Taunton Rallies To Clinch Share Of First Hock Title

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton senior Tyler Stewart goes up for a layup against Attleboro in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 TAUNTON, Mass. – It’s been a most challenging season for everyone, but with a delayed start and a one-week hiatus smack in the middle of its schedule, it’s been a bit tougher on the Taunton boys basketball team.

So it’s only fitting that the Tigers made clinching their first-ever Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division title a bit more difficult than it needed to be.

A near-perfect start from visiting Attleboro coupled with a sluggish first eight minutes from the Tigers put the hosts in a double-digit deficit.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But as these Tigers have done all season, they responded. Despite starting their season two weeks after everyone else, Taunton opened the season with five straight wins. And when they were forced to the sideline for a week, the Tigers came right back and beat one of the best teams in the state in Mansfield with just one day of practice.

And on Thursday afternoon, in their fourth game in the five-day span, the Tigers dominated the final three quarters of play, not only digging out of the hole they were in but burying it and covering it with a mound of dirt in the form of a 76-57 win over the Bombardiers.

The Tigers’ game with King Philip will not be made up and the Hockomock League is expected to award Taunton with a win via forfeit for that game multiple sources told HockomockSports.com.

It marks Taunton’s first league title since 2008 when it won the Old Colony League.

“Everyone has gone through issues this year but this is an extraordinary group, I’ve said it many times,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “Across the board, not just the first five either, you go right down the roster. We’ve had no issues at all this year. There’s usually something but this group has been great, they really like each other too.

“When we got into our offense, we got the lead into double figures and that force them to pressure a little bit. Then we really started to figure out that if we can our offense, things were working. Once we’re relaxed, like any team, they get into a comfort zone and we really pulled away.”










Attleboro got whatever it wanted to start the game, hitting mid-range jumpers and getting to the rim on open layups. The Bombardiers shot 9-for-16 from the field for 20 points while their defense was on point too, the Tigers were forced to settle for contested looks inside and out. The result was a 20-9 lead, seemingly stunning Taunton.

“We had confidence from yesterday’s game and that carried over to today,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “I thought the first quarter we played as well as we could have…defensively, offensively, transition baskets, we controlled the boards. They started rebounding better and we couldn’t stop them. We had them for 26 possessions in the second and third quarters and they scored on 22 of them. We tried to change it up as much as we could but they made plays consistently and we couldn’t stop them.

“Overall between yesterday and today we really battled but [Taunton] is a really good team.

The comeback didn’t come quickly, but it was steady. Attleboro scored to push its lead to 22-9 to start the frame and Taunton had three chances to get back on the board but went empty on two shots from the field and two from the line. The next play, however, might have been the spark that lit a fire for the Tigers.

Junior Tristan Herry, who scored a season-high 20 points, poked the ball free and won a foot race to the loose ball on the other end of the court. From there, Taunton went on to score on 12 straight possessions to erase the deficit and take a lead by halftime.

“Tristan was bustin’ on defense, he was trying to do all the right things on offense. I think that sunk into the other four, if he’s going to do it then we should do it. He was the catalyst in that turnaround for us. Tyler [Stewart] changes the flow of the offense because he demands attention, even if he’s not scoring. But Tristan got us going.”

Senior Josh Lopes (nine points, five rebounds) scored the first three points on a jumper and a free throw and Herry stepped up on the offensive end with his first three-pointer. A steal by Nigel Choate gave Taunton the ball back and an offensive rebound resulted in two points from senior Tyler Stewart (10 points, five rebounds).

Attleboro’s Justin Daniels (17 points) answered for the Bombardiers but junior Trent Santos (18 points, four assists) attacked the basket for two for the hosts. Herry sank his second three of the period to make it a four-point game but junior Evan Houle (nine points, four rebounds) answered with a triple of his own out of an Attleboro timeout.

The Tigers’ relentless offensive attack continued as an offensive board from Choate turned into a free throw from junior Faisal Mass (12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists). Joe Francois-Annevil took a feed from Alvin Harrison and scored down low but Herry drained another triple and a steal from Choate resulted in two after a putback from Mass.

Stewart had a big block and then found Choate for two down low, and after another Attleboro turnover, Mass finished through contact to put the hosts ahead for the first time, 32-31. Stewart then sank an elbow jumper and the Tiger took a 34-32 lead into halftime.

“I think we were a little fatigued from yesterday but going into the second, we talked with each other about how we felt we were the better team,” said Stewart, who is committed to play at Wentworth. “Tristan hit some big shots that really changed the momentum for us. Once he hit those shots, it got the rest of us going.

“Just a chance to play [this season] was really exciting for us. I think we’ve shown that this group plays really well under adversity. The amount of things we’ve had to go through to get to this point is insane, all the way back to the start of last year through this year, shows a lot about this group.”

Taunton’s offense wasn’t as effective in the third quarter, but it was pretty close. The Tigers picked up points on 10 of their first 11 possessions of the quarter to build a double-digit advantage.

Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos Tyler Stewart Josh Lopes Tristan Herry Faisal Mass

Lopes and Daniels traded buckets to start and the Tigers finally had an empty possession on their second trip up court. Mass found Santos for a three and then Santos returned the favor to Lopes for two more. Attleboro cashed on its third shot of its next possession when Chris Holcomb sank a three to keep the deficit at four.

Santos and Mass each connected from downtown in a one-minute span and layups from Santos and Stewart pushed Taunton’s lead to 55-45 going into the final quarter.

“Herry kept them in it early and then after that, it was all of them, I think every single one of them played well today,” Houle said of the Tigers. “It was pretty spread out, and it felt like any time we did get a stop in the second or third they got an offensive rebound and got an extra opportunity.”

Attleboro cut into the lead early in the fourth as a strong take from Francois-Annevil make it 60-51 but Mass answered with two after a nice fake, Santos dropped in a floater, Herry hit on a pull-up, and Lopes scored after a turnover and the lead ballooned to 68-51 with just under four minutes.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After scoring just nine points in the first, Taunton scored 20 or more points in each of the second, third, and fourth quarters.

Taunton becomes just the third team to win the Kelley-Rex division in boys basketball since the Hockomock League split in two. Mansfield has won it 10 times, including a share this year, while Franklin won it outright in 2012 and earned a share in 2016.

Taunton boys basketball (8-1 Kelley-Rex, 8-1 overall) will host Sharon on Saturday at noon for its final game of the season. Attleboro (5-5, 10-5) will host rival North Attleboro on Sunday at 1:30.

Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos Tyler Stewart Josh Lopes Tristan Herry Faisal Mass

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/15/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Stoughton, 46 @ Attleboro, 58 – FinalStoughton surged back from a deficit in the first half but Attleboro didn’t let the visitors do the same in the second half in a crossover non-league win. The Bombardiers found success in the first quarter, building a 19-10 lead with five players contributing to the advantage but Stoughton stormed back in the second quarter with 16 points of their own to make it a two-point game, down 28-26 at halftime. Attleboro was able to create some separation in the third with Justin Daniels scoring seven of his 23 points in the ram and Evan Houle adding five of his eight points to grab a 43-37 lead. Daniels added eight more in the fourth to help the Bombardiers ice the win. Joe Francois-Annevil adde 12 points in the win and Chris Holcomb chipped in with nine points. Stoughton junior Connor Andrews hit four threes and finished with a career-high 17 points, Waseem Sablon added 12 points and Brett Pendenza finished with 10 points.

Foxboro, 35 @ North Attleboro, 58 – Final Buoyed by a strong start, North Attleboro used a consistent offense and solid defense throughout to win the first meeting with the Warriors. The Big Red scored 16 points in the opening quarter and reached double figures in scoring in all four quarters, staking a 16-8 lead after one quarter and a 31-17 lead by halftime. North’s defense clamped down even more in the third, limiting the visitors to just six points to take a 42-23 lead. Senior George Ladd hit six shots from the field and went 7-for-8 from the line for a game-high 19 points to lead the hosts. Junior Casey Poirier added 12 points and Edan Kelley, who hit half of North’s four three-pointers, had 10 points. Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon had a team-high 16 points while sophomore Alex Penders chipped in with 11 points.

Taunton, 53 @ Mansfield, 68 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Sharon, 51 @ Oliver Ames, 54 – FinalIn a much closer contest than the first meeting between the two teams last week, Oliver Ames was able to hold on to earn the season sweep and clinched at least a share of the Davenport division title with the win. OA held a slight advantage throughout, leading 13-7 after one quarter and a 25-23 at halftime. Sharon kept pace in the third as well, trailing just 42-38 going into the the fourth where the teams went back-and-forth, trading baskets to keep it close. Sharon’s Kiran Chandrasekaran hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to bring the Eagles within one, 50-49, with just under two minutes to play but OA’s Amari Brown (21 points) raced the length of the court and laid it in for two to extend the lead. Kevin Duggan added a free throw to push the lead to 54-49 but Sharon’s Sam Cohen sliced through traffic and finished up-and-under to make it a one-possession game with 1:45 to go. The score would stay that way and the Eagles had the final possession but OA’s defense didn’t allow the visitors to get a clean look at a tying three and held on the for the win. Drew Nickla added 10 points in the win, Will Whiteside chipped in with nine points and Drew Baxter finished with eight points for OA. Senior Matt Baskin led the Eagles, scoring 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Chandrasekaran and Cohen each finished with 10 points.

Girls Basketball
North Attleboro, 41 @ Attleboro, 54 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Bombardiers held North to six points in the second quarter to open up a 12-point halftime lead and never allowed the Rocketeers to mount a comeback in the second half. Narissa Smith got Attleboro off to a great start, scoring all 10 of her points in the first. Meghan Gordon scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the third to keep North at bay. Lindsey and Hailey Perry both knocked down big threes in the fourth quarter and Ryan Johnson had four of her eight points in the final eight minutes to secure the win. Amanda Kaiser tried to get North back into the game with seven of her game-high 13 points in the fourth and Siobhan Weir added four of her nine points, but Attleboro was able to maintain its double-digit advantage. Lydia Santos added eight points for North and Emma Reilly had seven for Attleboro.

Mansfield, 57 @ Taunton, 40 – FinalAshley Santos scored a season-high 17 points, powering Mansfield to a road win in the season finale. Kayla Vine added nine points. Nine Hornets were on the score sheet on Monday, helping the team close the year with five straight victories. Sonya Fernandez scored 17 to lead the Tigers.

Boys Hockey
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final

Girls Hockey
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 @ Canton, 4 – FinalCanton got a shutout in the season finale, securing the team’s third league title in four years and making the Bulldogs the first team to repeat as league champion. Faith Nelson had the eventual game-winner off a great assist by Payton McDonough. Maya Battista doubled the lead and Tess Khoury added a third for Canton. Ellie Rae Roberts closed out the win with a late fourth goal. Lizzie Tassinari and Meghan LaBelle each had two assists and Carolyn Durand picked up the shutout in net.

Stoughton/Sharon, 6 @ King Philip, 9 – Final

Hornets Pick Up The Pace, Run Past Bombardiers

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen
Mansfield senior Matt Boen goes up for a layup against Attleboro in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For nearly the entire first half, the young, inexperienced Bombardiers of Attleboro High not only just keeping pace with the visitors from Mansfield, they were going toe-to-toe with the Hornets.

Mansfield boys basketball

But if you give these Hornets an inch, they’ll take a mile — and in a blink of an eye too.

First, it was a short burst from the Hornets in the final moments of the first quarter that prevented the hosts from boasting a surprising lead through eight minutes.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And then when it looked like it would be a close game going into the halftime break, the Hornets stung the Bombardiers with a game-changing run that led to an advantage that never went below double digits the rest of the way.

In the end, Mansfield left with an 80-58 decision over Attleboro in the first matchup between the two teams this week.

“I thought the pace of play started to lean in our direction,” offered Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan, in the midst of his 17th year at the helm of the Hornets.

Mansfield erased a five-point second quarter deficit to pull even with the hosts, entering the final two-plus minutes knotted at 29-29. With the pace of play in their control, the Hornets closed the quarter with a 14-2 run.

Senior Matt Boen was once again a handful on the offensive end (30 points) and on the boards (six of his 10 rebounds coming on the offensive glass), and was the catalyst for the run. It was his steal and fast-break layup that got things started. He scored six straight to start the run, getting assists from Brian See (12 points) and Matt Hyland (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists) with the latter a traditional three-point play.










Brendan Foley hustled to track down his own miss, finding Hyland for a key three in the final minute, and Hyland returned the favor by hitting Foley on the break to cap the 14-2 run and give Mansfield a 43-31 lead at halftime.

“They missed a couple of easy ones, had some turnovers, and we came down and made some shots,” Vaughan said. “I thought Attleboro handled our pressure well so we went back to our base defense because I felt like we were giving up too many baskets without scoring. Once we got into more of our staple defense, we got the stops we needed and turned those into baskets.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Attleboro senior Justin Daniels (16 points) played a big role in helping his squad get off to a strong start, hitting a pair of threes in the opening quarter and adding another in the second. In the second, the Bombardiers showed no fear attacking the basket as sophomore Trevor White (13 rebounds, four assists, four blocks) scored seven of his 13 points, Alvin Harrison (six boards) had six of his 11 points, and Joe Francois-Annevil added two more with a strong take to the rim, his bucket making it 29-29 late in the second.

“I saw them play their two games against Milford and I came away thinking that team could beat anyone on any given night,” Vaughan said. “They have guys that can shoot, they have good guard play. The big kid [White] is impressive, he must have had five or six blocks, all of which looked like uncontested layups and he came out of nowhere. And he blocks to keep it in bounds so it’s almost like a block and a steal at the same time. They have some good pieces.”

Mansfield picked up the second half where it left off at the break. See sank a triple and sophomore Chris Hill took a freed from Hyland and drained one from downtown. Despite missing a three, Boen followed his shot came flying in for the offensive board, and converted the putback while being fouled for a three-point play, and a 53-34 lead.

On top of it all, the Hornets created the separation without their second-leading scorer in TJ Guy, who went out in the second quarter with an existing injury.




“Their transition game really took over,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle, a 26-year veteran on the Bombardier bench. “That’s one thing when you play against them, you have to be careful to not get into too much of a transition game. You have to take your opportunities when you get them, but you can’t let them get out and run. They can spread you out and they can shoot the ball. Matty [Boen] had a terrific game. They rallied around TJ when he went down.

“Their defense in the second quarter, the pressure…they decided to run and jump a little bit in the half court. It’s tough to simulate that in practice and that kind of put us a little bit on our heels.”

While it looked like the game was out of reach, the Bombardiers never quite quit and clawed their way back into the game over the next eight minutes. Helped along by a couple of big blocks from White on the defensive end, Francois-Anvil scored on the other end, and a breakaway dunk from White kept the hosts around.

Evan Houle hit two free throws and White completed a traditional three-point play at the buzzer of the third quarter to keep things interesting with Mansfield holding a 62-49 lead going into the fourth.

The Bombardiers were in the bonus for the entire fourth and free throws from Daniels and Alec Eaton early followed by a corner three from Chris Holcomb made it 66-56 with just over five minutes to play.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But instead of getting any closer, Mansfield slammed the door shut with yet another 14-2 run to close the game. Boen hit a pair of three-pointers while See and Hyland converted at the rim with Attleboro bringing double teams. The Bombardiers were held without a field goal the rest of the way.

“It’s a great challenge to play in this league and play against teams like Mansfield,” Houle said. “We’ve been successful recently and it’s because we play hard. I thought our effort was there tonight, we just made too many mistakes collectively.”

Attleboro (2-1, 2-1) on Thursday night at 7:00.

Mansfield boys basketball