Stoughton Outlasts Milford In Overtime Thriller

Stoughton boys basketball Myles Grigalunas-PowellByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton head coach John Gallivan has seen a lot in his 16 years patrolling the sideline as the head coach of the Black Knights, and even he had trouble trying to put Tuesday night’s game into words.

A wild back-and-forth contest between Stoughton and Davenport foe Milford, a battle for first place in the division that saw a handful of momentum swings with the biggest one coming in the final seconds of overtime.

Trailing 74-73 with under a minute to go in overtime, Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, five steals) made a move to the basket before pulling up at the free-throw line.

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The shot was off the mark but the senior forward alertly followed his shot, the rebound tipped right to him. He pulled the ball back to the corner, took a quick look around the court before pulling up and sinking a contested three-pointer for a 76-74 lead with 10 seconds left in the overtime period.

The Scarlet Hawks beat the buzzer in regulation to force the extra period but Stoughton’s full-court press prevented the visitors from getting a look at the tying or winning basket. A trap in the backcourt led to a turnover and an emphatic slam from senior Obinna Ugwuakazi (15 points, five rebounds) just before time expired to seal a 78-74 win for Stoughton.

“Everyone was crashing the boards on the left side, I followed my shot and it came back to me on the right side, I grabbed it and went to the corner,” Grigalunas-Powell said. “At first I hesitated to see if anyone else was open but then I just pulled it.”

With the win, Stoughton pulls into a first-place tie with Milford and Foxboro with one game to go. None of the three teams are playing each other, meaning there could be anywhere from one to three Davenport champions. It also marks Gallivan’s 175th career win.

“We’ve had a couple of games like that, we’ve had some comebacks like that,” Gallivan said, citing close losses to Franklin and Randolph. “The first half didn’t go our way. They smashed us so early that we kept saying we had time.”

Long before Stoughton’s mini-comeback in overtime, the Black Knights had to erase a much larger deficit.

Milford came out on fire, with five players hitting a three-pointer in the opening eight minutes of play. Ben Blanchard (13 points, four rebounds), Colby Pires (20 points, five rebounds), Matty Varteresian, Jordan Darling (14 points, six rebounds), and Tyler Wetherbee (eight points, seven assists, three steals) all connected from downtown as the Hawks seized a 23-11 lead.

The momentum carried into the second quarter as the Hawks’ offense continued to find success and its’ defense, using a full-court press, forced Stoughton into 12 first half turnovers.

Just beyond the halfway point of the quarter, Milford used a quick 9-4 surge to push their lead to its peak, a 19-point advantage, 41-22, following a triple from Pires with 1:45 left in the second quarter.

But Stoughton had arguably its most important stretch of the game to close the first half. Reserve Eddie St. Hilaire drove to the basket for two, Donte Tyler came off the bench to grab back-to-back steals, the latter resulting in two free throws. Ahmad Jahed (14 points, four rebounds) came up with a steal and went in for a dunk, and then got back on defense to get a steal that led to a three from Grigalunas-Powell that beat the buzzer, an 8-0 surge that gave Stoughton life.

“What Ahmad did in the last 30 seconds was unbelievable,” Gallivan said. “To steal it, go the length of the court and dunk it, and be the first guy back to steal the next one, that’s amazing. The kids needed something and that was huge right before halftime.

“And [Milford] kept coming each time. I wasn’t there the first time, video does not do them justice, they are really good. It’s a hard 32 minutes and tonight it was a hard 36 minutes.”

This time the momentum stayed with the hosts as Stoughton opened the third quarter on a 16-4 run with five straight from Jahed, a three from Tyler, two from Tahkwan Gates Brown (18 points, seven rebounds), and back-to-back threes from Grigalunas-Powell tied the game at 46-46 with four minutes left in the third.

Tyler sank his second triple of the game and Stoughton had its first lead of the contest.

“He was a spark for us,” Gallivan said. “He hasn’t had a ton of minutes for us this year but talk about seizing the opportunity. Both ends of the court, gave us something on defense and offense.”

Buckets from Darling and Pires helped Milford keep pace but a baseline jumper from Ugwuakazi gave Stoughton a 53-50 lead after three.










“We knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game but we’re confident in each other and we knew we could pull through,” Grigalunas-Powell said of the turnaround. “We’re all confident that anyone on the team can make a shot, can make a play.

“We just told each other it’s not over, we weren’t going to give up.”

Stoughton pushed its lead to seven early in the fourth but Pires buried a three, Dom Schofield (11 points) beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper and then crashed the boards for a tip in to bring the Hawks within two. Jahed converted off a steal for Stoughton but Pires scored off a nice feed from Wetherbee and Darling had a strong take to make it 61-61 with 2:50 to play.

Ugwuakazi responded for Stoughton with back-to-back buckets but Wetherbee hit a three from the corner to keep Milford close. After a pair of empty possessions from each side, Jahed hit one of two from the line with 12 seconds to go to make it 66-64 but Pires came down and sank a jumper from the free throw line to beat the buzzer and send the game to overtime.

“It’s a new game [to start] overtime,” is what Gallivan told his team before the extra period. “Just take a deep breath, whatever happened that was great, whatever happened that was bad…put it away. Let’s just play four minutes.”

Ugwuakazi and Wetherbee traded baskets before the Hawks got a stop and Blanchard converted in transition to give Milford its first lead since the third quarter. Grigalunas-Powell collapsed the defense when he started to the basket but dumped it off for an easy two from Gates Brown to tie it again.

Blanchard put Milford back up with a pair of free throws and Stoughton threw the inbounds play away, giving the Hawks the ball back. Ralph Franklin Jr. had a strong take through the heart of the defense and Milford took a 74-70 lead with a minute to go.

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Milford even got a stop on Stoughton’s ensuing possession but the Black Knights forced a quick turnover to get the ball back and Grigalunas-Powell found Gates Brown for two, plus the foul. After hitting the free throw, Stoughton’s full-court press paid off as Milford was whistled for a backcourt violation, the Hawks’ 17th turnover of the second half/overtime, leading to Grigalunas-Powell’s go-ahead three.

“In the last two games, when we’ve needed [Grigalunas-Powell] at his best, he’s been almost perfect in terms of knowing when to pass, when to shoot,” Gallivan said. “And [Tahkwan] had a good game too, we talked about how he did well the first game against them. We tried to run stuff to Obinna’s side so it’d end up with Tahkwan at the end but [Milford] does such a good job mixing up their defenses that when you finally get the guys where you want then, they aren’t in the defense you wanted them in.”

Stoughton boys basketball (8-7 Hockomock, 11-8 overall) has a chance to clinch a share of the division title when it hosts Sharon on Friday night. Milford (8-7, 10-7) has the chance to do the same when it entertains Canton on the same night.

King Philip Outlasts Stoughton in Double Overtime

King Philip boys basketball Chris Roy
King Philip senior Chris Roy (right) drives to the basket against Stoughton’s Ahmad Jahed in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
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.

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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.

Robert Jarest drove to the basket and finished off the backboard for two before Stoughton’s Myles Grigalunas-Powell (17 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and King Philip’s Alex Fritz (30 points) traded field goals.

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.

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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.

Attleboro Hangs On For Close Win Over Stoughton

Attleboro boys basketball Tim Callahan
Attleboro senior Tim Callahan puts up a three-point shot in the second quarter against Stoughton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro boys basketball team was at its best in the second quarter of Friday night’s contest against visiting Stoughton.

The Bombardiers were zipping passes all around the court, sharing the ball among all five players, hitting teammates in stride on cuts to the basket, and draining shots from three-point range. And Attleboro was good on the defensive end too, having a hand in eight Stoughton turnovers while holding the visitors to just three makes from the floor, none from three-point territory.

The result of that quarter, and a strong start to the second half, was an 18-point advantage for the hosts with just over a quarter and a half to play.

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But with two minutes to play, that lead had dwindled to just six points behind a spirited defensive effort from Stoughton, a halftime switch from zone to man-to-man helping the Black Knights get back into the game.

A three from Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (17 points, 3 rebounds) forced the Bombardiers into a timeout with 2:01 to go, the hosts having scored just four points over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

In desperate need of a basket to halt Stoughton’s run, which was 12-4 across the entire quarter so far, the Bombardiers turned to their “Mr. Reliable” – senior Bryant Ciccio (23 points, four assists). Ciccio, who had scored Attleboro’s lone two buckets of the frame and was playing in his 65th varsity game, took it himself, getting a step on the defender to attack the basket before pulling up and sinking an elbow jumper with 1:22 to give Attleboro a 59-51 advantage.

Stoughton, which never developed a rhythm from downtown, missed on its next three shots including two from deep, and the Bombardiers held on for a 59-53 win.

“We worked really hard adjusting in the second quarter, and I think our defense in the second quarter was terrific too,” said longtime Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We shot the ball well, and we were getting more paint touches too and that’s how we built the 18-point lead. We wanted to extend the lead in the second half but [Stoughton] came out and got right back into it. They switched to man, and they played terrific. They forced us into a lot of things that we weren’t comfortable doing.

“We weren’t comfortable against the zone in the first quarter, then after we got comfortable against it in the second, they went man and I don’t think we ever felt comfortable against it. They did a nice job, they have some terrific athletics and they defended really hard. But we didn’t lose our composure as a team and Bryant hit that big elbow jumper.”

Ciccio scored Attleboro’s first field goal of the fourth with 6:15 to go, and finished off a nice layup along the baseline for the Bombardiers’ only other points with 4:19 to play in the game.

“He’s been in a lot of games for us, and he made the right play and we trust him to do that,” Houle said of Ciccio. “He pulled up at the elbow, and that’s a shot he practices a lot and we have confidence he’s going to make those plays. If he wasn’t open, he’s the type of player who’s going to find someone who is. Stoughton’s defensive intensity in the second half was really good, we didn’t get any second-chance points, we didn’t get to the foul line. We didn’t execute well against the zone in the first quarter or against man in the second half.”

The Black Knights built a 9-2 lead early on but Attleboro slowly found success against the Stoughton zone and started to get hot from three-point range as both Ciccio and Tim Callahan (11 points, six assists) each connected from deep in the last two minutes to get the Bombardiers within one, 13-12, at the first break.

The momentum carried into the second as the Bombardiers exploded for 22 points in the frame. Callahan sank a three off a feed from Nick McMahon (eight assists), who followed up with a triple of his own off a feed from Ciccio.

Stoughton senior Tahkwan Gates Brown (nine points, seven rebounds) kept the Black Knights close with a bucket from down low but Ciccio sank another triple followed by a pair of free throws. Callahan found classmate Qualeem Charles (12 points on 6-for-7 shooting, 11 rebounds) on a cut to the basket for an easy two, and Ciccio sank yet another triple for a 32-19 advantage with just over a minute to go in the frame. Stoughton finished the first half 0-for-9 from three-point range.

“We lost this game in the second quarter,” said Stoughton coach John Gallivan. The Black Knights outscored the hosts 34-25 in the second half but couldn’t overcome the 22-6 second quarter. “We had three good quarters but we always talk about having four. There are so many ways that Attleboro can hurt you, and we were probably a little too focused on them hurting us inside which led to all the threes. Second half, they got some twos but twos are less than three. And it was a bad combination in the second quarter of them hitting those shots and us not hitting.”

Stoughton senior Ahmad Jahed (11 points, seven rebounds) sank a three and classmate Obinna Ugwuakazi (14 points, 10 rebounds) found Gates Brown for an easy two out in transition to help spark the Black Knights’ comeback.

Ciccio swished his fourth triple of the night to push the lead back to 18 at 46-28 but Stoughton closed the third with 11 points in the final 3:15 to stay in the game. Ugwuakazi scored six straight and Grigalunas-Powell buried a deep three just before the buzzer to make it 53-39.

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“In the second half, the guys just started playing,” Gallivan said. “In the past, we’ve had some teams that have may have folded. That’s a great environment, its hostile, and it’s a lot of fun but it’s hard to play in. And these kids responded and kept it a game the entire way.

“There was nothing positive to say after last Friday and tonight, this was a building block game. There are no moral victories in this league but if you get something out of it, you can use it in your next game.”

Attleboro boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it travels to Durfee. Stoughton (1-2, 1-2) hosts Fenway on the same night.

Oliver Ames Spoils Stoughton’s First Game In New Gym

Oliver Ames boys basketball Amari Brown
Oliver Ames junior Amari Brown goes up for a layup in the second half against Stoughton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
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.

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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.”

A three from Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (nine points, four assists), a strong finish from senior Obinna Ugwuakazi (12 points, 11 rebounds) off a nice feed through traffic from junior Jake Queeney, four points from senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, and a late three from Admad Jahed put the Black Knights in a great position, up 14-5, after a quarter.

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.”

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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.

Stoughton Stuns Foxboro With Late Game Surge

Stoughton boys basketball Ajahn Rue
Stoughton’s Ajahn Rue splits a pair of Foxboro defenders for a layup in the fourth quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – While the Stoughton Boys basketball team spent the majority of Friday night’s contest trailing Foxboro, the Black Knights never let the Warriors run away with it.

Staying within striking distance for the majority of the game, the Black Knights made their move late in the fourth quarter. Stoughton used an 8-0 run to tie the game with just over two minutes to play, and finished the game with a 9-0 burst.

All in all, Stoughton outscored Foxboro 17-0 over the final 4:24 to stun the Warriors with a 63-52 decision. The win moves Stoughton into a four-way tie in the Davenport division along with Foxboro, Milford, and North Attleboro with two division games left.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Nothing came easy tonight,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “We had to stay with our stuff. We said at halftime it was the luckiest five-point deficit because we didn’t do anything we talked about doing. The third quarter got a little better, but we were still down three. Then we got down eight. They just stayed with it, stayed with it, and finally got a couple of breaks.”

Foxboro junior Dylan Barreira drained a three to put the Warriors up 53-45 with 4:43 to go. It marked the seventh time that the Warriors had led by eight or more points in the game. But similar to each of the previous times, Stoughton clawed its way back in.

This time, however, the Black Knights were able to tie the game. Junior Thomas Sanda (eight points) scored on a shot from the block, junior Ajahn Rue (13 points, five rebounds) beat his man and attacked the rim on two straight possessions, and senior Kevin Dixon had a strong take to make it 53-53 with 2:07 left.

Foxboro called a timeout to try and stem the tide, but Stoughton junior Ahmad Jahed stole the inbounds pass and found Dixon for an easy bucket and the lead. The Warriors came up with an offensive rebound on its next possession, but Rue was able to knock the ball free for a turnover. Rue once again went to the basket, this time sneaking a layup under the defender for a 57-53 advantage with a minute to go.

The Black Knights continued to get stops, including a big block from Obinna Ugwuakazi. Ugwuakazi, Jahed, and Rue each hit from the free throw line down the stretch to get Stoughton to the final score.

“The lead never felt comfortable, but there were moments I felt we could put them away if we maybe made a couple more shots in a row or a couple of more plays [defensively],” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “It seemed like we could never make that last momentum play. We’ve got a young group, so we have to go back to the film and see what went wrong and learn to execute better down the stretch. That’s how our league is, every game is going to be like that.

“We didn’t execute offensively. We had some bad possessions where we weren’t able to get into the right spots or execute what we wanted to. We rushed some shots and I think we just got a little rattled and lost our composure a little bit. And defensively we gave up the paint a little too easy. We gave up some offensive rebounds, they posted up our guards a little bit. In the end, we weren’t able to execute on either end under pressure.”

Foxboro had leads at 15-7 to end the first quarter, 23-15, 26-18, 28-18, and 30-20 in the second quarter, and a 38-29 advantage midway through the third quarter. Stoughton was able to respond each time, cutting into the deficit to get within five or three before Foxboro could pull away.

“They are a hard team to chase,” Gallivan said. “They spread the floor so well and if you have to double, one of their great shooters is going to get a wide open shot. I think it probably would have taken one more and it could have been the dagger but the kids just stuck with it.”

Rue was limited to just two points (on four field goal attempts) entering the fourth quarter, but seemed to flip the switch to get the Black Knights going. Even before sparking the comeback run, Rue gained confidence by converting a traditional three-point play early in the fourth quarter. He had 11 of his 13 points come in the final frame.

“I thought Ajahn took over,” Gallivan said. “I think at one point they had three guys on the floor with four fouls so if you’re switching screens, it becomes which kid do you want to get in foul trouble there. He was able to get to the rim, finished, and I think that got everyone going.”

Foxboro junior Brandon Borde (23 points, nine rebounds) had his way for the most part, scoring seven points in the opening quarter to help the Warriors create a 15-7 lead. The Warriors used a 13-5 run to create a 10-point lead with a minute to go in the half. Borde had three baskets, Ryan Hughes added two field goals, and Will Morrison (10 points) drained a three. Stoughton got some momentum back before the half as Tahkwan Gates Brown (nine points, four rebounds) converted a putback and Myles Grigalunas-Powell drained a three after an offensive rebound from Gates Brown to make it 30-25 at the half.

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A three from Foxboro sophomore Kevin Gallagher sparked an early 8-0 run for the Warriors, with Borde adding two field goals and Morrison with a free throw to put the hosts up 38-29.

But as they had done all game, the Black Knights battled back, closing the quarter with an 11-5 run. Zak Paquette sank two free throws, Jahed scored after a steal, Dixon hit a pair from the line, Gates Brown scored down low, and Sanda made both ends of a one-and-one situation to bring the Black Knights within three, 43-40, entering the fourth quarter.

Stoughton boys basketball (6-8 Hockomock, 9-9 overall) hits the road on Tuesday to take on Milford. Foxboro (6-8, 9-8) will look to snap its two-game skid when it travels to Sharon on the same night.

Vendrell Sparks Taunton To Win Over Stoughton

Taunton boys basketball Lou Vendrell
Taunton senior Lou Vendrell drives to the basket for a layup in the fourth quarter against Stoughton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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STOUGHTON, Mass. – A shorthanded Taunton team has seen a pair of seniors step up over the past two games. Tuesday night on the road against Stoughton, they had a third senior rise to the occasion.

Following in the footsteps of John Martins (30 points against Canton) and Ryan Sullivan (27 points against Mansfield), senior Lou Vendrell came off the bench to provide a big spark for the Tigers, leading Taunton to a 70-61 win on the road.

Vendrell scored a season-high 20 points, including 11 points in the fourth quarter, to help the Tigers secure an important win as they inch closer to a postseason berth.

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“It was a huge win, being shorthanded,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “These guys that have carried us for three games are all good kids, they’ve done a nice job.”

Without three starters, the Tigers posted a 1-1 record last week so Tuesday’s road trip to Stoughton was an important one. Martins had another solid effort for the Tigers, dropping 15 points and hauling in eight rebounds while sophomore Josh Lopes came off the bench and scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half.

Taunton built a 10-point lead by using a 13-4 run over the final 2:15 of the first half. In the second half, Stoughton continued to push back into the game but the Tigers never surrendered the lead.

The Black Knights kept the visitors scoreless for the first 4:13 of the third quarter but could only muster six points of their own. Martins scored off a turnover and assist from Vendrell to get Taunton on the board, up 37-31. A three from Lopes extended that advantage to 40-31 with three minutes left in the third.

But Stoughton continued to chip away. Four points from Obinna Ugwuakazi (21 points, 11 rebounds) and two from Tahkwan Gates Brown (six points, five assists) got the Black Knights within five but a three-point play from Lopes kept Taunton ahead, 43-47, going into the final quarter.

“Those two guys are learning to play together,” Gallivan said of Ugwuakazi and Gates Brown. “At the beginning of the season we were playing one at a time, but they’re learning. They are looking for each other too. It’s not always pretty, but it can be effective.”

Taunton’s lead ballooned to 12 when sophomore Tyler Stewart come up with a steal then found Vendrell on the break early in the fourth quarter. Vendrell returned the favor to Stewart for two and a 51-40 lead, and then Stewart found Quinn in the corner for a three and Vendrell converted on a breakaway to make it 56-42 with 4:38 to play.

The 14-point lead was far from safe, however, as Ugwuakazi converted down low, Kevin Dixon splashed in a triple, and sophomore Jake Queeney came off the bench to drain a three to make it 58-50 with 2:14 to play.

“Queeney did a nice job, came off the bench and hit some shots,” Gallivan. “He’s played a couple of varsity quarters, he had one quarter of eligibility left tonight so we put him in and he did well.”

A free throw from Ugwuakazi cut the deficit to seven, but Vendrell responded with a jumper in the paint to put the Tigers up 60-51.

“If he starts off playing well, he does well for the game,” Dacey said of Vendrell. :He was confident tonight. He had a lot of momentum and was participating on both ends of the floor too which I think factored in.”

Ugwuakazi and Quinn traded two points apiece and Queeney hit another triple to get Stoughton within six, 62-56, with 1:29 to go. Each team had an empty trip, and Lopes raced out for a layup and a 64-56 lead.

“14 points out of a sophomore in a pressure situation like that? He’s a worker,” Dacey said of Lopes. “He’s worked his butt off, he’s in a good spot right now, and he deserves it.”

With under a minute to go, the Black Knights were forced to foul and Taunton was able to hold on for the win.

In the first half, Stoughton junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (13 points, five rebounds, four assists) helped the Black Knights jump ahead 12-8, but Taunton closed the opening quarter with a 6-0 run (two each from Krishon Nairne, Martins, and Vendrell) for a 14-12 lead.

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In the second quarter, Martins took control of the offense and scored eight points in the quarter. A three-pointer from Ajahn Rue brought Stoughton within one at 22-21 with under three minutes to go but the Tigers finished the quarter strong with a 13-4 run.

Martins made back-to-back triples, Vendrell added in five straight, and Martins converted shortly before the buzzer for a 35-25 lead at the break.

“[John] makes good decisions out there,” Dacey said. “We’re trying to run some things, and he manages to settle it down and occasionally takes care of business himself. That’s the senior leadership we need.”

Taunton boys basketball (7-4 Hockomock, 10-5) begins a three-game home stand when it welcomes Oliver Ames on Friday night. Stoughton (4-7, 7-8) has its second straight home contest when it entertains North Attleboro.

Black Knights Battle Back To Beat Weston

Stoughton boys basketball
Stoughton’s Kevin Dixon goes up for a layup against Weston in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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RANDOLPH, Mass. – The Stoughton boys basketball team felt like it had let a win slip through its grasp on Friday night against Natick in the opening round of the Blue Devils Holiday Classic.

Facing a 17-point second half deficit, the Black Knights were starring at the possibility of a second straight loss against a team they were capable of beating.

Behind a ramped-up defensive effort, improved shooting, and a big fourth quarter performance from senior captain Josh Cocchi, Stoughton erased that deficit and walked away with a 64-58 win over Weston.

“We’re thrilled to get this one today because we knew we could have played better on Friday night,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan.

A big second quarter gave the Wildcats a 37-24 advantage at the break. Weston extended that lead to 43-26 on a three-pointer by Jake Corbett with 5:44 to play in the third. Stoughton, which had struggled from the field in the first half (22% shooting) began to find its rhythm.

A pair of free throws from junior Obinna Ugwuakazi (26 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals) started a 10-0 burst for the Black Knights. Stoughton’s improvement on offense was almost a direct result from its defensive energy. The Knights extended a 2-2-1 press that forced Weston into four turnovers and 0-for-5 shooting from the field in that stretch.

Ugwuakazi scored down low on an assist from Ajahn Rue after a Weston miss, and Myles Grigalunas-Powell scored on a break after Rue came up with a steal. Zak Paquette found Ugwuakazi for a tough two, and the press forced a turnover on a carry.

A steal from Eddie Aldama led to an elbow jumper from Ugwuakazi to make it 45-38 with 2:28 left in the third. A three-point play from Weston pushed the lead back to 10 but a baseline drive from Paquette and a three-point play from Ugwuakazi with just 6.5 left brought the Knights within five but Weston beat the buzzer to take a 50-43 lead into the fourth.

“I think starting 13 or 14-for-14 from the free throw line helped a lot,” Gallivan said of what went into the comeback. “We did a good job of changing of the tempo with the three quarter court zone press. It just made them maybe think a little bit before they stepped into wide open shots like they had in the first half. They looked unbeatable in the second quarter. But the kids hung in there, and we talked at halftime about having one run in us and we did.”

Ugwuakazi had 13 of his 26 points in the third quarter.

“He had a great practice yesterday,” Gallivan said. “They probably didn’t get a good look at him when they scouted Friday night (limited minutes). So it was a good opportunity for him and he took advantage of it.”

A free throw from Ugwuakazi was followed by a turnover by Weston — a travel forced by Stoughton’s pressure. Senior Josh Cocchi hit three-pointer for the Knights, making it a three-point game with 6:22 to go.

It marked Stoughton’s first triple since 2:19 left in the first quarter. The Black Knights had shot 1-for-22 from deep before Cocchi’s make.

“We haven’t shot well all year,” Gallivan said. “It’s about that time to start shooting well. But defense helps obviously. You can’t let your defense, or lack thereof, affect your offense. And we did that at times during the first half.”

Cocchi sank a pair of free throws to get within one but Corbett answered on the other end for the Wildcats. Cocchi came back down the other way, took a feed from Rue and drained another three while being fouled. He converted the free throw to give Stoughton its first lead of the second half, 53-52, with 4:32 to go.

Weston briefly regained the lead on a three-point play by Corbett but Rue answered with a three on the other end to put Stoughton back in front, 56-55, with 3:49 to go.

The Knights got a stop on one end with Ugwuakazi grabbing the rebound. On the other end, Rue found Ugwuakazi with a nice pass and he extended the advantage to 58-55. Cocchi hit one of two free throws after earning a trip to the line with a nice box out.

Thomas Sanda came up with a key loose ball, and after a pair of empty trips from each side, Sanda took a nice feed from Cocchi for an easy two to make it 61-55. Cocchi (1-for-2) and Sanda (2-for-2) added free throws in the final minute to make it 64-58.

“Josh Cocchi was huge [in the fourth],” Gallivan said. “Obinna obviously had a good game but Cocchi was great in the fourth quarter with 11 points. And Tommy Sanda…we say it all the time, he’s always in the right place, he’s always listening, he’s the smartest player on the court so at some point I have to say to myself, ‘Why isn’t he playing more?’ I told him after the first half to be ready because he was going to go back in and he did a nice job.”

Stoughton boys basketball (5-2) resumes Hockomock League play on Friday, January 4th when it travels to Davenport division rival Canton (2-1) for a 6:30 tipoff.

Stoughton Opens Season With Win Over Archies

Stoughton boys basketball
Stoughton’s Obinna Ugwuakazi goes up for a shot in the second half against Archbishop Williams. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 STOUGHTON, Mass. – With a combination of experienced, young, and new players on the team this year, Stoughton head coach John Gallivan has yet to determine how the pieces of the puzzle best fit together.

And while it may take a couple of games to integrate the team and find the best lineups at the right times, his most experienced varsity players stepped up in key moments to help deliver a 66-62 win on opening night against Archbishop Williams.

Senior captain Zak Paquette scored nine of his career-high 16 points in the final quarter while junior Ajahn Rue (10 points) buried a three with under a minute left to help the Black Knights fend off a comeback attempt from the Bishops.

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“Zak had some big buckets for us in the fourth quarter and I thought the three that Ajahn hit by our bench late was huge,” Gallivan said. “It came right in the flow of the game and it was the kind of thing that should have happened instead of being forced. It was a gutsy shot when it should have been taken and obviously we needed it.

“We still have to figure out a lot of pieces, where they go and how they fit.”

While Archies had the strong start (11-2 lead in the first quarter), it was Stoughton that had success throughout the middle quarters. Paquette’s first triple of the game just under a minute the final quarter off a pass from Kevin Dixon gave Stoughton its largest lead at 55-39 and it looked like Stoughton was set to run away with the game.

But Archies refused to go away, making it a single digit game (59-50) but the midway point of the quarter, and used a 7-2 spurt to get within four, 61-57, with just under two minutes to go.

Stoughton responded with a key stretch, Paquette finishing underneath after a nice feed from senior Edward Aldama (four points, four rebounds) and then Rue came up with a steal to get possession back. Rue and Paquette combined for a two-man game in the corner, the passing resulting in a three from Rue and a 66-57 lead with 38 seconds to play.

Archies took an early lead but Stoughton was able to claw back into the game and make it a one-possession game after eight minutes. After an emotional pregame ceremony that honored David Bell and Nick Joyce, two of four Stoughton students that passed away in a tragic accident last May. Bell was slated to be a senior captain this season and Joyce played of sub varsity last season but attended plenty of varsity games over the years watching older brother Kris Joyce (1,000 point scorer).

Stoughton came out flying but the energy didn’t translate into points as the Bishops staked an 11-2 lead. From there, the Knights settled in and made a game of it. Rue, Myles Grigalunas-Powell, and Tahkwan Gates Brown (six points) came off the bench to help Stoughton get in gear.

The Knights closed the quarter with a 7-2 run, highlighted by a pair of putbacks from Obinna Ugwuakazi (11 points, 10 rebounds) and a triple from Rue and trailed just 19-17 after one.

“If we could have started that way instead of going down….we talked about using the emotion but not getting swamped by it,” Gallivan said. “We left a lot out there, we got some decent looks and we tried to do some things we’re not capable of doing. To [Archbishop Williams’] credit, they knocked some shots down.”

A three from sophomore Brett Pendenza and a midrange jumper from Ahmad Jahed helped Stoughton jump in front, a lead they didn’t relinquish the rest of the way. Paquette had a traditional three point and Josh Cocchi hit a pair of three throws to give Stoughton a 31-26 lead at half.

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Stoughton extended its lead by outscoring the Bishops 19-11 in the third quarter. Ugwuakazi had five of his points in the frame, Aldama scored a pair of buckets, Cocchi drained a triple wit just over a minute left in the third, and Kevin Dixon converted a putback at the to make it 50-37 heading into the fourth.

“I thought the middle third of the game, we were pretty good,” Gallivan said. “The beginning and the end were shaky but that could be a product of having so many new faces.”

Stoughton boys basketball (1-0) opens Hockomock League play on Tuesday with a trip to Oliver Ames for a 6:30 tipoff.

Defense, Rebounding Help Stoughton Beat King Philip

Stoughton boys basketball
Stoughton’s Colin Sanda (left) and David Bell (24) celebrate after Bell converted an offensive rebound while being fouled. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – Throughout the game, Stoughton had struggled to score against King Philip’s half-court defense. So with 37 seconds left, holding a three-point lead and in need of some insurance, the Black Knights found a way to get an easy bucket.

Coming out of a timeout after a near turnover and the inbounds at midcourt, Stoughton sent three of its players down one end of the court and kept Colin Sanda (17 points, 10 rebounds) alone in one half. The Warriors’ defense lined up in man-to-man, allowing Cam Andrews to get the ball into Sanda.

It seemed like a normal inbounds play into the backcourt, but that was only because of how the Black Knights lined up. Sanda was, in fact, in his offensive half and took the feed down for a wide-open layup with just 30 seconds to play.

That bucket, along with some late free throws, gave Stoughton enough of a cushion to hang on for a 60-55 win on the road.

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The Black Knights led by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter and had a nine-point lead with just two minutes to go before King Philip made a late charge. Kyle Layman (23 points, eight rebounds) scored inside and Brendan Kinghit a pair of free throws to make it a five-point game, 55-50.

Stoughton hit a free throw to extend it to six but Layman collected three points (free throw, field goal off Bruce Santillus’ offensive rebound) to make it a one-possession game, 56-53, with just under a minute to play.

That’s when Stoughton ran its play to Sanda for an easy two to keep the lead. King Philip once again got it down to three on an offensive putback but David Bell (career-high 19 points, 13 rebounds) hit free throws down the stretch to ice it.

While the inbounds play and free throws iced the game for Stoughton, it was the Black Knights’ full-court pressure defense and strong rebounding that really put them in position to win in the first place.

“We played with some energy tonight,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “We were a little shorthanded tonight and I think they recognized that so they picked each other up. We were trying to mix the defense up with some zone, some scramble, some straight man-to-man. After a while, we just stuck with what we were using and it ended up being enough.”

The Knights’ pressure really started paying off in the third quarter, and even more so when King Philip’s starting point guard Pharoah Davis had to leave the game for a stretch due to a head injury.

Stoughton outscored KP 15-9 over the final six minutes of the third. Trailing 29-25, Stoughton forced a turnover that led to a triple from Bell. Stoughton had a miss a possession later but Sanda flew in for an offensive rebound and easy putback. Layman tied the game with a traditional three-point play but Stoughton finished the frame with a 7-0 burst.

After another miss, Ruben Gonzalez came in for an offensive rebound and putback, Sanda made a jumper after KP missed the front end of a one-and-one, Andrews hit the first of two free throws for a 38-34 lead, and then Steevens Phelimond hauled in Andrews’ miss on the second attempt and put it back for a 40-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“The press is trying to get them out of a rhythm, get turnovers, its all of the above,” Gallivan said. “But we can’t score on their set defense, they are too long. When we tried, it looked awful. But when we got out in transition, and even though it might seem like a quick shot, it was the best shot. The press can make you or break you but I thought we got enough out of it to stay in it. Even at the end, we backed it up some but stayed in it just to slow them down and make them think a little bit. If that game went on for 30 more seconds, who knows.”

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Stoughton started the fourth when it forced a turnover and Andrews found Bell for an easy two. Layman answered with a triple and Stoughton missed its ensuing shot, but once again Sanda came flying in unguarded and converted the putback.

Holding a 44-38 lead, Stoughton’s effort on the offensive glass paid off once again. Its first shot missed but Bell grabbed the board and put it back up while being fouled. He sank the free throw for a 47-38 lead with 5:39 to play.

Stoughton won the rebounding battle, 45-31.

“I thought all of the putbacks were huge because maybe the original shot wasn’t a great one, but the putbacks were key,” Gallivan said. “I thought Sanda really started that whole thing, he got a couple early on. I said the kids before the game that if they win the rebounding battle that you’ll win this game. We know long shots mean long rebounds and those go to the quicker team.”

The Black Knights used the full press from the beginning of the game and forced 10 turnovers in the first half. While only four of those came in the first quarter, Stoughton’s defense mainly focused King Philip into bad shots. The Warriors shot just 24% in the first eight minutes (4-for-17) while going 0-for-4 from three-point range.

Though King Philip’s offense struggled to find a rhythm, its defense kept them in the game and in the lead. Even though Stoughton made nearly half of their shots in the opening quarter, the Black Knights turned the ball over 11 times and trailed 11-9 after one.

Stoughton took a lead, 14-13, on a triple from Phelimond but Santillus (17 points, 11 rebounds) caught fire to bring the hosts back in front. He converted a feed from King for two, drained a three on a feed from Tim Nault, and after Layman and Sanda traded basket, the junior splashed in another shot from downtown. Andrew McKinney capped the run with a runner to give KP a 25-16 edge.

But the Black Knights refused to go away, closing the half on a 6-0 run to get within three at the break. Bell contributed three straight points and Andrews drilled a three with two minutes to go. Neither team scored in the final two minutes of the half.

“It was 25-22 at halftime, there really wasn’t a lot of rhythm,” said KP head coach Mark Champagne. “We lost Pharoah for a stretch in the third, and then the other guys were tentative against it so [the press] did hurt us. Pharoah can create more against it so not having him hurt. But I thought our shot selection was poor, I thought we really regressed on that. We had the wrong guys shooting the ball, just because they were open doesn’t make it the best shot.

“I told them if anybody asks what happened, tell them you were poorly coached because you really looked like it tonight, they really did it. We had mental lapses. We wanted to foul coming out of a timeout and we didn’t. We have a major focus problem. Kyle did a good job in his first game back, he was tired but he sucked it up, no issues with him. They had a lot of offensive rebounds, not so much by big guys cause they don’t have much. [Sanda] got a couple extra ones, again mental lapses from us not boxing out. We just can’t seem to get out of the gate, it’s frustrating.”

While KP’s defense focused on Andrews (eight points), Sanda and Bell picked up the slack. Sanda tied a career-high while Bell set a new mark. Both had double-digit rebounds as well.

“We need that balance,” Gallivan said, who also got seven points and solid defense from senior Justin Ly. “It can’t be one guy, no matter who the one guy is. Our best games are when its spread out among three guys. And it could be any three guys. Ruben did it earlier this season against Randolph, it just shows it can be anyone. It was good to see other guys step up and help Cam out because they obviously focused a lot on Cam.”

Stoughton boys basketball (2-7 Hockomock, 3-8 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts Franklin. King Philip (2-7, 2-9) will try to bounce back when it visits Sharon on the same night.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Andrews, Gonzalez Spark Stoughton To First Win

Stoughton boys basketball
Stoughton’s Cam Andrews converts a layup against Randolph in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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RANDOLPH, Mass. – With a pair of starters out, Stoughton head coach John Gallivan turned to senior Ruben Gonzalez to give the Black Knights a defensive spark.

Not only did Gonzalez deliver a pesky defensive performance (three steals), the senior connected on five three-pointers and poured in a career-high 19 points to help the Black Knights pick up their first win of the season, an 80-60 decision over Randolph in the first round of the Blue Devils Holiday Classic.

Stoughton will play Natick in the championship of the tournament on Saturday night.

“What a spark he was,” Gallivan said.

Gonzalez got Stoughton’s offense going early, scoring eight of the team’s 18 first-quarter points including a pair of triples. And when Randolph’s defense decided to face guard senior Cam Andrews (career-high 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) for the entire fourth quarter, Gonzalez helped put the game to rest with eight more points, again on a pair of threes.

And in the two middle quarters, Andres took care of business. He scored 13 of his points in the third quarter, helping the Knights turn a seven-point lead at the end of the first (18-11) into a 36-23 advantage going into the halftime break.

When Randolph had its best offensive quarter of the game, netting 24 points in the third quarter, Andrews was equal to the task, scoring 12 of his own in the quarter to keep the lead at 13 (60-47) heading into the final frame.

“I thought he did a good job of letting it come to him,” Gallivan said. “And I thought our kids did a nice job of finding him on offensive rebounds. That’s the most open he’s going to be when they reverse pivot and kick it out to him. One that comes to mind is when Alex Sjoquist ripped one and instead of a 5’9 kid going up against a 6’4 kid, he turned and found Cam.”

The Blue Devils got within seven points just over the midway point of the second quarter, but Stoughton rattled off a 13-4 run over a two and a half minute span to build the separation it needed for the rest of the game.

Gonzalez got the run started with his third triple, and Andrews blew by his defender with a strong take to the hoop for a layup. Stoughton’s press worked as Gonzalez came up with a steal in the Randolph backcourt and tossed up a pass for an easy alley-layup for Andrews.

After a Randolph timeout, the Blue Devils got back on the board with a layup but Stoughton had a quick answer. After a miss, Sjoquist pulled in the rebound and found Andrews for the three, plus the foul, for a four-point play. It was the play that Gallivan alluded to.

Stoughton capped the run when Gonzalez forced another turnover and Andrews finished at the rim once again.

Randolph cut the deficit to single digits once in the second half, midway through the third quarter, but five straight points from Andrews restored Stoughton’s comfortable lead.

Colin Sanda added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists for Stoughton while Steevens Phelimond (six points, five rebounds) and David Bell (five points, five rebounds) gave the Knights a presence in the paint.

“I think the important thing for us was to survive those first three Kelley-Rex games,” Gallivan said.

The Black Knights lost to Oliver Ames, Attleboro and Mansfield top begin the season; the three teams had a combined 9-3 record entering games on Thursday night.

“We actually had stretches where we played well against all three teams. If you lose those three games spread out over a couple of weeks, it’s no big deal. But you lose three in a row and it can seem like the sky is falling. These guys have done a good job of keeping their composure and doing things the way we want to do it. And I thought they played a full 32 minutes tonight, which was one of the focuses tonight. We’ve had good minutes, but not a full 32 until tonight.”

Stoughton boys basketball (0-3 Hockomock, 1-3 overall) will try to make it two in a row when it tips off against the Redhawks in the championship of the Blue Devils Holiday Classic on Saturday at 6:30.