Herry Helps Taunton Secure Key Win Over Franklin

Taunton boys basketball Tristan Herry
Taunton senior Tristan Herry, who scored a season-high 23 points, goes up for a shot in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 TAUNTON, Mass. – Taunton senior Tristan Herry can impact a game without scoring because of his ballhandling, playmaking ability, and defense, but that certainly doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of putting the ball in the basket.

Herry scored 10 of his season-high 23 points in the final quarter, hitting key free throws in the final moments to help the Tigers fend off a comeback attempt from visiting Franklin to secure a 70-61 win.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton has one of the most dynamic offenses in the league this year with one of the most gifted scorers in senior Trent Santos, who scored a game-high 25 points in the win. But with Franklin’s defense zeroed in on the dynamic guard, the Tigers needed someone to step up.

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When Franklin opened the final quarter with three free throws from sophomore Henry Digiorgio (15 points, four rebounds) to grab some momentum, Herry (six rebounds, three assists, three steals) came back down the other way and hit a jumper.

Digiorgio hit two more from the line to cut the deficit to just six, the closest the Panthers had been since trailing by five at halftime. But that’s when Herry used his vision to find Santos for a big three.

Franklin’s Ben Harvey muscled his way to the rim for two points to get the deficit down to seven, 53-46, with just over four minutes to go before Herry found classmate Faisal Mass (11 points) cutting to the rim for two points.

The Panthers scored on their third straight possession as senior Sean Vinson cleaned up his own miss, and then Franklin got a stop on defense but Taunton forced a turnover above the three-point line and Herry was first to pounce on it, hitting Mass on the break for two more.

The visitors refused to go quietly as Digiorgio drained a corner three to make it a seven-point game once again with just over two minutes left but Herry was calm against Franklin’s press, eventually drawing a foul and hitting both of his free throws.

After a big block from Mass down in the paint, Herry hit a contested jumper to put the hosts back up double digits with less than two minutes to go. He added four more free throws down the stretch to keep Taunton ahead for good.

“When he scores, it matters,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey about Herry. “We had Jordan [Costa] step up the other night for us. Tristan is so selfless, he thinks of everyone else first. We’ve talked about it before and he really takes his role of being the point guard serious, he wants to move the ball around but we’ve talked about needing him to step up and him being a scoring point guard.”

It was a back-and-forth first half as the separation between two of the top teams in the state didn’t come until the third quarter.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton carried a 25-20 lead into halftime, the advantage cut to five after a corner three from Franklin senior Will Tracey shortly before the buzzer.

After starting the game with a 9-0 surge, Taunton started the second with a 12-3 burst to create a double-digit advantage. Santos opened with a three off of a pass from Mass only for Vinson to answer in the first two minutes.

Mass went up and finished off a pass from Costa and Santos hit two from the line after the Tigers forced a turnover. Herry’s good defense forced a miss that ended up in two free throws from Costa down the other end and two possessions later, a steal from sophomore Troy Santos (7 points, 4 rebounds) led to a three from Herry, a 37-23 lead, and a timeout from Franklin.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton’s lead peaked at 15 points after Matt Small hauled in an offensive board and hit Troy Santos in the corner for a three and a 40-25 lead.

Franklin’s offense got it going out of the timeout, scoring 12 points over the final three minutes, but Taunton nearly matched it to stay ahead.

A floater from Digiorgio, a traditional three-point play from Tracey, and a layup from sophomore Andrew O’Neill (18 points, five assists) sparked the run but also marked Franklin’s first two-point field goals of the game with just over two minutes left in the third quarter. Franklin went 0-for-6 from two-point range in the first half and missed their first three attempts in the second half.

Small, who came off the bench while Costa was in foul trouble, finished off a nice pass from Troy Santos for Taunton but Digiorgio answered with a triple. Mass and Herry hit from the free throw line late before Digiorgio hit a layup to make it 46-35 at the end of the third quarter.

“He doesn’t have to score, he just busts his butt,” Dacey said of Small, who had two points, eight rebounds, four assists, and a block off the bench. He does all the dirty work, that’s the kind of stuff we need from him. There’s enough guys out there that have to score points for us but he doesn’t have to to help us.

Coming off a tough shooting night at Mansfield on Friday night, Franklin found some rhythm early. After a couple of misses, the Panthers got all of their points in the opening eight minutes from deep. O’Neill hit three of his own and Justin Allen hit another. Franklin finished 11-for-29 from three-point range.

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“Those guys have a lot of talent, there’s no question about it,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely. “They make you work really hard on the defensive end and put your defense to the test. Even if you try to shut one guy down, they have another. They ran some nice sets, they get the right guys the ball where they need to get it and Charlie and Matt have done a nice job getting really good players good looks.

“We’re a good team and they are a great team. We have to more steps to get to the level of the two teams we played this weekend. They’ve shown us a lot, we have a lot of guys working hard but we just have to take that next step. I think we got a little excited about the start we’ve had so this is a good wake up call and we’ll see what we’re made of over the course of the next stretch of games.”

Taunton boys basketball (6-0 Hockomock, 6-1 overall) will look to extend its three-game winning streak on Tuesday when it hosts Oliver Ames at 6:30. Franklin (4-2, 7-2) will try to snap its two-game skid when it returns home from a six-game road trip to host Foxboro on the same day.

Mansfield Hangs On Against Franklin In Defensive Battle

Mansfield boys basketball Chris Hill
Mansfield junior Chris Hill goes up for a shot against Franklin’s John Brigham in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 MANSFIELD, Mass. – The solution to Mansfield’s problem was so simple, yet incredibly difficult at the same time.

The Hornets needed a basket.

With two elite defenses going at it, points were at a premium on Friday night and Mansfield’s 15-point lead over Franklin had dwindled down to three, having scored just four points in a six-minute span between the third and fourth quarters.

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Franklin’s attempt at a tying three rimmed out and the Hornets got just what they needed, scoring on three of their next four possessions to finish strong and earn a 48-38 win over the previously undefeated Panthers.

The Hornets drew three fouls on one possession, getting into the bonus where Dante James hit a pair of free throws to extend the hosts’ lead to five, 41-36. Another open three from Franklin was off the mark and the Hornets survived a turnover as James went back to the line for two more.

After Caden Colby drew an offensive foul on the baseline to get the ball back, junior Chris Hill drove to the basket to draw the defense before dishing to senior Andrew Slaney for a wide-open three from the corner to put Mansfield up double-digits with just under two minutes to go.

Mansfield boys basketball

“That was a good old-fashioned fistfight,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We had to come down and get some points, it felt like we hadn’t scored much in the last couple of minutes. We had made a few silly plays and started to get a little passive. We got some points to push it to five and then Slaney hit the three a couple of possessions after and that was kind of the backbreaker.

“It’s a huge win, this is always one you get anxious about, you lose sleep over it…you’re watching a lot of game film, trying to be prepared. We know CJ [Neely] is going to do such a good job of knowing what we’re going to do so you feel like you’ve got to match that to give your kids a fighting chance. Any time you get can get a win against them in the league, now we’re playing from ahead instead of behind in the league race and that’s a big deal.”

The game got off to a hot start for both offenses, combining for 19 points over the first four minutes, but both defenses started to settle in as the game went on. After Mansfield won the opening quarter 18-12, the two squads combined for just 15 points (10-5 Mansfield) in the second quarter.

Mansfield boys basketball

Defense continued to be the theme in the second half. Mansfield’s lead peaked at 15 points after Matt Hyland (17 points, 12 rebounds, two steals) had a three-point play and a breakaway layup sandwiched around a strong take from Hill (seven points, five rebounds, five assists) to make it 35-20 with three minutes to play in the third.

The Panthers came out of the timeout with a renewed energy as sophomore Henry Digiorgio (11 points, six rebounds) drained a three off of an offensive rebound and junior John Brigham had a big block that led to a shot clock violation.

Digiorgio and James traded buckets before Brigham converted a putback and Sean O’Leary tacked on a free throw to pull Franklin within single digits, 37-28, going into the final quarter.

O’Leary scored on a nice post move to open the fourth and after a brief scoreless stretch from both sides, junior Justin Allen sank a three-pointer to get the visitors within four at 37-33.

Franklin got the stop it needed but couldn’t convert on a three and James dished it off to Hyland for two after a big rebound from Eddie McCoy. The Panthers quickly answered as Ben Harvey got into the paint to draw the help, finding Allen open for another three to make it 39-36 with four minutes left.

The Panthers got another stop and got a good look at the tying three but it stayed out and the Hornets called a timeout. They ended up finishing the game on a 9-2 run.

“I thought we had a lot of great looks…but 38 points isn’t going to get it done,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “I really believe in what we were doing, I thought the ball was moving really well, they were composed, they made the passes, and we got some really, really good looks for guys that we’re used to seeing make shots, uncontested threes. This was a night where they hit some of their open ones and we didn’t.

“I’m really proud of the defense and the way that we responded after we went down, we had a shot in the air to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. But we just didn’t make our looks.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield opened the game hitting nearly 80% of its shots, hitting on 7-of-9 attempts from the field, including a trio of three-pointers. Slaney, Hill, and Jack Lasbury-Casey each connected from downtown while Hyland attacked the rim for a pair of field goals. The Hornets only hit a pair of threes the rest of the way, including Slaney’s second with just two minutes left.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Digiorgio hit a pair of threes in the opening quarter but the Panthers were limited to one three in each the second and third quarters, finishing 6-for-25 from three-point range. Franklin ended up with 11 more field goal attempts than the hosts, and also struggled at the free throw line going 2-for-10.

“A lot of these guys were playing freshman basketball last year, they didn’t even get the JV experience because of COVID,” Neely said. The Panthers started three sophomores and two juniors. “It’s a pretty big jump from that to playing Mansfield’s varsity team in an environment like this. I really think they played well and had a good game but some of the shots just didn’t fall. We did what we had to do to get some great looks against one of the best defensive teams in the league so I was impressed with their response.”

Mansfield boys basketball (5-0 Hockomock, 7-0 overall) is back in action on Monday with a big non-league showdown at BC High. Franklin (4-1, 7-1) has a big test this weekend when it travels to Taunton on Sunday afternoon.

Franklin Outlasts Oliver Ames in Overtime Thriller

Franklin girls basketball
Stefany Padula (21) buried a big three-pointer late in overtime that turned out to be the game-winner, lifting Franklin to a win at Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Even though the winter has barely gotten underway, anticipation for a matchup of the defending league champions had been building for months. Franklin and Oliver Ames finished last year unbeaten in their respective divisions and unfortunately couldn’t find a date to play each other in the pandemic-shortened season. Ten months later, both teams were 2-0, both look like favorites to repeat as division champs, and on Monday night at the Nixon Gym they finally squared off.

It was a game that lived up to all that hype.

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Franklin extended its win streak to 38 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2019-20 season, with a 51-48 overtime victory. Neither team held a lead larger than six points at any stage and there were eight lead changes in the fourth quarter and overtime alone.

“We got a bounce,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “That bounce could’ve gone the other way and they could’ve won the game. That’s how close of a game it was.

“It’s so thrilling and so fun to be a part of a game like that. I’m happy it worked our way but that’s a good team and it’s fun basketball to get that. That’s intense from the opening tip to the final shot of overtime.”

Despite the loss, OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said the game was a building block for her team, particularly the younger players on the roster.

“It was a very competitive game,” she said. “This was a great test for us and Franklin has a lot more experience than we do and they can shoot the ball and we gave them a few too many chances. I was really proud of our effort. I’m just hoping from personal growth that this makes us bigger, better, stronger.”

She added, “I’m sure it was exciting from the fan’s standpoint.”

Heading into the fourth quarter, Franklin held a 31-30 lead, but Kaydance Derba (11 points) drilled a three off an assist by Anna Murphy (nine points) to put OA in front. Katie Peterson (16 points and six rebounds) answered down the other end with a three of her own, setting the tone for the rest of the night.

Caroline Peper (game-high 17 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks) put the Tigers ahead after a nice pass from Derba, but Stefany Padula (11 points) took a skip pass from Bridget Leo and buried the first of a trio of big threes that she had in the fourth quarter and OT. Peper hit four straight from the line and Murphy drove hard to the basket to put OA up 41-37 with about five minutes to play.

Peterson responded with a drive and tough finish of her own to cut the lead back to two. After Derba made 2-of-3 from the line, the Tigers led 43-40. Padula came through again, after another assist from Leo, stepping into a three that tied the game.

It was tough to get good looks at the basket all night, with both teams playing defense at a high level, and it got even more intense in the final two minutes. Neither team was giving an inch. Derba had a tough look at a three in the final seconds of regulation and Jasmyn Cooper (four points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks) grabbed the board but her off-balance fallaway at the buzzer bounced off the rim.

Leo (nine points) opened overtime by draining a three to put Franklin ahead 46-43. Peper cut the lead to one with a drive and then Murphy hit a free throw to tie it. Peper’s perfect entry past over the fronting defender gave Cooper a layup that got the Tigers in front, but Padula came straight up court and drilled a step-back three from the wing to give the Panthers a 49-48 lead.

“That’s just straight confidence,” Leighton said of what turned out to be the game-winner. “I don’t think it even crossed her mind that it was a big shot, it was just the shot to take. It’s fun to coach kids like that.”

He continued, “She’s tough as nails. She had to work extra hard to get those looks. Worked her tail off and that’s just who she is. As blue-collar as any player I’ve ever coached and she’s worked at her game non-stop.”

OA had the ball with 13 seconds to play, down by one, but Peterson stepped in front of the inbounds pass for a huge steal. She would hit a pair at the line with 6.6 on the clock to make it a three-point game and Derba’s last-second heave to send it to double overtime was just off-line.

“He’s really deep, so I think because of that that wore us down and we got tired,” Clement-Holbrook said, noting that OA was missing guard Maddie Homer with an injury. “I tried to save timeouts for the second half knowing that I was going to have to rest them. As long as we learn from this, it’s a special group of kids.”

The Tigers led by two after one. Cooper hit a layup on the break and then Hailey Bourne (six points), who played through foul trouble most of the night, had a nice backdoor cut and reverse to make it 9-5. Peterson scored on a drive and Leo hit a floater, but then Murphy closed out the quarter with four straight to make it 13-11.

Franklin came back in the second. Peterson drilled a three after Julia White’s steal and assist and Leo turned a steal into a layup for the largest lead of the night (21-15). Peper answered with a jumper off an inbounds play and then got a rare open look at a three to tie it. Free throws put the Panthers up 24-21 at the break.

Peterson got into the lane for two and Brigid Earley (eight rebounds) scored on a put-back, as Franklin started the third quarter well. Olivia Quinn (eight points and nine rebounds), who fouled out midway through overtime, hit her lone three of the night to match Franklin’s largest lead at 31-25. Derba buried one of her three shots from beyond the arc and Peper hit two at the line to make it a one-point game heading to the fourth, setting up a dramatic finish.

“We’ve been focusing on one step at a time,” Leighton explained, noting that most of the players who started the winning streak have graduated. “We’re happy to get our third win and keep plugging away. Bigger picture, with COVID, I’m happy to get three games. Who knows if we’re going to have a fourth or a fifth? We’re enjoying the moment and I think they’ve bought into that.”

Franklin (3-0) will put its win streak on the line with back-to-back games next week against St. Paul Diocesan. Oliver Ames (2-1) will host Walpole in the opening round of the annual Sue Rivard Tournament.

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Franklin Rides Second Half Surge Past Attleboro

Franklin boys basketball Sean Vinson
Franklin senior Sean Vinson goes up for a layup against Attleboro in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin sophomore Sean O’Leary rallied the Panthers back into the game and senior Sean Vinson put on the finishing touch.

Franklin overcame a slow second quarter, surged past the Bombardiers in the third, and stayed ahead for good in the fourth for a 52-47 win over visiting Attleboro.

The Panthers went without points for the final seven minutes of the first half, seeing a seven-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit by halftime.

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O’Leary, who had a strong first quarter but was held scoreless in the second, exploded for 17 of his career-high 23 points in the second half. He scored 12 points in the third, helping the Panthers to a 14-point swing and a 38-33 lead going into the fourth.

Clinging to a two-point edge, 46-44, with just over two minutes remaining, Vinson hauled in an offensive rebound after a missed three. The ball kicked around until it found Justin Allen in the corner, who quickly made the extra pass to Vinson for a three-pointer that gave the Panthers a two-possession lead.

“We were discombobulated in that second quarter, guys were just chucking the ball everywhere and there was too much dribbling,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “I told them at halftime, we couldn’t have guys taking turns going one-on-one, we’re not about that. We move the ball, swing it around, get a reversal, get a paint touch…but we were just dribbling too much.

“But we moved it around much better in the second half. We started to cut better, we were standing around too much in the first. It’s one thing to keep space but you want to make sure you’re moving around to keep the defense active.”

The Panthers got back-to-back stops before Evan Houle (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals) sank a contested corner three with 22.8 seconds to go, making it 49-47.

Franklin boys basketball

Franklin sophomore Andrew O’Neill was fouled off the ensuing inbounds play and made both ends of his one-and-one situation. The Panthers forced a turnover on Attleboro’s next possession and Allen added a free throw in the final seconds to ice it.

The hosts built a 14-10 lead after a quarter that featured back-and-forth scoring from both sides. Will Tracey hit a free throw and then set up Allen on a drive to the basket within the first minute as the Panthers’ advantage grew to 17-10. But that was all the scoring for the rest of the half for Franklin.

Franklin boys basketball

Junior Trevor White (11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks) had five straight and a three from Houle put the visitors ahead. Alvin Harrison (four points, 10 rebounds, two steals), Colin Morais (14 points), White, and Houle each scored two to complete a 16-0 run that had the Bombardiers ahead 26-17 at the break.

A pair of free throws from Morais gave Attleboro its largest lead at 28-18 but O’Leary sparked the Panthers’ offense with a putback plus the foul. Ben Harvey found Henry Digiorgio (11 points, six rebounds) for a three after a turnover and then O’Leary drained a three of his own to make it a one-point game.

Morais kept the visitors ahead with a crafty finish but Harvey took a pass from John Brighamm for a corner three to tie it. Houle’s putback plus the foul put Attleboro back in front but O’Leary found Digiorgio for a triple that put Franklin in front for good at 35-33.

O’Leary ended the third quarter by coming up with an offensive rebound and finishing the putback through contact for a three-point play with 0.7 seconds to go, putting the Panthers up 38-33.

“O’Leary had a huge second half, he’s a really versatile guy too,” Neely said. “If you put someone smaller on him, he can play in the post and if you put a bigger guy on him, he can step out and hit the three. He’s the ultimate competitor, he had a big half.”

Franklin boys basketball

Franklin extended its lead when O’Leary went into the post and scored off a nice move but Attleboro sophomore Neo Franco answered with a three to keep the Bombardiers close.

O’Leary (11 rebounds) and Allen each hit a three in the next three possessions to extend the lead to 46-38 with four minutes to play. Morais hit a three then scored at the rim, and White had a free throw to make it 46-44, setting up Vinson’s big shot.

“He’s always competing,” Neely said of Vinson, the lone starting senior. “Sometimes things might not be going his way, or his shot might not be falling but he never stops competing on both ends of the floor. He wants it so bad for everyone. He’s a great leader for us in the locker room, says all the right things in the huddle. He just goes out there and battles, even if he’s having an off night. He took a lot of pride in guarding White, I thought he did a good job making it hard on him. And then obviously that shot was huge.”

Attleboro shot well in the fourth quarter (4-for-7) but had more turnovers (8) than field goal attempts. The Bombarders also shot under 30% from three-point range.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Our biggest thing right now is we’re having a hard time shooting,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “Our offense isn’t where it needs to be. Defensively we’ve been decent, doing some good things on that end but we need to be able to score the ball. They did a good job defending but we did have some good looks we didn’t finish. They had the run to start the second half and we never really responded. That was a big turning point.

“We have confidence in our guys, I thought we had some good looks tonight but we’ll keep working at it. We’ve played in two away gyms, sometimes you get back to your gym and get a little confidence. Two tough games to start on the road so we’re getting battled-tested early.”

Franklin boys basketball (2-0 Hock, 2-0 overall) is home again on Monday, hosting Oliver Ames (1-1). Attleboro (1-1, 1-1) has its first home game of the season on the same night, entertaining rival North Attleboro (0-1).

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview
Canton’s Audrey Koen (17) takes a shot in a game against Franklin last year. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Canton

2020-2021 Record: 6-1-1
Coach: Dennis Aldrich
Canton will be back on the ice defending its league title and its Div. 2 state title (shared with Wellesley) from the 2019-20 season. The Bulldogs became the first team to repeat as Hockomock champion since the league introduced girls hockey and would love to add a third straight title to its trophy case this winter.

There will be a few changes in the lineup this year, as leading scorers Maria Femia and Lizzie Tassinari both graduated, but the Bulldogs remain a defense-focused team and will have preseason MVP favorite Allie McCabe leading things on that end of the ice. McCabe will have help on the blue line from junior Mya Battista, a three-year varsity player, and they both have plenty of experience to call on. Junior Carolyn Durand has been a standout in goal for the past two seasons and the Bulldogs will be hoping that a preseason foot injury won’t keep their netminder sidelined for too long.

On offense, Canton is going to be hoping for several forwards to step up and fill in the production lost to graduation. Seniors Payton McDonough and Tess Khoury will bring plenty of energy, leadership, and physicality to the forward line and junior Audrey Koen is poised for a breakout season after scoring six times as a sophomore. Junior Ellie Bohane and sophomore Devin Spinale could also play bigger roles this year.

“As always, the Bulldogs will be a defensively responsible and offensively opportunistic team,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “The hard work and toughness shown by the girls from day one of tryouts has been remarkable and should prove to benefit us this season.”

Franklin

2020-2021 Record: 6-3-1
Coach: Margie Burke
Franklin has a true blend of veterans and rookies this season and will be hoping that combination can lead to a Hockomock League title.

The Panthers have just under a dozen players back from last year but got a big boost to the roster from the freshmen class, with six skaters and two goalies. While head coach Margie Burke is counting on the freshmen to make contributions throughout the year, she’ll be leaning heavily on her upperclassmen.

Having to replace the top two scorers from last season will be a challenge but the Panthers have plenty of capable options to step up. Senior forward Maggie McCaffrey is off to a good start with two goals in the opening game, and the same goes for junior Molly Hurley. Senior Samantha Wong and juniors Avery Greco and Dana Stott add a lot of skill to the offense. Shaw Downing will be a key piece along the blue line for Franklin.

“We will be young and competitive,” Burke said. “We will be looking to our defensive play to contribute to our success this season.”

King Philip

2020-2021 Record: 6-5-2
Coach: Ken Assad
King Philip will be trying to break through this winter and add a third team to the list of Hockomock League champions, ending the two-year run of Canton at the top. The Warriors will bring plenty of experience into the season and plenty of scoring punch, as their top four scorers from last year are all back to make a run at a league title and a deep run in the postseason.

Senior forwards Sydney O’Shea, Morgan Cunningham, and Jen Daniels will bring experience and leadership to the top two forward lines. O’Shea is the league’s top returning scorer after recording 21 points in just 13 games last year. Sophomore Kelly Holmes is also back after an impressive rookie season, scoring a team-high nine goals, and looking to build on that performance now that she has a year of varsity experience. Freshman Cate Hart will be a newcomer to watch in the attack with sophomores Nicole McDonald and Rylie Ryan and junior Sydney Cloutier all getting opportunities to contribute.

There is also a lot of leadership on the blue line with seniors Ally Donovan and Meg Sherwood back to guide the defensive unit. Junior Katarina Precobb and sophomores Mara Boldy and Emma Sullivan will also be key contributors on defense. Junior Mallory Johnston is back in goal for the Warriors, but she will get a push from junior Haley Bright.

“Overall, if we can maintain our tough forecheck and play hard in all three zones, I believe with the hard work we have just as good a chance as any other team make a run for the Hock title this year and then look at getting into the state tournament,” said KP coach Ken Assad.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames

2020-2021 Record: 5-4-2
Coach: Jamie Mullen
The Mansfield/Oliver Ames/Foxboro co-op team has been a competitive squad for a solid stretch now and a big reason has been their ability to reload instead of rebuild.

That will be the case again this year as the Warriors still have a real strong core group of players back after graduating an impressive senior class. And the goes for behind the bench too after Roy Bain retired, as former assistant Jamie Mullen takes over the reins of the program.

One big advantage have is in net with senior captain Jess Widdop back between the pipes. Widdop is one of the most experienced goaltenders in the league having played since her freshman year. Her aggressiveness and quickness in net really gives the Warriors a boost on the defensive end. On the other end of the ice, the Warriors have a strong group of forwards. Samantha Ledin is one of the quickest in the Hock, Kylie O’Keefe has great playmaking skills, and senior Cierra Doherty sets the tone with her energy.

The line of Cammy Shanteler, Mya Waryas, and Maeve Anastasia gained some valuable experience last year and will be one to watch as this season plays out. Look for newcomers Emma Rabinovich and Madison Guilfoyle to help returner Julia Muttart on the blueline.

“I think we have a group that is going to surprise some people,” Mullen said. “We have some strong returning players and some new players that will help round out the team. Our humble leader Jess is solid between the pipes providing essential confidence for our defense. This team has a lot to prove to themselves, but I have full confidence in their enthusiasm and passion for working hard. We have a group that is determined to work hard, push themselves and their teammates to continue to improve, and play together.”

Stoughton/Sharon

2020-2021 Record: 0-8-2
Coach: Chad Kelley
Stoughton/Sharon has struggled for numbers over the past few years and the still relatively young co-op program will be playing an independent, rather than a Hockomock League, schedule this winter under first-year coach Chad Kelly. Despite the small roster, Kelly is happy with the energy and effort from the team during the preseason.

With players from four towns, building rapport between the players on the ice will be a key. Kelly is turning to his experienced players to help provide leadership, including senior forward Zoe Bangs and junior Ava Buckley, both from Stoughton. Senior defender Mikayla Snyder and senior forward Nina Hatch, also from Stoughton, will add to the experience in the lineup and senior goalie Janelle Murphy from Brockton could be a standout for the team this season.

There are several new faces from all of the towns, some who are new to the sport. Sophomores Samantha Calapai and Molly Corvino are new additions from Brockton that can help out on the blue line. From Sharon are two freshman forwards, Peri Rodman and Heather Kelly, who bring a lot of energy to the ice. Sophomores Nicole Reid and Brianna Moreno and freshman Leila Uchani, each from Stoughton, are also new to hockey and have impressed with their efforts so far.

“We have a great group of kids from our four towns,” said Kelly. “Our success will come from the net on out. Janelle is an all-star-caliber goalie and our defensive corps is excellent. We will struggle a bit on the offensive side of the ice.”