NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Foxboro senior Brandon Borde was certainly happy when he scored his 1,000th career point, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. And how it happened was pretty cool, too.
The Warriors’ once 14-point second-half lead had dwindled over the third quarter and the Red Rocketeers were threatening early in the fourth, getting within five.
Just three points away from the milestone, Borde instead recorded an assist to Will Morrison for a three-pointer, and two possessions later, the senior guard got within one point when he converted down low on an inbound pass from Donald Rogers.
The next possession up, Borde (21 points, four rebounds, four assists) used a screen to break free from his man, taking a pass from Ryan Hughes in the corner and hit nothing but net from three-point range, surpassing the milestone with 5:55 left. The shot also proved to be the dagger the Warriors needed to fend off North Attleboro.
Foxboro went on to pick up a 68-57 win, clinching a share of the Davenport division title alongside Stoughton and Milford, who also won on Friday night.
“It means a ton to me, since I was a little kid, I’ve pictured this,” Borde said. “I came to the high school games, shooting around in the gym, watching all the guys ahead of me. It means a lot to represent the town in that way, and I wouldn’t have gotten here without all of the guys I’ve played with since my freshman year to now.
“We had a lot of adversity, dealing with injuries, so [the division title] means a lot. We had two big things happen besides the 1,000, we won a share of the division and we qualified for the state tournament so it was a big night for the team. And it was nice to hit it on a three, kind of cooler than a layup.”
For Foxboro, it was the punctuation of a run that sealed the win, a division title, and a playoff spot. The Warriors had an 11-point lead at halftime (39-28) and pushed the lead to its peak at 44-32 with 6:43 to play on a layup from Borde.
But North Attleboro refused to go away, getting six straight from sophomore Brody Rosenberg — three from deep, three the traditional way — and two more from senior Josh Porter. Junior George Ladd, who was the focus of the North offense for most of the night, got going in the post, scoring through contact to make it 46-42.
Borde stemmed the tide with a finish through traffic and Morrison (15 points, three assists) set up Rogers (15 points, five rebounds, four assists) for a triple, one of 10 made from downtown from the Warriors.
Edan Kelley answered from deep and Ladd (20 points, seven rebounds) added a traditional three-point play but Hughes (eight points, nine rebounds) had four points for the Warriors in the final minute to keep the visitors ahead 55-48 through three quarters.
“In the second half, they really went inside to Ladd and take advantage of their size to get some easy baskets,” Gibbs said. “We had to make some adjustments on how we were defending the post. I was just really proud of the resiliency of our guys. The first half went pretty smoothly for the most part but then they cut it down to four, and the momentum had totally turned.
“Given the circumstances, the pressure of what was at stake, the way the game was going on the road, we could have folded but we didn’t. I thought we really locked in, we got some big stops, got some big rebounds, and we came down and executed on offense and guys made some big shots. I was just really proud, that’s what you hope your team is going to do with a lot of seniors and they did that tonight.”
Ladd sank a pair of free throws to get the Rocketeers within 11 with just under five minutes to go and North’s defense got back-to-back stops but the offense couldn’t cut into the deficit any further. A long possession from the Warriors ended in a three from Rogers on a pass from Dylan Barreira.
“They were the better team tonight, I thought their kids played really hard,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Brandon Borde is a really tough player, it’s a great achievement to get 1,000 points. He’s a tough matchup. I thought our kids fought hard we just had too many breakdowns, especially on defense. To Foxboro’s credit, when we made a mistake, they generally finished. That was probably the difference.
“It’s frustrating because our guys are better than some of the breakdowns we had. [Foxboro] had a good game plan, they wanted to get us into help, get us into rotation and our rotation was just not where it needed to be. It’s basic fundamental things that we need to be better at and stuff that I have to do a better job of getting them to the level they need to be defensively in the Hockomock League.”
Rogers got Foxboro off to a strong start, getting to the basket three times for six points in the opening quarter while Borde and Hughes each had four, and Morrison hit the first of his five three-pointers. North Attleboro senior Ethan Friberg hit three three-pointers to keep the Rocketeers close, down 17-13 after one.
Borde had a steal and layup to push Foxboro’s lead to nine in the second, and Barreira finished off a three-point play at the midway point of the second to push the Warriors’ lead to 28-17. Tommy Whalen, Rosenberg (13 points, six rebounds), and Ladd kept the Rocketeers in it but Liam Devlin scored off his own miss and then beat the buzzer from three-point range to give Foxboro its 39-28 halftime edge.
With the win, Foxboro earns a share of the Davenport division title, the program’s third since 2016. The Warriors share the crown with Stoughton and Milford, the Warriors split the season series with both teams. Foxboro had to win its final two games to earn a share.
“I just said to them in the locker room, out of the three league championship teams I’ve been fortunate to coach, I’m most proud of this one because of the adversity that they’ve had to overcome,” Gibbs said. “A lot of things in the team with injuries and illnesses that have made it tough for us to have competitive practices at times, made it hard to establish roles and rotations.
“And we’ve had some tough, heart-breaking losses to good teams over the course of the season and every time that happened, they bounced right back. I think throughout the season, we showed a lot of resiliency and that was on full display tonight when North made that run. I’m just really proud of them.”
Foxboro boys basketball (9-7 Hockomock, 11-8 overall) will wrap its season up with three non-league games, starting with a first-round matchup in the Warrior Classic against Holliston on Monday at 2:45. North Attleboro (4-12, 5-14) will close the season with a trip to rival Attleboro for a non-league game on Wednesday.
Canton, 38 vs. Bishop Feehan, 62 – Final – The Bulldogs stayed within striking distance for a half but scored just 13 points in the second half as Bishop Feehan pulled away for the win. Robbie Gallery scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the first half and Eric Mischler had six of his nine points in the opening two quarters as Canton trailing 38-25at halftime. Gallery and Mischler were the lone Bulldogs to score in the third as the Shamrocks pulled away 51-32 heading into the fourth.
Foxboro, 47 @ Westwood, 54 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Foxboro erased an early 18-point deficit, taking a one-point lead into the final quarter but ran out of gas in the fourth as Westwood picked up the win. The Wolverines raced out to a 10-0 lead and pushed it all the way to 20-2 late in the first. Foxboro clawed its way back with a strong second quarter to go into halftime down 31-24, and then won the third quarter to go up 38-37. Brandon Borde (10 points, seven rebounds) scored to put the Warriors up 40-39 but the Wolverines responded with a 9-0 run, with Foxboro going 0-for-7 in the stretch. Borde and Donald Rogers (eight rebounds) brought Foxboro within four, down 48-44, but the Wolverines hit their free throws down the stretch to pull away. Kevin Gallagher had a team-high 13 points, Liam Devlin added six points, and Dylan Barreira had a strong all around game for Foxboro.
King Philip, 71 @ Xaverian, 69 – Final (OT) – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – King Philip senior Alex Fritz scored half of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, hitting key free throws down the stretch, to help the Warriors pull out a win over Xaverian. Fritz (10 rebounds, four assists) netted seven points in the fourth and added eight more in overtime, hitting two free throws with 25 seconds left to break the tie and adding one more in the final seconds. Senior Tommy Donahue scored all 13 of his points in the second half for KP, who overcame an eight-point fourth quarter deficit. Robert Jarest (six points, four rebounds), Andrew McKinney (12 points, five rebounds, three assists), and Chris Roy all had key points down the stretch in the fourth quarter to help KP force the extra period.
North Attleboro, 46 @ Lincoln-Sudbury, 59 – Final – North Attleboro faced an 18-point deficit at halftime but clamped down defensively out of the break, limiting L-S to just three third quarter points to make a four-point game heading into the fourth, but the Warriors controlled the final quarter to get the win. Trailing 18-8 after one and 36-18 at half, the Rocketeers outscored the hosts 17-3 in the third to make it 39-35 entering the final quarter. Senior Josh Porter scored eight of his career-high 17 points in the third and Brody Rosenberg (12 points) hit a big three in the third to bring North back into the contest. Junior George Ladd finished with 11 points.
Oliver Ames, 77 @ Barnstable, 55 – Final – Oliver Ames Ryan Burkett and the Tigers dominated from start to finish, pouring in 50 first-half points and rolling to their second win over Barnstable this season. Burkett scored a career-high 28 points on 12 two-point field goals to pace the Tigers. Burkett scored 13 points in the first half, added eight more in the third quarter, and added seven more in the fourth quarter. Junior Amari Brown scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and senior Jay Spillane added 14 points in the win.
Stoughton, 66 @ Randolph, 67 – Final – Stoughton erased a 16-point deficit but fell just short in the championship game of the Blue Devils Holiday Classic against host Randolph. Senior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored a career-high 34 points to pace the Black Knights.
Taunton, 73 @ New Bedford, 67 – Final – Taunton let a seven-point lead slip in the fourth quarter but the Tigers controlled the overtime period to earn their fifth straight win. Tied 18-18 after one and trailing 28-27 at halftime, Taunton dropped 22 points in the third quarter to take a 49-42 advantage but the Whalers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Junior Tyler Stewart dominated the second half for Taunton, finishing with a career-high 28 points including six points in overtime. Sophomore Tristan Herry added three of his 13 points in the extra period and sophomore Faisal Mass added a free throw to help Taunton pick up the win. Sophomore Trent Santos added 15 points for the Tigers.
Attleboro, 45 @ Cumberland (R.I.), 35 – Final – The Bombardiers turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and got clutch baskets down the stretch to grab an out-of-state win. Attleboro held Cumberland’s leading scorer Madi Zancan to just two baskets after halftime, following a 16-point first half. After the hosts cut the lead down to just three points late in the game, Emma Reilly and Hailey Perry knocked down big shots to extend the lead. Nyah Thomas was once again the top scorer for the Bombardiers, continuing her impressive start to the season with 21 points.
Canton, 47 @ Nauset, 54 – Final
King Philip, 64 @ Bishop Feehan, 70 – Final
Stoughton, 40 vs. Hanover, 39 – Final – Stoughton picked up an important win in the consolation game of the Rockland Holiday Tournament, edging out Hanover. Shyanne Trinh led the charge for the Black Knights with 22 points and four steals while Aliyah Wright added 16 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Kyla Sheedy-Goff gave Stoughton a big boost with six blocks and eight boards.
Taunton, 51 @ New Bedford, 79 – Final – Kameron St. Pierre scored 21 points, her second straight game with 20-plus, to pace the Tigers in a tough road loss. Jaelyn Fernandez added nine points for Taunton.
Foxboro, 47 vs. Needham, 44 – Final – Foxboro outscored Needham 16-5 in the second quarter to build a double digit lead, kept that advantage heading into the fourth but had to hold on for the win after being limited to just seven points in the fourth quarter. Six Warriors contributed the the 16-point second quarter with Kevin Gallagher (nine points) hitting a pair of threes and Brandon Borde (12 points), Donald Rogers (13 points), Dylan Barreira (seven points), Ryan Hughes, and Liam Devlin each scoring a bucket. Rogers scored the rest of his points all in the second half, including five of Foxboro’s seven in the fourth. The Warriors will take on host Westwood in the championship game of the Westwood Holiday Tournament on Monday at 7:00.
Franklin, 76 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 51 – Final – A close game through three quarters, Franklin dominated the fourth quarter to earn a convincing win in the Larry Fisher Championship game at Bridgewater-Raynham. Franklin led by two after one quarter, just one point at 29-28 at halftime, and took a 51-47 lead into the final frame but the Panthers’ defense limited the Trojans to just two field goals, four points total in the fourth to pull away for the win. Steven Karayan hit half of his six triples in the final quarter on his way to a career-high 20 points to earn tournament MVP honors while senior Brayden Sullivan added 14 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Jack Rudolph scored seven of his 13 points in the open quarter while Chris Edgehill scored all nine of his points in the second half. Franklin connected on 12 three-pointers in the game.
Oliver Ames, 69 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 77 – Final – Oliver Ames took a three-point into the fourth quarter but couldn’t overcome a spectacular performance from Cardinal Spellman senior Craig Faria. Faria scored 16 of his 40 points in the final quarter to carry the Cardinals to a win in the Muscato Holiday Tournament final. OA senior Ryan Burkett scored a career-high 23 points and was named to the all-tournament team while Amari Brown added 18 points and Owen Friel chipped in with 13 points for the Tigers.
Milford, 38 @ Dracut, 56 – Final – Milford led 25-23 at halftime of the Edmund Murphy Winter Classic final, but the hosts turned the tables with a strong second half. The Middies outscored Milford 33-13 after the break to win the tourney title. Emma Lawrence had a strong game for the Hawks, scoring 20 points in the loss.
Sharon, 30 vs. Holliston, 31 – Final – The Eagles came up just short in a non-league game against Holliston. Sharon trailed by five heading into the fourth quarter of a defensive battle. The Eagles scored the first five points of the fourth to tie the game at 28-28 with under three minutes remaining, but the Panthers were able to do enough to grab the win. Nicole Teven and Leah Fandel each scored eight points and Trinity Payne scored seven for the Eagles.
Franklin, 6 vs. Fairfield Prep, 4 – Final – After falling behind 2-0 in the opening period, Franklin found the net five times in the second period to skate to a win over Fairfield Prep. “Fairfield was very talented team, I’m proud of my boys for working the system and working hard,” said Franklin head coach Anthony Sarno. Conor O’Neil (from Sean Connelly and Tom Tasker) and Kyle Hedvig (from Will Sheehan and Declan Lovett) scored to knot the score at 2-2. CJ Jette (from Colin Hedvig and Joe LeBlanc) put the Panthers ahead and Tasker (from Lovett and Colin Hedvig) and Kyle Hedvig (from Lovett, his third assist) scored back-to-back goals to put the Panthers up 5-2. Dylan Marchand (from LeBlanc) tacked on an important third period goal.
North Attleboro, 2 vs. Burrillville (R.I.), 1 – Final (OT)
Canton, 3 vs. Westwood, 2 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Lizzie Tassinari scored a power play goal with eight minutes left to play, lifting the Bulldogs to a win in a back-and-forth title game of the Pat Walsh Tournament. Olivia Maffeo scored twice for Canton, as the teams twice traded goals only seconds apart in the second period. After Westwood scored first, Maffeo blasted a shot under the bar to tie it and then she gave Canton the lead with a wrister from just inside the blue line only to have the Wolverines answer right back. Tassinari scored the winner with a shot from the right face-off circle that went through a screen and inside the far post.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Medway/Ashland, 3 – Final (SO) – Mansfield/Oliver Ames twice took a one-goal lead but settled for a tie against Medway. For holiday tournament purposes, the game went into a shootout where Medway earned the win but it registers as a tie for MIAA purposes. Alex Ledin (from Reese Pereira and Ella Waryas) put the Warriors up 1-0 in the first while Emma Pereira (from Emma Garland) gave the visitors a 2-1 advantage in the second.
Franklin, 133.40 @ Medway, 117.60 – Final
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.
“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.”
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, 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.
“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.
“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.
2018-2019 Record: 18-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Attleboro fulfilled high expectations last year with a terrific regular season but had its postseason run cut short in the opening round of the tournament. With an experienced, battle-tested, and deep group of seniors, the Bombardiers are hoping to take the next step during the 2019-2020 season.
The Bombardiers have seven seniors on the roster with six having plenty of valuable minutes at the varsity level. It all starts with a pair of four-year varsity players and captains Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles. Both have played over 60 games for head coach Mark Houle and earned HockomockSports.com First Team honors a year ago. Ciccio (14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is like a coach on the floor and Charles (13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is a matchup nightmare and one of the most dominant post players in recent years.
But there is much more to the Bombardiers, such as senior captain Tim Callahan. Callahan had a strong junior season with 7.7 points per game and can change a game with his outside shooting. He will also be relied upon to anchor the defense. Guard Nick McMahon and forward Lorenzo Wilson provided a spark off the bench last season and will be key pieces this season. And senior Jason Weir is back in the mix after missing last year due to injury. Weir showed flashes during his sophomore season, a versatile player that can play in the post or step outside and knock down a three.
Attleboro has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and that will make them difficult to defend. They have a couple of good weapons that can score down low and then a handful of shooters, so the inside-out game will be a big part of the game plan. Charles gives the Bombardiers protection around the rim while all five players are the court will have to contribute on the boards to eliminate second-chance points.
“We will rely on a battle-tested group of seniors, but we will need our underclassman to continue to develop and be ready to step in and play important roles on the team,” said head coach Mark Houle. “We have a hard-working group of players who compete and challenge each other every day in practice.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-10 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
After winning back-to-back Davenport division titles, the Bulldogs know it will be a grind to try and get a third with a big target on their backs.
Gone is the program’s all-time leading scorer and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devin Foster, who was one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league over the past two seasons. That means there is going to be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up for the Bulldogs. Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said this year’s team will be a “much more space and paced” orientated team. Gordy is expecting a more spread out opportunistic approach that will feature contributions from anyone who checks in.
While Foster graduated, the Bulldogs do have a handful of talented and experienced players back on the roster. Senior Kyle Fitzgerald is the top returning scorer from a year ago, netting double figures in six contests. He is also a workhorse on defense and will be one of the leaders on the court. Robbie Gallery, Matt Giglio, and Eric Mischler were all starters at some point during the 2018-2019 season so Gordy will have some veterans to lean on during the year. Gallery, Giglio, and Mischler all showed the ability to come up with a big shot at any time and will help space the floor.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking at their versatility and depth to give them flexibility. Gordy believes he has a strong mix of players that will allow him to switch things up and adjust each and every game. Sophomore Lanse Dorcelus earned minutes for the final month of last season and could be a key piece this season.
“We feel like our program is healthy and players have made a commitment to growth,” Gordy said. “This season we are going to focus on the process and maximizing the strengths of our players. Our culture and direction has been a bright spot as we focus on the player person and team development each practice and game. We’re excited to see where we are and where we can get too.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Gibbs
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Foxboro boys basketball team this season. The good news is that the Warriors expect to once again be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The bad news is for the rest of the Hockomock League as Foxboro boasts an improved offense, and combined with their traditional tough defense, has the Warriors in position for a Davenport division title.
With four of their five top scorers back this season, including senior Brandon Borde (team-high 15.3 ppg) and junior Kevin Gallagher (12.9 ppg), the Warriors are looking to ride a balanced approach on offense to improve their scoring after finishing 10th in scoring in the Hockomock League last season (54.4 points per game). Borde is one of the most experienced players back in the league and has the ability to create his own looks as well as lead the team as the floor general. Gallagher had a breakout sophomore season and can really fill up the scoring column, especially from deep.
Borde and Gallagher will also get help from senior Will Morrison, who can catch fire from deep, and senior Ryan Hughes, who can give opponents trouble in the paint. All four players are returning starters from a season ago, so that gives Foxboro an advantage, especially defensively. Head coach Jon Gibbs called the defense the “foundation” of the team. Foxboro has consistently been very fundamentally sound and disciplined on the defensive end.
Seniors Dylan Barreira, Michael Devlin, Liam Devlin, and Donald Rogers all played important minutes last season and will provide a lot of depth for Foxboro.
“We have been making progress each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been very competitive so far as guys work hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we stay hungry, humble, and unselfish, it has the potential to be a very successful season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Central Quarterfinal Coach: CJ Neely
Ever since the Hockomock League split into two divisions, Franklin has entered each season as one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex and that looks to be the case yet again this year.
As it does each and every season, defense comes first for the Panthers. Franklin was the best defensive team in the Hockomock League last year, allowing just 48.9 points per game. Not only did the Panthers lead the league in that category, they were the lone team to keep opponents under 50 points on average. It’s the second straight year they’ve had the best defense in the division and third straight year they are in the top three. There are a lot of talented individual defenders on the team but year in and year out, Franklin’s team defense gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Panthers boast the top returning scorer in the league in three-year starter Chris Edgehill. Edgehill, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last season, is an absolute handful to deal with on the offensive end of the court. He can score in a variety of ways, and on top of that, he is very good at getting teammates involved (four assists per game last year). Seniors Jack Rudolph and Steve Karayan are also back after playing valuable minutes last season and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
“We have a lot of guys who worked really hard in the offseason to improve and are excited to get on the court,” said head coach CJ Neely. “It’s a great group of people who have a lot of fun together. We need to stay aggressive and share the ball. We hope that strong team defense will continue to be something that defines our program.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
With a solid group of players returning from last season, second-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping to guide his Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
The Warriors showed flashes throughout last year, including an upset win of Kelley-Rex champions Mansfield on the road. But they were also on the wrong end of a handful of close games, losing five games by five or fewer points. With a year of experience in DeStefano’s system, and for a lot of players their first year of varsity under their belts, King Philip is hoping to turn those close games into wins.
KP boasts two returning starters in Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney, both standing at 6’3. Fritz had a breakout junior campaign and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Hockomock League with 15.5 points per game. He was able to score in a variety of ways, including through contact at the rim, and will be a vital piece this year. McKinney was fifth on the team in scoring last year, scoring in double-figures in five contests, including a career-high 19 points at Stoughton. Senior Tommy Donahue looks to give the Warriors a strong presence in the post while classmates Owen Conlin and Chris Roy look to be in the mix. Seniors Robbie Jarest and Tom Weir are back in the mix after a year away from the program.
Defensively, King Philip will be relying on its size and physicality. While Donahue (6’5) will be the main rim protector, having long guards and forwards will help KP make life difficult for opponents. The Warriors will need to improve on the defensive end after surrendering a division-high 63.7 points per game last year. DeStefano is looking to get some contributions from junior juniors Donte Barros, Cole Breen, Joe Cullen, Evan Stephens, Will Kinney, and Jake Silveria while sophomores Charlie Grant and Braeden Sottile will likely be in the mix too.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commitment on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2018-2019 Record: 22-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Mike Vaughan
The Hockomock League continues to run through Mansfield.
The Hornets have won the Kelley-Rex division title in eight of its nine years, and it looks like Mansfield will be the team to beat again this year. Three players that burst onto the scene last year – Sam Stevens, TJ Guy, Matt Boen – are now three of the top players in the Hock heading into this season. Mansfield certainly graduated a lot of talent in Tommy Dooling, Damani Scott, and Khristian Conner, but with those three starters back plus seniors Drew Rooney and Makhi Baskin, as well as a handful of newcomers ready to make an impact, Mansfield is poised for another deep tournament run.
Stevens (11.2 ppg) will be one of the toughest players to stop with his ability to finish around the rim as well as deadly three-point shooting, Guy (10.9 ppg) is very good in the post on both ends of the floor, and Boen (9.5 ppg) can score in a variety of ways. All three are capable of filling up the stat sheet on any given night. Baskin provides a lot of energy and can change the game with his effort while Rooney showed last year that he can matchup with some of the top players in the league on the defensive end.
Juniors Brian and Jason See are both strong shooters that work tirelessly on both ends of the floor and should be in the mix for the Hornets this year. Juniors Jack Colby and Brendan Foley will be looking to bring a spark off the bench while sophomore Matt Hyland and freshman Chris Hill are promising young players that could contribute right away.
“I think our depth and ability to play different styles will be a strength of this team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I’m excited to see where this team can get to as they continue to work hard in practice and mix their individual talents to form our team identity. Transition play, scoring inside and out will be strength on offense. Playing solid man to man and uptempo defense with our depth could create some issues for our opponents.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paul Seaver
After a season of ups and downs, the Milford Scarlet Hawks are hoping last year’s growing pains transition into a playoff berth this season.
With a large group of returnees, the Hawks will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title. While head coach Paul Seaver returns the majority of his team, he will need some of the those players to step up on the offensive end the fill the void left by graduation. The Hawks graduated its top three scorers, including the second-highest scorer in the league in Brendan White (18.2 ppg). That means there will be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up and contribute.
Junior Jordan Darling (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior Colby Pires (6.1 ppg) are the top two point producers back this year while junior Dom Schofield also returns after starting as a sophomore. Darling started 19 games this year and was selected to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team after a strong season on both ends of the court. Pires is a leader both on and off the court and plays well in all aspects of the game, and Schofield gives Milford a strong post presence on the defensive end, recording a team-high 38 charges taken last season.
Ralph Franklin Jr., Matty Varteresian, Tyler Whetherbee, and Ben Blanchard all saw time throughout last season and could all be in line for bigger roles this season.
“Our depth will matter, our balance will matter, our chemistry is this group’s most important attribute,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We were the youngest team in the league last season and this group has a lot of players back who are attacking this year with a chip on their shoulder. This group defines what Milford basketball is and that’s a testament to who these kids are hard workers and higher character individuals. I could not be any more excited to coach and work with these kids on a daily basis.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
There are going to be a lot of new faces dawning the Big Red uniform this winter. After losing nine seniors to graduation, head coach Sean Mulkerrins has just three players back from last year’s nine-win squad.
With a large amount of new players comes a large amount of opportunities. The Rocketeers graduated its two top scorers but bring back senior Ethan Friberg (7.0 ppg) and junior George Ladd (7.4 ppg) to lead the charge offensively this year. Friberg, standing at 6’5, can cause problems in the paint but also van step out and play along the perimeter. Ladd had a breakout sophomore season and was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team. He is a little of a throwback player that is very fundamentally sound on the offensive end. Senior Josh Porter, the third returner, saw an expanded role at the end of last season and played well.
Defensively, the Rocketeers will be focusing on limiting opponents to one shot per possession. With some size in the frontcourt, North will try to make it difficult to finish at the rim, and with all five players committed to rebounding, try and minimize second-chance points.
“There will be a lot of new faces with opportunities to make an impact on this year’s team,” Mulkerrins said. “There will definitely be some growing pains and the sooner the new faces adjust to the rigors of varsity basketball, the better we will be.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
Last season, Oliver Ames came up just one game shy of the state tournament. Goal number one for the 2019-2020 season is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
With a strong mix of experienced players and hungry new additions, Oliver Ames is ready for the grind that is the Kelley-Rex division and the Hockomock League.
“The expectation is to always get [to the tournament], that’s our first goal,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “We’re pretty optimistic but we know it’s going to be a grind, you have to show up every night, you can’t take a night off.”
Byron has been impressed with his guard play so far this preseason, and that will likely mean featuring three guards in the lineup for the majority of the time. Senior Jay Spillane is a returning starter while classmate Owen Friel and junior Amari Brown were top options off the bench a season ago. Spillane can score in bunches, especially from the outside, while Friel combines a solid shooting game with a hard-nosed defensive approach. Friel’s ability to guard a variety of position makes him a valuable piece in the lineup while Brown is a crafty player that does a nice job getting teammates involved.
Senior center Evan Craig (6’5) will be joined by classmate Ryan Burkett (6’2) in the frontcourt. Both picked up valuable minutes at the varsity level last year and Byron is hoping that will help with their expanded roles this year. Senior guard Adam Cann and junior forwards Trey Buggs and Drew Nickla will provide depth for the Tigers.
“It takes some time to get accustomed to the varsity speed and what we expect at this level,” Byron said. “All of these kids gained experience with us last year, and that year of experience is invaluable.”
2018-2019 Record: 3-17 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
After a couple of down seasons, the Eagles will be making a strong push to get back into the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Sharon boasts a number of players who gained varsity experience that will be looking to help the program bounce back. The first being senior Aidan Kane, the team’s leading scorer last season with 11.5 points per game. When he’s on from keep, Kane is one of the top three-point shooters in the league. He has the ability to change a game very quickly if he gets hot from deep. Senior Andrew Burton emerged as one of the Eagles’ top players last year and could be poised to have a breakout year. Sophomore John Baez will start at the point after joining the varsity team for the final month and a half last season.
The Eagles will be relying heavily on its frontcourt to step up on both ends of the court. Senior Caleb Gayle is a traditional post player that will compete hard on both ends of the court, senior Cam Baker is fundamentally sound and a reliable option and junior Hank Ward picked up valuable minutes as a sophomore and will be an important part of the rebound game as well as defensively. Senior Aaron Karten will be in the mix as well, giving the Eagles an athletic frontcourt.
Junior Jordan Barboza should give the Eagles a spark off the bench this year and head coach Andrew Ferguson will look for him as an important defensive piece. Kiran Chandrasekaran had flashes of the strong play off the bench last year and should see an expanded role this year, while junior transfer Matt Baskin could provide a needed scoring punch.
“This group has worked tremendously hard in the offseason and the preseason and is looking to translate that into success throughout the regular season,” Ferguson said. “Many of the players have gained valuable experience at the varsity level over the past two years and our senior class are tremendous leaders who provide a great example for our younger players.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-11 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Preliminary Round Coach: John Gallivan
Stoughton ended its playoff drought last season and with a good amount of those players back again this year, the Davenport division title and a deep playoff run could be in the forecast this season.
The Black Knights have their leading scorer back in 6’5 senior forward Obinna Ugwuakazi, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game with nine double-doubles last year. His athleticism and ability to finish through contact made him a tough matchup for opponents, and he will be at the forefront of the Stoughton offense again this year. Fellow senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, who also stands at 6’5, is also back and we could see the duo play together at times which will certainly make life tough for opponents.
Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell is back for his third year on varsity. After improving each of the past two seasons, the 2019-2020 season could be a breakout year for Grigalunas-Powell, who can score from three-point range but is also a crafty finisher attacking the rim. Ahmad Jahed had flashes of strong play last year and will be back in the mix again this year, and the same goes for Tommy Sanda. Juniors Brett Pendenza and Jake Queeney are also back after earning some minutes last year.
“We feel like we can score this year both from downtown and from down low,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “And with our size in the paint, we hope to make it difficult for opponents to score consistently.”
2018-2019 Record: 15-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Charlie Dacey
After a strong regular season, the Taunton boys basketball team flipped a switch in the tournament and made a run to the D1 South Semis, nearly knocking off powerhouse Mansfield. With a taste of postseason success, the Tigers are hoping to replicate that success this year with another impressive playoff stretch.
The Tigers boast speed, skill, and depth this season and will be in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. While Taunton lost a lot of production from last year (Lou Vendrell, Mike Quinn, John Martins, Wesner Charles), there are a handful of players battling to earn their chance at minutes in the Tigers’ lineup. One constant in that lineup over the past couple of years is senior Dante Law, who enters his fourth year with the varsity group. Law was Taunton’s leading scorer a year ago with 14.1 points per game but none of the other returners were over five points a game, meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up.
Seniors Fabio Goncalves (6’6) and Aiden Pelot, as well as junior Tyler Stewart (6’6) make up the frontcourt for the Tigers. All three played at the varsity level last year and will be key pieces at helping the Tigers defend and win the battle on the boards. Law will be joined by junior Josh Lopes, who showed flashes during his sophomore season, DaeDae Kenion, and sophomore transfer Tristan Herry as key pieces of the offense.
The Tigers are also excited about the depth on the team this year. Junior Danny MacDougall earned starting minutes last year and is a reliable option in a variety of roles while Trent Santos, Logan Lawrence, and Jonathan Torres will all be in the mix for Taunton.
“With this team, press and run should be ‘Plan A’ although there are skills available to play at a slower pace,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
2017-2018 Record: 13-10 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Expectations are high for the Attleboro Bombardiers, who return all but one player from last year’s squad that won 13 games and qualified for the D1 South tournament. While the majority of the roster is made up of juniors (eight), the Bombardiers have a wealth of experience with almost all players having played at least one year, with a handful with two.
With experience comes options for veteran head coach Mark Houle. The Bombardiers expect to be able to play fast in transition but also slow down and execute in the half court. Attleboro boasts some of the top big men in the league and will look to use that to its advantage. Junior Qualeem Charles (6’5) was selected as a Hock All Star last year and will be a key piece on both sides of the ball with fellow big men Jason Weir, Lorenzo Wilson and Nolan Jaeger looking to factor in.
Junior Bryant Ciccio, also a Hockomock All Star last season, will be the quarterback of the offense from the point guard position. With two years of varsity experience already, Ciccio could be poised for a big season. Seniors Mason Houle and Kevin Velazquez both made big splashes last year and will be key pieces in the frontcourt this year. Velazquez provides high energy and can be a big threat from deep while Houle is a strong two-way player that will make plays on both ends of the court.
“We have several returning players with one or two years of varsity experience and will rely on them to be consistently working hard on both ends of the court,” said Mark Houle. “Our strength will be a strong inside game on offense…[and] our guard play will have multiple players able to handle pressure, score and contribute.”
2017-2018 Record: 16-5 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
The Bulldogs are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. This season, the Bulldogs will be looking to improve each day and adjust to a new style of play that fits the personnel best.
While three starters are gone, one starter that is back is Devin Foster, a Hockomock League All Star and HockomockSports.com First Team selection a year ago. Foster is a dynamic player that can be a nightmare for opposing defenses trying to stop him. He can shoot the three and really improved on his ability to finish around the rim last year.
Senior Paul Corcoran and junior Kyle Fitzgerald both had starts last season and head coach Ryan Gordy is looking for both players, along with versatile guard Ryan Lentol, to take a big step on the court this season. Corcoran is a strong defender, Fitzgerald will handle the point, and Lentol will do a little bit of everything for the Dogs. All three have a good amount of varsity experience and will be relied upon to be leaders on the court.
“Our culture in our foundation, and our veteran leadership sets the tone for the program,” Gordy said. “If we stay growth oriented this could be a fun season, players are committed to continuous improvement and that’s a pleasure to coach.”
2017-2018 Record: 19-5 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals Coach: Jon Gibbs
Foxboro had a memorable 2018 season, earning 19 wins and sharing the Davenport division title with Canton. But with four of the five starters from that team gone, the 2019 Warriors will try to create their own identity while trying to replicate the success.
The one starter back is junior Brandon Borde (11.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.7 apg) and his two years of experience on varsity will be vital as role players switch to starters and new role players emerge. Borde is a talented guard that can hurt teams in a variety of ways but his strength allows him to finish around the rim in tough situations.
Senior Anthony Mollica had a bit of a coming out party during the end of last season, emerging as an offensive threat for the Warriors. Head coach Jon Gibbs expects more of that throughout this season and will be looking for the likes of Will Morrison, Liam Devlin, Ryan Hughes, and Kevin Gallagher — all players with varsity experience, to step up this year. While Foxboro will likely rely on its defense again this year, three-point shooting should be a strength on the offensive side.
“Right now the focus is on getting better each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been competitive. Guys are fighting hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we can continue to defend and rebound at a high level, we have a chance to be very successful.”
2017-2018 Record: 23-4 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D1 State Final Coach: CJ Neely
The Panthers have reached the D1 State Final each of the past two seasons and it looks like they have the tools to try and make a third straight appearance. Franklin brings back two of the top players in the Hockomock League in senior Jalen Samuels and junior Chris Edgehill.
Both Samuels (13.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Edgehill (17.1 ppg, 3.5 apg) have a wealth of varsity experience that the Panthers will rely on as others battle for minutes in the rotation. Edgehill is one of the most dangerous guards offensively and can score in a variety of ways while Samuels can present a matchup problem for most teams. Will Harvey also has varsity experience and will likely see an increased role in the 2018-2019 season.
The rest of the rotation is up for grabs but there is a lot of choices for head coach CJ Neely, who noted there is a strong amount of depth and balance on this year’s squad. Unsurprisingly, Franklin will be focused on causing problems on the defensive side of the ball. The Panthers have been known as a gritty defensive squad and they are looking to continue that tradition this year. Offensively, Neely is hoping unselfishness and outside shooting will help replicate the success of previous seasons.
“It will be a season long battle for minutes and guys will have to earn our trust through defensive intensity and unselfish play on offense,” Neely said. “Our goal is to focus on the process of competing hard and improving each day and the results will reflect our daily effort and attitude.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
First-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping hard work in the offseason will translate into success on the court this year for the King Philip Warriors. DeStefano is the Warriors fifth head coach in the last eight seasons but his familiarity with the Hockomock League (former JV coach at Foxboro) should give him a boost right away.
While the Warriors had only four wins last year, half of their 16 losses came by six points or less, including to D2 State Champions Tech Boston (74-71) and division foes Attleboro and Taunton. King Philip is hoping it can be on the right side of those contests this season. Bruce Santillus and Timmy Nault are the two returning starters from last year, and both showed they are capable of taking over games on the offensive end. Santillus is a versatile player that can score in many ways and is tough in one-on-one matchups. Nault provides a lot of energy on both ends and can give the team a spark when needed.
DeStefano is looking for seniors Tyler Nault, Ian Khung, and Michael O’Brien to build on their minutes from last year and have increased roles for 2018-2019. Junior Andrew McKinney showed a lot of promise last year and could be a big contributor for the Warriors this year. Senior Terry Jacobs-Baston gives KP a nice post presence along with junior Tommy Donahue (6’5) and senior Sam Sesay (6’2). Juniors Alex Fritz, Chris Roy, and Adam Nicastro will all be in the mix for minutes as well.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commit on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops.”
2017-2018 Record: 27-2 2017-2018 Finish: D1 State Champions Coach: Mike Vaughan
While the D1 State Championship is in the rearview mirror, expectations are still sky high for Mansfield, who has won six straight Hock Kelley-Rex titles, tying a streak from OA in the 1980s for the longest title run. With a handful of players back and a strong mix of new faces Mansfield will be aiming for its seventh straight.
The Hornets will rely on their most experienced players early on with Damani Scott, Tommy Dooling, and Khristian Conner back. All three have starting experience, and beyond that, a wealth of varsity minutes in the regular season and postseason. Scott had a terrific playoff run last year and could be one of the top players in the Hock this year. Dooling is a talented guard that can hurt teams from deep while Conner can score from all over the floor.
Beyond that trio, there are a handful of new faces trying to establish time in the lineup and rotation. Junior Sam Stevens and sophomores Matt Boen and TJ Guy are top candidates to find time in the rotation. Stevens and Guy both have good size and will give the Hornets a presence in the post while Boen is a crafty guard that will likely contribute offensively right away. Expect Makhi Baskin, Jack Mousette, and Drew Rooney to be in the mix as well.
“We’re looking forward to getting the season started with new faces,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We’ll have our early challenges getting the new faces up to speed with the varsity level of play, but it’s a talented group, they are working hard, and they are getting better each day. It should be an exciting year as the league looks to be super competitive as always.”
2017-2018 Record: 13-10 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central Semifinal Coach: Paul Seaver
While the Hawks have some experience back this year, it will be key for the new faces to get up to speed as Milford looks to compete for a Davenport division title. Seniors Brendan White, Brendon Sailer, and Steve Sutherland are all back after either starting or playing a lot of minutes last season and will be relied upon, especially early, to guide the Hawks through a difficult schedule.
White was Milford’s leading scorer last season with 14 points per game in the regular season so he will be a key piece for the Hawks again this year. Sailer is a good ball handler and will handle point guard duties. He’s a strong defender and can distribute the ball well, but he is also able to get to the rim or shoot from deep. Sutherland provides the Hawks with an experienced presence in the post but can step out and hit shots as well.
Junior Colby Pires is coming off a successful season on the gridiron and will see a lot of minutes on the court and senior Danny Corsini can provide a spark on the offensive end with his shooting. Sophomore Dom Schofield stands at 6’5 so he can be a matchup problem for some teams in the league while classmate Jordan Darling can do a little bit of everything and could have a breakout year for the Scarlet Hawks.
“Our goal is to simply get better with each passing day,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We have a lot of newcomers this season and are facing one of our toughest schedules in years. Our goal is to build chemistry and work towards qualifying for the state tournament for a fourth consecutive season.”
2017-2018 Record: 9-11 2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
After just missing out on the postseason a year ago, North Attleboro is hoping a strong senior class can help the Rocketeers return to the postseason and compete for a Davenport division title. Big Red boasts nine seniors, including three starters and a handful of guys that played plenty of minutes a year ago.
Leading scoring Josh Montague (13.7 points per game) is back and will be one of the top guards in the Hock. He plays well on both ends of the court but really came into his own as a scorer as the season progressed last year. Senior Jacob Petersen, standing at 6’6, will be one of the toughest matchups in the league and his ability to play as a true post player gives North an advantage over other teams. He is also a force on defense that can prevent easy buckets in the paint. Senior Nate Gonsalves improved throughout last year and could be poised for a breakout season for Big Red.
Senior Evan Rosenberg will likely be tasked with guarding some of the top players in the league because of his strong defensive play. Seniors Adam Falcone, Jonathan James, Joe Milosh and Matt Seavey all played last year and that experience will be key as they factor into the rotation again this year. Junior Ethan Friberg got valuable minutes last year and can score in a variety of ways while also giving Big Red size at 6’4. Sophomore George Ladd will be making his varsity debut but is expected to provide North with a spark on offense.
“We are extremely excited about the 2018-2019 season,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Led by our nine seniors, we hope we can build off of last year’s momentum. We have an extremely intelligent group of players that is coachable, hardworking, and determined. We believe our cohesiveness and depth will allow us to be successful.”
2017-2018 Record: 8-13 2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
The Tigers found themselves in an unfamiliar place at the end of last year – on the outside looking in for the postseason. This year, Oliver Ames is hoping to blend a mix of returners, role players, and new faces — both from JV and transfers — into a competitive group that will look to begin a new postseason streak.
A major challenge will be replacing Hockomock League All Star and HockomockSports.com First Team selection Jack Spillane, who led the Hock in scoring during the regular season with 22.3 points per game. The Tigers will aim to have a much more balanced approach this season players that can contribute at each position. It will begin with returning starters Ethan Eckstrom and Jake Erlich, both seniors. Both Eckstrom and Erlich will spend the majority of their time in or around the paint and will be key defensive pieces as well. Sean O’Brien, who mostly came off the bench but was one of the team leaders in minutes, is a high-energy player that contributes on both ends of the court.
Senior Harry DeChellis was slated to be a big contributor for the Tigers last year before suffering a season ending injury so OA is hoping he will step right in and be a leader. Jay Spillane and Ryan Burkett both had successful seasons on JV a year ago and will factor in the rotation while transfers Amari Brown, a sophomore guard, and Evan Craig, a junior forward, both will be impact players right away.
“We should be a lot more balanced on offense, it should spread around,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “It’s one of those teams where we have the ability to score at all positions, as well as the guys off the bench. It might change each night but we have a lot of guys that are capable of contributing.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
The Eagles are aiming to improve on both ends of the court this year and are looking to compete for the Davenport title and a trip to the state tournament. After missing out on the playoffs each of the last two seasons, the Eagles are looking to ride a mix of experienced players to try and get back to the postseason.
Sharon will rely heavily on its three senior captains: Aaron Strong, Ben Kaplan, and Alex Kaufmann. Strong is a versatile guard that can be a pest on the defensive end of the court; Kaplan makes a lot of things happen on both ends and was having a strong season as a junior before seeing it cut short to injury; and Kaufmann is in his third year on varsity and is capable of having big scoring games any given night.
Athleticism will be something the Eagles rely on this year on both sides of the ball. Beyond the three senior captains, juniors Andrew Burton, Aidan Kane, and Alec Filipkowski all saw varsity minutes and should be factors as their roles increase this season. Juniors Cameron Baker and Caleb Gayle will also factor into the rotation in the frontcourt.
“This is a very tight knit, energized group and they are continually pushing each other to get better every day,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We have a good mix of experience and youth to provide depth at multiple positions. We are replacing a lot of offense from last year and have a lot of players vying for those opportunities.”
2017-2018 Record: 6-14 2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: John Gallivan
The Black Knights are hoping a balanced attack on offense and a commitment to defense will result in 10 wins and a trip to the state tournament. Stoughton has five players back with varsity experience so the Knights will lean on those players early as head coach John Gallivan tries to fit a handful of new faces from JV and outside the program into the rotation.
Senior captains Zak Paquette, Josh Cocchi, and Kevin Dixon will be key not only for their contributions on the court but for their leadership as well. They are all experienced players that Gallivan will lean on as he figures out what the best rotations will be.
Senior Ajahn Rue is another returnee and brings a lot of talent to the point guard position while junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell got his feet wet on varsity a year ago and could see an increased role in the 2018-2019 season. After those five, Gallivan is looking for some new faces to step up and establish themselves as go-to options for the Black Knights.
“We are hoping to have more of a balanced attack on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor than we have had in the past,” Gallivan said.
2017-2018 Record: 12-11 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Charlie Dacey
This year’s version of the Taunton Tigers will be relying on tempo to try and run past the competition in the Hockomock League. Taunton boasts speed throughout the lineup and is hoping that it can use that — offensively and defensively — to its advantage this year. But if necessary, the Tigers can also slow it down and execute in the half court.
Senior guard John Martins and junior forward Dante Law are returning seniors from a season ago and both are quick players that bring experience to a team that is looking to use its speed to emphasize its open court skills. Martins is a steady player that can do a lot of things on both ends of the court and Law is looking to take the next step forward after some strong outings as a sophomore.
Senior Lou Vendrell is back and had a lot of offensive skill that the Tigers will need, especially his outside shot. Similar to Law, junior Naz Kenion had some breakout moments a year ago and Taunton will be looking for more production out of him this season. Prince Brown brings a year of varsity experience back and can provide an offensive spark with his shooting. Senior Mike Quinn rounds out the backcourt while Wesner Charles and Tyler Stewart provide the Tigers with size down low.
“Tempo will be the key this year,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “The roster has some depth and there is speed at every position.”