Deyo, Vlashi Carry Bombardiers into Quarters

Attleboro girls basketball
Sarah Deyo scored 27 points and pulled in 17 rebounds to lead the Bombardiers to a first round win over Durfee. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the first round of last year’s Div. 1 South tournament, Attleboro faced Needham just a week after beating the Rockets for the second time in the season. Trying to beat the same opponent for the third time proved too much, as the Needham went on the road and upset Attleboro.

Less than a week after beating Durfee for the second time this season, Attleboro opened this year’s tournament with a third game against the Hilltoppers. Junior forward Sarah Deyo admitted that the Needham game was on her mind as she prepared for Tuesday’s match-up.

“I was thinking about it all day,” Deyo said. “I was like, crap last year we played Needham and then we lost to them in the first round and I hope it’s not that result again.”

Deyo almost single-handedly ensured there would be no repeat of last year’s upset. She scored 25 points and dominated the glass, pulling in 17 rebounds, as the Bombardiers held off a second half charge to beat Durfee 57-44 and advance to the sectional quarterfinal.

“That’s Sarah,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch with a rueful shake of the head. “When you need it, she’s up for it. She was doing a lot of things. She was passing the ball a little bit to get people looks…she just feeds it to everybody else and that’s great.”

Attleboro got off to a slow start, handing Durfee a quick 5-0 lead, but then Deyo started to go to work. She scored off a Sam Pierce assist, followed by a three from Emily Houle, and then managed to corral a loose ball for a layup and score off an offensive rebound. She had seven in the first and finished the quarter with an assist on a jumper by Grace Mayer.

Deyo continued the good work in the second, adding another nine points including a perfect 7-7 from the line (she was 8-9 from the line in the first half but 1-7 in the second). Houle chipped in with five of her 11 points, including a step-back three that was quickly followed by another long-range shot by Fatima McDonald.

Attleboro led 29-19 at the half and things felt like they were falling into place for a comfortable win, but in the third quarter (as they did last Wednesday) the Hilltoppers made a charge. Jordyn Gauvin (team-high 16 points) scored five in the third and a Reagan McDonald jumper got Durfee as close as five points at 37-32.

The Bombardiers needed a spark in the third quarter and were not finding success going through the usual troika of Deyo, Houle, and Pierce, so in stepped senior forward Emma Vlashi.

Another player that missed time this season with injury, Vlashi stepped off the bench and provided instant offense, scoring eight of her 12 points in the quarter. She scored on a layup off a Deyo drop pass then on the break after a Mish Logie steal and assist and capped it off a great touch pass from Pierce across the paint.

“Emma just has that energy when she plays within herself,” said Patch. “She gave us a little bit of a spark when the lead got down to seven, five and jumped it back to 11 just by her offensive rebounding and her finishing near the basket.”

“That was so huge,” added Deyo. “Emma really helped us out; she was the ‘X’ factor. Without her I don’t think we would have had the game that we had.”

Deyo gave the hosts a little momentum heading to the fourth with an offensive rebound at the buzzer that extended the lead to 39-32. Houle followed that with a three on Attleboro’s first possession of the final quarter and Logie added another from the corner a few seconds later.

The lead grew to 11 when Deyo scored plus the foul off an inbounds play, before Vlashi added her final four points to put the Bombardiers ahead 52-39 with time winding down. Deyo capped it with a pair of putbacks, as Attleboro crushed the Hilltoppers on the glass to pull out the win.

“Last game they beat us on the boards both offensively and defensively, so a big aspect of the game was make sure we get the rebounds and don’t let them get second chance points,” said Deyo, who was helped on the glass by Houle with nine rebounds, McDonald with eight and Pierce and Valshi each with seven.

Patch noticed a different attitude for his team in this year’s playoff opener compared to last season against Needham. He explained, “I think the mindset last year was uncertainty…I think the expectation this year is we expect to win.”

He continued, “We always talk about making plays and I think last year they were hopeful and this year they expect to do it.”

The Bombardiers confidence will be put to the test when they host No. 5 seed Wellesley on Thursday night in the Div. 1 South quarterfinal.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Hornets Beat Attleboro and Clinch League Title

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield celebrated a victory over Attleboro that clinched the program’s second Hockomock League title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Four years ago, Mansfield won only four games. Those freshmen are now seniors and on Monday night, they capped their final season in Mansfield colors by climbing a ladder, scissors in hand, to cut down the nets at the Albertini Gym.
“This is huge,” said senior Caroline Maher, moments before she got the chance to go up the ladder and celebrate with a piece of the net. “My freshman year we had four wins and now we have 18 or 19, I don’t even know, and we’re going to the state tournament. I’m so happy and so proud of us.”
The Hornets used a strong second half to exact a measure of revenge on Attleboro with a 56-43 victory in front a standing room only, raucous crowd to split the season series with the Bombardiers and clinched the Kelley-Rex division title. It is the program’s second Hockomock title and first since 2011.
Maher added, ““I remember watching the 2010-11 team winning it and I thought, oh I want to be up there on the ladder cutting that string.”
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said of his senior class, “They just keep getting better; a lot of camaraderie, young kids stepping in to help and just a lot of fun to be around. I’m really proud of what they did.”
Attleboro came into the game with its sights set on the program’s first Hockomock title and jumped out to an early lead, up 12-8 after the first quarter. Junior Sarah Deyo sparked the Bombardiers with seven of her team-high 15 in the first, including an early three and a couple of layups.
Juliana Newell (12 points) kept Mansfield in the game with four in the first and another six points in the second, most coming off her familiar mid-range jumper. Jen Peel stepped up in the second and scored half of her game-high 18 points in the quarter with drives into the middle of the Attleboro defense.
“She got in the lane the other time,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch, “but this time she was looking to score. We made the adjustment to just keep her in front of us, but there were times that we lost her.”
A Jordyn Lako three had given Attleboro a 22-15 lead, but Peel scored five straight points to cut the lead to four. After a pair of free throws by Fatima McDonald, Peel got another layup and a pair from the line to bring Mansfield within two. After Sam Pierce (10 points) buried a three, Newell closed out the first half with a runner that kept the Hornets within three at 27-24.
In the third quarter, Meg Hill took over the game. The sophomore center scored all 11 of her points in the third and a big chunk of her game-high 15 rebounds and four blocks.
Redding said, “We kept kidding her the last couple weeks about going into ‘Beast Mode.’ You can be a nice kid off the court but you’ve got to step on and ante up and as a sophomore she did that in the third quarter. She changed the tone of the game.”
Hill started the half with a layup off an inbound pass by Peel (five assists) but Mish Logie followed with a corner three to extend the lead to four. Peel answered that with a transition basket plus the foul.
“For all the good things she does, we’ll live with a couple of turnovers,” said Redding of Peel. She can always seem to find a lane. As tight as things are, she always finds a way through.”
After a Pierce jumper, Hill scored four straight to give Mansfield the lead at 33-32, its first since the opening basket of the game. She continued to dominate the paint on a personal 8-0 run that put Mansfield up by five, a lead that the Hornets would carry into the fourth quarter.
“There were a couple calls, not blaming the ref, it was just reffed in a way that we haven’t seen all year so to make that adjustment – we just couldn’t,” Patch explained. “We had to focus on boxing out harder…it was making it much tougher for our kids.”
Deyo hit a three late in the third quarter and then added another one to start the fourth and bring Attleboro back within two. After a Newell layup and a pair of free throws from Jackie Carchedi, Emma Vlashi (six points) scored on a drive to the hoop and another shot in the paint and it was 45-43.
Coming into the game, Emily Houle needed four points to hit 1,000 for her career, but in the fourth quarter she had been held to only a pair of free throws. At several points in the game, Houle seemed more like a decoy as the offense flowed in different directions, but she finally got free on the baseline with a chance to tie the game.
The jumper was halfway down but spun out. Attleboro did not score another point in the game.
“It’s baffling,” said Patch about the struggle to get Houle the ball. “We’re coming out of timeouts calling certain plays and I don’t know if it’s the environment or whatever, we trained for it, we practiced for it.
Mansfield forced a steal from McDonald and Peel raced the length of the court to score plus the foul, putting the Hornets up by six. On the next trip, Carchedi took a deep three that was off line, but the senior was the first to react and rebounded her own miss to score a dagger basket.
“I don’t know who our MVP is but I think she may have my vote just because she does so much at both ends of the floor,” said Redding of Carchedi. “She really does everything for us. She doesn’t score a lot of points for us but that offensive rebound and score was huge.”
The Hornets knocked down free throws in the closing minutes to clinch the victory and with it the title. Maher got her wish and was able to stand atop the ladder and hold her piece of the net.
“We’ve played together for so long, longer than I can remember,” she said of the senior class. “The fourth grade ‘A’ team, but for a few kids that went to Feehan this is the team.”
Redding added, “Just a great game with a lot of players stepping up…There’s a 50-50 chance that we could play in the quarterfinal, so get ready for the rubber match.”
Mansfield will await the tournament pairings that will come out this weekend, while Attleboro will close out its regular season (and Emily Houle will continue her quest for 1,000) on Wednesday at Durfee.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Milestone Delayed But Attleboro Avoids Trap

Attleboro girls basketball
Emily Houle scored 17 points on Friday afternoon leaving her four points shy of 1,000 heading into Monday’s game with Mansfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The crowd was packed in behind and across from the Attleboro bench, with balloons, signs, and more celebrating senior guard Emily Houle and her quest to become the first female to score 1,000 career points for Attleboro since Sarah Wright in 1999, which she needed 21 to attain on Friday afternoon in her final home game of the regular season.

Houle scored 17, all in the second half, so the full celebration will have to wait until Attleboro’s game at Mansfield on Monday night, but the Bombardiers had enough in reserve to avoid the trap of facing non-league Dartmouth after a week off and three days before the game that will decide the Kelley-Rex title.

Attleboro struggled early on against Dartmouth’s triangle-and-two defense but managed to pull out a 48-36 victory on an afternoon that ended with very little attention being paid to the final score.

The Indians, playing less than 24 hours after a loss at Mansfield on Thursday night, started the game with Cali Andrade doing her best to deny Houle the ball. With the Bombardiers trying to get Houle the ball as often as possible to help her get to the milestone, Attleboro’s offense bogged down in the first quarter and the top scoring team in the Hock was held to just six points.

“We do some stuff on it but we haven’t seen enough of it,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch about the triangle and two defense. “I think with the not playing for a week, the sideshow of the thousand and the electricity in the air, the kids were tight at the beginning.”

Senior guard Fatima McDonald (eight points) was Attleboro’s lone source of offense, scoring all six points in the first, including a drive to the hoop and a three. In the second, sophomore Sam Pierce chipped in with four of her 10 points and Grace Mayer and Mish Logie each contributed layups.

At halftime, the Bombardiers trailed 17-14 and needed to find an answer to all of the attention being put on Houle and Sarah Deyo (seven blocks, 10 rebounds).

“I thought if we’re not careful this could get away because a similar thing happened at Stoughton when we were down a bunch of players,” said Patch.

“I was disappointed in our defensive rebounding…because that’s effort, that’s discipline and regardless of everything else that’s going on we just weren’t able to do that.”

In the third quarter, the Bombardiers clamped down on defense. Kelsey Shurtleff (team-high 12 points) knocked down a pair of threes but the Indians were no longer getting anything inside and Attleboro took control of the glass.

Patch explained, “I think the person that started that fire was Sam Pierce. She’s that link, when she plays well then  we’re at another level. She came out for five minutes and played very well and it kind of spread [the lead].”

A McDonald layup and a Deyo putback pulled Attleboro within one at 19-18, then Pierce assisted on a Logie three that once again cut the lead to one. In transition Houle finally got on the board with a layup that gave Attleboro its first lead since it was 2-0. Pierce added to it with a basket on an inbound and a steal and layup.

Houle (11 rebounds) tacked on a three off a missed Dartmouth free throw and then another bucket in transition that had the crowd on its feet and pushed the Attleboro lead to 34-25 heading to the fourth.

Dartmouth scored the first four points of the final quarter to hang around, but Attleboro broke the game open with an 11-0 run, including seven points from Houle that put her at 14 for the night and needing seven points in three minutes to reach 1,000.

With Attleboro leading by 16 at 45-29, the focus of both benches turned to the impending milestone.

“In the fourth quarter, when I saw we were up 16, I told her that everything is going through you,” said Patch. “I said, we’ve got the game, let’s just get her the ball.”

The Indians turned to a four corners offense in the closing minutes, clearly with no intention of trying to mount a comeback and purely interested in limiting Attleboro’s offensive possessions. Meanwhile, the Bombardiers were fouling intentionally to put the Indians on the line so they could then get the ball back.

Now the focus will turn to Monday night and the matchup with Mansfield that will determine the league title. The boys’ game against the Hornets has been moved up to 5 p.m., while the girls’ start was pushed back to 7:15 to allow both fanbases to see the league finale (and cheer Houle when she reaches 1,000).

“I think at this point with her being so close…she’s going to get it,” said Patch. “We’re just going to play the game. I’m glad that we got it close enough that it won’t be a sideshow on Monday; it will just be Mansfield and Attleboro going at it for the championship.”

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/19/16

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Milford, 48 @ Foxboro, 66 – Final – Foxboro senior Alex DuBrow scored all of his team-high 16 points in the second half, adding eight assists and five rebounds. Jason Procaccini had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists, Rob Lowey had 15 points and nine rebounds and junior Mark Clagg finished with 10 points. Milford’s Dimitry Torres scored a game-high 18 points along with six assists. 

Franklin, 64 @ Catholic Memorial, 87 – Final – Senior Tim Prunier and freshman Jay Dieterle each had nine points for the Panthers.

Taunton, 84 @ King Philip, 60 – Final – Taunton senior Jose Mercado poured in a career-high 31 points while Tommy MacLean had 14 points and Dom Smith added 12 points. King Philip’s Pharoah Davis had a team-high 13 points. 
Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 48 vs. Dartmouth, 36 – Final – Emily Houle led the way for Attleboro with 17 points, all in the second half, which leaves her four points shy of 1,000 for her career. She also had 11 rebounds. Sam Pierce added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Bombardiers, Fatima McDonald had eight points, and Sarah Deyo had only three points but chipped in with seven blocks and 10 boards.

Canton, 47 vs. Blackstone-Millville, 42 – FinalThe Bulldogs swept the season series with BMR behind 14 points from Hannah Jerrier and eight apiece from Jess Powers and Meaghan Hunter. Canton turned the game around with a 30-13 second half. 
King Philip, 38 @ Taunton, 37 – FinalJen Lacroix scored all 12 of her points in the second half to lead the Warriors, who bounced back from a 12-point halftime deficit. Sam Madden added eight points for KP and Riley Dalzell had 10 rebounds. Taunton was led by Alyssa Gibson, who finished with 13 points and 14 boards, and Lily Patneaude, who scored 11 points. 
Milford, 44 @ Foxboro, 61 – Final – The Warriors had three players reach double figures, led by Ashley Sampson’s 14 points. Cassidy Harrison added 11 points and Kristen Bortolotti had 10 points. 

North Attleboro, 47 vs. Durfee, 34 – FinalThe Rocketeers were led by junior Caroline Collard with 10 points and Ashley Ahern chipped in with six. 
Sharon, 43 @ Fontbonne, 58 – Final Senior Alyssa Piazza had 19 points, six rebounds, and five steals for the Eagles in the loss. 
Girls Hockey
Canton, 0 @ Whitman-Hanson, 2 – Final

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/12/16

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Milford, 55 @ Attleboro, 70 – Final – Attleboro had three players score in double-digits, led by a career-high 24 points for junior Jake Dunkley, who also added seven rebounds. Junior Andrew Milliken had 16 points and five rebounds, sophomore Nate Douglas had 14 points and four rebounds and senior Kyle Murphy had 14 rebounds to go along with seven points. Milford’s Zack Tamagni scored a team-high 20 points for the Scarlet Hawks. 

Canton, 34 @ North Attleboro, 43 – Final – North Attleboro junior Brent Doherty scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, including nine of them in the third quarter, which was the period the Rocketeers created an eight point cushion. Senior Ridge Olsen added nine points and Kyle Gaumond had six. Canton’s Tony Harris had 12 points for the Bulldogs.

Foxboro, 60 @ Franklin, 65 – Final (OT) – Senior Tim Prunier scored a game-high 18 points while freshman Jay Dieterle scored 13 points, senior Kevin Gill had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists and Josh Macchi had 11 points and eight rebounds. Foxboro’s Jason Procaccini scored 17 points, Robby Lowey added 12 points and six rebounds and Mark Clagg had 11 points. 

Sharon, 45 @ King Philip, 52 – Final – King Philip broke into the win column, pouring in 20 points in the first quarter and never looking back. Seth Sullivan had a game-high 13 points while junior Pharaoh Davis added 11 points and junior Noah Goodwin had 10 points. Peter Banks had 10 points for Sharon, who went 2/24 from 3PT range as a team. 

Oliver Ames, 63 @ Mansfield, 78 – Final – Junior Sam Goldberg netted a career-high 23 points (17 in the second half) pulled in 10 rebounds and had four assists to lead the Hornets. Matt Ehrlich added 17 points and Max Boen added 11 points. Oliver Ames’ Tim Kelley had 20 points and Connor Maroney added 15 points. 

Stoughton, 53 @ Taunton, 81 – Final – Senior Jose Mercado netted 25 points and junior Quan Roberson added 22 points as Taunton’s offense scored a season-high 81 points. Stoughton sophomore Cam Andrews had 14 points to lead the Black Knights. 
Girls Basketball
North Attleboro, 50 @ Canton, 38 – Final – North Attleboro was led by junior guard Ashley Ahern, who finished with 18 points. For the second straight night, Hannah Jerrier recorded a double-double for Canton with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Franklin, 45 @ Foxboro, 51 – Final – Sophomore Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 21 points while sophomore Lily Sykes chipped in with 12 points for Foxboro. 

King Philip, 53 @ Sharon, 45 – Final – KP rallied from eight down in the fourth quarter behind 18 points from freshman Julia Leroux (nine in the fourth quarter alone). Sam Madden added 12 for the Warriors, who outscored the Eagles 22-7 in the final quarter. Sharon was led by Alyssa Piazza with 14 points and Charlotte Ransom with 12.

Mansfield, 48 @ Oliver Ames, 32 – Final – Caroline Maher led the way for the Hornets with 16 points in a game between the top two teams in this week’s girls basketball Hock 5. Meg Hill added eight points and nine rebounds and Jen Peel had eight points and eight assists for Mansfield.

Attleboro, 54 @ Milford, 26 – Final – The Bombardiers were without star forward Sarah Deyo but pulled out the win on the road led by 18 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Sam Pierce. Emma Vlashi added 12 points for Attleboro in just her second game back from injury and Fatima McDonald chipped in with eight steals.

Taunton, 52 @ Stoughton, 54 – Final – Stoughton seniors Jess Greer and Alecia Quinones each scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Black Knights to a close win. Taunton senior Jordan Wade had 16 points while Lily Patneaude and Alyssa Gibson each added 12 points for the Tigers. 
Hockey
Canton, 11 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Senior Matty Marcone netted his first career goal to lead the Bulldogs to a league win.
Wrestling
Taunton, 42 vs. Josiah Quincy 36 – Final – The Tigers got wins from Chris Fernandes (120), Justin Bradley (132), Brandon DeForitis (145), Alex Simon (170), Jose Anaya (182), Nuno Camara (195), and Mason Frank (220).
Swimming
Boys
Foxboro, 51 @ Oliver Ames, 103 – Final
Girls
Foxboro, 80 @ Oliver Ames, 90 – Final

Attleboro Overcomes Another Injury to Defeat North


Emily Houle
Emily Houle (3) scored eight of her 13 points in the second half as Attleboro survived the loss of Sarah Deyo to pull out a road win at North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

NORTH ATTLEBORO – The Bombardiers have been snakebitten with injuries this season. A day after finding out that junior Julia Strachan was lost for the year to a knee injury, Attleboro watched as Sarah Deyo walked off the court holding her elbow just 1:17 into the second half against North Attleboro on Friday night.

Deyo had a first half double-double and scored the first bucket of the third quarter, but she would be done after scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and helping the Bombardiers grab a slim, five-point advantage.

Rather than allowing the disappointment of losing another key player cost it the game, Attleboro, as it has all season, had other players step up.

Sophomore Sam Pierce scored 15 points (nine in the second half) and had 12 rebounds and senior Emily Houle, in only her third game back from her own injury, had 13 points (eight in the second half) and 11 rebounds to lead the Bombardiers to a 51-43 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader at the Pickering Gym.

“I think our box out and rebound stuff was outstanding,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “We didn’t really run much [on offense] but the big thing they did was compete. They didn’t let up, they focused.”

North came out strong at the end of a tough week that saw it face three of its fiercest rivals (Mansfield and Bishop Feehan were the others). Emily Schromm started the game with the first of her three three-pointers on the night and later in the quarter Ashley Ahern completed a four-point play on the far sideline. Sam Taggart scored four points in the first, including a long two at the buzzer.

The Bombardiers counted on Deyo to stay close in the opening quarter. The junior scored six points, many of them on second chance opportunities, as Attleboro dominated on the glass.

“They’re a tough matchup,” said North coach Derek Herber about trying to keep Attleboro off the boards. “Defensively, we rebound okay but it’s the offensive rebounds we don’t force a lot of teams to play on the defensive boards.”

In the second, Attleboro went on a run to grab the lead. After Emily Peters (seven points) and Schromm knocked down threes to put North ahead 24-19, the Bombardiers scored nine of the next 10 points. Deyo tied the game with a jumper, then Emma Vlashi, in her first game back from injury, hit two free throws to give Attleboro the lead and Houle made it four with a steal and transition layup.

“She just got cleared today,” said Patch of Vlashi. “The plan was to only have her play like six minutes and then a couple of things where Sarah goes down and you just go by how you feel.”

With Deyo on the bench icing her arm, Taggart (nine points) buried a three to bring North back within two and then Kiersten Bixby scored on an offensive rebound to tie it at 32. Momentum seemed to be on the home team’s side, but first Houle and then Pierce knocked down threes from opposite corners to give the Bombardiers a 38-34 lead heading to the fourth.

“Sam posts up all the time but she can play on the outside,” Patch explained. “We give those kids the green light. They can shoot anytime they think they can make it.”

Attleboro carried the momentum into the final quarter with some help from poor shooting by the Rocketeers. Time and again, North created openings for Ahern, Schromm, and Taggart but the shots just would not fall.

“We played some good offense but right now we’re having a tough time shooting,” said Herber. “Part of that is Attleboro and the teams we’re playing but part of it is us. To use a golf reference, we have the ‘yips’ right now.”

Houle picked off a pass and assisted on a fast break bucket for Fatima McDonald that built the lead to 10 and Houle later completed a three-point play to answer an Ahern layup and essentially ice the game.

“At halftime we kept saying they’re starting to tire,” said Patch. “On the offensive side, even when we weren’t running a play, just put pressure on them and make them work and wear them down a little bit.”

North has dropped three straight games this week and the three-time defending league champions are now two games behind league leading Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex standings.

Herber is hopeful that this level of competition will lead to positive results later in the season, but at the moment the shooting woes are making for some tough nights. He added, “Unfortunately, there’s no easy nights in the league and no easy nights on our schedule. We’ll be battle-tested but hopefully we can get a little offensive flow at some point.”

Attleboro (8-1, 4-1) will travel to Milford in its next game on Tuesday, while North Attleboro (3-3, 3-2) will travel to Canton.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Girls Basketball: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2015-16

Kelley-Rex girls basketball
The Kelley-Rex division looks to be a season long battle again this winter with all six teams hoping to make runs to the state tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Attleboro

2014-15 Record: 14-9 (10-6)
2014-15 Finish: Lost in Div. 1 South first round
Head Coach: Rick Patch

The Bombardiers were disappointed at a first round tournament exit last season and are using that as motivation as they enter the second season under coach Rick Patch. Attleboro enters 2015-16 as one of the favorites in the Kelley-Rex Division and are getting plenty of hype from opposing coaches who feel that the program can win its first Hockomock title.

Expectations are extremely high because Attleboro returns all but two players from last year. The keys pieces will be senior guard Emily Houle and junior forward Sarah Deyo, who were both among the league’s leading scorers a season ago and have had strong off-season playing for their AAU teams. Each is capable of reaching the 1,000-point plateau for their careers but, maybe more important, both also emerged as elite defensive players last season.

Attleboro did not lose much from last year and added a second transfer in as many years with Julia Strachan coming from division rival North Attleboro. The junior forward adds depth to the forward position, shooting touch from deep, and another strong rebounder. Last year point guard Fatima McDonald came into the program and the senior adds toughness to the lineup with more expected from her now that she has a year of experience under her belt.

Sophomore Sam Pierce and senior Emma Vlashi were productive forwards last season and freshman Jordyn Lako is a newcomer to watch for the Bombardiers. Patch said, “Everyone is excited…We have taken the ‘hard hat’ mentality in putting forth a blue collar, blue pride effort. Our players have really focused on becoming great teammates and leaders.”

Franklin

2014-15 Record: 19-6 (13-3)
2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central final
Head Coach: John Leighton

Most programs that lose all but one starter from a team that reached a sectional final would be thinking about rebuilding and the need for a transition year as new players get integrated. Franklin is counting on its system and the depth in its program to reload rather than rebuild this year.

The Panthers reload will benefit from a healthy Lauren Rudolph. The senior guard missed a large portion of last season with an injury sustained during soccer season and added a big scoring punch off the bench when healthy, This year, Rudolph will take on a much larger role as Franklin’s primary scorer, but she also gives them a boost defensively and is good passer in the Panthers’ dribble drive set.

The lone returning starter is senior Aubrie Kutil, who gives Franklin size and strength in the post on both ends of the court. Kutil will be aided by senior forwards Erin Skidmore and Caroline Maguire (who recovered from a volleyball injury to play in the opener) to crash the boards. Senior point guard Olivia Adiletto saw a lot of action last year and will take over as a starter. Junior Carli Koffinke is another player that will step into a bigger role as an offensive spark off the bench.

Newcomers like juniors Isabella Faught and Margaux Welsh will help Franklin make another run at the Kelley-Rex title. Leighton said, “We’re blessed to have depth. We have girls that buy into the system and are willing to play their roles, which is huge for us.”

King Philip

2014-15 Record: 5-15 (3-13)
2014-15 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Martin Crowley

King Philip has been a competitive program since Martin Crowley took over two years ago with its focus on aggressive defense, rebounding, and being difficult to play against. Although last season did not finish the way that the Warriors had hoped, more than one opposing coach has mentioned KP as a sleeper pick to make a run this year.

Leading scorer Emily Sullivan graduated and Crowley noted that “her scoring can’t be replaced with only one player,” but he feels that the pieces are in place to make up for that loss in production. Senior Maddie Purdue will take over at the point guard position this season and she emerged last year as a solid ball-handler and shooter and never shied away from contact as she took the ball to the basket.

Purdue will get plenty of help from a host of versatile and athletic forwards that gives KP plenty of rebounders and active defenders in and around the post. Senior captain Riley Dalzell showed the ability to step back and knock down shots and she will be joined by classmates Sam Madden, Jen Lacroix, and Olivia Dort.

Freshmen Julia Leroux and Shannon O’Connor will also be added to the mix, as Crowley looks to get the Warriors back into the postseason. He said, “I like where we’re at so far. I like our athleticism and we have good depth. We’re trying to get everyone involved.”

MANSFIELD

2014-15 Record: 19-5 (13-3)
2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South semifinal
Head Coach: Mike Redding

There is plenty of buzz about the Hornets this season, as Mansfield brings back arguably one of the deepest rosters in the league, including four of its five starters from last year’s team that reached the sectional semifinal. Head coach Mike Redding always says that the goal is to be in the mix for the title at the end of the season, but several coaches have noted that the Hornets could be a threat in Div. 1 South not just the Hock.

Mansfield has loads of experience on its roster. Senior guard Caroline Maher, a former HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, can stretch the defense with her range and is also an elite finisher on the break. Fellow senior Jackie Carchedi was last year’s HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year and adds wing scoring for the Hornets. Seniors Julianna Newell and Sarah Mullahy, fresh off a league title in volleyball, add depth to the forward line.

Jen Peel is back to lead the Hornets as the starting point guard after leading the team in assists and tying for the team lead in points last year. Peel’s ability to get to the basket opens up room on the perimeter for the shooters and draws defenders away from sophomore center Meg Hill. Hill is a double-double threat every game and as she develops more offensively will be a primary weapon for Mansfield this season.

Add in senior guard Jen Kemp, sophomore Ann Maher, among others on the roster and the options are plentiful for Redding. He explained, “We need to work harder on defense, find a good balance on offense with our options and be playing our best ball in February…The parts are all there, we need to put them together and develop some chemistry on and off the court.”

North Attleboro

2014-15 Record: 17-6 (14-2)
2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South semifinal
Head Coach: Derek Herber

The graduation of Melissa Beaupre and Danielle Perron and the transfer of Julia Strachan to rival Attleboro have many people assuming that the Rocketeers’ run of three straight league titles will surely come to an end. However, even with the turnover on the roster, North Attleboro has the talent to stay in the mix again in its last season in the Kelley-Rex (for at least four years).

One of the main reasons for optimism is the return of junior guard Ashley Ahern, who flirted with the option of transferring to prep school, but returned to North at the start of the school year. North coach Derek Herber called Ahern’s decision to stay “great not only for the team but for the league.” Ahern gives the Rocketeers a primary scorer at the two guard position and another solid ball-handler on the perimeter.

Joining Ahern on the perimeter will be junior point guard Samantha Taggart and junior Emily Schromm, who will be the third guard in the rotation. The strength of the Rocketeers this season is in the post with senior forward Emily Peters providing leadership and toughness and juniors Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse adding scoring punch. Collard, in particular, had a breakout season as a sophomore and could be a player to watch offensively for North this year.

The losses from last season’s squad were important, but Herber brings seven players back and is bullish about what the Rocketeers can accomplish. “It’s not going to be helter skelter and run and gun like it was last year,” he said, “but we’re going to play good, solid man-to-man defense.”

Taunton

2014-15 Record: 9-13 (5-11)
2014-15 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Walter Harrigan

Taunton struggled with injuries early last season and got off to a sluggish start. As the Tigers got healthier, they finished the season with momentum and ended the year with nine wins. Taunton coach Walter Harrigan is hoping that the momentum will carry over to this winter and give Taunton a chance at getting back to the postseason.

Unfortunately, injuries have popped up again. Senior forward Abby Small, who Harrigan thought was poised for a great season, injured her knee in the soccer team’s playoff game at Wellesley and will be out for at least a while. Harrigan is hopeful that Small can get back on the court at some point this season and give the Tigers a boost. At the start of the season, the Tigers will turn to senior guard Jordan Wade and senior forward Alyssa Gibson to lead the way as both have been in the program for five years.

Junior point guard Jessica Regan will be “critical,” according to Harrigan, as she will get Taunton into its offense every trip. Fellow junior Abbey Kingman is another player that the coach expects to make a big jump this season. There are also seven freshmen and sophomores on the roster highlighted by sophomore wing Hannah Moniz, who at nearly 6 feet tall has the size to cause any team problems and has the athleticism to play on the perimeter or in the post.

Freshman Lily Patneaude could join Moniz in the starting lineup when she returns from an early season injury. Harrigan said, “I’m excited for the season. We’re not really deep, but we’re athletic. Our defense has really improved and I think we have a chance to sneak into states.”

For a list of 10 Players to Watch in Hockomock League girls’ basketball this season, click here