North Makes Plays Down the Stretch to Beat Attleboro

North Attleboro boys basketball
Jonny Friberg scored a career-high 24 points to lead North Attleboro to a come from behind win over Attleboro on Tuesday night. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Trailing in the second half at home in front a packed crowd in the Kenneth Pickering Gym against rival Attleboro, the Rocketeers switched the defensive look to a 2-3 zone and turned the offense back over to senior forward Jonny Friberg and senior guard Brent Doherty.

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After scoring 11 points in the opening quarter, Friberg had seen far less of the ball after the Bombardiers turned up the defensive pressure on the North Attleboro guards and had managed only two points in the quarter and a half since. Meanwhile, Doherty was held in check with just six points midway through the third.

That changed down the stretch.

North started to pound the ball into the paint in the final 12 minutes and Friberg (10 rebounds) responded with 11 of his career-high 24 points and Doherty added 11 of his 17 as well, as the Rocketeers turned an eight-point deficit into a 62-55 victory that extended their win streak to four games and moved them into a tie with Milford for the Davenport division lead.

“They did a great job adjusting defensively,” said North coach Sean Mulkerrins about Friberg’s drop from 11 points in the first quarter to none in the second. “They didn’t allow us to move the ball and then they doubled inside. At halftime we talked about using that to our advantage. We knew it would either get [Jonny] or a shooter and Chad [Peterson] and the guys on the perimeter knocked down some big shots.”

In addition to the change of emphasis offensively, which included getting the ball into the post quickly to force the Attleboro defense to send help on Friberg, the Rocketeers also switch into a zone that slowed down the Bombardiers.

“The change of pace kind of hurt us a little bit,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “In the end, they went to their strength; they went to Jonny inside and, as mightily as we tried to fight in there, we just didn’t have enough muscle.”

North took control in the opening half by getting the ball into the block where Friberg used his size to overpower the Attleboro defense. He scored 11 of North’s 20 points in the first with a series of baskets from in close and then a three to close out the half off a feed by Kyle McCarthy.

Despite Jake Dunkley’s seven points in the first, Attleboro trailed by six heading to the second. The lead grew to as many as 11 points (30-19), as Peterson drilled back-to-back threes and McCarthy came through with four of his six points.

After a timeout, Attleboro turned things around with pressure defense by freshman Bryant Ciccio (seven points) and seniors Nate Douglas (12 points) and Lucas Boucicaut (four assists). Forcing turnovers allowed the Bombardiers to get in transition and they closed the half with a 10-0 run. Douglas scored twice on offensive rebounds and Ciccio and Dunkley each grabbed steals and layups.

“I thought in the second quarter and definitely in the third quarter their athleticism, we started getting long in the legs,” said Mulkerrins. “We’ve played a lot of zone in the past but we haven’t played a lot of it this year and it’s a risk…but we made just enough plays.”

The run stretched to 14-0 and 19-3, as Attleboro turned the game around and built the lead to as many as eight points in the third quarter after Elvin Sam stole the ball from Friberg under the basket and fed it to Andrew Milliken (10 points) for the finish plus the foul.

North started to creep back into the game thanks to its seniors. Friberg drilled a straightaway three to cut the lead to five and then added a fall-away jumper to make it 44-41. Milliken scored off a Dunkley assist to make it a five-point game heading to the fourth, but North had stemmed the tide.

“We’ve been talking all season about being scoreboard watchers; we don’t want to be scoreboard watchers,” said Mulkerrins. “It shows the resiliency of the kids. I’m proud of them.”

Doherty started the fourth with a basket in transition and, after a Friberg free throw, scored again on the break to tie it. Douglas knocked down a big three to put Attleboro back on top but it was answered by three at the line from Peterson. The junior guard then pulled up and the free throw line to give North its first lead since the opening minute of the third quarter.

Friberg scored the next two baskets for North and the lead stretched to six. Attleboro tried to extend the game by crashing the boards and getting its chances at the line, but the Rocketeers closed out the game shooting 6-of-7 on free throws to earn the win.

“Down the stretch you have to execute,” said Houle. “Brent and Jonny made big plays in those situations and those are the players that need to make the plays and they did.”

Mulkerrins added, “I think it’s the maturity of the group…I was yelling at the guys the word complete; we needed to play a more complete game than we did against Foxboro because we knew Attleboro was going to bring it.”

North Attleboro (8-4, 5-3) will travel to Mansfield on Friday before facing Milford in a battle for first in the division at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday. Attleboro (8-5, 4-5) will try to put an end to its five-game skid (and help North) against Milford on Friday.

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Attleboro girls basketball
Attleboro junior forward Sam Pierce (44) swoops to the basket for two of her 11 points, as Attleboro rolled to a victory over North. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Lady Bombardiers Dominate Start to Finish Against North

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the opening game of a the basketball doubleheader at the Kenneth Pickering Gym, the Attleboro girls set aside the struggles of last week and put in a dominating performance to hand North Attleboro its first league loss of the season, 56-19.


Senior Sarah Deyo led the way for the Bombardiers with another double-double of 22 points and 18 rebounds. She also added five blocks, as the Attleboro defense held North scoreless for the opening seven-plus minutes, allowed only two points in the first, gave up seven points in the opening half, and only 19 for the game.

“We didn’t hurt ourselves,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “We kept possession, we got good looks…and the defense has always been really good.”

Deyo scored eight in the first and North did not get on the board until the closing minute when Caroline Collard knocked down a long jumper. Attleboro essentially put the game away with a 26-point second quarter, highlighted by Deyo scoring another six points and junior Sam Pierce scoring 11, including a deep three at the buzzer.

Senior Julia Strachan marked her return to North Attleboro, where she transferred from after her sophomore year, with 12 points and Jordyn Lako chipped in with five.

Patch said of the team’s ability to bounce back after the losses to Mansfield and Oliver Ames, “We just refocused everything and the girls have been doing a great job. It’s more of a team offensively rather than just a few great individual plays.”

North was shorthanded on Tuesday night with senior guard Ashley Ahern ruled out due to injury. Julia Santos led the way with eight points, Samantha Taggart added five, and Collard had four points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Attleboro (11-2, 7-2) stayed one-game back of Mansfield in the race for the Kelley-Rex title and will travel to Milford on Friday. North Attleboro (10-3, 8-1) has a one-game lead on Milford and Foxboro in the Davenport and will host fellow league leader Mansfield on Friday.

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Experienced Rocketeers Hold Off Stoughton

“North
North Attleboro senior Ashley Ahern (13) scored a team-high 17 points, including 10 in the second half as North pulled out a win at Stoughton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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STOUGHTON, Mass. – The home team just would not go away. Despite trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter against Davenport division-leading North Attleboro, which came in with only one loss on the season, Stoughton continued to fight and twice cut the lead to as little as six points.

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There was no panic on the North bench. With four seniors in the starting lineup and eight players returning from last season’s trip to the state title, the Rocketeers have plenty of experience in close games on the road.

Senior Ashley Ahern scored five of her team-high 17 points and dished out an assist for a Julia Feid three, as North went on a 10-0 run to put the game away late. The Rocketeers continued their unbeaten start to the league campaign with a 59-47 and extended their lead in the division to 1-1/2 games over Milford and Foxboro.

“We had a lot of these games last year and they’ve learned from them,” said North coach Derek Herber. “They’ve learned all the bad things that can happen and they persevere and hit the tough shots, get the big rebounds and go from there.”

North led 43-34 heading into the fourth quarter, but after Feid knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Rocketeers ahead by double digits freshman Shyanne Trinh (six points) drilled a three off a Val Whalen assist. On the next possession, Lili Njiem, Stoughton’s lone senior in the regular rotation, snagged an offensive rebound (her 12th rebound of the game) and laid it in to cut the lead to six.

Caroline Collard (12 points, 10 rebounds) hit a pair from the line, but freshman Aliyah Wright (11 points, nine rebounds) answered right back for the Black Knights with a drive to the basket. After a turnover, Jordan Motley (19 rebounds) had a chance to cut it to four, but her free throws would not fall.

North got the rebound and took control. Samantha Taggart hit Collard on a roll to the basket for a layup, then Ahern drew the defense and kicked out to Feid for a three in front of the North bench. Julia Santos kicked out to Ahern for a deep three and then she added a pair from the line to push the advantage back to 16.

“They are veteran and they’re solid and they’re tough and they win close games,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan about North. “They got it done.”

There was plenty for the Stoughton coach to be proud of on Friday night. The Black Knights played with intensity from the opening tip, dominated on the glass, and kept the Rocketeers off-balance on the offensive end of the floor.

Steele Jordan said, “I as impressed with their effort and their intensity. They really played hard. There’s a lot of winnable games in the Hock and we just have to believe that we can get it done.”

North jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, showing off the team’s depth. The Rocketeers would have eight players on the scoresheet in the game, including junior Emily Haskell, who scored all four of her points in the first to help out North ahead 14-8. Trinh hit a three at the buzzer to cut the lead in half going to the second.

Thanks to four points apiece from Ahern and Collard and contributions off the bench from Santos and senior Liz Morehouse (six points), North extended the lead to 10 by halftime.

“She brings energy all the time,” said Herber of Morehouse. “She does so many little things for us, the rebounding, the boxing out, the taking a charge. She’s one of those kids who knows what we need to get out of her and she knows her role and plays it the best.”

Stoughton hung around in the third and kept the deficit to single digits thanks largely to the play of Whalen. The junior forward put in a monster performance, pulling down 23 rebounds on the night and scoring 15 of her game-high 20 points after the break, including nine in the third quarter alone.

“She just goes so hard,” said Steele Jordan of Whalen. “She’s a workhorse and she gives me effort every night. She’s definitely progressed a lot from last year to this year. She’s got that mentality that I can compete in the Hock and I’m one of the best post players. I love that about her.”

Njiem added a three in the third and Wright had four points in the quarter, but North kept a solid lead thanks to its seniors. Ahern had five, Collard had four and Morehouse and Emily Schromm each had three in the period.

Stoughton never backed down, but in the end North made the plays to come out with the win. Herber explained, “We knew going in that it was going to be one of those games. We play the same style of basketball they do, slow it down, make it a little ugly, play good defense, rebound and get opportunistic offense.

“We were able to get some offensive looks off our press and pull it out.”

Steele Jordan added about the Black Knights, “I couldn’t be prouder to coach them and I keep telling them we can do this. There’s still a ton of season left. They’re starting to buy into it and that’s important when you’re young.”

North Attleboro (8-1) travels to Cranston East on Saturday and then will take on the two teams tied for second in the Davenport, starting with Milford on Tuesday. Stoughton (1-7) will look for its first league win of the season on Tuesday against Sharon.

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Girls Basketball: 2016-17 Davenport Division Preview

2016-2017 Davenport Girls Basketball Preview
Shannon Smally (15) of Foxboro and Val Whalen (14) of Stoughton battle in the post in one of last season’s Davenport division meetings. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Davenport Girls Basketball Preview

CANTON

2015-16 Record: 6-14 (3-13)
2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Jim Choquette

The Bulldogs continue to add to the program both on the court and on the bench with former Canton and UMass Boston star Olivia Murphy joining the coaching staff this season to help out with the freshman team. It is a sign of the continued growth of the program under head coach Jim Choquette, who is hoping that the momentum built at the end of last season will carry over to this year.

Senior forward Emma Murphy returns after a league all-star season and will be joined on the front line by returning starters senior Casey Shea and juniorHannah Jerrier, who was an honorable mention for all-star last winter. Adding depth on the front line will be sophomore forwards Molly Ludwig and Erin Devine, who lacks inexperience but adds significant height.

Jess Powers is recovering from an injury suffered during lacrosse season and her return will add more scoring punch to a deep and quick backcourt group. Sophomore Julia Hamilton is back to run the point for the Bulldogs and will be joined by classmate Maggie Connolly, junior Lindsey Barrett, senior Taylor Carrington, and junior twins Lillian and Evelyn Carrington. This group will allow Canton to keep defensive pressure high all game long.

“Our strengths will be scrappy defense and rebounding on both ends,” said Choquette. “our goal is to improve each game and be playing our best headed into the last part of the season…the faster we find chemistry the faster we’ll find the win column.”

FOXBORO

2015-16 Record: 15-7 (11-5)
2015-16 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal
Head Coach: Lisa Downs

Despite a lot of youth in the lineup, Foxboro has been one of the top teams in the Davenport division for several seasons and this year should be no different, as the Warriors enter the winter with very high expectations and as one of the favorites for the league title.

A lot of the interest in the Warriors stems from the continued development of junior point guard Ashley Sampson, who has turned into one of the best all-around guards in the Hockomock and is the player that the Foxboro offense flows through. Sampson has plenty of help in the backcourt with classmate Lily Sykes, who offers scoring from the perimeter, and seniors Lauren Flahive, Riley Collins (back after an injury), and Hailey Maling, who are all strong on the ball defenders.

In the front court, Kristen Bortolotti is back after missing last year with an injury and will add speed and a strong mid-range game. Junior Grace Tamulionis is another matchup nightmare for the opposition with her size on the boards and on defense and her ability to step outside and shoot the three. Junior Shannon Smally continues to improve and gives the Warriors an inside presence, while newcomers Chelsea Gibbons and Abby Hassmancould make big contributions for the Warriors.

“The girls have been playing together throughout the summer and fall and this familiarity should work to our benefit this season,” said head coach Lisa Downs. “We will continue to focus on our running game and our defensive efforts and I am fortunate to have the players that not only buy into this system, but, also appreciate this pace.”

MILFORD

2015-16 Record: 9-11 (5-11)
2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: T.J. Dolliver

After missing out on a playoff spot by one game a season ago under first-year head coach T.J. Dolliver, Milford enters this winter with high hopes of making the leap into the postseason with a deep and versatile roster that has gained a lot of experience together over the past few seasons.

The enthusiasm for the Hawks begins with dynamic junior point guard Kate Irwin, who has shown the ability to get to the basket at will, draw defenses to get open looks for her teammates and also be a pesky on the ball defender. With Irwin creating open shots, junior Emily Piergustavo’s return after missing last year with an injury will be a big boost on the perimeter along with senior guard Jill Burley.

Milford will also have plenty of players to contribute on the glass and in the paint. Senior Nicole Dahlgren, a two-year captain, is a strong rebounder but can also step out and hit threes as can junior Jess Tomaso. Five-foot-8 senior Christine Pye, 5-foot-11 junior Gillian Valanzola, 5-foot-8 senior Emma Liskov, and 5-foot-10 Juliana Tracy give Milford an imposing group of front line players.

“These girls have been playing together for a while and their team chemistry is amazing,” said Dolliver. “We are starting to learn the minor details of offense and defense in order to give our team a better chance of success.”

NORTH ATTLEBORO

2015-16 Record: 11-10 (9-7)
2015-16 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South tournament
Head Coach: Derek Herber

The Rocketeers head into their first season in the Davenport division with eight returning players from last year’s team that was two points away from a first round victory in the Div. 2 South tournament against Hock rival Oliver Ames.

Senior Ashley Ahern is a three-year starter at guard and was the team’s leading scorer last winter. Ahern will be the player that gets the offense going, but she will get plenty of help from her classmates, Emily Schromm and Samantha Taggart. Schromm was one of the top defenders in the league and can stretch a defense with her outside shooting and Taggart can play all three guard positions and led North in assists last year. In the paint, senior Caroline Collard is the team’s leading rebounder and showed a soft touch around the basket.

North can also look for improvements from sophomore Julia Feid, who got valuable minutes as a rookie last year, senior Liz Morehouse, who adds depth in the post, and juniors Julia Santos, who both brought athleticism off the bench at the wing positions. Sophomore forward Mackenzie Roberts is a newcomer who adds size and outside shooting and junior Emily Pastore can step in at all three guard positions.

The Rocketeers have plenty of experience on the roster and will be one of the favorites for the league title at the beginning of the season. While head coach Derek Herber can count on a number of returning players, he hopes to “mix in a few new faces into the lineup to help with depth.”

SHARON

2015-16 Record: 5-15 (3-13)
2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Cliff Tomassian

Sharon is another team that has been building with youth and has created a lot of depth on its roster and, despite losing three of its top four scorers from last winter, has garnered preseason hype as a potential sleeper to make a return to the postseason for the first time since the Eagles made a run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.

The Eagles will be hoping for an improvement on the offensive side of the ball, which was a challenge at times last winter. Junior point guard Shira Stoller, a three-year starter, is continuing to improve at limiting turnovers and looking for her own shot as well as setting up teammates. One of the players that benefits from Stoller’s ability to get into the lane is sophomore Emma Eberhardt, who was third on the team in points as a rookie and continues to develop into a consistent wing scorer.

Sophomore Veronica Wallace has emerged as one of the top backcourt defenders during the preseason and is one of the fastest players on the Sharon roster. Senior Ana Crosby, who is also a standout on the soccer and lacrosse fields, is another player that is continuing to improve and will have an increased role this season. Freshman Kaitlyn Wallace is a newcomer to watch and could have a bigger role to play over the course of the year.

“Our defense is going to have to be our key in order to compete, and our girls know that,” said third-year coach Cliff Tomassian. “We get our best looks on offense off of great defensive stands. Our girls are going to have to be patient and vigilant on both ends and be ready to take chances.”

STOUGHTON

2015-16 Record: 7-11 (7-9)
2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan

The Black Knights lost six seniors to graduation but this offers plenty of opportunities for a new crop of younger players to get playing time and learn the system of second-year head coach, and former Stoughton star, Charmaine Steele Jordan.

Two of the players that will be counted on most this season are junior forwards Val Whalen and Jordan Motley, who are two of the best rebounders in the league and can also get out on the break and score in transition. Their development in the half-court offense will be a key for Stoughton making a playoff push in the Davenport division this season. Senior Lili Njiem is another player that could make a big impact, as one of the team’s three captains.

The Black Knights will have as many senior as freshmen on this year’s roster (three) along with four sophomores and three juniors, so the foundation for the future is in place. Shyanne Trinh, Lexi Baptista, and Aliyah Wright are the three newcomers to the program who will be hoping to make an instant impact.

“So excited for the upcoming season,” said Steele Jordan. “We lost six seniors so there is lots of opportunity for our players to step up. Our returnees from last year will contribute for us despite being pretty young.”