ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Canton went scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half, allowing Attleboro to grab an eight-point lead in Friday night’s season opener for both teams. But, the Bombardiers struggled to take full advantage of their defensive effort and Canton was able to stay close until its offense finally found a groove.
After going six minutes without a point, the Bulldogs scored 25 over the final 10 minutes, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and they secured a 48-44 road victory.
“When we came out and we weren’t scoring, I don’t think anyone was hanging their heads or sulking about it,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “We were running good offense, we were confident in what we were doing, the ball just happened to not go in.
He added, “All the girls on our team have played together long enough to know if we keep sticking to what we’re doing someone’s going to hit a shot or someone’s going to get a rebound.”
Kiara Cerruti (team-high 16 points) hit a pair of free throws with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter to give Canton its first points of the second half and cut the Attleboro lead to 31-25. Ryan Johnson answered with a layup off a Liv McCall assist, but freshman Samya DaSilva (10 rebounds) drilled a corner three and Fay Gallery (10 points and five assists) hit a layup to make it a three-point game heading to the final quarter.
“[The lead] was two for a long time, it was three for a long time, and we just couldn’t pull away,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “I think if we pull away a little earlier then maybe it changes it, but we held them scoreless for six minutes and we’re not generating anything off our defense.”
Momentum had switched and the Bulldogs kept control at the start of the fourth. Lilah Milton, the only senior on the roster, scored a pair of tough shots from the right baseline and Sydney Gallery swooped in for a lefty finish to put Canton ahead 36-33.
Fay Gallery had struggled with her shot for most of the game but buried a step-back three to make it 41-37. Cerruti hit a lefty layup and hit a pair of free throws to keep the Bulldogs up by five, 45-40.
Attleboro didn’t go quietly. Nyah Thomas (game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds) made a steal in the backcourt and was able to finish in traffic, followed by a Gabby Bosh offensive rebound and short jumper to cut the lead to just one point.
Again it was Gallery that came through in the clutch. The sophomore, who had been more of a facilitator for the first three quarters, banked in a three to effectively seal the win.
“Fay was able to play with four fouls for the end of the game there and it was good that she did because she hit a big shot to help us win it,” said Choquette. After graduating four-year point guard Julia Hamilton, Canton will need people to step into that role and it was Gallery that took the responsibility for game one. “Fay took the bulk of it tonight, but you saw how many times she found Kiara or she found her sister down low, we got the ball to Samaya and she was able to create some things.”
The Bombardiers came out with the game-plan of putting pressure on the ball-handler, using an aggressive trap at the three-point line. It seemed to work, as Canton struggled to get a rhythm offensively for nearly three quarters.
Thomas was giving the hosts a spark on the other end. She scored 14 points in the first half, slashing through the defense and getting out on the break. Twice Thomas was able to finish plus the contact, once after a Lillian Froio block and the other after a block, rebound, and outlet pass by Meghan Gordon (11 rebounds).
“Nyah was phenomenal,” said Crowley. “She’s worked very hard at her game in the off-season and it showed. She’s one of our leaders, she played under control, and it was good to see her play like this.”
He added, “Our kids played awesome tonight start to finish. If they play like this then we’ll win games in this very competitive league. Give Canton credit, they made shots when they needed to.”
The game was tied at 11 after one, but the Bulldogs had only three made field goals and were 5-for-8 from the line. In the second quarter, Cerruti started to find a rhythm, knocking down a pair of threes and getting to the basket off an assist by Gallery. Sydney Gallery added four in the quarter, on a scoop and then a steal and layup.
It was 23-23 at the break and Attleboro grabbed the lead to start the third. Bosh (seven points) grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper, then Froio also crashed the glass to get a bucket. McCall finally got a good look in the corner off a Thomas drive-and-dish and her three extended the lead to 31-23.
It took Canton a while to get going, but things seemed to click into gear at the perfect time. The Bulldogs found the range and went home with the road win.
“In a close game, the ultimate thing is to win it and they were able to pull it out, which was awesome,” Choquette said.
Canton (1-0) will be at home on Tuesday and playing host to defending league champion Foxboro. Attleboro (0-1) will stay at home for the visit of Mansfield.
2018-2019 Record: 8-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
Attleboro was three wins shy of reaching the postseason last year, despite a roster filled with inexperienced players, and the Bombardiers demonstrated the potential in the squad by upsetting Franklin late in the season and handing the Panthers their only league loss. This winter, the Bombardiers will be looking to turn potential into reality and make a jump into the playoff picture.
Six players are returning from last year, including seniors Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall, who give Attleboro a talented backcourt on both ends of the court. Thomas adds length and slashing ability, while McCall is a sharpshooter who will be the team’s primary ball-handler. Sophomore Meg Gordon has taken a big leap from last year and head coach Marty Crowley thinks that she is ready for a breakout season on the wing.
Juniors Gabby Bosh and Emma Reilly will both be back to add some nous to the lineup, while sophomores Hailey and Lindsey Perry add grit and toughness. Junior Ryan Johnson will add size to the frontcourt, while sophomore Lillian Froio and juniors Jackie MacDonald and Laura McVeigh add depth and physicality. Overall, it is a much deeper, more experienced group for Crowley to build lineups with this season.
“For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound,” Crowley said. “Nyah and Liv I am sure are going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone, however, we feel as if we have the players in place who will contribute offensively.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-7 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Jim Choquette
Youth was served for the Bulldogs last season, as a talented trio of freshmen jumped into the starting lineup and helped Canton have one of its most successful seasons in program history, with 14 wins and a return to the state tournament. There were still some learning curves to overcome, but now a more experienced group is play with speed and get out on the break as often as possible to give Foxboro a challenge in the Davenport title race and bring home a postseason win.
Although Canton is still a relatively young team, the talent on the roster is undeniable. Sophomores Kiara Cerruti and Sydney and Fay Gallery all had impressive rookie campaigns, showing off their skills on the wing, from three-point range, and in the paint. They will face even more pressure this season, as teams know what they like to do and will be even more determined to take them out of their games.
Sophomore Carly Fitzgerald will be one of the players stepping into the point guard role vacated by the graduation of Julia Hamilton and will be the facilitator getting Canton into its offense. In the paint, Canton has size and athleticism in senior Lilah Milton and junior Kayla Albert, who are both active rebounders and finishers at the rim and both have shown the ability to knock down the occasional jumper as well. Juniors Angie Elias and Sam Lamarr and sophomore Annie Hoban all have experience from last year to add to Canton’s depth.
Canton coach Jim Choquette said, “Each day we will try to improve as a coaching staff and a program. By the end of the season, our hopes are to be playing at our best.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-3 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Lisa Downs
The two-time defending Davenport division champions return all but one player from last year’s roster, so Foxboro remains the team to beat for the league title and expectations are very high heading into a new season. After a trip to the Div. 2 South semifinals last season, the Warriors will be aiming for even more this winter, trying to regain the top spot not just in the Hock but also in the South sectional.
Junior Katelyn Mollica was the team’s leading scorer last year and is already closing in on 1,000 points for her career. The team’s primary ball-handler and one of the best shooters in the league, Mollica will be one of the top offensive threats in the league. She will have plenty of help. Senior guard Lizzy Davis and senior forwards Yara Fawaz and Abby Hassman will also return to the starting lineup this season and add athleticism, speed, and tenacity on both ends of the floor, taking some pressure off Mollica with their ability to score in the open court.
Senior Shakirah Ketant came on strong at the end of last season and gives Foxboro a different, more physical look in the paint. Junior Jordyn Collins is a tough on-the-ball defender and has speed to burn. Seniors Jamie DeVellis and Julia Kelley both saw time on the floor last year and will add to Foxboro’s depth. Sophomore center Hannah Blake is a new face that could provide more strength in the post.
“The Hockomock League continues to produce teams, which make every night a tough one – there are really no teams that you can take lightly,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “The preparation required to compete in this league really benefits teams that get to the postseason.”
2018-2019 Record: 21-4 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinal. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin is coming off its best season in program history and the Panthers have the talent returning to potentially surpass that success this winter. After winning the program’s first sectional title and coming within minutes of reaching the state title game, Franklin returns three of its starters and a host of bench players ready to step into bigger roles this year.
The key to it all is senior Ali Brigham. The George Washington-commit controlled the paint on both ends of the floor last season and remains the league’s most dominant star, as she continues to expand her game to make it even more difficult for the opposition. Teams can’t focus only on Brigham, as senior forward Meghan O’Connell showed in the playoffs the problems she can present with her ability to score and rebound and sophomore Olivia Quinn is another forward with size that teams will struggle to match up with.
Junior point guard Erin Quaile is a tenacious defender and a solid ball-handler, who is developing her outside shot. Senior Sydney Garilli and juniors Elizabeth Wilson, Teagan Collins, and Carissa Alers all saw time last season and will be in the backcourt rotation. Franklin will also add several newcomers, who could step right in and contribute, including juniors Katelynn Taylor and Kaleigh Houlihan and sophomores Emma Sousa and Stefany Padula. On balance, the Panthers look likely to be the team to beat again in the Kelley-Rex.
“I am excited by what I have seen to date,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “They are a very motivated group who have bought into their team motto ‘We Over Me.’ They are good teammates who seek team success over individual glory.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-8 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip had a breakout season in 2018-19, winning 13 games and reaching the Div. 1 South quarterfinal. Returning seven players from last year’s roster, new head coach Dan Nagle takes over a program in solid shape and is looking to build on last season’s success and try to challenge Franklin at the top of the league standings this winter.
Senior Faye Veilleux spearheaded KP’s breakout season when she emerged as one of the top post scorers in the league. Her versatility and her ability to get out in transition will be crucial to Nagle’s fastbreaking style. Senior Faith Roy will give the Warriors a clutch outside shooter and classmate Taylor Butler adds physicality to the guard or forward position.
Junior Emma Glaser will be expected to take on a bigger role after a strong sophomore season on the wing and junior point guard Brianna James demonstrated the ability to get into the lane at will and finish even against taller opponents. Juniors Caroline Aaron and Courtney Keswick are also back from last year to provide depth on the wings and 6-foot-3 freshman Emily Sawyer will give KP much-needed size in the post, as they try to combat Franklin’s Ali Brigham. The Warriors are going to try and break teams down with aggressive defending and their speed in transition.
Nagle said, “It has been a great start to the year with this group of kids. From top to bottom our roster is full of girls who love the game of basketball and are enjoying the process of improving day to day here in the early going. I think we will be a fun team to watch this season, and I look forward to the challenge of having our kids compete night in and night out in an excellent league like the Hockomock.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Mike Redding
Mansfield has consistently been one of the top programs in the Kelley-Rex division but even the best programs are going to need time to overcome the graduation of 10 seniors. The Hornets will lack experience, but head coach Mike Redding will be looking for improvement over the course of the season and will be hoping to have the team playing its best basketball as the tournament rolls around.
Senior Becca Hottleman was recently cleared after knee surgery and will be back at the point for the Hornets. Hottleman is one of only two players that got starts last year. Junior forward Ashley Santos is the other and she will be one of the players expected to see her numbers take a jump, as she should expect to get a few more looks on the offensive end. Senior Kelly Doherty and junior Kayla Vine will jump into starting roles on the wings, while junior Sara Dooling will be a starter at forward.
While there is a lack of varsity playing time on the roster, there are plenty of upperclassmen that will be expected to contribute. Junior Sarah Sacco will back-up Hottleman at the point, while junior Ally Prentis and senior Grace Benton will add depth at the wing. Senior Grace Maher and juniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking will see time in the frontcourt and freshman wing Abby Wager should get opportunities to build experience this season.
“This group has very limited varsity basketball experience overall because we had that large and talented group of 10 seniors last year, but we’re not young and will rely on senior leadership and a deep junior class and all have varsity experience in other sports,” said Redding. “We have good size and depth in the post and all of them can shoot, handle the ball, and play like guards, which should cause some problems for the defense. It will be a work in progress and we’ll have to battle for wins in a very good league but this will be a good basketball team by February when the tourney rolls around.”
2018-2019 Record: 1-19 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Last year was a tough one for Milford. After graduating the bulk of the roster, an inexperienced group struggled through the season, but never lost the work rate and closed out the winter with its first win. The Hawks are still relatively young, but head coach TJ Dolliver is approaching the new year with optimism because of his team’s continued growth.
Four juniors are entering their third varsity seasons and the Hawks will be counting on them to provide necessary leadership on and off the court. Emma Lawrence, Jillian Michelson, Carly Fereira, and Katie Maietta have all gotten plenty of playing time last year and the hope is that experience will serve them well this winter.
This will be a guard-heavy lineup, especially with no player over 5-foot-8. Junior Elise Fauerbach will add some physical play to the frontcourt and sophomore forward Jill Araujo is a newcomer that can add some depth in the paint.
“There is a lot to pay attention to but what I care about the most is how we do this together,” said Dolliver. “I have a great group of girls and a great coaching staff and I believe this season will be very rewarding.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Nikki Correia
It has been a tough run over the last few seasons for North Attleboro, which won seven games and missed the playoffs for the third straight year, but there are still positives to take away as former assistant Nikki Correia takes over for her first year in charge. North has several experienced players returning to try and push Big Red back up the standings.
The backcourt should be a plus for North with senior point guard Olivia Forbes back to run the show and keep the Rocketeers getting into the transition game that Correia prefers. She will be joined at the guard position by junior Amanda Kaiser, who emerged as not only a threat from deep but also as a tough defender who gets her hands into the passing lane. Juniors Siobhan Weir and Lydia Santos will add to the depth at guard to help with the full-court pressure that North will turn to this year.
North hasn’t had much height in the past few seasons, but there are several forwards who can compete on the glass. Senior forward Eliza Dion is an aggressive defender and can take her defender off the dribble. Senior Regan Fein will add extra depth in the paint. Freshman guard Ava McKeown and sophomore guard Summer Doherty are two newcomers that could make an instant impact.
“I am looking forward to being apart of watching this team and this program grow this year,” Correia said. “There are six returning seniors, so that veteran play will be very helpful, as well as returning a great shooter and adding an athletic sophomore and freshman to the mix.”
2018-2019 Record: 13-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames had a lot of new faces last year, but the success was very familiar. The Tigers finished with 13 wins and reached the Div. 1 South quarterfinal, giving Wellesley all it could handle on the road. A year of experience and the return of a strong core of players means expectations are even higher for OA this winter.
Sophomore Caroline Peper will be the player that is going to draw the most attention at the start of the new season. As a freshman, Peper was one of the league’s top scorers and its top shooters. Junior Caroline Flynn was also an all-star last year. She runs the point, is one of the top passers on the team, and also one of its top rebounders. Her overall game helps the Tigers control games. Also in the backcourt will be seniors Meg Holleran and Erin Holmberg, who is coming back after surgery cost her almost all of last season.
Senior Tate Hadges will be on the front line, giving OA another strong defender and rebounder. Sophomore Hailey Bourne, while undersized, gives the Tigers a lot of effort in the post even when matched up against some of the best frontcourt players in the league. Junior Jess Erlich and Tori Harney and sophomore Anna Murphy will add to the team’s depth on the wing.
“As always, the Hock will present with a very high level of competition,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We are looking forward to being capable of putting together a variety of strong personnel combinations which will provide us with depth as we face those challenges.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sandra Lombardi
Sharon narrowly missed out on its first playoff appearance under head coach Sandy Lombardi, finishing just one win away from a tournament berth. With three returning starters and several younger players who got significant playing time last year, the Eagles will be eyeing that elusive postseason berth.
Three seniors will be counted on to lead the team at both ends of the floor. Point guard Ally Brown will be expected to get the Eagles into their offensive sets and is a strong defender on the other end, keeping pressure on the perimeter. Shooting guard Kaitlyn Wallace is the team’s top outside threat, stretching the defense with her range and also being a strong passer off the dribble. Forward Telishya Herbert led the team in scoring last year and is a matchup nightmare in the paint with her aggressive play going to the basket.
The starting lineup will be rounded out by junior Leah Fandel and sophomore Trinity Payne, two athletic forwards that will give Sharon decent size on the front line. Senior Nicole Teven, juniors Julia Early and Gaby Cabral and freshman Tess Letendre will all see plenty of playing time this season and will look to contribute to the team’s success.
“Ally, Kaitlyn, and Telishya have the most varsity experience and I expect great things from them this year,” Lombardi said. “We have a young team and I am hoping some of the younger players are able to step up this year as well.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
A new era will begin this winter, as Stoughton moves into its brand new gym with a lot of new faces on the roster, hoping to get the Black Knights back into the playoff race this season after missing out on the tournament last year.
The key for the Black Knights will be its senior leadership. Although Sydnee Hyacinthe has moved on to Milton Academy, they still return a strong core led by senior Aliyah Wright. The point guard can be a dominant presence on both ends of the floor, sparking Stoughton on defense and breaking down the opposition off the dribble. Senior Shyanne Trinh is healthy to start the season and will be the team’s top outside threat, with the ability to knock down shots off the dribble. Senior forward Lexi Baptista is an athletic post threat who can also step back and knock down the mid-range jumper.
Senior Hannah Pagano and juniors Brooke Bulger, Mackenzie Manning, and Catherine Downey will add to the team’s depth, especially in the backcourt. Sophomore Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and freshman Kyla Sheedy-Goff will be two of the newcomers to the roster that could make a name for themselves this season.
“Despite being somewhat young this season this group of ladies worked really hard in the off-season,” said Stoughton coach Charmain Steele Jordan. “The sky is the limit this season and our Black Knights are going compete hard until the final whistle blows.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-15 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
After a number of seasons under coach Walter Harrigan, Taunton has turned to former King Philip coach Amy Siggens this year and she has brought plenty of energy into her first preseason with the Tigers, trying to push the program back into the playoff hunt.
As Siggens and the players become more comfortable with each other, the Tigers will count on their returning starters to get things off to a good start. Juniors Sonya and Jaelyn Fernandez and Kelsey White will be the players to watch this season after strong sophomore campaigns. All three have good size, with both Sonya and Jaelyn providing strong presences on the boards and out on the break and White causing match-up issues on the perimeter. All three will need to step up on the defensive end and keep the Tigers running.
Taunton also has depth, although it will be relatively inexperienced. Seniors Liz Crisman and Jaylah Chaves and junior Tori DaRosa will add more depth in the backcourt. Sophomores Braeley McDonald and Abby Souza (who has helped out on varsity since she was an eighth-grader) and freshman Kameron St. Pierre will also chip in this season.
“Any coaching change brings lots of challenges and, this season, we will be faced with our share,” said Siggens. “I am very encouraged from what I’ve seen thus far. Our bench is young and talented but how quickly a good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start.”
Milford, 3 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Milford scored two runs in the top of the fifth to take its second lead of the game but Foxboro answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to go back in front, and the Warriors hung on for the win. Sean Yoest went 3-for-3 with two runs scored while Anthony Mollica, Tom Marcucella and Adam Lanctot each drove in a run. Michael Devlin allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits, two walks, and three hit batters, striking out two. Cam Prescott was strong in relief, allowing two hits and one walk in 2.1 innings.
Taunton, 2 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 1 – Final (8 inn.) – Taunton junior Logan Lawrence shined on the mound and the Tigers’ offense delivered in the first extra inning to beat Coyle and claim the City Championship. Lawrence pitched a complete game, allowing one unearned run on six hits while striking out six. Jared Roderick drove in Lucas Martins for the game-winning run in the eighth inning.
Milford, 4 @ Foxboro, 16 – Final – Emma Rohan returned from injury and threw a complete game, striking out five, to pick up the victory. Morgan Sylvestre powered the Foxboro offense, going 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBI, and Chelsea Gibbons chipped in with a pair of hits in the win.
Attleboro, 10 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Attleboro scored five runs in the third inning and tacked on three more in the fifth, turning a one-run game into a big win on the road. Sophomore Natalie Mansur was 3-for-4 and had a solo home run for the Bombardiers while Gabby Bosh and Autumn O’Connell each had two hits. Jenna Gittle earned the win, striking out nine in a complete game effort. Taylor Lake (double, run), Grace Simeone (two RBI), and Katie Mills each had two hits for the Tigers.
Milford, 8 @ Stoughton, 4 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Stoughton built a two-goal lead after a period of play but Milford held the Knights to just two goals the rest of the way and pitched a fourth quarter shutout to secure a win on the road. Juniors Foster McLeod and Charlie Morgan (two goals) scored in the first quarter for Stoughton but Milford scored three goals in the first two minutes of the third (Danny Farrell, Josh Ligor, Ryan Hazard) and had a 3-2 lead at half. Milford’s Brendan White and Stoughton’s Mike McLaughlin traded goals before Hazard grabbed his second with a rocket of a shot and senior Mike Demko scored to make it 6-3. Morgan got his second of the game late in the third to keep Stoughton within two. But Milford didn’t allow Stoughton much offensively in the final quarter, and both White and Ligor scored again to ice the game.
Sharon, 9 vs. Hopkinton, 15 – Final – Rose Wald made 12 saves to keep Sharon in the game and Emma Eberhardt scored six times and assisted on two others but it wasn’t enough for the Eagles to pick up the road win. Mia Lappen added a pair of goals and Jenna Goldstein scored once for Sharon.
Taunton, 4 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Taunton swept singles action and grabbed another win in doubles to beat Milford and move within one victory of qualifying for the state tournament. Brett Beaulieu didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles, Charlie Fiske won 6-3, 7-5 at second singles, and Dylan Kullas earned a 6-3, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Trevor Hart and Ryan Hebert rallied for a 1-6. 7-6, 6-3 win at first doubles.
Attleboro, 4 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – With two wins in singles play and two more from doubles action, Attleboro earned a 4-1 decision on the road. Ella Lynch-Bartek won 6-2, 6-4 at first singles, Brianna Aronne earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory at second singles, the team of Lauren Anthony and Nicole Matheson picked up a 6-1, 6-3 win at first doubles, and Jordan Benardo and Rena Danho teamed together for a 6-3, 6-4 win at second doubles. Franklin’s Ashvika Boopathy won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 at third singles.
Milford, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Foxboro won four matches in straight sets to give the Warriors a victory over the visiting Hawks. Pam Nelson didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles, Julia Muise earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles, the team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at first doubles, and Kethry Milne teamed up with Lindsey Young for a 7-5, 6-1 win at second doubles. Milford’s Olivia Marshall won 7-5, 6-1 at third singles.
Taunton, 1 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip defended home court, sweeping singles play and getting another win at second doubles to knock off Taunton. Erin Regnier won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles, Katarina Schneider picked up a 6-1, 6-1 decision at second singles, and Mia Valencia prevailed 6-3, 6-1 at third singles. KP’s second doubles team of Laura Davenport and Isabelle MacMeans won 6-3, 6-4. Taunton’s Sam Martin and Brianna Fevrier won 6-4, 6-4 at first doubles.
Oliver Ames, 4 vs. Brockton, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames’ second doubles team of Sarah Morley and Kate McCormick rallied from a first set loss and Maura Kiernan battled to win a first set tiebreaker on her way to a straight set victory as the Tigers beat neighboring Brockton. Kiernan won 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 at second singles while Sarah Barron took home a 6-0, 6-4 decision at third singles. After losing the first set 4-6, Morley and McCormick got the point by winning the next two 6-2, 6-1. OA’s first doubles team of Eva Belanger and Morgan Vasiliou won 6-1, 7-5.
Foxboro, 2 @ Norton, 3 – Final (9 inn.) – Foxboro built a 2-0 lead but Norton chipped away with single runs in the fifth, sixth, and ninth, the last to earn a walk off win over the Warriors. Brian Duncan (RBI), Joe Cavaleri (run), and Sean Yoest (RBI) each had two hits for Foxboro while Michael Devlin was strong on the mound, scattering seven hits and one walk over six innings, striking out four with two runs (one earned) allowed.
Attleboro, 17 @ Milford, 0 – Final (5 inn.) – Attleboro junior Emily Gittle pitched a perfect game, retiring all 15 batters she faced to lead the Bombardiers to a win. Gittle struck out the first 12 batters she faced, finishing with 15 total. Loya Woyton had four hits for Attleboro, Makenzie Killough and Gabby Bosh each socked three hits and McKenzie Bergdoll chipped in with two hits for the Bombardiers.
King Philip, 17 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – King Philip senior Heather Nix allowed just three hits in a strong performance in the circle, helping the Warriors shut out the Tigers. The Warriors belted out 16 hits as a team with Madison Kelley and Anna Bradley leading the way with three hits apiece. Kara McWhinnie, Meghan Gorman and Liliana Rolfe added two hits apiece for KP.
Mansfield, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Mansfield won all five matches in straight sets to secure a win on the road. Luke Nickerson won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles, Luke Devine earned a 6-4, 6-3 decision at second singles, and Nilay Pangrekar prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 at third singles. The team of seniors Max Bank and Sethu Odayappan picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win at first doubles while the team of senior Sam Donellan and sophomore Dheeraj Valluru walked away with a 6-4, 6-2 decision at second doubles.
King Philip 4, @ Oliver Ames 1 – Final – King Philip won two matches in singles and two matches in doubles to get a victory on the road at OA. Jack Cannon won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles and Nate Ihley picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at second singles. The team of Brady Jannell and Harrison Cooper didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles. Oliver Ames’ Yusaf Hameed won his fourth straight match, taking a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles.
Sharon, 0 @ Wellesley, 5 – Final
Foxboro, 5 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 0 – Final – Foxboro notched its 12th win of the season, winning all five matches in straight sets. Pam Nelson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Sarah Prag earned a 6-1, 7-5 decision at second singles, and Julia Muise picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles. Foxboro’s first doubles team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta won 6-1, 6-4 while Maggie McAuliffe and Kethry Milne teamed up for a 6-4, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip won a close match, with most of the matches going down to the wire before the Warriors came away with wins in all five. Erin Regnier won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Katarina Schneider emerged with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win at second singles, and Mia Valencia grabbed a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles. The team of Grace Ely and Katie Welch secured a 6-4, 6-4 win at first doubles while Isabelle MacMeans and Meghan Powers teamed up for a 7-5, 7-5 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 4 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Taunton picked up wins in all three singles match and added one more in doubles play to knock off Mansfield. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-3, 6-2 at first singles, McKenzie Lucie picked up a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca battled to a 0-6, 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. Taunton’s Brianna Fevrier and Kayla Parrett won 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) at first doubles. Mansfield’s Alex Burnham and Lauren Hobaica won 6-2, 6-4 at second doubles.
Boys Outdoor Track
Taunton @ Attleboro, 3:45
Canton, 36 @ North Attleboro, 100 – Final – Canton’s Tommy Pulcini set a new PR in the discus, earning first with a throw of 131’4″ while also taking second in the shot put. Zach Goldstein was first in the 400M (52.6, PR) and Justin Rose crossed first in the the 400M hurdles (64.8).
Foxboro, 56 @ Sharon, 79 – Final
Oliver Ames, 69 @ Franklin, 67 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Aaron MacDonald notches four first-place finishes and Anthony DeCosta and Harrison Webster each won a pair of events to help the Tigers edge Franklin. MacDonald won the 400m (50.9), the 200M (22.7), the triple jump (39’6”), and the long jump (20’5.75”). Webster crossed first in the 100M (11.3) and won the high jump (5’2) while DeCosta had the longest throws in the discus (111’11.5″) and the shot put (42’10”). Sean Flaherty added a win in the 400M hurdles (59.4) for OA.
Mansfield, 99 @ King Philip, 37 – Final – Mansfield’s Anthony Comer broke the hand time for both the 100M and 200M and Andrew Williams took first in three events as the Hornets beat King Philip. Comer clocked in at 10.7 in the 100M and 22.0 in the 200M, good for first in both. Williams won the 110M hurdles (16.1), the long jump (21’0″) and the high jump (6’4″). Dan Rapoza (first, 153’8), Jack Taylor (131’1″), and Josh Cook (123’5″) swept the javelin, all setting personal bests. Jason Windvogel ran a season best of 4:37 to take the 1 Mile and Patrick Heavey ran a season best of 2:05 to win the 800M for the Hornets. Other winners for Mansfield included Raffi Marzella (400IH, 60.8) Colbey Eason (50’0), the 4×100 relay team (Ethan Thevenot, Joe Cappelletti, Vinnie Holmes, Jack Barry; 45.1), the 4×400 relay team (Raffi Marzella, Stephen Saba, Jack Rivard, Jason Windvogel; 3:37.).
Stoughton @ Milford, 3:45
Girls Outdoor Track
Taunton, 75 @ Attleboro, 61 – Final
Canton, 42 @ North Attleboro, 94 – Final – Longtime Canton distance runner Chloe Pennacchio earned a first place in the 1 Mile and set a new career-best time of 5:45.2 while Marie Messinger earned a three-second PR in the 2 Mile, clocking in at 13:33.3 for first place. Sophomore Maddie Rousseau was first in both the 100M (12.9) and the 100M hurdles (16.2) and took second in the long jump (15’8). Leah Murphy set a new PR in the high jump (4’8) for third and was third in the 200M at 28.6. Bronwyn Mahoney earned second in both the discus (98’4) and the shot put (32’10”) for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 64 @ Sharon, 71 – Final
Oliver Ames, 67 @ Franklin, 69 – Final
Mansfield, 90 @ King Philip, 46 – Final – Mansfield’s Julia Hill took first place in three events, including a 3-inch PR in the long jump. Hill landed at 16’11 in the long jump to take first and also won the triple jump (34’6″) and the 400M hurdles (69.7). Amanda Mangano had ran a PR in the 200M (24.9) and also won the 100M (12.2) and the high jump (5’0″). Freshman Caitlin Dumochel set a new PR in the javelin by over two feet to get the win (80’7″), freshman Kate Miller set a new PR in the 800M by over two seconds (2:26.4), and sophomore Grace Fernandez recorded a new personal best in the 1 Mile by over four seconds (5:29.9).
Attleboro, 63 @ Taunton, 60 – Final – Tied at 53 apiece late in the game, Attleboro closed . the game with a 10-7 run to edge the Tigers. The Bombardiers jumped ahead 60-53 with a 7-0 run, bookended with free throws from Bryant Ciccio (18 points) along with a layup from Mason Houle. Taunton responded with a three from John Martins and a steal and layup from Mike Quinn (12 points) to get within two. With 10.8 seconds left, Taunton had the ball down 62-60 but Tim Callahan helped force a turnover, Ciccio hit one of two free throws and Qualeem Charles (21 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed the offensive board and Attleboro kept possession as time expired. Dante Law led Taunton with 20 points while Wesner Charles added 10 points.
Sharon, 49 @ Foxboro, 69 – Final – Foxboro built a nine-point advantage over three quarter and then turned it on during the fourth, pouring in 30 points in the final quarter to pull away from the visiting Eagles. The Warriors led by two (10-8) after one, and six (25-19) by halftime. Foxboro increased its lead to nine (39-30) entering the fourth. Junior Will Morrison scored 10 of his 12 points in the final quarter, one of four Warriors to score double-digits. Anthony Mollica had a team-high 17 points, sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 15 points and senior Ryan Hughes finished with 11 points, all in the first three quarters. Sharon’s Kiran Chandrasekaran led the Eagles with 10 points and Caleb Gayle added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Franklin, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 40 – Final – Franklin limited Oliver Ames to just 16 points in the second half, turning a six-point halftime advantage in a double-digit win. The Panthers led 16-12 after one and 30-24 at half but didn’t allow the Tigers to score double digits in either the third (14-9) or the fourth (17-7). Senior Jalen Samuels led the Panthers with 15 points, including eight in the fourth quarter while classmate Jake Macchi added a career-high 14 points (five in the fourth), connecting on four three pointers. Senior Ethan Eckstrom and sophomore Amari Brown each had eight points for the Tigers.
King Philip, 69 @ Mansfield, 65 – Final – King Philip hit five three-pointers and exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter to earn a score a big come-from-behind upset on the road at Mansfield. It marks the Warriors’ first win against the Hornets since February 2012, snapping a 12-game skid. KP trailed by nine with just over five minutes to go before outscoring the Hornets 25-12 over that period. Junior Alex Fritz scored 10 of his career-high 20 points in the final quarter while Tim Nault poured in three triples in the final frame to finish with 17 points. Bruce Saintilus added 16 points and Sam Sesay added for KP. Mansfield senior Damani Scott had a team-high 15 points and sophomore TJ Guy added 13 points for the Hornets.
Milford, 74 @ Stoughton, 54 – Final – Milford senior Brendan White poured in a career-high 40 points and hauled in 18 rebounds to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a big win on the road. White scored 13 points in the opening quarter, helping the Hawks jump out ahead 18-9, and then added 10 in the second as Milford built a 37-21 lead by halftime. White had 15 made field goals, including three three-pointers, and connected on four free throws. Brendon Sailer added 11 points and Jordan Darling finished with 10 points for Milford. Sophomore Brett Pendenza had a team-high 10 points for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 46 @ Attleboro, 60 – Final – Attleboro used a balanced offensive attack to pull out the division win at home. Liv McCall paced the Bombardiers with 12, but she got a lot of help from Kenzie Roberts and Emma Reilly, who each scored 11. Ryan Johnson and Gabby Bosh also played well off the Attleboro bench, according to coach Marty Crowley. Sonya Fernandez led the Tigers with 14 and Tori DeRosa chipped in with 10.
Canton, 59 @ North Attleboro, 69 – Final – North Attleboro continued its surge up the standings with a strong performance against Canton. Amanda Kaiser scored 22 points and Julia Feid added 19 for the Rocketeers, who scored a season-high 69 points as a team. Olivia Forbes added eight in the win. Sydney Gallery scored 15 points and her sister Fay added 14 for the Bulldogs. North has won five of its last six games, with the only loss being at Franklin.
Foxboro, 54 @ Sharon, 44 – Final – The defending Div. 2 state champs have booked a place in the state tournament with their 10th straight win to start the season, but it was not easy. Foxboro needed a 14-4 run in the final four-plus minutes to keep the win streak alive. Lizzy Davis was the top scorer for Foxboro with 16, while Katelyn Mollica added 15 and Chelsea Gibbons had 14 in the win. Telishya Herbert matched Davis, scoring 16 points to lead the Eagles. Emma Eberhardt had 11 points and Kaitlyn Wallace had eight to help Sharon put a scare into the Davenport leaders.
Oliver Ames, 36 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – OA led by three after one quarter, but Franklin rallied to grab the lead by halftime. In the third quarter, the Panthers broke the game wide open, going on a 24-6 run that put them in front for good. Megan O’Connell had a big game for the hosts, scoring 18 points, to help Franklin stay unbeaten in the league and remain two games ahead of Mansfield in the title race. Bea Bondhus had 15 points, on five three-pointers, and Ali Brigham had 13 in the win. Hailey Bourne was the top scorer for OA with nine points.
Stoughton, 67 @ Milford, 32 – Final – Hailey Egan helped Stoughton get back on track, scoring 13 points to lead the Black Knights. Lindsay McDonald had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Sydnee Hyacinthe had 10 points, four assists, and five steals.
Silver Lake Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames went 3-0 on the day, picking up wins over South Shore Tech (62-12), Quincy (63-12), and host Silver Lake (57-12).
North Attleboro @ Canton, 6:30
Foxboro @ Sharon, 4:00
Franklin, 86 @ Westwood, 57 – Final
Mansfield, 46 @ Taunton, 45 – Final
North Attleboro @ Canton, 6:30
Foxboro @ Sharon, 4:00
Franklin, 89.5 @ Westwood, 80.5 – Final
Mansfield, 44 @ Taunton, 60 – Final
Attleboro @ King Philip, 8:00
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:30
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro came into Friday night’s non-league visit of Durfee without two starters and three rotation players, but the Bombardiers didn’t miss a beat. Nine players got on the score sheet, Attleboro’s pressure defense was intense, and the Bombardiers rolled to a 55-34 victory.
“It’s good that the young kids are getting minutes,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “It will pay dividends. If not now, then somewhere down the line, but it was a great team victory tonight, the kids played together, unselfish, and when we play like that anything is possible.”
Liv McCall led the way for Attleboro with a game-high 14 points and also added five assists. In addition, the Bombardiers got contributions from up and down the bench and got critical minutes from a strong group of underclassmen.
“We try to preach for us to be successful find the open man,” Crowley said of the Attleboro offense. “Durfee is a tough team but tonight we were a step quicker and I thought we moved the ball very, very well.”
Durfee only dressed eight players on Friday and Attleboro took advantage of its shorthanded opponent with an aggressive trapping press. Without top on-the-ball defenders Jordyn Lako and Nyah Thomas, who were both injured, the Bombardiers used this team defense to cause the Hilltoppers problems.
Attleboro jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Abby Struminski, one of four players to finish with six points, buried a three off an offensive rebound and assist by Mackenzie Roberts and freshman Meghan Gordon got an easy bucket off a steal.
After Durfee cut the lead to 12-6, sophomore Gabby Bosh> (five points) banked in a three off a Gordon assist and then Gordon got out on the break for a layup and a 17-6 edge after the opening quarter.
Things got tighter in the second because the Bombardiers went cold from the floor. Freshman Mackenzie Carreiro scored six of her seven points in the quarter and pulled Durfee back as close as four points, but Attleboro regained control with an 11-0 run to close the half.
“For us it’s always about defense and I thought our defense played very well tonight,” Crowley explained. “Our turnovers were limited tonight, we had more pluses than minuses, and our guards did a great job.”
McCall set up sophomore Ryan Johnson (six points) for a fast break basket and then Gordon drained a three to push the lead back to double digits. McCall added a steal and layup and Sonny Stuger managed to get to the basket with a drive from the elbow. The Bombardiers led 32-17 at the break.
Durfee kept fighting in the third, but never got any closer than 16 points. McCall swished a three, freshman Hailey Perry (six points) got a bucket off a McCall assist and sophomore Emma Reilly (six points) scored four points in the third to keep the Hilltoppers at an arms length.
The game was put away with an 11-4 fourth quarter. McCall continued to turn defense into offense with a pair of steals and fast break baskets. Reilly added another two points with an offensive rebound, Johnson knocked down a jumper, and Perry got her second made field goal of the night.
It was the perfect reaction for a team missing several key pieces and a great way to head into the holiday break.
“It’s next man up,” Crowley said. “When people are out, then it’s about the system and the young kids are buying in. It’s exciting.”
Attleboro (2-3) will get six days off for Christmas break before traveling to North Attleboro for the teams’ league matchup.
2017-2018 Record: 9-13 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
The Bombardiers were just two wins shy of a playoff spot last season under new head coach Marty Crowley and Attleboro brings back three starters and has added several new faces to the roster to try and make a postseason push this winter.
The graduation of leading scorer Sam Pierce (16 points per game) means that a number of players are going to need to step in and make up for production on offense and on the glass. Senior point guard Jordyn Lako will be back to run the Bombardiers offense and provide three-point shooting, while junior Nyah Thomas is a versatile weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Both are also aggressive defenders, who set the tone on that end of the floor. Senior forward Mackenzie Roberts can score in the post or from beyond the arc and junior Liv McCall is a dynamic guard who is capable of big scoring nights.
Defense has always been the focus of teams that Crowley coaches and the Bombardiers will be no different. To keep up that defensive intensity, the Bombardiers have added depth to the rotation. Seniors Abby Struminski and Dom Garnes (who was out last season with an injury) provide leadership, while sophomores Gabby Bosh and Sonny Stuger and freshmen Meghan Gordon and Lillian Froio are newcomers to keep an eye on.
“Hopefully we can generate scoring opportunities off our defense and use our athleticism to create baskets,” said Crowley. “We have a great mix of experience and youth. We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been spirited and the kids have been working hard.”
2017-2018 Record: 10-11 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round. Coach: Jim Choquette
Last winter, Canton got a taste of the postseason for the first time in seven seasons and now the program will try to build on that momentum while finding a way to replace the scoring and rebounding of Hannah Jerrier, who averaged a double-double for the Bulldogs last winter. An exciting crop of underclassmen has been added to the roster and now Canton will try to build experience with a schedule that puts them on the road for the majority of the first half of the year.
While Jerrier will obviously be missed, the Bulldogs bring back the other four starters and other players with plenty of experience to try and make it a much shorter wait to get back into the playoffs. Senior point guard Julia Hamilton is back to run the offense, senior Erin Devine gives Canton control on the glass and a rim protector on defense, senior Molly Ludwig gives balance to the offense, and senior Maggie Connolly is one of the league’s top defensive players on the perimeter. Senior Nicole Galvin will add depth to the backcourt.
Junior Lilah Milton came on strong at the tail of end of last season, including a huge game in the playoff-clinching win over Weymouth, and could take up some of Jerrier’s scoring from the power forward position. Sophomore Kayla Albert gained valuable experience last season as a freshman and current rookies Sydney and Fay Gallery, and Kiara Cerruti have the potential to step right into the rotation and contribute.
“Details are everything to us,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “If our group of young talent and veteran leadership/experience can continue to stay focused on the details during the good times and tough times of a season then we should continue to improve and have a very excited and successful season.”
2017-2018 Record: 26-2 2017-2018 Finish: Won Div. 2 state championship. Coach: Lisa Downs
Last season was one to remember for the Warriors, who rolled through the regular season in dominating fashion and lived up to the team’s immense potential by bringing home the Div. 2 state title. With the graduation of a very strong senior class, the expectations are much lower for the Warriors this season but there are several returning players and new faces that have Foxboro coach Lisa Downs confident that the program can continue its recent run of success in the Davenport division.
Losing players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally is a challenge for any team, but the Warriors will bring back a pair of starters from the playoff run in sophomore Katelyn Mollica and junior Abby Hassman. Mollica is the team’s top returning scorer and will be one of the top point guards in the Hock with her ability to shoot and score off the dribble. Hassman gives Foxboro a strong presence on the glass and showed increased confidence in her offensive game at the end of last season. Senior Chelsea Gibbons and junior Lizzy Davis should see increased minutes and bigger roles in the offense this year.
Juniors Shakirah Ketant and Yara Fawaz should give Foxboro more depth in the post and contribute on the glass and both saw limited minutes in the playoffs last winter. Sophomores Adrienne Dunn and Jordyn Collins will be newcomers to the backcourt and have impressed during the preseason, while junior forward Anita Busznyak is expected to see a lot more time this year and could be a player to watch.
Downs is hoping this year’s team will learn from the graduating class. She said, “The time they spent practicing with and playing against these girls has really paid off – they know what is expected of them on the court and what is required to be a winning team. We have established a winning culture at Foxboro and the players know that I expect nothing more than what they should expect from themselves.”
2017-2018 Record: 15-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central first round. Coach: John Leighton
The Panthers bring back 10 players from last year’s roster, which reached the state tournament but lost in the opening round to Natick, and there are high expectations on Oak St. as the new season gets underway. Franklin enters the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and its balanced lineup has the potential to make a run in the state tournament as well.
Much of the enthusiasm for Franklin’s chances this winter come from 6-foot-3 center Ali Brigham. The junior recently committed to George Washington (where her father once played) and is the lone returning player from last season HockomockSports.com First Team. While she (deservedly) garners much of the attention, the Panthers have a number of other weapons to give the opposition headaches. Senior guard Bea Bondhus, who committed to Springfield College, is one of the top three-point shooters in the Hock and sophomore guard Elizabeth Wilson is back from an injury that cut short the promising start to her varsity career.
The Panthers will also bring back versatile junior forwards Megan O’Connell and Breanna Atwood, who add size in the paint but can also take defenders off the dribble or knock down outside shots. Seniors Hailey Sanders and Calen Frongillo add depth to the frontcourt, while senior Shannon Gray and juniors Kelsey MacCallum and Sydney Garilli are capable of stepping in at either guard position.
“It is our goal to compete each night and to improve from last year,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “With 10 returning players, we feel our experience will help us to better prepare for the season and compete against the best in our league.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
King Philip had to battle injuries throughout head coach Amy Siggens’ first year in charge, including a late season injury to leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, but the Warriors are healthy coming into this season and with a year to get use to a new system, confidence is high that KP can make a push up the standings and fight for a postseason berth this winter.
O’Connor is the key piece returning for the Warriors. A four-year varsity player who has been recruited by Div. I college programs, O’Connor gives KP a consistent scorer and someone who will draw opposing defenses. Senior Julia Leroux will be back at the point and running the KP offense, while junior Faith Roy is the team’s best outside threat and has developed as a ball-handler who can score in a variety of ways. Sophomore Emma Glaser, who battled injuries throughout her freshman season, will add versatility to the lineup and can play multiple positions and her classmate Courtney Keswick is a newcomer to watch in the backcourt.
The Warriors will also have strength in the post with senior Catherine Cummings providing a solid presence on the glass and junior Faye Veilleux giving KP length and athleticism at the forward position. Newcomers like junior Taylor Butler and returning senior Kendall Mason will give added depth and strong play on the defensive end of the floor.
There is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding our team this year with our sights on continued growth and improvement upon our overall record from a year ago,” Siggens said. “Our practices have been very competitive and I’m encouraged by our team’s attitude and overall interest in getting better. I like this team a lot and I look forward to the challenge of helping each girl reach her maximum potential.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-6 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
After three straight league titles and four trips to the Div. 1 South semifinal in the past four seasons (including back-to-back finals), Mansfield has been one of the most consistent teams in the Hockomock League, but the Hornets enter this season trying to replace Meg Hill, who scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more than 1,000 points in her stellar career. With 10 seniors and loads of athleticism, this might be a very different looking Mansfield attack, but one that has the potential to keep the Hornets right back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and capable of making another deep tournament run.
The Hornets have been known for slowing the ball down and running intricate sets, but this team is suited for getting up and down the court as quickly as possible, highlighted by senior guard Mady Bendanillo, one of the quickest players in the Hock. Senior forward Maggie Danehy has emerged as a strong interior scorer and someone who can control the glass, but she is also someone who can run like a guard and get out on the break for easy baskets. Seniors Sydney Mulkern and Erin Daniel add wing scoring and are both solid shooters who can spread the floor and open lanes to the basket.
Athletic senior forwards Emily Vigeant and Steph Kemp can outrun many of the guards in the league and senior point guard Kara Bendanillo is another speedster who can push the ball off makes or misses. Sophomore Ashley Santos saw time last year as a rookie and adds to the frontcourt depth and versatility, while junior Becca Hottleman will be back to give Mansfield another option at guard.
It is a different feel to the lineup but one that Mansfield coach Mike Redding feels can be effective. He said, “We need to rebound as a team and must change our style to up-tempo with defensive pressure/fast breaks and play to our strengths (athleticism and depth).”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central quarterfinal. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford coach T.J. Dolliver brings back six players from the team that not only reached the state tournament last season but also went on the road and beat Burncoat handily, the program’s first playoff win since 2001. The problem for the Hawks is that almost the entire rotation from last year’s team has graduated, including 1,000-point scorer Kate Irwin.
While this may be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, Dolliver sees it as an opportunity for players to step into new roles and establish themselves as starters and as regular contributors. The lone senior back from last year is forward Grace Risio, who Dolliver said made a difference when she was given the opportunity last year, and sophomore guard Jillian Michelson saw some time in the backcourt as a rookie.
The Hawks will have eight sophomores on the roster this season, so it is clear that Milford is going to try and build with youth, similar to several teams from last year. Among the players from last year’s roster, forwards Katie Maietta, guard Emma Lawrence, and forward Carly Ferreira all got time as freshmen and could see those minutes increase significantly this winter.
Dolliver said, “With our entire rotation graduating last year, there are a lot of opportunities waiting for everyone in the program. It will be exciting to watch who emerges within the group and elevates their game to compete at the varsity level.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Derek Herber
Last year was a tough transition season for the Rocketeers, as North Attleboro moved on from a number of players who were starters for several years and incorporated a number of new, young faces into the lineup. North had a better second half to the season and will try to build on that this winter with a more experienced group of players.
Senior Julia Feid is back on the wing and is North’s top returning scorer, coming off a season in which she averaged more than nine points per game. Fellow seniors Liz Smahi and Emma Noreck will add leadership in the backcourt and try to set the direction for the team this year. Junior point guard Olivia Forbes, who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last season, will be back to get the offense going and provide strong defense on the perimeter. Junior Eliza Dion also returns to add rebounding and interior scoring for a team that can’t count on a lot of height in the paint.
The North offense improved over the course of last season with the addition of sophomore Amanda Kaiser (8.6 points per game) and junior Julia Kleczkowski (40 percent from three-point range), who can both fill it up from the outside and who are both willing to take any shot that presents itself. Several newcomers will fill out the roster with the potential of adding important minutes over the course of the season, including sophomore Lydia Santos and Siobhan Weir.
“We will rely on Julia Feid to be our first option on offense and the sooner we can develop a consistent second option will be a factor in the early part of the season,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “The inside scoring option will hopefully be Eliza Dion, while both Amanda Kaiser and Julia Kleczkowski showed an ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting in limited time last year.”
2017-2018 Record: 16-6 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames will be making a transition this year following the graduation of Kayla Raymond, who was a two-time HockomockSports.com First Team performer and last year’s league MVP (and is already a three-time Rookie of the Week at Stonehill College), but the Tigers have a number of returning players to try and make up for Raymond’s production on both ends of the floor and make another run at a league title.
Senior Alex Sheldon grew in confidence over the course of last season and became a double-double machine by the end of the year, dominating on the glass and improving her finishing around the rim. Junior Erin Holberg emerged last year as a strong scorer on the perimeter with her touch from the outside and ability to take defenders off the dribble. Junior Meg Holleran is in her third season on varsity and is a tough, physical defender who can knock down shots from the outside.
Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a strong freshman season, playing several positions (from point guard to small forward), crashing the boards, and showing off decent range. The return of senior Sadie Homer will add energy on both ends of the floor and give the Tigers another strong outside shooter to stretch the floor, while senior Ally Scolnick came off the bench last season to add another shooter to the OA offense.
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said of the experienced returning players, “They will lead the youngest team OA has put on the court in quite a long time. We are looking towards gaining valuable game experience and coming into to our own as the season progresses.”
2017-2018 Record: 2-18 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sanda Lombardi
It was a tough winter for new Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi, as the Eagles struggled to a two-win season, but five of their losses were by 10 points or fewer and they return all but one player from last season’s team. With a year to get acclimated to Lombardi’s system, an experienced roster of returning players, and several newcomers, Sharon has its sights set on getting into the postseason for the first time since its run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.
Sharon returns its leading scorer and playmaker in senior Emma Eberhardt, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team last season, and she will once again be the focal point of the offense, as well as one of the team’s leading defenders. Eberhardt’s versatility as a wing player should open things up for junior guards Kaitlyn Wallace and Ally Brown, who will both fill in as ball-handlers after the graduation of Miranda Cheung. Wallace will extend defenses with her shooting from the outside and Brown adds energy to the backcourt defense.
Senior guard Bridget McManus will add depth and junior forward Telishya Herbert provides a strong presence in the paint. Junior Olivia Langol-Leonard added frontcourt depth and was active on the glass in her time on the court, while senior forward Evanjuline Elisma can score in transition and adds another solid wing defender.
“We only lost one player due to graduation,” said Lombardi. “We have the entire team back and we added some height. I’m excited to see what the season brings. The girls are working hard and our goal is to qualify for the postseason.”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton started last season with five straight defeats and only one win in the opening eight games, but the Black Knights turned things around with a vengeance, winning 11 of its final 12 games of the regular season and winning its opening game of the state tournament. Stoughton’s only two losses in its final 14 games of the season were to state champion Foxboro. That is a lot of momentum for the Black Knights to carry into this year.
It may be a little different look for Stoughton this winter after the graduation of Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Instead of being a team that dominates the paint, there will be a host of guards and wing players who can still battle on the glass, but will bring energy and tenacity on the perimeter on both ends of the court. Junior Aliyah Wright is back as the team’s point guard and her length makes her a factor guarding multiple positions. Senior Lindsay McDonald adds versatility as a combo guard and sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe is a dynamic guard and stretches defenses with her ability to shoot from the outside.
While there are a lot of familiar faces returning for the Black Knights, there are several players who will have more responsibility this year and the potential to make big contributions. Junior Lexi Baptista defends well at the forward position and gives a different look on the post, while seniors Hailey Egan and Heather Maddalena will add extra toughness to the backcourt. Junior Shyanne Trinh is still battling an injury at the beginning of the season, but she will give Stoughton a big scoring boost when she returns.
“This season will be all about our effort, energy and enthusiasm on defense,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The Black Knights will be most successful when we put in work on the defensive end and finish each play with a Black Knights rebound.”
2017-2018 Record: 7-15 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton started last winter well and had the potential for making a return to the state tournament, but injuries slowed things down for the Tigers and they missed out on the postseason. While the year didn’t end the way they would have hoped, a number of younger players were given valuable varsity experience and there are a number of returning players ready to make an impact.
Senior Lily Patneaude will be the player to watch for the Tigers, as the team’s leading scorer from last year. After battling an injury down the stretch, her return gives Taunton a consistent primary offensive weapon and takes some of the scoring pressure off her teammates. Senior point guard Alexa White is also back to provide leadership, energy, and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor. Sophomore Kelsey White showed flashes as a rookie of being the secondary scorer that Taunton needs, with her ability to knock down shots from the outside and take defenders off the dribble.
Even with a year of experience, Taunton is still a relatively young team. Sophomores Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will provide athleticism from the forward positions and give Taunton effort in the paint, while sophomore Tori DaRose, and freshmen Abby Souza (who saw brief minutes as an eighth-grader last season) and Braeley MacDonald give the Tigers depth off the bench.
“We have great group of enthusiast student athletes consisting of senior leadership, youth, athleticism, and talent,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “This team is looking forward to a fun and exciting season.”