Franklin Starts, Finishes Strong On The Road At KP

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill attacks the basket against King Philip. (Peter Raider/HockomockSports.com Student Photographer)

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Franklin got off to a strong start on Friday night and that momentum carried the Panthers to a 72-59 road win over King Philip.

The Warriors kept things close in the opening quarter, with Tom Madden cutting the deficit to four (11-7) but Franklin responded with a run to stretch its lead. The Panthers rattled off a 9-0 run that included a Connor Goldstein three pointer and for points from Paul Mahon, who had five of his 13 points in the first quarter. The run gave Franklin a 20-7 lead after eight minutes.

With Franklin big man Connor Peterson (18 points, five rebounds) on the bench to start the second quarter due to foul trouble, KP quickly put four points on the board, but Franklin quickly answered back with four of their own. A huge quarter from Josh Macchi, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the second period, had Franklin up 36-25 heading into the second half. The key in the first half for Franklin was the production from the bigs in Macchi and Peterson (seven first quarter points).

“They switched on a lot of screens…they switched on everything just like they did last time, [a 64-49 Franklin win] and we came in knowing that if they were going to continue to switch the little guys and the big guys, that we just had to continue to pound away at it and get in there,” Franklin coach CJ Neely said after the game on the performances from his bigs.

In the third quarter, both teams came alive from beyond the arc and seemed to trade threes on every possession. After a layup to open the frame, the teams combined for four straight threes, including two in a row from Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill, who added two more threes for 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter.

“Chris has really progressed throughout the year, he’s a freshman obviously, he’s been playing point guard a pretty high level, leading the team, he’s advanced and him hitting those shots and spacing the floor after they started collapsing on the big guys, he got some open stuff and was knocking it down,” Neely said.

King Philip junior Justin Vine (four rebounds) emerged as a problem for the Panthers in the third quarter. Vine scored all eight of his points in that frame, including two threes, to keep the Warriors within striking distance.

Franklin took a 55-42 lead into the fourth, but a 6-0 KP run — started by a three from Kyle Layman (13 points, six rebounds) — cut the Franklin lead to just seven at 55-48.

After Franklin looked to pull away again following two free throws from Edgehill and a layup from Peterson, but KP’s Seth Sullivan (12 points) hit one of his four threes on the night to bring the lead back down to eight.

After Peterson responded with another layup of his own, Pharoah Davis (12 points, three rebounds) finished on a fast break down the other end, but Franklin was clutch at the free throw line down the stretch, going 7-8 from the line in the fourth quarter to seal the 72-59 win.

Next week, both teams will participate in tournaments over February break. Franklin (16-4, 14-2) begins play Monday at noon at Franklin High School against Cardinal Spellman. King Philip (6-13, 5-11) will head to Somerset Berkley on Monday at 6:30 PM to take on the Raiders.

Hornets Sting Franklin, Take Control of Kelley-Rex

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Max Boen pulls up for a shot in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Another chapter in the storied rivalry between Mansfield and Franklin is complete.

And it looks a lot like last year.

For the second straight season, Mansfield won the second game of the series on the road in Franklin after the Panthers won the first contest. This time, the Hornets prevailed 60-43.

Last year’s two contests mirrored each other because of big comebacks from the visiting team.

This year’s two contests mirrored each other because of double digit victories.

Mansfield raced out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter, with senior Sam Goldberg (12 points, eight rebounds, four assists) putting an exclamation mark on the frame with an off balance three at the buzzer.

In comparison, it was the Hornets who were held in check to just five points in the first matchup. It took until the 3:49 of the third quarter of the first game for Mansfield to reach 17 points the first time around.

“We got a much better start than the first game,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “It’s probably very similar to the first game. After the first game, CJ [Neely] said that at some point they got a little lucky that we missed shots. And to be honest, I have to say the same thing. We got a little lucky they missed some early shots and we were able to capitalize on and create a little separation. I thought our defense was really solid.

“The score doesn’t really represent the level of play and the level that Franklin’s at…that’s a dynamite program that’s going to do great in the state tournament. We’re fortunate we’re playing better, we’re more consistent. Our defensive energy has been fantastic. Now its just a matter of taking care of KP on Tuesday.”

As Mansfield was able to keep the Panthers from scoring the post — largely due to double teams and strong help defense on Franklin center Connor Peterson — the Panthers found life in outside shooting from the hand of Connor Goldstein (21 points).

The Panthers had their best offensive quarter in the second with Goldstein recording 12 of the team’s 18 points to cut the deficit to single digits, 31-24, at halftime.

“[Our post defense] was great,” Vaughan said. “I thought Evan [Christo] did a good job of coming in and that changed our matchups. It kind of eliminates Sam from early foul trouble and moves him off the ball to be a help defender. We were able to do some things with two forwards. Peterson’s a great player, one of the best in the league. For us to be able to neutralize him, we had to throw two bodies at him.”

It looked like that momentum of Franklin’s strong second quarter was going to carry into the third quarter when the Panthers got a steal and easy bucket to start the quarter and a three point play from Jalen Samuels (eight points, five rebounds) cut the lead to 33-29.

But in true Mansfield fashion, as they did time and time again throughout the game, the Hornets answered.

It was an 8-0 run that spanned nearly the rest of the quarter. First, Max Boen (14 points, six rebounds, three assists), scored off a feed from Phil Vigeant (12 points, three assists). Then it was Evan Christo from Boen, followed by two from Boen from Goldberg. Goldberg converted at the rim himself and Tyler Boulter added two free throws to make it 43-29. Goldstein added a three before the buzzer to cut into the lead for Franklin, ending a scoreless drought of over five minutes.

“We talked at halftime about getting one third quarter run,” Vaughan said. “We knew they’d make adjustments and come out and make a push at it, and they did. That’s just a sign of a good team. They cut into it. We had to weather the storm and go on our run ourselves.”

It looked like Franklin had some momentum to build off of when Goldstein drained another corner three.

But on Mansfield’s ensuing possession, Vigeant answered with a trifecta of his own to swing the momentum right back in the visitors’ favor.

“I think it’s a credit to Mansfield, they did a great job. They came in well prepared obviously, they always do,” Neely said. “It’s two good teams that are going to battle like they always do. It’s 3-3 over the past couple of years. We know it’s going to be a battle. Sometimes shots are going for one side and not for the other. And big runs happen and all of a sudden…you know. When things get tough, you have to get back to the basics of what makes your team great instead of panicking and forcing things. I thought we forced things too much tonight.”

Vigeant’s three was the start of what turned out to be a 12-0 game-sealing run from the Hornets. Goldberg added three free throws, Vigeant scored two straight field goals and Boen scored on a feed from Christian Weber (12 points) to put Mansfield up 58-37 with 2:25 to go.

“It’s huge because you can’t have guys take plays off, you can’t have guys lay an egg,” Vaughan said of the balanced scored. “I thought Max played well early, I thought Weber had some huge plays, I thought Goldberg stepped in and made some plays when he had to. Those are the things you have to do to beat good teams. You have to maximize as many possessions as you can.”

Similar to how Franklin was about to limit Mansfield’s offense to just 25% shooting from the floor in the first game, the Hornets held Franklin to just 30% from the floor and the Panthers attempted just seven free throws.

“These games never disappoint,” Vaughan said. “They’ve been great for a long time. The level of play and energy and passion from the kids is second to none. You can’t beat it. There’s no lack of coaching, there’s no lack of passion and effort from either team. We were fortunate to get this one, they got the first one.”

Mansfield boys basketball (16-2 overall, 13-1 league) takes over sole possession of first place in the Kelley-Rex division with the win. The Hornets can clinch a share of their fifth straight division title with a win on Tuesday at King Philip. Franklin (14-4, 12-2) will attempt to bounce back on Tuesday at Attleboro.

Macchi, Panthers Land Big Win Over Visiting Taunton

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin’s Connor Peterson goes for a layup in the first half against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Before Franklin hosts Mansfield this coming Friday in a game that will likely decide the Kelley-Rex title, the Panthers had a big test against a visiting Taunton squad on Monday night.

The Panthers passed with flying colors.

Franklin took a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter and blew the game wide open with dominant second quarter, eventually walking away with a 78-36 win over Taunton.

While Franklin got nearly everything it wanted inside in the first quarter (7/9 from 2PT) and put up 16 points, Taunton freshman Dante Law had 10 points to help the Tigers keep pace.

Leading 16-14 to start the second quarter, Franklin senior Josh Macchi completely took over on the offensive end. The Panthers defense forced nine turnovers alone in the second quarter and Macchi dominated the boards to help Franklin build a big lead.

“We’re always emphasizing defense but we felt like the past few games, leading up to this we got a little sloppy,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely.”We’ve been really focusing on it in practice and really focused on protecting the paint. In terms of rebounding, we have a lot of long bodies, a lot of athletic guys that can get int he paint and make things happen and we have to start doing it. We hadn’t been creating second opportunities until tonight.”

Macchi started a 10-2 run with an easy putback and senior Connor Goldstein drained a three on the following possession. Connor Peterson (20 points) grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a quick layup and Macchi hit a free throw the next trip down after hauling in an offensive rebound.

Macchi (17 points, 12 rebounds) pulled in one of his seven offensive rebounds on the next trip, but it was the only time that the Panthers didn’t score on a second opportunity. On the defensive end, Macchi came away with a steal and then found junior Alex Klowan for a three. A free throw from Jack Rodgers capped Franklin’s 10-2 run over the first five minutes.

“I thought Josh had a tremendous game again for us tonight,” Neely said of Macchi He’s been playing out of his mind. The past seven or eight games, he’s been in double-digits each time and he’s just killing it on the boards. He’s our one senior starter, and he’s really stepped up.

The Panthers weren’t done there though, scoring 13 points over the final three minutes of the quarter. Macchi was responsible for six himself – four from putbacks – and assisted on another three from Klowan. Sophomore Jalen Samuels (nine points) converted a putback and hit a layup in the final moments to give Franklin a commanding 43-18 lead at halftime. Franklin outscored Taunton 27-4 in the quarter.

“Just a disaster,” relayed Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey regarding the second quarter. “The transitions…the complete and utter failure to block out killed us. They weren’t running spectacular sets, but they just cleaned up every time. It seemed like a lot more offensive rebounds in that quarter than eight.”

Even more impressive for the Panthers was their dominate quarter came without junior captain Paul Mahon. Mahon, who entered the game tied for the team lead in scoring, picked up his second foul early in the quarter and was forced to the bench.

“I thought Klowan came in and gave us some good minutes, Matt Elias does a good job in there,” Neely said. “Sometimes Paul is done for the half when he gets the two fouls, sometimes he isn’t. I told him we’ll see how it goes. The guys stepped up and did a great job without him. I’m pretty proud of the guys for stepping up and extending the lead.”

Franklin quickly put to bed any thought of a super comeback, rattling off a 9-2 run in less than three minutes.

The Panthers went to work down low with Peterson converting a three point play to begin the half, Macchi driving for two and Peterson getting two more field goals in the paint.

“We thought we had a mismatch inside with CP,” Neely said. “Sometimes they were doubling, sometimes they weren’t. We wanted to get him the ball to see what would happen. If he had single coverage, just go at them. If they brought the double, guys had to be ready to shoot and guys hit some shots.”

After surrendering 14 points in the opening quarter, Franklin’s defense allowed 10 or less points in the final three quarters. Taunton scored just 22 points over the final three quarters. Law finished with a team-high 12 points, junior Tyler Medeiros had 11 rebounds and freshman Naz Kenian added seven points.

Franklin boys basketball (14-3 overall, 12-1 Hockomock) hosts rival Mansfield (15-2, 12-1) on Friday night at 6:30. The Panthers and the Hornets are the lone two teams left that can win the division and Friday’s contest will determine who’s in the driver’s seat. Taunton (11-6, 6-6) is back in action on Wednesday at Stoughton.

“Obviously it’s a big rivalry and we know what it’s about,” Neely said. “But we have to treat it like every other game. Their a good team so hopefully we can execute as well as we did tonight and come out on top.”

Panthers Hold Off OA Charge To Stay In First Place

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill (3) scored a team-high 15 points to help the Panthers hold off Oliver Ames and remain in a first place tie in the Kelley-Rex. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – When Franklin and Oliver Ames played the first time, almost a month to the day from Friday night’s second meeting at the William F. Nixon Gym, the game was essentially over by halftime. The Panthers turned up the defensive intensity, broke the game open, and then pored it on for a 33-point victory.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers were determined that it would not be the same result this time around and, despite Franklin extending its lead to as many as 15 in the third quarter, pulled within five points with only four minutes remaining in the game.

With the crowd getting loud and momentum with the home team, Franklin junior Matt Elias (eight points) drilled a clutch three to extend the lead back to eight, Josh Macchi snatched an offensive rebound for a bucket, and then Connor Peterson dropped a pass to Jalen Samuels under the basket for the hoop and the foul.

The Panthers made the plays they needed to down the stretch, holding off the OA comeback and pulling out a 64-52 victory that keeps Franklin tied with Mansfield at the top of the Kelley-Rex division (with the two teams set to square off next Friday).

“We said that we wanted to come out and open that lead a little bit coming out of halftime and we were able to do it, but credit OA,” said Franklin coach C.J. Neely. “They kept fighting and got back into it and I think we made some big plays when we needed it.”

OA coach Don Byron got the reaction, if not the final result, that he was looking for from his team after the tough loss to the Panthers in the first meeting.

He said, “It was a good fight wire-to-wire. Not too disappointed in it; glad they showed the fight after being embarrassed first time around.”

The Tigers got off to a strong start with Dylan Mahoney (team-high 17 points) and Nick Welch (16 points) each scoring five in the first and Jack Spillane drilling a three to give OA a 13-12 lead. Peterson (10 points, 10 rebounds) got the Panthers going with seven in the first and Samuels (12 points) added four, as Franklin closed the quarter on a 14-5 run to grab a 17-13 lead.

Franklin added the first four points of the second quarter but Mahoney answered with a shot in the lane and Matt Muir buried a three to keep OA within five. Macchi (12 points, seven rebounds) snagged a steal for a layup and then Samuels closed the half with a put-back in traffic for a 10-point advantage at the break.

Neely said, “We really rebounded the ball at both ends of the floor. We got on the offensive boards and got some second opportunities and we were able to secure most of the defensive rebounds. I thought that was a huge part of the win tonight.”

At the start of the third, it looked like Franklin was about to pull away for another big win. Peterson scored off an offensive rebound and Macchi drilled a three off a Paul Mahon assist. Macchi added an up and under move in the lane to make it 37-22.

After four straight from the Tigers, freshman point guard Chris Edgehill (team-high 15 points) drilled the first of his two threes in the quarter to keep the lead at double digits. Carter Evin (nine rebounds), who missed the first game with Franklin due to injury completed a three-point play to make the score 43-35, but Elias came through with a buzzer-beating layup off a Mahon pass to keep it a 10-point game heading to the fourth.

“They’re not easy to play against obviously,” said Byron. “They have good inside presence, they flood you on the offensive glass, they run deep, the guards played well, there’s a lot of things to contend with out there.”

Neely was not at all surprised that the second meeting was much tougher than the first. He said, “They didn’t have Carter last time; he’s a high-level player. He creates a lot of different matchup situations that we didn’t have to deal with last time. They’ve got a nice team and the zone works for them.”

A couple of Welch free throws and a layup for Jake Erlich started the fourth well for OA but Peterson kicked it out for a Connor Goldstein three. A pair of free throws from Edgehill pushed the lead back to 12, but OA made one last run at the win.

Mike Graziano swung a pass over to Welch for a three to cut the lead to 51-42. Mahoney followed with a three of his own and then drove to the basket to make it 52-47; he scored eight of his 17 in the fourth.

“It went to 15 and we got it to five and against a team like that, which defends as well as they do…making runs against some teams happens because there’s a lot of back and forth and up and down, but not too much with these guys,” said Byron.

Needing a big shot, Franklin swung the ball around to Elias and the junior delivered with the three that stemmed the tide.

Neely said, “Matt was in a little bit of a…not a funk, but he hadn’t been playing his best ball the last two or three games and we told him to just go back to being himself and have fun…It’s good to see him hit a couple because it just makes us that much better.”

The win was an important one for the Panthers, who are battling to win their second straight league title (they shared it with Mansfield last season).

“It’s stressful, but it’s good to be in the position we’re in,” said Neely. “I’m happy about that but every possession seems to mean more and more and we try to stay as focused on the moment as we can because you have to worry about this game.”

Franklin (12-3, 11-1) will get another tough league test on Monday when Taunton pays a visit, while Oliver Ames (9-7, 7-5) will try to clinch its playoff spot at home against King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin Uses Balanced Attack to Win At Oliver Ames

Franklin girls basketball
Kate Morse (25) scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds, one of nine Franklin players with at least a point, to help the Panthers extend their win streak to five games. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Beginning the season with a relatively young and inexperienced lineup, Franklin opened with six straight losses. Given time to figure out the varsity level, the kids have turned out to be alright after all.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

All 11 of the players on the Franklin roster saw time on Friday night in the first game of a doubleheader at the William F. Nixon Gym and nine of those players got on the scoresheet, as the Panthers showed off their depth to beat Oliver Ames 59-48. It was the fifth straight win and sixth in the last eight games for Franklin, which is now .500 in the league and four wins from booking a playoff spot.

“It’s a tremendous difference,” said Franklin coach John Leighton about the team’s confidence over the past few weeks compared to the start of the season. “You start 0-6 with a young team then they’re going to doubt themselves. They’re going to question things. I’m so impressed by every member of the team picking each other up and that’s lifted the confidence.”

In the first meeting with the Tigers, Franklin allowed Oliver Ames to pull away late for a double digit win. On Friday, it was the Panthers that put together a strong final quarter to turn a five-point lead into an 11-point win.

Franklin scored 17 points in the fourth, 12 of those coming at the free throw line. The Panthers shot 12-of-16 from the charity stripe and all but three of its final 14 points came from the line.

Shannon Gray, who had only three points entering the final quarter, led the way by making 5-of-6 free throws, while freshman Ali Brigham (10 points, 10 rebounds) scored on a putback and senior Carli Koffinke (team-high 13 points) knocked down one of her four three-pointers to help seal the victory.

“In the fourth quarter, Shannon Gray, who had barely scored, was attacking the rim and drawing fouls and that’s what we needed,” said Leighton. “Early it was Ali dominating and Carli scoring…I love to have that balance.”

OA was shorthanded on Friday with sophomore guard Sadie Homer sidelined with a knee injury, but the Tigers came out strong and led 14-13 after one. Senior Hannah Carroll got off to a strong start with five of her 12 points in the quarter, both baskets off assists by Kayla Raymond, who added four of her team-high 15 in the first.

Koffinke kept the Panthers in it early, burying a pair of threes off assists from Bea Bondhus and Grace McDermott. Leighton said of Koffinke, “She’s worked so hard at her shot and her game. You can see that she’s worked and if she gets a couple inches then she’s going to take it and really it’s a weapon for us.”

The defense picked up in the second for Franklin, which held OA to just eight points and grabbed a six-point halftime edge. Gray (eight points) started the second with a three off the first of Izzy Faught’s three assists in the quarter. Grace Sameski knocked one down to extend the lead and then Kate Morse (10 points, five rebounds, four assists) hit another. Carroll hit a pair from beyond the arc to keep OA hanging around.

The Panthers extended the lead to as many as 10 points in the third with Morse again providing big plays. She buried an elbow jumper and then a big three that made it 40-30.

“Cool as a cucumber,” said Leighton about Morse. “Kate’s a great three-sport athlete, but she’s really come on as a basketball player this year and I’m thrilled to have her another season.”

Brigham chipped in with four in the quarter and Koffinke knocked down another three, but Franklin could not put away the Tigers. OA battled back behind senior point guard Abby Reardon, who scored seven of her nine points in the third and assisted on a Katie Flynn transition layup.

“We’ve lost several games in this scenario where we couldn’t close out,” said Leighton. “We talked about playing more of a full game. Good possessions, hold them to one shot, make your free throws, then you can play with the lead and it’s hard to beat.”

The Panthers followed that formula down the stretch and pulled out the win. It was a total team effort, which is what Leighton thinks defines this year’s team.

He explained, “One way we’ve improved over the course of the year is exactly that. We have 11 girls, they all play and the idea is to get the open girl to take the shot and really work to make sure it’s a good shot. We really worked to move the ball a lot better the last few games.”

Franklin (6-8, 6-6) will try to keep its win streak alive on Monday with a trip to Taunton. Oliver Ames (9-5, 8-4) will look to get back on track, and clinch a tournament spot, when the Tigers travel to King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Benham Saves the Day for Franklin Against Oliver Ames

Franklin hockey
Sophomore Matt Holmes (19) celebrates with Jack McGrath (15) after scoring the opening goal against Oliver Ames on Saturday night. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Former Franklin goalie Sean Bertoni (Class of 2002) made his first return to his alma mater as a head coach on Saturday night, leading Oliver Ames into Pirelli Veterans Arena with a chance to take control of the Kelley-Rex title race.

But it was current Panthers netminder Cam Benham that stole the headlines and the two points with a 40-save performance that helped Franklin claim a 4-1 victory and control of its own destiny as it seeks to clinch a sixth straight league championship.

“That’s the goaltender that we need every night,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. “We’re looking forward to Cam getting on a roll. He had a shutout the other night, played unbelievable for us tonight, made some really big saves, and kept us in the game.”

Benham needed to be ready right from the opening face-off because the Tigers came flying out of the gates with 18 shots in the opening period and used their speed to create host of great scoring chances.

Eric LeBlanc set up Cullen Gallagher in front just a couple minutes in only for the sophomore to fire wide. Five minutes into the game, Brett Williams found Korey Sweezey in front alone but Benham made a point-blank pad save to keep the game scoreless. Rory Madden got free for a shorthanded chance but again Benham was up to the challenge.

Franklin took advantage of those saves and of a four-minute major penalty to get the lead against the run of play. Tom Sicchio’s shot from the point was kicked aside by Zach Walsh (16 saves) but right to Matt Holmes and he knocked in the rebound.

“I knew they were going to [start quick] and they were all over us,” admitted Spillane. “We weathered the storm and we sort of had our opportunities and we found the back of the net.”

Right at the end of the first, Benham came through with a flurry of saves, batting aside five or six shots from the Tigers who were trying to head into the first intermission on even terms.

“The first period was probably our best period of the season,” said Bertoni. “I was saying to the coaches maybe if we were a little bit older because young guys in a big game, maybe they were a little tight on their stick.”

Franklin settled down after the break and started the second much stronger and finding ways to slow down the speedy Tigers.

Just a minute into the period, Adam Assad controlled the puck near his own blue line and took a hit to feed Sicchio pushing forward into the neutral zone. Sicchio drove into the attacking zone, dragged the puck past his defender and fired a shot into the bottom corner for a 2-0 lead.

“He has stick skills, which is nice because he can make those plays,” said Spillane of Sicchio. “He’s really the backbone of our defense right now.”

Three minutes later and the Tigers were stunned again, as a shot from the point by freshman Connor Opelt was redirected in front by Jeremy Miller and past the left pad of Walsh for a 3-0 lead.

When asked if his team had been disheartened by dominating the first period but trailing, Bertoni responded, “I don’t think so because we’ve been there before. They were so excited to start the second period especially because of how we ended the first. We must have had four shots in that scramble and just couldn’t bury one.”

Gallagher had a chance from the slot to get one back for OA but fired over the bar and Williams set up LeBlanc in front for a tip towards goal that was blocked by Benham.

The Tigers had the final seven shots of the second but trailed by three goals entering the third period. Within the first minute, Franklin had extended the lead to 4-0. Jack McGrath passed the puck across the blue line to Sicchio, who sent the puck towards net. Luke Downie redirected the shot from the slot and inside the post.

When asked if the Panthers had made any adjustments to try and combat OA’s speed, Spillane replied, “We’ve played fast teams before, we knew what we were in for and we just needed to pick up our tempo. Against a team like that, you have to play fast and move the puck.”

The Tigers finally got on the board on a power play goal with 1:32 remaining. Benham made two saves but the second rebound popped out to Williams, who knocked it into an open net. OA got some energy to finish with another flurry, totaling 14 shots in the third period, but Benham stood tall again to ensure that the Tigers only got one on the board.

“They played hard, just some of the penalties…I told them when we play 5-on-5 that we can skate with anyone,” said Bertoni. “We generate offense when we’re 5-on-5.”

Bertoni had previously returned as an assistant coach with the Tigers during the 2013-14 season and watched then Tigers goalie Jimmy Tierney make 40-plus saves for the win. He is now 1-1 coming back to his alma mater (where his father Bill Bertoni and his uncle Bruce Bertoni, who is still an assistant coach for the Panthers, are both members of the Franklin Hockey Hall of Fame).

He was asked how it felt to be back here and on the visiting bench and, with the hint of a smile, Bertoni said, “It felt good, it felt good…Man…I wanted to steal this one.”

Franklin (9-4-0, 4-1-0) has jumped to the top of the league standings at the midway point of the league campaign. Next up for the Panthers is King Philip at Pirelli on Wednesday, while Oliver Ames (7-4-1, 3-2-1) will travel to Foxboro.

Hockomock Wrestling Championships 2017

Hockomock wrestling
Franklin’s Brian Farrell (top) grapples with Sharon’s Matt Callan at Hocks. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Franklin had three individual champions, two second place finishes and four more grapplers finish third or fourth to win the team title at the Hockomock League Wrestling Championships at Oliver Ames on Saturday.

The Panthers registered 218.5 points, edging out North Attleboro (212.5 points) and Foxboro (200.5 points).

Franklin’s Ian Bakalars won the 113 title with a 6-2 decision, Mike Racca notched a first round pin to win the 120 title and Dylan Maclean earned the 145 title with a pin. Jordan Carlucci (106) and Brian Perry (285) had second place finishes, Evan Hernandez (182) and Kyler Colella (195) each came in third and TJ Remillard (126) and Brian Farrell (132) both placed fourth.

The Rocketeers, who have clinched at least a share of the Davenport division dual meet title, only had one winner in the tournament but once again show off its depth with three second place finishes, and nine other wrestlers finishing either third, fourth, fifth or sixth. North Attleboro’s Nick Gould was the team’s only champion, scoring an impressive 14-0 win at 152. It marks the second straight year Gould won a Hockomock title after winning the 145 title a year ago. Dan Cooper (113), Jake Direnzo (120) and Brandon Graveline (132) each placed second for Big Red.

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Foxboro’s Matt Kelley was impressive in winning his third straight Hockomock League title. Kelley raced out to a quick 14-0 lead before scoring a pin to earn the Hockomock title at 132. During his sophomore year, Kelley won the 120 title and during his junior year, Kelley scored an 8-0 decision to win the 126 title. Brian Kelley was equally impressive, notching a 10-0 win in a very competitive 138 bracket to win his first Hockomock title. Matt Mullally held on for a 6-5 win to claim the Hock title at 160 – his second straight title at that weight class.

While plenty of veterans claimed titles, there were three freshmen that won Hockomock League titles in their first ever championship event. Mansfield’s Antonios Sevastos, who suffered a first round pin to Franklin’s Jordan Carlucci in a dual meet earlier this week, avenged that loss by scoring a takedown in the final 20 seconds to win the 106 crown. Teammate and classmate Vinnie Holmes continued his stellar freshman campaign, rolling through the bracket and picking up a 14-2 win in the finals. Canton’s Eddie Marinilli made his mark as well, winning four matches on the day, including an 11-2 decision in the 126 final match.

Oliver Ames was fifth on the day, the top finishing team without a champion. Sophomore Anthony Berksza was second at 145 and sophomore Dean Pacini made a run to the finals before falling to Milford’s Ryan Gray (7-1) at 195.

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Team Results

1. Franklin – 218.5
2. North Attleboro – 212.5
3. Foxboro – 200.5
4. Oliver Ames – 128
5. King Philip – 119
6. Canton – 115.5
7. Sharon – 108.5
8. Mansfield – 107
9. Stoughton – 106
10. Milford – 79
11. Taunton – 48

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Finals

WeightMatchupResult
106Jordan Carlucci (Franklin) vs. Antonios Secastos (Mansfield)Sevastos (2-0)
113Ian Bakalars (Franklin) vs. Dan Cooper (North Attleboro)Bakalars (6-2)
120Jake Direnzo (North Attleboro) vs. Mike Racca (Franklin)Racca (pin)
126Eddie Marinilli (Canton) vs. Yosef Ellis-Rech (Sharon)Marinilli (11-2)
132Matt Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Brandon Graveline (North Attleboro)Kelley (pin)
138Brian Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Brett Kimball (Milford)Kelley (10-0)
145Anthony Berksza (Oliver Ames) vs. Dylan Maclean (Franklin)Maclean (pin)
152Nick Gould (North Attleboro) vs. Max Dorman (Foxboro)Gould (14-0)
160Matt Mullally (Foxboro) vs. Cameron Smith (King Philip)Mullally (6-5)
170Wilhelm Bolt (Sharon) vs. Vinnie Holmes (Mansfield)Holmes (14-2)
182Nuno Camara (Taunton) vs. Nick DeGloria (King Philip)DeGloria (9-4)
195Ryan Gray (Milford) vs. Dean Pacini (Oliver Ames)Gray (7-1)
220Andrew Iverson (Stoughton) vs. Bradley Oliverio (King Philip)Oliverio (3-1)
285Lino Azul (Stoughton) vs. Brian Perry (Franklin)Azul (14-5)

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