Second Half Turnaround Sends Mansfield Past Foxboro

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen
Mansfield junior Matt Boen drives to the basket in the second half against Foxboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – What’s the best remedy for a struggling offense?

For the Mansfield boys basketball team, it started with a ramped-up defensive effort.

The Hornets, limited to less than 20 points in the first half with 10 turnovers, turned the tables on host Foxboro by using a much improved defensive effort to kick start its offense, and that combination resulted in a 50-42 victory.

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It was Foxboro’s defense that stole the show for the opening 16 minutes, frustrating a dangerous Hornet offense. The Warriors allowed just three field goals made in the second quarter and had one stretch where they forced the Hornets into five straight turnovers.

But it was truly a tale of two halves as Mansfield controlled for the final 16 minutes. While its turnover woes didn’t disappear right away, with two early second half turnovers, the Hornets’ defense kept Foxboro scoreless for nearly four minutes and without its second make of the period until the final seconds.

That defense led to some easy buckets to kickstart the visitors on the offensive end. An 8-0 run to start the third tied the game and an 8-2 run to close the third put the visitors in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game.

“We were significantly more locked defensively in the second half,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “To hold them to a five-point third quarter obviously made a huge difference for us, that probably made the difference in the game. The fourth quarter was a little more even but if we don’t have that third quarter where we come out locked in. At half we said, ‘they’re good defensively and we’re going to grind out our possessions. We’ll get a basket or two throughout a good possession. But we need to defend better.’”

“With the exception of [Kevin] Gallagher hitting two 75-footers from the parking lot, I thought we did a really good job defensively. You take those six points out of the fourth quarter and now you have two back-to-back quarters where we defended well. I thought we did a better job offensively in the second half being patient, setting better screens, getting more people touching the ball and cutting, and being efficient with the ball, as opposed to standing around and watching one guy go against five good defenders.”

The Hornet defense doubled its turnover total in the second half, forcing 11 takeaways in the second half. Foxboro shot nearly 50% from the floor in the opening half but hit at just over a 30% success rate against Mansfield’s active defense in the second half.

Meanwhile, Mansfield cut its turnover number almost in half and shot almost 60% from the field in the second half.

“I thought our defensive intensity and focus was outstanding in the first half,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “We really made things difficult for them and we were really locked in on the defensive end. I think the biggest key offensively in the first half is that we did a great job of taking care of the ball and limiting our turnovers. I thought we played with a lot of poise and it was a good tempo.

“But in the second half, unfortunately, they knocked down some threes and offensively, we got a little more stagnant and got away from what made us successful in the first half, we had some costly turnovers that gave them easy scoring opportunities. Credit Mansfield, obviously they turned their defensive intensity up to another level in the second half and Mike made some really good adjustments to disrupt us, so Mansfield deserves a lot of the credit.”

Senior Sam Stevens (14 points, four rebounds) and junior Matt Boen (13 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals) knocked down early threes, and Boen hauled in a defensive rebound and found classmate TJ Guy running ahead for an easy two as Mansfield opened the second half on an 8-0 run to knot the score at 27-27.

Foxboro countered with a triple from Will Morrison to stay ahead but Drew Rooney came up with a steal for an easy two, Boen converted a pull jump on the right wing, and then hit a deep contested three. A free throw from Cincere Gill (four points, three assists) helped Mansfield take a 35-32 lead into the fourth quarter.

Gallagher’s deep three kept the Warriors within two but Guy finished after a nice up-fake and the Mansfield defense kept Foxboro at bay for nearly four minutes.

Guy scored in low again, the Mansfield defense forced a turnover with a five-second violation, and Gill drained a three late in the shot clock for a 44-35 lead with 2:42 to play.

“I think [Cincere] gave us a boost,” Vaughan said. “We made the adjustment with Drew to shadow [Brandon] Borde a little bit more which minimized his opportunities. I thought between the two of them, and just coming out of the locker room with a new mindset. Cincere was definitely a spark coming off the bench and he hit the big three too that helped create some separation. It was really a great possession to get an open look for him.”

Stevens put a cherry on top of the comeback with a contested corner three to put the Hornets up 47-37 with two minutes to play.

“I think anytime you can defend people to a satisfactory level, your offense is a heck of a lot easier,” Vaughan said. “You’re not always going down on the defensive end looking at the scoreboard and coming back on the offensive end thinking every basket matters so much. Now you have a little bit of freedom on the offensive end to take some chances, take some risks.”

Borde (15 points, six rebounds, five assists) was a big reason for Foxboro’s strong start to the game. While Stevens, Jason See, Rooney, and Guy each scored for the visitors, Borde scored Foxboro’s first nine points. Ryan Hughes scored to tie the game and Gallagher came off the bench to sink a late triple to give Foxboro a 14-11 lead after one.

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Boen nailed a three to open the second quarter but two more from Borde and another three from Gallagher put the hosts ahead 19-14. The lead hovered at five points for a good stretch before senior Dylan Barreira hit an open three and Gallagher hit his third of the opening half to put Foxboro up 27-19 at half. Freshman Chris Hill’s three-pointer was Mansfield’s lone basket of the final five minutes of the second quarter.

“Mansfield is a great team, they are one of the best programs in the state and they don’t lose very often for a reason,” Gibbs said. “They are very, very good at what they do. We wanted to take the game on quarter at a time…you know a team like that has runs in them. You’re not going to beat Mansfield with one big knockout punch, one big home run play. It’s going to be a 32-minute grind, and in the end, they were able to make a few more plays then we did and they deserve credit for that.”

Mansfield boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 5-2 overall) is back in action on Wednesday when it continues its road trip with a visit to Milford. Foxboro (1-3, 3-4) will try to snap its current skid when it hosts Oliver Ames on Wednesday.

Foxboro Rides Strong Start To Big Win Over Canton

Foxboro boys basketball Donald Rogers
Foxboro boys basketball senior Donald Rogers drives to the basket in the first half against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – When it comes to vacation games, you never know what you’re going to get. Add in a noon tipoff on a Friday and it could make for a long afternoon.

But with a senior-laden team, Foxboro had no problems with the early start. The Warriors’ 21-point first quarter was its best offensive frame of the game, one in which it built a double-digit advantage that it never surrendered in a 58-39 conquest of division foe Canton.

The Warriors had six players register in the scoring column over the first eight minutes, connecting on eight field goals on over 60% shooting from the field, with half of the makes from downtown. And Foxboro got it done defensively too, holding the visitors to just three makes with three turnovers.

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“It was a big part of what we talked about before the game, being a noontime vacation game,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “We talked about the team being more awake and ready to play would have a huge advantage in terms of winning the game. And I thought we really did a good job with that. I thought we came out with a ton of energy and a ton of fire.

Foxboro’s defense only improved over the next two quarters, holding the Bulldogs to nine points (no made threes) in the second quarter and just six points (on 20% shooting) in the third quarter.

“We set the tone with our defense, holding them to 10 points in the first quarter,” Gibbs said. “Even a lot of the shots they got were contested shots, tough shots. So our defensive energy that we brought in the first half was huge even though our offense was a little out of sync.”

Dylan Barreira’s (seven rebounds, five assists) offense rebound and free throw gave the hosts early momentum while Ryan Hughes (seven points, five rebounds), Brandon Borde (nine points, seven rebounds, four assists), and Donald Rogers (16 points, five rebounds) followed with consecutive baskets for a quick 7-0 lead.

Foxboro added to its offensive attack with a trio of three-pointers as junior Kevin Gallagher (17 points, four rebounds) sandwiched a pair of triples around one from Borde to extend the hosts’ lead to 16-6. Senior Liam Devlin made Foxboro’s fourth three of the opening quarter on a feed from Barreira while Borde finished off after a team offensive rebound to push the lead to 21-7.

Canton’s Nick Cushman sank a three off a feed from Steve Burbank just before the buzzer to make it 21-10 at the end of a quarter.

Both defenses clamped down early in the second with each time scoring just once in the first three minutes but Rogers sank a big three off a feed from Michael Devlin. Another three minutes passed before Borde scored a tough jumper. Kyle Fitzgerald (six points) and Burbank each scored late in the quarter, and Robbie Gallery had six points and three rebounds in the first half, to keep Canton in shouting distance at halftime.

“Foxboro’s a good team and one of the better defensive teams in our league and the area, so if you get down early and dig yourself a hole, it’s really hard to come back on them with the way that they guard,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “We couldn’t string things together, they had an answer…if we did a few good things on defense, we couldn’t get it going on offense. If we did a few good things on offense, we couldn’t string together a few stops on defense. We have to be more consistent.”

Foxboro quickly extended its lead early in the second half as Gallagher opened up the third quarter with a triple, Rogers lowered his shoulder and drove hard to the basket for two. Canton sophomore Lanse Dorcelus (nine points) sank a three and the Bulldogs got back-to-back stops but couldn’t get any closer before Rogers answered with another strong take.

Dorcelus sank another three and Eric Mischler came up with a steal but Canton’s next trip came up empty and Hughes was left alone down low for an easy two and a 40-25 lead. Gallagher scored on a baseline take and Rogers beat the buzzer with a three as Foxboro closed the quarter on a 7-0 burst to take a 45-25 lead into the fourth.

“We talk a lot about handling and responding to advertising because in a league this tough, you’re not going to have any games where it goes your way for the entire 32 minutes,” Gibbs said. “There’s always going to be those runs and tough stretches from the other teams so we talk a lot about that and how to handle those moments.

“And the other part of that is having a veteran team full of experienced players that have been there before. They’ve been in that situation so many times so they don’t get rattled or panic because Canton made a big shot. I thought that was key for us in both of our wins this season that when the other team made a run, we were able to punch right back.”

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The teams traded baskets for the first three minutes of the final quarter, keeping the lead around the 20-point mark until the reserves were put into the game. Gallagher scored Foxboro’s first five points while Dorcelus sank another triple for Canton.

Foxboro pushed the lead to 53-30 before Canton junior Colton Mirliani (nine points) came in and hit his first of three triples. Foxboro freshman Alex Penders scored his first basket with a three-pointer in the final minute.

Foxboro boys basketball (1-1 Hockomock, 2-1 overall) will take on a strong Needham team in the Westwood tournament on Sunday while Canton (0-3, 1-3) has a quick turnaround, traveling to Norwood on Saturday at 12:30.

Taunton Toughs Out First Win Over Visiting Foxboro

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton junior Tyler Stewart goes up for an uncontested layup in the second half against Foxboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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TAUNTON, Mass. – Coming off back-to-back heartbreaking losses to open the season, it’s understandable that Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey wasn’t comfortable until the final buzzer sounded.

In the opening two contests, the Tigers have led nearly wire-to-wire but for the final seconds of each contest. North Attleboro buried the go-ahead three with 6.7 seconds to go in the season opener and Oliver Ames drained a triple with 8.5 seconds to play for its first lead on Wednesday night.

Taunton found itself in a similar situation on Thursday night, having led for the entire second half with visiting Foxboro mounting a comeback. This time, the Tigers never allowed the lead to evaporate and held on for a 58-52 win over the Warriors, who were playing in their first game of the season.

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“That’s a really good win for us,” Dacey said. “[Foxboro] is better than the two teams we’ve played. Coming off back-to-back games, missing Danny MacDougall (sick), it’s a short bench and we’re playing guys that might not normally be playing. We got a little something from everyone.”

With very little varsity experience on the current roster (two seniors, both new to varsity), the Tigers felt like they let two wins slip through their fingers. With Foxboro pushing hard to complete the comeback, Taunton showed some mettle to earn the win.

Foxboro senior Brandon Borde (11 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) converted off a Taunton turnover and then set up classmate Ryan Hughes (eight points) for an easy two on back-to-back possessions to cut the Tigers’ lead to 49-46 with just over two minutes to go.

Instead of allowing that momentum to carry over out of a timeout, Taunton sophomore Trent Santos (10 points) pulled up and sank a big three-pointer to answer with 1:44 to play. After trading turnovers, Taunton sophomore Tristan Herry (10 points, 5 assists, 2 steals) came up with a steal that led to an easy two and a 54-46 advantage with 1:02 to play.

Foxboro refused to go away as junior Kevin Gallagher (nine points, three assists) sank one of two free throws, senior Will Morrison (12 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals) picked off a pass that led to a three from Borde, and a full-court press resulted in an errant pass out of bounds by the Tigers to get the visitors the ball back.

Taunton got an important stop as Foxboro missed from downtown but the Tigers, holding a 54-50lead, missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Warriors missed another three attempt and both Herry and junior Tyler Stewart (14 points, 12 rebounds) sank their free throws to ice the game.

In the win, the Tigers had eight of the nine players that played score, and all nine players had at least one board to contribute to a 37-30 advantage on the glass.

“It has to take everyone,” Dacey said, as four Tigers reached double figures in scoring. “They all play hard, they all practice hard. They are a coachable group of kids that have been fun to work with.”

Taunton faced an early deficit (6-0 three minutes in and 9-6 with two minutes to go in the first) but took the lead by the end of the first quarter (13-9). The Tigers only fell behind one, at 19-18 with 2:51 left in the second, the rest of the way.

Any time the Warriors made it close in the second half, Taunton had an answer. The Warriors knotted the score 29-29 early in the third but Taunton senior Logan Lawrence finished through contact to regain the lead, sparking an 11-3 run.

During that run, Stewart converted in the post, junior Josh Lopes (10 points, four rebounds, three steals) had a steal for an easy layup, Stewart finished off a nice feed from Herry, and Santos drained another three for a 40-32 advantage late in the third.

Foxboro answered with a 7-1 burst between the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, Dylan Barreira (eight rebounds) battled for an offensive board and earned a free throw, Gallagher converted in the lane, Liam Devlin opened the fourth quarter with a basket on a nice pass from Morrison, and senior Donald Rogers scored off a turnover to make it a two-point game again at 41-39.

Sophomore Faisal Mass (five points, three rebounds) gave the Tigers a nice boost off the bench, coming in to convert an offensive rebound to help halt the Warriors’ momentum. Lopes followed with two, Herry sank two more free throws, and another finish from Stewart pushed the lead back to 49-42.

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“I thought offensively it looked like our first game,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “We were just sloppy and out of sync offensively, and Taunton’s defense had a lot to do with that. But I thought early on we had too many sloppy turnovers with guys trying to do too much early and we couldn’t find our rhythm. Game speed and game atmosphere is obviously different than practice but it was good to get this first one under the belt, and I think we’ll get a lot better moving forward. At Taunton is a pretty unforgiving opener, and give Taunton credit because they capitalized on a lot of our mistakes.

“But I’m proud of the guys that they hung around too. We trailed for most of the game but they hung in there and fought to the end and put ourselves to maybe steal it down the stretch. I thought our defense was good overall but [Taunton] had some timely shots that broke our momentum.”

Herry scored seven of his points in the second quarter and Lopes netted half of his total in that frame to help Taunton take a 29-24 lead at halftime. Juniors Kedrick Santos, Nigel Choate, and William Rowan all came off the bench to provide valuable minutes in the first half.

Both Morrison and Gallagher had a pair of triples to make up half the Warriors’ first half scoring while Devlin came off the bench and had two blocks.

Taunton boys basketball (1-2 Hockomock, 1-2 overall) is back in action on Saturday when it takes on Bishop Stang at New Bedford High School. Foxboro (0-1, 0-1) is back in action against Bishop Feehan on Monday.

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)
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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.

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“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.

Late Run Helps Foxboro Get Past Taunton

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Brandon Borde (right) goes up for a shot against Taunton’s Wesner Charles (21) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – Through three quarters of play, both Taunton and Foxboro boys basketball teams had spurts on the offensive end, but neither side was able to build a run to take control of the game.

The Tigers had one of those spurts to open the final quarter, putting up six straight points to go ahead by a point, 39-38. But Foxboro had a response, orchestrating a 14-5 run over the next three minutes to seize control and grab a 56-49 win over Taunton.

“Throughout the first three quarters, we got some good looks but didn’t make them,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I don’t think we did anything different [in the fourth] but luckily we have some really talented players on this team that stepped up and knocked them down. Kevin [Gallagher] and Brandon [Borde] stepped up and hit some huge, huge threes when we really needed them.”

Foxboro held a 36-33 advantage going into the final quarter and extended it to 38-33, but Taunton rattled off a 6-0 run to take the lead. Senior Wesner Charles scored down low on a feed from senior Michael Quinn, and senior John Martins converted a fast break after Quinn caused a turnover. Senior Lou Vendrell (12 points) cashed in on a steal to put Taunton up 39-38.

But as quickly as its lead disappeared, sophomore Kevin Gallagher gave the hosts the lead back. Gallagher drained a three, and junior Will Morrison hauled in a defensive rebound on the other end while being fouled, sinking two free throws to make it 43-39 with 3:54 to play.

Taunton answered with a three from Quinn to get within one, but just seconds later, junior Brandon Borde (19 points) drilled a three on a feed from Morrison to keep the Warriors up. After getting a stop on the defensive end, Gallagher sank a deep triple to make it 49-42.

Junior Dante Law (13 points) scored in traffic to make it a five-point game, but Borde sank another three on the other end to make it 52-44 with 1:51 to go.

The Tigers didn’t go quietly as Law finished at the rim and drew an offensive foul on the inbounds. Taunton cashed in on a second chance three from Vendrell to make it a three-point game, 52-49, with 30 seconds left.

Foxboro was initially trapped in the backcourt but used a timeout, got the ball in successfully and senior Anthony Mollica eventually sank both ends of a one-and-one to extend the lead to 54-49. The Warriors got another stop and Borde hit two free throws to seal it.

“We have good shooters on this team,” Gibbs said. “We finally had a game at home where we’re shooting on the rims we shoot on every day at practice. These guys bury shots in practice, and we always tell them to shoot with confidence. It was nice to see some of them knock those shots down in the second half and hopefully, we can keep them going and get some guys in a rhythm.”

Taunton had leads in three of the four quarters, including the final frame, but couldn’t put together a run to turn a small lead into a large advantage.

“Ball movement and defense, the magic formula,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “There was a lot of it for them and a lack of it from us. We have guys that want to do it themselves too much. They kept moving the ball, moving the ball and we’d have a lousy close out, or we left a gap open, and they took advantage of it.”

After scoring the first two points of the game, Taunton watched as Foxboro went on a 12-2 run for the rest of the quarter. The Tigers didn’t help themselves with four missed layups. Borde had five points in the opening frame, and Mollica hit a triple to give Foxboro a big lead early.

The second quarter was a different story as Taunton had a run to get back into the game. The Tigers opened with a 12-0 run, highlighted by points from five different players. Law hit a three, sophomore Tyler Stewart converted in close, Martins and Quinn each scored, and Vendrell capped the run on a nice pass from Law.

But Foxboro closed the quarter with a 7-0 burst, including a late three-point play from Mollica to give the Warriors a 23-21 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Foxboro extended its lead to seven when Gallagher hit a triple after an offensive rebound from junior Ryan Hughes (11 points), up 30-23. Taunton outscored the Warriors 10-6 the rest of the rest to make it a one-possession game going into the fourth.

“Our guys battled,” Gibbs said. “We knew coming into the game we needed to win the physical battle, really rebound strong. We know that Taunton is a phenomenal offensive rebounding team, they attack the glass from every position. We had our guards ready and in a mindset that they had to be physical. And I think that carried over to our post defense and made them take some tough shots.”

Foxboro boys basketball (1-2 Hockomock, 1-2 overall) is back in action on Friday night when it hosts Bishop Feehan. Taunton (2-1, 2-1) will try to bounce back when it hosts city rival Coyle & Cassidy on Thursday.

Mansfield Starts, Finishes Strong To Take Down Foxboro

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Khristian Conner takes a shot in the second half against Foxboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Throughout the first half, the Mansfield boys basketball used a swarming defense and unselfish play on offense to build a double-digit advantage and looked poised to run away with a win.

But Foxboro refused to go away, scoring more points in the third quarter than the entire first half while holding the Hornets to just seven points to get back into the game.

And the Warriors used a 6-0 burst early in the fourth quarter to cut Mansfield’s 22-point lead down to just seven with the chance to make it a two-possession game, down 43-36.

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“Every time you play Foxboro, they don’t give up,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan. “They take things away, they challenge you for 32 minutes and they just play so hard. It’s a good lesson for our guys because we can look at the effort they gave, and now we have to match it.”

The Hornets were able to get a stop to keep the lead at seven and sophomore Matt Boen (seven points, 10 rebounds) converted a traditional three-point play on the other end of the court to extend the lead back to 10 and Mansfield closed out the final five minutes strong to earn a 57-42 win over the visiting Warriors.

“I thought in the first half we had moments of being very consistent moving the ball and when they cut it to seven, we had a couple of possessions where we did what we like to do and they all resulted in a basket or a foul shot,” Vaughan said. “We went back [to what worked] and settled in. When you give up a lead like that, typically it’s by playing a little more selfish or being lazy with the ball, and we had to clean that up.”

Mansfield forced a turnover on the defensive end, just one of three Foxboro turnovers in the second half compared to 17 in the opening 16 minutes. That resulted in a free throw from sophomore TJ Guy (10 points, five assists).

The Hornets got yet another stop and senior Tommy Dooling (10 points, four assists) found junior Sam Stevens (10 points, six rebounds) for an open triple and a 50-36 advantage with 3:44 to play.

Foxboro cut it back to 10 with just under three minutes to go but Boen drained a corner three with two minutes to go to end any comeback hopes.

“At halftime we took a deep breath and just told them to shoot when they are open and we talked about turnovers and the second half was much better offensively but it ended up being too big of a hole,” said Foxboro head coach Job Gibbs. “I was really proud of the character we showed in the second half, facing a big deficit on the road against a good team. It would have been easy to quit but they kept battling and we made a game of it. Hopefully we can build off that second half moving forward.”

After being held to just 5/17 shooting from the field and forced into 17 turnovers in the first half, Foxboro looked like a new team in the second half. The Warriors were able to turn a 19-point deficit at halftime (33-14) into a 10-point game after the third quarter.

Sophomore Kevin Gallagher scored six of his career-high 14 points in the third frame while juniors Ryan Hughes and Will Morrison (nine points) each chipped in with five points in the third to help Foxboro get back into the game.

And defensively, the Warriors only allowed seven points on 3-for-11 shooting while forcing six Hornet turnovers. Gallagher and Morrison each hit a triple over the first four and a half minutes of the quarter, but Foxboro made its big run with a 10-4 burst over the final three minutes of the quarter.

Hughes made a putback and converted a free throw for a three-point play, Gallagher hit another three, Hughes scored on a breakaway after a nice defensive play, and Morrison hit two free throws as the buzzer expired to make it 40-30.

In the first half, it was almost all Mansfield. Each team had just one three-pointer after four minutes of play but Mansfield rattled off a 12-0 run in just 90 seconds to change the game early. Guy and Damani Scott (16 points, 11 rebounds) each had a pair of buckets and Dooling hit a triple in that stretch while Foxboro turned it over six times.

Michael Devlin gave Foxboro a lift with a couple of nice defensive plays and had back-to-back baskets to make it 15-7 at the end of the first.

In the second, it was more of the same for Mansfield. The Hornets forced six more turnovers in the second quarter and shot 5-for-11 from the field to create a double-digit lead by halftime.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Obviously it wasn’t a pretty first half for us offensively. I thought our half-court defense was solid, but unfortunately, they got a ton of points off of our turnovers. Offensively, we looked like an inexperienced team, guys were tentative and not trusting themselves, passing up wide open shots they make in practice, and obviously turning the ball over too much.

“Playing Mansfield on the road in the first game, it’s a baptism by fire. It will let you know real quick where you are and what you have to work on. It’s a good learning experience for some of the guys.”

Mansfield boys basketball (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Friday when it travels to Attleboro. Foxboro (0-1, 0-1) will try to bounce back on the road at Canton on Friday night.

Foxboro Falls In Close Battle With Hanover

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Joe Morrison goes up for a contested layup against Hanover. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – If there was one play that summed up how Foxboro’s game against Hanover went, look no further than what turned out to be the game-winning bucket for the Indians.

With Foxboro holding a 57-56 lead, the Warriors looked like they got the stop they needed. Hanover’s leading scorer JP Landry (25 points, seven rebounds) drove baseline and went up for his shot, only for Foxboro senior Teddy Maher to make a great play from behind to block the ball.

But the offensive rebound fell into the hands of Hanover’s Matt Delahunt – one of the Indian’s 15 offensive rebounds – and he quickly put it back up and in with a one-handed floater from the middle of the paint.

That bucket — and those offensive rebounds — proved to be the difference as #5 Hanover edged #4 Foxboro, 58-57.

“That summed it up,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “It just wasn’t our night. It seemed like they made some tough shots all night long and the ball just wouldn’t bounce our way. Sometimes that’s how it goes. The game was everything we expected it to be, it was a great high school basketball game down to the wire. Unfortunately, they made one more play than we did.”

Though that basket proved to be the difference, there was plenty of drama over the final 28 seconds. Foxboro had a chance to retake the lead, using the majority of the shot clock before senior Joe Morrison (13 points, four rebounds) found sophomore Brandon Borde (11 points, six rebounds) in the post.

The sophomore made a nice move to create some space, turning into the paint and firing a turnaround jumper. The shot looked good, but was just inches off, hitting the back of the rim and staying out on the bounce. Foxboro immediately fouled, sending Hanover to the line with 4.3 seconds to go.

Hanover missed the first shot, but once again, the Indians made their mark on the offensive glass, hauling in another offensive board. After another foul, Hanover once again missed the front of the bonus and Foxboro called timeout with 2.6 seconds left.

But Foxboro’s last second effort fell short as the inbounds pass was tipped away at midcourt, securing the win for the Indians, the defending MIAA D3 State Champions.

“Hanover is a terrific offensive rebounding team, we knew that coming in,” Gibbs said. Hanover had a 15-2 advantage on offensive rebounds and won the rebounding battle 38-24. “We certainly made rebounding a major point of emphasis but give credit to Hanover, they were relentless on the offensive boards. It just felt like all the biggest plays of the game were Hanover offensive rebounds.

“It seemed like every big momentum swing…we were able to stop them on the first stop but they would get the putback. Those are winning plays, Hanover is obviously a championship type team.”

Foxboro had a strong start to the fourth quarter with a 6-0 spurt over the first two minutes. Borde converted a nice take to the rim, Matt Rongione (14 points) hit a three off of an assist from Devin Hassett, and Anthony Mollica hit one of his free throws to give the Warriors their largest lead, 54-45, with 5:48 to go.

But the Indians refused to fold. The visitor’s battled back with Landry leading the way. He scored four points while the Indians added three from two separate trips from the free throw line to get within two.

The Warriors snapped the run when Borde hit a free throw with 2:20 to go but Hanover came right back down and scored off the hands of Andrew Carroll off a nice feed from Landry to make it a one-point game.

Rongione responded with a strong take to the basket, fighting through contact for two. That gave Foxboro a 57-54 lead with 93 seconds to play, but again the Indians had an answer when Landry hit a tough floater in the lane.

Foxboro came up empty on its trip up the court, and it looked like Hanover did too. Delahunt saw his jumper hit off the side of the rim, and it looked like Foxboro had come down with the rebound. But a nice hustle play from Hanover resulted in a jump ball, giving the Indians possession back. That led to Delahunt’s floater after Maher’s block.

“They’ve been in so many big games and won so many big games together,” Gibbs said. “I’d like to think our team did the same this year. It was a back and forth battle, neither team wanted to go away. They made one more play and we ran out of time.”

Foxboro’s offense got off to a strong start, hitting four three’s in the opening quarter to create a 19-15 lead. Landry came up with a steal in the last second and hit a desperation three while falling to keep Hanover close.

The offense continued to play well with 17 points in the second quarter. Senior Bobby Harrison emerged as a key part of the offense, scoring nine of his 11 points in the frame to put the Warriors up 36-31 lead at half.

Hanover got within three early in the third quarter but Borde responded to push the lead back to five. When Delahunt hit to get the Indians within two, 43-41, Morrison came back the other way and converted to keep the lead. A three point play from Mollica late in the third kept the Warriors up, 48-45, heading into the fourth.

“I felt like we had a couple of chances over the court of the second half to maybe pop it to double figures and we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Gibbs said. “Every time we looked like we were close to blowing the game open, they came back and made a big play.”

Foxboro boys basketball finishes the season 19-5.

Foxboro Finds Offensive Rhythm To Beat New Mission

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Anthony Mollica drives past a New Mission player in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – Heading into halftime deadlocked in a low scoring affair, Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs didn’t need to make many tactical adjustments.

The simple truth was the Warriors just needed to convert their opportunities on the offensive end of the floor.

Foxboro’s stout defense got the job done over the first 16 minutes of play, holding #13 New Mission to just 19 points on 36% shooting. But the Warriors’ offense was struggling to establish a rhythm.

The Warriors shot just 24% (6-for-25) from the field in the first half and went over five minutes without any points at one point during the first quarter. And despite open layup chances and open looks from beyond the three-point line, Foxboro didn’t convert back-to-back chances once.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We just needed to relax,” Gibbs said. “We were getting all the looks we wanted to get, and I knew we were going to make them at home in the second half. We talked about going strong to the basket, don’t worry about getting your shot blocked. And if you’re open on the perimeter, step into it and knock it down like you do in practice. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like there were a lot of tactical adjustments to be made at half, felt it was more about just getting [the jitters] out of our system and we’d settled into the game.”

With the defense continuing its strong work in the second half, the offense finally settled in. The Warriors scored 41 points in the second half en route to a comfortable 60-43 win over the Titans.

“The first one is always the toughest,” Gibbs said. “We haven’t played in eight days and there’s just a whole different vibe in the state tournament. You have to get used it even if you’re a veteran team like we are. Hopefully, we got it out of our system in the first half and now can go on a run.”

Foxboro didn’t miss many of their open looks in the second or many of their shots at all. The hosts hit 16-of-25 attempts (64%) from the field in the second half, scoring as many points in the third quarter as they did the entire first half (19).

Bobby Harrison (eight points) scored on a nice cut to the basket on the opening play of the quarter, Joe Morrison (20 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals) drained a three on the next trip up, hit one of two free throws after that to take a 25-21 lead.

New Mission stayed within two thanks to freshman Abukar Aden (eight points) but Foxboro finished the third quarter with an 11-5 run. Morrison scored on one end, drew an offensive charge call on the other, and came back down to hit a three to spark the run.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Senior Teddy Maher got around his man for an easy layup, Matt Rongione came away with a steal and passed to Morrison for a layup, and junior Anthony Mollica (15 points) scored on a strong take to the basket in the final seconds.

Holding a 38-29 lead going into the fourth quarter, Mollica helped the Warriors put the game to bed. The junior scored half of Foxboro’s 22 fourth quarter points.

“It all starts with our defense,” Mollica said. “Once we got a couple of good looks to go down, we started to click. I had a few easy hoops to start the second half and I was just able to build off of that.”

He connected on Foxboro’s first shot of the quarter — a three off a feed from Morrison — and then scored off the dribble to make it 43-33. Mollica dropped back-to-back baskets and sophomore Brandon Borde (13 points) drove right up the middle for two to put Foxboro up 50-35 with just under four minutes to play.

“Anyone that’s seen us practice over the last month would not be surprised at what Anthony Mollica did tonight,” Gibbs said. “He’s been unbelievable at practice, he’s worked really hard and I’m really happy for him. He’s worked really hard and he’s behind a lot of senior guards but when he gets out there, we have a lot of confidence in him and he’s capable of doing that at any moment. He was huge for us tonight when we needed to get that offense going.”

Foxboro continued its run, rattling off 10 straight points to complete a 16-0 spurt. Morrison and Borde each added four points in the stretch while Mollica had two more.

“As the season has gone on, we’ve seen more and more guys outside of Joe and Brandon step up and produce, which has been great to see that balance come around,” Gibbs said. “We’ve always been an unselfish team but now seeing some of those other guys be more confident and looking for their own offense is great to see and it’s been huge for us, you’re starting to see our offensive production go up.”

Foxboro boys basketball (19-4) advances to the D2 South Quarterfinals and will host #5 Hanover (18-4). The game is currently scheduled for Monday, March 5th at 6:30 but is subject to change.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foxboro Beats North To Clinch Share of Davenport Title

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Teddy Maher (middle) attempts to get past North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (left) and Chad Peterson (24) in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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FOXBORO, Mass. – After falling on the road to Milford last Friday night, the Foxboro boys basketball team fell a game behind in the race for the league’s Davenport division title.

But the Warriors entered this week with control over their destiny, and they didn’t let the opportunity slip away.

Following a big win over Canton on Tuesday evening, Foxboro used a big third quarter surge to create separation and earn a 56-38 win over North Attleboro, clinching a share of the program’s second Davenport title in the past three years.

Foxboro held a five-point lead (13-8) after eight minutes of play and stretched the advantage to seven (30-23) at the halftime break.

North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (10 points) scored at the midway point of the third quarter to keep the deficit at seven, but that’s when Foxboro blew the game open.

The Warriors rattled off a 13-1 run over the final four minutes of the third quarter. Senior Matt Rongione (six points, five rebounds, three assists) started the run with a three in the corner off a feed from senior Teddy Maher, sophomore Brandon Borde (16 points, five rebounds) converted a strong take to the basket and Anthony Mollicaa hit a free throw for a 6-1 run.

Over the final 60 seconds, Foxboro added seven more points. Joe Morrison (19 points, three assists) scored and then set up Borde for another basket. And then just before the buzzer sounded, Borde returned the favor, finding Morrison for a triple at the end of the period.

“I felt like the run was coming all along,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I felt our defense had been pretty good. At times North made some tough shots and we missed some easy ones. I felt like it was just a matter of time until we made the run and we started finishing pays in transition.

“We have an unbelievable group of seniors, it’s the biggest senior class I’ve had. They have so much character, grit, and toughness. Their leadership has been unbelievable. Both games this week they came with incredible focus, effort and energy and they weren’t going to be denied. I’m really happy for them.”

The run gave the hosts a 51-32 advantage heading into the final period.

“The trademark of this team has been to win with defense,” Gibbs said. “I think that’s what you saw tonight. Our offense was somewhat inconsistent early in the game but we kept defending and getting stops. And eventually, we put enough baskets in the hoop to get the separation.”

Despite limiting Foxboro to just five points in the final frame, North Attleboro was unable to mount a comeback attempt as the Rocketeers scored just six points in the final eight minutes.

“I thought we worked hard, that’s been true most of the year,” said North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins, “We had a couple of breakdowns, we let Morrison get way more touches than we wanted. Give them a lot of credit, their back cuts hurt us in the first half and we weren’t able to react or adjust enough. 

“On the offensive side it’s frustrating but I give our kids a lot of credit because we started to get the shots we like and as a coach that’s what you want. You just have to make more than we did tonight.”

Foxboro’s defense helped build the lead early on. Despite North shooting 50% from the field in the opening quarter, the Rocketeers had eight turnovers in eight minutes. The Warriors capitalized with senior Bobby Harrison (11 points) accounting for nearly half of the first quarter points with six.

Both offenses came alive in the second quarter. Foxboro led by seven twice early on in the quarter, while the Rocketeers cut it down to three two times. Morrison’s traditional three-point play made it 19-12 but a three from Nate Gonsalves and back-to-back baskets from Jake Petersen (10 points, five rebounds) and Montague brought the visitors within three.

Chad Peterson kept it a three-point game with a nice pull-up but consecutive triples from Harrison and Morrison gave Foxboro a 30-21 lead with just over a minute left.

“They are well coached, they make good reads,” Mulkerrins said of Foxboro. “That’s the toughest thing to defend because it’s not a set thing. Our kids were working hard but we aren’t as experienced as they are and that showed tonight. When teams make runs we need someone to step up and tonight, I appreciate the guys trying, we just didn’t make the shot or get the stop or get the call.

“Hats off to Foxboro for the league title. That’s a team that’s really good defensively and [coming into the season] had some questions about offense but Jon and his staff did a fantastic job, they should be proud of themselves.”

Foxboro boys basketball (12-4 Hockomock, 16-4 overall) will close out the regular season with a pair of non-league games starting on Monday with a visit from Bishop Feehan. anorth Attkbopp(6-10, 8-10) needs to win both of its remaining games to earn a playoff berth. The Rocketeers will host rival Attleboro on Monday at 6:30.

Foxboro Grinds Out Win Over Canton To Pull Even

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Joe Morrison rises up for a shot in the first half against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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FOXBORO, Mass. – For nearly nine minutes in the second half, Foxboro’s offense was stifled by Canton’s 1-3-1 zone defense.

It was just the latest move in a chess game between the Warriors and the Bulldogs.

During that span, Canton cut the 10-point deficit down to just three, 29-26, with five minutes to play. Out of a timeout, Foxboro responded with its move, adjusting its offense to get the ball into the post.

The adjustment resulted in a 6-0 spurt over a two-minute span, helping the Warriors hold on for a 39-34 win over the Bulldogs, putting the teams into a first-place tie atop the Davenport division with just one game left.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“What you saw tonight was two evenly matched teams and two teams that were very well prepared for each other,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “Once you get to this point in the season, teams know each other so well and they’re going to take away what teams want to do. I thought you saw two teams tonight that played really well on defense and took away some of the top options on both sides. I’m just really proud of our guys the way we came out defensively with such energy.

“Obviously Canton is a team that can put up a lot of points, [Devin] Foster and [Tony] Harris are both phenomenal offensive players that are really difficult to stop. I thought Joe [Morrison] and Brandon [Borde] were outstanding with their effort.”

Over its scoreless span, the Warriors tried to shoot out of the zone but went 0-for-9 from three-point range, 0-for-1 from two-point range and had one turnover. But out of the timeout with five minutes to go, Gibbs had the offense focus on getting the ball inside.

Matt Rongione (eight rebounds, five assists) executed the game plan, finding Borde (seven points, four rebounds) on the baseline with a bounce pass for an easy two. On the next trip up, Rongione hooked up with Borde once again down low for another two. Canton came out of the zone and Borde was able to track down a miss, leading to two free throws from Anthony Mollica, giving Foxboro a 35-26 lead.

“We definitely knew the 1-3-1 was a possibility so we spent some time over the past two days and had a couple of different packages,” Gibbs said. “Early on we were taking a lot of jumpers, and I thought they were good looks, but unfortunately none of them were going in. So at some point, you have to make an adjustment so we went with another look that got us some more paint touches and we were able to get free down low for a couple of layups and that forced them to come out of it.

“Canton’s 1-3-1 is really difficult to simulate in practice because they do it so well so I was really proud of our execution with some of that stuff.”

Canton made one more push as Foster (13 points) drilled a three with two minutes to go and Austin Maffie converted a putback with 1:25 to go, bringing the deficit to four at 35-31.

But Borde hit a free throw on the other end, Canton had a three rim out, and Rongione came down with the defensive board. Bobby Harrison (eight points) hit three of four free throw attempts in the final minute to ice the game.

“I feel like both teams know each other so well, each team knew what the other team was running, we all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “I just thought it came down to a couple possessions here and there where there was a tip or a deflection, all of those little things add up. I thought the first game when we beat them we made more of those plays and this game I thought Foxboro made more of those, so hats off to Foxboro.”

Foxboro created its largest lead between the end of the second and early in the third. Harrison drove to the basket for two, Morrison (14 points) drained a three on a feed from Rongione, and Rongione converted at the rim himself to give Foxboro a 22-15 lead.

To start the third, Rongione hit a free throw, Borde hulled in an offensive rebound for put it back in for two, Morrison scored after a steal from Teddy Maher, and then Maher scored again after another steal of his own to make it 29-19.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We talked a lot about winning plays and hustle plays because the first time I thought Canton made all those plays down the stretch,” Gibbs said. “There were so many times where they won the 50/50 plays, they got the offensive rebounds, the loose balls, all that stuff. I challenged our guys to be that team tonight and I thought we were. Some of the biggest plays we had were either offensive rebounds or diving on loose balls. We got two over the back calls because we boxed out so well.”

Canton then made the switch to the zone, which afforded its offense some time to get back into the game. Foster scored on a feed from Verille off an inbounds play and Foster hit two free-throws to get within five (29-24) at the end of three. Harris (nine points, eight rebounds) scored in transition on a pass from Foster to make it a one-possession game with 6:25 to play.

It took over three minutes for the teams to open the scoring in the first quarter. Foxboro led by as much as five on a Maher three, but Canton outscored the hosts 7-2 over the final two minutes, including a coast-to-coast layup by Harris at the buzzer to put the Dogs ahead, 11-10.

Foxboro boys basketball (11-4 Hockomock, 15-4 overall) pulls into a tie atop the Davenport alongside Canton with the win. The Warriors have a chance to win at least a share of the division title if they can beat North Attleboro on Friday. Canton (11-4, 15-4) is in the same boat and will have another shot at winning the division when it hosts Stoughton on the same day.