Brigham Dominates as Franklin Ends Foxboro Streak

Franklin junior center Ali Brigham put up monster numbers (27 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks) to end Foxboro’s 26-game unbeaten run and keep the Panthers unbeaten in league play this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Coming into Tuesday night’s showdown, Foxboro and Franklin were both unbeaten (8-0) in Hockomock play and were the league’s top two scoring teams, its top two defensive teams, its two division leaders, and boasted the league’s top two scorers.

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It was clearly a battle of the top two teams in the Hock and it was a battle that was dominated by the Hock’s top scorer, Ali Brigham. The 6-foot-3 junior center scored 27 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, and blocked six shots, controlling the paint on both ends of the court to help Franklin remain unbeaten with a 52-40 victory.

“She’s frustrated because she thought that she could’ve played better,” Franklin coach John Leighton joked when asked about Brigham’s performance night-in, night-out. “It’s great coaching a kid that wants to become better. She’s not complacent. She’s not close to the player that she wants to be, yet. She keeps expanding her game.”

Franklin’s win ended Foxboro’s 26-game win streak and 33-game league win streak.

While Brigham rightfully stole the headlines for her all-around game, Franklin also won because of its defensive performance on Foxboro sophomore Katelyn Mollica. The league’s second leading scorer was held to just nine points (four in the fourth quarter) thanks to the very close attention of sophomore Erin Quaile.

With Mollica contained, Foxboro was held more than 20 points below its season average.

“It gets tough for Mollica having all that pressure, especially when you have someone who can stick with you the way Quaile did tonight,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “She completely blocked her out and denied her the ball, but I don’t know if we have any answer for Ali Brigham but our goal was to keep her below her average and we didn’t do that.”

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead, as Brigham scored eight points in the first, matching Foxboro’s total in the quarter. She twice got baskets on offensive rebounds, drove to the basket and was set up by a Bea Bondhus drive. Bondhus (nine points) also scored twice herself and Megan O’Connell (10 points) added four points.

Chelsea Gibbons hit a three, Mollica hit a pull-up three and Lizzy Davis scored on a jumper, but that was all the Warriors could manage against Franklin’s pressure defense.

Leighton said, “Erin Quaile and Shannon Gray have been doing this all year. We unleash them on the other team’s best guards and they’re very good athletes and tough as nails but it helps having Ali behind them. They ran a lot of screens for Mollica tonight and I thought we hedged well; no one was alone on an island.”

That pattern held in the second, as the Warriors were held to eight points as a team again. A quick 6-0 run extended the Panthers’ advantage to 14 points, but Foxboro hung around thanks to four points from Yara Fawaz (team-high 12 points and six rebounds). But, whenever Foxboro seemed to be climbing back into the game, Franklin responded and Brigham scored off assists by Quaile and Elizabeth Wilson to push the lead back to 12 at halftime.

“Foxboro doesn’t win as many games in a row as they have without that,” said Leighton about Foxboro continually pushing back. “There is zero quit, but I thought we answered defensively every time they made a run. We got patient on offense, worked the ball around and instead of taking that first open look, work it around and either get an inside touch or kick it out to the open kid.”

The third quarter was back-and-forth. Brigham was again the focal point for the Panthers, who found different ways to get her the ball on the block and moved the ball well from side-to-side and kept the Foxboro defense moving. With Brigham and O’Connell (seven rebounds) controlling the glass, Franklin also prevented the Warriors from getting out in transition.

Fawaz scored four more points in the third, combining well with fellow forward Abby Hassman (five assists) to try and step away from the basket and, of course, Brigham. Davis also drilled a three and Anita Busznyak took a lead pass from Mollica for a rare basket on the break.

Despite Foxboro feeling like it was on the brink of a comeback, the Warriors fell a further point behind heading to the fourth quarter. Still, the hosts kept battling back, with six straight points to start the fourth cutting the lead to 43-36 after Mollica’s steal and layup.

O’Connell answered with a basket and then assisted on a Brigham basket. Fawaz got into the lane to score and make it a nine-point game again, but Bondhus came right back down and drilled a three from the left wing to push the lead into double digits and seal the win.

Brigham remarked, “I think we were just so focused and so ready to win that we just handled what we needed to do. If they went on a run, we came back with another one.”

Downs was philosophical about the end of the win streak. She said, “It’s one of those teams that’s going to help us for down the road to prepare for the postseason because they are so talented. We never really could get past that hump, but they didn’t stop fighting and I give them credit for that.”

Franklin (11-1, 9-0) will be back home on Friday night to host Attleboro, while Foxboro (10-1, 8-1) will host North Attleboro, which comes in with five wins in its last six games.

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Panthers Clamp Down on Naps to Stay Unbeaten

Franklin girls basketball
Franklin sophomore Erin Quaile (20) helped lock down the Holy Name guards to earn a non-league win against a potential playoff opponent. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Defense has been the story for Franklin through the opening few games of the season with the Panthers holding its first three opponents to only 30 points per game. Much of the attention is on junior center Ali Brigham (two blocks) and her ability (at 6-foot-3) to dominate the paint, but on Monday night against Holy Name (Worcester) it was the perimeter players who stood out.

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Using a combination of players, including sophomore Erin Quaile, senior Shannon Gray, and junior Breanna Atwood, Franklin held Holy Name’s standout guards Jaini Edmonds and Grace O’Gara to just 15 points combined and the Naps to just 13 points as a team in the opening half of a 56-36 victory.

“That’s been a real focus for us to become a better defensive team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “Shooting comes and goes but defense translates every night. They brought a good challenge for us…both lefty guards, which makes it trickier too. We talked a lot about limiting their touches and really make them work for it. They didn’t get a lot of clean looks, which was our goal.”

Brigham was the star for the Panthers on offense, scoring a game-high 24 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, and dishing out four assists from the center of the press break and combining with junior Megan O’Connell (nine points) in the high post. She scored 17 of the team’s 26 points in the first half.

O’Gara scored her only basket of the night to tie the game at 5-5 in the first quarter but then Franklin rolled off eight of the next nine points to finish the quarter with a lead it would never relinquish. Bea Bondhus (eight points) knocked down three free throws to get the lead then Brigham knocked down a free throw line jumper and scored on a rebound.

The Naps scored to start the second but again Franklin put enough stops together to break the game open. O’Connell answered with a layup off a Brigham pass and, after four free throws, the duo switched roles for another easy basket. Brigham scored Franklin’s final nine points of the half, twice getting layups from offensive rebounds.

“She’s expanded her sphere of influence because in the middle of the press break we can use her and then on offense from the three-point line to the hoop and she does different things at different times in the games,” said Leighton about Brigham, who recently committed to George Washington.

In particular, Brigham’s success came from combining and switching positions with O’Connell from the free throw line to the post. Leighton said, “Megan has improved as much as anyone and using her with Ali in the post, you can’t double both of them and it’s really opened things up for her.”

Holy Name tried to put together a run in the third quarter with Edmonds finally getting a few shots to fall and Lilly Krysinski knocking down three jumpers to get the Naps as close as nine points (26-19). Quaile and Atwood knocked down back-to-back threes and then Brigham answered a Holy Name bucket by hitting the glass for a three-point play.

Leighton said, “We’ve been getting layups but we were able go further through the offense and get open looks and knocked down some threes.”

Franklin went into the fourth quarter leading by 11 and proceeded to bust the game wide open. Six different Panthers scored in the fourth, including four each for Brigham and O’Connell. Bondhus drilled a three followed by sophomore Elizabeth Wilson, who scored all five of her points in the fourth.

“I think our practices have really picked up,” Leighton said when asked about the team’s strength in depth. “They get after it and it’s made everyone better. Bre (Atwood) is a lockdown defender and she’s going against Bea in practice and that makes her better, Megan going against Ali, and I think it’s raised everybody’s games.”

It was a dominating performance from the Panthers (3-0), who will try to carry that over on Wednesday when they host Canton.

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2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview
Foxboro sophomore Katelyn Mollica will try to keep the Warriors on top in the Davenport division, as the new Hockomock League girls basketball season gets underway. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 9-13
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Martin Crowley
The Bombardiers were just two wins shy of a playoff spot last season under new head coach Marty Crowley and Attleboro brings back three starters and has added several new faces to the roster to try and make a postseason push this winter.

The graduation of leading scorer Sam Pierce (16 points per game) means that a number of players are going to need to step in and make up for production on offense and on the glass. Senior point guard Jordyn Lako will be back to run the Bombardiers offense and provide three-point shooting, while junior Nyah Thomas is a versatile weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Both are also aggressive defenders, who set the tone on that end of the floor. Senior forward Mackenzie Roberts can score in the post or from beyond the arc and junior Liv McCall is a dynamic guard who is capable of big scoring nights.

Defense has always been the focus of teams that Crowley coaches and the Bombardiers will be no different. To keep up that defensive intensity, the Bombardiers have added depth to the rotation. Seniors Abby Struminski and Dom Garnes (who was out last season with an injury) provide leadership, while sophomores Gabby Bosh and Sonny Stuger and freshmen Meghan Gordon and Lillian Froio are newcomers to keep an eye on.

“Hopefully we can generate scoring opportunities off our defense and use our athleticism to create baskets,” said Crowley. “We have a great mix of experience and youth. We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been spirited and the kids have been working hard.”

Canton

2017-2018 Record: 10-11
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round.
Coach: Jim Choquette
Last winter, Canton got a taste of the postseason for the first time in seven seasons and now the program will try to build on that momentum while finding a way to replace the scoring and rebounding of Hannah Jerrier, who averaged a double-double for the Bulldogs last winter. An exciting crop of underclassmen has been added to the roster and now Canton will try to build experience with a schedule that puts them on the road for the majority of the first half of the year.

While Jerrier will obviously be missed, the Bulldogs bring back the other four starters and other players with plenty of experience to try and make it a much shorter wait to get back into the playoffs. Senior point guard Julia Hamilton is back to run the offense, senior Erin Devine gives Canton control on the glass and a rim protector on defense, senior Molly Ludwig gives balance to the offense, and senior Maggie Connolly is one of the league’s top defensive players on the perimeter. Senior Nicole Galvin will add depth to the backcourt.

Junior Lilah Milton came on strong at the tail of end of last season, including a huge game in the playoff-clinching win over Weymouth, and could take up some of Jerrier’s scoring from the power forward position. Sophomore Kayla Albert gained valuable experience last season as a freshman and current rookies Sydney and Fay Gallery, and Kiara Cerruti have the potential to step right into the rotation and contribute.

“Details are everything to us,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “If our group of young talent and veteran leadership/experience can continue to stay focused on the details during the good times and tough times of a season then we should continue to improve and have a very excited and successful season.”

Foxboro

2017-2018 Record: 26-2
2017-2018 Finish: Won Div. 2 state championship.
Coach: Lisa Downs
Last season was one to remember for the Warriors, who rolled through the regular season in dominating fashion and lived up to the team’s immense potential by bringing home the Div. 2 state title. With the graduation of a very strong senior class, the expectations are much lower for the Warriors this season but there are several returning players and new faces that have Foxboro coach Lisa Downs confident that the program can continue its recent run of success in the Davenport division.

Losing players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally is a challenge for any team, but the Warriors will bring back a pair of starters from the playoff run in sophomore Katelyn Mollica and junior Abby Hassman. Mollica is the team’s top returning scorer and will be one of the top point guards in the Hock with her ability to shoot and score off the dribble. Hassman gives Foxboro a strong presence on the glass and showed increased confidence in her offensive game at the end of last season. Senior Chelsea Gibbons and junior Lizzy Davis should see increased minutes and bigger roles in the offense this year.

Juniors Shakirah Ketant and Yara Fawaz should give Foxboro more depth in the post and contribute on the glass and both saw limited minutes in the playoffs last winter. Sophomores Adrienne Dunn and Jordyn Collins will be newcomers to the backcourt and have impressed during the preseason, while junior forward Anita Busznyak is expected to see a lot more time this year and could be a player to watch.

Downs is hoping this year’s team will learn from the graduating class. She said, “The time they spent practicing with and playing against these girls has really paid off – they know what is expected of them on the court and what is required to be a winning team. We have established a winning culture at Foxboro and the players know that I expect nothing more than what they should expect from themselves.”

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 15-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central first round.
Coach: John Leighton
The Panthers bring back 10 players from last year’s roster, which reached the state tournament but lost in the opening round to Natick, and there are high expectations on Oak St. as the new season gets underway. Franklin enters the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and its balanced lineup has the potential to make a run in the state tournament as well.

Much of the enthusiasm for Franklin’s chances this winter come from 6-foot-3 center Ali Brigham. The junior recently committed to George Washington (where her father once played) and is the lone returning player from last season HockomockSports.com First Team. While she (deservedly) garners much of the attention, the Panthers have a number of other weapons to give the opposition headaches. Senior guard Bea Bondhus, who committed to Springfield College, is one of the top three-point shooters in the Hock and sophomore guard Elizabeth Wilson is back from an injury that cut short the promising start to her varsity career.

The Panthers will also bring back versatile junior forwards Megan O’Connell and Breanna Atwood, who add size in the paint but can also take defenders off the dribble or knock down outside shots. Seniors Hailey Sanders and Calen Frongillo add depth to the frontcourt, while senior Shannon Gray and juniors Kelsey MacCallum and Sydney Garilli are capable of stepping in at either guard position.

“It is our goal to compete each night and to improve from last year,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “With 10 returning players, we feel our experience will help us to better prepare for the season and compete against the best in our league.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Amy Siggens
King Philip had to battle injuries throughout head coach Amy Siggens’ first year in charge, including a late season injury to leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, but the Warriors are healthy coming into this season and with a year to get use to a new system, confidence is high that KP can make a push up the standings and fight for a postseason berth this winter.

O’Connor is the key piece returning for the Warriors. A four-year varsity player who has been recruited by Div. I college programs, O’Connor gives KP a consistent scorer and someone who will draw opposing defenses. Senior Julia Leroux will be back at the point and running the KP offense, while junior Faith Roy is the team’s best outside threat and has developed as a ball-handler who can score in a variety of ways. Sophomore Emma Glaser, who battled injuries throughout her freshman season, will add versatility to the lineup and can play multiple positions and her classmate Courtney Keswick is a newcomer to watch in the backcourt.

The Warriors will also have strength in the post with senior Catherine Cummings providing a solid presence on the glass and junior Faye Veilleux giving KP length and athleticism at the forward position. Newcomers like junior Taylor Butler and returning senior Kendall Mason will give added depth and strong play on the defensive end of the floor.

There is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding our team this year with our sights on continued growth and improvement upon our overall record from a year ago,” Siggens said. “Our practices have been very competitive and I’m encouraged by our team’s attitude and overall interest in getting better. I like this team a lot and I look forward to the challenge of helping each girl reach her maximum potential.”

Mansfield

2017-2018 Record: 20-6
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final.
Coach: Mike Redding
After three straight league titles and four trips to the Div. 1 South semifinal in the past four seasons (including back-to-back finals), Mansfield has been one of the most consistent teams in the Hockomock League, but the Hornets enter this season trying to replace Meg Hill, who scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more than 1,000 points in her stellar career. With 10 seniors and loads of athleticism, this might be a very different looking Mansfield attack, but one that has the potential to keep the Hornets right back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and capable of making another deep tournament run.

The Hornets have been known for slowing the ball down and running intricate sets, but this team is suited for getting up and down the court as quickly as possible, highlighted by senior guard Mady Bendanillo, one of the quickest players in the Hock. Senior forward Maggie Danehy has emerged as a strong interior scorer and someone who can control the glass, but she is also someone who can run like a guard and get out on the break for easy baskets. Seniors Sydney Mulkern and Erin Daniel add wing scoring and are both solid shooters who can spread the floor and open lanes to the basket.

Athletic senior forwards Emily Vigeant and Steph Kemp can outrun many of the guards in the league and senior point guard Kara Bendanillo is another speedster who can push the ball off makes or misses. Sophomore Ashley Santos saw time last year as a rookie and adds to the frontcourt depth and versatility, while junior Becca Hottleman will be back to give Mansfield another option at guard.

It is a different feel to the lineup but one that Mansfield coach Mike Redding feels can be effective. He said, “We need to rebound as a team and must change our style to up-tempo with defensive pressure/fast breaks and play to our strengths (athleticism and depth).”

Milford

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central quarterfinal.
Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford coach T.J. Dolliver brings back six players from the team that not only reached the state tournament last season but also went on the road and beat Burncoat handily, the program’s first playoff win since 2001. The problem for the Hawks is that almost the entire rotation from last year’s team has graduated, including 1,000-point scorer Kate Irwin.

While this may be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, Dolliver sees it as an opportunity for players to step into new roles and establish themselves as starters and as regular contributors. The lone senior back from last year is forward Grace Risio, who Dolliver said made a difference when she was given the opportunity last year, and sophomore guard Jillian Michelson saw some time in the backcourt as a rookie.

The Hawks will have eight sophomores on the roster this season, so it is clear that Milford is going to try and build with youth, similar to several teams from last year. Among the players from last year’s roster, forwards Katie Maietta, guard Emma Lawrence, and forward Carly Ferreira all got time as freshmen and could see those minutes increase significantly this winter.

Dolliver said, “With our entire rotation graduating last year, there are a lot of opportunities waiting for everyone in the program. It will be exciting to watch who emerges within the group and elevates their game to compete at the varsity level.”

North Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Derek Herber
Last year was a tough transition season for the Rocketeers, as North Attleboro moved on from a number of players who were starters for several years and incorporated a number of new, young faces into the lineup. North had a better second half to the season and will try to build on that this winter with a more experienced group of players.

Senior Julia Feid is back on the wing and is North’s top returning scorer, coming off a season in which she averaged more than nine points per game. Fellow seniors Liz Smahi and Emma Noreck will add leadership in the backcourt and try to set the direction for the team this year. Junior point guard Olivia Forbes, who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last season, will be back to get the offense going and provide strong defense on the perimeter. Junior Eliza Dion also returns to add rebounding and interior scoring for a team that can’t count on a lot of height in the paint.

The North offense improved over the course of last season with the addition of sophomore Amanda Kaiser (8.6 points per game) and junior Julia Kleczkowski (40 percent from three-point range), who can both fill it up from the outside and who are both willing to take any shot that presents itself. Several newcomers will fill out the roster with the potential of adding important minutes over the course of the season, including sophomore Lydia Santos and Siobhan Weir.

“We will rely on Julia Feid to be our first option on offense and the sooner we can develop a consistent second option will be a factor in the early part of the season,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “The inside scoring option will hopefully be Eliza Dion, while both Amanda Kaiser and Julia Kleczkowski showed an ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting in limited time last year.”

Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 16-6
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames will be making a transition this year following the graduation of Kayla Raymond, who was a two-time HockomockSports.com First Team performer and last year’s league MVP (and is already a three-time Rookie of the Week at Stonehill College), but the Tigers have a number of returning players to try and make up for Raymond’s production on both ends of the floor and make another run at a league title.

Senior Alex Sheldon grew in confidence over the course of last season and became a double-double machine by the end of the year, dominating on the glass and improving her finishing around the rim. Junior Erin Holberg emerged last year as a strong scorer on the perimeter with her touch from the outside and ability to take defenders off the dribble. Junior Meg Holleran is in her third season on varsity and is a tough, physical defender who can knock down shots from the outside.

Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a strong freshman season, playing several positions (from point guard to small forward), crashing the boards, and showing off decent range. The return of senior Sadie Homer will add energy on both ends of the floor and give the Tigers another strong outside shooter to stretch the floor, while senior Ally Scolnick came off the bench last season to add another shooter to the OA offense.

OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said of the experienced returning players, “They will lead the youngest team OA has put on the court in quite a long time. We are looking towards gaining valuable game experience and coming into to our own as the season progresses.”

Sharon

2017-2018 Record: 2-18
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Sanda Lombardi

It was a tough winter for new Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi, as the Eagles struggled to a two-win season, but five of their losses were by 10 points or fewer and they return all but one player from last season’s team. With a year to get acclimated to Lombardi’s system, an experienced roster of returning players, and several newcomers, Sharon has its sights set on getting into the postseason for the first time since its run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.

Sharon returns its leading scorer and playmaker in senior Emma Eberhardt, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team last season, and she will once again be the focal point of the offense, as well as one of the team’s leading defenders. Eberhardt’s versatility as a wing player should open things up for junior guards Kaitlyn Wallace and Ally Brown, who will both fill in as ball-handlers after the graduation of Miranda Cheung. Wallace will extend defenses with her shooting from the outside and Brown adds energy to the backcourt defense.

Senior guard Bridget McManus will add depth and junior forward Telishya Herbert provides a strong presence in the paint. Junior Olivia Langol-Leonard added frontcourt depth and was active on the glass in her time on the court, while senior forward Evanjuline Elisma can score in transition and adds another solid wing defender.

“We only lost one player due to graduation,” said Lombardi. “We have the entire team back and we added some height. I’m excited to see what the season brings. The girls are working hard and our goal is to qualify for the postseason.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton started last season with five straight defeats and only one win in the opening eight games, but the Black Knights turned things around with a vengeance, winning 11 of its final 12 games of the regular season and winning its opening game of the state tournament. Stoughton’s only two losses in its final 14 games of the season were to state champion Foxboro. That is a lot of momentum for the Black Knights to carry into this year.

It may be a little different look for Stoughton this winter after the graduation of Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Instead of being a team that dominates the paint, there will be a host of guards and wing players who can still battle on the glass, but will bring energy and tenacity on the perimeter on both ends of the court. Junior Aliyah Wright is back as the team’s point guard and her length makes her a factor guarding multiple positions. Senior Lindsay McDonald adds versatility as a combo guard and sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe is a dynamic guard and stretches defenses with her ability to shoot from the outside.

While there are a lot of familiar faces returning for the Black Knights, there are several players who will have more responsibility this year and the potential to make big contributions. Junior Lexi Baptista defends well at the forward position and gives a different look on the post, while seniors Hailey Egan and Heather Maddalena will add extra toughness to the backcourt. Junior Shyanne Trinh is still battling an injury at the beginning of the season, but she will give Stoughton a big scoring boost when she returns.

“This season will be all about our effort, energy and enthusiasm on defense,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The Black Knights will be most successful when we put in work on the defensive end and finish each play with a Black Knights rebound.”

Taunton

2017-2018 Record: 7-15
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton started last winter well and had the potential for making a return to the state tournament, but injuries slowed things down for the Tigers and they missed out on the postseason. While the year didn’t end the way they would have hoped, a number of younger players were given valuable varsity experience and there are a number of returning players ready to make an impact.

Senior Lily Patneaude will be the player to watch for the Tigers, as the team’s leading scorer from last year. After battling an injury down the stretch, her return gives Taunton a consistent primary offensive weapon and takes some of the scoring pressure off her teammates. Senior point guard Alexa White is also back to provide leadership, energy, and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor. Sophomore Kelsey White showed flashes as a rookie of being the secondary scorer that Taunton needs, with her ability to knock down shots from the outside and take defenders off the dribble.

Even with a year of experience, Taunton is still a relatively young team. Sophomores Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will provide athleticism from the forward positions and give Taunton effort in the paint, while sophomore Tori DaRose, and freshmen Abby Souza (who saw brief minutes as an eighth-grader last season) and Braeley MacDonald give the Tigers depth off the bench.

“We have great group of enthusiast student athletes consisting of senior leadership, youth, athleticism, and talent,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “This team is looking forward to a fun and exciting season.”

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/09/18


Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 6 – FinalMansfield got off to a strong start with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, extended the lead with three runs in the fifth inning and tacked on one more in the sixth in a win over Attleboro. Tyler Dalton went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to lead the Hornets’ offense while Cullin Anastasia was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. Kevin Dow struck out nine in five innings of work, allowing four hits and just two walks with no runs against to earn the win. Alvaro Espinel was 1-for-3 with an RBI while Matt Callahan (hit) scored Attleboro’s run.

Stoughton, 6 @ Foxboro, 1 – FinalStoughton plated four runs with two outs in the top of the third to build a lead it never let go of. Robbie Seaman had a two-run single and Evan Gibb (2-for-4) followed with a two-run double for the Black Knights. George Currier went 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Ruben Gonzalez had another strong day, getting the win on the mound (5 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits, 5 K) and went 3-for-3 with a walk.

Canton, 1 @ Milford, 11 – FinalMilford senior Aidan Wilde had three hits, the second one being the 100th of his career, to lead the Hawks to a big win over Canton. Wilde notched the milestone in the bottom of the fourth inning with a single into left field. Sophomore Luke Rosa earned his first career win, striking out three with just one run allowed in five innings of work.

Franklin, 3 @ Taunton, 6 – FinalTaunton took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on five hits but Franklin tied the game with three runs off two hits in the top of the fifth. The Tigers responded right away with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Medeiros got it done at the plate and on the mound for the Tigers. Offensively, he had two hits and an RBI. And on the mound, he earned the win, allowing just three hits while striking out 10 in a complete game effort. Jacob Crawford added two hits and two runs and Griffin Tomaszycki had a hit, two RBI, and a run scored for the Tigers.

Oliver Ames, 5 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalOliver Ames and King Philip each scored two runs in the first inning but the Tigers were able to beat the Warriors the rest of the way. OA tacked on two more runs in the top of the third, KP cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the third, but the Tigers added the insurance run in the sixth inning. Michael Friel (hit) reached bases three times, stole two bases, scored a run, had an RBI, and played outstanding defense at second base to pace OA to the win. Matt Muir (RBI, double) and Jack Erlich (run) each had two hits for the Tigers. OA’s Tom Parker earned the win with six innings of relief work, not allowing an earned run.

Sharon, 2 @ North Attleboro, 4 – FinalNorth Attleboro junior Ryan Warren roped a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open a tie game and help the Rocketeers beat upset-minded Sharon. Zach DeMattio got things started with a walk, and pinch runner Billy Drummond took second on a sac bunt from Jeff Gale (2-for-2, two runs). After Cohen reached on a drop third strike, Drummond advanced to third, and Cohen stole second. That’s when Warren delivered. Sharon held a 2-0 lead after an inning but North tied things in the third on DeMattio’s two-out, two-run single. Peter Cohen pitched 5.1 innings of relief to earn the way for the Rocketeers.

Softball
Mansfield, 3 @ Attleboro, 15 – Final (6 inn.)Attleboro exploded for 20 hits on the day, getting the game started on the right foot with seven runs in the first inning. Each Bombardier in the lineup had at least one hit led by MacKenzie Killough, who went 3-for-5 with two home runs. Freshman catcher Lora Woyton added a three-run home run, freshman Autumn O’Connell had three hits, Ashley Macia (two doubles) went 3-for-3 and Jordyn Lako was 4-for-5 for the Bombardiers. Jenna Gittle struck out five in six innings of work for Attleboro.

Canton, 1 @ Milford, 13 – Final (6 inn.)Milford senior Kelley Reichert struck out 10 in a six-inning performance and Emily Piergustavo (3-for-4, four RBI) and Emily Hartman each belted a two-run home run as the Hawks won big at home. Kate Irwin (two runs), Jess Tomaso (double, two RBI), Antonia Bonina (two runs, RBI), and Maddy Bonvino (double, RBI) each had two hits on the day for Milford.

Stoughton, 3 @ Foxboro, 10 – FinalFoxboro avenged a loss from earlier in the season to the Black Knights with a big win on its home field on Wednesday afternoon. Lexi Buckner went 3-for-4, including two doubles and a home run, and finished with six RBI to pace Foxboro’s offense. Morgan Sylvestre went 3-for-4, Kelli McCarthy added two hits and two RBI, and Hannah Davis knocked a run in Emma Rohan scattered five hits, walked one and struck out seven for Foxboro.

Taunton, 6 @ Franklin, 1 – FinalTaunton pushed across three runs in the first inning, added another in the second, and put the game out of reach with a pair in the fourth inning on the road at Franklin. Tigers freshman Kelsey White won her fourth game of the season, allowing just one run on seven hits with eight strikeouts (and no walks). Offensively, Alexa White and Liana Duarte (RBI) each had two hits while Jaime Brown (RBI) reached four times with three walks and a triple. Kya Enos, Hanna Aldrich, and McKenzie McAloon each knocked in a run for the Tigers. Franklin scored in the sixth inning when Ally Shea doubled and courtesy runner Molly Collins came around to score on a single from Tara Hartnett. Emily Valentino struck out four while Gabby Colace played a great game defensively for FHS.

King Philip, 13 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – FinalKing Philip scored eight runs in the top of the third to create separation against the Tigers and never looked back. Destiny Goyco, Lilliana Rolfe, and Faith Turinese each collected three hits for the Warriors while Nicole Carter and Meghan Gorman each pitched in with two apiece. Turinese earned the win, allowing one run in seven innings of work. For OA, Katie Mills was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Mills was knocked in by Katie Abreu (2-for-3); Sarah Tetrault and Lexie Campbell also each had a hit for the Tigers.

North Attleboro, 14 @ Sharon, 2 – Final (5 Inn.)Olivia DesRoches pitched five innings and struck out four to pick up the win for the Rocketeers. Abby Gallagher had four hits and drove in a pair of runs for the North offense, which also got two hits apiece from Olivia Capobianco, Bella Erti (including a two-run homer), and Andrea Miceli. Stephanie Inglese hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Emily Pastore made a “highlight-reel grab” for North in the win.


Boys Lacrosse
Attleboro, 2 @ Milford, 8 – FinalMilford scored four goals in each the second and third quarters, taking a shutout into the final frame against visiting Attleboro. Freshman Evan Hazard turned aside 15 shots while Andrew Gallagher and Ryan Hazard each scored three goals apiece for the Hawks.

Canton, 7 @ King Philip, 8 – Final (OT)Canton junior Mike Shaw scored in the final minute of the game to tie it and send it to overtime but the Warriors prevailed with the win. KP was able to hold off Canton’s extra-man opportunity to begin the overtime period before netting the winner. Canton sophomore Jack Connolly played great in goal with 12 saves while Dan Cohen (two goals) was one of six Bulldogs to score.

Foxboro, 7 @ Mansfield, 10 – Final

Oliver Ames, 4 @ Franklin, 17 – FinalSenior Johnny O’Glishen scored a pair of goals and added an assist to help the Panthers pick up a big win on Senior Night. Sophomore Ben Greco added a pair of goals, while sophomore Luc Sweeney and junior Patrick Morrison each had one goal and one assist each. Eric LeBlanc scored three goals for Oliver Ames.

North Attleboro, 4 @ Sharon, 7 – FinalSharon limited North Attleboro to just one goal in the first half, building a 4-1 advantage that it never let go of. The Rocketeers got within two late in the fourth quarter but the Eagles secured the win with a seventh goal with three minutes to go. A big reason for Sharon’s big defensive game was goalie Jonathan Greenberg, who turned away 18 shots in the in. Offensively, Chase Waxman had three goals for the Eagles, Kadin Nestler added two, and Spencer Hall and Dan Lilienfield each scored once. Senior Brett Litner collected four assists for the Eagles.

Stoughton, 7 @ Taunton, 5 – Final

Girls Lacrosse
Milford, 6 @ Attleboro, 12 – FinalKyra Lyons paced the Bombardiers with seven goals and Kim White scored her first varsity goal in the win. Attleboro also got goals from Hannah Aspinwall, Emily Patton, Sydney DiLiddo, and Rylee Fontes. Head coach Kevin Patton called it a “total team effort.”

King Philip, 16 @ Canton, 5 – Final Seven different players scored goals for the Warriors in another big league win. Olivia Tormey and Caroline Klim each scored four goals for KP and Dana Truini scored twice and assisted on three other goals. Alli Meehan, Lauren Anderson, and Emma Izydorczak each scored once in the win, while Caroline Watson made eight saves in the KP goal. Leah McClellan and Maggie Connolly each scored twice for the Bulldogs and Kaitlyn Goyetch scored once. Connolly also had an assist. Vicki Revanche made 13 saves in the loss.

Mansfield, 5 @ Foxboro, 20 – Final

Franklin, 17 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – FinalFranklin senior Nicole Houlihan and freshman Elizabeth Wilson each accounted for four points apiece as the Panthers rolled to a win on the road. Houlihan had two goals and two assists, Wilson finished with one goal and three assists, and sophomore Erin Walsh chipped in with three goals and three assists. FHS coach Kristin Igoe-Guarino said Annie Walsh and Hailey Toolin both played well in the midfield for the Panthers. Chloe Kilkelly scored twice for Oliver Ames while Olivia Piazza recorded three assists.

Sharon, 9 @ North Attleboro, 8 – FinalMaeve Barbera scored the game-winning goal, her second of the afternoon, for Sharon with 15 seconds left in the game to split the season series against North. Sharon coach Shara Ginthwain called this a “huge win” for the Eagles and said that the game was “very close and competitive the whole time.” She added that the Eagles defense created turnovers in big moments and that the transition was “really great.” Sabrina Robbins scored three goals and Emma Eberhardt had four goals and an assist. Jenna Goldstein had an assist and Rose Wald made five saves in the win. Mackenzie Rosenberg scored six goals in defeat for the Rocketeers.

Boys Tennis
Mansfield, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalMansfield went on . the road and picked up a sweep over Attleboro, winning all five matches in straight sets. Luke Nickerson didn’t lose a game at first singles, Luke Devine won 6-3, 6-1 at second singles, and Peter Lally emerged with a 6-3, 7-5 decision at third singles. The team of Sam Cavicchi and Nilay Pangrekar won 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles, and Sam Schirmacher and Sam Donellan won by the same score at second doubles for the Hornets.

Milford, 1 @ Canton, 4 – FinalCanton picked up a pair of wins in singles and two more victories in doubles to beat visiting Milford. Dillon Anderson won 7-6, 6-0 at second singles and freshman Minh Duong took a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles for the Bulldogs. The team of Charlie Malloy and Aidas Jakubenas won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles and Justin Luk and Ethan Nguyen prevailed 6-1, 6-0 at second doubles for Canton. Milford’s BrenO’Shaughnessyessy rallied from a one-set deficit to win 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Stoughton, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – FinalStoughton freshman Waseem Sablon picked up a win in straight sets at first singles but the Black Knights fell on the road to the Warriors. Sablon won his match 6-3, 6-1.

Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – FinalFranklin took a pair of wins from singles play and swept doubles in straight sets to get a win on the road at Taunton. Freshman Liam Marr won 6-0, 6-2 at second singles and senior Tyler DiPalma prevailed 7-5, 6-2 at third singles. The team of Tony Calderone and Derek Wu won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles while Saketh Saripalli and Shournik Sompally lost just two games in a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles for the Panthers.

King Philip, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – FinalKing Philip’s Max Goreham and Riley Outlaw recorded their first career wins, taking a 6-0, 6-4 victory at second doubles in the Warriors sweep of OA. Jake Mager and Zak Ryan added a 6-2, 6-0 win at first doubles, Nick Putney (first singles) and Jack Cannon (second singles) didn’t lose a game, and Nick Ihley won 6-0, 6-1 at third singles for KP.

North Attleboro, 5 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalClick here for a recap of this match.

Girls Tennis
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – FinalThe Hornets swept doubles play and picked up two more wins in singles action, winning all four matches in straight sets against the visiting Bombardiers. Senior Sarah Doyle won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles and junior Elizabeth Elsner notched a 6-2, 6-2 win at second singles for the Hornets. The team of Tessa Garufi and Hannah Podolske won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles while Samantha Sternburg and Aryana Khosravani won 6-1, 6-4 at second doubles for Mansfield. Attleboro’s Anna Nelson won 6-4, 6-3 at third singles.

Canton, 5 @ Milford, 0 – FinalCanton freshman Natalie Keppler emerged with a third set breaker to get the win, helping the Bulldogs finish off the sweep on the road. Keppler won 6-4, 2-6, 10-6 to get the win, classmate Rachel Kupferman won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles, and Sarah Hernandez won 6-1, 6-0 at third singles for Canton. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Caitlin Matthews earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at first doubles while Anjali Mandal and Jamie Cree teamed up to win 6-2, 6-3 at second doubles for the Bulldogs.

Foxboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalFoxboro’s three singles players combined to drop just three games total in a clean sweep over Stoughton. Sophia Prinos didn’t drop a game at first singles, Pamela Nelson won 6-0, 6-2 at second singles, and Kayla Prag earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. Julia Muise and Sarah Prag paired together for a 6-2, 6-4 victory at first doubles while Olivia Dantona and Kendall Milender dropped just two games in a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles.

Taunton, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalTaunton won all five of its matches in straights, going on the road to get a sweep at Franklin. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles, Vanessa Rosa took a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca earned a 6-1, 6-2 decision at third singles. McKenzie Lucie and Samantha Martin notched a 6-2, 6-1 win at first doubles while Amanda Pugh and Brianna Fevrier teamed together for a 6-2, 6-2 win at second doubles.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ King Philip, 2 – FinalAfter dropping a first set tiebreak, Oliver Ames’ second doubles team of Olivia Groebe and Rachel Stryke rallied to win two straight sets and clinch the winning point for the Tigers. Groebe and Stryke won 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 while OA’s first doubles team of Kristin Bloumbas and Emily Yu also recorded a comeback win, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. Sophomore Maura Kiernan also won in three set for OA, taking a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 decision at third singles. KP’s Erin Regnier won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles and Meghan Sepich prevailed 6-3, 6-0 at second singles.

Sharon, 5 @ North Attleboro, 0 – FinalSharon won all five matches in straight sets to earn a sweep of North Attleboro on the road. Nupur Shukla won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles, Lulu Yuan earned a 6-0, 6-3 decision at second singles, and EmilyWen prevailed 6-3, 6-1 at third singles. The team of Katie Merport and Sachi Bhasin notched a 6-1, 6-0 win at first doubles while Rithika Neti and Sophia Fein continued their strong season with a 6-3, 6-1 win at second doubles.

Boys Volleyball
Milford, 3 vs. Millis, 0 – Final


Franklin’s Offense Breaks Through Against Feehan

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – After scoring just over one minute into the game, the Franklin girls lacrosse team struggled to find the back of the net for much of the first half.

Despite eight shots on goal during the half, Bishop Feehan goalie Maggie Roberts came up with big save after big save to deny the Panthers, and with 1:06 left to go in the half, the Shamrocks led 2-1.

Kelsey McCallum scored off a shooting space penalty to tie the game at 2-2, and milliseconds before the buzzer sounded to end the half, Hailey Toolin found the back of the net to put Franklin up 3-2.

Those two goals proved to be the spark that Franklin needed, as in the second half their offense broke through with eight goals en route to an 11-4 victory over Bishop Feehan.

“I give credit to their goalie, she was really good, but we weren’t making the changes in our shots we needed to make, and those last two goals really gave us momentum going into the second half, and it kind of gave us an idea of where we need to shoot,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino.

To start the second half, Franklin scored four unanswered goals, including two from Erin Walsh, to put the Panthers up 7-2. With 16:23 left, Feehan scored to make it 7-3, but back-to-back goals by Annie Walsh and Elizabeth Wilson put the game pretty much out of reach at 9-3. Feehan would add another goal, but Franklin tacked on two more in the last 1:09 of the game to finish off the 11-4 win.

One of the keys for Franklin was their success with draw controls, as Franklin won fourteen out of sixteen draws, including ten out of eleven in the second half.

“Our draws have been pretty consistent all year, we’ve been beating teams in draws, we’ve been focused on our possessions on offense, and translating our draw wins into goals, and that’s been our struggle all year, and we were finally able to get more than eight goals this game,” Igoe-Guarino added.

In the first half, Erin Walsh started out the scoring early, netting Franklin’s first goal a minute and fourteen seconds into the game. For much of the first six minutes, Franklin controlled possession, and despite some good looks, they were turned away by Roberts.

With 17:28 left to go, Feehan tied the game up. They had another good opportunity with 10:13 left in the half, but a save by Gianna Cameron kept the game tied up at one with a nice save. Feehan took a 2-1 with 3:05 left to go, but that was the only lead they would hold for the rest of the game.

Franklin (4-3) will travel to Natick on Monday to take on the Redhawks in what will be a rematch of the 2017 MIAA D1 East Quarterfinals.

Bishop Feehan (5-2) will travel to Marshfield on Monday to take on the Rams.

Panthers Pull Away in First Half to Beat Bombardiers

Franklin girls basketball
Franklin sophomore center Ali Brigham scored 22 points (16 in the first half) and pulled down 20 rebounds to lift the Panthers to a 63-51 victory over Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – During the first half, the Bombardiers had little answer for the dynamic inside-outside combination of Franklin sophomore center Ali Brigham and junior guard Bea Bondhus. The duo combined for 30 points before the break to push the Panthers to a 21-point halftime lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Although Attleboro turned up the energy in the second half, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the lead proved too great to overcome and Franklin stayed within one game of the Kelley-Rex division leaders with a 63-51 victory.

Bondhus opened the paint by knocking down a pair of threes in the opening half and spreading the Attleboro defense out with 14 of her 18 points coming before the break. With the outside threat giving Brigham a little space with which to work, the sophomore showed off an array of offensive moves on the post and stepping away to face the basket.

She scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half and also added 12 of her game-high 20 rebounds. Brigham was also a force on the defensive side with four blocks.

“She’s worked so hard in the offseason to become a much more complete player and we’ve really worked on getting her the ball in scoring positions,” said Franklin coach John Leighton of Brigham. “I think early in the year, we tried to force it when it wasn’t there and now we’re trying to get her in positions to be successful and I think her teammates are doing a good job of that.”

Breanna Atwood got the game started for Franklin, which got right into its dribble-drive offense and full-court press. Atwood (10 points) buried a corner three and scored five points in the first. Then Brigham got going. She scored with a short jumper, an offensive rebound, and a jumper with a foot on the three-point line.

The Panthers kept pressing and Bondhus nailed a corner three and got free for a layup off an inbound pass by Calen Frongillo. Franklin led 21-8 after the first and kept the offense rolling into the second.

“I thought we ran a lot of tempo today,” explained Leighton, “which opens up a lot of stuff. It makes the defense react quicker. We started getting good looks and then you can’t just double on Ali if we’re moving it and finding people.”

Attleboro cut the lead to eight with a transition layup from Nyah Thomas (six points) and a three by Sam Pierce, but then Brigham scored with a drive on the baseline and hit a floater. Bondhus followed with her second three of the half and the lead grew to 17.

“In the first half it kind of got away from us,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “We were able to reel them back in but they had a spurt at the end of the half to extend it. I’m proud of my kids though because they kept fighting and it’s still an early learning curve for us.”

Brigham added six more points on a jumper, a hook shot going to her right and a put back bucket, while Bondhus got two when she cut to the basket and was found by Atwood and then got a steal and transition basket to put Franklin ahead 42-21 going into halftime.

Coming out of the break, the Bombardiers played with a lot more energy. Junior guard Jordyn Lako provided a spark on the defensive end with two steals, two blocks, five assists, and eight rebounds. Attleboro also started to get the ball into the hands of Pierce, who would score 19 of her game-high 24 points in the second half.

Brigham was limited to six points after halftime (all in the third), as Attleboro gave Mackenzie Roberts more help trying to contain her in the post. Crowley said, “I don’t know if you can really contain her, but our rotations were better than they were in the first half. I thought Kenzie did a pretty good job on her for the most part but that’s why she’s a top caliber player.”

Attleboro trailed by 22 heading to the fourth, but the Bombardiers never let up. Pierce completed a traditional three-point play off a Lako assist, went 5-for-5 from the line, and scored 11 points in the fourth. Liv McCall buried a pair of threes and Attleboro got as close as 10 points in the final minutes.

“They’re tough,” said Leighton. “Sam is a tough kid and when she can get people on her back then she’s tough to defend. A well-coached team, Marty’s always tough and he’s got kids that play real ‘D’ and work hard.”

Crowley said, “We were a little flat here or there. We had a little more energy coming out of halftime and in the second half. We need to play with a little more of a sense of urgency to start games and not expend so much energy coming back.”

Despite a youthful lineup, Franklin trails Mansfield and Oliver Ames by only one game in the league standings and Leighton sees improvement from the start of the season.

“I’m proud as can be,” he said. “We rolled out four sophomores and a junior tonight and that’s only because my freshman (Elizabeth Wilson) is hurt. They’re all buying in, there’s a real work ethic, practices have been competitive, and we’re so young there’s a lot of room for growth.”

Franklin (7-4, 5-2) will put its four-game win streak on the line against King Philip on Friday, while Attleboro (5-6, 3-4) faces a trip to Taunton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/12/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro @ Oliver Ames – Ppd. to 1/14 at 5:00.

Canton, 56 @ Sharon, 42 – FinalSharon built a double-digit lead in the first quarter but Canton rallied in the second to take a lead and never looked back. The Bulldogs trailed 20-9 in the first but took a 28-23 lead into the locker room at halftime. Canton closed the game with strong defense, allowing just seven points in the fourth quarter. Junior Devin Foster scored 18 points for the Bulldogs while senior Tony Harris had nine points and nine rebounds. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet scored a game-high 20 points and hauled in 15 rebounds.

Milford, 51 @ Foxboro, 55 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

Mansfield, 52 @ Franklin, 67 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

King Philip, 70 @ Taunton, 72 – FinalKing Philip rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or win late, but the Tigers survived. Senior Lens Esquil had a team-high 17 points while sophomore Dante Law added 12 points and senior Tyler Medeiros finished with 10 points. For King Philip, senior Pharoah Davis had 18 points while Bruce Santillus added 15 points and 11 rebounds.

North Attleboro, 68 @ Stoughton, 60 – FinalNorth Attleboro junior Jake Petersen poured in a career-high 26 points, hauled in 11 rebounds (six offensive) and had three blocks to lead the Rocketeers to a win. Stoughton took a lead in the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run (50-49), but North Attleboro outscored the Black Knights 19-10 the rest of the way, pulling away in the final minutes. Petersen scored 12 of his points in the second quarter and added eight more in the final frame. Junior Josh Montague added 17 points while classmate Matt Seavey added nine points and nine rebounds off the bench. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews poured in 29 points (four three-pointers) while Colin Sanda added 14 points (four three-pointers).

Girls Basketball
Oliver Ames, 67 @ Attleboro, 54 – FinalKayla Raymond scored a career-high 38 points, her second straight game with at least 30 points, to pace the Tigers to a road win. Raymond also had 11 rebounds while Abby Reardon added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists and Alex Sheldon chipped in with nine points and six boards for OA. Sam Pierce had 18 for the Bombardiers and Liv McCall added 16 in the loss. Before the game, Attleboro honored Sarah Deyo, who became the program’s all-time leading scorer last year and is currently playing at Southern New Hampshire University.

Sharon, 44 @ Canton, 49 – FinalMaggie Connolly scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 5-2 start to the season. Erin Devine and Hannah Jerrier each had 10 points and Julia Hamilton had six in the win, which was hard-fought for Canton. The Bulldogs led 33-14 at the half, but the Eagles outscored them 30-16 to make it a close finish. Telishya Herbert was Sharon’s top scorer with 13 and Emma Eberhardt added 12.

Foxboro, 67 @ Milford, 47 – FinalLily Sykes was the top scorer for Foxboro with 17 points, while Grace Tamulionis had 16 and Ashley Sampson had 15 points for the Warriors.

Franklin, 49 @ Holy Name, 42 – FinalFranklin went to Worcester and picked up a season sweep against Holy Name. After hitting two clutch free throws that forced overtime in the first meeting with the Naps, freshman Elizabeth Wilson scored 20 points to lead the Panthers.

Taunton, 64 @ King Philip, 62 – Final (OT)The Tigers edged KP 10-8 in overtime after finishing regulation 54-54. Lily Patneaude led Taunton with 16 points and five rebounds and MacKenzie Handrahan chipped in with 15 points and nine boards. Kelsey White had a great overall night for the Tigers with 12 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, and Hannah Moniz had 11 in the win.

Stoughton, 59 @ North Attleboro, 43 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery from this game.

Boys Swimming
Franklin, 91 @ Mansfield, 74 – Final
King Philip @ North Attleboro, 3:15
Sharon, 61 @ Stoughton, 37 – Final

Girls Swimming
Franklin, 93 @ Mansfield, 72 – Final
King Philip @ North Attleboro, 3:15
Sharon, 87 @ Stoughton, 66 – Final

Gymnastics
Canton @ Taunton, 8:00
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro, 7:30

Second Half Run Propels Warriors Past Franklin

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro freshman Katelyn Mollica scored 18 points and dished out three assists to help the Warriors earn a big win on the road at Franklin. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – With only a few minutes left in the first half, Franklin sophomore center Ali Brigham made a scored in the lane to put the Panthers ahead 17-12 against defending Davenport division champion Foxboro. It would be Franklin’s largest lead of the game.

Up until that point, the Warriors were struggling to get anything going on offense during Tuesday night’s Hockomock League matchup. Three-pointers were clanging off the rim, the Panthers’ were dominating the glass, and Franklin’s zone defense seemed to have Foxboro off kilter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But the experienced Warriors settled down, started to knock down shots, and turned the game on its head in a hurry. After scoring only 12 points over nearly 11 minutes of the first half, they scored 12 in the final three-plus minutes of the second quarter and never looked back.

Foxboro rolled off 20 straight points between the second and third quarters (including the first 18 points of the second half), closed the game on a 52-16 run, and ran out to a 64-33 victory.

“We were missing a few shots in the first half and the girls were critiquing themselves a little bit,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “Once they just settled in during the third quarter and they started hitting a few shots, you could feel the gush of confidence coming back.”

Franklin took an early lead during a first quarter that was largely dominated by both teams’ pressure defenses. After Brigham (12 points and 15 rebounds) scored of an assist by freshman Elizabeth Wilson, the Panthers took an 8-3 lead. Foxboro battled back to tie the game but Bea Bondhus got free on the baseline for a buzzer-beating layup off an inbounds to make it 10-8 after one quarter.

Brigham started to take over in the second with a personal 7-0 run that made it 17-12. Needing a spark, Foxboro got momentum not from its experienced stars but from newcomer Katelyn Mollica (18 points, three assists, and three steals). The freshman guard got a steal and scored on the break to cut the lead to three, as part of her six points in the quarter.

“She’s completely comfortable with them and what I love about her the most is that if she makes a mistake you’d never know it in her body language,” said Downs. “She never alters her game, never gets down on herself, just gets back and tries to get the next defensive stop.”

Grace Tamulionis knocked down a three off an assist by Ashley Sampson to put Foxboro ahead and Lily Sykes (10 points, six assists, and three steals) nailed one from distance as well. After a Calen Frongillo reverse brought Franklin within one, Sampson closed the half with a drive at the buzzer to give Foxboro a 24-21 lead at the break.

It was the start of a 20-0 run that sealed the win.

Sampson, the reigning Hockomock League MVP and Adelphi University-commit, took over the game in the second half. She scored 17 of her game-high 21 points after the break and added five rebounds, four assists, and four steals with her future college coach in the stands watching.

She started the half with four quick points then assisted on a jumper by Mollica. Sykes kicked a pass out to Tamulionis for her second three of the game and assisted on a jumper by Abby Hassman. Mollica drilled her second three of the game and then Sampson buried one as well and suddenly it was a 42-21 lead.

“I thought our 1-3-1 zone worked well in the first half but we were getting tired and we had to adjust,” said Leighton. “In man-to-man they really started exposing every open shot and taking advantage.”

He added, “We’re young. When they went on a run, instead of reacting, we kind of imploded for a bit. That’s something we have to learn from; it’s a great lesson for us.”

Franklin scored only three points in the third quarter, all three by Megan O’Connell (seven points and six rebounds), and the on-the-ball pressure of the Foxboro guards made it very difficult for Brigham to get any touches in the post. The reigning Underclassman of the Year was held to just a single made free throw in the second half.

“I thought Shannon [Smally] and Grace did a great job on Brigham, but more so it was the guards making it difficult for their guards to find her in there,” said Downs. “What we lack in height, we make up for in tenacity.”

Leighton explained, “I thought our offense broke down with ways to create for her. We started doing the ‘just stand underneath and throw it to her and hope something good happens,’ which just isn’t good basketball.”

The Panthers tried several different defensive looks in the game, but Foxboro’s experience was evident with the ball moving from player to player and the extra pass giving the Warriors consistent open looks. Foxboro added 21 points in the fourth, putting the game away and ensuring there was no comeback.

“We hadn’t practiced [the 1-3-1 zone] this week,” said Downs, “but they have it in their back pocket what we need to do – just making that extra pass, rotating the ball and knowing that we have shooters all around the court.”

Foxboro (3-1, 3-0) will try to extend its three-game win streak when it hosts fellow Div. 2 competitor Hopkinton on Thursday, while Franklin (3-1, 2-1) will host Coyle & Cassidy in an exclusion game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/12/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 50 @ Canton, 53 – FinalCanton held a one-point lead at halftime (28-27) but used an 8-0 run to start the second half to create the separation it needed. The Bulldogs went up 51-41 with 5:29 to play, but Attleboro’s switch to a zone defense stalled Canton’s offense and got the Bombarders back into the game. Attleboro had a 9-2 run and had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer but the shot missed and Canton picked up its first win over Attleboro since 2013. Senior Tony Harris scored a game-high 18 points while hauling in 15 rebounds, senior Austin Maffie added 11 points and junior Devin Foster finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Attleboro junior Dom Victor had a team-high 16 points while sophomore Qualeem Charles had 12 points.

Mansfield, 50 @ Foxboro, 43 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

King Philip, 53 @ Milford, 47 – FinalMilford held the lead until the final minutes of the game, but King Philip took the lead late and earned the win on the road. Milford junior Brendan White dropped a career-high 20 points while senior Kayden Kelley had 15 points for the Hawks.

Oliver Ames, 64 @ Stoughton, 53 – FinalStoughton rallied at the end of the first half, using seven straight points from senior Greg Firmin (career-high 14 points) to take a 34-32 lead at halftime. But Oliver Ames switched to a 2-3 zone and took control of the game in the second half. OA senior Jack Spillane led all scorers with 24 points while junior Jake Erlich scored 13 points for the Tigers.

Taunton, 64 @ Sharon, 62 – FinalSharon overcame a 13-point deficit over the final 90 seconds and had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but came up just shy. Taunton jumped out to a 20-10 lead after the first quarter before taking a 34-25 lead into the locker room. The Tigers kept their lead in double-digits, 50-40, heading into the final quarter. Sharon outscored Taunton 22-12 in the final frame but the Tigers escaped with the win. Sophomore Dante Law netted a team-high 20 points for Taunton while junior Lou Vendrell scored a career-high 18 points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet led all scorers with 22 points and 12 rebounds, Jimmy Fitzhenry added 14 points and Lester High had 11 points.

Girls Basketball
Canton, 39 @ Attleboro, 37 – FinalHannah Jerrier scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Erin Devine added eight points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and three assists as Canton rallied in the final minute to open its season with a road victory. The Bulldogs trailed 37-36 with a minute left and scored to take the lead, adding a free throw in the final 20 seconds. Julia Hamilton added seven points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs. Attleboro was led by Sam Pierce’s 12 points, while Jordyn Lako scored 10 in the loss.

Foxboro, 43 @ Mansfield, 37 – FinalThe Warriors got 12 points from Grace Tamulionis and nine points from Lily Sykes (on a combined five three-pointers) to win the Hockomock opener for both teams in a battle of last season’s league champions. The Warriors took the lead with a 15-6 fourth-quarter run. The game was tied 37-37 with 2:00 remaining and Shannon Smally scored the go-ahead basket for Foxboro. Mansfield got 11 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks from Meg Hill and nine points on a trio of three-pointers from Ann Maher.

North Attleboro, 37 @ Franklin, 61 – FinalAli Brigham scored 16 points to lead Franklin to a win in the Hockomock League opener for both teams. Bea Bondhus added 15 points and freshman Elizabeth Wilson had 12 for the Panthers.

Milford, 56 @ King Philip, 64 – FinalShannon O’Connor scored a game-high 26 points to give new head coach Amy Siggens a win in her first game in charge. Faith Roy added 10 points and Faye Veilleux had nine for the Warriors. Siggens said it was a total team effort and highlighted KP turning the ball over only 10 times in the game. She added, “They just played so well together.” Milford was led by Kate Irwin with 22 points and Emily Piergustavo scored 16 in the loss.

Stoughton, 48 @ Oliver Ames, 55 – Final Oliver Ames held a comfortable 45-29 lead after three quarters, but the Knights rattled off a 17-4 run over the first five minutes of the final quarter to make it a three-point game. OA’s defense clamped down and allowed just two more points the rest of the way while Abby Reardon and Tori Harney hit key free throws to seal the win. Kayla Raymond scored 25 points and Caroline Flynn added 14 to lead Oliver Ames to a season-opening victory.

Sharon, 42 @ Taunton, 58 – FinalTaunton got 15 points from Hannah Moniz to open its season with a second straight win, exceeding the win total from last winter. Jaelyn Fernandez added 11 points, Mackenzie Handrahan had 10 points and seven boards, Alexa White had eight points and six steals, and Lily Patneaude and Kelsey White each had seven points in the victory. Emma Eberhardt scored 21 points and Kaitlyn Wallace added 16 for the Eagles.

Boys Swimming
Canton, 108.5 @ Attleboro, 49.5 – Final

Boys Swimming
Canton, 91 @ Attleboro, 78 – Final

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview
The girls’ basketball season is about to tip off and we’ve got capsules for each of the 12 teams that are looking to bring home Kelley-Rex and Davenport division titles. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2016-2017 Record: 16-8
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Marty Crowley

The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.

Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.

One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.

Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”

Canton

2016-2017 Record: 6-14
2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Jim Choquette

There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.

Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.

Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.

“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”

Foxboro

2016-2017 Record: 22-3
2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal
Coach: Lisa Downs

After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.

Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.

The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.

Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”

Franklin

2016-2017 Record: 9-11
2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: John Leighton

Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.

The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.

Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.

“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.

King Philip

2016-2017 Record: 7-13
2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Amy Siggens

King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.

Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.

The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.

Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”

Mansfield

2016-2017 Record: 20-4
2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final.
Coach: Mike Redding

Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.

The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.

Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.

Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”

Milford

2016-2017 Record: 10-11
2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round.
Coach: T.J. Dolliver

A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.

The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.

Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.

Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”

North Attleboro

2016-2017 Record: 18-7
2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal.
Coach: Derek Herber

Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.

The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.

The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.

North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”

Oliver Ames

2016-2017 Record: 13-8
2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round.
Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook

Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.

The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.

In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.

“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”

Sharon

2016-2017 Record: 6-14
2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason.
Coach: Sandra Lombardi

In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.

Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.

Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.

Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”

Stoughton

2016-2017 Record: 8-10
2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason.
Coach: Charmaine Steele-Jordan

The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.

Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.

Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.

Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”

Taunton

2016-2017 Record: 1-21
2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason.
Coach: Walter Harrigan

Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.

The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.

Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.

Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”