After six lead changes in the third quarter alone, Canton rattled off an 8-0 burst over a two-minute span to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game. The hosts never looked back from there, earning a key 61-48 win over Foxboro to give the Bulldogs sole possession of first place in the Davenport.
“That was just a great basketball game,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “The score says it was a 13 point game but it really wasn’t, free throws extended it at the end, it really could have gone either way. Two teams that play really hard-nosed basketball, I thought the stars were stars…[Devin] Foster and [Tony] Harris for us, [Brandon] Borde and [Joe] Morrison for them. Both teams have really solid role players…just a really awesome high school basketball game. And my hat’s off to Foxboro, they do a really good job with their guys, they’re always well coached and well prepared.”
Canton junior Devin Foster (24 points, five rebounds) banked in a step-back three-pointer at the buzzer of the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 44-43 lead, and arguably, more importantly, the momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs led by one (10-9) at the end of the first and a late three from Foxboro senior Teddy Maher sent the teams into the locker rooms tied 26-26. Neither side led by more than six points through three-quarters of play.
After Foxboro scored the first basket of the fourth to retake the lead, 45-44, the Warriors’ offense went quiet. Canton’s Tony Harris (23 points, six rebounds) started the run with a pair of free throws, Foster drained a deep three from straight away, and after a steal from Ryan Lentol, Harris hit a trey of his own to give the Dogs its largest lead at 52-45 with 3:32 to play.
The Warriors couldn’t answer as they had a turnover on the ensuing possession and then three straight misses. With just over a minute left and the shot clock winding down, Foster took his man baseline and finished at the rim for a 54-45 lead.
Foxboro finally broke its scoreless streak (spanning 6:20) when sophomore Brandon Borde (17 points, seven rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to seven, but Canton hit seven of nine free throw attempts in the final minute while the Warriors went without a field goal.
Canton outscored Foxboro 17-5 in the final frame.
“Foster’s three at the end of the third quarter I think really changed the momentum of the game,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I think it gave Canton a big boost and kind of sucked away some of our energy, unfortunately. Canton was obviously very well prepared and they were prepared to take away some of the things we like to do offensively and they were able to make things really difficult on us. Give Canton credit for their defense. I think it had to do with their defense more than anything else.
“Foster and Harris were tremendous, it seemed every time we started to build momentum, one of those two hit a big shot. They hit huge shots time and again, and they were really clutch. They did what big-time players do and really carried Canton. We’ll have to figure out how to do a better job next time around.”
Canton built a 10-4 lead through the first seven minutes of the first quarter, holding the Warriors to just 1-for-11 shooting. But after hauling in an offensive rebound, Joe Morrison (17 points, seven rebounds) drained a three and Borde scored on a layup on the next possession to bring Foxboro within one after eight minutes.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the second period either, but couldn’t pull away thanks to Foxboro’s work on the offensive glass. Harris had a three erased when Borde answered off of Morrison’s offensive rebound.
Jake Verille gave Canton its largest lead of the first half with a layup (19-13) but Borde converted at the rim, later hit a free throw and Morrison hit a pair of free throws to get Foxboro within one. Harris finished a traditional three-point play only for Borde to keep Foxboro close with a triple. Foster and Bobby Harrison traded baskets, Austin Maffie then put Canton up three, but Maher’s triple tied the game.
“A game that tight, every possession is so valuable that they really stick out…an offensive rebound really sticks out cause its an extra possession,” Gordy said. “That game came down to who was able to execute and grind out stops. Any offensive board or tip we got or they got, it just seemed huge.”
In the third quarter, Morrison hit a three to put Foxboro up 29-28, only for Foster to convert to give Canton the lead back. Morrison drained another triple but four straight from Foster put Canton ahead again. Matt Rongione went on a personal 5-0 run and two free throws from Borde gave Foxboro its biggest lead (40-35) with 2:30 in the third.
“Devin was just feeling it in that quarter,” Gordy said. “He had 11 in the quarter and it felt like he got hot at the right time, he put us on his back for a quarter and we were able to come out and play better team basketball in the fourth to put it away.”
Kyle Fitzgerald and Lentol scored back-to-back but a three from Anthony Mollica kept Foxboro up four. Harris brought Canton within two before Fitzgerald’s offensive rebound set Foster up for his buzzer beater.
“Kyle Fitzgerald, all that kid does it make toughness plays,” Gordy said. “He’s undersized but he plays big. He’s our catalyst, he does so much for us. He’s a spark plug off the bench and his contributions tonight should absolutely be noted.”
“I thought in the second half they started to get more of those 50-50 balls, more of the loose balls, more of the rebounds in the paint on both ends,” Gibbs said. “Those plays add up and can make a huge difference over the course of a game. Especially these grind-it-out Davenport games, every possession matters. If you can get your team an extra shot or extra possession, it’s huge. I thought Canton was really hungry in the second half…that huge three by Foster at the end of the third was off an offensive rebound. And we weren’t able to get enough of those for us in the second half.”
Canton boys basketball (6-1 Hockomock, 8-1 overall) moves into sole possession of first place of the Davenport and will be in action again on Friday at Stoughton. Foxboro (5-2, 9-2) will look to bounce back the same night when it travels to North Attleboro.
By Danny Emerman, HockomockSports.com Contributor
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foul shots had plagued Foxboro all night. As a team, the Warriors hit just 18-of-30 (60%) freebies.
But when senior Bobby Harrison stepped to the line with his team up three points with 20 seconds left, he delivered. Twelve seconds later, after a wild step-back three from Milford’s Cam Falcon brought the visitors within two, he iced the game with two more to give Foxboro a 55-51 win over Milford.
“Over the course of the season, you have games like that where there’s a lid on the hoop and you’re missing shots you normally make, including free throws,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “You have to be able to win ugly sometimes and I’m really proud we were able to grind through with our ‘D.’”
Harrison had the opportunity to ice the game thanks to senior captain Joe Morrison’s fourth-quarter takeover. Morrison scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth, including a deep, stare-down trey after a jab step to give the Warriors a 48-41 lead.
“Joe Morrison stepped up and hit a couple huge threes for us. He does it all for us, he’s incredibly clutch, he’s an unbelievable winner,” Gibbs said.
Although he recorded a game-high 22 points, Morrison went scoreless in the first and third quarters.
“Even though he struggled offensively at times, he made big shots,” Gibbs said.
In those same quarters, Foxboro scored just seven and nine points respectively. They went over two minutes without a point to start the second half.
Milford led for most of the game, but couldn’t extend the advantage more than six points. Neither team could find the offense to pull away, as there were five lead changes in the last two and half minutes of the first half.
Milford received 28 of its 51 points from the starting frontcourt of Kayden Kelley (16 points) and Andrew Fraioli (12 points). Defensively, the duo protected the rim throughout the game and made it tough for Foxboro in the paint.
“We really struggled to finish,” Gibbs said. “We missed a lot of layups and shots in the paint we usually make. Sometimes that happens on any given night, but I thought their length had a lot to do with it.”
Kelley especially dominated on both ends, altering shots at the rim and showing impressive inside-out skill on offense, controlling the glass as well.
“We were driving the ball to the lane, and they have a lot of big, long guys rotating over and changing some of those shots, making those shots difficult,” Gibbs said. “I think their length affected us on both ends,”
Milford’s team defense locked in especially in the second half. They held the Warriors to six points in the third quarter before Morrison exploded in the fourth. By rotating over on the weak side on Foxboro slashes, Milford took four charges in the second half, three from guard Joey DeMarco.
Milford carried a lead into the fourth quarter and appeared to be in position to upset the Warriors, who entered the game at 8-1.
Momentum shifted after the Scarlet Hawks were hit with a pair of technical fouls. Morrison drilled all four technical free throws and then a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to cap a seven-point possession, swinging a two-point deficit into a five-point lead. Foxboro held on from there.
To negate Milford’s size, Foxboro played full-court, man-to-man defense throughout the whole game. Senior Teddy Maher harassed the ball-handler and forced several turnovers. His “disruptive” play from 90 feet away from the basket wore down opposing guards, Gibbs said.
“A big part of our game plan tonight was to put pressure on their guards at the point of attack and try to disrupt their offensive flow. We didn’t want them to just come down and be comfortable running their offense and be comfortable throwing it into the post against us. So we really wanted to put a lot of pressure on the ball.”
By staving off Milford’s effort, Foxboro improves to 5-1 in the Hockomock, 9-1 overall. The Warriors will entertain Canton on Tuesday in a battle for first place in the Davenport division. Milford (2-4, 3-4) will look to bounce back when it travels to North Attleboro on the same day.
Taunton scored with just 10.4 seconds left in the game, erasing Foxboro’s incredible third-period comeback to earn a point in a 5-5 tie.
“It’s our season in a nutshell,” sighed Taunton head coach Kris Metea. “We come out good and score, then commit penalties and allow power play goals that break our back. It happened [last week] against North Attleboro and it happened again tonight.”
The Tigers led 1-0 after the first period but Foxboro stormed back for a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the second period to seize a 2-1 lead. But before the period could end, Taunton knotted the score at 2-2 with just seconds to play.
Taunton capitalized on that late goal in the second by carrying the momentum into the third period, taking the lead just 31 seconds into the final frame, and making it 4-2 before a minute had elapsed in the third.
Foxboro refused to go away though, cutting the deficit to one with just over nine minutes to play. And then the Warriors took advantage of a pair of power play opportunities, tying the game just over the midway point, and taking the lead just five seconds into its next man-advantage situation.
With 1:39 to go, Taunton called a timeout after a Foxboro icing. Metea elected to keep sophomore Sean Bunker in the net for the time being, and the decision paid off. Foxboro’s Ronnie MacLellan, who had both of Foxboro’s power play goals, had a partial breakaway chance with just over a minute but Bunker (22 saves) denied the bid, keeping the deficit at one.
Back up ice, Foxboro sophomore goalie Espn Reager was equal to the task when Will Walsh’s shot was tipped by Trevor Pietrzyk, but Reager made the save with his mask. The Warriors were whistled for a penalty out in front on the play, however, and with Bunker pulled, Taunton had a 6-on-4 chance.
Walsh was the catalyst of the play, skating into the zone, weaving past a pair of defenders. He looped behind the goal before dropping the puck back to junior defenseman Andrew Carter, who quickly deposited a shot on goal. Reager blocked down the original bid through traffic but Pietrzyk was in the right spot for the rebound, netting the tying goal with just 10.4 seconds to go.
“Over the development of the program over the last couple of years, we’ve either given a whooping or got a whooping, and there was no in-between for the longest time,” Metea said. “Now with the JV ranks being competitive, they’ve learned not to get upset when they get down a goal. That’s the biggest thing about our team right now is that even if we get down a goal or two, the kids are still plugging away, they aren’t giving up.”
“We kind of came out flat in the third period but our guys fought back and were resilient, and it was good to see that, it showed a lot of character,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “I’m really proud of the way we fought back. It could have easily have been 6-2 but battled back, tied it up and even took the lead. It was a tough penalty at the end, nothing we can do about it. I’m just proud of the way they hung in there and stayed with the game plan.”
It looked as though Taunton was going to skate away with a win with three goals in the time span of a minute of game play. Pietrzyk set up Jakob Roberts right in front of the net to steal the momentum at the end of the second.
Walsh quickly gave Taunton its second lead of the game with a wrist shot just inside the zone just 29 seconds in. The Tigers continued to put their foot down on the gas pedal as Roberts potted a rebound chance when Pietrzyk had his close bid denied by Reager.
But trailing 4-2 just a minute into the third period didn’t phase the Warriors. Senior defenseman Aidan Sullivan stepped into a slap shot and found the back of the net with 9:06 to play to make it a one-goal game.
On the power play, junior Brendan Tully drew the attention of the Tigers’ defense before rifling a pass right in front to MacLellan for a one-timer, and a 4-4 tie.
Foxboro went on the man advantage with 4:48 to play, and after winning the face-off, MacLellan gave the Warriors the lead just five seconds into the power play.
“Sully and Tully create a lot of offense for us,” Cedorchuk said of his two defensemen. “They create a lot of chances and when they have the opportunities to get the puck to the net, they will. And our forwards know that so they get to the net as much as possible to get there for any rebounds. Even though Sully and Tully are offensive minded, they are also very good defensively.”
Walsh gave the Tigers the lead in the first period, taking a perfect one-time pass from Pietrzyk in stride into the attacking zone and finding the back of the net with a wrist shot.
Tully tied the game for Foxboro with 1:25 left in the second period. The junior defenseman jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone, took a couple of strides into the attacking zone and unleashed a wicked wrister to make it 1-1.
Just 40 seconds later, MacLellan avoided a defenseman with a nifty spin move, dishing the puck to Sebastian Ricketts all in one move, and the sophomore buried it for a brief 2-1 lead. Roberts tied the game up just 35 seconds later for Taunton.
“We made some changes to our lines and decided to break some people up and it ended up working out for us, and I think that change is probably going to stay,” Metea said. “But the offense is all well and good but only if you keep the puck out of the net. We’ve had a lot of high scoring affairs this year. I don’t know if I should be happy about that, scoring all the goals, or upset by giving up as many as we have. I know we have a young defense, no seniors back there, so I know we’ll have some growing pains, we just have to be patient.”
Taunton boys hockey (0-1-1 Hockomock, 4-3-1 overall) is back in action on Saturday when it hosts Mansfield at 2:00. Foxboro boys hockey (0-0-2, 3-2-2) will hit the ice again on Wednesday when they travel to face Mansfield at 5:40.
SHARON, Mass. – With 29 career starts already under his belt, it’s easy to forget that Foxboro’s Brandon Borde is just a sophomore.
And you’d never know it based on his performance on Saturday night. Borde poured in a career-high 25 points in a dominant effort, helping Foxboro pick up a 73-46 win over the Eagles in the first Davenport division game of the season.
After starting all but one game during his rookie year (senior night), Borde wasted little time getting going during his seventh start of this season. He scored 11 points in the first quarter, helping Foxboro build a double-digit lead it never surrendered.
By halftime, Borde had already surpassed his career-high mark with 19 points and then added six points in the third quarter before resting for the majority of the final frame.
“We’ve been really begging him to be more aggressive in terms of looking for his own shot and attacking the basket,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “He’s such an unselfish kid and such a good passer that a lot of times he defers and he doesn’t realize how good he is.
“Obviously he got going tonight and I think he started to realize he could score almost at will and his confidence really got going. You can see what he’s capable of when he’s that aggressive. Hopefully, that aggressive mindset will become the norm.”
The Warriors and Eagles matched one another through the first five and a half minutes, but Foxboro seized control of the game by closing with an 11-0 run. A free throw from Bobby Harrison and three free throws from Joe Morrison after the buzzer sandwiched a 7-0 run from Borde himself.
Up 10-8, Borde hauled in a defensive rebound before converting at the rim on the other end. After Sharon came up with a block, Borde drained a three on a feed from Anthony Mollica, Sharon missed a three and Borde pulled up in the lane for another two to make it 17-10 with under a minute to play in the first.
The sophomore kept it going in the second quarter. When Sharon’s Malik Lorquet opened the frame with a traditional three-point play to give the home side some momentum, Borde answered with a strong take to the rim himself, converting while being fouled; he also converted the free throw.
After sophomore Will Morrison hit a pair of free throws, Borde read a cross-court pass, picking it off and laying it in for an easy two. Sharon’s Jayvon Monteiro responded with a layup of his own but Borde drained his second triple of the half on a pass from Joe Morrison, giving Foxboro a commanding 30-13 lead.
Foxboro took a 39-18 lead into halftime.
“We were right there with them for the first six and a half minutes but that last minute and a half really killed us in the first quarter,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We knew how good they were defensively, Jon does such a great job with them. Joe Morrison did a great job, Brandon Borde did a great job. Our offense just got stagnant, we didn’t move the ball enough. We went a little one-on-one too much, and that’s a credit to [Foxboro]. They were able to take us out of what we wanted to do by executing what they wanted to do.”
Foxboro put to bed any hopes of a comeback with its best offensive quarter of the game, pouring in 21 points in the frame on 53% shooting. Both Joe Morrison (two three’s) and Borde scored six points in the quarter while Teddy Maher and Ryan Hughes each contributed.
Mollica capped the quarter with his first field goal fo the game, a three-pointer after Joe Morrison forced a turnover on the defensive end.
With both teams playing their starters, Foxboro held the Eagles to 38 points on 35% shooting from the field while forcing 17 turnovers. It marked the sixth time in eight games an opponent has scored fewer than 5 points with Mansfield (50 points) and Franklin (52 points) the lone teams to reach the half-century mark.
“Defense is where it all starts for us, and it’s a huge point of pride for us,” Gibbs said. “I think that’s definitely our calling card as a team. We have a lot of quick, tough, physical guards that are really good at containing dribble penetration. I think we make it tough for teams to get into the paint and break us down off the dribble. We just have some tough-minded kids, they really work at it, they’re really coachable. It’s definitely something we take a lot of pride in.”
Foxboro boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 7-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Stoughton. Sharon (0-4, 1-6) will try to get back on track on Tuesday when it hosts North Attleboro at 6:30.