North Attleboro, 49 @ Canton, 51 – Final – North Attleboro nearly erased a 21-point deficit but saw it’s comeback attempt come up just short at the buzzer when it’s attempt at the game-winning three went in-and-out. Canton got off to a great start, staking a 17-5 lead through eight minutes and pushing it to 31-16 at halftime. The Bulldogs looked to be in full control when they carried a 49-28 edge into the fourth but the game completely changed in the final frame. The Rocketeers limited Canton to just two points and its offense came to life. Tommy Onorato hit a pair of threes and scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth and Brody Rosenberg scored six of his team-high 16 points to help North Attleboro rally to get back within two. North got one final stop and launched a deep three at the buzzer but the ball went in-and-out and Canton held on for the win. Steven Burbank scored all 11 of his points in the first half while Ryan Connerney (14 points), Will Keefe (nine points), and Eric Mischler (13 points) all connected from downtown in the third to help Canton build its big lead.
Stoughton, 72 @ Sharon, 53 – Final – Stoughton had its best offensive outing of the season with nine players finding the scoring column, including four players in double figures. The Black Knights jumped out to a 19-10 lead after a quarter, adding 15 points in each the second and third quarters, and pulled away for good with a 23-point fourth quarter. Brett Pendenza and Waseem Sablon each hit four three-pointers and finished tied for the team-high in points with 14 each. Connor Andrews added two threes of his own and finished with 12 points while Jake Queeney added a pair of threes and a total of 10 points for the Black Knights, who led 34-22 at halftime. Sharon’s Matt Baskin had a game-high 19 points along with nine rebounds while sophomore Matt Baur added 15 points and five boards.
Mansfield, 58 vs. Plymouth North, 38 – Final – Mansfield established a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back in win over non-league foe Plymouth North. The Hornets jumped out to a 20-9 lead and then limited the visitors to just two points in the second as the advantage ballooned to 30-11 by halftime. Mansfield kept its large lead going into (47-27) and throughout the final quarter. Senior Matt Boen scored nine of his game-high 25 points in the opening quarter and added two more threes in the second. Jack Colby added nine points for the Hornets, who had nine players score.
Canton, 51 @ Stoughton, 35 – Final – In a game that both offenses took a while to get going, a strong defensive first half proved to be decisive for the Bulldogs. Canton held Stoughton scoreless in the opening quarter and to just eight points in the first half. The Bulldogs scored 20 to take a double-digit lead at the break, led by Fay Gallery, who scored 10 of her game-high 19 in the first half. Things remained tight in the third quarter as the teams combined for 16 points and Canton went into the fourth leading 29-15. After a struggle to score for 24 minutes, the teams exploded in the fourth, combining for 42 points in the final eight minutes. Gallery scored nine in the quarter and Kiara Cerruti added seven of her 13 points. Samya DaSilva added seven, including four points in the fourth. Makaiyah Singleton Rivera paced the Black Knights with a team-high 13 points, including seven in the final quarter. Kate Bulger scored eight points and knocked down a pair of threes in the fourth.
Oliver Ames, 62 @ North Attleboro, 33 – Final – Oliver Ames built a double-digit lead by halftime and then pulled away by holding the Rocketeers to just 13 points in the second half. Caroline Peper led a balanced scoring attack for the visitors while Hailey Bourne chipped in with 10 points and Caroline Flynn finished with eight points. Amanda Kaiser scored 12 points in the loss and was helped by Cailyn Maxcy’s seven points and six from Ava McKeon.
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Liam Anastasia had a goal and assist and Chris Hormann made 14 saves in the shutout, as the Hornets earned their first division win of the season. Brayden Purtell opened the scoring with 6:29 left in the first, when he tapped in a loose puck at the far post. It stayed a one-goal game until 10:50 left in the second when Mark DeGirolamo added an unassisted goal. Late in the third period, Anastasia stole the puck in the corner and played a pass across the crease to Kyle Oakley at the far post to make it 3-0. He added an empty net goal in the final minute to seal the win. Aidan Diggin nearly got Attleboro back into the game in the second period but had a breakaway effort come back off the post and and then struck the crossbar with a shot early in the third. Nick Piazza made 35 saves in the loss.
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 7 – Final
Foxboro @ Oliver Ames, 4:00
Taunton, 2 @ King Philip, 9 – Final – Junior Shaun Fitzpatrick scored a hat trick and freshman Brad Guden added two goals a the Warriors skated to a win over visiting Taunton. Junior Sean Crowther registered four assists in the win while senior Shea Cunningham picked up three helpers.
Boston Latin @ Stoughton/Sharon, 6:30
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Two days after putting up 79 points in a win against Davenport division rival Canton, Oliver Ames looked up at the clock nearly six minutes into Thursday night’s rematch at the Nixon Gym and saw a zero under its name. It was a sign that things weren’t going to be nearly as comfortable the second time around.
“Consider it ugly but effective,” joked OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook after her team rallied, and then held off a late charge by the Bulldogs, to secure a 53-43 victory that puts the Tigers in pole position for a league title in their first season back in the Davenport in four years.
“We really wanted it to be a fast-paced game but it wasn’t pretty, at all,” Clement-Holbrook continued. “We know who their three-point shooters are, a couple of times we just didn’t get a hand up, we were too far off. I thought we were scrappy. Once we switched our defense, we got a lot of turnovers. I think that got us going and got us back into it.”
Canton showed fight from the opening tip, determined not to allow the game to get away like it did in the first meeting. Kiara Cerruti opened with a quick three and Sydney Gallery added two from beyond the arc, including one off glass, to open a 9-0 lead.
OA looked completely out of sorts on the offensive end, taking quick long-range shots, and struggling to find the mark against an aggressive Bulldogs defense. Caroline Peper knocked down a free throw with 2:10 left in the first to get the Tigers on the board. She followed that with a three, Caroline Flynn knocked down four at the line and suddenly it was a one-point game (11-10) after one.
“They’re physical, they’re probably the biggest team in the league or close to it,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “Their size is a totally different challenge than many of the games we face. They put so much pressure on you whenever you touch the ball that it’s not an easy task just to whip it inside.”
Kelsey Yelle (eight points and six rebounds) gave the Tigers a spark off the bench. She knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers, both assisted by Hailey Bourne (seven points and four assists) to put OA ahead.
Cerruti had a steal and layup and Gallery a score off an offensive rebound to go back into the lead, but freshman Jasmyn Cooper (five points and seven rebounds) buried a three and grabbed an offensive board that led to a Peper jumper. OA closed the half on a 9-4 run that put them in front for good.
The Tigers stretched the lead into double digits in the third quarter and threatened at several points in the second half to break the game wide open and run away, as they did on Tuesday, but Canton kept finding ways to hang around.
Peper kicked things off in the third with a three off a Flynn assist, had a nifty scoop on the baseline after Bourne swung it around the perimeter, and turned a steal into an easy transition basket. She scored seven of her team-high 15 points in the third. Bourne (seven points and four assists) added a couple of buckets in the quarter, including one off a Flynn (eight points, seven rebounds, and four assists) rebound and dish.
“Caroline Flynn has the heart of a lion,” Clement-Holbrook said. “She really does. She just makes things happen and I hardly got her a rest. She played almost every minute.”
Gallery tried to keep the Bulldogs close with four of her 14 points in the quarter and Cerruti nailed another three, but OA’s defense and rebounding was proving to be a problem. Kayla Albert (14 rebounds) was one of the few players finding any success crashing the glass for the visitors, who went into the fourth trailing 38-28.
“Kayla played amazing underneath,” said Choquette. “She kept a lot of extra balls alive for us and that gives our guards more chances to hit some shots.”
Twice in the fourth quarter, OA led by as may as 13 points. After Cerruti drilled a deep three, Flynn turned a steal into a short pull-up jumper and then Maddie Homer had a quick release jumper on the baseline to make it 44-31. Samya DaSilva answered with her second three of the game, but Homer hit another short jumper and Bourne knocked down a shot from the corner for a 49-36 advantage.
“Maddie Homer coming off the bench did a good job,” said Clement-Holbrook. “We started moving people around and that to me is the beauty of this group because of the depth. If somebody’s not having a good night, we’re going to move them out and move somebody else in.”
It felt like the game was lost, but Canton kept fighting back. Fay Gallery set up Cerruti for her fourth three of the night and then Sydney Gallery got a rare look in the paint to get the lead back down to eight. Cerruti fought off the attentions of a couple Tigers to spin into the lane and then spin the ball off the glass for a tough finish to make it 49-43 with 51.5 to play.
Homer made a clutch bucket for the Tigers to stem the Canton momentum and Jess Erlich hit two shots at the line (her only points of the night) to seal the win.
Choquette said, “The other night wasn’t a really good representation of our team. We had a really good practice yesterday and talked about that and how we can help each other. Every girl decided lets go out there and play the way we’re capable of playing. I was really really proud of the way the girls responded.”
Oliver Ames (6-0) will put its perfect record on the line at Stoughton on Tuesday, while Canton (3-3) will try to end its three-game skid when it travels to Foxboro.
FOXBORO, Mass. – For the second time in three days, one quarter proved decisive for Oliver Ames. On Tuesday, the Tigers won the fourth quarter to break open a one-point game to win by double digits. On Thursday, in Foxboro, the Tigers exploded in the third quarter to build a big lead and then had to hold off the Warriors in the final minutes.
After scoring 22 points in the first half, OA found its offense in the third and put 23 on the board, extending a one-point lead out to 13. The Tigers managed only six points in the fourth (all from the free throw line), but the lead turned out to be just big enough and OA earned the season sweep with a 51-47 victory.
“We’ve just got to fine tune some things and do the right thing in the right situation,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “I’m not disappointed with their effort at all, it’s just about doing the right things at the right time. It’s all growth, just got a little too close for comfort.”
Despite having no fans in the gym and being down by double digits heading into the fourth quarter, the Warriors showed no quit, which impressed their coach.
“I’d love to play them every night because that’s how you get better,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “We definitely did better defensively then we did on Tuesday. Against their zone we just didn’t rotate the ball as much as we should have to give us better, open looks, but for the most part we fought hard.”
After a very even, defensive first half, OA hit high gear coming out of the break. Katelyn Mollica (12 points and seven rebounds) drilled a three to put Foxboro ahead 24-22, but it would be the last lead for the Warriors. Caroline Peper (eight points and eight steals) answered from deep on the other end and put the Tigers ahead to stay.
That three was the start of a 12-0 run that pushed OA’s lead out to double digits. Caroline Flynn (10 points and 10 rebounds) grabbed four points in the run and Jess Erlich (nine points) added four of her own. The Tigers were getting out on the break, finding the cutters in the halfcourt, and crashing the offensive boards.
After freshman Camryn Collins snatched an offensive rebound and found classmate Erin Foley (12 points) for a layup, Foxboro cut the lead back to seven. OA answered right back. Hailey Bourne scored on a drive to the rim, freshman Kaydance Derba (six points, all in the third) buried a three on a Bourne kick out, and Maddie Homer scored on a putback.
Three free throws from Derba extended the advantage to 45-32 after three quarters and it looked like the Tigers were going to run away with it.
“I think we did a good job anticipating,” Clement-Holbrook explained. “I thought we did a good job in terms of rotation defensively and made it difficult for them. I thought we were probably better at executing in the third quarter than any of the other quarters.”
Things dried up offensively for the visitors in the fourth quarter. OA scored only six points and didn’t make a shot from the field. Foxboro took advantage to creep back into the game.
“They just had to listen and realize that we were playing into their hands,” Downs said. “We were dribbling into a trap instead of rotating the ball and we just had to rely on our speed, trying to fast break a little bit more, spread the floor, and get the ball up ahead.”
Aislinn Servaes swung the ball to Mollica for a three that got the lead down to single digits and Jordyn Collins (seven points and eight rebounds) followed with a driving layup that made it 48-41 with 1:35 to play.
“I would’ve liked to see us be a little more consistent in the fourth quarter,” said Clement-Holbrook. “I’d like to see us do a much better job attacking the offensive boards. We’ve got to come to the realization that offensive rebounds are an easy way to score, as opposed to having to run this screen, that screen. We’ve got to be more disciplined going to the boards to score.”
Peper knocked down two clutch free throws to push the lead back to nine but a perfect fast break led to a Camryn Collins three-point play and it was only a six-point game. Hannah Blake (eight points) hit her fourth jumper of the game to make it 50-46 but it was not enough to catch the Tigers.
“They definitely fought to the end,” Downs said about her team’s fourth quarter comeback. “Any normal season, Oliver Ames would be one of the favorites going into the state tournament. It’s a good opportunity, especially for the young girls, to see a quality team like that.”
The first half was back-and-forth, as both teams locked down defensively. OA had a distinct advantage with its length, recording eight blocks in the first half alone. Freshman Jasmyn Cooper didn’t score, but grabbed 10 rebound and blocked three shots.
Foley, who has had a strong start to her varsity career, scored five points in the first quarter and Blake added four, but the game was tied at 12 after one. Foley then buried her second three to put Foxboro ahead 15-12, but freshman Sarah Hilliard came off the bench to spark the Tigers. Her three-point play tied the game and she had a steal and layup to put OA in front. She scored all seven of her points in the second and had OA in front 22-21 at the break.
Oliver Ames (2-0) will be back home on Tuesday to face Sharon, while Foxboro (2-2) will try to bounce back against Stoughton.
2019-2020 Record: 10-12 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Martin Crowley
After a couple of rebuilding years, Attleboro made a jump last winter and clinched its return to the playoffs in the final game of the regular season. While the Bombardiers will miss the all-around game of Nyah Thomas, who is at Worcester State after a breakout senior season, Attleboro will count on six returners from last year’s roster and a couple of promising newcomers to make some noise in the Kelley-Rex.
Thomas’ scoring and ball-handling will be tough to replicate, but the Bombardiers have strength and athleticism in the post. Junior Meg Gordon developed into a double-double machine last year, using her quickness and length to cause problems in the paint. Senior Ryan Johnson is another forward with length that can impact the game on the glass and protecting the rim.
In the backcourt, senior Gabby Bosh is back to run the point as well as being a pesky defender. Juniors Hailey and Lindsey Perry will also add to the depth at the guard position and to the team’s overall speed and defensive effort. Freshmen guards Kayla Goldrick and Narissa Smith are newcomers that have the potential to make an instant impact and should immediately find themselves in the backcourt rotation.
Attleboro coach Marty Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. This is by far the most athletic team we have had and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. We are blessed to be in the gym everyday with such great kids and that is a win in itself.”
2019-2020 Record: 13-10 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jim Choquette
Canton has been a youthful team with potential for the past two seasons and the Bulldogs come into the winter with an opportunity to turn that potential into the program’s first league title since 1992. After graduating just one player from last year’s team and with many of its standout players now in year three as starters, Canton has the experience to match its talent.
Juniors Fay and Sydney Gallery and Kiara Cerruti have been standouts since their first games as freshmen and have the all-around games to cause match-up problems for the opposition. All three can score from the perimeter, but Sydney gives the Bulldogs a presence on the post while Fay can score off the dribble and be a playmaker on offense. Cerruti is a pure scorer, with good range and the ability to take defenders off the bounce.
Depth should be a strength for the Bulldogs this season, with players able to come off the bench and produce at every position. Carly Fitzgerald and Marissa Staffiere will return in the backcourt, giving Canton solid ball-handlers and a pair of strong defenders. Senior Kayla Albert adds length and rebounding in the paint and sophomore Samya DaSilva showed off great footwork last year and will be another scoring threat on the block.
“I’m very excited to take the floor with this group of girls,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “I love their desire to improve, win games and represent the town of Canton to the best of their abilities. We all want to improve on our past successes, and we’ve been working hard to do so. Very lucky to be coaching this team!”
2019-2020 Record: 24-2 2019-2020 Finish: D2 State Co-Champion Coach: Lisa Downs
Foxboro closed out the 2019-20 season by winning its final 16 games and securing a second state title in the past three seasons. The Warriors graduated four starters from last year’s team, so players will have to step into bigger roles this season and newcomers will have to produce right away to make it five straight Davenport titles.
Defense and tempo are the hallmarks of Foxboro’s success under head coach Lisa Downs and that should be the same this year. For scoring, the Warriors are going to count on senior Katelyn Mollica. One of the top players in the league for the past three seasons, the Stonehill College-commit is one of the league’s top shooters and strong help defender. Senior Jordyn Collins is another key component from last year’s team, as a tenacious defender and a slasher who can get to the rim.
Senior Hannah Blake will step into the starting lineup at center this winter and Downs thinks that she has the potential to be one of the best bigs in the league. Senior Morgan Sylvestre had some big moments last year (for instance, the D2 South final against Hingham) and will see more time at point guard this year. Freshmen guards Camryn Collins and Erin Foley will both be in the mix right away and sophomore Lauren Miley is back after missing all of last year with an injury.
“We graduated a large chunk of our roster from last season so we will have quite a few new faces on the court to accompany Katelyn,” Downs said. “We will continue to focus on our defensive efforts and will strive to pursue the fast pace that we have become familiar with. Safety of the girls is obviously my first concern, but it is also my hope to be able to provide the most fulfilling season possible in terms of overall improvement on both ends of the court.”
2019-2020 Record: 25-0 2019-2020 Finish: D1 State Co-Champion Coach: John Leighton
Last winter, Franklin went start-to-finish as the top team not only in the league but in the state and capped off an undefeated season with the program’s first state championship. The graduation of center Ali Brigham, who was arguably the program’s best-ever player, is a big change for the Panthers this year but there is plenty of talent and experience on the roster to make a push for a three-peat of Kelley-Rex titles.
Junior Olivia Quinn is one of the main reasons that the Panthers are considered the favorites in the Kelley-Rex again this year. Quinn scored nearly 400 points and was one of the top three or four players in the league last season. She continues to develop and improve and will be the focal point of the offense this year. Senior Erin Quaile is the two-time Defensive Player of the Year but is also a solid point guard who limits turnovers, calms things down, and gets Franklin into its sets.
The offense will obviously look a little different this year, without a 6-foot-3 center in the middle, but the Panthers have talent on the wings to cause problems. Seniors Elizabeth Wilson and Kaleigh Houlihan, and junior Stefany Padula can all stretch the defense with their ability to knock down perimeter shots. The forward position should also be strong with Emma Sousa, Brigid Early, and Katie Peterson giving Franklin length and athleticism on the block.
“We are excited to be back on the court and I have been very impressed by our depth,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “Our girls have been committed to getting better and competing on every play.”
2019-2020 Record: 12-9 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip head coach Dan Nagle has implemented a unique system based on high pressure and constant running. The Warriors don’t have to worry about shot clock violations. With a roster of athletic players who will all be counted on at some point and have a year of experience in the system, Nagle hopes this year’s team can create even more chaos that last winter and push Franklin at the top of the Kelley-Rex.
Senior Emma Glaser is the team’s top returning scorer and the Springfield College-commit will be counted on to take a step up, as the Warriors lost their top three scorers to graduation and transfers. Glaser is an athletic wing with range out beyond the three-point line. Athleticism is a common theme for this roster. Senior Caroline Aaron is another versatile wing who can contribute on both ends of the floor.
Depth won’t be an issue for the Warriors, who regularly sub five players at once and everyone gets playing time. Junior guards Elizabeth Molla, Liv Lafond, Grace Clyde, and Julia Marsden will provide scoring punch. At 6-foot-3, sophomore center Emily Sawyer gives KP a unique weapon in the middle and looks more comfortable with the speed at varsity. Senior Courtney Keswick battled injuries last year but is back healthy and gives KP a consistent three-point threat. Sophomore Jackie Bonner is a scorer being moved up from JV who could be poised for a breakout year.
Nagle said, “It’s year two in the system, so the learning curve has been a lot smaller and kids are picking things up fast. What we do is no secret. It’s going to be pandemonium every game, win or lose. This year’s team might even be a better fit for it because generally we have better team speed and it being year two makes a huge difference.”
2019-2020 Record: 9-14 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Heather McPherson
After more than two decades in charge, Mike Redding retired as head coach after last season. There will be some continuity for the program however, as former player and assistant coach Heather McPherson will move into the first seat this year. McPherson can count on continuity on the floor as well, with six seniors among the returning players for the Hornets.
While the Hornets missed the playoffs last year, they also had some impressive wins against playoff teams along the way, beating Attleboro, King Philip, and Bishop Feehan. Senior Kayla Vine was one of the league’s top perimeter shooters and also a solid playmaker with her ability to get into the paint. Senior Ashley Santos extended her range as a shooter last year was a strong all-around player that was a tough matchup on both ends of the court. Sophomore Abby Wager showed flashes of her potential as a scorer during a strong rookie season and her development could be a big boost this year.
Mansfield will have plenty of depth to call on. Senior Ally Prentis adds another shooter, senior Sarah Dooling is another versatile forward, and seniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking give the Hornets a lot of height in the paint. Junior Anna Darlington and sophomore Olivia Salisbury should see more time in the backcourt.
McPherson said, “I couldn’t ask for a better senior group to begin my varsity coaching career, they have set an exciting tone to the season with their energy, effort, enthusiasm. With all of the uncertainty that this year has brought we are excited for the opportunity to be playing basketball. For us to compete each night we will need to play good fundamental basketball.”
2019-2020 Record: 3-17 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: TJ Dolliver
While Milford went winless in league play last year, the Hawks lost no one to graduation and will have seven seniors on this season’s roster. Experience will be a key for Milford, which for the first time will be playing in the Kelley-Rex division. Although the Hawks have struggled at times offensively, no one can argue with the team’s effort and athleticism, especially on defense (ask state champion Foxboro, which was held to just 44 points last year) and that should once again be the team’s strength.
Senior Emma Lawrence will be the team’s focal point this year after an all-star junior season. Lawrence has long arms, endless energy, and the ability to get to the basket. Fellow senior Jillian Michelson is another player who will shadow the opposing team’s top offensive player and use her speed and length to cause problems. Sophomore Brooke Ferreira stepped in at point guard last year and had an impressive rookie campaign. Her ball-handling and ability to get into the lane was critical to the team’s offense, which could at times struggle from the perimeter.
Milford is not a tall team, but the Hawks have several versatile forwards that crash the boards and will make it tough for teams to score in the paint. Seniors Carly Ferreira, Katie Maietta, and Elise Fauerbach add physicality on the block for a team that likes to get up and pressure the ball.
“Having a senior-heavy roster and a team of hard working girls, this season will be a lot of fun,” said Milford coach TJ Dolliver.
2019-2020 Record: 9-11 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Nikki Correia
Under first-year head coach Nikki Correia, North Attleboro bounced back last year and went into the final game of the regular season with a chance of clinching a return to the postseason. Although Big Red missed out on the tournament, the Rocketeers come into this season with optimism. A year of experience in Correia’s system and a strong corps of returning players gives North hopes of springing a surprise in the Davenport division.
Senior guard Amanda Kaiser will remain the focal point for opposing defenses and will force them to extend beyond the three-point line to prevent her from getting going. Kaiser is also a strong defender, who can kickstart the North break by forcing turnovers. Sophomore Summer Doherty is another wing player whose quickness and length causes problems on defense and her strength allows her to get into the lane on offense.
Senior Siobhan Weir keeps things calm even as North tries to get out and run as often as possible, while also adding a strong mid-range game. Senior Lydia Santos missed last season with injury and will be another strong ball-handler and leader in the backcourt. Sophomore Ava McKeon had an impressive rookie season on the wing and uses her strength and athleticism to get into the lane and her energy to get on the boards. Fellow sophomore Taylor McMath got called up last season and made an instant impact as a post player. North isn’t the tallest team, but McMath gives the Rocketeers extra length in the paint on both ends of the floor.
“I know with my team they have been so excited just to be on the basketball court again with their teammates and ready to compete,” said Correia. “Overall we have a strong unit and I can not wait to start the basketball season and see what these girls will do as a team. They all bring different strengths to the game so once they can mesh it all together on the court it will be great to see.”
2019-2020 Record: 14-7 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division for the first time since 2016, when the Tigers won their last league title. OA returns with the goal of ending Foxboro’s four-year run as the top team in the division and has a talented, experienced roster to try and win the program’s Hock-best 23rd league title.
The Tigers pushed Franklin for the Kelley-Rex crown all the way to the final week of league play last year and that experience has given them added confidence heading into the new season. Injuries took their toll down the stretch, but when fully healthy OA boasts one of the deepest rosters in the league. Caroline Flynn is more of a point forward than a point guard but she has developed into one of the league’s top playmakers, while also being one of its top rebounding guards. Caroline Peper battled a back injury all of last season, but when healthy is one of the top shooters in the Hock.
Junior Hailey Bourne has emerged as one of the top defensive players in the league, capable of guarding players on the perimeter or in the post. Senior Jess Erlich adds shooting from her forward position. OA has six returning players who will be bolstered by an exciting crop of newcomers, including freshman guard Jasmyn Cooper.
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook, who passed the 700-win mark last season, said, “OA’s strengths will come from the depth of their lineup and a cast of young and upcoming players with great intensity and love for the game. Despite the challenges associated with pandemic, OA is excited to have the chance to play this season and value every second they get to compete for the top spot.”
2019-2020 Record: 4-16 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Sandy Lombardi
Sharon finished with only four wins last season, but the Eagles also lost seven games by 10 points or less, including five games by five points or fewer and twice lost by a single basket. With a good core of versatile players returning, the Eagles are hoping to make a move up the standings in what continues to be a competitive Davenport division.
The graduations of Ally Brown and Kaitlyn Wallace take away two of the team’s top ball-handlers and perimeter scorers, but the Eagles can make up for that with strength in the paint. Senior Leah Fandel and junior Trinity Payne are difference makers on both ends of the court, capable of crashing the boards, protecting the rim, and offering interior scoring. Both players are capable of stepping back and knocking down short jumpers too, adding a different dimension to the offense.
Sophomore guards Tess Letendre and Emily Freeman will be counted on to pick up some of the slack on the perimeter and get the Eagles into their offensive sets. Seniors Gaby Cabral and Julia Early will also be counted on to take bigger roles this season. The Eagles will also have a pair of freshmen, Rachel Hager and Eva Poulton, who will be expected to contribute right away.
“I’m excited for the girls to have an opportunity to play this season,” said Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi. “Looking back a few months ago I would not have imagined us having a season at all.”
2019-2020 Record: 9-11 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last year, falling just one win short of qualifying for the tournament (that included a one-point loss to North Attleboro midway through the season). The Black Knights will have to try and make up for the graduation of their two leading scorers, Aliyah Wright and Shyanne Trinh, but head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan expects that this year’s roster will live up to the program’s standard of hustle, hard work, and aggressiveness.
Mackenzie Manning is the team’s top returning scorer and Steele Jordan is counting on the senior guard to provide leadership and passion for the younger players. Fellow seniors Cate Downey and Jess Maddalena (who is out for the season with an injury) are also going to be counted on to set the tone for the team.
Junior guard Makaiyah Singleton Rivera saw plenty of time last year and gives the Black Knights a boost of speed and energy on the perimeter. There are also several underclassmen who will be jumping up to varsity and could add important minutes this season. Sophomore guards Kiara Scardina and Shayla Ford and freshman forward Alyssa Edwards are newcomers to keep an eye on this season.
Steele Jordan said, “I’m really thankful for all the players that came out for our program this year in the middle of pandemic. Looking forward to kicking off the season in 2021. Our goals have not changed, the Black Knights will play hard, play together and represent the Stoughton community with pride this season.”
2019-2020 Record: 5-15 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Amy Siggens
Taunton has struggled to get going this winter, as practices were halted after just three days and the teams won’t resume basketball activities until next week, which has forced the opening games with Attleboro to be postponed. The Tigers will also be without last year’s leading scorer, sophomore Kameron St. Pierre, who has opted out. With all of that, second-year head coach Amy Siggens is still excited that the team this season and building on the fundamentals of her system.
The Tigers will be an experienced, if still young, team this season. Seniors Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will be the focal points on the offensive end. They are both versatile players capable of stepping back and knocking down shots and also taking their defenders off the dribble. Their athleticism on both ends of the court makes them a tough matchup. They also provide leadership for a team that is building consistency. The Tigers won five games last year, but also lost seven times by single digits, including once in overtime.
A strength of the team will be its depth in the backcourt. Senior Tori DaRosa is a tough defender and gets the Tigers into their sets. Juniors Abby Souza and Braeley McDonald are also strong options to provide shooting off the bench. Sophomore Maddie Michenzie can be a force on the boards and adds a different dimension in the post on both ends of the court.
“We’re rolling with the punches here,” said Siggens about having to postpone practices until the New Year. “Everyday is something new and you just have to adjust. We’re focusing on the leadership of our seniors but also the development of our young kids. This is a year to really pull it back and go after the fundamentals and the basics.”
Attleboro, 63 @ Taunton, 71 – Final – Taunton sophomore Tristan Herry poured in a career-high 26 points and sophomore Trent Santos added 18 points as the Tigers outlasted Attleboro to get the win. The Tigers held a 50-49 lead after three quarters before finishing strong to close out the win. Herry accounted for half of Taunton’s 10 three-pointers, hitting four in the first half as he netted 18 points in the opening two quarters. Santos (four three-pointers) did most of his damage after the break with 13 points in the second half. Junior Tyler Stewart scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half for Taunton. Attleboro’s Bryant Ciccio scored a team-high 26 points, hitting on 10 two-point field goals, while senior Qualeem Charles added 18 points for the Bombardiers.
North Attleboro, 60 @ Canton, 46 – Final – North Attleboro sophomore Brody Rosenberg connected on three of his four three-pointers in the final quarter to help the Rocketeers pull away with the win. The visitors led after each the first three quarters (13-9 after one, 27-19 at at half), taking a 39-32 advantage into the fourth before putting together its best offensive quarter (21 points). Junior Edan Kelley joined in on the three party, connecting from downtown five times to finish with a career-high 19 points, including four trifectas in the second half. Junior George Ladd was a consistent on the offensive end for the Rocketeers with 15 points. Canton’s Eric Mischler sank three triples and finished with a team-high 13 points while Lanse Dorcelus added 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Sharon, 58 @ Foxboro, 74 – Final – Foxboro created separation with a big second quarter offensively and extended the lead with a big defensive quarter in the third, rolling to a win over Sharon. The win, coupled with Stoughton’s win over Milford, pulls the Warriors into a three-way tie with the Black Knights and Scarlet Hawks for first in the Davenport with one game to go. Foxboro had five players reach double figures for the first time this season with senior Brandon Borde leading the way with a team-high 21 points. Ryan Hughes, Kevin Gallagher, and Will Morrison each added 11 points for the Warriors while Donald Rogers finished with 10 points. Sharon’s Andrew Burton scored a team-high 15 points while Kiran Chandrasekaran added nine points for the Eagles.
Franklin, 59 @ Oliver Ames, 52 – Final – Franklin senior Chris Edgehill scored a team-high 16 points and in the process became the program’s all-time leading scorer. Edgehill tied Matt Palazini’s record of 1,306 with seven points in the first half and then broke the record in the third. Jack Rudolph hit four first half three-pointers, finishng wiht 12 points while both Steven Karayan and Brayden Sullivan chipped in 11 points for the Panthers, who totaled 10 three-pointers as a team. It was close throughout as Franklin held a five point lead after the first (17-12) and second quarters (30-25), and a four-point advantage (45-41) heading into the fourth. The Tigers cut the deficit to two (49-47) with 3:37 left but Franklin pulled away in the end for the win.
King Philip, 44 @ Mansfield, 62 – Final – Mansfield trailed by three after a quarter of play but surged ahead with a 21-point second quarter and never looked back in a win over King Philip. The Warriors had a 13-10 edge after eight minutes but the Hornets had six players score in the second to race in front, leading 31-23 at half and pushing the lead to 10 (46-36) going into the fourth. The Hornets limited to KP to 13 or fewer points in each quarter. In the second, junior TJ Guy scored eight of his team-high 20 points, Matt Boen added five of his 13 points, Drew Rooney and Chris Hill both scored from the floor, and Brendan Foley and Sam Stevens (10 points) each chipped in from the free throw line. Hill added five more in the third while Boen, Rooney, and Stevens each hit fourth quarter three-pointers to pull away. KP senior Tommy Donahue had a team-high 15 points while classmate Alex Fritz added 12 points.
Taunton, 51 @ Attleboro, 65 – Final – The Bombardiers celebrated senior night with a big win that moves them back to .500 on the season and one win from booking a return to the state tournament. Nyah Thomas was Attleboro’s top scorer with 18 points and also added five assists. Meghan Gordon scored 16 and Ryan Johnson added 10, as the Bombardiers had a balanced attack. Attleboro led by 13 at halftime and pushed the lead to 17 heading to the fourth quarter. Bombardiers coach Marty Crowley praised the effort of senior Jackie MacDonald and added, “It was a great way to send our Seniors off in their last home game.” Attleboro closes the season with trips to Franklin and North Attleboro to try and get the tournament-clinching win. Freshman Kameron St. Pierre led all scorers with 21 points and the Tigers also got nine points from eighth grader Sam Lincoln.
Foxboro, 51 @ Sharon, 28 – Final – The Warriors had four players scored in double digits, as they picked up another win to build their seed for the upcoming playoffs. Katelyn Mollica, fresh of getting to 1,000 career points last week, scored 16 to pace Foxboro. Shakirah Ketant, Abby Hassman, and Lizzy Davis all scored 10 points in the win. Leah Fandel scored a team-high 15 points and Ally Brown chipped in with nine for the Eagles.
Oliver Ames, 36 @ Franklin, 70 – Final – The Panthers swept the season series with the Tigers, clinched the outright Kelley-Rex division title, and will have the chance to run the table in league play when they host Attleboro on Thursday. Ali Brigham dominated in the middle, leading all scorers with 22 points and Olivia Quinn scored 13. Meghan O’Connell also had a big night, scoring 13 for the Panthers. OA had a tough time breaking down the Franklin defense. Jess Erlich had seven points to lead the Tigers and Hailey Bourne added five.
Mansfield, 37 @ King Philip, 61 – Final – KP got hot from deep to split the season series with the Hornets and book its spot in the state tournament. The Warriors made 10 threes as a team. Faye Veilleux scored 18 points in the win, Brianna James scored 13, and Faith Roy added 12.
Stoughton, 50 @ Milford, 47 – Final – In a close game from start to finish, Stoughton picked up a key victory on the road over the Scarlet Hawks. Stoughton led by seven after a quarter (15-8) and by six at halftime (30-24) before Milford cut into the deficit and made it a four-point game (41-47) heading into the fourth. Shyanne Trinh paced Stoughton with 20 points, Aliyah Wright added 18 points, and Jess Maddalena added six points and 11 rebounds for the Black Knights.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Laney Clement-Holbrook took over at Oliver Ames in her early 20s and over the next 44 years turned the Tigers into a perennial power. Three years ago, Clement-Holbrook became the all-time winningest high school basketball coach in the state and on Friday night at the Nixon Gym she added a new historic milestone to her already legendary career when she became the state’s first member of the 700-win club.
It was a moment that she tried to keep quiet, wanting to keep the attention on her players, especially the three players celebrating senior night. Athletic director Bill Matthews sent a notice to the media the night before the game and word spread, drawing a big crowd for the visit of Mansfield.
Any worries that her team might be distracted or not be able to handle the moment were quickly dispelled. The Tigers won each of the individual quarters, took a double-digit lead by halftime, and pulled away in the second half for a 72-49 win and a season sweep of the Hornets.
“This is what we want them to be able to handle is the big stage, so I thought for the kids this was a great experience for them just because there would be a lot more people, a lot of energy,” Clement-Holbrook said. “Hopefully this will move us forward as a team.”
When asked what it has meant to coach at OA for as long as she has, Clement-Holbrook praised the coaches who she learned from, including Val Muscato, Bill Nixon, and Sue Rivard, and she also pointed to the numerous alumni that came back to celebrate the special night.
“Some of these kids played for me in the 80s,” she said with a laugh. “I’m just so grateful to have the chance to be here for so long. It was the first place and it will be the last place I coach. It’s a special moment.”
After the handshake line, Clement-Holbrook shared a quick word with Mansfield coach Mike Redding. He expressed his admiration for someone he has coached against for more than 20 years.
“It’s been an honor going against her. I’ve done 23 years and they have been the standard bearer,” he said. “Just the quality every single year is amazing. She still has the passion, the enthusiasm, she’s been doing it 40-plus years but it’s still like her first year coaching.”
OA senior guard Meg Holleran is the third member of her family to play for Clement-Holbrook, following her older sisters Kate and Shannon, who were both in attendance, and was a freshman on the varsity team when Clement-Holbrook set the wins record three years ago.
“She wanted this to be about senior night and just getting the win,” Holleran said. “We actually heard it was the 700th from a parent, she didn’t even tell us herself. We just wanted to come out and we had a big surprise for her at the end.”
The Tigers got off to a fast start, as Caroline Peper (21 points and four assists) drilled a pair of threes and scored eight points in the first. Her second attempt came on the third shot of a possession, as OA dominated the glass. Senior Tate Hadges (seven points) added four in the first and classmate Erin Holmberg (four points and five assists) got on the board off a pass from Holleran.
Sarah Dooling scored five of her eight points in the first and Abby Wager added four of her five points, but OA held a 17-12 lead after one.
Ashley Santos tried to keep the Hornets close in the second, as she scored 10 points in the quarter, but Mansfield only managed one more point as a team. Meanwhile, the Tigers were getting contributions from up and down the roster. Tori Harney (10 points) hit a couple of long jumpers and had six points in the second and Caroline Flynn (13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists) got a layup after a Peper steal.
Mansfield cut the lead from 11 points down to seven after back-to-back buckets by Santos, but the Tigers closed the half with threes from Jess Erlich (eight points) and Peper to go into the break up 36-23.
“We had some turnovers and they took advantage and it seemed like anytime we had a little momentum, we couldn’t get a stop,” Redding explained. “We try hard, but we’re just maybe not quick enough, tall enough. We had a decent effort, they just had some kids step up.”
OA broke the game wide open in the third. Peper came out firing again, scoring eight points on a pair of threes and a transition layup, all assisted by Flynn, who added four points of her own. Santos continued to stay hot for the Hornets with five more points and Kayla Vine got an and-one for her lone points of the night, but OA’s depth pushed the lead to 19 by the end of the quarter.
A three by Santos cut the lead to as little as 14 in the fourth, but the Tigers never allowed Mansfield to get too close, finishing the game on a 14-5 run. Hailey Bourne got it started with an offensive rebound and layup, Flynn added a drive plus the foul, and then Erlich had a corner three to restore a comfortable margin.
The final minutes were largely a countdown to history. Only when the horn sounded on another OA victory, did Clement-Holbrook finally crack and smile and acknowledge what the student section had been chanting about over the game’s closing minutes.
It was the perfect way to end a day filled with recognition of one of the state’s most successful coaching careers.
“It has been a very busy day,” said Clement-Holbrook, who gave the keynote address at the MIAA’s Girls and Women in Sports Day at Faneuil Hall in Boston in the morning. “What an incredible honor it was today to walk into Faneuil Hall and for it to be such a historical event. To see this game go from me playing six-player basketball at Dedham High School to this in my lifetime is incredible.”
Holleran added, “I’m so happy for her. She deserves it so much. I got to go see her give the speech today at the MIAA Girls and Women in Sports Day and it’s just surreal, she’s achieved so much, and I’m so proud of her. It’s great to be part of it.”
When asked to try and put 700 wins into perspective, Redding replied, “It’s mind-boggling. Just the longevity, the quality, and just classy young women. It makes this league special, such good people, great competition, and we’ve become good friends. Pretty special coach, got to be the best in Massachusetts history and one of the best in national history.”
Oliver Ames (13-3, 12-2) will travel to Franklin on Tuesday hoping to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season and push the Kelley-Rex title race to the final game of the season. Mansfield (6-12) will host North Attleboro on Sunday afternoon and try to stay alive for the postseason, needing to win out to qualify.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames has been primarily known for its defensive effort this season, as the Tigers remain in middle of the Kelley-Rex division title race by allowing less than 40 points per game. But, on Friday night at the Nixon Gym, it was the OA offense that took top billing.
The Tigers came roaring out of the gates, scoring 28 points in the opening eight minutes, and never let up, racing out to an 86-65 victory against King Philip. The Warriors like to press, run, and get as many possessions as possible and it played right into OA’s strength in transition. With the win, the Tigers opened a two-game lead over KP in second place and clinched a spot in the postseason.
“We did a lot of work in practice in terms of what we expected and I think that for the most part they stayed disciplined,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook about managing the KP press. “Even the kids that came off the bench, it wasn’t for long minutes, but it was to satisfy what the need was in the moment.”
Rarely does the opening shot of the game set the tone, but when senior Erin Holmberg swished a corner three the energy on the OA bench went through the roof. OA jumped out to a 16-2 lead, as Holmberg fed Hailey Bourne (eight points) for a layup and Caroline Flynn (game-high 24 points and 11 rebounds) for a transition jumper.
Holmberg (career-high 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists) also got a steal and layup to make it 22-6 and then she banked in a buzzer-beating three from a couple feet behind the line to put OA up 28-10 after one.
“When she hit that shot, my heart was…it was amazing,” said Clement-Holbrook, referencing Holmberg’s recovery from the surgery she had last winter. “It was amazing. That gave the energy to the rest of them when they saw her do that. It was awesome.”
Faye Veilleux (13 points and nine rebounds) opened the second quarter with a put-back, but then OA went on a 7-0 run to go ahead by 23. Holmberg (five assists) continued to be a spark plug, assisting on another Flynn transition basket, and Tori Harney scored on a rebound.
“They hit a lot of those mid-range shots, which are kind of the ones that we give up,” KP coach Dan Nagle explained. “They come down, 4-on-3 or 3-on-2, and they take that long two, which a lot of times is a long rebound and we get out and run but tonight it was just a swish.
KP loves to shoot threes, but the Warriors struggled to find the range in the first half. Faith Roy (team-high 16 points) buried one, but then Holmberg answered with a jumper and Kelsey Yelle (12 points) got free on an inbound play and Meg Holleran (nine points) fed her for a bucket. Emma Glaser (seven points) hit a three to close out the half, but OA went into the break up 41-20.
“I actually thought in the first half it felt like we played a lot worse than we did,” said Nagle. “We were missing a lot of good looks and then they were making every look that they got. That’s how we play, it’s who we are, and to their credit they made a lot of shots.”
In the third quarter, KP found its shooting touch and suddenly looked like one of the league’s top offensive teams. Roy drilled a pair from beyond the arc and scored 11 points in the third quarter alone. Veilleux also got free for a pair of threes and Brianna James (six points) hit one as well.
The Warriors scored 27 points in the third. The problem for KP was that it only took one point off the OA lead.
Yelle grabbed an offensive rebound for two, Bourne turned a defensive rebound into an assist for a Holmberg and-one, and then Yelle and Holmberg each scored in transition. There was a scary moment midway through the quarter when Holmberg went down holding her neck, forcing her to the bench for the final 12 minutes, but at that point Flynn turned it on. She scored 10 points over the final four minutes of the third to keep the lead at 20.
OA kept it rolling to start the fourth. Jess Erlich scored back-to-back baskets and Flynn got out on the break for a finish plus the foul, but she went down hard on her ankle and was forced to the bench for the final seven minutes.
With the OA point guard on the sideline, KP dialed up the pressure to try and make a late rally. The Warriors scored 12 straight points to get as close as 73-59.
Emily Sawyer (nine points and 10 rebounds) got the run started by getting on the offensive glass, then Glaser knocked down a jumper. Veilleux showed off her varied game by driving to the rim and then stepping back to hit a three. After a Glaser steal and layup, the lead was down to 14 and the home crowd was starting to feel a little nervous.
Bourne hit two at the line and Caroline Peper hit her biggest shot of the night. After the ball bounced around and KP nearly came up with a steal on multiple occasions, Peper scooped it up. The sophomore was battling a bad back and was limited all night, but she showed no hesitation and buried a three that stemmed the tide.
“Just shoot it, just let it fly,” Clement-Holbrook said about what she was thinking at that moment. “It was a huge three and the fact that she stayed composed, and we’re trying to get her healthy too but she was ready to go.
That shot proved to be a turning point, as OA settled back down and closed the game on a 13-6 run.
“That could’ve been a game where we felt bad about ourselves at halftime and came back out and didn’t have any fight at all, but I thought it was the exact opposite,” Nagle reflected. “I thought our fight, our energy for the entire 16 minutes of the second half was off the chart.”
Oliver Ames (10-2, 9-1) will be on the road on Tuesday at Canton, while King Philip (8-5, 7-3) will travel to Davenport division leader Foxboro.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – As a freshman, Franklin forward Olivia Quinn got to experience life on the varsity team, spending every practice going up against the Panthers star center Ali Brigham during the team’s run to a Div. 1 Central title. That experience seems to have paid off handsomely for the Panthers because Quinn has taken her game to another level this winter.
In a showdown at the Nixon Gym of the top two teams in the Kelley-Rex division, Quinn was unstoppable. She poured in a career-high 32 points, including 23 in the second half, and knocked down five three-pointers, including all four that she took after the break.
Quinn and Brigham combined to score 37 of Franklin’s 41 points in the second half, as the Panthers rolled to a 71-41 victory and grabbed control of first place in the division.
“I thought on offense we executed at a high level, especially in the second half,” Franklin coach John Leighton explained. “We got under control, we didn’t kick the ball around the gym, stopped fouling, and just got good possessions. When they doubled Ali, we moved the ball and kids knocked down open shots.”
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook added, “We just didn’t do the little things we needed to do to stay afloat. Give them credit. They’re the real deal, they certainly are, and I’m grateful that we get another chance because there are certainly things we need to work on. That’s the level that we’re trying to achieve.”
While Brigham, the reigning league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, will always be the primary focus for opposing teams, but the Panthers showed right away that there are other weapons for teams to deal with. Kaleigh Houlihan knocked down a pair of threes in the first quarter, including one in the corner off an inbounds pass from Elizabeth Wilson to put Franklin up 14-8 after one.
Wilson scored all four of her points in the second quarter, Brigham (22 points and three blocks) added four more and Quinn started to find the range with seven in the quarter to help Franklin build the lead. A Quinn corner three on a Houlihan assist made it 30-18, but OA got Caroline Flynn free inside for a layup to cut the lead back to 10 heading into the locker room.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to break the game wide open, as the Tigers simply couldn’t contain Brigham in the third. The George Washington-commit scored 12 points in the quarter on a variety of post moves on both sides of the rim and even stepping back to drill a three that put the Panthers up 41-26.
“It’s nice having a Div. I kid sitting there,” Leighton said, “but it creates good spacing and (point guard) Erin [Quaile] did a good job creating, getting to the rim when we needed her to. It really puts the defense in peril when everyone is getting touches. No kid can be a spare part.”
When OA did get the ball out of Brigham’s hands, Quinn was there to create another difficult matchup. She scored with a lefty scoop, nailed a three off a Quaile assist, and then hit another from the corner, as Franklin led by as many 22 in the third. Quaile also got to the rim for the only two points not scored by Quinn or Brigham in the quarter.
“As a freshman, I had a lot less confidence,” said Quinn, who entered the week as the fourth leading scorer in the league at more than 15 points per game. “This year, I’m taking on a bigger role in the team and they’re all helping me out and it’s been a great season so far.”
Leighton noted, “Her playing time what it was but she worked her tail off. Going at that speed, going against Ali every day in practice, makes you better. The big thing is confidence. Tonight it all came together. They had a hard time closing out and it gave her the look and she knocked it down.”
Franklin’s defense was preventing OA from keeping the game close, holding the Tigers to just three made field goals in the third. Tori Harney got a jumper after Flynn (10 points and eight rebounds) snagged an offensive board and swung the ball around to the forward. Flynn also scored inside and Bourne managed to slip through the defense on a drive, but it was Franklin by 20 heading to the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, Quinn took over. Quaile set her up for a three and then, after Brigham got a bucket inside, she buried a second one on a kick-out. An offensive rebound for two and the layup plus the foul in transition after a Meghan O’Connell steal put the Panthers up by 27. Another basket on a Brigham assist and a pair at the line completed an impressive night for Quinn and the Panthers.
“We got beat off the dribble repeatedly, we didn’t cover three-point shooters, and I said to them that they’re not 30 points better than we are, but they are today. We didn’t execute any part of our game plan and we didn’t learn from our mistakes.”
Quinn said, “Them being the only other undefeated team in the Hock, this was a big game for us and we really came ready to play with a lot of intensity and gave it to them early.”
Franklin (9-0, 8-0) will be back home on Tuesday in another showdown, this time against Davenport division leader Foxboro. Oliver Ames (8-2, 7-1) will try to bounce back from its second loss when it hosts Milford.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Through its opening five games, Foxboro had proven to be far more than its opponents could handle. The lowest margin of victory for the unbeaten Warriors was 31 points back in the season opener. Coming into Tuesday night’s game at the Nixon Gym, they were the top scoring team in the league and the top defensive team.
As the first quarter was winding down, it looked like business as usual. Foxboro led 15-7 and was lining up another three-pointer to try and extend the advantage. Caroline Peper blocked the shot (one of three blocked three-pointers for her in the game) and Caroline Flynn snatched the rebound. Flynn took off up court and laid a pass off to Peper for a three of her own.
It was the start of a 23-5 run to close out the half that gave the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish. OA held the Warriors to single digits in the second and third quarters, locking down defensively and controlling the glass, to pull out a 54-39 win that keeps them unbeaten in the league and in a first-place tie with Franklin in the Kelley-Rex division.
“These kids have basketball IQs and they’re not afraid to work hard and to be physical,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “I was just so proud of their effort and it didn’t come from just one player. The depth is really significant for us. They’re better now at recognizing where our strengths are.”
It was the first loss of the season for the Warriors, who remain a game ahead of North Attleboro in the Davenport division, and a reminder of the way they have to play in order to have success this season.
“We think we’re better than we are,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “We can be very good but we need to do the little things that we’ve done so far and tonight we kind of forgot those things.”
Foxboro got off to a strong start. Lizzy Davis (11 points, five rebounds, four steals) was everywhere in the first quarter. She scored six points, burying a corner three and scoring in traffic on an inbounds play, and took a pair of charges. Katelyn Mollica drilled a three to make it 12-5 and it looked like the Warriors would have a comfortable edge after one.
Then Peper blocked Davis’ three and turned into three points on the other end of the floor. The momentum from that play carried over after the timeout.
Peper (game-high 14 points) sliced through the defense for a layup. After a couple of free throws, Flynn snagged an offensive board and swung it around to Peper for a quick-release three that put OA on top 17-16. Shakirah Ketant (11 points) answered on the other end to regain the lead, but it would be the last lead of the night for the visitors.
“All of a sudden we were just playing hectic basketball and no one was relaxed,” Downs explained. “When they got the ball everyone was trying to do their own thing.”
Jess Erlich (10 points) hit four straight at the line to put the Tigers in front again, Hailey Bourne (seven points) drove to the cup for two, and then Peper buried her third shot from downtown to put OA ahead 26-19. Flynn assisted on a Erlich layup and then Bourne set up Tate Hadges (nine rebounds) for a basket in the post.
Leading by 10 at the break (30-20), Clement-Holbrook urged her team to keep its foot on the gas. “Coming out in the third quarter, just maintaining that defensive intensity,” she explained. “I wasn’t comfortable until the final buzzer went off because you can’t not play defense against Foxboro for the whole 32 minutes.”
Bourne scored on a drive and Erlich knocked down a corner jumper off a Flynn assist to get OA right back into the swing of things in the third. Peper’s fourth three of the night put OA up 40-22. After Jordyn Collins got a steal and layup and Yara Fawaz scored in the paint, it looked like Foxboro might have a comeback in it but Flynn grabbed an offensive board and scored to make it a 16-point game after three.
Downs admitted, “We got killed on the boards, which is something that we’ve been priding ourselves on, crashing the board offensively and getting defensive rebounds, and we didn’t do that.”
The offense was working well for the Tigers, but the story was the defensive effort that OA put into stopping Mollica. One of the league’s leading scorers, she was held to just six points and one made field goal. The combination of Bourne and Erin Holmberg never allowed Mollica the time or the space to get off her shot or get Foxboro into its sets.
Foxboro never really made a dent in the OA lead in the fourth, only getting as close as 13, after an Abby Hassman steal led to a layup for Davis and then her own drive to the basket made it 52-39. Flynn added four points in the quarter, as did Meg Holleran, and the Tigers comfortably finished the game off.
Oliver Ames (6-1, 5-0) will be back in action again on Friday when it travels to Mansfield. Foxboro (5-1, 4-1) will be on the road again, when the Warriors pay their first visit to the new Stoughton gym.