Warriors Reign in D2 South Ends Against Pembroke

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro senior Chelsea Gibbons (31) scored half of her team’s points in a semifinal loss to No. 4 seed Pembroke. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – After two years as the top team in Div. 2 South, defending state champion Foxboro saw its quest for a three-peat come to a very abrupt end on Wednesday night against Pembroke at Bridgewater-Raynham High.

The Titans held the Warriors, who led the Hockomock League in scoring at more than 60 points per game, to single digits and no more than three made field goals in each quarter. Pembroke pulled away in the second quarter and left the Warriors in the rearview mirror, pulling out a 50-24 victory that sends the Titans to the South final.

It was obvious from the start that Foxboro had the target on its backs and Pembroke wanted to be the team that ended its run.

“It definitely doesn’t help, but we didn’t come out ready,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs about facing every team’s best effort. “I don’t know if it was that we were scared because they didn’t seem that way when they warmed up, so I think it was a matter of they maybe thought we were better than we were and taking that team more for granted than we should have.”

Chelsea Gibbons, who scored half of her team’s points, opened the game with a three that barely even made the net ripple as it dropped through. Foxboro didn’t score again for more than six minutes. Pembroke went on a 13-0 run to take control.

The Warriors did climb back into the game before the end of the quarter. Jordyn Collins drove baseline for a layup and Yara Fawaz got one at the line after a rare offensive rebound. Gibbons (12 points) swished another three and suddenly it was a four-point game (13-9).

It felt like Foxboro was on the verge of righting the ship and preparing to go on a run to get back in front. That wasn’t how it played out.

The Titans came out firing in the second, knocking down each of the first five threes that they took. Gibbons hit a third from beyond the arc to cut the lead to 19-12, but then three more triples for Pembroke pushed the lead to 14. Lizzy Davis got her only points on a putback but the Titans went into the break leading 30-14.

Downs explained, “We tried to do a matchup 2-3 zone at one point and then we went to a half-court 1-3-1 trapping zone. We forced a turnover and then we dribbled out of bounds, things that we don’t do. So many things that were very atypical for us.”

Jayne Howe hit three from the outside in the second quarter and scored 15 of her 17 points in the opening half, outscoring the Warriors by herself. Pembroke used a 17-5 quarter to pull away.

“They’re a very good team,” Downs said. “All of our game plans that we put together to keep the ball out of the hands of [Howe] and [Katie Galligan], we just didn’t execute and it didn’t help that we had no rebounding whatsoever. It was just a perfect storm for us that we couldn’t do anything right.”

Katelyn Mollica knocked down her only jumper of the night to bring Foxboro back within 18 at 35-17 and then Gibbons answered a Pembroke basket with another three. It was as close as Foxboro would get. In fact the Warriors only managed four more points for the rest of the night.

“She couldn’t get into a rhythm at all and then she’s trying to force shots because she knew that she had to score,” said Downs about Mollica, who led the team ins coring as a sophomore, averaging more than 18 points per game. “She was a little bit tight and she wasn’t following through because she was trying to get a shot off quickly.”

Abby Hassman and Collins each scored in the fourth quarter but that was all that the Warriors managed as Pembroke was running down the shot clock on every possession and typically getting multiple looks thanks to its control of the glass.

Coming into the season, following the graduation of influential players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally, no one saw the Warriors as the potential No. 1 seed in the South. Despite the new faces in the lineup, Foxboro (20-3) still won a third straight league title and reached a third straight South semifinal.

“Each game that we played, each practice, I would see something a little more that I hadn’t expected,” Downs said. “We’re still a young team. They’ve had some good experience the last two years that hopefully they can build on and learn from and hopefully set some goals that after tonight’s game you never want to feel this crappy.”

Warriors Start Quick and Roll Into D2 South Semifinal

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro sophomore Katelyn Mollica scored 11 in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 25 points to lead the Warriors to a convincing win against D-R. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Despite losing only two games all season and claiming the top seed in Div. 2 South for the second year in a row, Foxboro has been guilty of getting off to slow starts. In the playoffs, allowing a team to hang around is dangerous, as the Warriors were reminded in a hard-fought, two-point win against No. 16 seed Notre Dame Academy in the first round.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The warning was heeded by the Warriors, who came firing out of the gates in Saturday night’s quarterfinal against Dighton-Rehoboth. Foxboro (20-2) jumped out to a 21-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, rolling to a 66-35 victory to reach its third straight sectional semifinal.

“I was very unhappy with the way the last game started and they were equally so,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “I think they were pretty determined not to have it be that way. They were definitely determined mentally to be more prepared.”

She added, “You do have to remind them that there is no other day, if you don’t leave it on the court. They definitely walked away from that game (against NDA) feeling pretty bad about themselves because they knew they could’ve done better. Hopefully, they don’t ever want to feel that way again.”

Although she knocked down five three-pointers in the first round against NDA, sophomore Katelyn Mollica didn’t have a great shooting night overall. That was not a problem on Saturday. She drilled three from beyond the arc in the first quarter and knocked down a jumper off a feed by Lizzy Davis. Chelsea Gibbons also came out on fire, hitting a pair of threes of her own and scoring all 10 of her points in the first.

The Falcons barely had time to register what was happening before the Warriors finished a 19-0 run that put the hosts ahead 21-2. D-R cut into the lead a little before the end of the quarter but Foxboro was in complete control up 16.

“Chelsea and Mollica just started out so strong,” Downs said. “Their shooting percentage was ridiculously good and you knew we couldn’t sustain that. You knew the second quarter it would go down a little bit, but as long as the defense stays the same we’d be in good shape.”

It was unlikely that the Warriors would be able to continue the hot shooting start, but their pressure defense made it difficult for D-R to get a run started and Foxboro’s ability to crash the boards kept giving them second and third chances. Abby Hassman and Yara Fawaz each finished with nine rebounds apiece and combined for 10 in the first half alone. Shakirah Ketant added seven boards off the bench.

Downs said, “As good as we were last year, the inside presence that we have this year is something we didn’t have. Hopefully, that will continue because we’re going to need it. Our inside game, you have to pay attention to it.”

Foxboro led 33-17 at halftime and came out of the break looking to put the game away. Davis (14 points) drilled one of her four three-pointers to get things started and assisted on a Hassman bucket. Mollica then scored the next five, drilling a three and hitting a floater at the shot clock buzzer.

Fawaz (seven points) had a steal and a layup and Ketant turned an offensive rebound into another basket. Foxboro then got four looks at the basket and finally Ketant smartly tipped a rebound to an open Mollica, who buried the baseline jumper. The Warriors led 49-26 after three.

There was no way back for the Falcons in the fourth, as Mollica scored five more, including her fifth triple of the night, and Davis added eight points, including two more from beyond the arc.

It was a dominating victory for the two-time defending South champions and sends them to the sectional semifinal on Wednesday night at Bridgewater-Raynham. The Warriors will face the winner of Pembroke and Norwood, which was moved to Sunday afternoon.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Timely Goals Help Foxboro Skate Past Monarchs

Foxboro boys hockey
Foxboro boys hockey celebrates a second period goal in front of its student section. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – The Foxboro boys hockey team dominated every aspect of the first 15 minutes of Monday evening’s clash with Mashpee/Monomoy, but somehow the score was even.

The Warriors had a big advantage in attacking zone time, won the majority of the puck battles, and owned a 16-1 lead in shots on goal. But Foxboro was only able to cash in once, and an unlucky deflection allowed the Monarchs to score on their lone shot.

“It was a little frustrating and a little nerve-wracking,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “[The Mashpee/Monomoy goal] was a tough bounce, hit off the defenseman’s stick, a tough break. But we felt like it was just a matter of time until we tilted the ice.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In fact, it look less than a minute for the Warriors to tilt the ice. The 13th-seeded Warriors scored 56 seconds into the second period, added a second midway through the period, and scored two more in the final period to collect a 5-1 decision over the 20th-seeded Monarchs.

Foxboro finished with a 54-7 in shots on goal, advancing to the D3 South First Round to take on #4 Bourne.

The Warriors took their first lead less than five minutes into the game, its top line cashing in on one of its first shifts of the game. Senior Brendan Tully dropped the puck off for junior Ronnie MacLellan, who then slid a puck across the ice from left to right, finding sophomore Kirk Leach for an easy tap in for a 1-0 lead.

At first, it looked like Foxboro was poised to skate away with a big win but the Warriors weren’t able to solve Mashpee/Monomoy goalie Jack Daigneault for the rest of the period, despite a couple of good chances.

It took the Monarchs nearly 10 minutes to register their first shot on goal, but were able to tie the game. Lucas Tambolleo fired a wrist shot from the right circle, but it deflected off a Foxboro defenseman’s stick and up into the roof of the goal to make it 1-1.

“We had opportunities to finish more in the first period,” Cedorchuk said. “We needed to get more hungry around the net. We were getting pucks to the net, sticks were on the ice. It was a good offensive performance that we needed, that we were looking for going into this game.

“We just had to finish, and that’s what we did in the second and third periods.”

Foxboro repeated its dominance in the second period but found of the back of the net twice. The Warriors scored on their second trip into the offensive zone. Tully was the catalyst once again, this time weaving between a pair of Monarch defensemen before firing a low wrist shot. Daigneault got his right pad to the puck, kicking it back out but the juicy rebound went right to the stick of Leach and he buried his chance with a one-timer to make it 2-0.

“We knew we needed to get that next goal and we needed to get it quickly,” Cedorchuk said. “Obviously we wanted the next goal but we needed to get it in the first couple of minutes just to get some confidence, to know we can put the puck in the net. The opportunities were going to be there but we needed to finish, and we needed to do it quickly.”

The Warriors nearly added to their lead just a minute later when Sebastian Ricketts drilled the crossbar with a shot, but the puck stayed out. While Foxboro couldn’t convert on its power play, the Warriors scored just seconds after the extra man opportunity expired.

Leach carried the puck into the offensive zone along the left side, dropping it behind for freshman Jack Watts. Watts blasted a shot that was tipped by MacLellan, redirecting the puck through the five-hole. Leach came flying around the goal and pounced on the loose puck, batting it in to complete his hat trick to make it 3-1.

“He had a heck of a game,” Cedorchuk said of Leach. “We talked about him getting his stick on the ice and finishing off shots, finishing off rebounds and that’s what he did. We were forechecking hard, we were pressuring their defense. They had a hard time getting it out of the zone, I was happy with the way we played. Now we just have to step up the intensity more for the next one.”

Leach nearly had a fourth late in the second period. Tully thwarted a two-on-one chance for the Monarchs on the defensive end, and Leach won a battle at the blue line to get a partial breakaway but Daigneault stood tall to keep it 3-1.

Similar to the second period, Foxboro got off to an ideal start in the third period. It took just 12 seconds for the Warriors to add to their lead.

Freshman Matt Tully found MacLellan streaking into the offensive zone, and the junior blasted a slap shot from the left circle that beat Daigneault glove side upstairs for a 4-1 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mashpee/Monomoy had their best chance of the game just over five minutes into the third period when Noah Tambolleo capitalized on a Foxboro turnover at the blue line and went in alone. Foxboro goalie Espen Reager read it the entire way and made a glove save to keep the 4-1 advantage.

Watts got his second point of the game, this time firing a wrist shot from the right circle for a goal to make it 5-1 with six minutes left in the game.

Foxboro boys hockey (12-6-3) will take on Bourne (14-5-1) on Friday, March 1st at Gallo Ice Arena at 8:00PM.

Hockomock Girls Hockey Playoff Seeds & Matchups

Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Records listed are for MIAA tournament purposes and do not include exclusion games. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.

Division 1
#5 Franklin (16-2-2) will host the winner of #12 Arlington (13-3-4)/#21 Woburn (11-6-3) at a time, date, and location to be determined.

#27 Mansfield/Oliver Ames (9-8-3) will travel to face #6 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (16-2-2) at the William Connery MDC Rink in Lynn at a date and time to be determined.

Division 2
#12 Canton (11-5-5) will host #21 Norwood (8-8-4) on Monday, Feb. 25 at 5:00 at the Canton Ice House.

Hockomock Boys Hockey Playoff Seeds & Matchups

Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Records listed are for MIAA tournament purposes and do not include exclusion games. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.

D1 South
Seeding will be determined following Monday’s Super 8 play-in games.

D2 South
#1 Canton (20-0-1) will host the winner of #16 Dedham (8-8-4)/#17 Medway (9-10-2) on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 at the Canton Ice House.

#9 Oliver Ames (13-8-1) will face #8 Plymouth North (11-6-3) on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 5:30 at Gallo Arena in Bourne.

#13 North Attleboro (10-8-2) will face #4 Quincy (15-4-3) on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6:00 at the Canton Ice House.

D3 South
#13 Foxboro (11-6-3) will host #20 Mashpee/Monomoy (9-9-2) on Monday, Feb. 25 at 4:00 at the Foxboro Sports Center.

#17 Attleboro (10-8-2) will travel to #16 Nantucket (9-7-2) on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 5:15 at the Nantucket Ice Skating Rink.