NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The playoffs started a couple days early for Attleboro and North Attleboro. The two teams met in a winner-take-all regular season finale at the Pickering Gym on Wednesday afternoon, both looking to book a spot in the state tournament.
Attleboro broke open a close game with a 16-2 run to start the second half and never allowed the Rocketeers to pull any closer than nine points in the fourth quarter, pulling out a 55-42 victory and making the state tournament for the first time in four years.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “First of all it’s a North game and a rivalry game and then on top of that you’re both playing to get into the tournament and our kids played hard start to finish today. We played well in the first half but our kids played harder in the second even after they made that last push on us.”
Senior Nyah Thomas (13 points, five rebounds, and four assists), who will be making her first tournament appearance, added, “This means everything. We had so much energy today. We talked about it all year, leading up to this, we knew we were making tournament and we didn’t want to go home today.”
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively in the first quarter. Thomas got to the rim off the dribble and then off an assist from Meghan Gordon. After a step-back three by Regan Fein (nine points) put North ahead, senior Liv McCall was able to hit on a reverse.
The Rocketeers ran a perfect set in the closing seconds to get an open three for Summer Doherty to grab an 11-9 lead after one.
McCall (team-high 17 points) had arguably her best game of the season and she sparked the Bombardiers to a halftime lead. She drove to the basket to tie it and then knocked down a three after Thomas got Attleboro out in transition. Thomas added three points in the second and also assisted on a basket for Gordon.
North looked tentative, especially on the boards where Attleboro dominated. Gordon (18 rebounds) and Ryan Johnson (11 rebounds) controlled the paint for the visitors.
“We did not play the way we can play,” admitted North coach Nikki Correia. “We let balls roll on the floor, they were the first to go get them, second , third, fourth to go get them. I think in the second half we picked it up, but it was too late of a run.”
Attleboro went into the break leading 23-19, but came out of the locker room intent on taking control of the contest. The Bombardier scored the first 11 points of the second half and had a 16-2 run to lead by as many as 18.
Crowley said, “We told them that it was a good first half but we need to play harder in the second half because they’re not going to go away. And they did, they listened. We put the pedal to the metal and got out in transition, we took better care of the ball in the second half, and better decisions with the ball get you better baskets.”
Gordon was the spark in the third, scoring nine of her 16 points in the quarter. She started it with an offensive rebound and putback, then Thomas got out on the break for two. Johnson kicked it out to Thomas, who banked in a three and suddenly the lead was 11. After five straight free throws (four from Gordon), Emma Reilly drove to the hoop and Gordon added two more points off yet another offensive board.
North’s only points came from a layup by Amanda Kaiserr. It was her first basket of the day, as she was shadowed by Gabby Bosh throughout the game. The Rocketeers had more success in the second half in getting Kaiser a few looks, but shots weren’t falling for the junior.
Trailing by 18, North put together a mini-rally to stay within arm’s reach heading to the fourth. Olivia Forbes (12 points and four steals) got an and-one and Fein knocked down a jumper. After an Attleboro free throw, Eliza Dion (six points and seven rebounds) got to the rim for two and cut the lead down to 40-28 after three.
Attleboro regained the edge with an 8-2 run to start the fourth quarter. Gordon scored four more, corralling a loose ball for a short jumper and then finishing after a drive and dish from Thomas.
“Meghan’s a special player,” said Crowley. “She’s been a double-double machine for us down the stretch. At a young age, she’s matured quickly and she’s a big part of what we’re doing.”
Thomas praised her teammates for taking on some of the scoring load, “It’s amazing because then the focus isn’t always on us. If they’re scoring then we’re deep. You can’t just cover me and Liv, you have to cover Meghan too and then Ryan on the boards, and we’re playing really well together.”
Kaiser (seven points) knocked down a jumper but McCall responded with a high-arcing three off a Thomas pass and the Bombardiers led by 18 again. Once again, with the season on the ropes, North answered back, going on a 9-0 run to get as close as nine points. Forbes buried a three, Doherty got a steal and an and-one, and Kaiser nailed her only three of the game to make it 48-39.
McCall hit two at the line and Johnson grabbed an offensive board and finished. McCall then drove right down the lane and scored to put Attleboro up 54-39. She scored eight points in the fourth to help put the game away.
“Liv McCall had her best game of the year today and we needed that from her,” said Crowley. “Both of our seniors played great and you need senior leadership, especially in a tournament-like game, basically a play-in game.”
Correia was obviously disappointed with the result, but was happy with the fight that her team showed in the second half.
“I’m extremely proud of my girls,” she said. “It’s my first year here and for them to get where they got to and give themselves chance to play one game to get in. They fought for me all year and I’m proud of them for that.”
Attleboro (10-10) will now await Friday’s seedings to see who it will face in the postseason.
Milford, 57 @ Attleboro, 61 – Final (OT) – Attleboro went 8-for-12 from the free throw line in the overtime period to outlast Milford, who used a furious fourth quarter rally to get back into the game. The Bombardiers got all of their overtime points from the line with senior Nick McMahon going 6-for-8, finishing with 13 points in the game, and senior Qualeem Charles hitting 2-of-4, recording a team-high 20 points in the win. The Bombardiers got off to a terrific start with seven players scoring in the opening quarter, including three-pointers from Justin Daniels, Tim Callahan, and McMahon to seize a 17-5 lead. Attleboro kept its distance, holding a 28-18 lead at halftime and senior Bryant Ciccio scored eight of his 13 points in the third to push the lead to 42-29 with just eight minutes to play. But Milford rallied in the final frame as Ben Blanchard (11 points) connected on three three-pointers, Tyler Wetherbee added one, and Colby Pires (11 points), Jordan Darling (eight points), Max Martin, and Ralph Franklin Jr. (eight points) each converted to force the overtime period. The Hawks connected on seven threes in the game but did not attempt a free throw.
Canton, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 74 – Final – Oliver Ames junior Amari Brown scored 15 of his team-high 24 points in the first half and senior Jay Spillane connected on three three-pointers in the opening 16 minutes as the Tigers built a double-digit lead by half and never looked back. The Tigers scored 17 points in each of the first three quarters and added 23 more in the fourth to get the win. Holding a 17-9 lead through one quarter of play, Brown had nine points in the second and Spillane hit two threes to help the Tigers extended the lead. Ryan Burkett scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, Adam Cann and Owen Friel each hit a three in the third, and Evan Craig finished with 12 points for OA. Junior Eric Mischler hit five three-pointers in the second half and scored a career-high 36 points for Canton.
Foxboro, 68 @ King Philip, 72 – Final (OT) – Foxboro erased a six-point deficit to start the fourth quarter but King Philip’s Owen Conlin hit a pair of three-pointers in the overtime period, punctuating a terrific shooting second half for the Warriors in an important win. KP built a 16-11 lead through one quarter before Foxboro closed it to a one-point game, 30-29, at halftime. KP senior Alex Fritz scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the third as the Warriors pushed the advantage to 47-41 but Foxboro senior Brandon Borde netted 10 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth to bring the visitors level. Conlin (11 points) hit a three a minute into the extra period and added another a minute later, pushing it to a six-point lead that KP held onto for the rest of the way. The Warriors connected on seven three-pointers after the halftime break while Foxboro totaled just two makes from downtown. Tommy Donahue scored seven of his 13 points between the fourth and overtime and had some key blocks for KP while Robert Jarest added 15 points, connecting on three trifectas. Donald Rogers added 16 point and Ryan Hughes chipped in with 12 points for Foxboro.
Sharon, 50 @ Franklin, 64 – Final – Franklin got off to a strong start in the opening quarter and built on that lead throughout the game to knock off visiting Sharon. Seniors Brayden Sullivan (21 points), Jack Rudolph, and Steven Karayan each hit a three in the opening frame to help the Panthers race out to a 17-9 lead. Sullivan added eight more in the second and senior Chris Edgehill (15 points) connected from three as the Panthers pushed the lead to double-digits, 33-22, at half. Sharon kept pace in the third, down 46-35, but Franklin put the game away with an 18-point fourth quarter. Declan Walmsey added 10 points for Franklin. Andrew Burton led Sharon with 14 points while Aidan Kane added 10 points.
North Attleboro, 60 @ Mansfield, 65 – Final – Mansfield nearly doubled up on North Attleboro in the first half but had to convert key free throws in the final seconds to hold off a second half comeback from the Rocketeers. The Hornets built 33-17 lead at halftime behind a 20-point second quarter but North Attleboro made it interesting with a 20-point third and then a 23-point fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to just one in the final minute of play. Sophomore Brody Rosenberg (17 points, all in the second half) drained a three and hit a pair of free throws to make it a four point game and North’s full court press paid off as junior George Ladd (27 points) got a steal and a layup to make it 59-57. Mansfield junior Matt Boen (17 points) made a pair of free throws with 34 seconds left to make it 61-57 but Rosenberg answered with a three to make it 61-60. Sam Stevens (23 points) hit a pair from the free throw line to push the lead back to three and North was just off the mark on the tying three and Boen hit two more from the line in the final seconds to get the win 65-60.
Attleboro, 67 @ Milford, 43 – Final – Four players scored in double figures for a balanced Attleboro attack. Nyah Thomas was the top scorer for the visitor with 18 points, but Liv McCall also had 15 and Emma Reilly and Meghan Gordon both put in 11. Emma Lawrence led the Hawks with 18 points and Jillian Michelson chipped in with 14.
Oliver Ames, 50 @ Canton, 67 – Final – Canton trailed by two points at the half, but turned things around with a dominant second half, outscoring the Tigers 40-21 after the break. The Bulldogs held OA to just three points in the fourth quarter and shot 10-of-17 from three-point range to pull the upset. Kiara Cerruti was the game’s top scorer with 20 points for Canton. Sydney Gallery had 14 and Fay Gallery added 13, while Samya DaSilva scored 11 and Kayla Albert finished with nine. Caroline Peper led a shorthanded OA squad with 19 and Kelsey Yelle had 10 points.
King Philip, 48 @ Foxboro, 69 – Final – Foxboro won for the second straight game, as Katelyn Mollica scored a game-high 25. Yara Fawaz added 12 points and Shakirah Ketant had 10 in the win. Abby Hassman continued to be a force on the glass, pulling down 13 rebounds.
Franklin, 53 @ Sharon, 20 – Final – Franklin put in another full-team effort to get the win on the road. Ten Panthers scored in the game, led by Ali Brigham’s 12. Nicole Teven and Trinity Payne each scored five to lead the Eagles.
Mansfield, 58 @ North Attleboro, 71 – Final – Amanda Kaiser and North Attleboro roared out to a huge first quarter and rode that big lead to victory. North led 30-12 after eight minutes, as Kaiser knocked down five threes and scored 17 of her 20 points in the first. Mansfield was able to cut the lead to 11 at the half by scoring 21 points in the second and switching to a box-and-one to try and slow Kaiser down, but North kept the lead at double digits after the third and won the fourth to seal the victory. Summer Doherty, Regan Fein, and Eliza Dion all scored a dozen points for North. “We came out aggressive from the jump and Amanda was hitting everything,” said North coach Nikki Correia. “I am so proud of how hard they battled and played for four quarters tonight on both ends!”
Attleboro, 126.10 @ Canton, 116.40 – Final
Attleboro, 126.10 @ Sharon, 100.35 – Final
Canton, 116.40 @ Sharon, 100.35 – Final
Vault: 1. Stella Krawiec, Att – 8.6 | 2. Aly Legere, Att – 8.0 | 3. Ali Dennehy/Amanda Burns, Att – 7.9
Bars: 1. A. Legere, Att – 7.4 | 2. S. Krawiec, Att – 7.3 | 3. A. Dennehy, Att – 7.2
Beam: 1. Talia Aidlin-Perlman, Sha – 8.2 | 2. S. Krawiec/Parker Sweeney, Att – 8.0 | 3. Lauren Raffa, Att – 7.8
Floor: 1. Erin Glearson, Att – 8.8 | 2. A. Burns, Att – 8.7 | 3. T. Aidlin-Perlman, Sha – 8.6
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For the past two seasons, Attleboro head coach Marty Crowley has talked about the need for the Bombardiers to be balanced and to get contributions from everyone on the roster. On New Year’s Eve, just 18 hours after beating Cumberland (R.I.), Attleboro showed how dangerous it can be when everyone chips in.
Eight different players scored, three players reached double digits, and eight players had at least three rebounds, as Attleboro beat Mansfield 58-51. It was Attleboro’s first win in the series since 2016, having lost the last seven games against the Hornets.
“People are going to try and take Nyah [Thomas] or Liv [McCall] out of the equation and the other girls stepped up big for us and that was key tonight,” Crowley explained. “We need balance to be successful and tonight they did it. I couldn’t be prouder of my kids. Our defense in the first half was spectacular. It was a total team effort tonight.”
It was a rare early afternoon start and the Hornets looked out of sorts at the opening tip. Mansfield struggled shooting, turned the ball over too often against an aggressive Attleboro defense, and managed only two points in the first quarter and 12 for the half.
“We’re not going to survive too many 12-point halves,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “I don’t know why we can’t shoot in the first quarter, but that’s been our downfall all year. We rallied back and did our best.”
The Bombardiers weren’t exactly shooting the lights out in the first quarter either, scoring only eight points of their own, but things picked up in the second. After Becca Hottleman opened the quarter with a three for Mansfield, Attleboro went on a 12-0 run to take control.
“It has been one of our focuses two days ago at practice,” said Crowley. “We didn’t rebound very well against Feehan, so we were working a lot on securing the ball and being more physical and I thought we controlled the balls in the first half.”
Mansfield tried to keep it close, as Kacey Veiking (10 points and six boards) knocked down a couple of shots, but Lillian Froio answered with her only four points of the night and Nyah Thomas (game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds) hit a tough runner in the lane to make it 26-12 at the break.
The Hornets have been a resilient team this season and have managed to battle back after falling behind early. Last game against Fontbonne, Mansfield managed to make it a two-point game in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 16. In the third quarter on Tuesday, Mansfield’s offense woke up, as the Hornets tried to mount another comeback.
Kayla Vine scored seven of her team-high 14 points in the third and also dished out a pair of assists to Veiking. Vine drilled her only three of the game to get Mansfield back within single digits at 34-25 and freshman Abby Wager hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 35-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to bottle whatever we did in the second half and do that from the beginning. We just can’t wait to play our best until we’re down by double digits,” said Redding. “We’ve got to start playing our best from the get-go. I love our heart, we challenged them at halftime to play with pride and they gave us everything they had and made a game of it in the fourth quarter.”
Attleboro was held to just nine points in the third, six of those from Thomas, who twice turned defensive rebounds into coast-to-coast baskets. In the fourth, the Bombardiers got back to spreading the ball around. Thomas hit McCall on an inbound play in the corner for a big three to get the quarter started and extend the lead back to double digits.
McCall added three free throws after a pair of technical fouls against the Mansfield bench and the lead that was once down to eight was stretched back out to 14.
“We responded. Liv, one of our seniors, hit a big shot for us,” said Crowley. “Everybody contributed for us. Mansfield is a formidable foe. It’s the Hock, you have to come ready to play every night.”
Mansfield kept hanging around. Kelly Doherty had a steal and layup to cut the lead to 10, Ashley Santos (nine points and seven rebounds) drilled a pair of threes in the fourth, and Wager (11 points) scored seven in the quarter to keep the game in doubt.
Every time the Hornets hit a big shot, Attleboro seemed to find an answer on the other end. Johnson scored six points in the fourth, Gordon added four, and Thomas kept getting to the basket, including a big and-one that made it 52-39. McCall added a drive down the middle for two that kept the lead at a dozen.
“We did a decent job, but when we made a mistake they made us pay,” said Redding. “Thomas does a good job, even when you’re doubling, to find a way to get it into the paint. They’re a tough combination. Every time you thought we had momentum, Thomas drives or Liv hits a three.”
The Hornets closed the game on a 9-0 run but by then the damage was done and Attleboro heads into the new year with momentum.
Crowley said, “It’s huge. It’s a good win to put under our belt. Everyone is doing the same thing, it’s a race to 10, and this gets us one step closer.”
Attleboro (3-3) will be back at home on Friday against Oliver Ames, trying to extend its win streak to three games. Mansfield (1-5) will try to end its three-game losing streak when it hosts unbeaten Franklin.
Canton, 38 vs. Bishop Feehan, 62 – Final – The Bulldogs stayed within striking distance for a half but scored just 13 points in the second half as Bishop Feehan pulled away for the win. Robbie Gallery scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the first half and Eric Mischler had six of his nine points in the opening two quarters as Canton trailing 38-25at halftime. Gallery and Mischler were the lone Bulldogs to score in the third as the Shamrocks pulled away 51-32 heading into the fourth.
Foxboro, 47 @ Westwood, 54 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Foxboro erased an early 18-point deficit, taking a one-point lead into the final quarter but ran out of gas in the fourth as Westwood picked up the win. The Wolverines raced out to a 10-0 lead and pushed it all the way to 20-2 late in the first. Foxboro clawed its way back with a strong second quarter to go into halftime down 31-24, and then won the third quarter to go up 38-37. Brandon Borde (10 points, seven rebounds) scored to put the Warriors up 40-39 but the Wolverines responded with a 9-0 run, with Foxboro going 0-for-7 in the stretch. Borde and Donald Rogers (eight rebounds) brought Foxboro within four, down 48-44, but the Wolverines hit their free throws down the stretch to pull away. Kevin Gallagher had a team-high 13 points, Liam Devlin added six points, and Dylan Barreira had a strong all around game for Foxboro.
King Philip, 71 @ Xaverian, 69 – Final (OT) – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – King Philip senior Alex Fritz scored half of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, hitting key free throws down the stretch, to help the Warriors pull out a win over Xaverian. Fritz (10 rebounds, four assists) netted seven points in the fourth and added eight more in overtime, hitting two free throws with 25 seconds left to break the tie and adding one more in the final seconds. Senior Tommy Donahue scored all 13 of his points in the second half for KP, who overcame an eight-point fourth quarter deficit. Robert Jarest (six points, four rebounds), Andrew McKinney (12 points, five rebounds, three assists), and Chris Roy all had key points down the stretch in the fourth quarter to help KP force the extra period.
North Attleboro, 46 @ Lincoln-Sudbury, 59 – Final – North Attleboro faced an 18-point deficit at halftime but clamped down defensively out of the break, limiting L-S to just three third quarter points to make a four-point game heading into the fourth, but the Warriors controlled the final quarter to get the win. Trailing 18-8 after one and 36-18 at half, the Rocketeers outscored the hosts 17-3 in the third to make it 39-35 entering the final quarter. Senior Josh Porter scored eight of his career-high 17 points in the third and Brody Rosenberg (12 points) hit a big three in the third to bring North back into the contest. Junior George Ladd finished with 11 points.
Oliver Ames, 77 @ Barnstable, 55 – Final – Oliver Ames Ryan Burkett and the Tigers dominated from start to finish, pouring in 50 first-half points and rolling to their second win over Barnstable this season. Burkett scored a career-high 28 points on 12 two-point field goals to pace the Tigers. Burkett scored 13 points in the first half, added eight more in the third quarter, and added seven more in the fourth quarter. Junior Amari Brown scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and senior Jay Spillane added 14 points in the win.
Stoughton, 66 @ Randolph, 67 – Final – Stoughton erased a 16-point deficit but fell just short in the championship game of the Blue Devils Holiday Classic against host Randolph. Senior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored a career-high 34 points to pace the Black Knights.
Taunton, 73 @ New Bedford, 67 – Final – Taunton let a seven-point lead slip in the fourth quarter but the Tigers controlled the overtime period to earn their fifth straight win. Tied 18-18 after one and trailing 28-27 at halftime, Taunton dropped 22 points in the third quarter to take a 49-42 advantage but the Whalers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Junior Tyler Stewart dominated the second half for Taunton, finishing with a career-high 28 points including six points in overtime. Sophomore Tristan Herry added three of his 13 points in the extra period and sophomore Faisal Mass added a free throw to help Taunton pick up the win. Sophomore Trent Santos added 15 points for the Tigers.
Attleboro, 45 @ Cumberland (R.I.), 35 – Final – The Bombardiers turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and got clutch baskets down the stretch to grab an out-of-state win. Attleboro held Cumberland’s leading scorer Madi Zancan to just two baskets after halftime, following a 16-point first half. After the hosts cut the lead down to just three points late in the game, Emma Reilly and Hailey Perry knocked down big shots to extend the lead. Nyah Thomas was once again the top scorer for the Bombardiers, continuing her impressive start to the season with 21 points.
Canton, 47 @ Nauset, 54 – Final
King Philip, 64 @ Bishop Feehan, 70 – Final
Stoughton, 40 vs. Hanover, 39 – Final – Stoughton picked up an important win in the consolation game of the Rockland Holiday Tournament, edging out Hanover. Shyanne Trinh led the charge for the Black Knights with 22 points and four steals while Aliyah Wright added 16 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Kyla Sheedy-Goff gave Stoughton a big boost with six blocks and eight boards.
Taunton, 51 @ New Bedford, 79 – Final – Kameron St. Pierre scored 21 points, her second straight game with 20-plus, to pace the Tigers in a tough road loss. Jaelyn Fernandez added nine points for Taunton.
2018-2019 Record: 8-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
Attleboro was three wins shy of reaching the postseason last year, despite a roster filled with inexperienced players, and the Bombardiers demonstrated the potential in the squad by upsetting Franklin late in the season and handing the Panthers their only league loss. This winter, the Bombardiers will be looking to turn potential into reality and make a jump into the playoff picture.
Six players are returning from last year, including seniors Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall, who give Attleboro a talented backcourt on both ends of the court. Thomas adds length and slashing ability, while McCall is a sharpshooter who will be the team’s primary ball-handler. Sophomore Meg Gordon has taken a big leap from last year and head coach Marty Crowley thinks that she is ready for a breakout season on the wing.
Juniors Gabby Bosh and Emma Reilly will both be back to add some nous to the lineup, while sophomores Hailey and Lindsey Perry add grit and toughness. Junior Ryan Johnson will add size to the frontcourt, while sophomore Lillian Froio and juniors Jackie MacDonald and Laura McVeigh add depth and physicality. Overall, it is a much deeper, more experienced group for Crowley to build lineups with this season.
“For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound,” Crowley said. “Nyah and Liv I am sure are 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, however, we feel as if we have the players in place who will contribute offensively.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-7 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Jim Choquette
Youth was served for the Bulldogs last season, as a talented trio of freshmen jumped into the starting lineup and helped Canton have one of its most successful seasons in program history, with 14 wins and a return to the state tournament. There were still some learning curves to overcome, but now a more experienced group is play with speed and get out on the break as often as possible to give Foxboro a challenge in the Davenport title race and bring home a postseason win.
Although Canton is still a relatively young team, the talent on the roster is undeniable. Sophomores Kiara Cerruti and Sydney and Fay Gallery all had impressive rookie campaigns, showing off their skills on the wing, from three-point range, and in the paint. They will face even more pressure this season, as teams know what they like to do and will be even more determined to take them out of their games.
Sophomore Carly Fitzgerald will be one of the players stepping into the point guard role vacated by the graduation of Julia Hamilton and will be the facilitator getting Canton into its offense. In the paint, Canton has size and athleticism in senior Lilah Milton and junior Kayla Albert, who are both active rebounders and finishers at the rim and both have shown the ability to knock down the occasional jumper as well. Juniors Angie Elias and Sam Lamarr and sophomore Annie Hoban all have experience from last year to add to Canton’s depth.
Canton coach Jim Choquette said, “Each day we will try to improve as a coaching staff and a program. By the end of the season, our hopes are to be playing at our best.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-3 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Lisa Downs
The two-time defending Davenport division champions return all but one player from last year’s roster, so Foxboro remains the team to beat for the league title and expectations are very high heading into a new season. After a trip to the Div. 2 South semifinals last season, the Warriors will be aiming for even more this winter, trying to regain the top spot not just in the Hock but also in the South sectional.
Junior Katelyn Mollica was the team’s leading scorer last year and is already closing in on 1,000 points for her career. The team’s primary ball-handler and one of the best shooters in the league, Mollica will be one of the top offensive threats in the league. She will have plenty of help. Senior guard Lizzy Davis and senior forwards Yara Fawaz and Abby Hassman will also return to the starting lineup this season and add athleticism, speed, and tenacity on both ends of the floor, taking some pressure off Mollica with their ability to score in the open court.
Senior Shakirah Ketant came on strong at the end of last season and gives Foxboro a different, more physical look in the paint. Junior Jordyn Collins is a tough on-the-ball defender and has speed to burn. Seniors Jamie DeVellis and Julia Kelley both saw time on the floor last year and will add to Foxboro’s depth. Sophomore center Hannah Blake is a new face that could provide more strength in the post.
“The Hockomock League continues to produce teams, which make every night a tough one – there are really no teams that you can take lightly,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “The preparation required to compete in this league really benefits teams that get to the postseason.”
2018-2019 Record: 21-4 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinal. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin is coming off its best season in program history and the Panthers have the talent returning to potentially surpass that success this winter. After winning the program’s first sectional title and coming within minutes of reaching the state title game, Franklin returns three of its starters and a host of bench players ready to step into bigger roles this year.
The key to it all is senior Ali Brigham. The George Washington-commit controlled the paint on both ends of the floor last season and remains the league’s most dominant star, as she continues to expand her game to make it even more difficult for the opposition. Teams can’t focus only on Brigham, as senior forward Meghan O’Connell showed in the playoffs the problems she can present with her ability to score and rebound and sophomore Olivia Quinn is another forward with size that teams will struggle to match up with.
Junior point guard Erin Quaile is a tenacious defender and a solid ball-handler, who is developing her outside shot. Senior Sydney Garilli and juniors Elizabeth Wilson, Teagan Collins, and Carissa Alers all saw time last season and will be in the backcourt rotation. Franklin will also add several newcomers, who could step right in and contribute, including juniors Katelynn Taylor and Kaleigh Houlihan and sophomores Emma Sousa and Stefany Padula. On balance, the Panthers look likely to be the team to beat again in the Kelley-Rex.
“I am excited by what I have seen to date,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “They are a very motivated group who have bought into their team motto ‘We Over Me.’ They are good teammates who seek team success over individual glory.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-8 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip had a breakout season in 2018-19, winning 13 games and reaching the Div. 1 South quarterfinal. Returning seven players from last year’s roster, new head coach Dan Nagle takes over a program in solid shape and is looking to build on last season’s success and try to challenge Franklin at the top of the league standings this winter.
Senior Faye Veilleux spearheaded KP’s breakout season when she emerged as one of the top post scorers in the league. Her versatility and her ability to get out in transition will be crucial to Nagle’s fastbreaking style. Senior Faith Roy will give the Warriors a clutch outside shooter and classmate Taylor Butler adds physicality to the guard or forward position.
Junior Emma Glaser will be expected to take on a bigger role after a strong sophomore season on the wing and junior point guard Brianna James demonstrated the ability to get into the lane at will and finish even against taller opponents. Juniors Caroline Aaron and Courtney Keswick are also back from last year to provide depth on the wings and 6-foot-3 freshman Emily Sawyer will give KP much-needed size in the post, as they try to combat Franklin’s Ali Brigham. The Warriors are going to try and break teams down with aggressive defending and their speed in transition.
Nagle said, “It has been a great start to the year with this group of kids. From top to bottom our roster is full of girls who love the game of basketball and are enjoying the process of improving day to day here in the early going. I think we will be a fun team to watch this season, and I look forward to the challenge of having our kids compete night in and night out in an excellent league like the Hockomock.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Mike Redding
Mansfield has consistently been one of the top programs in the Kelley-Rex division but even the best programs are going to need time to overcome the graduation of 10 seniors. The Hornets will lack experience, but head coach Mike Redding will be looking for improvement over the course of the season and will be hoping to have the team playing its best basketball as the tournament rolls around.
Senior Becca Hottleman was recently cleared after knee surgery and will be back at the point for the Hornets. Hottleman is one of only two players that got starts last year. Junior forward Ashley Santos is the other and she will be one of the players expected to see her numbers take a jump, as she should expect to get a few more looks on the offensive end. Senior Kelly Doherty and junior Kayla Vine will jump into starting roles on the wings, while junior Sara Dooling will be a starter at forward.
While there is a lack of varsity playing time on the roster, there are plenty of upperclassmen that will be expected to contribute. Junior Sarah Sacco will back-up Hottleman at the point, while junior Ally Prentis and senior Grace Benton will add depth at the wing. Senior Grace Maher and juniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking will see time in the frontcourt and freshman wing Abby Wager should get opportunities to build experience this season.
“This group has very limited varsity basketball experience overall because we had that large and talented group of 10 seniors last year, but we’re not young and will rely on senior leadership and a deep junior class and all have varsity experience in other sports,” said Redding. “We have good size and depth in the post and all of them can shoot, handle the ball, and play like guards, which should cause some problems for the defense. It will be a work in progress and we’ll have to battle for wins in a very good league but this will be a good basketball team by February when the tourney rolls around.”
2018-2019 Record: 1-19 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Last year was a tough one for Milford. After graduating the bulk of the roster, an inexperienced group struggled through the season, but never lost the work rate and closed out the winter with its first win. The Hawks are still relatively young, but head coach TJ Dolliver is approaching the new year with optimism because of his team’s continued growth.
Four juniors are entering their third varsity seasons and the Hawks will be counting on them to provide necessary leadership on and off the court. Emma Lawrence, Jillian Michelson, Carly Fereira, and Katie Maietta have all gotten plenty of playing time last year and the hope is that experience will serve them well this winter.
This will be a guard-heavy lineup, especially with no player over 5-foot-8. Junior Elise Fauerbach will add some physical play to the frontcourt and sophomore forward Jill Araujo is a newcomer that can add some depth in the paint.
“There is a lot to pay attention to but what I care about the most is how we do this together,” said Dolliver. “I have a great group of girls and a great coaching staff and I believe this season will be very rewarding.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Nikki Correia
It has been a tough run over the last few seasons for North Attleboro, which won seven games and missed the playoffs for the third straight year, but there are still positives to take away as former assistant Nikki Correia takes over for her first year in charge. North has several experienced players returning to try and push Big Red back up the standings.
The backcourt should be a plus for North with senior point guard Olivia Forbes back to run the show and keep the Rocketeers getting into the transition game that Correia prefers. She will be joined at the guard position by junior Amanda Kaiser, who emerged as not only a threat from deep but also as a tough defender who gets her hands into the passing lane. Juniors Siobhan Weir and Lydia Santos will add to the depth at guard to help with the full-court pressure that North will turn to this year.
North hasn’t had much height in the past few seasons, but there are several forwards who can compete on the glass. Senior forward Eliza Dion is an aggressive defender and can take her defender off the dribble. Senior Regan Fein will add extra depth in the paint. Freshman guard Ava McKeown and sophomore guard Summer Doherty are two newcomers that could make an instant impact.
“I am looking forward to being apart of watching this team and this program grow this year,” Correia said. “There are six returning seniors, so that veteran play will be very helpful, as well as returning a great shooter and adding an athletic sophomore and freshman to the mix.”
2018-2019 Record: 13-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames had a lot of new faces last year, but the success was very familiar. The Tigers finished with 13 wins and reached the Div. 1 South quarterfinal, giving Wellesley all it could handle on the road. A year of experience and the return of a strong core of players means expectations are even higher for OA this winter.
Sophomore Caroline Peper will be the player that is going to draw the most attention at the start of the new season. As a freshman, Peper was one of the league’s top scorers and its top shooters. Junior Caroline Flynn was also an all-star last year. She runs the point, is one of the top passers on the team, and also one of its top rebounders. Her overall game helps the Tigers control games. Also in the backcourt will be seniors Meg Holleran and Erin Holmberg, who is coming back after surgery cost her almost all of last season.
Senior Tate Hadges will be on the front line, giving OA another strong defender and rebounder. Sophomore Hailey Bourne, while undersized, gives the Tigers a lot of effort in the post even when matched up against some of the best frontcourt players in the league. Junior Jess Erlich and Tori Harney and sophomore Anna Murphy will add to the team’s depth on the wing.
“As always, the Hock will present with a very high level of competition,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We are looking forward to being capable of putting together a variety of strong personnel combinations which will provide us with depth as we face those challenges.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sandra Lombardi
Sharon narrowly missed out on its first playoff appearance under head coach Sandy Lombardi, finishing just one win away from a tournament berth. With three returning starters and several younger players who got significant playing time last year, the Eagles will be eyeing that elusive postseason berth.
Three seniors will be counted on to lead the team at both ends of the floor. Point guard Ally Brown will be expected to get the Eagles into their offensive sets and is a strong defender on the other end, keeping pressure on the perimeter. Shooting guard Kaitlyn Wallace is the team’s top outside threat, stretching the defense with her range and also being a strong passer off the dribble. Forward Telishya Herbert led the team in scoring last year and is a matchup nightmare in the paint with her aggressive play going to the basket.
The starting lineup will be rounded out by junior Leah Fandel and sophomore Trinity Payne, two athletic forwards that will give Sharon decent size on the front line. Senior Nicole Teven, juniors Julia Early and Gaby Cabral and freshman Tess Letendre will all see plenty of playing time this season and will look to contribute to the team’s success.
“Ally, Kaitlyn, and Telishya have the most varsity experience and I expect great things from them this year,” Lombardi said. “We have a young team and I am hoping some of the younger players are able to step up this year as well.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
A new era will begin this winter, as Stoughton moves into its brand new gym with a lot of new faces on the roster, hoping to get the Black Knights back into the playoff race this season after missing out on the tournament last year.
The key for the Black Knights will be its senior leadership. Although Sydnee Hyacinthe has moved on to Milton Academy, they still return a strong core led by senior Aliyah Wright. The point guard can be a dominant presence on both ends of the floor, sparking Stoughton on defense and breaking down the opposition off the dribble. Senior Shyanne Trinh is healthy to start the season and will be the team’s top outside threat, with the ability to knock down shots off the dribble. Senior forward Lexi Baptista is an athletic post threat who can also step back and knock down the mid-range jumper.
Senior Hannah Pagano and juniors Brooke Bulger, Mackenzie Manning, and Catherine Downey will add to the team’s depth, especially in the backcourt. Sophomore Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and freshman Kyla Sheedy-Goff will be two of the newcomers to the roster that could make a name for themselves this season.
“Despite being somewhat young this season this group of ladies worked really hard in the off-season,” said Stoughton coach Charmain Steele Jordan. “The sky is the limit this season and our Black Knights are going compete hard until the final whistle blows.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-15 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
After a number of seasons under coach Walter Harrigan, Taunton has turned to former King Philip coach Amy Siggens this year and she has brought plenty of energy into her first preseason with the Tigers, trying to push the program back into the playoff hunt.
As Siggens and the players become more comfortable with each other, the Tigers will count on their returning starters to get things off to a good start. Juniors Sonya and Jaelyn Fernandez and Kelsey White will be the players to watch this season after strong sophomore campaigns. All three have good size, with both Sonya and Jaelyn providing strong presences on the boards and out on the break and White causing match-up issues on the perimeter. All three will need to step up on the defensive end and keep the Tigers running.
Taunton also has depth, although it will be relatively inexperienced. Seniors Liz Crisman and Jaylah Chaves and junior Tori DaRosa will add more depth in the backcourt. Sophomores Braeley McDonald and Abby Souza (who has helped out on varsity since she was an eighth-grader) and freshman Kameron St. Pierre will also chip in this season.
“Any coaching change brings lots of challenges and, this season, we will be faced with our share,” said Siggens. “I am very encouraged from what I’ve seen thus far. Our bench is young and talented but how quickly a good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start.”
Attleboro, 63 @ Taunton, 60 – Final – Tied at 53 apiece late in the game, Attleboro closed . the game with a 10-7 run to edge the Tigers. The Bombardiers jumped ahead 60-53 with a 7-0 run, bookended with free throws from Bryant Ciccio (18 points) along with a layup from Mason Houle. Taunton responded with a three from John Martins and a steal and layup from Mike Quinn (12 points) to get within two. With 10.8 seconds left, Taunton had the ball down 62-60 but Tim Callahan helped force a turnover, Ciccio hit one of two free throws and Qualeem Charles (21 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed the offensive board and Attleboro kept possession as time expired. Dante Law led Taunton with 20 points while Wesner Charles added 10 points.
Sharon, 49 @ Foxboro, 69 – Final – Foxboro built a nine-point advantage over three quarter and then turned it on during the fourth, pouring in 30 points in the final quarter to pull away from the visiting Eagles. The Warriors led by two (10-8) after one, and six (25-19) by halftime. Foxboro increased its lead to nine (39-30) entering the fourth. Junior Will Morrison scored 10 of his 12 points in the final quarter, one of four Warriors to score double-digits. Anthony Mollica had a team-high 17 points, sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 15 points and senior Ryan Hughes finished with 11 points, all in the first three quarters. Sharon’s Kiran Chandrasekaran led the Eagles with 10 points and Caleb Gayle added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Franklin, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 40 – Final – Franklin limited Oliver Ames to just 16 points in the second half, turning a six-point halftime advantage in a double-digit win. The Panthers led 16-12 after one and 30-24 at half but didn’t allow the Tigers to score double digits in either the third (14-9) or the fourth (17-7). Senior Jalen Samuels led the Panthers with 15 points, including eight in the fourth quarter while classmate Jake Macchi added a career-high 14 points (five in the fourth), connecting on four three pointers. Senior Ethan Eckstrom and sophomore Amari Brown each had eight points for the Tigers.
King Philip, 69 @ Mansfield, 65 – Final – King Philip hit five three-pointers and exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter to earn a score a big come-from-behind upset on the road at Mansfield. It marks the Warriors’ first win against the Hornets since February 2012, snapping a 12-game skid. KP trailed by nine with just over five minutes to go before outscoring the Hornets 25-12 over that period. Junior Alex Fritz scored 10 of his career-high 20 points in the final quarter while Tim Nault poured in three triples in the final frame to finish with 17 points. Bruce Saintilus added 16 points and Sam Sesay added for KP. Mansfield senior Damani Scott had a team-high 15 points and sophomore TJ Guy added 13 points for the Hornets.
Milford, 74 @ Stoughton, 54 – Final – Milford senior Brendan White poured in a career-high 40 points and hauled in 18 rebounds to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a big win on the road. White scored 13 points in the opening quarter, helping the Hawks jump out ahead 18-9, and then added 10 in the second as Milford built a 37-21 lead by halftime. White had 15 made field goals, including three three-pointers, and connected on four free throws. Brendon Sailer added 11 points and Jordan Darling finished with 10 points for Milford. Sophomore Brett Pendenza had a team-high 10 points for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 46 @ Attleboro, 60 – Final – Attleboro used a balanced offensive attack to pull out the division win at home. Liv McCall paced the Bombardiers with 12, but she got a lot of help from Kenzie Roberts and Emma Reilly, who each scored 11. Ryan Johnson and Gabby Bosh also played well off the Attleboro bench, according to coach Marty Crowley. Sonya Fernandez led the Tigers with 14 and Tori DeRosa chipped in with 10.
Canton, 59 @ North Attleboro, 69 – Final – North Attleboro continued its surge up the standings with a strong performance against Canton. Amanda Kaiser scored 22 points and Julia Feid added 19 for the Rocketeers, who scored a season-high 69 points as a team. Olivia Forbes added eight in the win. Sydney Gallery scored 15 points and her sister Fay added 14 for the Bulldogs. North has won five of its last six games, with the only loss being at Franklin.
Foxboro, 54 @ Sharon, 44 – Final – The defending Div. 2 state champs have booked a place in the state tournament with their 10th straight win to start the season, but it was not easy. Foxboro needed a 14-4 run in the final four-plus minutes to keep the win streak alive. Lizzy Davis was the top scorer for Foxboro with 16, while Katelyn Mollica added 15 and Chelsea Gibbons had 14 in the win. Telishya Herbert matched Davis, scoring 16 points to lead the Eagles. Emma Eberhardt had 11 points and Kaitlyn Wallace had eight to help Sharon put a scare into the Davenport leaders.
Oliver Ames, 36 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – OA led by three after one quarter, but Franklin rallied to grab the lead by halftime. In the third quarter, the Panthers broke the game wide open, going on a 24-6 run that put them in front for good. Megan O’Connell had a big game for the hosts, scoring 18 points, to help Franklin stay unbeaten in the league and remain two games ahead of Mansfield in the title race. Bea Bondhus had 15 points, on five three-pointers, and Ali Brigham had 13 in the win. Hailey Bourne was the top scorer for OA with nine points.
Stoughton, 67 @ Milford, 32 – Final – Hailey Egan helped Stoughton get back on track, scoring 13 points to lead the Black Knights. Lindsay McDonald had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Sydnee Hyacinthe had 10 points, four assists, and five steals.
Silver Lake Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames went 3-0 on the day, picking up wins over South Shore Tech (62-12), Quincy (63-12), and host Silver Lake (57-12).
North Attleboro @ Canton, 6:30
Foxboro @ Sharon, 4:00
Franklin, 86 @ Westwood, 57 – Final
Mansfield, 46 @ Taunton, 45 – Final
North Attleboro @ Canton, 6:30
Foxboro @ Sharon, 4:00
Franklin, 89.5 @ Westwood, 80.5 – Final
Mansfield, 44 @ Taunton, 60 – Final
Attleboro @ King Philip, 8:00
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:30
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro came into Friday night’s non-league visit of Durfee without two starters and three rotation players, but the Bombardiers didn’t miss a beat. Nine players got on the score sheet, Attleboro’s pressure defense was intense, and the Bombardiers rolled to a 55-34 victory.
“It’s good that the young kids are getting minutes,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “It will pay dividends. If not now, then somewhere down the line, but it was a great team victory tonight, the kids played together, unselfish, and when we play like that anything is possible.”
Liv McCall led the way for Attleboro with a game-high 14 points and also added five assists. In addition, the Bombardiers got contributions from up and down the bench and got critical minutes from a strong group of underclassmen.
“We try to preach for us to be successful find the open man,” Crowley said of the Attleboro offense. “Durfee is a tough team but tonight we were a step quicker and I thought we moved the ball very, very well.”
Durfee only dressed eight players on Friday and Attleboro took advantage of its shorthanded opponent with an aggressive trapping press. Without top on-the-ball defenders Jordyn Lako and Nyah Thomas, who were both injured, the Bombardiers used this team defense to cause the Hilltoppers problems.
Attleboro jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Abby Struminski, one of four players to finish with six points, buried a three off an offensive rebound and assist by Mackenzie Roberts and freshman Meghan Gordon got an easy bucket off a steal.
After Durfee cut the lead to 12-6, sophomore Gabby Bosh> (five points) banked in a three off a Gordon assist and then Gordon got out on the break for a layup and a 17-6 edge after the opening quarter.
Things got tighter in the second because the Bombardiers went cold from the floor. Freshman Mackenzie Carreiro scored six of her seven points in the quarter and pulled Durfee back as close as four points, but Attleboro regained control with an 11-0 run to close the half.
“For us it’s always about defense and I thought our defense played very well tonight,” Crowley explained. “Our turnovers were limited tonight, we had more pluses than minuses, and our guards did a great job.”
McCall set up sophomore Ryan Johnson (six points) for a fast break basket and then Gordon drained a three to push the lead back to double digits. McCall added a steal and layup and Sonny Stuger managed to get to the basket with a drive from the elbow. The Bombardiers led 32-17 at the break.
Durfee kept fighting in the third, but never got any closer than 16 points. McCall swished a three, freshman Hailey Perry (six points) got a bucket off a McCall assist and sophomore Emma Reilly (six points) scored four points in the third to keep the Hilltoppers at an arms length.
The game was put away with an 11-4 fourth quarter. McCall continued to turn defense into offense with a pair of steals and fast break baskets. Reilly added another two points with an offensive rebound, Johnson knocked down a jumper, and Perry got her second made field goal of the night.
It was the perfect reaction for a team missing several key pieces and a great way to head into the holiday break.
“It’s next man up,” Crowley said. “When people are out, then it’s about the system and the young kids are buying in. It’s exciting.”
Attleboro (2-3) will get six days off for Christmas break before traveling to North Attleboro for the teams’ league matchup.