Franklin, 68 vs. Charlestown, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Franklin used a 14-6 run over the final 3:34 of the third quarter to create a double-digit lead and made enough plays down the stretch to earn the win in the first round of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament held at Bridgewater-Raynham. Senior Steven Karayan scored eight of his team-high 18 points during that run, hitting a pair of three-pointers. Senior Brayden Sullivan also drained a pair of threes in that stretch, finishing with a career-high 11 points. Senior Chris Edgehill helped the Panthers take a lead after one quarter (21-14) and kept his side in the game by halftime (down 36-35) by scoring 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Jack Rudolph (nine points) had a key three in the fourth quarter and Thomas Gasbarro scored five of his seven points in the final frame. Franklin will play host B-R in the final of the tournament on Sunday at 7:00.
Mansfield, 75 vs. BC High, 52 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Mansfield hit 10 three-point field goals and shot over 50% from the floor while playing strong defense to secure a convincing win over visiting BC High. The Hornets scored 20 points in each of the first two quarters to build a 40-28 lead at halftime. Despite not hitting a three-pointer in the third, Mansfield added six points to its lead by holding the Eagles to just 10 points in the third quarter. Mansfield sank five threes in the final quarter, including two in a row from Jason See early on, to run away with the win. Senior Sam Stevens shined on the offensive end, pouring in 28 points on 67% shooting from the field, while hauling in eight rebounds. Juniors TJ Guy (six rebounds, three assists) and Matt Boen (eight rebounds, six assists, three steals) each had 13 points for Mansfield and junior Cincere Gill (eight points) played well off the bench in the win.
Oliver Ames, 76 vs. Classical (R.I.), 71 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Oliver Ames and Classical High (RI) went back and forth, battling in what was mostly a one-possession game for the entire second half before the Tigers made just enough plays down the stretch to get the win. Beyond OA’s early five-point lead in the first minute of the third, and it’s four-point lead in the final minute of the game, the team’s weren’t more than three points apart for 14 of the 16 second half minutes. The Tigers made their run in the final four minutes of the game with Ryan Burkett (16 points, 10 rebounds) coming up with a handful of plays that changed the game. His bucket on a feed from Owen Friel gave OA a 62-61 lead, and he scored again to push the advantage to 64-61. Classical cut it to one but junior Amari Brown (career-high 24 points, five assists) sliced through the lane for two then sank a three with 2:24 left to put OA up 69-63. Classical answered with five straight and got a stop on another OA shot but Burkett flew in and converted a putback with a minute to go to keep OA up, 71-68. Burkett intercepted a pass on the defensive end, leading to a free throw from Drew Nickla to make it a four-point game. OA senior Jay Spillane (career-high 25 points) iced the game with a pair of free throws while Burkett added two more off an inbounds play after Classical hit a late three.
Taunton, 69 vs. Brighton, 47 – Final – Taunton junior Tyler Stewart and sophomore Trent Santos each scored nine points in the second quarter, helping the Tigers turn a six-point lead after eight minutes into a 39-21 advantage by halftime. Stewart finished with a career-high 23 points, scoring eight more in the second half, while Santos had 14 total points in the win. Sophomore Tristan Herry got Taunton off to a good start with eight points in the opening quarter, including one of the Tigers’ two three-pointers in the game. Junior Josh Lopes added 13 points in the win for Taunton, who will take on host Durfee in the Skip Karam Final on Saturday at 6:30.
Attleboro, 37 @ Bishop Feehan, 67 – Final – The Bombardiers trailed by just six at the end of the first quarter but the Shamrocks pulled away in the second, building a 19-point advantage by halftime. Nyah Thomas scored 18 points in the exclusion game loss.
Mansfield, 52 vs. Newtown (Conn.), 65 – Final – Mansfield fell behind 20-4 in the opening quarter against the visitors from Connecticut and were never able to recover. Ashley Santos was the top scorer for the Hornets with 13, while Kayla Vine added nine and Abby Wager had seven. Mansfield will face Fontbonne in the consolation round of the holiday tournament.
Stoughton, 25 vs. @ Rockland, 55 – Final – Junior Mackenzie Manning was the leading scorer for the Black Knights with eight points. The Black Knights will take on Hanover on Monday at 1:00 in the consolation game of the Rockland Holiday Tournament.
Taunton, 68 vs. Durfee, 43 – Final – The Tigers bounced back with a big win against Durfee. Kameron St. Pierre continued her strong rookie season with a game-high 20 points and Sonya Fernandez added 12 for Taunton.
Franklin, 3 vs. LaSalle Academy (PA), 2 – Final (OT) – Franklin junior Joey LeBlanc deposited the game-winner in overtime to help the Panthers upend LaSalla Academy. For MIAA purposes, the game goes down as a 2-2 tie but for the Mount St. Charles Holiday Faceoff, the game went into overtime. LeBlanc’s winner means Franklin will take on host Mount Saint Charles at 8:00 on Saturday night. Franklin took the lead in the first on a goal from Shea Hurley on an assist from Dylan Marchand but LaSalle scored twice in the second to take the lead. Tommy Tasker brought the Panthers level on a goal midway through the third on an assist from Sean Connolly.
North Attleboro, 2 vs. Moses Brown (RI), 1 – Final
Foxboro, 3 vs. Barrington (RI), 2 – Final (SO)
Canton, 4 vs. Medfield/Norton, 1 – Final – Canton exploded for three goals in the opening period, adding a fourth in the second to skate away with a win over Medfield. Maria Femia (assist), Ellie Bohane, and Tess Khoury (assist) each scored in the first to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 advantage. Freshman Olivia Maffeo netted one in the fourth to give the hosts a 4-0 lead.
Lowell Tournament (Canton, Franklin, Stoughton, Taunton), 9:00
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Sharon), 10:00
Framingham Tournament (King Philip, Milford), 10:00
Franklin, 132.7 @ Taunton, 128.65 – Final – Sophomores Kate Rudolph (34.2) and Caroline Woelfel (32.25) took first and second, respectively, in the All Around as the Panthers picked up a win over Taunton. Rudolph was first for Franklin in the vault, bars, and floor while Lexi Lupien earned a first place finish in the beam. Woelfel took second in both the vault and floor while taking third in the bars.
Results: Vault – Kate Rudolph 9.0, Caroline Woelfel 8.75, Maddie McGuire 8.65, Lexi Lupien 8.4; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.3, Emma Nelson 8.1, C. Woelfel 7.3, M. McGuire 7.1; Beam – L. Lupien 8.5, E. Nelson 8.4, Olivia Reagan 8.2, K. Rudolph 8.1; Floor – K. Rudolph 8.8, C. Woelfel 8.6, L. Lupien 8.3, E. Nelson 8.2.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – After struggling against a tough Franklin defense for the first two quarters, the King Philip offense found its rhythm early in the second half.
The Warriors hit three of their first five shots from the floor after being limited to just five total field goals in the first half. And the visiting Panthers had three empty trips and a fourth end in a turnover. Suddenly, Franklin’s double-digit lead was down to just six at 29-23.
Panthers’ coach CJ Neely, who earned his 100th win with Franklin, quickly called a timeout and had a simple message for his squad.
“Just relax,” Neely said of the message. “We just went back to the basics [out of the timeout] and we wanted to get them on their heels.”
And just like that, the Panthers’ defense from the first half was back. Senior Ryan Sullivan (13 points, three rebounds) came up with the steal on one end and senior Matt Lazarek finished off an easy layup after a nice pass from classmate Thomas Gasbarro.
Franklin used an 11-2 over the next three and a half minutes to regain its double-digit lead and never looked back to secure a 63-45 win over King Philip.
“We talked a lot about our defense at halftime and how proud we were with the number we had them at half,” Neely said. “We wanted to continue that obviously but we had some turnovers and they had a quick 7-0 run and all of a sudden they are right back in it. I didn’t think we were sharing the ball like we did during the preseason and I thought tonight all of our biggest baskets were on extra passes. Once the ball started moving, the offense started to click.”
KP senior Robert Jarest was the catalyst of the Warriors’ run, finishing off a layup and then sneaking in for a putback off of an offensive rebound. A three-pointer from senior Owen Conlin made it 29-23.
Franklin’s response featured an alert layup from Rudolph, a strong take from senior Chris Edgehill (21 points, five rebounds, three assists), a three from senior Steven Karayan (11 points), and another finish at the rim from Edgehill to make it 40-25 with 1:32 to play in the third.
“Franklin’s defensive intensity just stayed high and we couldn’t respond and keep up with it,” said second-year KP head coach Dave DeStefano. “We had a couple of turnovers and we lost the momentum that we had. Their defense is on another level, it’s really tough to match. The only time we were comfortably was right out of halftime, we started to play hard and do the things we are good at but we couldn’t maintain it.”
KP senior Andrew McKinney (six points, six rebounds) sank a pull up elbow jumper and junior Donte Barros came off the bench and finished off a layup through traffic plus the harm to get the Warriors within 10.
Edgehill and KP’s Chris Roy traded threes but another layup from Karayan and two technical foul free throws from Rudolph gave the Panthers a 47-33 edge after three.
Declan Walmsley and Brayden Sullivan each hit early fourth quarter three-pointers while KP countered with five points from Alex Fritz (11 points). But yet another three, this one from Karayan off a feed from Gasbarro, helped seal the deal. A three-point play from Rudolph and two each from Edgehill and junior Andrew Byfield helped push the lead to 20.
“I think shooting is one of our strengths this year, which is different from last year,” Neely said. Franklin shot 9-for-27 from three-point range. “We can really spread the floor out, and that’s something we talked about at halftime because we felt we had good shooters passing on open looks. That hurt the flow of our offense. We have a ton of confidence in our guys that can shoot, they just have to be ready to shoot.”
Early threes from Edgehill and Sullivan helped Franklin race out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, holding the Warriors off the scoreboard for over four minutes of action until Roy sank a triple. KP got within two on a three from Fritz but that was the only field goal for the KP senior as the Panthers made sure to give him plenty of attention defensively. Fritz also missed over five minutes in the second quarter due to foul trouble.
Fritz scored a career-high 36 points in KP’s season-opener. Sullivan was tasked with man-to-man defense on him, while Rudolph, Gasbarro, and senior Andrew Cunningham all saw him playing defense on him.
“With a guy like that, it’s not a one-man operation defensively,” Neely said. “Brayden’s been pesky on a lot of guys to start the year but we knew it was going to have to be a team effort. I thought we made his shots difficult. He’s going to make some baskets, and some of the shots he makes are some of the highest level shots I’ve seen in the past couple of years so you just have to make it hard. I thought we did a good job of doing that.”
Franklin lead 14-9 after the first quarter but there wasn’t much rhythm in the second eight-minute frame. The Panthers went to the free throw line 18 times in the second quarter while KP made five trips. Edgehill and Byfield converted from down low early but the Panthers had just one more field goal over the final 6:40, hitting 9-of-18 free throws. Franklin led 29-16 at half.
Franklin boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Friday night in its home opener against Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) is also home, hosting Milford.
2018-2019 Record: 18-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Attleboro fulfilled high expectations last year with a terrific regular season but had its postseason run cut short in the opening round of the tournament. With an experienced, battle-tested, and deep group of seniors, the Bombardiers are hoping to take the next step during the 2019-2020 season.
The Bombardiers have seven seniors on the roster with six having plenty of valuable minutes at the varsity level. It all starts with a pair of four-year varsity players and captains Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles. Both have played over 60 games for head coach Mark Houle and earned HockomockSports.com First Team honors a year ago. Ciccio (14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is like a coach on the floor and Charles (13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is a matchup nightmare and one of the most dominant post players in recent years.
But there is much more to the Bombardiers, such as senior captain Tim Callahan. Callahan had a strong junior season with 7.7 points per game and can change a game with his outside shooting. He will also be relied upon to anchor the defense. Guard Nick McMahon and forward Lorenzo Wilson provided a spark off the bench last season and will be key pieces this season. And senior Jason Weir is back in the mix after missing last year due to injury. Weir showed flashes during his sophomore season, a versatile player that can play in the post or step outside and knock down a three.
Attleboro has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and that will make them difficult to defend. They have a couple of good weapons that can score down low and then a handful of shooters, so the inside-out game will be a big part of the game plan. Charles gives the Bombardiers protection around the rim while all five players are the court will have to contribute on the boards to eliminate second-chance points.
“We will rely on a battle-tested group of seniors, but we will need our underclassman to continue to develop and be ready to step in and play important roles on the team,” said head coach Mark Houle. “We have a hard-working group of players who compete and challenge each other every day in practice.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-10 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
After winning back-to-back Davenport division titles, the Bulldogs know it will be a grind to try and get a third with a big target on their backs.
Gone is the program’s all-time leading scorer and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devin Foster, who was one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league over the past two seasons. That means there is going to be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up for the Bulldogs. Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said this year’s team will be a “much more space and paced” orientated team. Gordy is expecting a more spread out opportunistic approach that will feature contributions from anyone who checks in.
While Foster graduated, the Bulldogs do have a handful of talented and experienced players back on the roster. Senior Kyle Fitzgerald is the top returning scorer from a year ago, netting double figures in six contests. He is also a workhorse on defense and will be one of the leaders on the court. Robbie Gallery, Matt Giglio, and Eric Mischler were all starters at some point during the 2018-2019 season so Gordy will have some veterans to lean on during the year. Gallery, Giglio, and Mischler all showed the ability to come up with a big shot at any time and will help space the floor.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking at their versatility and depth to give them flexibility. Gordy believes he has a strong mix of players that will allow him to switch things up and adjust each and every game. Sophomore Lanse Dorcelus earned minutes for the final month of last season and could be a key piece this season.
“We feel like our program is healthy and players have made a commitment to growth,” Gordy said. “This season we are going to focus on the process and maximizing the strengths of our players. Our culture and direction has been a bright spot as we focus on the player person and team development each practice and game. We’re excited to see where we are and where we can get too.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Gibbs
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Foxboro boys basketball team this season. The good news is that the Warriors expect to once again be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The bad news is for the rest of the Hockomock League as Foxboro boasts an improved offense, and combined with their traditional tough defense, has the Warriors in position for a Davenport division title.
With four of their five top scorers back this season, including senior Brandon Borde (team-high 15.3 ppg) and junior Kevin Gallagher (12.9 ppg), the Warriors are looking to ride a balanced approach on offense to improve their scoring after finishing 10th in scoring in the Hockomock League last season (54.4 points per game). Borde is one of the most experienced players back in the league and has the ability to create his own looks as well as lead the team as the floor general. Gallagher had a breakout sophomore season and can really fill up the scoring column, especially from deep.
Borde and Gallagher will also get help from senior Will Morrison, who can catch fire from deep, and senior Ryan Hughes, who can give opponents trouble in the paint. All four players are returning starters from a season ago, so that gives Foxboro an advantage, especially defensively. Head coach Jon Gibbs called the defense the “foundation” of the team. Foxboro has consistently been very fundamentally sound and disciplined on the defensive end.
Seniors Dylan Barreira, Michael Devlin, Liam Devlin, and Donald Rogers all played important minutes last season and will provide a lot of depth for Foxboro.
“We have been making progress each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been very competitive so far as guys work hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we stay hungry, humble, and unselfish, it has the potential to be a very successful season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Central Quarterfinal Coach: CJ Neely
Ever since the Hockomock League split into two divisions, Franklin has entered each season as one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex and that looks to be the case yet again this year.
As it does each and every season, defense comes first for the Panthers. Franklin was the best defensive team in the Hockomock League last year, allowing just 48.9 points per game. Not only did the Panthers lead the league in that category, they were the lone team to keep opponents under 50 points on average. It’s the second straight year they’ve had the best defense in the division and third straight year they are in the top three. There are a lot of talented individual defenders on the team but year in and year out, Franklin’s team defense gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Panthers boast the top returning scorer in the league in three-year starter Chris Edgehill. Edgehill, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last season, is an absolute handful to deal with on the offensive end of the court. He can score in a variety of ways, and on top of that, he is very good at getting teammates involved (four assists per game last year). Seniors Jack Rudolph and Steve Karayan are also back after playing valuable minutes last season and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
“We have a lot of guys who worked really hard in the offseason to improve and are excited to get on the court,” said head coach CJ Neely. “It’s a great group of people who have a lot of fun together. We need to stay aggressive and share the ball. We hope that strong team defense will continue to be something that defines our program.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
With a solid group of players returning from last season, second-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping to guide his Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
The Warriors showed flashes throughout last year, including an upset win of Kelley-Rex champions Mansfield on the road. But they were also on the wrong end of a handful of close games, losing five games by five or fewer points. With a year of experience in DeStefano’s system, and for a lot of players their first year of varsity under their belts, King Philip is hoping to turn those close games into wins.
KP boasts two returning starters in Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney, both standing at 6’3. Fritz had a breakout junior campaign and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Hockomock League with 15.5 points per game. He was able to score in a variety of ways, including through contact at the rim, and will be a vital piece this year. McKinney was fifth on the team in scoring last year, scoring in double-figures in five contests, including a career-high 19 points at Stoughton. Senior Tommy Donahue looks to give the Warriors a strong presence in the post while classmates Owen Conlin and Chris Roy look to be in the mix. Seniors Robbie Jarest and Tom Weir are back in the mix after a year away from the program.
Defensively, King Philip will be relying on its size and physicality. While Donahue (6’5) will be the main rim protector, having long guards and forwards will help KP make life difficult for opponents. The Warriors will need to improve on the defensive end after surrendering a division-high 63.7 points per game last year. DeStefano is looking to get some contributions from junior juniors Donte Barros, Cole Breen, Joe Cullen, Evan Stephens, Will Kinney, and Jake Silveria while sophomores Charlie Grant and Braeden Sottile will likely be in the mix too.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commitment on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2018-2019 Record: 22-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Mike Vaughan
The Hockomock League continues to run through Mansfield.
The Hornets have won the Kelley-Rex division title in eight of its nine years, and it looks like Mansfield will be the team to beat again this year. Three players that burst onto the scene last year – Sam Stevens, TJ Guy, Matt Boen – are now three of the top players in the Hock heading into this season. Mansfield certainly graduated a lot of talent in Tommy Dooling, Damani Scott, and Khristian Conner, but with those three starters back plus seniors Drew Rooney and Makhi Baskin, as well as a handful of newcomers ready to make an impact, Mansfield is poised for another deep tournament run.
Stevens (11.2 ppg) will be one of the toughest players to stop with his ability to finish around the rim as well as deadly three-point shooting, Guy (10.9 ppg) is very good in the post on both ends of the floor, and Boen (9.5 ppg) can score in a variety of ways. All three are capable of filling up the stat sheet on any given night. Baskin provides a lot of energy and can change the game with his effort while Rooney showed last year that he can matchup with some of the top players in the league on the defensive end.
Juniors Brian and Jason See are both strong shooters that work tirelessly on both ends of the floor and should be in the mix for the Hornets this year. Juniors Jack Colby and Brendan Foley will be looking to bring a spark off the bench while sophomore Matt Hyland and freshman Chris Hill are promising young players that could contribute right away.
“I think our depth and ability to play different styles will be a strength of this team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I’m excited to see where this team can get to as they continue to work hard in practice and mix their individual talents to form our team identity. Transition play, scoring inside and out will be strength on offense. Playing solid man to man and uptempo defense with our depth could create some issues for our opponents.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paul Seaver
After a season of ups and downs, the Milford Scarlet Hawks are hoping last year’s growing pains transition into a playoff berth this season.
With a large group of returnees, the Hawks will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title. While head coach Paul Seaver returns the majority of his team, he will need some of the those players to step up on the offensive end the fill the void left by graduation. The Hawks graduated its top three scorers, including the second-highest scorer in the league in Brendan White (18.2 ppg). That means there will be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up and contribute.
Junior Jordan Darling (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior Colby Pires (6.1 ppg) are the top two point producers back this year while junior Dom Schofield also returns after starting as a sophomore. Darling started 19 games this year and was selected to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team after a strong season on both ends of the court. Pires is a leader both on and off the court and plays well in all aspects of the game, and Schofield gives Milford a strong post presence on the defensive end, recording a team-high 38 charges taken last season.
Ralph Franklin Jr., Matty Varteresian, Tyler Whetherbee, and Ben Blanchard all saw time throughout last season and could all be in line for bigger roles this season.
“Our depth will matter, our balance will matter, our chemistry is this group’s most important attribute,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We were the youngest team in the league last season and this group has a lot of players back who are attacking this year with a chip on their shoulder. This group defines what Milford basketball is and that’s a testament to who these kids are hard workers and higher character individuals. I could not be any more excited to coach and work with these kids on a daily basis.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
There are going to be a lot of new faces dawning the Big Red uniform this winter. After losing nine seniors to graduation, head coach Sean Mulkerrins has just three players back from last year’s nine-win squad.
With a large amount of new players comes a large amount of opportunities. The Rocketeers graduated its two top scorers but bring back senior Ethan Friberg (7.0 ppg) and junior George Ladd (7.4 ppg) to lead the charge offensively this year. Friberg, standing at 6’5, can cause problems in the paint but also van step out and play along the perimeter. Ladd had a breakout sophomore season and was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team. He is a little of a throwback player that is very fundamentally sound on the offensive end. Senior Josh Porter, the third returner, saw an expanded role at the end of last season and played well.
Defensively, the Rocketeers will be focusing on limiting opponents to one shot per possession. With some size in the frontcourt, North will try to make it difficult to finish at the rim, and with all five players committed to rebounding, try and minimize second-chance points.
“There will be a lot of new faces with opportunities to make an impact on this year’s team,” Mulkerrins said. “There will definitely be some growing pains and the sooner the new faces adjust to the rigors of varsity basketball, the better we will be.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
Last season, Oliver Ames came up just one game shy of the state tournament. Goal number one for the 2019-2020 season is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
With a strong mix of experienced players and hungry new additions, Oliver Ames is ready for the grind that is the Kelley-Rex division and the Hockomock League.
“The expectation is to always get [to the tournament], that’s our first goal,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “We’re pretty optimistic but we know it’s going to be a grind, you have to show up every night, you can’t take a night off.”
Byron has been impressed with his guard play so far this preseason, and that will likely mean featuring three guards in the lineup for the majority of the time. Senior Jay Spillane is a returning starter while classmate Owen Friel and junior Amari Brown were top options off the bench a season ago. Spillane can score in bunches, especially from the outside, while Friel combines a solid shooting game with a hard-nosed defensive approach. Friel’s ability to guard a variety of position makes him a valuable piece in the lineup while Brown is a crafty player that does a nice job getting teammates involved.
Senior center Evan Craig (6’5) will be joined by classmate Ryan Burkett (6’2) in the frontcourt. Both picked up valuable minutes at the varsity level last year and Byron is hoping that will help with their expanded roles this year. Senior guard Adam Cann and junior forwards Trey Buggs and Drew Nickla will provide depth for the Tigers.
“It takes some time to get accustomed to the varsity speed and what we expect at this level,” Byron said. “All of these kids gained experience with us last year, and that year of experience is invaluable.”
2018-2019 Record: 3-17 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
After a couple of down seasons, the Eagles will be making a strong push to get back into the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Sharon boasts a number of players who gained varsity experience that will be looking to help the program bounce back. The first being senior Aidan Kane, the team’s leading scorer last season with 11.5 points per game. When he’s on from keep, Kane is one of the top three-point shooters in the league. He has the ability to change a game very quickly if he gets hot from deep. Senior Andrew Burton emerged as one of the Eagles’ top players last year and could be poised to have a breakout year. Sophomore John Baez will start at the point after joining the varsity team for the final month and a half last season.
The Eagles will be relying heavily on its frontcourt to step up on both ends of the court. Senior Caleb Gayle is a traditional post player that will compete hard on both ends of the court, senior Cam Baker is fundamentally sound and a reliable option and junior Hank Ward picked up valuable minutes as a sophomore and will be an important part of the rebound game as well as defensively. Senior Aaron Karten will be in the mix as well, giving the Eagles an athletic frontcourt.
Junior Jordan Barboza should give the Eagles a spark off the bench this year and head coach Andrew Ferguson will look for him as an important defensive piece. Kiran Chandrasekaran had flashes of the strong play off the bench last year and should see an expanded role this year, while junior transfer Matt Baskin could provide a needed scoring punch.
“This group has worked tremendously hard in the offseason and the preseason and is looking to translate that into success throughout the regular season,” Ferguson said. “Many of the players have gained valuable experience at the varsity level over the past two years and our senior class are tremendous leaders who provide a great example for our younger players.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-11 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Preliminary Round Coach: John Gallivan
Stoughton ended its playoff drought last season and with a good amount of those players back again this year, the Davenport division title and a deep playoff run could be in the forecast this season.
The Black Knights have their leading scorer back in 6’5 senior forward Obinna Ugwuakazi, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game with nine double-doubles last year. His athleticism and ability to finish through contact made him a tough matchup for opponents, and he will be at the forefront of the Stoughton offense again this year. Fellow senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, who also stands at 6’5, is also back and we could see the duo play together at times which will certainly make life tough for opponents.
Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell is back for his third year on varsity. After improving each of the past two seasons, the 2019-2020 season could be a breakout year for Grigalunas-Powell, who can score from three-point range but is also a crafty finisher attacking the rim. Ahmad Jahed had flashes of strong play last year and will be back in the mix again this year, and the same goes for Tommy Sanda. Juniors Brett Pendenza and Jake Queeney are also back after earning some minutes last year.
“We feel like we can score this year both from downtown and from down low,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “And with our size in the paint, we hope to make it difficult for opponents to score consistently.”
2018-2019 Record: 15-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Charlie Dacey
After a strong regular season, the Taunton boys basketball team flipped a switch in the tournament and made a run to the D1 South Semis, nearly knocking off powerhouse Mansfield. With a taste of postseason success, the Tigers are hoping to replicate that success this year with another impressive playoff stretch.
The Tigers boast speed, skill, and depth this season and will be in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. While Taunton lost a lot of production from last year (Lou Vendrell, Mike Quinn, John Martins, Wesner Charles), there are a handful of players battling to earn their chance at minutes in the Tigers’ lineup. One constant in that lineup over the past couple of years is senior Dante Law, who enters his fourth year with the varsity group. Law was Taunton’s leading scorer a year ago with 14.1 points per game but none of the other returners were over five points a game, meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up.
Seniors Fabio Goncalves (6’6) and Aiden Pelot, as well as junior Tyler Stewart (6’6) make up the frontcourt for the Tigers. All three played at the varsity level last year and will be key pieces at helping the Tigers defend and win the battle on the boards. Law will be joined by junior Josh Lopes, who showed flashes during his sophomore season, DaeDae Kenion, and sophomore transfer Tristan Herry as key pieces of the offense.
The Tigers are also excited about the depth on the team this year. Junior Danny MacDougall earned starting minutes last year and is a reliable option in a variety of roles while Trent Santos, Logan Lawrence, and Jonathan Torres will all be in the mix for Taunton.
“With this team, press and run should be ‘Plan A’ although there are skills available to play at a slower pace,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
Boys Soccer D1 South
#11 Franklin, 1 @ #6 Natick, 0 – Final – Franklin scored an early goal and the defense had a great game to earn a 1-0 upset of #6 Natick. Lucas Moura scored on an assist from Donny Tappin to put the visitors ahead. Jack Rudolph was outstanding in net in the shutout for Franklin. The Panthers will play the winner of #3 Brockton and #14 Braintree.
#2 Milford, 6 vs. #15 Catholic Memorial, 0 – Final – Milford’s offense exploded for five goals inside an 11-minute span in the first half to earn a first round win over Catholic Memorial. Junior Lucas Da Silva opened the scoring in the 14th minute and the floodgates opened up for the Hawks’ offense. Jordan Borges (from Leo Coelho) doubled the lead less than one minute later, and Joao Pedro Da Silva got in on the scoring action with a goal in the 21st minute. Joao Pedro Da Silva grabbed his second two minutes later off a cross from Pedro Araujo, who then scored himself off a header (from Eduardo Castro) in the 25th minute. Castro converted a fast break for his first career goal in the 34th minute to make it 6-0. Chris Tocci, Gabriel Godoy, and Carlos Terrinha played well defensively for Milford.
Field Hockey D1 South
#5 Franklin, 0 @ #4 Westwood, 1 – Final
#15 Mansfield, 0 @ #7 Notre Dame, 4 – Final
Volleyball D1 Central/East
#3 King Philip, 3 vs. #6 Revere, 0 – Final – King Philip opened its tournament run in impressive fashion with a dominant 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-9) win over Revere. Nicole Coughlan (11 kills, two aces) and Catherine Waldeck (nine kills, three blocks) led the charge offensively for the Warriors while Kristen Masse (three kills, two aces) also had a strong match. The Warriors advance to the D1 Central/West Semifinals to play at #2 Quincy (19-2) on Wednesday at 6:00.
#4 Oliver Ames, 3 vs. #5 Brockton, 2 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this match. – Oliver Ames pulled out a close win in a see-saw battle between the Tigers and Boxers in a rubber match this season. After splitting the regular season series, the Tigers earned bragging rights with a 3-2 (25-9, 19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-7) win in the tournament opener for both teams. Senior Allie Kemp with dished out 34 assists, senior Alison Barth had 39 digs, and senior Jordan Bosse and junior Caroline Flynn paced the offense with 15 kills apiece. #4 Oliver Ames will play #1 Dartmouth on Wednesday at 6:30 at Greater New Bedford Voke.
#2 Canton, 3 vs. #10 Tantasqua, 0 – Final – Canton took care of business in its tournament opener, knocking off visiting Tantasqua, 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-14). Taylor Harris was the catalyst for the Bulldogs offense with 16 kills, while Claire Quinn, Shannon Malloy, Liz Bickett (six aces, 10digs), and Angie Elias all played great at the net. Nikki Desjardins and Steph Trendell played solid defense, and Jackie Morrissey added 17 assists and 12 digs. #2 Canton advances to the D2 Central Semifinal and will host the winner of #3 North Middlesex and #6 Medfield on Thursday.
“This is a great tie for us,” said Taunton coach Taylor Whitters. “We’ve been struggling a little bit with some finishing and hustling, and in the second half they showed what they are capable of, and they are capable of a lot. They were great teammates today and they worked hard, and going forward that’s what we need to keep doing.”
Franklin scored just under five minutes into the game and added a second tally in the final minute of the first half to take a comfortable 2-0 advantage into the halftime break. The Panthers carried some of that momentum into the second half but couldn’t find the final touch to add a third goal in the second half.
“This was a very bad tie for us as far as I’m concerned, we should have put them away,” said Franklin head coach Fran Bositis. “I thought we had some chances to put them away and didn’t take them. Their goalie played recklessly but he played well. But there’s no way this team should be giving up two goals in a half, let alone the last 15 minutes of the game.”
The Panthers found success playing through balls behind the Tigers’ defense throughout the first half, including junior Ethan Cain played Donny Tappin in alone in the 5th minute, and the senior striker calmly finished his chance to put the visitors up 1-0.
In the second half, Taunton goalie Nolan Melo made tough for Franklin to connect on those chances. Melo was quick off his line and often came out to clear the ball played through.
“He reads the game incredibly well,” Whitters said of Melo. “He’s willing to take risks, and sometimes it’s a big risk, but he anticipates very well. And that is a huge help when teams are trying to play those through balls or the ball over the top.”
Franklin did have its chances though, as Lucas Moura beat a defender one-on-one but his service through the six-yard box just missed Tappin. Six minutes later, Tyler Powderly looked to have given the Panthers some breathing room when he got a piece of a cross from Tappin, but Melo grabbed the ball before it could completely cross the line.
“That’s the type of team that all they need is a chance,” Bositis said. “If we had scored that third goal, I think that would have been it. But allowing them to get the next goal, even with only 15 minutes left, that gave them life. And we just weren’t playing smart at that point anyway.”
Moura had Franklin’s best chance of the half in the 62nd minute, dribbling his way past a defender to get an open shot but Melo made the point-blank save to keep the deficit at 2-0.
That saved proved even bigger as Taunton got on the board just five minutes later. After a long clearance, the Tigers developed a quick 2-on-1 up the middle and junior Donovan Hibbert played senior Alec Nunes onto his right foot, and the striker buried a low shot into the bottom corner of the goal to make it 2-1.
“I think we were building towards it in the second half,” Whitters said. “We were using some high pressure, and once they saw that something was coming from their hustle and their effort, they started to believe, and they started to see some results from it.”
Taunton continued to press, and a free kick service fell into the area and bounced around. The referee at midfield called a handful on the Panthers, awarding the hosts with a penalty kick. Senior Colton Madeira buried the chance from the spot to make it 2-2 in the 75th minute.
Franklin had the majority of chances in the opening half. Tappin flashed a header at the near post off a service from Moura in the 23rd minute but Melo made the stop. Jeff Yelle and Charlie Amante nearly connected in the 28th minute but Melo was quick off his line.
Taunton’s best chance of the first half came when Nunes won a challenge and fired a shot from 25 yards out but Franklin keeper Jack Rudolph made the save on the bounce.
The Panthers made it 2-0 just before the halftime whistle when Ben Moccia played a low service and Tappin made a terrific run to the near post and simply one-timed the cross into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Taunton boys soccer (0-3-3 Hockomock, 0-3-3 overall) entertains Milford on Friday while Franklin (3-1-2, 3-1-3) will host North Attleboro on the same day.
“I think that’s an incredible Franklin team, I just told [Franklin coach] Fran [Bositis] I haven’t seen a team close down space as quickly and efficiently as they do,” said Milford head coach Brian Edwards. “I was very happy with how we were able to move the ball at times against them. The score is great but we have a lot of work to do. We made some mistakes, I thought we were fortunate in how we scored. I think we showed flashes of what we can do but we’ll need to keep getting better each game.
“But anytime you can get a result against a good team like that, we’ll take it.”
Junior Leo Coelho turned some heads with a terrific individual run, beating multiple Panthers before depositing a perfect shot just under the bar to give Milford a lead in the second minute.
Franklin tied the game in the 17th but Milford scored a pair of goals in the final half hour of play to emerge with the victory.
After Coelho’s strike, the Hawks continued to pressure early and had a couple of chances at doubling the lead. In the 9th minute, senior Pedro Moura played Coelho in behind the defense but Franklin keeper Jack Rudolph (eight saves) came charging off his line and Coelho’s touch was just wide of the post.
It wouldn’t be the last time Rudolph would deny the Hawks on a good goal scoring chance.
The Panthers equalized in the 17th minute on one of their few chances in the contest. Senior Donny Tappin made a darting run down the left side, centering with a low cross. Junior Ben Moccia was able to slide and beat his defender, tapping the pass into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Thanks to Rudolph, that was the scoreline heading into the half. In the 20th minute, Moura connected with Lucas Da Silva, who flicked it back but Moura’s low left-footed shot was swallowed up by Rudolph.
And then just minutes before halftime, Coelho hit one from distance that forced Rudolph into a diving save, getting his fingertips to the shot to force it to hit the post and out for a corner.
Milford regained the lead in the 52nd minute. Senior captain Nuno Mestre looped a throw into the box where Moura was taken down for a penalty kid. Moura hit one down the middle, and Rudolph was able to get the original stop but Moura was alert to the rebound and sprinted up and tapped it in to make it 2-1.
The Hawks had a couple of other chances to add to the lead but couldn’t solve Rudolph. In the 56th minute, Moura tracked down a ball over the top and had an open chance but was denied by Rudolph and the rebound rolled wide. In the 60th minute, Joao Pedro Da Silva connected with Coelho but his shot sizzled just over the bar. Senior Jordan Borges cracked one off the corner of the crossbar and post on a 30-yard free kick in the 64th minute.
The Hawks stifled any efforts from the Panthers to get forward over the final 10 minutes. Coelho moved back from forward to a center defensive midfield position and helped shore up the defense.
“Jack bailed us out, I thought he played great today,” Bositis said. “[Milford] is very crafty, quick, well-skilled…they are good. For us, it was similar to Xaverian where we just aren’t getting it done in the final third.”
Just before the final whistle, won a challenge in the attacking third, catching Rudolph off his line and he calmly dropped a shot into the far post to make it 3-1. Moura nearly made it 4-1 in the final seconds but Rudolph came off his line to deny a partial breakaway chance.
“You want to play a team like that because they test you,” Edwards said. “They’re so well-coached, they’re so athletic, they are good at every position. When you play Franklin, you know every guy is going to be a good athlete and each guy can defend well. So it was a good litmus test for us. We want to be able to move the ball on the ground quickly against big, strong physical teams.”
Milford boys soccer (1-0 overall, 1-0 Hockomock) is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Sharon while Franklin (0-1, 0-1) heads to King Philip on Monday night.
2018 Record: 5-10-3 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Peter Pereira
The Bombardiers have put last year’s season in the rearview mirror and are aiming to get back to the state tournament in 2019.
Attleboro will rely on its eight returners from last year’s squad plus a good amount of new faces to try and make a push for the playoffs. Senior captains Mike Russo, Nathan LaPlume, and Josh Smith will provide leadership both on and off of the field for the Bombardiers. All three have a good amount of varsity experience with LaPlume and Smith tasked with anchoring the Bombardiers’ defensive unit. Both started a season ago so the defense should be a strength to start the season. Russo started in the midfield a year ago and will be in charge of leading that unit. Attleboro will have to fill the shoes left by leading scorer Will Halben (seven goals, five assists) but there is a strong group of forwards that includes Joey Soucy, Justin Lurssen, and Hugo Henriquez — all of whom have varsity experience — that is ready to pace the offense. Patrick Raczkowski and Kevin Raczkowski should give Attleboro help defensively, junior Jackson Singer bolted academy and should give the Bombardiers a boost in the midfield while junior Zackary Brown takes over in goal.
“I am looking to get some leadership and good play from my tri-captains and I’m hoping for a better season [than last year],” said longtime head coach Peter Pereira. “The team’s attitude has been great and we are working hard.”
2018 Record: 10-7-2 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Fran Bositis
Franklin was one of the hottest teams in the league over the second half of the season last year and the Panthers are hoping to carry that momentum into 2019.
When the calendar turned to October, the Panthers finished the regular season 7-1-1. Longtime head coach Fran Bositis has the pieces to continue that success to begin this year and contend for a league title. A strong suit for the 2019 squad will be the defensive unit, featuring returning keeper Jack Rudolph and center backs Sam Stowell and Jacob Cummings. Anytime a team returns two center backs and its keeper, especially a unit that allowed just three goals in its final nine regular seasons, it’s a big positive. Matt Szczepanowski and Trevor O’Neill, both seniors, will factor in defensively as well. Sophomore Terry O’Neill anchors the midfield from the center of the pitch after a successful freshman campaign while the addition of junior Ethan Cain should give Franklin one of the top midfielder duos, and sophomore Tyler Powderly will likely play in a variety of roles. The challenge for Franklin this season will be finding a consistent offense but there is experience up top with Donny Tappin and Lucas Moura back.
“I think we have the potential to be pretty good, but it all comes one game at a time,” Bositis said. “I think if we can score some goals consistently, we can be pretty dangerous this year.”
2018 Record: 4-12-2 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Mike O’Neill
King Philip begins a new chapter in program history as Mike O’Neill takes over after Nick Gale stepped down following a successful stint with the Warriors.
O’Neill will be looking to help the Warriors bounce back from a four-win season, the first time the squad missed the state tournament in over a decade. King Philip graduated nearly a dozen seniors from last year’s squad but have some key players back in key positions. Senior captain Brian McCarthy has a lot of varsity experience and O’Neill will lean on him to organize the midfield. Senior captains Wes Orzell and Matt Clarke anchor the back line and will be tasked with helping the Warriors keep possession by playing out of the back. Behind the defense, senior Grant Orzell and junior Aidan Lindmark are both strong options in goal. Juniors Evan McEvoy and Camron Lawrence both begin their third season on varsity and are poised to have big years at midfield.
“The team is eager to get started, the seniors want to make their mark after a tough season last year, and the juniors and sophomores are hungry to prove themselves,” O’Neill said. “We will need to stay organized and committed to team defending if we are going to be able to compete in the difficult Hockomock League.”
2018 Record: 13-3-5 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Steve Sheridan
The Hornets have won two division titles in the past four years and took second place in the other two seasons, so it’s safe to assume Mansfield will be in the mix once again this year.
In that span of success, Mansfield has been one of the best defensive teams year in and year out, average under a goal against in each of those seasons, including just 0.67 goals against in 2018. The big challenge this season will be replicating that stingy defense because the Hornets graduated their entire back four. The good news is that Mansfield has Anthony Salisbury back in net after he set the program record for shutouts while Cam Bovey serves as the backup keeper, though he is pushing for minutes this season. The strength of the 2019 squad will be in the midfield where senior captains Peter Oldow and Colin Caridi will be. Both have a good amount of varsity experience and will be joined by fellow returners Robbie Healey, Raffi Marzella, Tommy Lanzillo, Colin True, and Evan Eames. Sophomore Dylan Buchanan made a strong impression during his freshman season and will be joined up front by senior Owen Mullahy, who also picked up some valuable minutes a year ago.
“Our biggest question will be, ‘Who’s going to take over our defense that graduated?”, said head coach Steve Sheridan. “That is what I’m trying to figure out and hopefully it will iron itself out during the preseason.”
2018 Record: 8-4-5 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: John Barata
A lot of people learned last year what we already knew: Under head coach John Barata, Oliver Ames doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. The Tigers had to replace their entire starting lineup last season but still had a shot at the division title heading into the final week.
Oliver Ames has a healthy amount of returning players that either started or saw valuable minutes at the varsity level last year starting with seniors Jon Freeman and Matthew Nosalek, who will be key pieces along the back line for the Tigers. Senior Harry Ahearn is another experienced player that will factor in defensively, senior Josh LaBrosse could see time in the midfield or defense, and seniors Nick Farley and Andrew Hanna could get minutes up top. OA has a strong junior class that learned a lot during last season. Colin Milliken, last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year, will organize the Tigers from the midfield while Anthony DaCosta, Kevin Louhis, and Jimmy Keane are all strong attacking options. Drew Nickla will take over as the starting keeper this year.
“It is too early to tell what we will look like but I’m looking forward to a great season with the boys,” Barata said. “We are excited for the opportunity to compete this season in the Hock. There are lots of talented teams coming back, from the defending champions to the schools with new coaches ready to make a mark. It’s going to be one of the toughest seasons in my tenure and we hope to be competitive.”
2018 Record: 3-12-4 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Taylor Whitters
While the record might not reflect it, it felt like Taunton took a step in the right direction last year, and the Tigers are expecting to take another one this season.
One area of improvement that head coach Taylor Whitters is excited about is the defensive group. The Tigers had the most goals allowed in the Kelley-Rex division but have a reinforced back line ready to fend off the top offenses the Hockomock League has to offer. Senior Colton Medeiros, who had a terrific freshman year before missing time to academy and injury, will anchor the defense in the middle alongside freshman Riley Rebelo. Khalil Ba, a transfer in from Tolman, gives Taunton an outside back that can join in on the attack, while Nolan Melo returns as the starting keeper. Alec Nunes and Colby Fernandes are two dynamic, experienced players that can play both in the midfield or up front. Junior Travis Nunes returns from injury and classmate Hunter Cabral is a versatile player that will play in various roles.
“We have a lot of versatility this year, we’re going to be able to move guys around based on each game,” Whitters said. “No one is locked into a position, we’re going to take it game by game this season.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – After the game ended, after the bulk of the crowd had filed out of the gym that only a few minutes before had been packed to capacity, and after speaking with his team in the locker room, Franklin coach C.J. Neely was left to reflect on how different the emotions were for his players this year compared to the last time that the Panthers faced Algonquin.
“It’s total shock,” he explained. “I told the guys that I feel bad because you go into the locker room and try to gather your thoughts somehow and tell them how proud you are of them and how good they played all year and you’re just never really ready for the moment to break that down.”
Last season, Franklin (16-5) beat the Tomahawks to win the Div. 1 Central title on its way to a second straight state championship game appearance. This year, the Panthers hosted Algonquin in the opening round of the tournament and the Tomahawks took advantage of the opportunity to avenge that loss, pulling out a 63-60 thriller.
The visitors made their share of huge shots, whether it was freshman Alex Karaban burying a deep three in the fourth quarter to push the lead to four points or senior Sean Cullen ignoring the Franklin fans behind the basket to drain a pair of free throws with 22 seconds remaining.
But, the Panthers were also their own worst enemies, shooting only 13-of-25 from the free throw line. In a game that came down to the final possession, those missed opportunities were the difference.
“It’s a killer,” Neely admitted. “It’s been kind of an Achille’s heel all season in the games that we’ve lost. We joked around a lot that we’d be undefeated if we made free throws and here we are again. I think we can chalk up another one that we lost at the free throw line, unfortunately.”
When the game tipped off, there was still a long line of people waiting to get in the door, as the atmosphere felt more like a final than the opening round. The teams came out firing like it was a final as well, with Algonquin jumping out to an early 6-0 lead before Franklin answered with six straight of its own.
Sean Leonard scored four points in the first and Jalen Samuels (15 points,10 rebounds, and four blocks in his final game) got the Panthers within one when he drove baseline and finished with a one-hand slam. Chris Edgehill (team-high 20 points) gave Franklin its first lead with a deep three in the final seconds of the quarter.
Algonquin used a 4-0 run to grab a 17-16 lead but Samuels scored back-to-back buckets to get the lead back for the hosts. Another three from Edgehill opened up a five-point lead and then Jack Rudolph hit a pull-up jumper in the lane.
After Edgehill knocked down three free throws, Franklin led by seven, but Karaban scored on an offensive rebound and Brian Duffy (game-high 24 points) buried a three to cut the lead to just two. Samuels drove to the basket to finish the half with Franklin up 32-28, but the Panthers went only 5-of-10 at the line in the quarter and 8-for-16 in the half. Those points that were left on the board would prove costly in the end.
In the third quarter, Rudolph got things started by knocking down a three off a set play. It felt like Franklin was on the brink of breaking the game wide open but instead Brian Duffy (game-high 24 points) caught fire. He knocked down three free throws, drilled a three, and then hit a jumper. His personal 8-0 run put the Tomahawks up one.
Edgehill got into the lane to set up Will Harvey for a layup and then Rudolph hit his second three of the quarter before setting Harvey up for another layup. Rudolph and Harvey combined for all 12 of Franklin’s points in the third, keeping the Panthers up by three heading to the fourth.
“Those guys have been good for us,” Neely said about Rudolph and Harvey. “[Will’s] always been that kind of grinder who doesn’t get the notoriety because he does everything but when you’ve got Chris and Jalen scoring the way they do then you don’t get the chance to score the way he can.”
Duffy continued to have the hot hand in the fourth, tying the game with a three, but it was an unlikely source of offense that gave Algonquin the lead. Cullen had only two points through three quarters and was largely a passenger on offense, but he drilled a three to give the visitors a lead and then scored on a three-point play to extend the lead to four. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth.
Franklin kept battling back. Rudolph stole an errant pass, fed Leonard in the paint and he dished it off to Samuels for a layup that made it 52-51. Edgehill hit a pair at the line to make it 58-57 only to have Karaban come down and bury a deep three to make the deficit four.
Neely said, “That was a big three, NBA distance, from Karaban there at the end and we knew that coming in that he does that. It wasn’t a surprise shot or anything like that but it’s just big guts to take it and make it at that time.”
Edgehill answered with a deep three that made it 61-60, but on the other end he committed a foul with just 13 seconds left on the shot clock and 22 ticks left in the game. Cullen stepped to the line and seemed unfazed by the moment, hitting both right in front of the Franklin student section. While Franklin was struggling at the line, Algonquin was 8-of-10 at the stripe in the second half following Cullen’s makes.
Franklin ran the clock down to 11 seconds before Edgehill hit front rim on a very deep three.
“Chris has made some big shots for us and sometimes if you call that timeout the defense really gets the chance to set itself,” Neely said of the decision not to call a timeout on that possession. “I thought he had been able to really create space for his own shot tonight and made some big ones and it’s always that question mark whether you call it or not and let the game play out.”
A foul on the rebound put Algonquin at the line with a chance to seal the win. Ironically, the visitors missed them both and Franklin got one last chance to extend the game.
Samuels snatched the inbounds pass away from a defender at mid-court, but he couldn’t get an off-balance heave to the rim and the Tomahawks bench stormed onto the court to celebrate.
Canton, 64 @ Pentucket, 77 – Final – Canton trailed by just five at halftime (31-26) but the shorthanded Bulldogs surrendered 24 points in the third quarter and couldn’t keep pace with Pentucket. Seniors Devin Foster and Ryan Lentol each scored 20 points for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 67 @ Walpole, 55 – Final – Foxboro shot 50% from three-point range, sinking nine triples and four Warriors reached double-figures in scoring to finish the season with a win over Walpole. Brandon Borde (eight rebounds) had a team-high 16 points, Anthony Mollica added 13 points, and Kevin Gallagher and Michael Devlin each finished with 10 points.
Franklin, 56 vs. Cambridge, 46 – Final – Franklin scored 20 points in the opening quarter and held Cambridge to just seven points in the third to pick up a win in its regular season finale. Juniors Chris Edgehill (18 points) and Jack Rudolph each scored five points in the first while seniors Jalen Samuels (16 points) added four points apiece as the Panthers led 20-12 after one. Franklin’s five-point advantage at half (31-26) ballooned to double-digits by the end of the third (46-33) and the Panthers never looked back.
North Attleboro, 59 vs. Weston, 28 – Final – Julia Feid closed out the season by setting a new career-high with 28 points to lead the Rocketeers to a season sweep of Weston.
Oliver Ames, 73 vs. Newton North, 61 – Final – Freshman Caroline Peper set a new career-high with 31 points (including a perfect 10-for-10 at the line), as OA pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn the win in the regular season finale. The game was tied at 51-51 heading to the fourth but OA outscored Newton North 22-10. Meg Holleran and Hailey Bourne each scored 10 points for the Tigers. OA was 27-of-35 from the line as a team.
Canton, 6 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 1 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.
Franklin, 0 vs. Barnstable, 1 – Final
Canton, 1 vs. Walpole, 2 – Final – Lauren Fitzpatrick scored for Canton in the third period to cut the Walpole lead in half, but the Bulldogs couldn’t find a second to tie it.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 1 vs. Westwood, 3 – Final – Emma Pereira scored the only goal for MOA, which stayed within one goal until the Wolverines scored an empty netter late in the third.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – For the Franklin boys basketball team, terrific defense led to easy offense.
And that combination resulted in a dominant performance and a comfortably 57-36 win over visiting Attleboro.
The Panthers flipped a two-point game upside down with a 20-0 run over the final six minutes of the second quarter to pull away from the Bombardiers, who entered the contest with a chance to win at least a share of its first Kelley-Rex title.
Franklin limited the visitors to just 22% shooting from the field in the opening half as the Bombardiers couldn’t find a connection from deep, going just 1-for-17 from three-point range. And with consistent stops, Franklin’s pushed the pace and cashed in with an impressive transition offense, converting some easy looks down low. Franklin shot 65% from the field in the opening half, making 12-of-18 shots from two-point range.
“That was definitely our best game of the season, by far,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “The guys were excited to play tonight, there’s no doubt about it. I think they were a little sore about how last game went and how the season has gone in some respects. They wanted to make a statement tonight and I thought they did, especially in that second quarter. We went in at halftime, and we usually have a list of things we want to change or that we did poorly, and we didn’t have many things on the list. The guys really bought in, that was the best they’ve bought in to a game plan and scouting report all season.”
While Attleboro only had four first half turnovers, it couldn’t solve the Panthers defensively. During Franklin’s game-changing run, Attleboro only had one turnover on a shot clock violation, and 0-for-11 from the field, with eight of those shots coming from three-point range.
“They did everything better than us tonight, offensively and defensively,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “They made us really feel uncomfortable all night, and we didn’t have any answers.
“We didn’t hit [a three] in the first quarter but I have confidence in our guys that can shoot it, we can get hot, but we didn’t get enough paint touches. [Franklin] did a nice job of taking that away early, something that most teams haven’t been able to do. That limited us really. But quite honestly, we weren’t executing on offense. There were still things that we could have done, but we weren’t executing, and that led to a stagnant offense. And we couldn’t attack the rim because their defense was set. That was a very good defensive effort by them.”
Franklin led 15-7 after the first quarter but Attleboro opened the second quarter with a quick 5-0 run to make it a two-point game. Bryant Ciccio (11 points) drained a three and Kevin Velazquez picked off a pace and went the distance for a layup to make it 15-13.
From there, it was all Panthers. Jalen Samuels (15 points, nine rebounds, four assists) converted his own putback and then scored off a feed from Chris Edgehill (seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists). Will Harvey (career-high 19 points, nine rebounds) sank a three-pointer off a feed from Jack Rudolph, then Edgehill came down with a defensive rebound, pushed it up court and found Rudolph for two. Samuels then drove to the basket, drew in the defense and dished it off to Harvey for an easy two and a 26-13 lead with 3:43 left in the second quarter.
The Bombardiers tried to shoot their way out of the funk, taking six triples on their next seven possessions. The lone trip that didn’t result in a three-point attempt was a turnover on a shot clock violation.
Meanwhile, Franklin continued to cash in on the offensive end. Edgehill got some space in the lane for two, Jake Macchi (nine points) sank a three on a pass from Rudolph just moments after Samuels blocked an Attleboro three, and Samuels scored in low on a floater to put Franklin up 35-13 heading into halftime.
“Getting out in transition was key for us, getting up and down,” Neely said. “And when we attacked the paint, I think the biggest thing was getting in there and then making the extra pass for some dunks and some layups.”
The second half was much more even than the first, but the damage was already done by the Panthers. Tim Callahan made Attleboro’s second triple of the game with 2:44 left in the quarter (2-for-21 from deep through three), Ciccio added five points, including Attleboro’s only two free throws in the game, and Qualeem Charles (eight points, 10 rebounds) got an early bucket, but Franklin got points from Macchi (a three), Harvey (five) and two apiece from Edgehill and Rudolph to hold a 47-24 advantage entering the fourth.
“One of the biggest things we worked on was long closeouts,” Neely said. “We practiced having to get there and get there with a hand without flying into the crowd. We’re going to have to live with them making a couple. We knew we’d have to focus on Q, you can’t let one guy try and do it himself. I thought Harvey played one of his best games this season, and he rebounded really well and played great defensively.”
Attleboro’s defense limited the Panthers to 10 points in the fourth, but only scored 12 on its own. Mason Houle sank two threes in the fourth, the latter cutting the deficit to 15 points but with only three minutes to go. Harvey added four in the final frame and Matt Lazarek came off the bench to hit a triple for the Panthers, who shot 56% from the floor for the game and dominated the rebounding battle, 33-18.
“We had some good looks, but they were mostly contested shots,” Houle said. “We have to regroup. We have the opportunity to learn from this. We didn’t do many good things tonight on either end tonight. Their transition offense, we didn’t do a good enough job against it. That led to 20 straight points…and just layups. It was them getting the rebound and pushing it for a layup.”
Franklin boys basketball (12-4 Hockomock, 14-5 overall) is back in action on Sunday with a noon tipoff against New Bedford. Attleboro (13-3, 16-4) will try to bounce back when it travels to rival North Attleboro for a non-league clash on Monday.