Oliver Ames, 55 @ Attleboro, 79 – Final – Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio poured in 31 points, including his the 1,000th of his career, as Attleboro earned an impressive win over division rival Oliver Ames. The Bombardiers scored 21 first quarter points and added 24 more in the second to seize a 45-31 lead by halftime. Attleboro outscored the Tigers by four in the third and six in the fourth to extend its lead. Ciccio scored 10 points in the opening quarter, hit the milestone with eight points in the second, and added three more threes in the second half, hitting a total of seven on the night. Qualeem Charles added 15 points in the win and Tim Callahan chipped in with 12 points. OA senior Jay Spillane led the Tigers with 12 points while Amari Brown and Evan Craig each added 11 points.
Stoughton, 62 @ Canton, 56 – Final – Stoughton doubled up on Canton in the second quarter to create a double-digit advantage, riding that lead to a win on the road at Canton. The Black Knights led by two, 15-13, after a quarter but tacked on 20 second-quarter points to create a 35-23 lead at the halftime break. Senior Ahmad Jahed scored 11 of his 14 in the second quarter while Obinna Ugwuakazi (21 points), Jake Queeney, and Tahkwan Gates Brown (12 points) also scored in Stoughton’s big second quarter. Myles Grigalunas-Powell scored six of his 10 points in the fourth to keep the Black Knights ahead. Canton’s Eric Mischler (22 points) and Will Keefe (eight points) each hit a pair of fourth quarter threes to help shrink the deficit late.
Milford, 51 @ Foxboro, 57 – Final – Foxboro senior Brandon Borde took over in the third quarter, scoring 13 of his team-high 20 points as the Warriors poured in 20-points in the the frame to turn a two possession game into a nine-point advantage. Foxboro led by five after one (15-10) and took a four-point lead (28-24) into halftime before using the third quarter to create separation, pulling into a tie for first place in the division with three games to go. Kevin Gallagher hit a three and had five of his 15 points in the third while Donald Rogers hit a pair of free throws to put the hosts ahead 48-39 going into the final quarter. Foxboro held the Hawks without a three-point field goal in the second half. Milford’s Ben Blanchard hit a trio of first half three-pointers for a team-high 15 points while junior Dom Schofield added 10 points.
Taunton, 74 @ King Philip, 76 – Final (OT) – Taunton erased a 13-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter, taking a late lead but King Philip scored in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime and beat the buzzer for the winner in overtime. King Philip lead 45-29 at halftime and took a 59-46 lead into the fourth before the Tigers poured in 21 points, taking 67-64 lead late. KP’s Alex Fritz (34 points) hit his first three of the second half with 10 seconds left to force overtime. In the extra period, tied at 74-74, senior Tommy Donahue (10 points) set a screen for Fritz and rolled to the basket, taking the pass and laying it up to beat the buzzer to give KP the win. Fritz scored KP’s first seven points of the overtime period before assisting on the game-winner. Andrew McKinney scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half for KP, which scored 28 second quarter points. Taunton sophomore Trent Santos scored nine of his career-high 25 points in the fourth quarter while classmate Faisal Mass added six of his career-high 18 points in the final frame to get the Tigers back into it. Tyler Stewart added 16 points and Josh Lopes chipped in with 11 points for the Tigers.
North Attleboro, 57 @ Sharon, 73 – Final – Tied at halftime, Sharon outscored North Attleboro 18-6 in the third quarter and added 25 more points in the fourth quarter to pull away and earn the win, the Eagles’ first league win since February 2018. In snapping a 29-game winless streak in Hockomock action, the Eagles drained 10 three-pointers, including six in the second half. Senior Aidan Kane connected from downtown in each quarter, including three in the final quarter to finish with a team-high 22 points. Matt Baskin (12 points) added the other third quarter three while Andrew Burton scored six of his 16 points in the third. North Attleboro, who was without its top two scorers in George Ladd and Edan Kelley, were held to just one field goal in the third. Senior Josh Porter went 11-for-15 from the free throw line and finished with a team-high 17 points, junior Tommy Onorato hit four three-pointers for a career-high 12 points, and both Jared Vacher and Brody Rosenberg finished with 10 points.
Attleboro, 32 @ Oliver Ames, 60 – Final – OA jumped out to a 15-point lead at halftime and extended the lead with a strong second half to stay two games back of Franklin in the league standings. Caroline Peper scored 18 points and added five assists and Caroline Flynn marked her return from injury with 15 points and six rebounds.
Canton, 68 @ Stoughton, 45 – Final – Canton got a big win on the road to split the season series with the Black Knights and to move within two wins of qualifying for the postseason with five games to go. The Bulldogs had a balanced attack with three players scoring in double digits. Sydney Gallery paced the offense with 17 points and she added eight boards and three assists. Kiara Cerruti (eight rebounds and three assists) scored 16 and Samya DaSilva recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Fay Gallery scored eight and had four assists for Canton. Stoughton was led by the tandem of Shyanne Trinh (game-high 19 points) and Aliyah Wright (15 points).
Mansfield, 41 @ Franklin, 67 – Final – The Panthers remain unbeaten on the season and moved within one win of clinching at least a share of the Kelley-Rex division title. Olivia Quinn was the top scorer for the Panthers, finishing the night with 23 points. Ali Brigham added 14 in the win. Abby Wager led the Hornets with 12 points and Kayla Vine chipped in with eight.
King Philip, 65 @ Taunton, 57 – Final – KP led by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, but the Tigers were able to rally and cut the lead to as low as five before the Warriors pulled it out and ended their three-game losing streak. Faye Veilleux scored 20 points to power the Warriors and Faith Roy scored 18. Caroline Aaron also got into double digits in the win, scoring 10 points for KP. The Warriors made 12 threes as a team. Kameron St. Pierre continued her strong rookie campaign with a team-high 20 points, while Jaelyn Fernandez (15 points) and Sonya Fernandez (11 points) both hit double digits. Taunton coach Amy Siggens said, “We’re starting to play a complete game. They’re really fast but we tried our best to keep up with them and the girls played their butts off tonight.”
Sharon, 29 @ North Attleboro, 39 – Final – North edged out a defensive battle against Sharon to keep its hold on second place in the Davenport. Summer Doherty scored nearly half of North’s points, with a career-high 19 on the night, and Eliza Dion added nine in the win, including eight in the fourth quarter. The Rocketeers scored 16 points in the first, thanks to 11 from Doherty but then added only nine in the next two quarters combined. Sharon allowed only one point in the second, but only managed five of its own and went into the break down 17-13. Both teams scored eight points in the third to keep North up by four and then the Rocketeers exploded for 14 to pull out the win. North coach Nikki Correia also highlighted the play of point guard Olivia Forbes for playing tough on both ends of the floor the entire game. Leah Fandel and Kaitlyn Wallace each scored eight points in the loss.
TAUNTON, Mass. – Each time the Taunton boys basketball team hits the court, the first option in the offensive game plan is to get junior Tyler Stewart the ball.
The Tigers didn’t need to look for a second or third option many times on Tuesday night as Stewart, a 6’5 center, delivered a career-high 34 points to lead the hosts to a 73-63 win over visiting Stoughton. With the win, Taunton punched its ticket for the postseason.
Stewart, who also hauled in 13 rebounds and had a pair of blocks, shot 16-of-24 from two-point range and came away with points after each of his nine offensive rebounds to lead the way for the Tigers.
“What a night,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey about Stewart’s performance. “When we’re practicing, there are all sorts of convolutions we expect people to do to him, and we were expecting doubles from all over the place and it just didn’t happen tonight. If you leave him alone down low, obviously he can do some business. He’s used to waiting for the double and he’s able to finish when he’s close to the rim like that.”
Taunton wasted little time getting Stewart the ball as he scored the first two buckets for the home team, including a three-point play on the first possession of the game.
Only five times in the game did a possession that included a shot from Stewart not result in points for Taunton. He had back-to-back misses early in the first quarter, and another one later that resulted in a missed putback from a teammate. He converted his only other miss of the first with a putback of his own.
He did the same with his lone miss of the second quarter and shot 5-for-7 in the third quarter, but one miss was a full-court heave to try and beat the buzzer. And in the fourth, he had just three shots but the one time he missed, he gathered the offensive rebound and scored himself.
“That’s always going to be the first look, getting Tyler a touch,” Dacey said. “If the double comes, we can kick it out but he’s our go-to guy. And the rest of the league has smartened up on Trent [Santos], Canton was denying him the ball and Mansfield is just Mansfield, they can deny anyone. But if they deny those guys, that leaves Tyler down low. And Danny [MacDougall] and Faisal [Mass] are doing a good job recognizing the double team.”
Stewart’s early success (14 points in the opening quarter) resulted in a big lead for the Tigers after eight minutes (18-6). Taunton added 19 more points in the second quarter, getting four apiece from sophomore Faisal Mass (14 points, seven rebounds) and junior Josh Lopes (eight points, four assists), and a pair of layups from sophomore Tristan Herry (nine points, six rebounds, four assists) and junior Nigel Choate.
But Stoughton’s offense showed signs of life as well, with senior guard Ahmad Jahed (eight rebounds, five assists) scoring half of his 16 points in the second quarter and Myles Grigalunas-Powell (16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists) and Donte Tyler hitting three-pointers to get the Black Knights within 11, down 37-26, at halftime.
Stewart scored eight points early in the third with Trent Santos (from Danny MacDougall), Mass, and Choate also chipping in as the Tigers stretched the lead to 17 points, up 49-32 with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.
Stoughton turned to the three-point line to get back into the game and found success, closing the third quarter on a 12-4 run. Grigalunas-Powell, Brett Pendenza, Jake Queeney, and Obinna Ugwuakazi (12 points, eight rebounds) all connected down downtown to cut the deficit to 53-44 entering the fourth.
Queeney and Ugwuakazi sandwiched three-pointers around a make from Stewart to open the fourth quarter and suddenly Stoughton was down just five with seven minutes to play. After Taunton missed on back-to-back three-point chances, they got the ball back down low to Stewart, who ended up grabbing his own miss and putting it off the glass.
Another stop preceded a free throw from Lopes to make it 58-50 with 5:26 to play and Mass drove the baseline with a strong take to push the advantage back to double figures, 60-50, with 4:39 left.
“He’s really improved over the course of the season,” Dacey said of Mass. “He was in football shape at the beginning of the year and now he’s got a little bit of quickness, he has the toughness…and he’s just a sophomore too. It was just important for us to get into a flow because we didn’t on Friday night.”
Mass scored twice more in crunch time with Herry and Lopes each adding buckets as Taunton increased its lead to 68-54. Queeney sank another three late to make it an 11-point game but Stoughton was unable to get the deficit within single digits again.
“We started to relax,” Dacey said. “And we’re not young anymore, that’s no longer an excuse. The sophomores have had a ton of experience now. There’s no such thing as relaxing in this league, especially against that team. They play on emotion and I didn’t want them to get going, because when they get going they are tough. They are so athletic, they can obviously hit the three, so they can get back into a game pretty quickly.”
Taunton boys basketball (7-4 Hockomock, 11-4 overall) will visit Oliver Ames on Friday. OA nipped Taunton with a three-pointer in the final seconds in the first meeting on December 18th. Stoughton (4-7 Hockomock, 7-8 overall) will travel to North Attleboro on the same night. The Black Knights handed Big Red a loss in the first meeting.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – What looked like a runaway win for the King Philip boys basketball team turned out to be anything but.
Visiting Stoughton erased a 17-point second half deficit, hitting a late three to force overtime and looked on the verge of a victory in the extra period before the Warriors forced double overtime and snatched it right back, earning a 90-84 verdict on Tuesday night.
King Philip seniors Tommy Donahue (20 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks) and Owen Conlin (14 points) came up with huge plays down the stretch to help the Warriors earn the win.
Donahue beat the buzzer with an offensive putback in the first overtime and Conlin drew a key charge and hit a big three in the second overtime, a pair of crucial plays that helped the hosts secure the win.
“We talk about how it’s a game of runs and how you respond to them,” said King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano. “I thought we did a good job of getting them early but then we settled in and got a little too comfortable instead of finishing the game strong. I’m happy with the way the guys responded in overtime and we got some big plays down the stretch from Tommy Donahue and Owen Conlin, and that was the difference.
“They each had a huge play with Tommy getting the tip in to force the second overtime and I thought Owen stepping in to take that charge in the second overtime was the difference-maker.”
Stoughton scored first in the second overtime but Donahue answered with a bucket down low. The team’s traded empty trips before Conlin stepped in to take a charge against Obinna Ugwuakazi, who scored a career-high 36 points for Stoughton. Not only did it get the Warriors the ball back, but it was also Ugwuakazi’s fifth foul.
After an empty trip from each team, Conlin drained a big three with just under two minutes left to push KP’s lead to 88-82. The game never got closer from there with Stoughton going 0-for-6 in its next couple of possessions and KP held on for the win.
“There’s a lot of positives, there’s a lot of negatives,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “It’s not our first rodeo with having a bad first half and great second half, it’s actually become a cliche with this team. They know it, we know it, and we’re working on it…that was a good high school basketball game.”
Conlin converted in the paint to put the Warriors up 49-32 midway through the third quarter. The Warriors had never trailed in the contest and held a double-digit lead since the first quarter.
But Stoughton gained a little bit of momentum with a strong finish to the frame with Ugwuakazi spearheading a 14-point burst to end the third to bring the Black Knights within striking distance, down 57-46.
That momentum carried over into the fourth in the form of a 9-0 run that featured two points from Brett Pendenza and five from Grigalunas-Powell to get the visitors within two points.
Chris Roy answered with a big three on a feed from Jarest (five points, 14 rebounds, three assists) and two possessions later, Andrew McKinney (16 points, 11 rebounds) completed a traditional three-point play just before the midway point of the fourth to push KP’s advantage back to 63-55.
Ugwuakazi answered with a tough, contested three-pointer and the Black Knights got a stop before Jake Queeney sank another triple, bringing the visitors within two again.
Fritz made one free throw but back-to-back buckets from Stoughton senior Adman Jared and a strong take from Ugwuakazi gave the Black Knights their first lead of the game with 1:32 to play.
Fritz sank two more free throws to put KP ahead before Ugwuakazi had one of his own to knot the score at 68-68. Two more from the line from Fritz preceded a stop by the Warriors, and Fritz went back to the line and sank another to push the lead to three.
Stoughton took advantage, coming back down and Tommy Sanda drained a three with 3.3 seconds left to make it 71-71. King Philip’s half court heave was off to force overtime.
The free throw line helped dictate the direction of the overtime periods with Tahkwan Gates Brown and Fritz trading a pair early on. McKinney put the Warriors ahead and Donahue converted a putback to push the KP lead to 77-74.
Stoughton responded with a 4-0 burst, getting a turnover that led to another three from Queeney as the Black Knights jumped ahead 78-77. Both teams had a pair of misses at the line, Stoughton got another stop, and Sanda pushed the lead to two with another free throw.
Fritz was just off on a contested layup but with more bodies down low, Donahue came up with the offensive rebound and put it right back up before the buzzer to make it 79-79 and forced a second overtime.
“We talk about it being a team game and there are five guys on the court,” DeStefano said. “We still want to use Fritz, but if defenses are overplaying him, then we have other guys that can step in there. We have other guys on this team that can score as we saw tonight.”
It was a bit of a wild start to the game with the teams combining for over 40 points. Fritz and Ugwuakazi, the Hockomock League’s leading scorers, both got it done early.
Fritz shot 7-for-9 in the opening eight minutes, scoring 17 points as the Warriors enjoyed a 27-point outburst to start the game. Ugwuakazi knocked down a pair of triples and finished with 12 of the Black Knights’ 17 points.
After the first quarter, Stoughton’s adjustment to put Queeney on Fritz paid dividends, with Gallivan making a point to highlight Queeney’s defensive work. The Black Knights held Fritz to two points in the second, scoreless in the third, and without a field goal until the second overtime period.
King Philip boys basketball (3-4 Hockomock, 5-5 overall) is back in action on Friday when it entertains Mansfield. Stoughton (2-5, 5-6) will look to snap its three-game skid when it travels to Milford on the same night.
King Philip, 56 @ Canton, 32 – Final – Canton raced out to a 10-0 lead but it was all King Philip after that, the Warriors taking a lead by the end of the first quarter and pushing it to double figures by halftime. After an even third quarter, KP limited the Bulldogs to just three points in the fourth to finish the game strong. Seniors Chris Roy (12 points) and Owen Conlin each hit a pair of threes in the opening quarter to help KP rebound from the early deficit. Senior Alex Fritz scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the second quarter to help his side build the lead.
Franklin, 56 @ Stoughton, 53 – Final – Trailing 40-29 after three quarters, Stoughton rallied to get within one possession but the Black Knights couldn’t find the tying bucket before the buzzer. Senior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored nine of his team-high 20 points in the third while Ahmad Jahed (eight points), Jake Queeney (seven points) and Brett Pendenza all hit threes in the fourth to give the Black Knights a chance at the upset. Franklin senior Chris Edgehill scored eight of his 12 points in the final quarter to help keep the Panthers ahead. Stoughton grabbed the offensive rebound after missing the mark on a shot to tie the game but the buzzer sounded before their second shot was released. Jack Rudolph scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the first half as Franklin led 35-24 at the break.
Taunton, 78 @ Sharon, 60 – Final – Sharon stayed within striking distance for a half but Taunton’s offense scored over 20 points in each the third and fourth quarters to pull away with a win on the road. The Tigers held a 17-9 lead after one and a 35-27 lead at the break before scoring 21 points in the third to create a double-digit advantage. Sophomore Trent Santos scored eight of his career-high 22 points in the third quarter, hitting a pair of three-pointers. Junior Josh Lopes added half of his 14 points in the third and junior Tyler Stewart scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half to help the Tigers pull away. Sharon senior Aidan Kane hit seven three-pointers on his way to a game-high 23 points.
North Attleboro, 51 @ Attleboro, 46 – Final – North went into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead (39-30), but the Bombardiers stormed back to tie the game at 46-46. Amanda Kaiser (11 points) buried a clutch three-pointer in the final minute and North tacked on two more to secure the rivalry win. Eliza Dion led the way for the Rocketeers with 13 points and head coach Nikki Correia praised point guard Olivia Forbes for taking care of the ball all night. Meghan Gordon had a game-high 14 for the Bombardiers and Nyah Thomas added 12. North led 16-11 after the first quarter and built the lead to double digits in the second only for Attleboro to go on a 6-0 run to close out the half at 28-23. North adjusted its defense at halftime to push the lead back up to nine. Correia said, “The girls really did a good job on executing the game plan. A few mental breakdowns but again we were able to play through it.”
Canton, 75 @ King Philip, 77 – Final – In a back-and-forth game, Canton had a chance to tie it but a last-second shot stayed out and the Warriors walked away with the narrow win. Kiara Cerruti scored a season-high 22 points to pace the Bulldogs. Fay Gallery scored 16 and Sydney Gallery had 14 points, while freshman Samya DaSilva set a new career-high for the second game in a row, scoring 14 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
Stoughton, 31 @ Franklin, 77 – Final – Franklin continued its unbeaten season with a big win over a shorthanded Black Knights squad. Ali Brigham and Olivia Quinn each scored 16 points to lead the Panthers and Kaliegh Houlihan chipped in with 11. Shyanne Trinh was the top scorer for Stoughton with 12.
Milford, 35 @ Mansfield, 59 – Final – The Hornets scored 41 points over the second and third quarters to break the game open and secure the win. Kayla Vine scored a career-high 20 points to lead Mansfield. Ashley Santos added 12 points and Becca Hottleman scored eight in the win. The Hornets made 11 three-pointers as a team. Jillian Michelson, Emma Lawrence, and freshman Brooke Ferreira each scored seven points for the Hawks, who continued to battle in the second half and outscored Mansfield 9-7 in the fourth quarter.
Sharon, 39 @ Taunton, 32 – Final – The Eagles won on the road for the second time in three days. Kaitlyn Wallace scored 13 points to lead the way, while Ally Brown scored nine and Trinity Payne added six.
North Attleboro @ Milford, 7:00
Stoughton, 27 @ Foxboro, 42 – Final
Oliver Ames @ King Philip, 8:00
Taunton, 79 @ Milford, 88 – Final
Oliver Ames @ King Philip, 8:00
Taunton, 82 @ Milford, 88 – Final
Attleboro, 166.5 @ Braintree, 125.6 – Final – Attleboro’s Andrae Butler took first in five of the six events, cruising to first in all-around action (48.4) as the Bombardiers landed a big win over Braintree. Butler took first on the floor, the pommel horse, the highbar, the parallel bars, and the vault while placing second on the rings. Attleboro’s Shawn Trombley, who was second in the all-around with a 41.1, finished top three in four events.
Floor – 1. Andrae Butler, Att – 9.0 | 2. Jacob Mammoli, Att – 8.5 | 3. Shawn Trombley, Att- 8.1;
Pommel Horse – 1. A. Butler, Att – 6.5 | 2. S. Trombley, Att – 6.0 | 3. Dan Pham, Btree – 5.8;
Highbar – 1. A. Butler, Att – 8.4 | 2. S. Trombley, Att – 7.6 | 3. Joey Kayan, Att – 6.9;
Parallel Bars – 1. A. Butler, Att – 8.3 | 2. S. Trombley, Att – 7.3 | 3. Anthony Hoyt, Att – 6.0;
Vault – 1. A. Butler, Att – 9.2 | 2. J. Kayan, Att – 8.4 | 3. J. Mammoli, Att – 8.3;
Rings – 1. J. Kayan, Att – 7.3 | 2. A. Butler, Att – 7.0 | 3. Gabe Dinh, Btree – 6.3.
King Philip, 80 vs. Plymouth North, 68 – Final – King Philip senior Alex Fritz was nearly unstoppable on Monday night, pouring in a career-high 42 points to lead the Warriors to a win over Plymouth North. Without Fritz in the lineup a couple of weeks ago, the Warriors suffered a loss on the road to Plymouth North but the senior guard made his presence known in the second meeting. He hit three three-pointers and finished with 15 points in the opening quarter as KP built a 20-15 lead. He sank two more triples in the second while Cole Breen and Robbie Jarest also hit from downtown to give the Warriors a 40-30 edge at halftime. Fritz went back to work in the third with 11 more points and Tommy Donahue scored seven of his 13 points in the third as the hosts extended the lead to 64-52. KP hit 12 free throws in the final quarter, going 27-for-42 from the line in the game total, to help ice the win.
Stoughton, 78 @ Fenway, 50 – Final – Stoughton senior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored all of his team-high 23 points in the first half as the Black Knights built a big lead and never looked back. After seven points in an opening quarter that featured a pair of threes from Myles Grigalunas-Powell (11 points) and one more from Brett Pendenza, Stoughton held a 24-19 lead. Ugwuakazi scored 16 points in the second quarter, Grigalunas-Powell added five more, and Donte Tyler hit a three as Stoughton’s advantage ballooned to 48-28 by half. Jake Queeney hit a three in the third and Tahkwan Gates Brown scored twice as Stoughton pushed its lead to 60-34 through three quarters. Pendenza, Ahmad Jahed, and KC Ugwuakazi each finished with seven points for Stoughton.
Stoughton, 55 @ Milton, 43 – Final – Stoughton swept the season series with Milton to earn its third win in a row and fourth in the last five games. Aliyah Wright got things going for the Black Knights on the offensive end with 19 points and Shyanne Trinh added 14. Jess Maddalena gave Stoughton a presence on the glass, pulling down 13 rebounds.
Stoughton, 1 vs. Rockland, 4 – Final
Canton, 80 @ Dedham, 85 – Final
Sharon, 90 @ Oliver Ames, 66 – Final
Canton, 81 @ Dedham, 94 – Final
Sharon, 69 @ Oliver Ames, 96 – Final
STOUGHTON, Mass. – With a couple of Hockomock League schools in the process of either planning or building a new high school, here’s a small bit of advice: don’t schedule the Oliver Ames boys basketball team for your first game.
For the second time in five years, the Tigers played spoiler inside a brand new gymnasium. After beating Franklin in its first game of its new gym in 2014, Oliver Ames used a suffocating second half defensive effort to earn a win over Stoughton in the Black Knights’ first game in their brand new school.
The excitement of the first basketball game in the new gym carried onto the court as the Black Knights raced out to a 14-5 lead, holding the visitors to just a pair of field goals over the first eight minutes.
But that momentum did not carry over to the second quarter as the Tigers clawed their way back into the game, and it all but disappeared in the second half as Oliver Ames poured in over 20 points in each the third and fourth quarters to pull away.
Not only did Oliver Ames’ active zone defense limit the hosts to 15 total second half points, but it also led to easy baskets in transition that seemed to spark the OA offense.
“That looked like a first game [early on], which you worry about a little bit,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron, who started his 11th year at the helm of the Tigers with a win. “We had some shots that were makable and didn’t make them, and it snowballs a little bit and it gets contagious with the five guys who are out there. But getting a couple near the end [of the half], a little spurt to get us in shouting distance. When that happened, we were able to settle them a little bit and we were okay.
“And then we just came out and played like we’re capable of playing in the second half. I think we’re going to be a pretty good shooting team and we just didn’t show it in the first half. We showed more of it in the second half.”
Stoughton senior Donte Tyler came off the bench and got a steal and easy layup to push Stoughton’s lead to 22-9 but the Black Knights were unable to really pull away.
OA junior Will Whiteside answered with the Tigers’ lone triple of the half, senior Evan Craig scored a baseline jumper off a feed from classmate Owen Friel, senior Jay Spillane (career-high 18 points) finished off a layup after a Black Knight turnover, and Ryan Burkett (career-high 18 points, nine rebounds) had an easy two after a nice layoff from junior Drew Nickla to complete a 9-2 spurt for the Tigers, getting with six down 26-20 at the break.
“At the half, even though we were up six, we felt like we blew an opportunity because we got selfish,” said Stoughton’s John Gallivan, who is in his 16th year as head coach. We had a chance to blow it open, [OA] was struggling to score at the time, and we had four or five really bad possessions in a row. We always talk about surviving runs and when they made their run, it was like a deer in the headlights. We couldn’t punch back.”
OA came out flying in the third quarter, using its active zone to get a lot of deflections and turnovers as the Knights tried to penetrate or find Ugwuakazi or Gates Brown in the post. Spillane took advantage of a pair of offensive rebounds, first with a quick putback and then again with his first triple of the game.
OA junior Amari Brown (career-high 17 points, three steals) came up with a steal and finished on the break to put the Tigers ahead for the first time with 4:44 left in the third but Gates Brown answered for the Black Knights. Burkett continued his strong game with a nice finish at the time off of a nice pass from Friel. And another turnover from Stoughton led to another fast break finish from Brown, and OA took a 33-30 lead on the back of an 11-2 run.
“I thought it was a good defensive effort in the second half,” Byron said as the Tigers forced 10 second-half turnovers. “It’s not sexy, a lot of the top defensive teams and they are usually up in your face. But we did a good job of covering the things we need to cover. They threw a couple of different looks at us, and the first game out, you don’t know everything they run, so I thought the kids reacted well.”
Stoughton missed on two chances and Spillane made them pay on the other send, draining a high arching triple and the Tigers’ defense came up with another turnover and Brown finished off a traditional three-point play for a 40-31 advantage. Spillane made his three triple of the game to extend the lead to 43-33 but Jahed sank three free throws late to cut the deficit to seven.
The OA lead stayed at seven for the first three minutes of the final quarter before the Tigers finally pulled away. Burkett finished in close, Brown score on another fast break, and Spillane sank his fourth three on his fourth attempt of the half for a 54-39 advantage with just over three minutes to play.
“We kept throwing the same type of passes to the same exact spots, and OA…they are smart kids, they are anticipating,” Gallivan said. “Now they get a couple of easy ones, Brown got a couple of easy ones. We didn’t get anything easy in the entire second half. [OA] was the better team, they deserved to win.”
It was a breakout night for Burkett, who kept the Tigers afloat with his nine first half points. He was 7-for-10 from the field overall and hauled in a team-high nine rebounds against a relatively tall Stoughton team.
“He’s going to sneak up on people a little bit,” Byron said of Burkett. “He’s just got a knack in the lane. He’s a quick jumper, plays bigger and longer than he is, gets his hands on a lot of things. His game reminds me of Cedric Maxwell, everything is from eight feet in. And he’s really good around the hoop, he finishes well.”
Oliver Ames boys basketball (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) hits the road on Tuesday to take on Taunton while Stoughton (0-1, 0-1) welcomes North Attleboro to town on the same night.
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.
The Bulldogs (10-1), who won the Davenport division outright this season, capped a historic season with a 30-8 win over the Black Knights (10-1) in the 94th annual Thanksgiving meeting between the neighbors.
It marks just the fourth time in program history the team has won 10 games, joining 1979, 1981, and 1987.
“The kids were disappointed last year, we didn’t play great and Stoughton came to play,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “You see it over there on their sidelines…we had to live with that for a whole year. We didn’t want to let that happen again. I always knew it was important to the program, but that win two years ago and that whole feeling. It was a great day for the program, as is today, and it kind of started this run.
“We have a healthy rivalry. There’s a lot of talk about how the playoffs have taken the luster out of Thanksgiving, but not around here. I know how [Stoughton] values this rivalry, and I know how much we value it. Its two teams with mutual respect. Stoughton has a very good team that is very well-coached. Beating them on Thanksgiving is quite an accomplishment, that’s how we view it.”
Canton scored twice in the second quarter to take the lead and its defense pitched a second half shutout out, holding the Black Knights without a first down for nearly the entire second half.
Not only did the Bulldog defense prevent the Black Knights, who were without star two-way players Christopher Ais and Christian Georges due to injury, from moving the chains after the break, they limited the visitors to less than five yards on its first five series of the second half.
“For this program, for our class, this means everything for us,” said Canton senior David Allen, who had a second half touchdown catch. “We’ve won a lot together from when we were young. Getting knocked out of the playoffs hurt but to be able to take this trophy home to end the season means a lot to everyone on our team.
“It’s such a big rivalry. After a loss, you get to think about it but then it’s on to the next game, and especially with Stoughton, there’s a lot of extra motivation behind playing on Thanksgiving against them. We played very well defensively today, and we just had to grind it out on every play.”
After a scoreless first quarter that saw Canton come up with a stop against a goal-to-go situation for the Black Knights, the Bulldogs started the second quarter with 1st and goal from the 10 after a nice run from senior Kyle Fitzgerald (eight carries, 85 yards, touchdown) and 21-yard pass from Johnny Hagan (5-for-15, 99 yards, two touchdowns) to senior Jace Emma.
But similar how to the Black Knights were denied in the opening quarter, the Bulldogs couldn’t solve Stoughton’s defense. Despite getting down to the one-yard line, Stoughton got a good push up front from the likes of Carlvin LaGuerre, Oluwole Fabikun, Jerry Brisson, and Kelven Rodriquez, and senior Jaden McCall and junior Sproul Derolus combined for a huge tackle for loss on third down, and a fourth down pass fell incomplete.
Despite not scoring, the Bulldogs were able to flip field position, and cashed in on its next drive. On the first play from the Stoughton 35-yard line, Hagan floated one down the middle that Fitzgerald went up and grabbed over the defender and battled his way the final five yards for a touchdown. Owen Lehane’s point after made it 7-0 with 8:14 left in the second quarter.
Stoughton’s next drive didn’t go far thanks to a tackle for a loss on second down from Canton senior Jack Connolly, and a sack on third down from senior Lucas Ragusa. A good punt return from senior Gersom Rivera gave the Dogs the ball at the Stoughton 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Fitzgerald took his second straight handoff on a jet sweep and cut right up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 5:39 left in the first half.
“It was a long break coming off the Holliston game, and you always worry if there will be a hangover from that loss,” Bohane said. “There was a couple of days I was a little worried but once we got back together, I could sense it. They are a very mature group, a lot of them play multiple sports and compete all the time. I could tell by the way they were acting that we’d be alright. The coaches did a great job preparing them and the kids came to play today.”
Stoughton responded with its best drive of the game to make it a one-score contest. Senior Clayton Rahaman (7-for-20, 147 yards) lofted one down the sideline that junior John Burke made a nice adjustment to haul in for a 35-yard catch, earning a first down on 3rd and 20.
Junior Jake Queeney got open and drew a pass interference call two plays later, and then moved the chains with an 11-yard catch. Sophomore Anthony Girolamo (11 carries, 30 yards) scampered for 13 yards to move inside the 10-yard line, and two plays later junior Christian Ais extended at the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown.
Rahaman connected with senior Anthony Pizzano for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 with 1:14 left in the second quarter.
A good return from Rivera and a run from Hagan got Canton into scoring position with under a minute to go, but Ais came up with an interception in the red zone to put an end to the drive.
Neither team moved the ball to open the second half as Canton punted after a three-and-out, and Stoughton did the same after going backward. Field position benefitted the hosts again as they started at the Stoughton 29-yard line. Canton moved into the red zone but a holding penalty pushed them back and Burke broke up a pass in the end zone.
The Bulldogs settled for a 28-yard field goal from Lehane to make it 17-8 with 7:46 left in the third quarter.
While Canton’s offense tried to establish itself in the second half, the defense came it plenty of chances. Stoughton’s first four drives all resulted in punts and totaled -14 yards. Its fifth drive didn’t yield any yards and ended with an interception two plays in.
“The defense has been outstanding all year,” Bohane said. “We played great against Stoughton the first time too. We had a couple of lapses but Coach Eckler did a great job with his adjustments at halftime and we really never had any issues with the defense the rest of the way, it was an outstanding performance.”
Stoughton senior Savion Scott put an end to Canton’s next series with a terrific diving interception but the Bulldogs were back in business on their next series. Starting at their own 47-yard line, the Bulldogs needed just four plays to extend the lead.
Fitzgerald sprinted for a 19-yard gain, junior Cam Sanchez took a handoff for six yards, Hagan kept it himself for 20 yards, and Rivera capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown and a 23-8 lead with 1:41 left in the third.
Canton started its next drive at the Stoughton 33-yard line, and back-to-back runs from Sanchez and Rivera moved the sticks. Back-to-back penalties put Canton into 1st and 26, but Hagan delivered a pass to Allen right to the marker for a first down. Three plays later, Hagan hit Allen on the slant for a 7-yard touchdown and a 30-8 lead.
“When we lost last year, it was tough,” Gallery said. “Throughout the year, we were all looking forward to the Thanksgiving game and getting payback, that’s what it’s all about. It was a good win and it’ s nice to go out on a high note.”
This article was updated on Saturday, November 30th to include the 1987 Canton team as a 10-win team.
MILFORD, Mass. – A matchup featuring two of the most prolific offenses in the Hockomock League turned into a defensive struggle.
Both Stoughton and Milford entered Saturday’s Davenport division dual averaging over 25 points per game and known for their big play ability. The Hawks have tormented teams through the air while the Black Knights have a plethora of backs capable of breaking a big run on any play.
With that in mind, it became a defensive chess match between the two sides.
The Black Knights loaded the secondary and didn’t allow Milford quarterback Colby Pires (29/42, 207 yards) to complete a pass for more than 30 yards. On the flip side, the Hawks limited Stoughton’s longest run of the day to just 21 yards.
In the end, Stoughton’s bend-don’t-break defense proved enough and the Black Knights got a big boost from its passing game to prevail 14-10 on the road.
“We just didn’t want them to hit any home runs,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “You have to try and get pressure, and we got some. I’m mostly a zone [defense] guy, and I’m not saying that’s the only way to play defense. But I know at this level, as long as no one beats you over the top you can live for another play. I’m not saying it’s the best, and then you have to tackle. Their quarterback is tough, [Luke Rosa] is tough, they hurt us but we adjusted to it better in the second half.”
The biggest play of the game came in the form of a third down conversion that helped the Black Knights kill the rest of the clock to hold onto the win.
Savion Scott had a 61-yard touchdown erased on a holding call — the second straight flag on the Black Knights — and Stoughton was forced into a 1st and 35 from its own 28-yard line with 4:39 left in the game.
Junior quarterback John Burke (5/11, 109 yards passing; seven carries, 33 yards) scampered for 11 yards, and junior Christian Ais (eight carries, 33 yards) picked up three yards on second down putting Stoughton in 3rd and 21 from its own 42-yard line.
Burke lofted a pass down the right sideline that got caught up in the wind. Milford’s safety floated over to try and make a play on the ball but Stoughton junior Jake Queeney cut in, jumped up to grab the ball before the defender, took a hit that spun him to the ground, and held on for a 31 yard gain and a first down with 3:38 to go.
Queeney also hauled in a second quarter touchdown over terrific defense to put the Black Knights on the board.
“He’s a great player, he made two big catches for us today,” Burke said. “We had two penalties in a row but it was a huge catch for us. It was a quality opponent to get a win over. I think we’re in good shape, we just want to get a home game wherever that will be.”
Two plays later, Burke scrambled for a first down that forced Milford to take its last timeout with 1:43 left and the Black Knights were able to run the clock out with its final three plays.
“They are tough, they are physical, and this was a game with where the team with the least amount of mistakes, the team that makes one more play comes out on top,” said Milford coach Anthony Vizakis said. “That’s a great team, we tip our hats to them and hopefully we’ll see them in the playoffs.”
Milford’s opening drive was a sign of things to come throughout the game. The Hawks ran 14 plays but covered just 45 yards. The longest play of the drive came when Pires hit Rosa (eight catches, 87 yards) for 15 yards out of the backfield, and the Hawks even converted a fourth down on the drive.
But when they got close to the red zone, Stoughton’s defense clamped down. A two-yard pass from Pires to Matt Varteresian preceded back-to-back runs from Rosa for six yards. On fourth and two, Pires hit Carter Scudo (eight catches, 34 yards) but Christian Ais made a tackle for a two-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
Stoughton’s offense didn’t fare any better as they lost 10 yards in a quick three-and-out.
Milford orchestrated another lengthy drive, moving 44 yards on nine plays. But the drive stalled again as it approached the red zone. This time the Hawks settled for a 37-yard field goal from CJ Cerrella to take a 3-0 lead with 11:10 left in the second quarter.
The Black Knights finally got their offense going on their third drive of the game. Stoughton marched 80 yards on six plays to find the end zone. Christopher Ais (15 carries, 72 yards) had the longest run of the day for Stoughton with a 21-yard run on first down. Four plays later, Burke kept it himself to convert a fourth and one with a 16-yard rush.
On the next play, Burke delivered a pass down the middle that Queeney was able to haul in with a defender in his face. After catching the pass, Queeney fought his way for extra yards and stretched the ball into the end zone. Anthony Girolamo’s extra point put Stoughton up 7-3 with 3:10 left in the second quarter.
Milford opened the second half with its most complete drive of the game, covering 55 yards in seven plays to find the end zone for the first time. The Hawks opened with a halfback pass as Scudo hit Rosa for 32 yards, which was the longest play of the day for the hosts.
Pires hit Xavier Hilton three plays later to convert a third down and get inside the 10-yard line. On third and goal from the two, Pires connected with Rosa in the flat and he went in for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead with 7:40 left in the third quarter.
Stoughton wasted little time responding, using nine plays to go 51 yards to get the lead back. Christopher Ais started the drive with a 14-yard run and converted a third down with a two-yard plunge up the middle three plays later.
Senior quarterback Clayton Rahaman took over under center for the drive and connected with Christian Ais for a nine-yard gain to convert another third down and move inside the red zone. Christian Ais picked up seven on the ground on the next play and Christopher Ais followed his blocking to the left following that, just reaching the ball across the goal line for a five-yard touchdown.
After Girolamo’s extra point, the Black Knights held a 14-10 lead with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
Milford’s first drive of the fourth quarter ended with a turnover on downs after an incompletion on fourth and one from the Stoughton 21-yard line. The Hawks’ second drive of the final quarter yielded just five yards and ended in a three and out.
“Their defense is solid, they are very well-coached and have a ton of athletes over there,” Vizakis said. “They didn’t want to get beat deep, so we knew we’d have to sustain drives with shorter yardage gains and more plays. After long drives like that, you have to put it in for points. We just didn’t capitalize enough today.
“We just couldn’t execute when we got down towards the red zone. That’s a big difference in the game, you have to be able to get points out of those drives.”
Stoughton football (3-1 Hockomock, 5-1 overall) closes its Hockomock schedule on Friday when it hosts North Attleboro at Canton High School. Milford (2-2, 3-3) will try to secure its spot in the tournament and push for a home game when it hosts Foxboro on the same night.
Game of the Week – Football
Franklin, 37 @ Attleboro, 7 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (F) Thomas Gasbarro 28-yard pass to Jake Davis, Parker Cheuvront XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Safety; (F) T. Gasbarro 4-yard pass to Cole Lakatos, P. Cheuvront XP good; (F) T. Gasbarro 2-yard pass to Jack Nally, P. Cheuvront XP good.
3rd Quarter: (F) T. Gasbarro 1-yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) J. Nally 10-yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good; (A) Jason Weir 2-yard pass to Ethan Cameron, Colby Briggs XP good.
Canton, 18 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final
Stoughton, 14 @ Milford, 10 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (M) CJ Cerrella 37-yard field goal; (S) John Burke 34-yard pass to Jake Queeney, Anthony Girolamo XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) Colby Pires 2-yard pass to Luke Rosa, C. Cerrella XP good; (S) Christopher Ais 5-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Attleboro @ Oliver Ames, 3:00
Canton, 0 vs. Walpole, 6 – Final
Taunton, 0 @ New Bedford, 1 – Final