FRANKLIN, Mass. – During the first half, the Bombardiers had little answer for the dynamic inside-outside combination of Franklin sophomore center Ali Brigham and junior guard Bea Bondhus. The duo combined for 30 points before the break to push the Panthers to a 21-point halftime lead.
Although Attleboro turned up the energy in the second half, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the lead proved too great to overcome and Franklin stayed within one game of the Kelley-Rex division leaders with a 63-51 victory.
Bondhus opened the paint by knocking down a pair of threes in the opening half and spreading the Attleboro defense out with 14 of her 18 points coming before the break. With the outside threat giving Brigham a little space with which to work, the sophomore showed off an array of offensive moves on the post and stepping away to face the basket.
She scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half and also added 12 of her game-high 20 rebounds. Brigham was also a force on the defensive side with four blocks.
“She’s worked so hard in the offseason to become a much more complete player and we’ve really worked on getting her the ball in scoring positions,” said Franklin coach John Leighton of Brigham. “I think early in the year, we tried to force it when it wasn’t there and now we’re trying to get her in positions to be successful and I think her teammates are doing a good job of that.”
Breanna Atwood got the game started for Franklin, which got right into its dribble-drive offense and full-court press. Atwood (10 points) buried a corner three and scored five points in the first. Then Brigham got going. She scored with a short jumper, an offensive rebound, and a jumper with a foot on the three-point line.
The Panthers kept pressing and Bondhus nailed a corner three and got free for a layup off an inbound pass by Calen Frongillo. Franklin led 21-8 after the first and kept the offense rolling into the second.
“I thought we ran a lot of tempo today,” explained Leighton, “which opens up a lot of stuff. It makes the defense react quicker. We started getting good looks and then you can’t just double on Ali if we’re moving it and finding people.”
Attleboro cut the lead to eight with a transition layup from Nyah Thomas (six points) and a three by Sam Pierce, but then Brigham scored with a drive on the baseline and hit a floater. Bondhus followed with her second three of the half and the lead grew to 17.
“In the first half it kind of got away from us,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “We were able to reel them back in but they had a spurt at the end of the half to extend it. I’m proud of my kids though because they kept fighting and it’s still an early learning curve for us.”
Brigham added six more points on a jumper, a hook shot going to her right and a put back bucket, while Bondhus got two when she cut to the basket and was found by Atwood and then got a steal and transition basket to put Franklin ahead 42-21 going into halftime.
Coming out of the break, the Bombardiers played with a lot more energy. Junior guard Jordyn Lako provided a spark on the defensive end with two steals, two blocks, five assists, and eight rebounds. Attleboro also started to get the ball into the hands of Pierce, who would score 19 of her game-high 24 points in the second half.
Brigham was limited to six points after halftime (all in the third), as Attleboro gave Mackenzie Roberts more help trying to contain her in the post. Crowley said, “I don’t know if you can really contain her, but our rotations were better than they were in the first half. I thought Kenzie did a pretty good job on her for the most part but that’s why she’s a top caliber player.”
Attleboro trailed by 22 heading to the fourth, but the Bombardiers never let up. Pierce completed a traditional three-point play off a Lako assist, went 5-for-5 from the line, and scored 11 points in the fourth. Liv McCall buried a pair of threes and Attleboro got as close as 10 points in the final minutes.
“They’re tough,” said Leighton. “Sam is a tough kid and when she can get people on her back then she’s tough to defend. A well-coached team, Marty’s always tough and he’s got kids that play real ‘D’ and work hard.”
Crowley said, “We were a little flat here or there. We had a little more energy coming out of halftime and in the second half. We need to play with a little more of a sense of urgency to start games and not expend so much energy coming back.”
Despite a youthful lineup, Franklin trails Mansfield and Oliver Ames by only one game in the league standings and Leighton sees improvement from the start of the season.
“I’m proud as can be,” he said. “We rolled out four sophomores and a junior tonight and that’s only because my freshman (Elizabeth Wilson) is hurt. They’re all buying in, there’s a real work ethic, practices have been competitive, and we’re so young there’s a lot of room for growth.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Having three legitimate offensive options has made Franklin one of the top teams in the area. But its now safe to say senior Matt Elias gives the Panthers a fourth.
The senior sharpshooter scored a career-high 17 points, connecting on four three-pointers to lead the Panthers to a key 67-52 win over Mansfield, putting the teams into a first-place tie in the Kelley-Rex. It also marked Franklin’s first win in its current gym, which opened in 2014.
“Elias had a huge game,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “He’s a silent assassin. When he’s playing well, we’re playing well. You go right down the line, we have guys that can play but he’s really stepped up for us all season long, he’s had big shot after big shot. He’s shooting with a lot of confidence, he’s playing with a lot of confidence and that’s what we’re going to need if we’re going to win games like tonight.”
It wasn’t Elias’ first big scoring output of the season, but it may have been his most valuable. It seemed almost all 17 of his points either gave Franklin a big boost or halted Mansfield from gaining any momentum of its own.
He drained a three just seconds after Mansfield hit their first triple, and then another just minutes later to erase Mansfield’s second — and final — lead of the game.
In the third quarter, Edgehill (14 points), the team’s leading scorer entering Friday night’s game, was forced to the bench after picking up his fourth foul with four minutes to go in the frame. Although Mansfield closed the gap some, Elias hit his third three of the game to make it 45-33 and the keep the Hornets at bay.
And after Mansfield was called for an offensive foul with under a minute to play, Elias beat the buzzer with a putback on the offensive end — a potential five-point swing — to keep Franklin up 47-36 going into the final period.
“Those five points were huge,” Neely said. “Jalen and Chris were both out so we were trying to survive that stretch as long as we could. Obviously having both those guys out is not ideal, it’s not how you draw it up. But I was saying if we could keep the lead around 10 we’d in in great shape. Matt’s been there for us all season and he was there again tonight for us and I’m proud of them.”
Elias then opened the fourth quarter with his fourth triple of the night, extending the lead to 50-37. And then with five minutes to play, after Mansfield gained some momentum off of an offensive putback, Elias came down the other end and converted a traditional three-point play to make it 54-42.
“Matt Elias went out and has a night for himself, talk about an all-star performance,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “That’s what he’s capable of doing, he’s put in the time. If there was an MVP tonight, it has to go to him. Every time I thought we were on a run or going to close the gap, Matt throws his ceiling shot through the bottom of the night.”
After a frantic first quarter, the Panthers held a 17-13 advantage. Mansfield’s offense shot 50% from the field but had seven turnovers. Things didn’t get any better for the Hornets in the second quarter either.
Franklin continued its solid play on both ends of the court, going 6-for-11 from the field while Mansfield’s turnover woes continued. The Hornets had eight turnovers in the second quarter alone (15 first half total) while shooting just 2-for-13 from the floor, including 0-for-8 from downtown.
“We got some looks in the first quarter and they didn’t fall,” Vaughan said. “We got tight, started to press, we started looking to the officials for calls. I think we tried to win the game in one possession, everyone wanted to be a superhero instead of just chipping away and doing what we do. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
The Panthers outscored Mansfield 14-7 in the quarter and took a 31-20 lead into the halftime break.
“I know CJ praises his team and also criticizes his team when he feels like they were outplayed…tonight they were definitely not outplayed,” Vaughan said. “[Franklin] did an awesome job, they took things away, they were well prepared. Simple things that people in the stands might not notice, they did a really good job taking away. They played with a lot more energy, a lot more passion. They played with a chip on their shoulder and we kind of came in and laid down like things were going to be handed to us.”
While Mansfield made small runs throughout the second half, the Panthers pushed their lead to 18 by opening the second half on a 9-2 run. Samuels (18 points, six rebounds) drove to the basket for two, Mahon (six points, three rebounds) drained a three, Samuels converted at the rim again and Jack Rodgers hit a pair of free throws to make it 40-22.
Mansfield got it back to single digits with a 9-2 run of its own, but Elias’ third triple put an end to that surge.
When the Hornets got it back to single digits later in the fourth quarter on a drive by Sam Hyland (six points, seven rebounds), Elias’ three-point play pushed the lead back to 12.
“We tried to take away some of their best options,” Neely said of his defense. Mansfield finished with a season-high 26 turnovers. “They are a tough team to stop, they are one of the best offensive teams around. The way they move the ball and play together is kind of reminiscent of what we do so it’s always going to be a battle. But I think the guys really bought into the scout. We knew we had to be focused for the entire 32 minutes.”
“It’s been a long time,” Vaughan said of having so many turnovers. “My first couple of years we averaged around 20 a game and that was not fun. I think we had 14 or 15 at the half, which is too many. At the end of the day they were playing man to man, they weren’t pressing, they weren’t doubling, they weren’t doing anything special. Granted our shot percentage deserved to be low because they were good defensively but turnovers…that’s careless. That’s not moving, that’s bad concentration. Turnovers you can control, most of them. Anything beyond 12 or 13, that’s too many.”
Franklin boys basketball (5-1 Hockomock, 8-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday with a trip to Attleboro. Mansfield boys basketball (5-1, 7-2) will try to bounce back on Sunday against Hanover in an endowment game (won’t count towards tournament record) at 5:30.
Although the Panthers led from start to finish and had a double-digit for most of the second half, the win wasn’t secured until the final buzzer. Oliver Ames refused to go away, even cutting the deficit to six with two minutes to play but Franklin was money at the free throw line late, coming away with a 63-50 win over the resilient Tigers.
“Sometimes it doesn’t matter how it looks, as long as you get the win…it wasn’t our prettiest game, it wasn’t our best performance but we grinded out a win in a tough environment,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “The OA kids played hard, I thought they were all over the place rebounding wise and they were first to all the loose balls. I thought out first half defense was excellent…but 31 points is too much in the second half. It was a tough game, ugly game, but we’ll take it.”
Sophomore Chris Edgehill led the way offensively, tying a career-high with 28 points while Franklin went 11-for-12 at the free throw line over the final two minutes to secure the victory.
“We were one big play away from getting it to a one-possession game somehow,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “But Franklin kept us just enough at arm’s length where they probably didn’t feel like they were getting tested. But on our side, we never really felt like we were out of it, the kids just kept coming and coming. That’s the biggest thing to come out of this one…can we compete with the best the state has to offer? And I think we did.”
Franklin closed the opening quarter with an 8-2 run to seize a 17-10 lead through eight minutes. The Panthers limited OA to just nine points in the second quarter, but the Tigers’ defense also kept Franklin’s offense in check (10 points), heading into half down 27-19.
The Panthers’ 11-point lead in the third quarter was trimmed down to just five behind baskets from OA’s Jake Erlich (13 points) and Jack Spillane (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists). But before the Tigers could get any closer, Edgehill drained a three to spark a 13-4 run.
Edgehill followed his triple with a strong take to the rim, and Paul Mahon (six points, four assists, three rebounds) had an easy take after a nice pass from Matt Elias (eight points, three rebounds). Franklin cashed in on back-to-back OA turnovers with both Edgehill and Paul Rudolph finishing traditional three-point plays.
“I thought [Edgehill] was very good offensively, especially getting inside,” Neely said. “We got the ball moving on offense and he was the recipient of those and hit some threes. He’s an electric creator off the dribble and he was able to get into the paint and draw a lot of contact. I think he found some guys and we missed some layups too. Tonight, I think someone needed to step up and he did.”
Franklin took a 43-31 lead into the final frame.
The Panthers led by as much as 14 early on in the fourth, and then a triple from Edgehill with three minutes to play had Franklin leading comfortably 52-39.
But once again, OA got right back into the game when Spillane hit a three while being fouled, finishing the four-point play a the line, and junior Sean O’Brien hit two free throws to make it 52-45 with two minutes to play.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be a free-flowing, easy going, up-and-down, everyone gets to run their offense type of game,” Byron said. “Our focus was to try and keep the game in the low 50s, high 40s. Not only are they going to do their part to make sure that happens, their games are all that way…but we did the same. We did the things we needed to do to have a shot.”
Jalen Samuels (12 points, four rebounds, three blocks) hit a pair of free throws to push the lead back to nine but Spillane splashed a three to make it a two-possession game. OA came up empty on its next trip, missing a pair of three’s, and Franklin iced the game with successful free throw shooting.
Franklin boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 6-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Taunton. Mansfield Olver aelxi (2-2, 4-3) resumes action with its fifth straight home game, hosting King Philip at 6:30.
Entering his senior year, there were some doubts about whether or not former Franklin High standout Ben Zogby would be able to take the mat again for the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) wrestling team. After an injury-plagued three years, Zogby had come close to quitting the sport that he started in elementary school.
But there he was in August, joining the rest of the Engineers for another grueling preseason. His effort to be part of the team again was rewarded not only by the coaches with a spot at 125 pounds, but also by his teammates with the honor of being named one of the team’s captains.
“It was humbling,” said Zogby during a break from the team’s midseason double sessions. “Being named captain kind of proved to me that hard work pays off…and it really kind of fueled me right into the season.”
He added, “Over and over, grueling day after grueling day, it gets tough if you’re not getting any recognition. It felt good to know that everyone was looking up to me like that.”
It is remarkable that Zogby, a state champion during his junior year at Franklin, is able to get on the mat and compete at all, let alone be a leader on an undefeated team (at the time of writing WPI was 7-0 following Saturday’s win over Roger Williams).
In his first match as a collegiate wrestler at a Roger Williams University tournament, Zogby tore the ACL and MCL in his knee, effectively ending his freshman season before it had even started. He had surgery to repair the meniscus in November and then a month later the ACL was repaired.
Zogby admitted that he wrestled most of his final year at Franklin with what he described as a “bum knee,” so the injury may have been a holdover from his high school days. After working through a rigorous preseason at WPI, unlike anything he experienced with the Panthers or with Wadsworth Wrestling Club (now called New England Gold), Zogby had to start all over again.
Before his sophomore season, he suffered another setback while sprinting on the school’s track. He landed wrong and felt his meniscus go for a second time. He was forced to the sidelines for six weeks. When he came back after the December break, he felt something in his knee and decided that he needed a break from the sport.
“If I can’t even run without doing that to my knee, what is wrestling going to do to my knee?” Zogby recalled asking himself. “I told myself that I was done.”
That changed early in his junior season. “I didn’t start the season and the day before Thanksgiving break I told myself I’m going to do this,” Zogby said. “I went to meet with Coach [Steve] Hall and said, ‘Coach, I want to be back on the team.’ He said sure thing.”
Within 24 hours, Zogby had his paperwork filed and rejoined the Engineers. At the New England Wrestling Association Duals, injury would strike again. Zogby was wrestling at 141, two weight classes higher than his usual position, because WPI was missing shorthanded. In the third period of a close match, Zogby’s opponent shot in causing a collision that left the former Panther with a ruptured testicle and a missing tooth.
“That day, I said, ‘No way. I’m done,’” Zogby admitted. “But, I thought about it for a week and thought I’ve already come this far, I owe it to myself to keep going. I told my coach, I’ll be back next year. He was kind of like, ‘Are you sure?’”
About his coach’s support, Zogby added, “Coach Hall has been nothing but great to me. He let me come back to the team after I said no more and not many coaches would’ve done that. I think he has gone through some of the same things as me and knows what I’m going through.”
When he was considering whether or not to step away from wrestling, Zogby also thought about his teammates and the support they showed through his injury issues, sending texts or making calls to check in and see how he was doing.
“Part of the reason I came back is that they were so supportive and I wanted to rejoin that band of brotherhood,” he said.
Wrestling is physically and mentally taxing and wrestling practice is supposed to be even tougher than a match, but after three seasons marred by various injuries Zogby is relishing the opportunity to be part of the team even during the grind of preseason or midseason double sessions.
“I honestly think about it every day,” Zogby said of how close his wrestling career came to being cut short. “These double sessions are tough, if you don’t look at the big picture and you only look at what you’re doing every day then you’re never mentally going to be able to get over that hump.
“A lot of people think about their senior year as a last chance to do something great. Last chance to win a title or whatever, but I’m thinking that every single match I wrestle is a match I’m not supposed to be wrestling. This is all gravy. If I can win, it’s one more win than I should have. For me, every single opportunity to compete is an opportunity that I shouldn’t have had and I should be thankful for.”
As captain, Zogby (who is 9-4 on the season, including a second place finish at the RIT Tournament) shares his experiences as a collegiate wrestler with the underclassmen, many of whom are going through this level of commitment and competition for the first time. He provides the encouragement to get guys working again and the recognition for guys that are putting in the effort.
“I can’t wait to compete again with the guys,” said Zogby, who was looking forward to this weekend’s meets against Roger Williams and Wesleyan in particular. “Getting out there on match day, even before you get out there, you get that feel of competition in the air and you know that everything you’ve been doing is going to pay off, even if you don’t win.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – It was becoming a frustrating night for the visitors. Canton held a 15-1 edge in shots on goal during the second period against Franklin in Wednesday afternoon’s Hockomock League tilt at Pirelli Veterans Arena, but went into the second intermission locked in a scoreless tie.
Buoyed by the experience of having been in tough, close games many times before, the Bulldogs stuck with their game plan. Kendra Farrelly scored with the first shot on goal of the third period and Maggie Malloy added a second with two minutes left to secure a 2-0 victory and a two-point lead in the league standings.
“It really doesn’t bother us that much because we’ve been in so many of those late games,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “All through the playoffs there were late goals and we just never feel like we’re out of it. If we don’t win, we just feel like we ran out of time.
“We feel confident enough in what we do that we’re just going to stick to it.”
Thirty seconds into the third, Leah McClellan fired a shot from the point that was deflected by skates right in front of Franklin freshman goalie Natalie Stott (30 saves) and onto the stick of Farrelly (goal and an assist) at the back post for a tap in.
Canton nearly doubled its lead a few minutes later, but Stott stood tall to stuff fellow freshman Ellie Rae Roberts’ breakaway opportunity.
With just under three minutes to play, Franklin had a chance to tie the game with a shorthanded break by sophomore Jordan Dwyer, but her shot under pressure from Alexa Maffeo was knocked aside by Canton’s senior goalie Colleen Kelleher (19 saves).
The Bulldogs put the game away just 30 seconds later. Malloy (goal and assist) skated free into the slot, opened her body to get a forehand shot off, and put her wrister just under the bar for a 2-0 lead with 2:14 to play.
“They’re more experienced and they’re going to take advantage when we make a little mistake,” said Franklin coach Margi Burke. “We knew this was going to be really tough competition and we hung with them for two periods.”
It took a full period for the Bulldogs to get going, as Franklin came storming out of the locker room and took control of the play in the opening period, finishing with a 13-8 edge in shots. Regan Paterson had the first chance with a couple of shots from close range and had another chance when she stole the puck on the back-check and skated the length of the ice to force Kelleher into a save.
With 50 seconds left in the first, Franklin nearly took the lead. Gianna Cameron had a shot from the point saved by Kelleher, who then recovered quickly to make a pad stop on Jackie Connelly’s rebound effort on the post.
“We expected that,” said Aldrich of Franklin’s strong start. “Colleen had to make a real big, right-pad save or that was a sure goal and who knows where we would’ve been if she doesn’t make that.”
Stott also had to make big stops to keep Canton off the board in the first, particularly a great pad save on freshman Lizzie Tassinari after Malloy teed her up in the slot and a save on Farrelly seconds before the horn.
Those saves were just a prelude to the Stott’s performance in the second period, as she stopped a barrage of shots from the Bulldogs and kept Franklin in the game after 30 minutes.
Lauren Fitzpatrick had an effort cutting in from the left wing stuffed by the rookie netminder, who then stopped a blast from the point by Katie Trerice and the rebound effort by Marissa Devane. Meg Aldrich also had a shot from the point through traffic that forced a blocker save by the unsighted Stott.
“She doesn’t look like a freshman out there,” said Burke of Stott. “She’s a great kid and she’s doing a great job. It could’ve been so much more than 2-0, she kept us in the game especially in the second period.”
Canton grabbed the momentum after the second period and never looked back, which Aldrich explained is part of the game plan for the Bulldogs.
He said, “We pride ourselves on getting stronger as the game goes on and I think that showed. I think we wore them down a little bit, but we fully expected to come in here and have them throw haymakers right away.”
While praising the play of Stott, Aldrich admitted that he is also experimenting with the lines to try and boost the Bulldogs’ offensive output. “We’re still trying to find chemistry,” he said.
Despite the loss, Burke is pleased with the performance of her young team and the strong start that the Panthers have made to the season.
“Their effort was there the whole time and we can’t ask a lot more than that and we talked about simple hockey,’” she said. “The big things we were doing right, but it’s the little things that can make a difference in a game like this.”
Burke added, “We’ve had a great start to the season and they’re working hard. We get another shot at [Canton] too, which we haven’t had before since they weren’t in our league.”
Canton (4-0-2, 2-0-0) will look to continue its unbeaten start to the season when it hosts Mansfield/Oliver Ames on Saturday. Franklin (4-1-2, 0-1-2) will try to bounce back quickly when it travels to Stoughton on Saturday afternoon.
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – When the teams headed into the lockerroom for the halftime break, it looked as if the game was headed to a classic Franklin-Catholic Memorial finish that would come down to the final minutes.
But instead, Franklin came out swinging in the third quarter, outscoring the Knights 28-15 in the frame en route to a 74-60 win for the Panthers.
The third quarter started out similar to the first half as a back and forth affair. CM’s Kani Glover (seven points) opened the scoring up for the Knights, but Franklin sophomore Chris Edgehill (eight points) quickly responded with a three for the Panthers.
Anthony Morales (ten points, eight rebounds) responded back with a layup off a feed from Jarrett Martin (nine points). Jack Rodgers (career-high 18 points, four rebounds, five assists) scored for Franklin down the other end, and Martin hit an athletic layup seconds later to put CM up 37-36 with 6:03 left in the third quarter.
But from the 6:03 mark to the end of the third, Franklin finished with a 23-7 run that included five points apiece from Paul Rudolph (seven points off the bench) and Alex Klowan (eight points and four rebounds off the bench). At the end of the quarter, Edgehill buried a three from just inside half court as time expired to give Franklin a 13-point cushion to end the quarter.
“Chris’ three was huge, you don’t see that coming, it definitely brings a huge momentum into the fourth quarter, the guys were excited in the huddle, so we were ready to go,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely about Edgehill’s three at the end of the third.
Franklin got off to a fast start as they held a 15-11 edge at the end of the first quarter. Rodgers had eight of his 18 in the first frame, while Jalen Samuels (nine points, ten rebounds) chipped in four points.
Catholic Memorial came back with 20 points in the second quarter, behind six points off two threes from Will McDonnell and seven points from Jarron Flynn (team-high 15 points, five assists, five rebounds). Matt Elias (14 points including four threes, five rebounds) had six points off of two threes for Franklin in the quarter.
One of the keys for Franklin was their senior leadership, as 57 of their 74 points came from seniors, including 18 from Rodgers, 14 from Elias, and ten from Paul Mahon (who also contributed seven rebounds and four assists). In addition, Klowan and Rudolph brought a spark off the bench, as both played big roles in Franklin’s third-quarter run that helped them put the game away.
“They’ve definitely seen CM before, so they know the deal, I think when you don’t play them you don’t get that type of refresher, they’re one of only a few teams than can press you like that and bother you, and when you haven’t seen it you get guys all over you and you can a little nervous throwing the ball around, but they knew it was coming, and we woke up this morning expecting pressure, so now they know it’s coming, they’ve seen it before, so I think it was huge to have them, and then Jalen and Chris have been in a lot of games for us in big moments, so they might as well be seniors at this point,” Neely added about Franklin’s senior leadership.
Since this was an exclusion game for Franklin, it will not count toward their tournament record. The Panthers (2-1 Hockomock, 6-1 overall) are scheduled to take on Oliver Ames (4-2) in their first Kelley-Rex matchup Friday night in Easton.
The Knights (3-3) will face Malden Catholic on the road on Friday Night. Franklin beat Malden Catholic 62-38 in a recent tournament game.