Boys Basketball: 2016-17 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Mansfield boys basketball
(Tom Madigan/Photo).

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2015-2016 Record: 7-15
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Houle

After missing out on the playoffs a year ago, Attleboro will be relying on its senior leadership to try and earn a trip to the state tournament.

Captains Jake Dunkley and Andrew Milliken will help anchor the team along with classmates Lucas Boucicaut, Berlyns Abraham and Robby Peirce. Dunkley was the second leading scorer in the league last year with 18 points per game while Milliken is another top scoring option for the Bombardiers.

Boucicaut and junior Nate Douglas will pair up in the backcourt while freshman Bryant Ciccio will likely see plenty of minutes after his performance on opening night on Friday. Abraham provides length and athleticism down low and can make life difficult in the post for opponents.

“We need to defend and rebound to create transition opportunities and execute with a focus on details,” Attleboro head coach Mark Houle said. “Our strength will be our senior leadership.”

Franklin

2015-2016 Record: 19-5
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D1 Central Final
Coach: CJ Neely

There is no rebuilding when it comes to Franklin, just reloading. Despite graduating a handful of talent, including the Hockomock League MVP Tim Prunier and a couple other strong players, the Panthers are still in a spot to challenge for the Kelley-Rex title.

Two big reasons for that are juniors Paul Mahon and Connor Peterson. Both players started last year and were important pieces as the Panthers claimed a division title. With at least year of experience for both, look for both to be key players this season. Mahon has developed as a shooter to compliment his strong defensive game while Peterson continues to be one of the top big men in the league,.

The Panthers will look to move the ball as much as possible on offense and hope to have a balanced scoring attack so defenses can’t focus in on just a player or two. Franklin has been on the better teams defensively in recent history and will look to continue that trend for the 2016-2017 season.

“We are very excited about this group of guys,” Franklin head coach CJ Neely said. “Having a good balance of talent has made our practice games very competitive, everyone has really been pushing each other hard. Each year our goal remains the same, we will focus on day to day improvement and let the results take care of themselves.

“We want to be defined as a hardworking group that plays aggressively and shares the ball offensively. I think if we can stay committed to trusting each other and consistently competing on both ends of the floor we can have a good year.”

King Philip

2015-2016 Record: 5-15
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Champagne

The Warriors are returning a strong group of players from last year’s squad with one noticeable addition — new head coach Mark Champagne.

Champagne will have a group of experienced players to work with this season. Tom Madden, Noah Goodwin, Kyle Layman, Will Weir, Seth Sullivan, Pharaoh Davis and Justin Vine all saw either starting minutes or valuable time off the bench a season ago. Matt Lehoullier and Noah Bradley will also factor int this season to provide the Warriors with depth.

Goodwin and Weir have the most experience and will captain the team along with Sullivan. Madden impressed last year as did Layman during his rookie campaign. Between Goodwin, Weir, Madden and Layman, King Philip will have plenty of size to use down low. Davis and Sullivan are both strong with the ball while Vine provides KP with a shooting threat.

“We are very excited as a coaching staff to compete in the Hockomock League,” Champagne said. “We are fortunate to have a hard working group of players who are hungry for success.”

Mansfield

2015-2016 Record: 20-5
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Mike Vaughan

Even though Mansfield won the Kelley-Rex division a year ago, the Hornets still might be bringing back the most talent in the league this year. After only graduating three seniors, Mike Vaughan has nearly all of his weapons at his disposal again this year.

HockomockSports.com First Team selection Sam Goldberg (11.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG) leads a strong group back that includes Christian Weber, Matt Ehrlich, Max Boen, Phil Vigeant, Tyler Boulter and Evan Christo. Expect the likes of John McCoy, Sam Hyland and Kristian Conner to also factor in for the Hornets.

It doesn’t matter who it is listed above, almost all of them are capable of being “the guy” on any given night, which makes Mansfield incredibly hard to defend. Weber, Ehrlich, Vigeant, Boen and Boulter are all strong from beyond the arc but also have no problem making the extra pass to find a better shot.

“We’re looking forward to a fun season with seven seniors and a great group of underclassmen, we should have plenty of depth to stay competitive,” Vaughan said. “The league looks loaded again with talent so we shouldn’t have any nights off.”

Oliver Ames

2015-2016 Record: 11-11
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Don Byron

The Tigers will face a steep challenge because of the switch to the Kelley-Rex division but bringing back a strong core of players will be a big help.

Seniors Carter Evin, Dylan Mahoney, Nick Welch and Mike Graziano are all back as are juniors Matt Muir and Jack Spillane. All six players saw time last year, including some who started all season long.

Between the returning players, the Tigers will be able to score from multiple positions. Evin, a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection, led the Tigers in scoring with 13.4 points per game – and did so in a variety of ways. Mahoney is able to shoot or attack the hoop while both Welchn and Graziano showed the ability to get hot from deep.

“We have a number of players back who played quite a bit last year and showed marked improvement during the course of the season,” Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron said. “We’ll be leaning on them as we develop depth from a number of kids who played jv last year. Our schedule will be a challenge as we make the move to the Kelly-Rex division of the league and our non-league schedule won’t provide any breaks either.”

taunton

2015-2016 Record: 16-7
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Charlie Dacey

While there will be some changes for Taunton this year, there will also be some similarities to last year. The Tigers will aim to use their speed and athleticism to their advantage and try to make up for their lack of size and experience.

The youthful Tigers will by led by the very experienced Tommy MacLean, who has played varsity minutes since his freshman year. Junior Tyler Medeiros is back after suffering an injury early last year while junior Lens Esquil also got some minutes a year ago.

Junior Malik Charles, sophomores John Martin and Luis Vendrell and freshmen Dante Law and Naz Kenan are all likely to factor in for Taunton this season. Another positive early on for Taunton is shooting, boasting a handful of players that can consistently knock down shots from deep.

“Our immediate strengths are speed and shooting,” Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey said. “Hopefully, our speed can counter our youth and allow us to play an uptempo game.”