Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Sarah Deyo, Attleboro
Julia Strachan, Attleboro
Hannah Jerrier, Canton
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Lily Sykes, Foxboro
Ali Brigham, Franklin
Shannon O’Connor, King Philip
Meg Hill, Mansfield
Jen Peel, Mansfield
Kate Irwin, Milford
Ashley Ahern, North Attleboro
Caroline Collard, North Attleboro
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Emma Eberhardt, Sharon
Val Whalen, Stoughton
Lily Patneaude, Taunton
Mish Logie, Attleboro
Emma Murphy, Canton
Grace Tamulionis, Foxboro
Carli Koffinke, Franklin
Julia Leroux, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Dahlgren, Milford
Samantha Taggart, North Attleboro
Niyera Mitchell, Oliver Ames
Shira Stoller, Sharon
Lili Njeim, Stoughton
Mackenzie Handrahan, Taunton
Taunton, 72 @ Attleboro, 82 – Final – Taunton used a 13-0 run over the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth to cut the deficit to two (59-57) but Attleboro had a response of its own, rattling off a 15-4 run to secure the win. Andrew Milliken hit a pair of threes, Jake Dunkley added four points, Elvin Sam drained a three and freshman Qualeem Charles converted a putback to put Attleboro up 74-63 with just two minutes to go. Dunkley finished with a team-high 21 points, Sam added a career-high 14 points, Milliken had 13 points, Nate Douglas chipped in with 11 points and Charles notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Taunton senior Tommy MacLean dropped a game-high 25 points while Malik Charles, Dante Law and Lens Esquil each scored 10 points for the Tigers.
Canton, 66 @ Stoughton, 69 – Final – Stoughton junior Cam Andrews hit a deep three pointer with just seven seconds left to lift the Black Knights to a win. Andrews finished with 18 points for Stoughton. Canton sophomore Devin Foster scored a career-high 30 points for the Bulldogs.
Oliver Ames, 43 @ Mansfield, 61 – Final – Oliver Ames was able to keep pace with the Hornets for 16 minutes, trailing just 29-26 at halftime but Mansfield created separation in the third quarter and never looked back. The Hornets outscored the visitors 16-7 in the third quarter to take a 45-33 lead going into the final period. Mansfield senior Sam Goldberg scored 17 points and hauled in 12 rebounds while classmate Evan Christo was a perfect 6-6 from the field for 13 points. Phil Vigeant added nine points and Max Boen had seven points and seven rebounds. Nick Welch led OA with 16 points and Dylan Mahoney chipped in with 12 points.
Sharon, 78 @ Milford, 65 – Final – After a high scoring first quarter (23-22, Sharon), the Eagles took a seven point advantage (42-35) in the locker room at halftime. Sharon extended its lead to double-digits in the third, eventually taking a 61-50 lead into the final quarter. Milford cut the deficit to five, 65-60, with 4:40 to play but Sharon closed the game with a 13-5 run. Senior Ricardo Ripley connected on a three in the run, Tommy Modelevsky came up with a timely steal and Sharon was efficient at the free throw line down the stretch. Ripley finished with a team-high 20 points, junior Malik Lorquet had 17 points and 15 rebounds and sophomore Alex Kaufmann chipped in with 15 points.
Attleboro, 71 @ Taunton, 44 – Final – Jordyn Lako scored a career-high 24 points for the Bombardiers.
Stoughton, 74 @ Canton, 62 – Final (OT) – Freshman Shyanne Trinh scored 22 of her career-high 32 points in the second half and overtime to lead the Black Knights. Senior Lili Njiem added 14 points, Val Whalen added 12 points, and freshman Aliyah Wright chipped in with 10 points. Junior Jordan Motley added 13 rebounds and seven blocks. Canton’s Emma Murphy and Jess Powers each had 12 points.
King Philip, 52 @ Franklin, 58 – Final – Franklin rallied from 10 points down to start the fourth quarter with a 27-11 run to close out the game. Ali Brigham led the way for the Panthers with 17 points to help Franklin move within one game of tournament qualification. Shannon O’Connor was the top scorer for KP with 14 points.
Mansfield, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 49 – Final –The Hornets scored 40 points in the second half to close out the league campaign with a win. Jen Peel paced Mansfield with 17 points, while Meg Hill chipped in with eight points in the second half and pulled down 11 rebounds. Brenna Burkett was OA’s top scorer with 10 points and Niyera Mitchell had nine.
Milford, 38 @ Sharon, 41 – Final – Emma Eberhardt scored a team-high 15 points and added five steal and three blocks for the Eagles. She also went 3-of-4 from the line in the final 30 seconds to seal the win. Shira Stoller had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For most of the second half of Sunday afternoon’s game, everyone the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, including the Sharon defense, knew where Canton was going on the offensive end of the floor. The ball was going into the block to junior Hannah Jerrier as often as possible.
Knowing that she was going to get the ball did not make her any easier to stop.
Jerrier scored 26 points, including all 10 of Canton’s points in the third quarter and 18 of the 27 points the Bulldogs scored in the second half, and pulled down nine rebounds to lift the Bulldogs to a 58-49 victory and a season sweep of the Eagles.
“I think our team, now that we’re halfway through the year, is understanding their roles and they see Hannah being successful in the post, so they have more confidence in throwing it to her,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “Hannah stepping up has really helped us the last few games.”
The Bulldogs went to Jerrier on almost every possession in the third quarter, as they tried to protect a 12-point halftime lead. Guards Julia Hamilton and Maggie Connolly and fellow post players Emma Murphy and Erin Devine each had assists on the four baskets that Jerrier had in the third, as Canton utilized the high post to perfection and extended a run from the first half that built the lead to as many as 20 points.
“We were trying to go full-court press because that worked the first time we played them,” said Sharon coach Cliff Tomassian of trying to defend Jerrier. “Once they beat the press they were able to get it down to her for easy buckets. In the half-court, she’s just tough to defend.”
It took the Eagles a while to get going on the offensive end int he third quarter, but Sharon started to chip away at the lead. Shira Stoller hit a runner and freshman Tylesia Herbert (seven points and three steals) buried a three from the far corner. Stoller closed the quarter with a steal, a layup, and the foul that got Sharon back within 10 heading to the fourth.
“We stuck with it,” said Tomassian. “I thought the girls just stepped it up and made some plays. All we ask is that no matter what the score is, no matter who we’re playing is to keep fighting.”
In the fourth, Stoller (seven points) banked in a runner to cut the lead down to single digits at 45-36 and Veronica Wallace started to heated up for the Eagles. She answered a Jerrier basket with a drive to the hoop and took a defensive rebound and flew past everyone on her way to another layup that got Sharon as close as five points (50-45).
“The first game we played them she had five missed layups and I think she took it a little personal and she came to play today,” said Tomassian of Wallace, who had eight points in the fourth and a team-high 12 for the game. “No one wants to stop her. If she gets into the open court in practice, everyone stands still and doesn’t want to touch her.”
Choquette took advantage of a timeout to settle down the Bulldogs and remind them of his halftime message. He explained, “There’s always a letdown and a point where they’re hitting their stride. I’m not worried about that part, once we get to a certain point, we have to draw a line in the sand and answer.
“During one of the timeouts he called, I said okay that was their run and it’s right back to playing our game. That worked, we answered their challenge and won the game.”
Connolly (eight points and seven rebounds) had a drive to the basket plus the foul that got momentum back with the Bulldogs. She scored six of her eight points in the fourth and Jerrier added eight as well to close out the win.
Playing in a much different environment than they are used to, both teams came out a little flat to start the game. Sharon’s offense was not helped by two quick fouls on sophomore Emma Eberhardt, who is the Eagles’ leading scorer this season. Eberhardt missed most of the first half and finished with eight points.
“She usually doesn’t come out very much at all,” said Tomassian of Eberhardt. “It’s the second half of the season and we’re seeing teams again or they’re seeing her before they play us and they’re defending her much better.”
Canton was struggling a little with the Sharon press but as the first quarter wore on the Bulldogs started to find seams and score in transition. Hamilton had all seven of her points in the first half and Murphy added 11 of her 13 before the break, as Canton closed the second quarter on an 8-0 run to break the game open.
On Tuesday, Canton (4-9, 3-8) will try to make it three wins in a row when it travels to Oliver Ames. Sharon (5-10, 2-9) has to run the table to qualify for the state tournament and that begins on Tuesday with a trip to Franklin.
CANTON, Mass. – Canton has shown flashes of improvement on the offensive end this season, putting together strong stretches that kept the Bulldogs close with perennial powers like Franklin, Mansfield, and North Attleboro. While there have been good patches, Canton had only reached 60 points once this year, against Sharon, before Friday night.
The Bulldogs clicked on offense for four quarters against visiting Taunton, including a 20-point second quarter, had 10 players get on the score sheet, and had a season high for points in a 63-47 victory.
“We kind of have had spurts throughout the whole year where we show signs of being a good offensive team,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette, “but stretching it over four quarters has been the issue…Today, was all about execution.”
The Tigers had gotten off to a strong start to the game, building an 11-4 lead early on behind five of Lily Patnaude’s game-high 24 points and four from Hannah Moniz. Canton rallied with the final six points of the first quarter to close the gap to just one and had five players with two points apiece in the first, including a layup from Erin Devine, set up by Maggie Connolly.
MacKenzie Handrahan (eight points, nine rebounds) scored on a rebound to start the second and Patnaude buried her second three. Canton scored six straight to take the lead, including a three-pointer by Jess Powers, who was playing her first game of the season after recovering from a knee injury suffered during lacrosse season.
Abby Kingman knocked down a three to regain the lead at 19-18, but the Bulldogs closed out the half with 12 straight points to go ahead to stay. Taunton struggled against Canton’s height, particularly when Handrahan went to the bench with her third foul early in the second.
“It was a close game and we need her in there,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “We need her leadership and just her hustle and determination and I thought we lost it when Mackenzie went out and we couldn’t regain it.”
Hannah Jerrier scored to give Canton back the lead and then assisted on a layup by Connolly (10 points, 14 rebounds), who added a jumper and pulled down eight boards in the first half alone.
“It’s hard to remember that she’s a guard because she’ll rebound more than anyone on our team, or on their team,” said Choquette. “She missed down here, was the last one down here, and raced back to block the girls’ shot. Her greatest attribute is she never gives up on a play; she’ll never give up for one second.”
Jerrier also assisted on a basket for Casey Shea (six point) in the second quarter, one of 18 assists for the Bulldogs on the night.
Choquette said of the ball movement, “We don’t try to put bigs in one spot or guards in one spot. It’s a motion-based offense where everyone has to be in the right positions and no matter where you are it’s fine for everyone to go.”
Canton kept pulling away in the third quarter, opening the lead out to 18 heading into the fourth. Jerrier was the key to the attack with nine of her team-high 19 in the third. Jerrier had all but five points in the paint (the other five were at the line) and Canton continued to get the ball into the paint, either off rebounds or over the top of the Taunton defense.
“They’re size absolutely killed us,” Harrigan admitted. “Many times we’d have them boxed out and they’d go right up and they’re just so much bigger than us. Give them credit, they were able to rebound well and that was really the difference in the game.”
Patnaude tried to keep the Tigers in the game in the second half, scoring eight points in each of the third and fourth quarters. Harrigan called it a “breakout” game for the sophomore.
“Lily came on strong and we’ve been waiting for that,” he said. “She’s been struggling a little bit this year, but this was a breakout game for her and we’re going to see a lot of good things from her going forward.”
The Canton offense continued to be unstoppable in the fourth. On back-to-back possessions, Shea popped out to the high post and hit Emma Murphy on back-cuts across the baseline for layups. Jerrier added six more in the fourth and Lindsey Barrett and Molly Ludwig came off the bench to knock down jumpers.
Choquette said, “I think a lot of it comes from playing really good defense. They like being aggressive, they like jumping out, they like trapping. When we’re playing defense like that and the excitement of being at home with the crowd and the band, all of that led to a really nice win.”
Canton (3-9, 2-8) will try to keep the momentum going on Sunday against Sharon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. Taunton (0-14, 0-10) will try to bounce back on Tuesday against Stoughton.
Stoughton, 68 @ Sharon, 61 – Final – Stoughton junior Cam Andrews scored a career-high 28 points to pace the Black Knights to their first win over Sharon since January 2013. Stoughton held a double-digit lead at halftime (35-23) but Sharon cut it to five (49-44) entering the fourth quarter. The Black Knights outscored Sharon 7-3 over the final two minutes of play. Ricardo Ripley led the Eagles with 19 points while Malik Lorquet added 13 points and Jimmy Fitzhenry had 12 points.
Franklin, 38 @ Attleboro, 49 – Final
Foxboro, 69 @ Canton, 31 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored a game-high 20 points for the Warriors. Hailey Maling added 15 and Grace Tamulionis had 10 for Foxboro. Hannah Jerrier scored 11 points and Emma Murphy added 10 for the Bulldogs.
Mansfield, 60 @ King Philip, 28 – Final – Jen Peel was the top scorer with 18 points in the win. Ann Maher and Maggie Danehy each chipped in with nine points apiece and Meg Hill had six points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets. KP was led by Julia Leroux and Christina Hathaway, who both scored eight points.
Oliver Ames, 57 @ Taunton, 20 – Final – Oliver Ames build a 24-6 lead at halftime and never looked back. Kayla Raymond led OA with 15 points and seven rebounds while Abby Reardon added eight points and four assists.
Sharon, 29 @ Stoughton, 43 – Final – Jordan Motley and Val Whalen each had double-doubles for the Black Knights. Motley had 11 points and 23 rebounds and Whalen scored 12 points and pulled down 18 boards. Sharon sophomore Emma Eberhardt scored a team-high 15 points for the Eagles.
Oliver Ames, 62 @ Attleboro, 49 – Final – Oliver Ames built a 10 point lead by halftime and extended its lead to 17 in the third quarter to earn the road win. Attleboro battled back to cut the deficit to eight (48-40) entering the fourth quarter but Oliver Ames closed out the game with a 14-9 final quarter. Nick Welch scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Tigers while Jack Spillane added 15 points for OA.
Sharon, 49 @ Canton, 63 – Final – The Bulldogs turn a close game at halftime (29-22) and built a 20-point lead in the third quarter. Sharon was able to cut it to 12 (46-34) entering the fourth quarter but Canton’s offense didn’t slow down with 19 points in the final quarter. Sophomore Devin Foster led the Bulldogs with a team-high 19 points while junior Austin Maffie netted 17 points and hauled in 7 rebounds. Sharon’s Malik Lorquet had 17 points and eight rebounds while Ricardo Ripley added 15 points and three steals.
Foxboro, 52 @ Milford, 65 – Final – Milford turned a one-point deficit at halftime into a lead behind 25 points in the third quarter. Foxboro got within six at just under six to play but couldn’t close the gap. Shane Cosquete scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Scarlet Hawks while Zack Tamagni added 18 points and Kayden Kelley had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Stoughton, 54 @ North Attleboro, 68 – Final – North Attleboro was able to break the press and race out to a 22-6 lead through the first eight minutes. Stoughton’s Cam Andrews scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter to get the Black Knights within 10 (32-22) at the break. Both offenses poured it on in the third quarter, totaling 55 points between the two teams. North Attleboro’s Chad Peterson scored eight of his 16 points in the final quarter, including a pair of key three pointers to help the Rocketeers ice the game. Jonny Friberg had a team-high 17 points for North while Brent Doherty added 13 points. The Rocketeers went 20/24 from the free throw line in the win.
Attleboro, 48 @ Oliver Ames, 60 – Final – Oliver Ames used a dominant second half, outscoring the Bombardiers 34-19, to score a key division win over Attleboro. “It was a great defensive effort for us,” OA head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said. Sadie Homer scored a career high 24 points to lead the Tigers while, Kayla Raymond had 12 points, Niyera Mitchell had eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocks and Abby Reardon chipped in with nine points.
Sharon, 54 @ Canton, 60 – Final – Canton used a 23-11 fourth quarter to pull out the victory. Hannah Jerrier scored 20 points (12 in the fourth quarter alone) and pulled down 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Emma Murphy chipped in with 11 points and Erin Devine had 10 for Canton. Emma Eberhardt scored 22 points in the loss and the Eagles also got 10 points apiece from Shira Stoller (six assists and seven rebounds) and Veronica and Kaitlyn Wallace.
Mansfield, 43 @ Franklin, 50 – Final – Bea Bondhus scored a game-high 13 points for the Panthers, 10 in the second half, to help Franklin hand Mansfield its first league loss of the season. Carli Koffinke scored 12 points and Ali Brigham had 11 for the Panthers. The Hornets were led by Ann Maher’s 12 points, while Maggie Danehy scored nine and Jen Peel added eight (seven in the first quarter).
King Philip, 61 @ Taunton, 34 – Final – Sophomores Shannon O’Connor and Julia Leroux each scored 14 points to lead the Warriors and freshman Faith Roy added 10. Hannah Moniz was the top scorer for Taunton with 11 points.
By Anthony Rinaldi, HockomockSports.com Contributor
CANTON, Mass. – In a game that was even the whole night, it’s no surprise that it came down to the final seconds of the contest.
Canton’s Devin Foster emerged as the hero after hitting that winning shot in a 60-58 victory over North Attleboro Friday night at Canton High School.
It was a back and forth contest through the first 16 minutes. The largest lead of the half was seven for North Attleboro during the first quarter. Beyond that, neither side had a lead larger than four.
The third quarter was full of runs. Canton came out hot going on a 13-4 run to take a 38-30 lead. North Attleboro responded with an 11-3 run to end the quarter, which tied the score at 41-41 with eight minutes to play.
The fourth quarter was again back and forth; no team led by more than three and it came down to the final possessions. Down by one, Foster connected on a three pointer to give the Bulldogs a two point lead. North Attleboro was able to convert on the other end as Brent Doherty (21 points) found Jonny Friberg (18 points) underneath to tie the game at 58-58.
Instead of a timeout, Canton inbounded the ball with 10 seconds left on the clock and Foster took the ball down the left side and put up a floater sinking it and leaving just four ticks left on the clock. North Attleboro tried to get down the floor but could not get their shot up in time.
“We had the ball at the end and that’s what it was, I really think because we had the ball for the last possession that’s what won us the game,” Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said.
“I came on the left side and knew there was nobody for help so I knew I was going to take the shot,” Foster said.
Foster led all scorers in the game with 27 while junior Tony Harris added 17 and Danny Hartnett finished with 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Canton (2-4 overall, 1-3 Hockomock) next will go on the road to face Milford on January 10th. North Attleboro (4-4, 1-3) will face Sharon at home the same night.
Strong Second Half Sparks North Attleboro
CANTON, Mass. – The North Attleboro girls basketball team used a strong second half performance to get past Canton, 59-47, on Friday night at Canton High School.
The first half was back and forth throughout and even though North Attleboro never trailed, but their largest lead was only nine, which was a result of five straight points from senior captain Samantha Taggart.
The third quarter is when North Attleboro started to take over the game. Fresh out of the halftime break, the Rocketeers went on a 10-4 run and the defense only allowed just eight points in the quarter. Big Red turned a 27-23 lead at halftime into a 39-31 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“We talked at halftime about getting bodies in there and running some pressure to take advantage because we knew they had some trouble with some guards,” North Attleboro head coach Derek Herber said.
In that third quarter it was Taggart who put the pressure on the guards and gave the Rocketeers a spark. She scored six of her game-high 16 points and had an assist in a 10-4 run which turned the game around for North.
“Sam is the way we run,” said Herber. “She was great for us in that third quarter. She carried us through those times where we had foul trouble, she stayed on the court and was able to settle everyone down.”
2015-16 Record: 6-14 (3-13) 2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: Jim Choquette
The Bulldogs continue to add to the program both on the court and on the bench with former Canton and UMass Boston star Olivia Murphy joining the coaching staff this season to help out with the freshman team. It is a sign of the continued growth of the program under head coach Jim Choquette, who is hoping that the momentum built at the end of last season will carry over to this year.
Senior forward Emma Murphy returns after a league all-star season and will be joined on the front line by returning starters senior Casey Shea and juniorHannah Jerrier, who was an honorable mention for all-star last winter. Adding depth on the front line will be sophomore forwards Molly Ludwig and Erin Devine, who lacks inexperience but adds significant height.
“Our strengths will be scrappy defense and rebounding on both ends,” said Choquette. “our goal is to improve each game and be playing our best headed into the last part of the season…the faster we find chemistry the faster we’ll find the win column.”
2015-16 Record: 15-7 (11-5) 2015-16 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal Head Coach: Lisa Downs
Despite a lot of youth in the lineup, Foxboro has been one of the top teams in the Davenport division for several seasons and this year should be no different, as the Warriors enter the winter with very high expectations and as one of the favorites for the league title.
A lot of the interest in the Warriors stems from the continued development of junior point guard Ashley Sampson, who has turned into one of the best all-around guards in the Hockomock and is the player that the Foxboro offense flows through. Sampson has plenty of help in the backcourt with classmate Lily Sykes, who offers scoring from the perimeter, and seniors Lauren Flahive, Riley Collins (back after an injury), and Hailey Maling, who are all strong on the ball defenders.
In the front court, Kristen Bortolotti is back after missing last year with an injury and will add speed and a strong mid-range game. Junior Grace Tamulionis is another matchup nightmare for the opposition with her size on the boards and on defense and her ability to step outside and shoot the three. Junior Shannon Smally continues to improve and gives the Warriors an inside presence, while newcomers Chelsea Gibbons and Abby Hassmancould make big contributions for the Warriors.
“The girls have been playing together throughout the summer and fall and this familiarity should work to our benefit this season,” said head coach Lisa Downs. “We will continue to focus on our running game and our defensive efforts and I am fortunate to have the players that not only buy into this system, but, also appreciate this pace.”
2015-16 Record: 9-11 (5-11) 2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: T.J. Dolliver
After missing out on a playoff spot by one game a season ago under first-year head coach T.J. Dolliver, Milford enters this winter with high hopes of making the leap into the postseason with a deep and versatile roster that has gained a lot of experience together over the past few seasons.
The enthusiasm for the Hawks begins with dynamic junior point guard Kate Irwin, who has shown the ability to get to the basket at will, draw defenses to get open looks for her teammates and also be a pesky on the ball defender. With Irwin creating open shots, junior Emily Piergustavo’s return after missing last year with an injury will be a big boost on the perimeter along with senior guard Jill Burley.
“These girls have been playing together for a while and their team chemistry is amazing,” said Dolliver. “We are starting to learn the minor details of offense and defense in order to give our team a better chance of success.”
2015-16 Record: 11-10 (9-7) 2015-16 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South tournament Head Coach: Derek Herber
The Rocketeers head into their first season in the Davenport division with eight returning players from last year’s team that was two points away from a first round victory in the Div. 2 South tournament against Hock rival Oliver Ames.
Senior Ashley Ahern is a three-year starter at guard and was the team’s leading scorer last winter. Ahern will be the player that gets the offense going, but she will get plenty of help from her classmates, Emily Schromm and Samantha Taggart. Schromm was one of the top defenders in the league and can stretch a defense with her outside shooting and Taggart can play all three guard positions and led North in assists last year. In the paint, senior Caroline Collard is the team’s leading rebounder and showed a soft touch around the basket.
North can also look for improvements from sophomore Julia Feid, who got valuable minutes as a rookie last year, senior Liz Morehouse, who adds depth in the post, and juniors Julia Santos, who both brought athleticism off the bench at the wing positions. Sophomore forward Mackenzie Roberts is a newcomer who adds size and outside shooting and junior Emily Pastore can step in at all three guard positions.
The Rocketeers have plenty of experience on the roster and will be one of the favorites for the league title at the beginning of the season. While head coach Derek Herber can count on a number of returning players, he hopes to “mix in a few new faces into the lineup to help with depth.”
Sharon is another team that has been building with youth and has created a lot of depth on its roster and, despite losing three of its top four scorers from last winter, has garnered preseason hype as a potential sleeper to make a return to the postseason for the first time since the Eagles made a run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.
The Eagles will be hoping for an improvement on the offensive side of the ball, which was a challenge at times last winter. Junior point guard Shira Stoller, a three-year starter, is continuing to improve at limiting turnovers and looking for her own shot as well as setting up teammates. One of the players that benefits from Stoller’s ability to get into the lane is sophomore Emma Eberhardt, who was third on the team in points as a rookie and continues to develop into a consistent wing scorer.
Sophomore Veronica Wallace has emerged as one of the top backcourt defenders during the preseason and is one of the fastest players on the Sharon roster. Senior Ana Crosby, who is also a standout on the soccer and lacrosse fields, is another player that is continuing to improve and will have an increased role this season. Freshman Kaitlyn Wallace is a newcomer to watch and could have a bigger role to play over the course of the year.
“Our defense is going to have to be our key in order to compete, and our girls know that,” said third-year coach Cliff Tomassian. “We get our best looks on offense off of great defensive stands. Our girls are going to have to be patient and vigilant on both ends and be ready to take chances.”
2015-16 Record: 7-11 (7-9) 2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
The Black Knights lost six seniors to graduation but this offers plenty of opportunities for a new crop of younger players to get playing time and learn the system of second-year head coach, and former Stoughton star, Charmaine Steele Jordan.
Two of the players that will be counted on most this season are junior forwards Val Whalen and Jordan Motley, who are two of the best rebounders in the league and can also get out on the break and score in transition. Their development in the half-court offense will be a key for Stoughton making a playoff push in the Davenport division this season. Senior Lili Njiem is another player that could make a big impact, as one of the team’s three captains.
The Black Knights will have as many senior as freshmen on this year’s roster (three) along with four sophomores and three juniors, so the foundation for the future is in place. Shyanne Trinh, Lexi Baptista, and Aliyah Wright are the three newcomers to the program who will be hoping to make an instant impact.
“So excited for the upcoming season,” said Steele Jordan. “We lost six seniors so there is lots of opportunity for our players to step up. Our returnees from last year will contribute for us despite being pretty young.”
CANTON, Mass. – It was one of those nights. The ball was moving well, solid screens were being set, the cuts were going to the basket and the passes were hitting the right players, but the shots were not falling for Canton on Friday night in the season opener.
The Bulldogs scored five or fewer points in the three of four quarters and, despite a strong defensive effort, lost 34-22 to Dover-Sherborn in the first game on Canton’s newly-laid court.
“If you asked us before the game, do you want to get a lot of layups and free throws and stuff…yes,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “Did we do that? Yes. So, we accomplished a lot tonight.”
The Bulldogs struggled out of the gates, scoring only four points in the opening quarter, two from senior Emma Murphy, who finished with six points and four rebounds in the game, and two from Hannah Jerrier (11 points). Jerrier’s first basket came off an inbounds play and Murphy had a layup to cut the lead to 6-4, which was the score after the opening quarter.
“Some of it was first game jitters,” Choquette said. “I don’t care if it’s home, away, if it’s a week from now or whatever, every time someone plays their first game you’re going to have a little of that first game type of stuff.”
Murphy and Hannah Jerrier each had four points in the second, as Canton had its best scoring quarter of the night with 10 points total. Jerrier had an assist to a cutting Murphy for a layup and then scored on a layup of her own from a Maggie Connolly assist to give Canton its first lead at 10-9.
Lindsey Barrett’s only basket of the night regained the lead at 12-11 but D-S answered with the next four points. Jerrier, who led the Bulldogs with 11 points and 10 rebounds, got Canton back within one at the half with a steal on one end and then a give-and-go with Julia Hamilton in transition for the layup.
Choquette said, “It’s no surprise that Emma is a league all-star and Hannah is one of our best offensive players, both of which just finished volleyball season, so they have to get into basketball mode and all those little things, that feel, the touch, it does come.”
Any momentum that the hosts had going into halftime did not carry over after the break. Canton went nearly seven minutes without a point and D-S was able to extend its lead to as many as 11 at 25-14 before Jerrier scored on a back cut off an inbounds pass. She added a free throw but that was all the Bulldogs would get in the third and trailed 26-17 heading to the fourth.
“The experience of being out on the court and everything we went through last year, helped us play better,” said Choquette. “If we make a few layups and hit a few free throws then we may win the game.”
The struggles continued in the fourth quarter with Canton making three free throws and only one shot from the field (Jerrier on a layup). Defensively though, the Bulldogs were able to pressure the Raiders, force turnovers and limited D-S to only eight points in the fourth and 34 for the game.
When asked if he thought the Bulldogs would win more games than not if they could hold teams to 34 points, Choquette said, “That’s what one of the coaches said to me when we stood up…The key is can we do that consistently. There are still things we need to work on because there were some letdowns and mistakes and frustration fouls but I think we’re going to get there.
The offense will largely come from the interior, but Choquette praised the backcourt for setting the tone on the defensive end. He said, “Our guards are fast. No matter who’s in there, whether it’s Julia, Maggie, the Carrington twins (Evelyn and Lillian), so I think defensively the guards will give us some offense.”
Despite the defeat on opening night, Choquette believed that it was the “details” that needed to be ironed out and he was optimistic because the Bulldogs have shown the ability in the past couple of years to be able to figure things out during the course of the season.
“The girls should be encouraged,” he said. “It’s going to be awesome to go play some of the best teams in the league and see where we stack up and see if we can correct things then it’s right back to them at their place and see how far we’ve come.”
Canton (0-1) will face the two favorites for the Kelley-Rex division title, Mansfield and Attleboro, in its next two games beginning with the Bombardiers on Tuesday.
Below are the official 2016 Hockomock League Volleyball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Sydney Phillips, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Lexi Pereira, Attleboro
Nicole Poole, Canton
Emma Murphy, Canton
Erin Skidmore, Franklin
Madison Kuzio, Franklin
Sydney Phillips, King Philip
Amanda Loewen, King Philip
Carly Adams, King Philip
Jessica Haradon, Mansfield
Megan Hill, Mansfield
Ally Zagami, Milford
Kelley Reichert, Milford
Amelia Murphy, North Attleboro
Bridget McCarthy, Oliver Ames
Jessica Allan, Sharon
Valerie Whalen, Stoughton
Emily Moor, Taunton
Elizabeth Howe, Attleboro
Casey Shea, Canton
Danielle Conlon, Foxboro
Meaghan Maguire, Franklin
Angela Vellante, King Philip
Chloe Peters, Mansfield
Allie Collins, Milford
Lindsay Howlett, North Attleboro
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Faythe Gomolka, Sharon
Riley Bagley, Stoughton
Kayli Fagan, Taunton