STOUGHTON, Mass. — For the majority of the season, the Foxboro boys basketball team has leaned heavily on the offensive contributions of its top three scorers Dylan Gordon, Alex Penders, and Sam Golub.
With their division title hopes on the line, and a chance to inch closer to a playoff berth, the Warriors got a huge boost from two additional faces.
Senior Cam Barreira hit five three-pointers in the first three quarters, netting a career-high 15 points that helped keep the Warriors in the game.
And then junior Ryan LeClair scored Foxboro’s final nine points, including the go-ahead basket with 20 seconds to go to help the Warriors secure a 67-66 win on the road over Stoughton.
“This team has matured so much from the beginning of the season,” said Foxboro coach Jon Gibbs. “We’ve had some really gritty wins the last couple of weeks when we’ve been down but hung in there and shown a lot of resiliency. We’ve been about to make some adjustments and close out the game strong. I’m just so proud of them for them to hang in there and keep their composure and make big plays on both ends down the stretch.”
Stoughton led for over 30 minutes of action, stretching the lead to as much as 14 in the first half but also had a 12-point advantage early in the fourth quarter.
But each time it looked like Stoughton was set to stretch it to an insurmountable lead, Foxboro fought back.
The Black Knights’ once 14-point lead shrunk to five by halftime. In the third quarter, Stoughton used an 11-1 run to turn a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage.
Stoughton kept the Warriors in check to start the fourth too, getting a pull-up jumper from Connor Andrews (14 points, four rebounds) to push the lead to 58-46 with just under seven minutes to play.
Foxboro’s run started just before the midway point of the quarter, fittingly with a bucket from LeClair, who scored 11 of his career-high 16 points in the fourth. Penders (14 points, eight rebounds) sank a pair of free throws, and despite a contested deep three from Andrews, Foxboro continued to find success as Barreira found Penders for two.
Sam Golub (nine rebounds) came up with a steal and a layup and Penders took a feed from Gordon (16 points, 12 rebounds) and finished with three minutes left to make it a two-possession game. After another, LeClair drained a three to cut the deficit to 64-61 with 2:46 to go.
Stoughton was off the mark on a baseline take after a nice play set up the backdoor cut and LeClair got around his man and dropped in a floater in the lane. After another stop, LeClair went to the line and hit both free throws to give Foxboro its first lead, 65-64, with 1:56 to go.
Junior Rayan Sablon, who had a career-high 30 points, went up and under and finished a tough take to send Stoughton back in front with 1:31 to go. The teams traded misses and turnovers — Foxboro missed twice while Stoughton turned it over twice.
After the second turnover, LeClair found space attacking the basket again and laid it in for a 67-66 lead with 12 seconds to go.
“Ryan was tremendous, especially down the stretch,” Gibbs said. “Because of the way they were trying to guard us and take away Dylan and Alex, we were trying to take advantage of that. So we put the ball in his hands and we basically put the game in his hands and he responded in a big way. He was able to get in the paint and he made great decisions and finished plays. He made some tough shots and made some great passes and I thought he was flawless in his decision-making.
“He makes a ton of contributions on the defensive end and as the point guard, as the floor general. It’s been brewing for a while to get his offense going and you saw tonight it all come out and saw what he’s capable of.”
With just three team fouls, Foxboro fouled twice — first with 5.9 seconds left and then second with 2.4 seconds left. It worked as Stoughton had to settle for an off-balance three at the buzzer that was short.
“We only had three team fouls and they had two guards that are phenomenal,” Gibbs said. “Sablon and Andrews are unbelievable offensive talents and they both had it going tonight, they were making tough shots all night. We wanted to keep them out of the lane but it’s easier said than done. We thought if we could foul a few times to break up their rhythm and shorten the clock, that maybe that would prevent them from getting downhill and it ended up working out pretty well.”
While it was LeClair’s big plays that completed the comeback for Foxboro, the Warriors likely wouldn’t have been in a position to make a late charge without Barreira’s big shots through the first three quarters.
After a make in the first quarter, Barreira added two more three-pointers in the second. With Stoughton holding a double-digit lead, Foxboro had managed just three points through the first five minutes of the second quarter. Barreira sparked a 12-6 run to close the quarter with a three and hit another a minute and a half later.
In the third, Barreira hit two more in the first three minutes of the quarter, helping the Warriors stay close despite an early three from Andrews, two more from Sablon, and a putback from Cash Mathurin (nine rebounds).
“Cam shot the extremely well for us and he was due for a game like this,” Gibbs said. “He’s a really good shooter, he buries shots every day in practice and everyone on our team has faith in him to shoot those shots. He was on fire tonight, and there were stretches we had that we struggled to score and his three’s kept us in striking distance.”
Foxboro boys basketball (7-8 Hockomock, 8-8 overall) closes out its league schedule on Friday with a visit to Canton. The Warriors would need to win that game, and also get a win from Stoughton (6-9, 7-9), who is hosting Sharon on the same night.