SHARON, Mass. – Heading into the fourth quarter, first-year Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan let her team know that she was frustrated. Jordan, one of the program’s all-time top scorers during her playing days, urged the Black Knights to compete for the name on the front of the jersey.
Stoughton got the message and turned around a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter at Sharon on Friday night to pull out a 52-49 victory that leaves the team just two wins away from a return to the state tournament.
“I was trying to get them pumped up and motivated and to really get over that mental toughness hump,” said Jordan. “It was great to see them rise to the occasion and be like okay, we’re not backing down.”
The Black Knights came out of the huddle with renewed energy to start the fourth quarter and it did not take them long to get back into the game. Bridgette Whalen knocked down the first of two free throws to cut the lead to three and then Alecia Quinones (17 points and 11 rebounds) snatched the miss to save the possession.
Quinones swung the ball around to the top of the circle and senior guard Sarah Quattrucci, who banked in a three-pointer to tie the game at 42-42.
Sharon responded quickly to regain the lead. Sophomore Shira Stoller (five assists) threw a perfect pass through the Stoughton zone to classmate Angela Wallace who finished the layup and was fouled.
Once again it was Quinones that made a big play for Stoughton. The league’s leading scorer (averaging more than 20 points per game) snatched a crosscourt pass and took it the length of the court for a layup that cut the lead back to one.
“She does a nice job reading the quarterback’s eyes,” said Jordan of Quinones, “and she’s got a nice feel for the game, so I’m glad she’s wearing orange and black.”
Jess Greer (game-high 18 points) buried her fourth three of the game to give the Black Knights the lead and Quinones made one of two free throws to make it 48-45. After Alyssa Piazza (11 points, seven rebounds) made to from the line, Wallace knocked down a pair to give the Eagles a one-point advantage. Wallace finished with a career-high 15 points to lead Sharon.
“She was playing AAU in the spring and fall and gained more confidence there,” said Sharon coach Cliff Tomassian of Wallace, who played on varsity as a freshman but was still mentally recovering from a torn ACL she suffered as an eighth grader.
“To see her come out tonight and finish like that and to hit her foul shots, which has been a real problem for her, was awesome to see.”
After an Ava Siegel free throw tied the game, Quinones snatched another defensive board and quickly looked ahead to Greer, who had leaked out, for an easy transition bucket that gave the Black Knights the lead for good.
“For us, there’s one thing I was screaming the whole game was we have to do it with our defense,” Jordan explained. “Teams are going to score but we still have to play tough defense and finish it with a rebound. It turned gears and clicked in and they were able to make it happen.”
When the game began, it looked like Stoughton might be able to run away with an easy win. The Black Knights jumped out to 7-0 lead behind four points from Quinones. Sharon, coming off a 40-point loss to Attleboro on Tuesday, looked shaky but after a timeout started to settle down and finished the quarter with a 7-0 run of its own.
The second quarter unexpectedly turned into a shootout. Sharon got off to a strong start thanks to two quick buckets from Stoller. The point guard started to look for her own shot and to find seams in the Stoughton zone off the dribble.
“I told her at halftime, I told her in the locker room, after halftime, after the game, look what happens when you go to the hoop,” said Tomassian. “When she steps up, we’re a lot better.”
Wallace also provided a spark in the second with six points, while freshman Emma Eberhardt added all four of her points in the quarter. Stoughton countered with its outside game.
Greer knocked down three of her four three-pointers in the second to give the Black Knights a spark and as halftime approached the visitors led by one, until Stoller knocked down a shot from just beyond half-court that put Sharon in front 28-26 at the break.
The third quarter was similar with the two teams trading blows. Quinones scored six in the third, but was matched by Piazza, who scored six of her 11 points in the quarter, and Stoller who knocked down a step-back, fall away jumper to put the Eagles up four.
“We got beat pretty good there in the second game of the season,” said Tomassian, referencing Stoughton’s 57-45 win in December. “I told them in the locker room that I couldn’t be more proud of how physical they played considering how out-matched we were. They battled the whole game.”
Stoughton (7-3, 7-2) rallied in the fourth quarter to pick up the win and to keep pace with Oliver Ames atop the Davenport standings. The Black Knights will face both league leaders next week starting with Mansfield on Tuesday. Sharon (3-8, 1-8) will try to bounce back against Fontbonne Academy on Sunday.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
Today’s games are listed below. Boys Basketball
Franklin, 63 @ Attleboro, 53 – Final – Franklin was led by freshman Jay Dieterle, who scored 16 points. Paul Mahon added 13 for the Panthers. Jake Dunkley had 17 points and five rebounds and Kyle Murphy added 13 points and 12 boards for the Bombardiers.
Canton, 53 @ Foxboro, 73 – Final – Foxboro was led by Jason Procaccini with 22 points. Alex DuBrow and Rob Lowey each chipped in with 14 points for the Warriors. Canton freshman Devin Foster netted a team-high 12 points.
Mansfield, 73 @ King Philip, 50 – Final – Sam Goldberg was the top scorer for the Hornets with 14. Tyler Boulter (13) and Matt Ehrlich (11) also got into double digits for Mansfield, which had 11 players on the score sheet. Tom Madden led KP with 15 points.
Oliver Ames, 55 @ Milford, 44 – Final – Carter Evin paced OA with 18 points. Nick Welch also had 14 and Shawn Cardoza had 12 for the Tigers.
Taunton, 62 @ North Attleboro, 60 – Final – Jose Mercado and Tommy MacLean each scored 19 points in the win as Taunton avenged a loss from the first meeting. North was led by Jonny Friberg with 16 ponts. Mario Bresko and Brent Doherty added 14 points apiece for the Rocketeers.
Sharon, 69 @ Stoughton, 67 – Final – The Eagles got 15 points from Andrew Filipkowski and eights points each from David Roelke, Michael Zola, and Peter Banks. Brandon Teixeira led the Black Knights with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Cam Andrews added 17 for the Black Knights. Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 64 @ Canton, 40 – Final – Senior Cassidy Harrison led the way for the Warriors with 20 points and Lily Sykes added 11.
Attleboro, 56 @ Franklin, 48 – Final – Emily Houle led the Bombardiers on Friday with 22 points.
King Philip, 30 @ Mansfield, 39 – Final
Milford, 30 @ Oliver Ames, 47 – Final – With the victory, OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook ties the state career wins record with 633. Senior Kaitlyn McCarthy was the high scorer for the Tigers with nine points and classmate Sam Bamford added eight points.
North Attleboro, 46 @ Taunton, 47 – Final – Jordan Wade was the top scorer for the Tigers with 16 points. Alyssa Gibson had seven points and 14 rebounds and sophomore Hannah Moniz scored eight points for Taunton, which has now won two in a row.
Stoughton, 52 @ Sharon, 49 – Final – Jess Greer led the Black Knights with 18 points and Alecia Quinones chipped in with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Angela Wallace had a career-high 15 points for Sharon and Shira Stoller and Alyssa Piazza each had 11. Swimming
Milford boys, 51 @ Canton boys, 119 – Final
Milford girls, 70 @ Canton girls, 100 – Final
Stoughton girls, 67 @ Foxboro girls, 101 – Final
Franklin boys, 59 @ King Philip boys, 100 – Final
Franklin girls, 100 @ King Philip girls, 68 – Final
Oliver Ames boys, 79 @ Sharon boys, 91 – Final – With the win, Sharon clinched the Davenport title. Oliver Ames girls, 84 @ Sharon girls, 90 – Final Gymnastics
North Attleboro, 131.65 @ Attleboro, 129.9 – Final Wrestling Oliver Ames @ Masconomet Quad – The Tigers went 3-0 to improve to 19-5 on the season. OA beat Arlington 51-12, Masco 48-32, and Burlington 42-32. Anthony Berksza (138) went 3-0 in the meet and Ryan Lehane (152) went 3-0 with three pins.
Today’s games are listed below. Boys Basketball
Milford, 55 @ Attleboro, 70 – Final – Attleboro had three players score in double-digits, led by a career-high 24 points for junior Jake Dunkley, who also added seven rebounds. Junior Andrew Milliken had 16 points and five rebounds, sophomore Nate Douglas had 14 points and four rebounds and senior Kyle Murphy had 14 rebounds to go along with seven points. Milford’s Zack Tamagni scored a team-high 20 points for the Scarlet Hawks.
Canton, 34 @ North Attleboro, 43 – Final – North Attleboro junior Brent Doherty scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, including nine of them in the third quarter, which was the period the Rocketeers created an eight point cushion. Senior Ridge Olsen added nine points and Kyle Gaumond had six. Canton’s Tony Harris had 12 points for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 60 @ Franklin, 65 – Final (OT) – Senior Tim Prunier scored a game-high 18 points while freshman Jay Dieterle scored 13 points, senior Kevin Gill had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists and Josh Macchi had 11 points and eight rebounds. Foxboro’s Jason Procaccini scored 17 points, Robby Lowey added 12 points and six rebounds and Mark Clagg had 11 points.
Sharon, 45 @ King Philip, 52 – Final – King Philip broke into the win column, pouring in 20 points in the first quarter and never looking back. Seth Sullivan had a game-high 13 points while junior Pharaoh Davis added 11 points and junior Noah Goodwin had 10 points. Peter Banks had 10 points for Sharon, who went 2/24 from 3PT range as a team.
Oliver Ames, 63 @ Mansfield, 78 – Final – Junior Sam Goldberg netted a career-high 23 points (17 in the second half) pulled in 10 rebounds and had four assists to lead the Hornets. Matt Ehrlich added 17 points and Max Boen added 11 points. Oliver Ames’ Tim Kelley had 20 points and Connor Maroney added 15 points.
Stoughton, 53 @ Taunton, 81 – Final – Senior Jose Mercado netted 25 points and junior Quan Roberson added 22 points as Taunton’s offense scored a season-high 81 points. Stoughton sophomore Cam Andrews had 14 points to lead the Black Knights. Girls Basketball
North Attleboro, 50 @ Canton, 38 – Final – North Attleboro was led by junior guard Ashley Ahern, who finished with 18 points. For the second straight night, Hannah Jerrier recorded a double-double for Canton with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Franklin, 45 @ Foxboro, 51 – Final – Sophomore Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 21 points while sophomore Lily Sykes chipped in with 12 points for Foxboro.
King Philip, 53 @ Sharon, 45 – Final – KP rallied from eight down in the fourth quarter behind 18 points from freshman Julia Leroux (nine in the fourth quarter alone). Sam Madden added 12 for the Warriors, who outscored the Eagles 22-7 in the final quarter. Sharon was led by Alyssa Piazza with 14 points and Charlotte Ransom with 12.
Mansfield, 48 @ Oliver Ames, 32 – Final – Caroline Maher led the way for the Hornets with 16 points in a game between the top two teams in this week’s girls basketball Hock 5. Meg Hill added eight points and nine rebounds and Jen Peel had eight points and eight assists for Mansfield.
Attleboro, 54 @ Milford, 26 – Final – The Bombardiers were without star forward Sarah Deyo but pulled out the win on the road led by 18 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Sam Pierce. Emma Vlashi added 12 points for Attleboro in just her second game back from injury and Fatima McDonald chipped in with eight steals.
Taunton, 52 @ Stoughton, 54 – Final – Stoughton seniors Jess Greer and Alecia Quinones each scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Black Knights to a close win. Taunton senior Jordan Wade had 16 points while Lily Patneaude and Alyssa Gibson each added 12 points for the Tigers. Hockey
Canton, 11 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Senior Matty Marcone netted his first career goal to lead the Bulldogs to a league win. Wrestling
Taunton, 42 vs. Josiah Quincy 36 – Final – The Tigers got wins from Chris Fernandes (120), Justin Bradley (132), Brandon DeForitis (145), Alex Simon (170), Jose Anaya (182), Nuno Camara (195), and Mason Frank (220). Swimming Boys
Foxboro, 51 @ Oliver Ames, 103 – Final Girls
Foxboro, 80 @ Oliver Ames, 90 – Final
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Coming into Monday’s trip to Stoughton, Foxboro coach Lisa Downs knew that her team was in a for a physical test. The Warriors were shorthanded (missing three players to injuries) and lacked the size of the Black Knights front line, but Downs urged her players to meet the challenge.
Holding a three-point lead early in the second quarter, the Warriors turned the game into a track meet and put together a 14-3 run to break the game wide open. Behind a near triple-double of 19 points, nine rebounds, and six assists by Ashley Sampson, the Warriors met the physical test and rolled to a 66-38 victory.
“Tonight we got a little more physical than normally would,” said Downs. “We held our box outs a little better in the second half and everybody contributed something tonight.”
It did not start well for the Warriors, as Stoughton imposed its style of play on the game and controlled the glass. Bridgette Whalen scored four of her team-high eight points in the first and Jess Greer scored all five of her points. Whalen (nine rebounds), her sophomore sister Val (eight points, 13 rebounds), and sophomore Jordan Motley (five points, 10 rebounds) were dominating the paint.
Foxboro needed a spark and turned to its shortened bench. Lauren Flahive came in to bank in a jumper and then stepped further back to bank in a three that gave Foxboro a 10-8 lead. After four straight from Stoughton, Sampson buried a three and then found Cassidy Harrison for a jumper to make it 15-14 after one.
In the second, Foxboro broke the game wide open. The Warriors forced 16 turnovers in the first half and started to play the game at the frenetic pace that they prefer.
Sophomore Grace Tamulionis provided the offensive spark. She knocked down a quick release jumper then followed it with a straightaway three off a Sampson offensive rebound. After Ava Siegel knocked down a shot from deep to cut the lead back to six, Tamulionis quickly answered with another three from the corner.
In addition to her eight points, Tamulionis also helped turn the rebounding numbers in favor of the Warriors with 16 boards for the game. Downs said, “I asked her to be more and more physical every game especially against a Stoughton team that has a little more size advantage.”
“She got a little frustrated at herself but reacted well to what I was asking of her.”
Harrison stepped in to finish off the half with a three and another jumper in transition and Foxboro held a 37-23 lead at the break.
When asked what changed in the second quarter to break the game open, first-year Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan replied, “For us I think it was the little things like talking on defense, help defense, rotating. Some of the shots that they got were second, third, fourth opportunities and for us it boils down to little things like five white jerseys rebounding.”
Stoughton was not helped by senior Alecia Quinones picking up two quick fouls and sitting most of the first half. She returned in the third but picked up her fourth foul just 40 seconds after halftime and was limited to just two points for the night.
“It just wasn’t her night tonight,” said Steele Jordan. “She had a target on her back with all those fouls so she couldn’t be as aggressive as she normally is, so that’s unfortunate.”
Stoughton scored the first four points of the third, including a layup for Quinones, but then Foxboro answered right back with an 11-0 run. Sophomore Shannon Smally scored all six of her points in the quarter and chipped in with five rebounds, as suddenly Foxboro had the edge in the paint.
Downs said, “You can never relax ever against Stoughton, but once we settled down a little bit and started building our lead coming out of halftime we gave up the first basket but then never looked back.”
Foxboro went into the fourth leading 49-29. In the final quarter, the Warriors turned to sophomore Lily Sykes, who scored all six of her points in the fourth and added four assists, and Harrison, who knocked down a pair of jumpers. Flahive also knocked down a jumper to finish with seven points, one of eight Warriors to score on Monday.
“We can never rely on one or two players a night,” said Downs, “but if we can come out with three or four or five players out there contributing we’ll be a tough matchup for most teams.”
Julia Foye and GiGi DeNapoli each hit threes in the fourth for the Black Knights, but Stoughton could never get momentum to try and cut the lead.
“Foxboro is good but I don’t think they’re 30 points better than us,” said Steele Jordan. “Our shots didn’t fall, we had a lot of turnovers, which we can improve on and I think they probably out-rebounded us.”
She added, “It’s the beginning of January so there’s a lot of basketball left to play. We’ll keep building.”
Stoughton (3-1, 3-1) will get a quick turnaround with a non-league game against Fontbonne Academy on Wednesday. Foxboro (4-1, 3-1) will get four days off to prepare for Friday’s meeting with Milford.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
Today’s games are listed below. Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 62 @ Stoughton, 64 – Final – Stoughton senior Brandon Teixeira hit his fifth three pointer of the game with 13 seconds left to put the Black Knights ahead. Teixeira finished with a game-high 27 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Cam Andrews added 15 points and three steals and Cam Gomes had nine points and five rebounds. Attleboro’s Jake Dunkley had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Lucas Boucicaut had 15 points on over 71% shooting and Andrew Miliken added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Mansfield, 72 @ Canton, 47 – Final – Matt Ehrlich scored a team-high 21 points and Phil Vigeant added in 13 points and four assists for the Hornets. Sam Goldberg chipped in with eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Canton’s Woanyen Mahn had a team-high 10 points.
Taunton, 57 @ Foxboro, 51 – Final
Franklin, 50 @ Oliver Ames, 48 – Final – Kevin Gill scored a turnaround jumper in the paint off an assist from Sam Harrell with just 0.8 seconds left as Franklin completed a big second half comeback. After being down as much as 14, the Panthers rallied for a big third and fourth quarters. Tim Prunier had a team-high 14 points for Franklin. Tim Kelley had a game-high 15 points for Oliver Ames and Dylan Mahoney added 10.
King Philip, 63 @ Milford, 66 – Final – Milford’s Dwight Anderson recorded a double-double with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds while Dee Torres added 15 points and Nate Davila had eight points. King Philip freshman Kyle Layman also had a double-double with 20 points and 25 rebounds.
North Attleboro, 55 @ Sharon, 69 – Final – Ricardo Ripley was the top scorer for the Eagles with 18 points while Matt Lowerre hit three three pointers and finished with 11 points. Mitchell Sirota and Adam Banks had strong games and combined for 23 points. Brent Doherty led North Attleboro with a game-high 21 points. Girls Basketball
Canton, 24 @ Mansfield, 49 – Final – Caroline Maher led the way for the Hornets, who led 43-14 going into the fourth, with 13 points. Jackie Carchedi had a solid overall game for Mansfield with seven points, six rebounds, and seven steals.
Foxboro, 68 @ Taunton, 36 – Final – Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 25 points. Cassidy Harrison added 11 and Carolyn Will had 10 for Foxboro.
Oliver Ames, 58 @ Franklin, 47 – Final – Kayla Raymond had a double-double for the Tigers with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Niyera Mitchell added 14 points to pace the Tigers, who outscored Franklin 24-10 in the fourth quarter after trailing by six with four minutes to go. Francesca Calabraro added 10 points and Sam Bamford has six of OA’s 12 steals. Franklin was led by Lauren Rudolph with 10 points and Aubrie Kutil and Margaux Welsh each had seven.
Milford, 41 @ King Philip, 37 – Final – Kate Irwin led the Hawks with 18 points and Jill Power added nine points for Milford.
Sharon, 44 @ North Attleboro, 57 – Final – The Rocketeers were led by Caroline Collard with 13 points. Ashley Ahern added 11 points and six assists, while Emily Schromm had 10 for North. Sharon was led by Alyssa Piazza with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds and 13 points from Charlotte Ransom.
Stoughton, 58 @ Attleboro, 49 – Final – Jess Greer led Stoughton with 14 points and sophomore Val Whalen chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Four different players scored in double figures for the Black Knights. Hockey
Attleboro, 3 vs. Littleton/Bromfield, 2 – Final (2 OT) – Attleboro won the game on a goal by P.J. Elliott on the first shift of four on four play in the second overtime for the Bombardiers who advance to the tournament’s championship game. Elliott also had the tying goal in the third period. Jack Flynn scored Attleboro’s first goal on the power play. The game counts as a 2-2 draw in terms of tournament qualification.
Taunton, 6 vs. Durfee, 1 –Final – Zack Albert and Jordan Hoey scored a pair of goals while Jake Roberts added one and Jack Patneaude scored his first career goal. Mike Volkmann had three assists and Cam Pitts made 14 saves in net for the win. Swimming
Canton boys, 91 vs. Medfield boys, 80 – Final
Canton girls, 74 vs. Medfield girls, 96 – Final
Mansfield boys 77 vs. Hopkinton boys, 98 – Final
Mansfield girls, 84 vs. Hopkinton girls, 94 – Final
Oliver Ames boys, 86 @ North Attleboro boys, 82 – Final
Oliver Ames girls, 74 @ North Attleboro girls, 88 – Final
Today’s games are listed below. Boys Basketball
Foxboro, 73 @ Attleboro, 49 – Final – Senior Jason Procaccini scored a game-high 17 points in his Warriors debut, junior Mark Clagg added 16 points and Alex DuBrow had 10 points. Junior Andrew Milliken led Attleboro with 12 points and junior Jake Dunkley added 10 points.
Canton, 24 @ Franklin, 61 – Final – The Panthers jumped out to a 19 point lead after the first quarter lead and never looked back. Senior Tim Prunier scored a game-high 19 points in the win for Franklin.
Stoughton, 74 @ King Philip, 61 – Final – After being outscored 17-4 in the first quarter, Stoughton won the second quarter 32-9 to take control of the game. Senior Brandon Teixeira had a game best 22 points and had nine rebounds and six assists. Jared Maher and Jared Costa-Haywood each came off the bench to score 15 points apiece for the Black Knights. King Philip’s Noah Goodwin scored 20 points and Seth Sullivan had 16 points for the Warriors.
Oliver Ames, 44 @ Taunton, 72 – Final – After leading by just three after the first quarter, Taunton ran away with the win. Jose Mercado had a game-high 28 points, which was a league-high on Tuesday. Junior Tommy MacLean chipped in with 15 points and senior Carlos Borrero added 10 points.
Sharon, 39 @ Mansfield, 51 – Final – Mansfield junior Matt Ehrlich scored a game-high 16 points (64% shooting), junior Max Boen had eight points and seven rebounds and junior Christian Weber had seven points, three boards and three assists. Sharon’s Matt Lowerre had 12 points and four rebounds, Ricardo Ripley added 11 points and Mitchell Sirota had 10 points and three rebounds. Girls Basketball
Franklin, 55 @ Canton, 31 – Final – Carli Koffinke led the Panthers with 14 points. Lauren Rudolph chipped in with nine, Kristen Donaghy and Margaux Welsh each had eight for Franklin. The Bulldogs were led by Shannon Foley with seven points, while Meaghan Hunter and Hannah Jerrier each had six.
Attleboro, 53 @ Foxboro, 52 – Final – Sarah Deyo led all scores with 24 points and added eight rebounds for the Bombardiers. Sam Pierce added 18 points and six blocks and freshman Jordyn Lako had six points and took a crucial charge with 15.2 seconds remaining that helped Attleboro pick up the win. Foxboro was led by senior Cassidy Harrison with 17 points, including five three-pointers, while Lily Sykes and Ashley Sampson each had nine points.
King Philip, 45 @ Stoughton, 55 – Final – Alecia Quinones scored 25 points and added nine rebounds for the Black Knights and Jess Greer added 16 to give head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan a win on her debut. KP was led by Sam Madden with nine points.
Mansfield, 57 @ Sharon, 32 – Final – Sharon senior guard Charlotte Ransom led all scorers with 16 points.
North Attleboro, 62 @ Milford, 37 – Final – Senior Kiersten Bixby scored a career-high 21 points for the Rocketeers, who also got 15 points from junior Caroline Collard. Milford was led by senior Jill Powers, who scored 10 points. Jess Tomaso scored eight and Kate Irwin had seven for the Hawks.
Taunton, 17 @ Oliver Ames, 48 – Final – Oliver Ames had a big lead at the half and never looked back to pick up the win. Kayla Raymond led Oliver Ames with 11 points and Hannah Carroll had nine points. Kaitlyn McCarthy’s six points in the first half helped create a big lead. Freshman Sadie Homer had five steals in her varsity debut. Swimming
Canton @ Taunton, 4:00
2014-15 Record: 4-16 (2-14) 2014-15 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been significant progress made in the three years that Jim Choquette has been in charge of the program and he is hoping that this year “will be another step forward” for the Bulldogs. Canton comes into this winter with momentum after winning four games down the stretch of last season and, as Choquette explained, narrowly missing out on a handful of other wins.
Senior captains Meaghan Hunter (who did not play high school basketball until her sophomore year) and Shannon Foley will be the leaders of the team and counted on to get the team into its offense. Junior Emma Murphy is back for her third season on varsity and she continues to develop as a post player. As Choquette noted, Murphy has already started 40 games in her Bulldogs career, so experience is not an issue.
Junior Casey Shea will join Murphy in the post and she is another player that continues to develop. Sophomore Hannah Jerrier had a big season with her AAU team at Mass Premier and Choquette thinks that she is primed for a breakout season along with classmate Jess Powers, who emerged at the tail end of last season.
The Bulldogs will also look to incorporate a pair of freshmen into the system with Erin Devine, who Choquette said has already grown to 6-foot-3, and incoming point guard Julia Hamilton, who may be a star in the making.
“There’s a lot of buzz about this team,” he said. “The girls have really bought into the system. Now we just have to learn how to win those close games.”
2014-15 Record: 21-3 (14-2) 2014-15 Finish: Reached the Div. 2 South final Head Coach: Lisa Downs
Experienced is not generally an adjective used when describing a team that is going to start four sophomores at the beginning of the season, but all four of the underclassmen in Foxboro’s starting lineup saw significant playing time during the Warriors’ run to the sectional final last year. With HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and Hock MVP Kat Tamulionis graduated, the ball is now going to be in the hands of these young players and they will be given every opportunity to produce.
The primary ball-handler will be sophomore Ashley Sampson. Sampson had a breakout rookie season in which she became one of Foxboro’s best weapons off the bench and showed no fear against even the best teams in the league and the state. Classmate Lily Sykes will join her in the backcourt and adds another good shooter and defender at the guard position. Cassidy Harrison will be the lone senior in the starting five and will provide shooting on the wing.
Sophomore Grace Tamulionis showed tons of potential last season and is a versatile forward that can step back and shoot and has the size to crash the boards. She will be joined in the post by classmate Shannon Smalley, who head coach Lisa Downs said had a great summer. Downs also noted that junior Lauren Flahive could come off the bench as a defensive option and senior Carolynn Will is another option as a shooter at the forward position.
Foxboro could see a big boost a couple of weeks into the season if junior small forward Kristen Bortolotti returns from a concussion suffered during soccer. In the meantime, Downs has no concerns about turning to her underclassmen. She said, “It’s so important that they had a year of experience. Kat [Tamulionis] was good for them because she had confidence in them and they played like it.”
2014-15 Record: 7-13 (5-11) 2014-15 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford enters a new season with a new coach. T.J. Dolliver moves into his first head coaching position at the high school level, after being an assistant for boys’ coach Paul Seaver, and he is “excited” by the potential that the Hawks have shown in the opening weeks of practice and during the opening game of the season (a 44-21 win over Hopedale).
There is only one senior on the roster, but the Hawks gained a lot of experience last year. The focal point for the Hawks offense (and for opposing defenses) will be sophomore guard Kate Irwin. The dynamic lefty has quickness, vision, and shooting touch and she provides Milford with a spark on both ends of the floor. She will get plenty of help from junior forwards Nicole Dahlgren, Christine Pye and Brianna Croteau.
The lone senior on the roster is Jill Powers, who knocked down a couple of threes in the season opener. Sophomore forward Gill Valanzola will add depth at the forward position and junior guards Emma Liskov and Jill Burley will give Irwin help in the backcourt. Dolliver is also hoping to get sophomore Emily Piergustavo back at some point this season to help the Hawks spread the floor with her shooting.
Dolliver appreciates the depth and versatility in the Hawks roster this season and is already worried about making sure he spreads the minutes around to get everyone a chance on the court. “It’s exciting being at the head of the program,” said Dolliver. “We’re having a lot of fun. It’s about defense first and we make sure to keep them working hard.”
2014-15 Record: 12-9 (10-6) 2014-15 Finish: Reached the Div. 2 South first round Head Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
The Tigers finished second behind Foxboro in the Davenport last year and expectations are high that this Oliver Ames team will challenge the Warriors again this winter. Team chemistry seems to be as high as ever in the Tigers group with a smaller roster of just nine players that have battled illnesses and other obstacles during the two weeks of preseason practice. Head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook is hoping that her team will rally around each other and can make a good start to the season.
Although she has missed a few days of practice with illness, junior Francesca Calabraro is going to be the player that OA counts on the most this season. Calabraro was the team’s leading scorer last season and also one of the league’s best in picking up steals. Calabraro is lethal on the break and that is a key to how the Tigers like to play. Sophomore Kayla Raymond, who saw plenty of time as a rookie, has shown the potential of being a top scorer and a force on both ends of the court.
Senior captain Kaitlyn McCarthy was credited with holding things together for the Tigers during the tumultuous opening weeks of practice and she is joined in the leadership role by fellow captain Sam Bamford who is a tenacious defender at the point guard position. Junior forward Niyera Mitchell gives the Tigers size and athleticism in the middle. Hannah Carroll and Abby Reardon will add depth at the guard position.
There may not be a lot of players on the varsity roster this season for OA, but Clement-Holbrookbelieves this may be the closest her team has been. She said, “There is a lot of energy in the gym and a level of enthusiasm that shows they want to be out there. I hope the players can come together and find support from each other on the court.”
In his first season in charge, Cliff Tomassian took over a program that had reached the sectional final at UMass Boston for the first time in decades but one that lost its three best players including HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Karlie O’Driscoll. The Eagles were competitive throughout the season, particularly on defense, but struggled on the offensive end and missed the tournament, something Tomassian believes can change this winter.
If Sharon is going to improve on offense and make a charge at the postseason then the Eagles will need a full season out of senior forward Alyssa Piazza. The team’s leading scorer last year has missed portions of each of the last two seasons, but when she is on the court is a strong post scorer and dominant rebounder. Tomassian said, “When she’s on the court, she’s one of our most productive players.”
Sophomore guard Shira Stoller will also be back this year and Tomassian has urged the point guard to look for her own shot more and take some of the pressure off Piazza. With a point guard that can get to the basket and a forward that can score in the post, the perimeter should open up for Sharon and that is where seniors Ashley Mukasa and Charlotte Ransom can excel as spot up shooters.
The Eagles will once again be counting on young players to acclimate to the varsity level quickly, including sophomore Jessica Allan and freshmen Emma Eberhardt and Veronica Wallace. “Once the girls get used to the physicality of the varsity level we’ll be fine,” explained Tomassian. “Our expectation is making the tournament.”
After three decades in charge, Janet Sullivan stepped down as the head coach at Stoughton and the program turned to someone who knows all about the program to step in this winter. Former Stoughton player and 1,000 point scorer Charmaine Steele-Jordan, who played at Quinnipiac and was an assistant coach at Boston University, takes over and had already brought a buzz to the Black Knights heading into the season. “There couldn’t have been a better place to fall,” said Jordan about the chance to take over at her alma mater.
Senior Alecia Quinones gives Steele-Jordan a weapon to work around. The forward has the size to match up with opposing post players and the athleticism to match up with wings. On offense she also adds versatility with an improving jump shot and good moves on the block. Fellow senior Jess Greer is the primary ball-handler and can also knock down the three.
Senior forward Ava Seigel is the third captain this season and is another important cog on both ends of the floor. Senior Bridgette Whalen and sophomore Valerie Whalen will add more size and strength in the paint for the Black Knights. Defense was always a strength of Stoughton and that will certainly continue under the new coach.
Last season, the Black Knights struggled in the half-court offense and Steele-Jordan has already introduced a much higher pace to the team during the first couple weeks of practice and is hoping that Stoughton can get up and down the court to get points in transition. She explained, “We want to get up and down the floor and only set up when we have to. We want to be able to press and try different things this year.”
For a list of 10 Players to Watch in Hockomock League girls’ basketball this season, click here.