North Attleboro Edges Canton In Overtime Thriller

North Attleboro boys basketball Julius Hicks Edan Kelley
Canton’s Julius Hicks goes up for a shot with North Attleboro’s Edan Kelley defending. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was a tale of two halves between the Canton and North Attleboro boys basketball teams.

But the overtime period? That was completely up for grabs.

In the end, the pendulum swung in favor of the Rocketeers just once more than it did for the visiting Bulldogs as North Attleboro claimed a 52-50 win over Canton inside Kenneth Pickering Gymnasium.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The decision was split after 32 minutes of action, North Attleboro claiming a double-digit first half advantage only for Canton to completely flip the script in the second half, stifling the Rocketeers’ offense and turning stops into points, and a deficit into a lead.

“We felt good about getting to overtime because we were on our last life for what felt like forever,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “To get to overtime, we stole the momentum and their bench quieted down a bit. It was big to get points on the first possession. For us, it was just continuing what got us back into it against their zone and we had to keep playing good defense. It was a great Hockomock basketball game, felt like a playoff game almost. We made just enough plays.”

North Attleboro boys basketball

North Attleboro’s lead at halftime, 26-10, took a major hit when Canton came out swinging in the form of a 10-2 run in just over two minutes of action, putting the hosts on their heels. By the end of the third eight-minute segment, North Attleboro’s lead shrunk down to just five, 31-26, the Rocketeers getting a much-needed three from senior Tommy Onorato in the final minute.

It turned out to be a sign of things to come for Onorato, who finished with a career-high 12 points, and the Rocketeers. Canton’s comeback continued into the fourth though as a pair of free throws from Steven Burbank (12 points, six rebounds) preceded a three from Will Keefe (12 points) that gave Canton its first lead since the opening moments of the game.

Eric Mischler (11 points, eight rebounds) sliced his way to the rim for two, the Bulldogs earned back-to-back stops and Keefe tossed another triple in and Canton, on the back of a 12-1 run, suddenly had a 40-34 lead with 1:34 to play.










“It’s kind of been like that in the Davenport this year, seems like one team brings it for a half and another brings it the other half,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “It was kind of the opposite when we played them at home, we had a good first three quarters and they came back in the fourth. We talked at halftime about how we could get back into this game. Instead of quitting, the kids made a commitment and the effort to really start rebounding and playing defense, which got us back into the game.”

North Attleboro had an answer to stem the tide. With the defense collapsing on him in the paint, senior George Ladd (16 points, 15 rebounds) dished it out to Brody Rosenberg (seven points), who hit his first field goal of the game with a triple to halve the deficit.

Ryan Connerney (13 points, five assists) pushed the lead back to five when he sank a pair of free throws but North Attleboro had another answer from downtown. This time, Casey Poirier (four points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals) dished it to Onorato for a three with 41.1 left to make it 42-40.

Canton added to its lead with a free throw but once again the Rocketeers, who had just five makes from three-point range through the first three quarters, hit their third three of crunch time. Poirier was short on his attempt from the corner but followed his shot, got the rebound, and dished it to senior Edan Kelley for a three – his first make of the game – from the top of the key to tie the game with 12 seconds to go.

“Tommy Onorato, I’m really proud of him, the second half of the season he’s really stepped into a nice role for us and understood what it took to be on the court,” Mulkerrins said. “Edan, a senior co-captain, missed some time this year and still isn’t completely back but hit a big shot. He’s got that big moment in him.”

The Bulldogs’ attempt at a game-winner was off the mark, only getting a chance to chuck a shot off an inbounds play with 0.6 seconds to go.

In overtime, the momentum swings continued back and forth as North opened the scoring when Ladd converted an offensive rebound but Canton went back ahead on their third look of the possession on a Mischler three, with Dillon Nguyen’s offensive rebound the catalyst of the play.

North Attleboro boys basketball

But just seconds after Mischler gave the visitors a slight lead, Rosenberg hit his second three of the night to put the hosts ahead. The teams traded stops as the game ticked under a minute to go, North Attleboro getting its biggest stop forcing a turnover. With the shot clock shrinking, Onorato stepped up and drained another three, this one with 14 seconds to go in overtime, to give North a 51-46 lead.

Canton fought to the very end, getting two free throws from Burbank to make it a one-possession game. A trap on the inbounds led to a jump ball and Canton getting possession back. Another foul led to two free throws from Connerney, making it a one-point game, 51-50, with 7.8 seconds to go.

The Bulldogs trapped once again and got another jump ball called, but the ball stayed with the Rocketeers. Rosenberg added a free throw to make it 52-50, and North Attleboro held on as Canton’s half-court heave was just off the mark.

North Attleboro had full control of the opening half, hitting 7-of-10 field goals from two-point range to go along with four three-pointers. And on the defensive end, the Rocketeers were doing just enough to keep the streaky Bulldogs from getting going.

Tied early, North closed the final three minutes of the first with an 8-0 burst. Onorato hit his first three of the game, Poirier added a triple, and Ladd attacked the rim for two and a 14-6 lead after one.




Big Red’s run continued into the second with Jared Vacher tossing in a three, Ladd getting back-to-back baskets and Nate Bennett scoring from in close for a 17-0 run in total. Jimmy Caraballo added a three as well as North staked a 26-10 halftime lead.

“Basketball is a game of runs and there’s some psychology behind it,” Mulkerrins said. “I thought the scoreboard was deceptive at half. I thought we played good but not as good as the other night and I felt Canton missed a lot of shots that they can make. I told them at half, if they make a couple in the second half they are going to relax, and then their defense will get better, and sure enough they hit some shots right away. Then the basket on our end starts looking smaller.

“Coach Gordy did a great job adjusting, made some changes. You never know exactly what you’re going to get with him, you’ll get the kitchen sink of tricks and if you aren’t mentally ready, which we learned on Monday night, you’re going to be on the wrong side of games against them. So hats off to them, they had a great season with a lot of great seniors, we have nothing but respect for that program.”

After North found success against Canton’s 1-3-1 defense in the first half, the Bulldogs elected to shake things up defensively, going with a 2-3 zone — a defense they hadn’t utilized all season.

Despite their inexperience in the set, the defense was very effective as North’s offense came to a screeching halt, managing just five points in the third. Meanwhile, those stops turned into buckets for the Bulldogs. Connerney scored on Canton’s first possession, Keefe got going with a triple, and Mischler added one from downtown as well. Burbank got a layup to fall and Canton’s 10-2 run to open the second half turned the game around.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We haven’t practiced the 2-3 zone this season,” Gordy said. “Ladd’s a nightmare for us to match up with, Rosenberg, Poirier, and Kelley are all really good players. I didn’t think we could guard them man-to-man for an extended period of time. We had a lot of success with the 1-3-1 on Monday, they figured out some things tonight. They were getting to us on the glass so we went to the 2-3 to try and clean some things up on the rebounding which I thought helped big time in the game.

“It all flows, once you’re getting stops you can push in transition. Will Keefe got hot a little bit in the second half and a lot of those came from us getting stops, getting out, and not letting them set up in the half court.”

North Attleboro (5-2 Davenport, 5-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Foxboro. Canton wraps up its season at 4-6 in the Davenport and 4-9 overall.

North Attleboro boys basketball

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/05/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Stoughton, 54 @ Canton, 59 – FinalStoughton whittled down a double-digit deficit to just two with under a minute to play but Canton got a big stop and held on for the win. Canton exploded for 21 points out of the gate and took a 35-26 lead into halftime and a 43-36 advantage in the fourth. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the final frame, helping make it a 56-54 game but the Black Knights saw the go-ahead three go in-and-out. Canton sealed it with a defensive rebound and a quick push up court for a quick two from senior Eric Mischler (eight points). Canton senior Will Keefe accounted for half of the Bulldogs’ eight threes, finishing with a career-high 14 points to lead the way. Ryan Connerney (three triples) added 12 points and Steven Burbank scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Stoughton senior Elisha Claude added 10 points, all in the second half, for the Black Knights.

Sharon, 54 @ Foxboro, 53 – Final (OT)Foxboro sank the game-tying three in the final seconds to force overtime but its look at the game-winner was just off the mark in overtime as Sharon picked up a win on the road to open the season. The Eagles held a 50-47 lead late but Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon hit the tying shot from downtown just before the buzzer to force the extra period. After getting a stop, Sharon senior Kiran Chandrasekaran (career-high 15 points) scored on a tough take to the basket and on the next possession, junior Sam Cohen (career-high 16 points) intercepted a pass and went in for two and that was enough offense for the Eagles, who saw Foxboro’s last second go-ahead shot hit off the back of the iron off a floater in the lane. The Warriors held a slim lead through each of the first (16-14) and second (30-27) quarters before the Eagles tied things up after three (39-39), getting three-pointers from Chandrasekaran and Cohen in third quarter. Will Hippler and Jordan Barboza each hit a big three-pointer in the fourth for the Eagles. Foxboro sophomore Alex Penders dropped a career-high 17 points to lead all scorers.

Milford, 52 @ Franklin, 62 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

North Attleboro, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 42 – FinalOliver Ames outscored the visiting Rocketeers 16-3 in the second quarter to take the lead and the Tigers never trailed the rest of the way, holding off as North Attleboro’s last second chance was just off the mark. Drew Nickla (career-high 15 points) converted a traditional three-point play off an offensive rebound with two minutes left to put the Tigers ahead 39-33 but a three from North’s Brody Rosenberg (10 points) kept the visitors in it. Nickla added a free throw to push it to 40-36 but Casey Poirier answered with a nice take to the basket. Trey Buggs hit a pair of free throws for OA with under a minute to go to make it 42-48 but Jimmy Caraballo answered to cut it back to two. After a missed free throw, the Rocketeers raced the length of the court but their layup attempt just before the buzzer just missed. OA senior Amari Brown shined in the game, tying a career-high with 24 points to lead all scorers. North Attleboro senior George Ladd had a team-high 12 points.




Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 56 @ Sharon, 19 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from the game. Three players reached double figures to power Foxboro to a season-opening road win. Freshman Erin Foley scored 13 points in her varsity debut and Katelyn Mollica added 13 of her own along with five assists and five steals. Aislinn Servaes chipped in with 12 points and three steals. Foxboro led 11-4 after the first quarter and broke the game wide open with a 19-2 second quarter. After the Warriors took the third quarter 15-4 to extend the lead to 35, Sharon kept battling and had its best quarter in the fourth (11-9). Freshman Rachel Hager led the way for the hosts with eight points, including a pair of threes in the fourth quarter. Foxboro freshman Camryn Collins also impressed in her debut, scoring seven points, dishing out four assists, and recording three steals.

Franklin, 51 @ Milford, 22 – FinalFranklin opened the season with a big win on the road. Olivia Quinn scored a game-high 19 points to pace the Panthers, while Brigid Early and Kayleigh Houlihan each added eight in the win.

Boys Hockey
Mansfield, 2 @ King Philip, 4 – FinalKing Philip lit the lamp three times in the second period, including two straight in the final six minutes, to skate to a season-opening win over Mansfield. After a scoreless first period, KP senior Conor Cooke put the Warriors ahead early in the second. Mansfield answered when junior Brayden Purtell found the back of the net. The Warriors struck twice late in the period, Cooke returning the favor to freshman Brad Guden for his first career goal to make it 2-1, and sophomore James Boldy (from Guden and Shea Cunningham) adding another two minutes later for a 3-1 lead. Guden scored his second goal of the game (fourth point) on a feed from David Lawler to make it 4-1. Mansfield’s Dillon Benoit scored with 6:36 left in the game to make it 4-2. KP sophomore Kyle Abbot made 25 saves to earn his first career win in net.