Franklin Dominates Attleboro In Hockomock Finale

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin senior Jalen Samuels attacks the basket in the first half against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/08/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
King Philip, 54 @ Attleboro, 58 – FinalAttleboro senior Mason Houle hit a big three and junior Qualeem Charles sank two big free throws as the Bombardiers held off an upset bid from King Philip. Houle (15 points) took a feed from Kevin Velazquez (nine points) and drained a three to make it 56-48 with 1:20 to play. KP’s Bruce Saintilus (21 points) answered with a three of his own to make it 56-51. After a stop, Tim Nault sank a three for the Warriors to make it 56-54 with 39 seconds to play. Charles (13 points, eight rebounds) hit two free throws with 12.4 left to secure the win for Attleboro. Tim Callahan added 13 points for Attleboro while Alex Fritz finished with 13 points for the Warriors.

Sharon, 43 @ Canton, 69 – FinalCanton senior Devin Foster scored 31 points to lead the Bulldogs to a win. With the victory and other results from the Davenport division, the Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the division title.

Stoughton, 62 @ Foxboro, 53 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery from this game.

Franklin, 67 @ Taunton, 49 – FinalAfter an even first quarter, Franklin controlled the final three periods to secure a win on the road over Kelley-Rex rival Taunton. Tied at 12-12 through eight minutes, Franklin created a 30-23 lead heading into the halftime break. The Panthers then extended the lead to 49-33 after three and never looked back to get the win. Franklin junior Chris Edgehill scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, Jalen Samuels added 14 points, and both Jake Macchi and Will Harvey (all points in the first half) finished with 10 points apiece. Dante Law had a team-high 10 points for the Tigers.

Mansfield, 60 @ Oliver Ames, 51 – Final Mansfield connected on nine three-pointers and found success at the free throw line to return home with a win over Oliver Ames. Sophomores TJ Guy and Matt Boen each had 16 points for the Hornets, who held a three point lead at halftime (29-26) and entering the final quarter (45-42). Sam Stevens scored five of his eight points in the final quarter for Mansfield.

Milford, 53 @ North Attleboro, 63 – FinalNorth Attleboro was perfect from the field in the fourth quarter, going 9-for-9, and poured in 31 points to complete a comeback win over visiting Milford. The Rocketeers were limited to 16 points in the first half but equaled that total in the third quarter. Trailing 41-32 after three, the Rocketeers opened the fourth with an 8-0 run to get back into the game. Junior Ethan Friberg (11 points) hit a pair of threes in the fourth, sophomore George Ladd added 10 points (all in the second half), and Nate Gonsalves scored all eight of his points in the final quarter. Senior Josh Montague scored a team-high 19 points while Josh Porter added nine points, including a big layup in the fourth quarter. Brendan White had a team-high 14 points and Brendon Sailer added 13 points for the Hawks.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 44 @ King Philip, 63 – FinalFaith Roy set a career-high with 22 points to lead the Warriors to a win that clinches a state tournament berth. Shannon O’Connor and Faye Veilleux chipped in with 12 points apiece for KP.

Sharon, 48 @ Canton, 65 – FinalKiara Cerruti scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Bulldogs to their 11th win this season. Defensively, seniors Maggie Connolly and Julia Hamilton combined for 14 steals in the win. Emma Eberhardt scored 19 points in the loss and Telishya Herbert added 15 for the Eagles.

Foxboro, 79 @ Stoughton, 36 – FinalKatelyn Mollica had 25 points, including seven three-pointers, to lead the Warriors to a division win. Yara Fawaz had 16 points and Abby Hassman and Chelsea Gibbons each scored nine points in the win.

Taunton, 37 @ Franklin, 82 – FinalFranklin clinched the outright league title with the win. It’s the first title since 2013 for the Panthers. Eleven different players scored for the Panthers in the win led by Ali Brigham with 20 points. Bea Bondhus added 16 and Megan O’Connell had 13 in the win. Sonya Fernandez was Taunton’s top scorer with 12.

Mansfield, 45 @ Oliver Ames, 39 – FinalMaggie Danehy led the way for the Hornets with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Mady Bendanillo added 10 ppoints, four assists, and three steals in the win. OA closed the gap in the fourth quarter, cutting an 11-point lead to just six, thanks in part to freshman Caroline Peper, who scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth.

North Attleboro, 55 @ Milford, 19 – FinalLiz Smahi and Julia Kleczkowski each scored eight points for the Rocketeers.

Boys Hockey
Foxboro, 9 @ Stoughton, 2 – FinalBrendan Tully netted a hat trick and Kirk Leach scored twice as the Warriors skated to a win over Stoughton at Asiaf. Sean Doherty and Carter Gerome each scored for Stoughton.

Gymnastics
Mansfield @ Sharon, 7:30
Oliver Ames, 137.95 @ Mansfield, 147.05 – Final

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro @ Newton North, 6:30

Dooling, Mansfield Edge Franklin In Overtime

Mansfield boys basketball Tommy Dooling
Mansfield’s Tommy Dooling shoots a step back three in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – When Franklin junior Jack Rudolph drained an open three with just under three and a half minutes left in the game to put his team up by eight, it looked like the Panthers were on their way to evening the season series with rival Mansfield.

But the Panthers didn’t slam the door shut, and Mansfield took full advantage down the stretch.

The Hornets used a 12-4 run over the final three minutes to force overtime, and Hornet senior Tommy Dooling hit a free throw with 5.1 seconds left in the extra period to give Mansfield a 73-72 win and a regular season sweep over Franklin.

It’s Mansfield’s first season sweep of their rivals since 2014 when the Hornets won inside the field house and at the TD Garden.

“We had to fight for every [point], there was not an easy basket out there tonight,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “The fact that we got into the 70s was kind of shocking considering how hard it was. Sometimes when teams have a chance to put us away, they don’t and when they don’t and give us breathing room, at some point we’re going to go on a little run and ultimately that happened with enough time in the fourth quarter. And obviously making free throws in the end helped.”

Rudolph’s six triple of the game gave him a career-high 21 points and the Panthers a 60-52 lead. Franklin’s defense had prevented Mansfield from big runs for the majority of the game and the Panthers looked to be in a good position.

Dooling (19 points) earned a trip to the line and sank two free throws, an immediate and needed response to Rudolph’s three for the Hornets. After a stop on the defensive end, Dooling was fouled while shooting a three, and the senior sank all three attempts to make it a one-possession game with 2:37 to go.

Another stop for Mansfield and again, Dooling drove to the basket and drew contact. His two free throws got the Hornets within one with 2:03 to go.

Jalen Samuels (15 points, seven rebounds) sank a pair from the line on the other end to extend the hosts’ lead to three, but Mansfield sophomore Matty Boen (eight points, five rebounds) drained an open triple to tie the game with 1:38 to go. Franklin’s Will Harvey (two free throws) and Mansfield’s TJ Guy (13 points, six rebounds) traded baskets inside the final minute, Franklin missed a late three and Mansfield had a turnover on its final possession to force overtime.

Free throws from Chris Edgehill (11 points, 10 assists) and Samuels put Franklin in front, but Boen sank his second triple of the game to go up 69-67. A free throw from Makhi Baskin extended it to three, but Edgehill responded with a three to tie the game with just over two minutes left in overtime.

Samuels put Franklin back ahead with a pair from the line but Sam Stevens (nine points) answered after a terrific feed from Baskin.

Franklin had the chance for the last shot but was whistled for an off ball offensive foul. Dooling was fouled before Mansfield could inbound it out of their timeout at midcourt, and the senior went to the line with 5.1 left. After missing the first, Dooling sank the second and Franklin’s last second three was just off the mark.

“I think we just started committing to what we do on offense better,” Dooling said of what went into the comeback. “We started to move the ball more, we started to cut to the rim on slips. TJ and Sammy got some nice layups, and Matty Boen hit some big shots too.”

Mansfield went 14-for-19 from the free throw line between the fourth quarter and overtime.

“I think early we were playing passive and kind of on our heels, and everything was contested,” Vaughan said. “In the fourth, I felt like Tommy did a really nice job asserting himself into the game and did some good things. Ultimately he had the opportunities and made them.

“That’s a big pressure shot in overtime. To be able to miss the first and step back in and make the second, that’s a big play.”

After going up by eight, Franklin went 1-for-7 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line over the final 3:25 of the fourth and all of overtime.

“Disappointing,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely on how he would describe how the game ended. “It was a great game. I told the guys we can be frustrated about whatever we want to be frustrated about but I didn’t think we kept guys in front defensively down the stretch without fouling, put them on the line and let them hang around in a game I thought we should have won.

“I thought we were in control of most of the game. We were playing good basketball, sharing the basketball. Chris did a great job of finding his teammates and guys were stepping up and making shots. We’ve seen them make them in practice, it’s good to see them make them in the game. I think it was 60-52 at one point, and we needed to close it out there but we started fouling, and they kept getting to the line.”

Franklin raced out to an 8-1 lead to start the game and lead 16-11 after one quarter. Rudolph hit three three-pointers in the opening frame to give the Panthers the lead. Both Samuels and Mansfield’s Damani Scott (eight points) picked up two early fouls and missed the majority of the first half.

A three-pointer from Jake Macchi just over a minute into the second quarter gave Franklin a 21-13 lead but Mansfield tightened up defensively and made a run to get back into it. Baskin hit two free throws and Stevens had an easy layup after a steal from Boen. Baskin then had a steal of his own, leading to another layup for Stevens.

The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the first half, with Mansfield going up 33-31 on a triple from Dooling (assisted by Boen) but Franklin answered just before the buzzer when Edgehill found Macchi for a three and a 34-33 halftime edge.

In the third, Rudolph his made a pair of threes within a minute and then turned a steal into a traditional three-point play, putting the Panthers ahead 43-38 with just under five left in the third.

“That’s the kind of stuff we expected from Jack coming into the season, being that third scorer for us offensively,” Neely said. “We’ve seen it in practice and things are starting to develop. I’m really proud of him, it was a great performance for him.”

Franklin’s six-point lead shrunk to just one but Samuels came up with a monster two-handed slam while being fouled to put the Panthers ahead 50-46. Two late technical free throws from Edgehill and a big block from Samuels at the buzzer had Franklin up 52-47 heading into the fourth.

“We were trading baskets, then they’d go on a little run and we didn’t counter it for a while,” Vaughan said. “It was just this grind it out, slow game that we just couldn’t get our hands on. The first game, I felt like we had control of it but this one the control was constantly slipping out of our hands. We did just enough. We shot the ball well enough from the foul line, we were atrocious there on Friday night. Making free throws down the stretch, Tommy at the line and I thought the three in the corner was big.

“CJ does such a good job you don’t know what you’re going to get with his tweaks and his matchups. Last game, they didn’t over play Tommy at all, so we put some stuff in for that and then tonight they overplayed him so we had to adjust on the fly. “

Mansfield boys basketball (11-2 Hockomock, 15-2 overall) is on the road against Oliver Ames while Franklin (9-4, 11-5) visits Taunton, both games on Friday.

Charles, Attleboro Get Past Franklin In Overtime

Qualeem Charles
Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (right) goes up for a shot against Franklin’s Sean Leonard in the second quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Having to try and match up with Attleboro’s 6-foot-5, 295-pound center Qualeem Charles for 32 minutes is one of the toughest covers in the entire Hockomock League.

Having to try and stop him for four more minutes in overtime just might be impossible.

Franklin stormed back from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game in the final seconds and send the game to overtime but Charles scored half of Attleboro’s points in the overtime period to help the Bombardiers secure a 51-46 decision in overtime.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Charles scored 13 of his game-high 18 points after halftime and hauled of his 17 rebounds after the break as well.

“We always want to go inside, they did a nice job of challenging him early,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “He’s very unselfish so a lot of the times he got the ball he was kicking it out and we were getting great looks and we weren’t knocking them down. We told him in the second half when you touch the ball, you shoot the ball and he did that more consistently. If he didn’t score the field goal, he went to the line and he hit his foul shots which was key for us.”

After Mason Houle (nine points) and Will Harvey traded three-pointers to open the extra stanza, the Bombardiers got Charles going inside. Kevin Velazquez (six points, nine rebounds) found the big man in the post and Charles used a nice post move to go up two.

The teams traded misses before Attleboro came up short on a Tim Callahan three. But Callahan was quick to hustle back on defense and drew a charge to get the ball back with 1:32 to play and a 46-44 lead.

Attleboro went back inside and Charles was fouled, hitting one of two attempts to extend the lead to 47-44. Franklin missed a three and Charles came down with a big rebound. On the offensive end, the Panthers’ collapsed to try and cover Charles, allowing Velazquez to take it strong to the basket for two.

Franklin once again came up short on a layup attempt and Charles hauled in the rebound while being fouled. He hit two free throws to give Attleboro 51-46 lead with 28 seconds and that’s how the game finished.

After putting up just five shots in the first half total, Charles attempted five field goals in the third quarter and then went 2-for-2 in the fourth.

“I was definitely overlooking at times, I wanted to find teammates,” Charles said. “I know my teammates can make those big shots but they weren’t falling tonight so I had to try and close it out. Eventually my shot started falling. Their bigger players started getting in foul trouble, so I was getting more of a mismatch so I was able to convert.”

There wasn’t much happening for either side in the first half. The teams combined for just six made field goals in the opening eight minutes with Franklin senior Jalen Samuels (eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists) finding Thomas Gasbarro for a layup right before the buzzer to give Franklin a 9-7 edge.

But that would be the last field goal Franklin would make for the half. The Panthers were held scoreless for nearly the entire second quarter. Sean Leonard hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to get Franklin on the board.

Meanwhile while Attleboro’s offense didn’t exactly catch fire, it was able to use an 8-0 run over the first seven minutes. Bryant Ciccio and Nick McMahon made shots while Callahan and Houle sank two free throws apiece. A late bucket from Charles gave Attleboro a 17-11 lead at half.

“It’s a problem, he’s a big kid, and there’s not a lot of guys that can move him when he gets position where he wants to be,” Neely said of matching up with Charles. “We had a plan that was working early but late in the game, I think guys were a bit tired. I stuck with the same lineup for a long time. They get worn down banging around with him for a whole game and he was able to get some baskets, he’s a tough cover.”

The offenses for both sides came alive to start the second half. The Panthers matched their first half production in just over five minutes in the third quarter. Buckets from Chris Edgehill (12 points, eight rebounds), Jake Macchi, and Leonard brought the Panthers within two, 24-22, with 3:46 left in the third.

Attleboro answered with a 10-0 run to close the third quarter. Ciccio, Charles, and Houle hit back-to-back-to-back layups, and McMahon converted down low after a nice offensive rebound and pass from Velazquez to give the Bombardiers a 32-22 advantage heading into the final quarter.

“Coming into the game we talked about defensive stops and consecutive defensive stops and Franklin is terrific at it,” Houle said. “The last three games they’ve given up 40 points or less and they lead the league in defensive scoring average. So we knew we were going to have to execute. We wanted to take care of the ball, be strong with the ball, and attacking them when we can on ball reversals. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but neither did they, and I think that’s a credit to both defenses.”

It appeared the Bombardiers had the game in hand when they pushed the lead to 37-22 on a Callahan triple, a 15-point advantage with six minutes left.

But Attleboro’s offense stalled as the Panthers continued their pressure defensively. And over those six minutes, shots began to fall for the visitors. Steve Karayan drained a three after a steal from Will Harvey then Edgehill drained a transition three after an Attleboro turnover to make it 37-31 with three minutes to go.

Samuels hit a free throw and Harvey came up with another steal that led to two made free throws, cutting the deficit to 37-34 with two minutes left. After a five-second call on the inbounds, Harvey sank another free throw to make it 37-35.

Attleboro finally got some points on the board when Callahan hit Charles down low and the junior converted with a nice spin move. But Karayan drained another triple to make it a one-point game with just over a minute to go.

Velazquez missed but was fouled as he hustled for the offensive rebound and he sank two free throws with 42.6 to play.

Franklin came up short on the tying three, but the offensive rebound was batted out and corralled. Attleboro chose to foul with a three-point lead with 8.4 to go. The strategy worked as Franklin missed both free throws but the rebound was batted out to Edgehill, who alertly made an extra mass to Karayan for a straightaway three-pointer with 2.4 left, sending the game into overtime tied 41-41.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We found something that was working down the stretch,” Neely said.”But in the end, we weren’t ourselves in the first half. We weren’t playing the way we needed to play if we wanted to win. You can get away with that sometimes but not on the road at Attleboro in a big game tonight. We played good defense in the first half but they opened it up in the second half. I’m proud of them, they stuck with it. They shared the ball and got back into the game. Free throws hurt us, and that’s cost us basically in every loss this year. It’s frustrating to have a good offensive possession and get to the line and come away with nothing.

“We had a 15 point lead and they whittled it down to go to overtime, that’s Franklin,” Houle said. “They are a very good, gritty team. We knew coming in it wouldn’t be an easy game. As they were coming back, it felt like we weren’t playing to win anymore, we were just trying to hold on. After one of the timeouts, we talked about playing to win. We started to play with a bit more energy and were able to make some plays.”

Attleboro boys basketball (9-1 Hockomock, 12-2 overall) is back in action on Tuesday on the road at Milford. Franklin (7-3, 9-4) is also on the road with a trip to Sharon on tap.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/18/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 63 @ Taunton, 60 – FinalTied at 53 apiece late in the game, Attleboro closed . the game with a 10-7 run to edge the Tigers. The Bombardiers jumped ahead 60-53 with a 7-0 run, bookended with free throws from Bryant Ciccio (18 points) along with a layup from Mason Houle. Taunton responded with a three from John Martins and a steal and layup from Mike Quinn (12 points) to get within two. With 10.8 seconds left, Taunton had the ball down 62-60 but Tim Callahan helped force a turnover, Ciccio hit one of two free throws and Qualeem Charles (21 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed the offensive board and Attleboro kept possession as time expired. Dante Law led Taunton with 20 points while Wesner Charles added 10 points.

North Attleboro, 54 @ Canton, 58 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Sharon, 49 @ Foxboro, 69 – FinalFoxboro built a nine-point advantage over three quarter and then turned it on during the fourth, pouring in 30 points in the final quarter to pull away from the visiting Eagles. The Warriors led by two (10-8) after one, and six (25-19) by halftime. Foxboro increased its lead to nine (39-30) entering the fourth. Junior Will Morrison scored 10 of his 12 points in the final quarter, one of four Warriors to score double-digits. Anthony Mollica had a team-high 17 points, sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 15 points and senior Ryan Hughes finished with 11 points, all in the first three quarters. Sharon’s Kiran Chandrasekaran led the Eagles with 10 points and Caleb Gayle added eight points and 10 rebounds.

Franklin, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 40 – Final Franklin limited Oliver Ames to just 16 points in the second half, turning a six-point halftime advantage in a double-digit win. The Panthers led 16-12 after one and 30-24 at half but didn’t allow the Tigers to score double digits in either the third (14-9) or the fourth (17-7). Senior Jalen Samuels led the Panthers with 15 points, including eight in the fourth quarter while classmate Jake Macchi added a career-high 14 points (five in the fourth), connecting on four three pointers. Senior Ethan Eckstrom and sophomore Amari Brown each had eight points for the Tigers.

King Philip, 69 @ Mansfield, 65 – FinalKing Philip hit five three-pointers and exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter to earn a score a big come-from-behind upset on the road at Mansfield. It marks the Warriors’ first win against the Hornets since February 2012, snapping a 12-game skid. KP trailed by nine with just over five minutes to go before outscoring the Hornets 25-12 over that period. Junior Alex Fritz scored 10 of his career-high 20 points in the final quarter while Tim Nault poured in three triples in the final frame to finish with 17 points. Bruce Saintilus added 16 points and Sam Sesay added for KP. Mansfield senior Damani Scott had a team-high 15 points and sophomore TJ Guy added 13 points for the Hornets.

Milford, 74 @ Stoughton, 54 – FinalMilford senior Brendan White poured in a career-high 40 points and hauled in 18 rebounds to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a big win on the road. White scored 13 points in the opening quarter, helping the Hawks jump out ahead 18-9, and then added 10 in the second as Milford built a 37-21 lead by halftime. White had 15 made field goals, including three three-pointers, and connected on four free throws. Brendon Sailer added 11 points and Jordan Darling finished with 10 points for Milford. Sophomore Brett Pendenza had a team-high 10 points for the Black Knights.

Girls Basketball
Taunton, 46 @ Attleboro, 60 – FinalAttleboro used a balanced offensive attack to pull out the division win at home. Liv McCall paced the Bombardiers with 12, but she got a lot of help from Kenzie Roberts and Emma Reilly, who each scored 11. Ryan Johnson and Gabby Bosh also played well off the Attleboro bench, according to coach Marty Crowley. Sonya Fernandez led the Tigers with 14 and Tori DeRosa chipped in with 10.

Canton, 59 @ North Attleboro, 69 – FinalNorth Attleboro continued its surge up the standings with a strong performance against Canton. Amanda Kaiser scored 22 points and Julia Feid added 19 for the Rocketeers, who scored a season-high 69 points as a team. Olivia Forbes added eight in the win. Sydney Gallery scored 15 points and her sister Fay added 14 for the Bulldogs. North has won five of its last six games, with the only loss being at Franklin.

Foxboro, 54 @ Sharon, 44 – FinalThe defending Div. 2 state champs have booked a place in the state tournament with their 10th straight win to start the season, but it was not easy. Foxboro needed a 14-4 run in the final four-plus minutes to keep the win streak alive. Lizzy Davis was the top scorer for Foxboro with 16, while Katelyn Mollica added 15 and Chelsea Gibbons had 14 in the win. Telishya Herbert matched Davis, scoring 16 points to lead the Eagles. Emma Eberhardt had 11 points and Kaitlyn Wallace had eight to help Sharon put a scare into the Davenport leaders.

Oliver Ames, 36 @ Franklin, 62 – FinalOA led by three after one quarter, but Franklin rallied to grab the lead by halftime. In the third quarter, the Panthers broke the game wide open, going on a 24-6 run that put them in front for good. Megan O’Connell had a big game for the hosts, scoring 18 points, to help Franklin stay unbeaten in the league and remain two games ahead of Mansfield in the title race. Bea Bondhus had 15 points, on five three-pointers, and Ali Brigham had 13 in the win. Hailey Bourne was the top scorer for OA with nine points.

Mansfield, 53 @ King Philip, 44 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Stoughton, 67 @ Milford, 32 – FinalHailey Egan helped Stoughton get back on track, scoring 13 points to lead the Black Knights. Lindsay McDonald had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Sydnee Hyacinthe had 10 points, four assists, and five steals.

Wrestling
Silver Lake Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames went 3-0 on the day, picking up wins over South Shore Tech (62-12), Quincy (63-12), and host Silver Lake (57-12).

Swimming
North Attleboro @ Canton, 6:30
Foxboro @ Sharon, 4:00
Franklin, 86 @ Westwood, 57 – Final
Mansfield, 46 @ Taunton, 45 – Final

Girls Swimming
North Attleboro @ Canton, 6:30
Foxboro @ Sharon, 4:00
Franklin, 89.5 @ Westwood, 80.5 – Final
Mansfield, 44 @ Taunton, 60 – Final

Gymnastics
Attleboro @ King Philip, 8:00
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:30

Franklin Grinds Out Close Win Over Taunton

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin’s Will Harvey (33) defends a shot from Taunton’s Michael Quinn (2) in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – After seeing a large first half lead disappear, the Franklin boys basketball team was on the verge of letting a second half lead evaporate as well.

Holding a five-point lead with 1:30 to, Franklin’s advantage quickly shrunk to just one after a putback from Taunton senior Michel Quinn and a strong take from Lou Vendrell with 39.8 to go.

The Panthers, after scoring 20 points in the first quarter, had been limited to just 30 over the next 23 minutes and were in need of a spark. After a timeout, Franklin got the ball into the hands of junior Chris Edgehill (13 points, five assists), and he took advantage of a Taunton miscommunication after a double screen to get enough separation for a three with 20 seconds left, helping secure a 50-45 win over Taunton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was absolutely a grind,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Getting off to a great start helps a lot especially when you aren’t playing your best in the middle quarters. The second and third quarters we got really stagnant on offense. We stopped doing everything we did in the first quarter that was working. We weren’t running the floor as hard, we weren’t cutting or screening as hard, we weren’t reacting off screens really well. The motion got stymied, we weren’t moving the ball.”

Franklin was nearly flawless in the opening quarter, racing out to an 18-2 lead over the first six and a half minutes finishing with a 20-6 advantage after one. The Panthers shot 54% from the field and forced seven turnovers to build a big lead.

What looked like a potential blowout slowly turned into a dogfight as the Tigers scratched and clawed their way back in the game. Taunton’s defense stepped up to limit Franklin to just nine points in the second quarter while its offense found a grove, scoring 17.

Quinn (13 points) and John Martins (11 points, eight rebounds, five assists) each hit a three, preceded by a bucket by Vendrell. Two free throws from Dante Law (who missed the majority of the game with foul trouble and fouled out with 5:36 left on a questionable call) cut the deficit to four, 22-18, before Franklin answered with three straight points. Law, Edgehill, Vendrell, Jalen Samuels, and Naz Kenion all missed minutes on the second due to foul trouble.

Taunton’s bench was able to provide a spark with Tyler Stewart (six points, five rebounds), Josh Lopes, Fabio Goncalves, and Krishon Nairne (two rebounds, block) coming to to give the Tigers some valuable minutes. A late three-point play from Jack Rudolph extended Franklin’s lead to eight but Martins responded with a triple. Franklin led 29-23 at half.

“That first quarter was one of the best quarters we’ve had all season,” Neely said.”I think what happens is you get that lead early, you start feeling like you don’t have to work as hard. You start taking some bad shots and then they hit a couple and make a couple of hustle plays, and all of a sudden it’s a close game. Those guys play hard, they are a good team, they have a lot of pride. I give them a lot of credit, they battled back and took a lead on us after going down big. Taunton did a good job, I was impressed with their fight.”

Quinn sandwiched two buckets around one from Martin to knot the game early in the third, and a bucket in low from Stewart gave Taunton its first lead at 31-29.

“In the second and third quarters, we did a nice job defensively,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “But with our offense, we have to maximize our opportunities and I felt like we had too many quick shots tonight. We have to be more patient and run our stuff.”

That’s when the Panthers turned to Samuels (12 points, eight rebounds), a senior captain, to weather the Tigers’ push. Samuels answered with a nice take to tie the game, and then used a two-handed flush to put Franklin back ahead. Samuels made a heads up play on defense, intercepting a pass and going the length of the court for a bucket while being fouled. His free throw completed the three-point play and put Franklin up 36-35.

“That’s a classic Jalen game, when we need him most he shows up,” Neely said. “Those takes to the rim late were huge for us. Defensively, he just finds a way, I know his back is killing him but he had some nice rebounds. I thought he made all the big plays for us down the stretch for us besides Chris’ three.”

Taunton closed the third with a mini 4-0 run – a free throw from Kenion, a layup from Stewart, and a technical free throw from Martins – to make it 36-35 heading into the final frame.

Will Harvey (12 points, seven rebounds) scored early and then capitalized on a Taunton turnover by adding a free throw to put Franklin up 39-37. Thomas Gasbarro and Kenion traded buckets before Samuels extended Franklin’s lead to four with 3:38 to play.

Taunton had three looks but couldn’t convert but Quinn pickpocketed Edgehill at half court and went in for two to make it 43-41. Harvey hit a free throw after being fouled on an offensive rebound and Gasbarro drove to the basket for two after a Taunton turnover to make it 46-41 with 1:30 to go.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We just talked about what’s made us great over the years and that’s defense and that’s what we have to rely on now,” Neely said. “So down the stretch I went with more of a defensive lineup so we could get some stops. Putting Tom and [Jake] Macchi in there, they really grinded it out. Tom made some big plays for us, got some turnovers and gave us a huge lift defensively.

Quinn scored on a putback after a missed three Franklin got a stop and Vendrell drove to the basket for two with 39.8 left but Edgehill’s triple sealed the win.

Franklin boys basketball (4-2 Hockomock, 6-3 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to North Attleboro. Taunton (4-2, 7-3) will try to bounce back when it travels to Milford on the same day.

Boen Boosts Mansfield To Close Win Over Rival Franklin

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield sophomore Matty Boen (career-high 19 points) drives to the basket in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield sophomore Matty Boen has witnessed dozens of Mansfield and Franklin clashes from the stands, watching older brothers Michael and Max dawn the Hornet uniform against the rival Panthers.

Boen got a little closer to the action last season, watching all three meetings between the teams from the bench as a reserve.

Friday night was finally his turn to become part of the rivalry.

Boen came out on fire, scoring 11 of his career-high 19 points in the opening quarter, and then coming away with the game-sealing steal in the final seconds of the game to help the Hornets secure a 59-57 win over the Panthers.

“It’s crazy,” Boen said. “I kept saying to the guys in the locker room, ‘It’s so much better being out there and taking it all in.’ It’s great. I can’t be more happy than I am now.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boen (seven rebounds) sank a pair of free throws with 1:11 left to put the Hornets up 57-54, but Franklin junior Chris Edgehill (20 points, eight rebounds, four assists) answered with a strong take to cut the deficit to one.

Mansfield sophomore TJ Guy (15 points) went 2-for-2 at the line with 22.8 left to extend the Hornets’ advantage to 59-56. Franklin called timeout with 12 seconds to go but missed a three out of the break. Edgehill grabbed the offensive board but was immediately fouled with 6.7 to go.

Edgehill hit the first one but was just off on the second, but senior Jalen Samuels (eight points, night rebounds) soared in for the offensive rebound. The Panthers moved the ball and tried to it out to Edgehill at the three-point line, but Boen read the play and tipped the pass free to secure the victory.

“Talk about an all-star performance for a sophomore,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “He comes out in the first quarter, hits big shots, gets a couple of rebounds, blocks a shot…and then the steal at the end of the game capped off his performance of what he did tonight. When I saw the loose ball, and the reversal and I saw Edgehill standing out there, I thought ‘Oh boy, we could be in trouble.’ And sure enough, Matty comes out of nowhere and gets the deflection. I’m glad he’s on my team for another three years and hats off to him for his performance.”

If had it not been for Boen’s tip, the Panthers were looking at a possible three-pointer from Edgehill, one of the top shooters in the league.

“I thought it was a great offensive rebound by Jaylen,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “We had a couple of timeouts in our pocket, but with two seconds left, if that pass goes through, it’s going to Edgehill for an open three, and we’ll take that. If we call the timeout, they can set up their defense. If that pass gets through, I’ll take that look.”

The Hornets were without the services leading scorer Damani Scott (20.4 points per game), but the offense came out on fire in the first quarter, spearheaded by Boen. Guy, Khristian Conner, and Boen hit consecutive triples to help Mansfield jump out to an early 9-4 lead. Boen had a traditional three-point play followed by a putback and then a three-pointer to push Mansfield’s advantage to 17-12 with 3:23 left in the first. Boen’s 11 points in the opening quarter matched his career-high from earlier this season against Sharon.

“In warmups, I was kind of feeling it, so I wanted to get more shots in the game,” Boen said. “I haven’t been shooting that much so far this year. With Damani out, I knew I needed to step up. We all usually feed off of Damani, so we all had to step up tonight.”

Franklin kept pace throughout the first quarter with Steve Karayan (nine points) coming off the bench to score five straight points, but a late bucket from Guy had the hosts up 25-22 at the end of one.

“I thought their offensive output in the first quarter is what really did us in,” Neely said. “We were matching them, we were playing some of our best offense of the season, but allowing 25 points in a quarter isn’t going to get it done against a team like that. We played really well defensively for three quarters, letting up 10, 14, and 10, I’ll take that here every time. It just seemed like we couldn’t hit those big shots we’ve made. We had a couple of looks that just didn’t drop. Obviously, our free throws down the stretch weren’t great. We shot well from the line overall, but we didn’t hit the key ones down the stretch. “

An early triple from Boen in the second quarter pushed Mansfield’s lead to 28-22, but both defenses seemed to settle down over the final seven minutes of the half. The Panthers limited the hosts to just seven points the rest of the way.

Jack Rudolph’s three off a nice feed from Edgehill got the Panthers on the board in the quarter at the halfway mark. Edgehill scored five straight himself to cut the deficit to one, 31-30. Mansfield responded with a 5-0 run to take a 35-30 lead into the locker room.

“I didn’t think we were tough enough in the first half,” Neely said. “I thought they were beating us to loose balls. I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half that led to transition baskets. They wanted it more, especially in the first quarter. Sometimes when you’re down a guy, other guys really step up their performance, and they did that.”

The Panthers needed just two minutes in the third quarter to orchestrate a 9-0 run to take the lead. Samuels (who was limited because of foul trouble), Edgehill, and Will Harvey (nine points) each scored two and Jake Macchi drained a corner three to put the visitors ahead 39-35. Mansfield hit back with an 8-0 run, a three from Boen and five straight from Tommy Dooling (10 points, six assists).

“Talk about a huge performance by other guys that stepped up. I don’t know how many points Tommy had but he probably logged 28-29 minutes,” Vaughan said. “He had to handle the ball, play defense, getting kids in the right position and being a good leader. Hats off to him for the way he played, he may not be the headline story stat wise but deserves mention.”

After the teams traded baskets twice, Guy and Makhi Baskin (eight points) scored in the final minute for the Hornets to give Mansfield a 49-45 edge after three.

“We try to practice at this level so some of this energy comes from that, we put our kids in tough situations in practice so this hopefully seems easy.” Vaughan said. “But you put 800 people in the stands, I can’t imagine that it’s easy. But we have guys come in, ready to perform, and they are excited for the game. They stuck to the game plan, weathered their first punch, weathered a second punch, and then maintained the lead in the fourth quarter.”

Franklin had opportunities in the final frame but the Hornets did not surrender the lead. A free throw from Harvey closed the deficit to two with 5:21 to go but Dooling answered on the other to push the lead back to five.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Defense and free throws from Karayan and Edgehill cut the Mansfield to just one, 55-54, with 1:28 to go. The Panthers got a key steal but couldn’t convert from the free throw line to take the lead. Seconds later, Boen hit his free throws to extend Mansfield’s advantage heading into the final minute.

“Win or lose, we were going to fight, they were going to fight,” Vaughan said. “The atmosphere was great, the gym was packed, it was 150 degrees in here, you can’t beat it. The emotion of how much goes into this game, starting when these kids are little, it’s such a high energy. All the practices, all the two-minute drills, you do it for nights like tonight. To get this energy from both teams this early in the season is tremendous. And we know good and well, we’re going to go over to Franklin and be in the same situation, and we might end up in the same boat or the opposite boat. But it’s such a fun atmosphere.

“Kids stepped up and made plays for both teams and we were fortunate to make one more [play].”

Mansfield boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 5-1 overall) is back in action Tuesday night when it hosts Milford. Franklin (2-2, 4-3) will try and bounce back when it hosts Stoughton on the same night.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/29/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Franklin, 55 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 47 – FinalFranklin started and finished strong in the championship game of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament to beat the hosts. Franklin junior Steve Karayan connected on six three-pointers, including two in the first and two in the fourth quarters, for a career-high 18 points. The Panthers led 36-34 heading into the final quarter but outscored the Trojans 19-13 in the frame to pull away with the win. Senior Jalen Samuels added 14 points and was named tournament MVP while senior Jake Macchi added a career-high 12 points.

Oliver Ames, 51 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 45 – FinalOliver Ames limited the Cardinals to four points in the second quarter to build a 25-14 advantage at the break, and took a 40-26 lead into the final frame but had to hold off a furious charge from Spellman to earn the win. Spellman cut the lead to 48-45 with 31 seconds to go but OA secured the win in the championship game of the Muscato Holiday Tournament. Senior Ethan Eckstrom scored 13 points and was named tournament MVP while junior Jay Spillane also scored 13 points for the Tigers.

Sharon, 61 vs. Walpole, 58 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 63 @ Hopkinton, 23 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Lizzy Davis led the Warriors with 16 points, while Katelyn Mollica had 15 and Yara Fawaz added 10. Shakirah Ketant came off the bench to add seven points, nine rebounds, and four blocks for Foxboro, which didn’t allow a made field goal during the second and third quarters.

Mansfield, 40 vs. Ridgefield (Conn.), 32 – FinalMansfield led by just two points entering the fourth, but pulled away by holding Ridgefield to only five points in the final quarter. Defense was the key for the Hornets, who led 20-10 at halftime despite shooting 0-for-16 from the field in the second. Sydney Mulkern had 14 points and Maggie Danehy recorded a second double-double in as many days with 10 points and 14 boards.

North Attleboro, 49 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 55 – FinalAmanda Kaiser led the Rocketeers with 22 points in the consolation game of their holiday tournament.

Attleboro, 26 vs. Norwood, 39 – FinalThe Bombardiers played even with unbeaten Norwood in the second half but couldn’t overcome a tough start on the offensive end after falling behind 21-8 at halftime. Liv McCall scored a team-high seven points and was named to the all-tournament team. Nyah Thomas added six points for Attleboro.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 2 vs. Dartmouth, 2 – FinalAttleboro rallied for a pair of third period goals to earn a tie with Dartmouth. Cam Littig scored twice in the final period to bring the Bombardiers level, with Ryan Morry assisting on both goals. Sam Larkin and Aidan Diggin also had an assist for Attleboro.

Canton, 4 vs. Westwood, 0 – FinalCanton’s Ryan Nolte and Johnny Hagan scored in the second period and Timmy Kelleher and Chris Lavoie tacked on goals in the third period as the Bulldogs claimed the Joe Donnelly Cup with a win over Westwood.

Foxboro, 8 vs. St. John Paul II/Sacred Heart, 2 – FinalKirk Leach picked up five points and Ronnie MacLellan registered four points as the Warriors skated to a win in the championship game of the JP2 Hockey Classic. Leach scored twice and picked up three assists while MacLellan was responsible for one goal and three helpers.

Franklin, 2 vs. La Salle College High, 5 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game.

King Philip 7, vs. Brockton, 4 – FinalKing Philip scored four goals in the second period, turning a deficit into a lead, and tacked on two more in the final period to get the win over the Boxers. Senior Luke D’Amico put the Warriors on the board in the first but KP trailed 2-1 after one. Goals from Brendan Shandley, Rocco Bianculli, Aiden Boulger, and Garrett Maxwell helped the Warriors take a 5-4 lead into the final period. Jack Coulter and D’Amico scored insurance goals in the third period while James Lewis finished with 14 saves in net.

North Attleboro, 2 vs. Moses Brown (R.I.), 3 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Westwood, 5 – FinalLauren Fitzpatrick scored Canton’s only goal.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip scored early in the third period to go up 3-1 but Mansfield/Oliver Ames rallied for three straight goals, including the game-winner with just over a minute left to pick up a win over the Warriors. Sydney O’Shea and Morgan Cunningham scored first period goals to put KP up 2-0. Izzy Shanteler got MOA on the board in the second but Meghan Gorman made it 3-1 with an early third period goal. But Emma Pereira scored with 10:47 left, Shanteler got her second with 5:10 to go, and Pereira tallied her second with 1:04 to play for the game-winner. Skyler Sharfman had two assists for MOA while Jess Widdop made 18 saves in goal.

Stoughton, 2 @ St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia, 8 – Final

Wrestling
Agawam Tournament Franklin had eight wrestlers finish fifth or better and took fourth overall as a team with 145 points. Drew DiFilippo was the 106 champion, winning 13-8 in the finals over Moses Oquendo of Holyoke. Alex Facassa (126) and Liam Cogavin (182) each took second, Matt Leofanti (220) earned a third place finish, Luke Cashin (152), Nolan Sheridan (195), and Quinn Fila-Montgomery (113) each placed fourth, and Michael Hasenfus (132) took fifth overall.

2018 HockomockSports.com Baseball Awards

Click here for the 2017 HockomockSports.com Baseball Awards

Franklin Scores Late To Claim First Ever Super 8 Title

Franklin baseball
Franklin poses with its MIAA D1A State Championship trophy after beating Central Catholic. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

BROCKTON, Mass. – Throughout Franklin’s run in the 2018 MIAA Super 8 Tournament, every game has come down to the late innings.

That held true on Monday night, as Franklin scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning to beat Central Catholic, 3-2, and win the 2018 Super 8 title, the program’s first state title since 1986.

“This is the most resilient team I’ve ever seen”, said Franklin starter Bryan Woelfel. “Somebody punches us, we go down a couple of runs, it’s happened every game we’ve had, then people just step up in big spots and just get us right back to where we need to be.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

One of those spots came in the bottom of the eighth, as after a superb performance from Woelfel (7 IP, 7 H, 7 K), Jake Noviello entered the game in relief with runners on second and third, no outs, and the game tied up at 2-2.

Noviello struck out Sean Thompson looking and followed by punching out Mike Lefebvre. Joey Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Noviello bounced back and struck out Dante Pistone looking to strand the runners and give Franklin a chance to take the lead n the top of the ninth.

“I pitched against them the other day and got hit around one inning, so I knew to just come out and come after them,” Noviello said. “I just tried to give them my best stuff, and tried to gas them up.”

“There’s no other guy in the state that’s going to go into that situation and strike out three straight batters like Jake Noviello did, that’s unbelievable,” Woelfel said about his teammate.

Franklin (21-5) took advantage of the momentum a half inning late in the top of the ninth when Steve Luttazi led off with a single.

With Noviello at the dish, Central Catholic tried to backpick Luttazi, but the throw ended up in right field and Luttazi was able to advance to third. After a groundout, the stage was set for Evan Wendell.


Wendell laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt that allowed Luttazi to sprint home and score and give Franklin a 3-2 lead.

“Coach told me to bunt when I first got up there, he gave me the sign for the squeeze, and then they met at the mound and conferenced, so he called me over he said ‘you know what, they’re probably talking about this exact situation, so we’re gonna call it off for the first one,’ we did that,” Wendell said.

“They definitely thought it was a squeeze, he threw me a dirt ball, so then we did it the next pitch, and it worked. We practice that every day, so big kudos to coach right there, that was great coaching to call it off on the first pitch and then do it the second one.”

“He’s tough as nails, and I just had a feeling he was going to find a way, find a way for us, senior veteran, and I just wanted to give him an opportunity to knock it in a run, and to his credit, he executed the play to perfection,” said Franklin coach Zach Brown on Wendell.

In the bottom of the ninth, Noviello had to face the heart of the Central Catholic order, with Dominic Keegan, Steve Hajjar, and Mike Borrelli due up.

Keegan gave the Franklin faithful a scare with a bomb down the right field line, but it was a couple yards to the right of the foul pole. He ended up walking to lead off the inning, but Noviello got Hajjar to fly out to center and struck out Borrelli.

Mike Pierro hit a single into right to put the winning run on first, but Noviello struck out Noah Lucier to end the game and give Franklin their first baseball state championship in 32 years.

Franklin’s seniors were the ones came through in the late innings, with Woelfel, Noviello, Luttazi, and Wendell all playing huge parts in the win.

“It’s just a really special class, a really special group of kids, I love them, they know I love them, we talk about a lot more than just baseball,” Brown said about his seniors. “The thing I’m most happy with this group is now they’re going to be forever connected because of this state championship, and years from now when they see each other they’ll always have this moment together.”

Franklin’s offense got started in the top of the first when Colby Fitzgibbons singled on the first pitch of the game and was hit home when juniorJake Macchi homered to left field to give Franklin a 2-0 lead, a lead they held until the fourth inning.

Macchi almost had extra bases again in the top of the third, but a spectacular catch by Central Catholic left fielder Sean Thompson robbed Macchi of at least a double.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the top of the fourth, Franklin loaded the bases, but Aidan Abernathy, who came on in relief of starter Noah Lucier after a Luttazi double, was able to get out of the jam.

In the bottom of the fourth, Pierro led off with a walk and came around to score on a double by Thompson. Thompson advanced to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Joey Sanchez to tie the game at 2-2.

With the win, Franklin baseball becomes the fourth team to win a baseball Super Eight title (Newton North, Braintree twice, St. John’s Shrewsbury). Franklin was also the last team selected for the tournament this year, and as the #7 seed, is the lowest seed to ever win the tournament. Franklin did not lose a game in its tournament run.