin boys basketball finishes the season 22-5.

Franklin Claims First Sectional Title In Overtime

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin poses with its D1 Central Sectional title following an overtime win over St. John’s Shrewsbury. (Peter Raider/HockomockSports,com Student Photographer)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WORCESTER, Mass. – For the past three seasons, the Franklin Panthers have had their season come to an end at the hands of St. John’s Shrewsbury.

Not this year.

The Panthers clawed back from an early deficit, took their first lead in the fourth quarter and came up with a big defensive stop in overtime to get the 67-64 win to claim the program’s first ever D1 Central Sectional title.

“It feels great,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “A lot of people were saying we can’t beat St. John’s, we hear it everywhere. I down play it as much as possible, we didn’t want to focus on one team too much. We waited until we had them on the schedule then we focused on them. I think every year it’s been a pretty good battle, I don’t think we were ever dominated but it’s nice to be on the right side of things for once.”

Franklin will play Springfield Central (West sectional champion) on Tuesday, March 14th at the DCU Center at 7:30.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said senior Josh Macchi, who was apart of the team’s last two losses to the Pioneers. “Coming off those two losses, they stung a lot. We felt like in both games we didn’t play our best and we thought they were both games we could have won. Tonight, to have to come in and grind it out and get it done, even having to go into overtime and play to the last second. It was unbelievable.”

After missing on a chance at the end of regulation, the Panthers headed to overtime with the Pioneers tied at 60-60.

SJS took the early 62-60 lead before Macchi (18 points, 11 rebounds) hauled in an offensive rebound and converted the put back halfway through the overtime period.

Franklin grabbed a defensive rebound after a missed three from the Pioneers, setting up Panther freshman Chris Edgehill (16 points) for a big moment. The rookie took a pass from Macchi, pulled up and drained a three late in the shot clock, giving Franklin 65-62 edge with just over a minute to play.

Sophomore Jalen Samuels (15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) came away with a steal but Edgehill’s transition three came up empty with 40 seconds to play.

SJS answered with a pair of free throws to get within one and then fouled the Panthers. However, Franklin missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Pioneers possession, down 65-64, with 13.8 left.

“I told them this game is about stops and defensive rebounding,” Neely said of the timeout before the next play. “I told them I was wicked excited that we’re in a one point game and all we needed to do was get a stop and a rebound and this game was ours. We talked about it all week, we talked about that being the game plan so let’s see if we can do it. The kids got it done.”

Samuels came up with a big block at the rim when St. John’s drove to the basket to try to take the lead. On the ensuing play, with 5.9 seconds to play, the inbounds pass went over the head of its intended target, with Edgehill tracking down the loose ball. He was fouled with 1.4 to play.

The freshman then hit both free throws and SJS’s last second chance – a heave to just over half court and a turnaround three – came up short, giving the Panthers the win.

“The moment just came to me,” Edgehill said. “On the three, teammates found me the ball. I think I got lucky on the turnover. I was in the right spot, someone just tipped it and read it and went and grabbed it. Those are the moments I like to be in. I like to be at the free throw line, up one, with just over a second to play.”

While the finish was want Franklin wanted, the start of the game was far from ideal for the Panthers.

St. John’s Shrewsbury raced out to a 9-0 lead just over two and a half minutes into the contest. Franklin was able to cut the deficit to five — 16-11 — by the end of the first quarter.

“We knew it was obviously a letdown to go down 9-0 but we just stuck with it,” Macchi said. “We knew that both teams would have their runs, that was theirs. We just had to play together, get tougher on the defensive end and we just came out and grinded. This team’s unity is unlike any other teams and that’s not a jab at the past teams, it’s just this year is on another level.”

The Pioneers quickly stretched the lead back to nine early in the second quarter (20-11) but a 10-3 run from Franklin brought Franklin right back into the contest (23-21) midway through the second quarter.

However, SJS rattled off a 7-0 run to get back up 30-21. Franklin hit back with a 6-0 run to make it a one possession game but an errant pass was picked off and SJS converted a layup at the halftime buzzer to take a 32-27 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

 
“Our team motto focuses a lot on hard work,” Neely said. “I think the resiliency of the guys showed, going down 9-0 early. But the kids don’t go away. They care about each other deeply, beyond the basketball court. It’s more than just coming in and playing basketball for a couple of hours, they’re friends with each other, they care about each other. When they went down, they talked to each other and they figured it out. We knew it’d be loud and I wouldn’t be able to call plays every time so the five guys on the court had to figure it out. They stayed true to each other and I’m proud of them.”

The Panthers trailed by either three or five points for the majority of the third quarter. Finally, with two minutes to play a drive from Samuels tied the game at 40. Hunter Gorgas put SJS back ahead but Connor Peterson (eight points) responded with a basket of his own. Robert Duquette drained a three to put the Pioneers back ahead but Franklin senior James Hanlon came off the bench to score off a nice post move, cutting the deficit to one (45-44) heading into the fourth.

Gorgas hit two free throws but Edgehill responded with a triple to tie the game early in the final period. The Panthers’ first lead came with 6:35 to play in regulation on a three point play from Macchi, who went up and under and converted while being fouled. He hit the free throw to make it 50-47.

SJS’s Alex Bradley cut it to one but Peterson got one right back. After a miss from Franklin, Steven Bucciaglia drained a three to tie the game with four minutes to play.

Two free throws from Edgehill preceded a missed three from SJS and then two points from Peterson to make it 56-52.

Tyler Mola (22 points) responded with traditional three point play for the Pioneers, who got the ball back after taking a charge. Mola then drained a three with just over two minutes to play to put SJS back up 58-56.

Franklin missed on the other end but Macchi was there for the offensive rebound and hit the put back to tie the game at 58.

Mola once again came up big for the Pioneers, hitting a tough layup to make it 60-58. Franklin had a turnover but forced a double dribble by the Pioneers to get the ball back.

Samuels used a strong take to the left to tie the game with just under a minute to play.

“If you didn’t see it in the book before the game, you probably wouldn’t think Chris is a freshman and Jalen is a sophomore,” Macchi said. “They’re playing at an upperclassman level right now and they’re helping us a lot right now. We trust them with the ball at any time and that’s how this team is, we have a lot of trust in each other.”

The duo of Edgehill and Samuels combined for 28 points in Franklin’s playoff opening win over Acton-Boxboro, 20 points against St. Peter Marian and then 31 points in the section final against the Pioneers.

“Those two guys have been huge all playoffs,” Neely said. “All three games that we’ve played, it’s really been those two guys taking the lead. Both games before this they hit the big shots. You can see Chris isn’t afraid of the big shot, which is what we talked about in the locker room. We told them if they wanted to win the game, they had to take it…no one is going to give it to you. You can’t wait for missed shots, you have to go find it.”

Edgehill, who started the season on the bench, was quick to credit a teammate for how far he’s come this season.

“The team definitely helped me through the season, going from the bench to the lineup,” Edgehill said. “I want to thank Jack Rodgers, he works me every day in practice and makes me a better player. Props all to him, he makes me better every single day and that’s what teammates do.”

Franklin boys basketball (21-4 overall, 21-2 tournament record) will tip off against Springfield Central on Tuesday at 7:30 at the DCU Center.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin Advances To Central Final With Win Over SPM

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin sophomore Jalen Samuels drives to the basket in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WORCESTER, Mass. – There are a lot of teams in the state that preach the mantra of “next man up.” And then there are the teams that actually follow through.

The Franklin Panthers are one of them.

With junior captain Paul Mahon sidelined with an injury, senior Connor Goldstein stepped into the starting lineup and delivered, dropping a career-high 23 points to pace the Panthers to a 54-44 win over #6 St. Peter Marian in the D1 Central Semifinals.

Top-seeded Franklin will take on #2 St. John’s Shrewsbury on Friday, at Worcester State at 5:45.

“It’s just the next man up for us,” Goldstein said. “Everyone on the team can do it, I was just the one chosen so I had to do my part. First quarter I happened to have the hot hand so I was thankful I could help out.”

Goldstein was Franklin’s offense in the first quarter, scoring all 14 of the team’s points as the Panthers held a 14-13 lead after eight minutes.

The senior drained his first shot of the game – a three – to put Franklin up 3-2 and then drove to the basket to make it 5-4 in favor of the Panthers. After SPM went up with a three, Goldstein hit back-to-back triples to give the Panthers an 11-7 lead. Goldstein hit his fourth three pointer with 20 seconds to left to help the Panthers lead by one.

Goldstein then added seven more points in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers ice the game.

“Goldstein’s started some games for us this season so we know he’s capable,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “I’ve said it before, all of these guys are pretty good players, we trust all of these guys but losing your captain, a guy who’s one of our top scorers and one of our top performers, that hurts the team. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. But I’m proud of the way everyone kind of rallied around it. Goldstein started it but then guys like [Matt] Elias came in and played well, Jalen [Samuels] had another nice game, Chris [Edgehill] picked his game up. And that’s kind of how it’s been for us, being one team instead of one guy.”

The Panthers had their worst quarter in terms of scoring and defense in the second frame, allowing SPM to score 14 points while the Panthers put up just nine.

A 6-0 run to start the quarter from the Guardians gave SPM a five point lead early in the second quarter before Franklin got on the board. A free throw from Jalen Samuels (five points, 11 rebounds) got the Panthers within one, Connor Peterson (eight points) scored in low and Goldstein converted an offensive rebound to put the Panthers back ahead 23-20.

But the Guardians had their best spurt of the game over the final 90 seconds of the half. Quion Sneed Jr. and Juan Zorilla (10 points) each hit three free throws before Jeffrey Sullivan drained a three to give SPM a 27-23 lead at halftime.

SPM took its largest lead early in the third quarter (29-23) but the Panthers turned it on – on both ends of the court – to turn things around.

Peterson’s bucket inside started a 12-0 game-changing run for the Panthers. After a missed three, Josh Macchi grabbed the offensive rebound and earned two free throws to get the Panthers within two and Samuels drove to the basket to tie the game with just under five minutes to play.

Franklin got a stop on its next possession. Freshman Chris Edgehill (15 points, four assists) delivered the big shot, stepping back and hitting a three to make it 32-29, forcing a timeout from the Guardians.

The run continued for Franklin out of the timeout as Samuels forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds and found Edgehill for another triple, capping the run and putting Franklin up 35-29.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t really come out,” Neely said. “Goldstein was ready to play but outside of him, we were a little soft. We weren’t taking it to the rim aggressively. I felt like rebounding wise they were getting the better of us, they were getting on the offensive glass, we weren’t putting bodies on people. We challenged them at halftime. We told them that [SPM] wanted it more in the first half. I thought we did a really nice job rebounding in the second half, we kept them out of the paint more and limited the inside touches. We challenged [SPM] to shoot a bit more and they weren’t able to convert as much as that helps. As a whole, I was proud of the way they battled through the adversity.”

Franklin led 39-35 through three quarters.

Goldstein got going again in the fourth quarter, draining a three to spark the offense early. The teams traded free throws for the next three minutes. SPM pulled within seven on an offensive put back from Shamar Simms but any momentum that the Guardians had was short lived as De Marr Langford was hit with a technical foul for a shove after the shot.

Edgehill hit both technical free throws to put Franklin up 48-39 with 2:57 to play.

“It’s nice to have a team where you can go into a game and the other team can’t say ‘If we can shut this one guy down we’ll be alright.’ If you do that, you’re at a disadvantage,” Neely said. “We move the ball well enough, we get good looks for different guys and they’re capable of knocking them down.”

SPM got within six with under two minutes to play but the Panthers quickly broke the press and got an easy layup from Goldstein. SPM didn’t cut the deficit to under eight the rest of the way.

“I just thought offensively [in the second half] we did a better job of curling screens,” Neely said. “They were switching a little bit so we curled a bit more. We got some looks off that. With the denials and the way they were defending us, it opened a lot of driving lanes we weren’t taking advantage of in the first half. We were able to get downhill in the second half and then get some looks.”

Franklin boys basketball will take on St. John’s Shrewsbury for the fourth straight year. The Panthers lost in the sectional final in 2014 and 2016 and in the semifinal in 2015.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/21/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Canton, 52 @ Archbishop Williams, 33 – FinalCanton senior Brian Albert notched his first career double-double as the Bulldogs finished the season with their ninth win. Albert had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Tony Harris led the team with 17 points while hauling in seven rebounds and Devin Foster chipped in with 12 points and seven assists.

Stoughton, 56 @ Foxboro, 68 – FinalFoxboro senior Mark Clagg poured in a game-high 23 points while junior Joe Morrison added 16 points to claim the Warrior Classic championship. Morrison was named tournament MVP and Clagg was named to the all-tournament team. Jamaine Few added 10 points for Foxboro. Stoughton’s Cam Gomes had a team-high 14 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

Franklin, 70 vs. Dorchester, 53 – FinalJosh Macchi was named the Franklin Winter Classic tournament MVP, leading the Panthers with 15 points. Connor Peterson and Connor Goldstein each added 12 points for the Panthers. Sophomore Jalen Samuels was named to the all-tournament team.

Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 48 vs. Lincoln-Sudbury, 46 – Final (OT)

Franklin, 31 vs. Shepherd Hill, 45 – Final

King Philip, 60 @ Framingham, 53 – FinalKing Philip sophomore Shannon O’Connor led the way for the Warriors with 23 points, including a 10/12 effort from the free throw line. Freshman Chloe Layne stepped up to add 14 points while Christina Hathaway and Julia Leroux both had strong defensive efforts for KP.

Oliver Ames, 41 vs. Brockton, 62 – Final

Hockey
Canton, 3 vs. Medfield, 1 – Final
Oliver Ames, 8 vs. Sandwich, 0 – Final

Girls Hockey
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 1 @ Medway/Ashland, 3 – Final

Franklin Starts, Finishes Strong On The Road At KP

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill attacks the basket against King Philip. (Peter Raider/HockomockSports.com Student Photographer)

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Franklin got off to a strong start on Friday night and that momentum carried the Panthers to a 72-59 road win over King Philip.

The Warriors kept things close in the opening quarter, with Tom Madden cutting the deficit to four (11-7) but Franklin responded with a run to stretch its lead. The Panthers rattled off a 9-0 run that included a Connor Goldstein three pointer and for points from Paul Mahon, who had five of his 13 points in the first quarter. The run gave Franklin a 20-7 lead after eight minutes.

With Franklin big man Connor Peterson (18 points, five rebounds) on the bench to start the second quarter due to foul trouble, KP quickly put four points on the board, but Franklin quickly answered back with four of their own. A huge quarter from Josh Macchi, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the second period, had Franklin up 36-25 heading into the second half. The key in the first half for Franklin was the production from the bigs in Macchi and Peterson (seven first quarter points).

“They switched on a lot of screens…they switched on everything just like they did last time, [a 64-49 Franklin win] and we came in knowing that if they were going to continue to switch the little guys and the big guys, that we just had to continue to pound away at it and get in there,” Franklin coach CJ Neely said after the game on the performances from his bigs.

In the third quarter, both teams came alive from beyond the arc and seemed to trade threes on every possession. After a layup to open the frame, the teams combined for four straight threes, including two in a row from Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill, who added two more threes for 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter.

“Chris has really progressed throughout the year, he’s a freshman obviously, he’s been playing point guard a pretty high level, leading the team, he’s advanced and him hitting those shots and spacing the floor after they started collapsing on the big guys, he got some open stuff and was knocking it down,” Neely said.

King Philip junior Justin Vine (four rebounds) emerged as a problem for the Panthers in the third quarter. Vine scored all eight of his points in that frame, including two threes, to keep the Warriors within striking distance.

Franklin took a 55-42 lead into the fourth, but a 6-0 KP run — started by a three from Kyle Layman (13 points, six rebounds) — cut the Franklin lead to just seven at 55-48.

After Franklin looked to pull away again following two free throws from Edgehill and a layup from Peterson, but KP’s Seth Sullivan (12 points) hit one of his four threes on the night to bring the lead back down to eight.

After Peterson responded with another layup of his own, Pharoah Davis (12 points, three rebounds) finished on a fast break down the other end, but Franklin was clutch at the free throw line down the stretch, going 7-8 from the line in the fourth quarter to seal the 72-59 win.

Next week, both teams will participate in tournaments over February break. Franklin (16-4, 14-2) begins play Monday at noon at Franklin High School against Cardinal Spellman. King Philip (6-13, 5-11) will head to Somerset Berkley on Monday at 6:30 PM to take on the Raiders.

Hornets Sting Franklin, Take Control of Kelley-Rex

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Max Boen pulls up for a shot in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Another chapter in the storied rivalry between Mansfield and Franklin is complete.

And it looks a lot like last year.

For the second straight season, Mansfield won the second game of the series on the road in Franklin after the Panthers won the first contest. This time, the Hornets prevailed 60-43.

Last year’s two contests mirrored each other because of big comebacks from the visiting team.

This year’s two contests mirrored each other because of double digit victories.

Mansfield raced out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter, with senior Sam Goldberg (12 points, eight rebounds, four assists) putting an exclamation mark on the frame with an off balance three at the buzzer.

In comparison, it was the Hornets who were held in check to just five points in the first matchup. It took until the 3:49 of the third quarter of the first game for Mansfield to reach 17 points the first time around.

“We got a much better start than the first game,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “It’s probably very similar to the first game. After the first game, CJ [Neely] said that at some point they got a little lucky that we missed shots. And to be honest, I have to say the same thing. We got a little lucky they missed some early shots and we were able to capitalize on and create a little separation. I thought our defense was really solid.

“The score doesn’t really represent the level of play and the level that Franklin’s at…that’s a dynamite program that’s going to do great in the state tournament. We’re fortunate we’re playing better, we’re more consistent. Our defensive energy has been fantastic. Now its just a matter of taking care of KP on Tuesday.”

As Mansfield was able to keep the Panthers from scoring the post — largely due to double teams and strong help defense on Franklin center Connor Peterson — the Panthers found life in outside shooting from the hand of Connor Goldstein (21 points).

The Panthers had their best offensive quarter in the second with Goldstein recording 12 of the team’s 18 points to cut the deficit to single digits, 31-24, at halftime.

“[Our post defense] was great,” Vaughan said. “I thought Evan [Christo] did a good job of coming in and that changed our matchups. It kind of eliminates Sam from early foul trouble and moves him off the ball to be a help defender. We were able to do some things with two forwards. Peterson’s a great player, one of the best in the league. For us to be able to neutralize him, we had to throw two bodies at him.”

It looked like that momentum of Franklin’s strong second quarter was going to carry into the third quarter when the Panthers got a steal and easy bucket to start the quarter and a three point play from Jalen Samuels (eight points, five rebounds) cut the lead to 33-29.

But in true Mansfield fashion, as they did time and time again throughout the game, the Hornets answered.

It was an 8-0 run that spanned nearly the rest of the quarter. First, Max Boen (14 points, six rebounds, three assists), scored off a feed from Phil Vigeant (12 points, three assists). Then it was Evan Christo from Boen, followed by two from Boen from Goldberg. Goldberg converted at the rim himself and Tyler Boulter added two free throws to make it 43-29. Goldstein added a three before the buzzer to cut into the lead for Franklin, ending a scoreless drought of over five minutes.

“We talked at halftime about getting one third quarter run,” Vaughan said. “We knew they’d make adjustments and come out and make a push at it, and they did. That’s just a sign of a good team. They cut into it. We had to weather the storm and go on our run ourselves.”

It looked like Franklin had some momentum to build off of when Goldstein drained another corner three.

But on Mansfield’s ensuing possession, Vigeant answered with a trifecta of his own to swing the momentum right back in the visitors’ favor.

“I think it’s a credit to Mansfield, they did a great job. They came in well prepared obviously, they always do,” Neely said. “It’s two good teams that are going to battle like they always do. It’s 3-3 over the past couple of years. We know it’s going to be a battle. Sometimes shots are going for one side and not for the other. And big runs happen and all of a sudden…you know. When things get tough, you have to get back to the basics of what makes your team great instead of panicking and forcing things. I thought we forced things too much tonight.”

Vigeant’s three was the start of what turned out to be a 12-0 game-sealing run from the Hornets. Goldberg added three free throws, Vigeant scored two straight field goals and Boen scored on a feed from Christian Weber (12 points) to put Mansfield up 58-37 with 2:25 to go.

“It’s huge because you can’t have guys take plays off, you can’t have guys lay an egg,” Vaughan said of the balanced scored. “I thought Max played well early, I thought Weber had some huge plays, I thought Goldberg stepped in and made some plays when he had to. Those are the things you have to do to beat good teams. You have to maximize as many possessions as you can.”

Similar to how Franklin was about to limit Mansfield’s offense to just 25% shooting from the floor in the first game, the Hornets held Franklin to just 30% from the floor and the Panthers attempted just seven free throws.

“These games never disappoint,” Vaughan said. “They’ve been great for a long time. The level of play and energy and passion from the kids is second to none. You can’t beat it. There’s no lack of coaching, there’s no lack of passion and effort from either team. We were fortunate to get this one, they got the first one.”

Mansfield boys basketball (16-2 overall, 13-1 league) takes over sole possession of first place in the Kelley-Rex division with the win. The Hornets can clinch a share of their fifth straight division title with a win on Tuesday at King Philip. Franklin (14-4, 12-2) will attempt to bounce back on Tuesday at Attleboro.

Macchi, Panthers Land Big Win Over Visiting Taunton

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin’s Connor Peterson goes for a layup in the first half against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Before Franklin hosts Mansfield this coming Friday in a game that will likely decide the Kelley-Rex title, the Panthers had a big test against a visiting Taunton squad on Monday night.

The Panthers passed with flying colors.

Franklin took a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter and blew the game wide open with dominant second quarter, eventually walking away with a 78-36 win over Taunton.

While Franklin got nearly everything it wanted inside in the first quarter (7/9 from 2PT) and put up 16 points, Taunton freshman Dante Law had 10 points to help the Tigers keep pace.

Leading 16-14 to start the second quarter, Franklin senior Josh Macchi completely took over on the offensive end. The Panthers defense forced nine turnovers alone in the second quarter and Macchi dominated the boards to help Franklin build a big lead.

“We’re always emphasizing defense but we felt like the past few games, leading up to this we got a little sloppy,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely.”We’ve been really focusing on it in practice and really focused on protecting the paint. In terms of rebounding, we have a lot of long bodies, a lot of athletic guys that can get int he paint and make things happen and we have to start doing it. We hadn’t been creating second opportunities until tonight.”

Macchi started a 10-2 run with an easy putback and senior Connor Goldstein drained a three on the following possession. Connor Peterson (20 points) grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a quick layup and Macchi hit a free throw the next trip down after hauling in an offensive rebound.

Macchi (17 points, 12 rebounds) pulled in one of his seven offensive rebounds on the next trip, but it was the only time that the Panthers didn’t score on a second opportunity. On the defensive end, Macchi came away with a steal and then found junior Alex Klowan for a three. A free throw from Jack Rodgers capped Franklin’s 10-2 run over the first five minutes.

“I thought Josh had a tremendous game again for us tonight,” Neely said of Macchi He’s been playing out of his mind. The past seven or eight games, he’s been in double-digits each time and he’s just killing it on the boards. He’s our one senior starter, and he’s really stepped up.

The Panthers weren’t done there though, scoring 13 points over the final three minutes of the quarter. Macchi was responsible for six himself – four from putbacks – and assisted on another three from Klowan. Sophomore Jalen Samuels (nine points) converted a putback and hit a layup in the final moments to give Franklin a commanding 43-18 lead at halftime. Franklin outscored Taunton 27-4 in the quarter.

“Just a disaster,” relayed Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey regarding the second quarter. “The transitions…the complete and utter failure to block out killed us. They weren’t running spectacular sets, but they just cleaned up every time. It seemed like a lot more offensive rebounds in that quarter than eight.”

Even more impressive for the Panthers was their dominate quarter came without junior captain Paul Mahon. Mahon, who entered the game tied for the team lead in scoring, picked up his second foul early in the quarter and was forced to the bench.

“I thought Klowan came in and gave us some good minutes, Matt Elias does a good job in there,” Neely said. “Sometimes Paul is done for the half when he gets the two fouls, sometimes he isn’t. I told him we’ll see how it goes. The guys stepped up and did a great job without him. I’m pretty proud of the guys for stepping up and extending the lead.”

Franklin quickly put to bed any thought of a super comeback, rattling off a 9-2 run in less than three minutes.

The Panthers went to work down low with Peterson converting a three point play to begin the half, Macchi driving for two and Peterson getting two more field goals in the paint.

“We thought we had a mismatch inside with CP,” Neely said. “Sometimes they were doubling, sometimes they weren’t. We wanted to get him the ball to see what would happen. If he had single coverage, just go at them. If they brought the double, guys had to be ready to shoot and guys hit some shots.”

After surrendering 14 points in the opening quarter, Franklin’s defense allowed 10 or less points in the final three quarters. Taunton scored just 22 points over the final three quarters. Law finished with a team-high 12 points, junior Tyler Medeiros had 11 rebounds and freshman Naz Kenian added seven points.

Franklin boys basketball (14-3 overall, 12-1 Hockomock) hosts rival Mansfield (15-2, 12-1) on Friday night at 6:30. The Panthers and the Hornets are the lone two teams left that can win the division and Friday’s contest will determine who’s in the driver’s seat. Taunton (11-6, 6-6) is back in action on Wednesday at Stoughton.

“Obviously it’s a big rivalry and we know what it’s about,” Neely said. “But we have to treat it like every other game. Their a good team so hopefully we can execute as well as we did tonight and come out on top.”

Panthers Hold Off OA Charge To Stay In First Place

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill (3) scored a team-high 15 points to help the Panthers hold off Oliver Ames and remain in a first place tie in the Kelley-Rex. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


NORTH EASTON, Mass. – When Franklin and Oliver Ames played the first time, almost a month to the day from Friday night’s second meeting at the William F. Nixon Gym, the game was essentially over by halftime. The Panthers turned up the defensive intensity, broke the game open, and then pored it on for a 33-point victory.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers were determined that it would not be the same result this time around and, despite Franklin extending its lead to as many as 15 in the third quarter, pulled within five points with only four minutes remaining in the game.

With the crowd getting loud and momentum with the home team, Franklin junior Matt Elias (eight points) drilled a clutch three to extend the lead back to eight, Josh Macchi snatched an offensive rebound for a bucket, and then Connor Peterson dropped a pass to Jalen Samuels under the basket for the hoop and the foul.

The Panthers made the plays they needed to down the stretch, holding off the OA comeback and pulling out a 64-52 victory that keeps Franklin tied with Mansfield at the top of the Kelley-Rex division (with the two teams set to square off next Friday).

“We said that we wanted to come out and open that lead a little bit coming out of halftime and we were able to do it, but credit OA,” said Franklin coach C.J. Neely. “They kept fighting and got back into it and I think we made some big plays when we needed it.”

OA coach Don Byron got the reaction, if not the final result, that he was looking for from his team after the tough loss to the Panthers in the first meeting.

He said, “It was a good fight wire-to-wire. Not too disappointed in it; glad they showed the fight after being embarrassed first time around.”

The Tigers got off to a strong start with Dylan Mahoney (team-high 17 points) and Nick Welch (16 points) each scoring five in the first and Jack Spillane drilling a three to give OA a 13-12 lead. Peterson (10 points, 10 rebounds) got the Panthers going with seven in the first and Samuels (12 points) added four, as Franklin closed the quarter on a 14-5 run to grab a 17-13 lead.

Franklin added the first four points of the second quarter but Mahoney answered with a shot in the lane and Matt Muir buried a three to keep OA within five. Macchi (12 points, seven rebounds) snagged a steal for a layup and then Samuels closed the half with a put-back in traffic for a 10-point advantage at the break.

Neely said, “We really rebounded the ball at both ends of the floor. We got on the offensive boards and got some second opportunities and we were able to secure most of the defensive rebounds. I thought that was a huge part of the win tonight.”

At the start of the third, it looked like Franklin was about to pull away for another big win. Peterson scored off an offensive rebound and Macchi drilled a three off a Paul Mahon assist. Macchi added an up and under move in the lane to make it 37-22.

After four straight from the Tigers, freshman point guard Chris Edgehill (team-high 15 points) drilled the first of his two threes in the quarter to keep the lead at double digits. Carter Evin (nine rebounds), who missed the first game with Franklin due to injury completed a three-point play to make the score 43-35, but Elias came through with a buzzer-beating layup off a Mahon pass to keep it a 10-point game heading to the fourth.

“They’re not easy to play against obviously,” said Byron. “They have good inside presence, they flood you on the offensive glass, they run deep, the guards played well, there’s a lot of things to contend with out there.”

Neely was not at all surprised that the second meeting was much tougher than the first. He said, “They didn’t have Carter last time; he’s a high-level player. He creates a lot of different matchup situations that we didn’t have to deal with last time. They’ve got a nice team and the zone works for them.”

A couple of Welch free throws and a layup for Jake Erlich started the fourth well for OA but Peterson kicked it out for a Connor Goldstein three. A pair of free throws from Edgehill pushed the lead back to 12, but OA made one last run at the win.

Mike Graziano swung a pass over to Welch for a three to cut the lead to 51-42. Mahoney followed with a three of his own and then drove to the basket to make it 52-47; he scored eight of his 17 in the fourth.

“It went to 15 and we got it to five and against a team like that, which defends as well as they do…making runs against some teams happens because there’s a lot of back and forth and up and down, but not too much with these guys,” said Byron.

Needing a big shot, Franklin swung the ball around to Elias and the junior delivered with the three that stemmed the tide.

Neely said, “Matt was in a little bit of a…not a funk, but he hadn’t been playing his best ball the last two or three games and we told him to just go back to being himself and have fun…It’s good to see him hit a couple because it just makes us that much better.”

The win was an important one for the Panthers, who are battling to win their second straight league title (they shared it with Mansfield last season).

“It’s stressful, but it’s good to be in the position we’re in,” said Neely. “I’m happy about that but every possession seems to mean more and more and we try to stay as focused on the moment as we can because you have to worry about this game.”

Franklin (12-3, 11-1) will get another tough league test on Monday when Taunton pays a visit, while Oliver Ames (9-7, 7-5) will try to clinch its playoff spot at home against King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/27/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Milford, 51 @ Attleboro, 53 – FinalAttleboro erased a five point deficit heading into the final quarter, finding success at the free throw line down the stretch. Freshman Bryant Ciccio had 11 points but had two big steals in the final minute and took a charge in a one possession game with nine seconds left for the Bombardiers. Jake Dunkley scored 18 points, including a free throw with 6.5 seconds left to put Attleboro up two. Andrew Milliken added 11 points for Attleboro. Zack Tamagni scored a team-high 16 points for the Scarlet Hawks while Anthony Arcudi scored 10 points.

Canton, 53 @ Taunton, 60 – FinalTaunton took a 12 point lead into the final quarter but had to stave off comeback efforts from Canton to hold on to the win. The Bulldogs were able to cut the deficit to three but never got closer the rest of the way. Malik Charles had a team-high 15 points for the Tigers while Lens Esquil had 14 and Tommy MacLean had eight points. Canton sophomore Devin Foster scored a game-high 18 points while Tony Harris had 13 points and seven rebounds and Jake Verille finished with 10 points.

Stoughton, 48 @ Franklin, 81 – FinalFranklin senior Connor Goldstein connected on five three pointers in the first half and finished with a career-high 21 points to pace the Panthers to a win on Senior Night. Franklin seniors accounted for 54 points for the Panthers. Seniors Josh Macchi scored 16 points, James Hanlon had nine points and Mike Doherty chipped in with eight points. Stoughton’s Cam Andrews and Matt Valle each scored nine points.

Sharon, 65 @ King Philip, 85 – FinalKing Philip built a large lead at halftime and never looked back with its highest offensive output of the season. Senior Seth Sullivan dropped in a game-high 22 points while Justin Vine added 16 points for the Warriors. Sophomore Kyle Layman chipped in with 13 points. Malik Lorquet scored 12 points and hauled in 14 rebounds for the Eagles.

North Attleboro, 41 @ Mansfield, 83 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 65 @ Milford, 54 – Final

Taunton, 47 @ Canton, 63 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Franklin, 47 @ Stoughton, 49 – FinalStoughton erased a 13-point deficit at half, rallying for 36 points in the second half to edge Franklin. The Panthers held a 26-13 advantage at the break but Stoughton freshman Shyanne Trinh scored all of her team-high 14 points in the second half to spark the comeback. Junior Val Whalen had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Franklin sophomore Bea Bondhus netted a team-high 13 points for the Panthers.

King Philip, 50 @ Sharon, 54 – FinalEmma Eberhardt had another strong game for the Eagles with 17 points and six rebounds. Sharon also got 15 points from Kaitlyn Wallace, including three three-pointers, and eight rebounds.

Mansfield, 40 @ North Attleboro, 35 – FinalJen Peel was the top scorer for the Hornets with 18 points, including 12-for-12 from the free throw line, in a battle of league leaders. Caroline Collard led North with 11 points.

Swimming
Boys
Franklin, 88 @ King Philip, 82 – FinalFranklin’s Connor Bourgeois won both the 50 and 100 free, Roy Wang won the 100 breast and the boys 200 freestyle relay of Bourgeois, Wang, Jack Cashin and Sumit Choudhury finished first to help the Panthers pick up their first ever win over KP.

Sharon @ North Attleboro, 7:00

Girls
Franklin @ King Philip, 8:00
Sharon @ North Attleboro, 7:00

Defense Keeps Panthers Rolling Against Attleboro

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – On Tuesday night at Franklin High, the Panthers took advantage of a balanced scoring attack and a strong defensive effort to defeat the Attleboro Bombardiers, 63-51.

Defense was the name of the game for both sides, as neither team scored three points until the 3:57 mark of the first quarter when Jake Dunkley (18 points, five rebounds) hit a shot to put Attleboro up 3-2.

A 5-0 Franklin run from there put the Panthers up 7-3, but an and-one layup from Lucas Boucicaut (nine points) cut the Franklin lead to one and after baskets from Connor Peterson (10 points), who had four in the first quarter, and freshman Bryant Ciccio (four points), Franklin took a 9-8 lead into the second quarter.

Early in the second, Attleboro took its final lead of the night at 14-12 with 5:12 to play in the half after a basket by Berlyns Abraham (five points) and four points from Boucicaut. From there, Franklin was led by Josh Macchi, who scored 10 of his 18 points in the second quarter to put Franklin up 26-24 at the half.

“Josh was a beast. He’s been really responding, his rebounding has been terrific, especially on the offensive end, he did a great job tonight getting a few extra points for us,” Franklin coach C.J. Neely said about Macchi, who also chipped in seven rebounds.

After a Peterson bucket to start the third quarter, Attleboro senior captain Andrew Milliken (five points) picked up his fourth foul and, while he sat, Franklin stifled the Attleboro offense during a 13-2 run where Attleboro only scored on a bucket from freshman Qualeem Charles (two points, four rebounds) and saw the Panthers take a 39-26 lead.

Once Milliken checked back in, Attleboro scored four straight off of two free throws from Milliken and a layup by Dunkley, but a layup by Paul Mahon (14 points) and one of three three-pointers from Connor Goldstein (nine points) put the Panthers up 44-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

Attleboro started off the fourth with a made three by Milliken, and with 5:25 left to go in the game they cut the Franklin lead to eight at 48-36 following a pair of made free throws from Dunkley, but four straight points from Jalen Samuels, who had six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, and another bucket by Mahon extended the lead to 14 at 52-38 with 4:05 left to play.

In the final four minutes, senior guard Nate Douglas had five of his six points for Attleboro while Dunkley picked up six more points, but four points from Macchi, three from Goldstein and two each from Mahon and Samuels kept the Franklin lead intact and helped them hold on for the 63-51 victory.

Franklin had four guys in double figures (Macchi, Mahon, Samuels, Peterson) in addition to Goldstein with nine, which speaks to the amount of options Franklin has on the offensive end.

“We don’t have one guy. “Obviously people see CP (Peterson) and think they got to deal with him, but we have so many guys that can give you 8-10 points a night,” Neely added after the win.

The win was also the Panthers’ seventh game, and third in a row, in which they held an opponent to fewer than 55 points.

“Our defensive effort has definitely been what’s carried us over these last three or four games, we’ve definitely made a huge commitment on the defensive side of practice, and the guys have responded,” Neely also added.

Upcoming for Franklin (9-2) is Kelley-Rex foe King Philip (3-6) on Friday. Next up for Attleboro (8-3) is a trip to Taunton on Friday to take on the 6-4 Tigers.