NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Both teams came into Tuesday night’s game at the Beaupre Gym in a fight for second place in the Davenport division and both needing one more win to secure a spot in the postseason. It was always likely to come down to who could make enough plays down the stretch to decide a the winner.
Despite making only two shots from the field in the fourth quarter, it was Canton that came through with clutch defensive stands and clutch rebounds to pull out a 64-53 victory at North Attleboro and seal a third straight trip to the tournament. The Bulldogs closed the game on a 9-0 run, all nine points coming from the free throw line and five from Kiara Cerruti, who scored nine of her game-high 25 points in the fourth.
“We controlled rebounds, we passed it to each other well, we came up with good stops,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette, praising his team’s ability to bounce back after a last-second loss to New Bedford on Sunday. “We were in the right spots, putting pressure on them. To come right back against a team that beat us the first time on their floor, it’s not easy to win here, and really take it was good.”
North coach Nikki Correia said, “They fought to the end, just a couple of mental mistakes at the end, bad passes, throwing down at their feet when they’re cutting, trying to force it a little too much.”
Defense was the story down the stretch, but it was offense that was the story of the first half.
The Bulldogs got off to a solid start with Cerruti (eight rebounds) burying the first of her four threes on the night and Fay Gallery (16 points, five assists, and seven steals) knocking down a pull-up jumper. North answered right back with an 8-0 run to grab an 11-7 lead.
Regan Fein hit a short jumper off an Eliza Dion offensive rebound and assist and then got free for another jumper, this time off an inbounds feed from Olivia Forbes (five rebounds and seven assists). After Canton got within two at 16-14, Siobhan Weir (11 points) came off the bench to drill a corner three.
The second quarter went back and forth with the Bulldogs coming right back to grab the lead after freshman Samya DaSilva (five points) scored in the post and Gallery drilled a three, but Weir grabbed an offensive rebound to make it 21-20. Summer Doherty hit a tough runner off glass and then Fein saved a possession at half and drilled a three to make it 28-26.
Sydney Gallery (11 points) tied it with a move in the post and then assisted on a bucket for DaSilva. After Cerruti scored with her lefthand, Amanda Kaiser buried her only three of the night to cut the lead to one. Cerruti closed the half with a layup and Canton went into the locker room up 34-31.
North came out of the break and regained the advantage with an 8-0 run. Dion started it with her only basket of the night and then Doherty scored the other six, including a layup following a steal at midcourt. Canton responded. Lilah Milton knocked down a jumper and then Fay Gallery scored plus the foul following a Cerruti rebound.
With Fein receiving treatment on the sideline after twisting her ankle, North got a couple of big shots from Weir, who nailed a pair from beyond the arc to put the hosts in front 45-39. Choquette called a timeout and got uncharacteristically angry with his team’s effort.
“It’s rare that I’m emotional in a timeout,” he explained. “I just felt like the girls are better than they were playing at that time. The game was closer than it could’ve been if we were doing the right things and they know what the right things are they just weren’t executing. We went out, two good passes, Kiara wide open gets a three because we made the extra pass.”
The Bulldogs answered the call, finishing the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to grab back the lead. Cerruti hit a pair of threes, both on Fay Gallery assists, and Sydney Gallery was able to score in the paint to make it 47-45 heading to the final eight minutes.
Canton extended the run to 14 unanswered points at the start of the fourth. Sydney Gallery got an and-one with another post move and Cerruti continued her hot shooting from beyond the arc.
“Siobhan came in off the bench for me and made two big threes, but when someone goes out everyone starts to look around and think someone else will step up,” said Correia. “I told them whoever is coming in just do your job and it will work.”
As you would expect, North made one last run to get back into it. Fein returned to bury a jumper and Kaiser freed up Doherty for a basket. After a Canton free throw, Kaiser got only her second basket of the night and then, following another free throw for the visitors, Doherty cut the lead to 55-53 with a drive. It would be North’s last point of the night.
Canton went 9-for-12 at the line in the closing minutes, but also forced several turnovers, got a couple of clutch rebounds from Kayla Albert (eight rebounds) on both ends of the floor, and a strong effort down the stretch from Carly Fitzgerald guarding Kaiser (North’s leading scorer coming into the game).
Choquette said, “Kayla might have won the game with two of the rebounds that she got in the paint down here. Easily one of the best second halves she’s played for us. That means as much as a three going down or a block, she really stepped it up.”
“We have two more in front of us and hopefully we can grind one out,” said Correia. “I’m just proud of them, for me to come in my first year, change everything and being a running coach, all new offense, these kids bought in.”
Canton (11-9, 9-6) will try to clinch at least a share of second place in the division when it hosts Milford on Friday. North Attleboro (9-9, 9-6) will try to book its place in the state tournament when it visits league champion Foxboro.
Attleboro, 61 @ King Philip, 66 – Final – King Philip outscored Attleboro 19-8 in the third quarter of the game, running away with the upset win after a four-point lead at halftime. The Warriors and Bombardiers were only separated by a point (11-10) after one and the hosts took a 29-25 advantage into the halftime break. Senior Tommy Donahue scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the third quarter while Robert Jarest added four of his six to help KP pull away. Alex Fritz hit on four three-pointers, one in each quarter, and finished with 22 points, and Andrew McKinney scored10 of his 12 points in the first half. Attleboro connected on six three-pointers in the fourth to close KP’s large lead. Qualeem Charles had a team-high 19 points.
Foxboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to Saturday, 2/8 at 12:00.
Taunton, 62 @ Franklin, 48 – Final – A tight battle for three quarters, Taunton clamped down defensively in the fourth to limit the Panthers to a pair of field goals and five total points and pull out the win. Taunton’s offense got off to a good start and led 21-14 after a quarter before Franklin tightened things up, trailing 33-31 at halftime and 47-43 heading into the fourth. The Tigers had five players scored in the final quarter to secure the win with sophomore Tristan Herry (career-high 19 points) and junior Josh Lopes (15 points) each scoring four while sophomore Trent Santos, junior Tyler Stewart (13 points), and sophomore Faisal Mass (eight points) each had two. Lopes hit three three-pointers in the opening quarter and had 11 of his 15 points while Herry had a pair of first half three-pointers. Nigel Choate also had a three for Taunton, who had all six of its threes in the first half. Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan had a team-high 17 points, junior Andrew Byfield added 11 points, and senior Chris Edgehill added 10 points.
North Attleboro, 37 @ Milford, 57 – Final – It was the perfect start for the Scarlet Hawks, hitting five three-pointers in the opening eight minutes to build a lead it never relinquished. Ben Blanchard (13 points) and Colby Pires (11 points) each hit a pair of threes in the first frame while Jordan Darling hit one and went pour in a game-high 25 points. Milford led 21-12 after a quarter and extended it to 34-20 by halftime. Milford’s defense held the Rocketeers to single figures in each the second and third quarters. Sophomore Brody Rosenberg led North with 12 points.
Oliver Ames, 40 @ Mansfield, 51 – Final – After being limited to 16 points in the first half, Mansfield turned the tables on Oliver Ames, limiting the visitors to just 14 points after the break, and the Hornets took much better care of the ball in the second half to secure a 51-40 win over the Tigers. Mansfield had nearly as many turnovers (14) in the opening half as it did points (16) but that ratio changed drastically in the second half with the Hornets committing a total of three turnovers while more than doubling their offensive output of the first half between the third and fourth quarters. Only four Hornets scored in the win with junior TJ Guy (six rebounds) recording 14 of his team-high 19 points after the break, Sam Stevens (eight rebounds) added 17 points, freshman Chris Hill had eight points, and junior Matt Boen (10 rebounds) added seven second half points. Junior Amari Brown scored a team-high 16 points for OA.
King Philip, 55 @ Attleboro, 59 – Final – Attleboro led by 16 points going into the fourth quarter but needed key free throws from Hailey Perry and Nyah Thomas late to hold off a furious rally from King Phillip. “It was a total team effort and a great win for our kids,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. Thomas had a team-high 18 points, Ryan Johnson added 10 points, Meghan Gordon chipped in with nine points, and Liv McCall finished with eight points. Brianna James, Faye Veilleux, and Faith Roy each scored 13 points for KP.
Sharon, 33 @ Canton, 54 – Final – Canton led 19-10 at halftime but poured in 20 points in the third to pull away from Sharon and win. Kiara Cerruti and Sydney Gallery each scored 13 points to pace the Bulldogs’ offense while Lilah Milton, Marissa Staffiere, and Carly Fitzgerald each had five points. Canton’s Kaitlyn Wallace scored a team-high 11 points and Leah Fandel added nine points.
Stoughton, 31 @ Foxboro, 67 – Final – Foxboro junior Katelyn Mollica scored 24 points, including her 1,000th career point, as the Warriors earned a win over Stoughton. Lizzy Davis chipped in with 13 points and Yara Fawaz added nine points for Foxboro. Shyanne Trinh led Stoughton with 10 points.
Franklin, 79 @ Taunton, 36 – Final – Franklin came out of the gates swinging, surging to a big lead early and never looked back to beat Taunton. Ali Brigham had a game-high 25 points, Olivia Quinn added 18 points and Megan O’Connell added 13 points. Taunton freshman Kameron St. Pierre scored a team-high 14 points and Sonya Fernandez added six points for the Tigers, who had a much better second half.
Foxboro, 58 @ Attleboro, 62 – Final – Attleboro junior Justin Daniels hit a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-high 15 points to help the Bombardiers edge visiting Foxboro. The teams were knotted at 28 at halftime and again at 44 heading into the fourth quarter where Attleboro was able to make just enough plays to get the win. Qualeem Charles (10 rebounds) scored half of his 12 points in the fourth quarter while Bryant Ciccio (14 points), Nick McMahon, and Tim Callahan all scored in the final frame. Foxboro senior Ryan Hughes scored a career-high 20 points while Brandon Borde added 16 points, including nine in the final quarter to keep the Warriors in the game.
Canton, 44 @ Mansfield, 81 – Final – Mansfield’s TJ Guy, Matt Boen, and Sam Stevens each took a turn dominating a quarter as the Hornets cruised to a big win at home over visiting Canton. Guy scored nine of his 15 points in the opening quarter to help the hosts seize a 14-7 lead while Boen exploded for 12 of his 15 points in the second quarter to give Mansfield a 40-16 lead at the halftime break. Stevens took center stage in the third, netting 13 of his 14 points in the quarter as Mansfield extended its lead to 64-30. Canton junior Eric Mischler scored a team-high 21 points in the loss.
North Attleboro, 29 @ Franklin, 72 – Final – Franklin bounced back from its first loss in a big way, running away with a win against visiting North Attleboro. After a back-and-forth first quarter saw the Panthers take a 17-14 lead, Franklin’s defense clamped down and didn’t allow more than six points in a quarter the rest of the way. Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan scored a career-high 28 points, hitting on a three-pointer in each of the first three quarters while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Chris Edgehill added 16 points in the win for Franklin while sophomore Brody Rosenberg netted a team-high nine points for North Attleboro.
Milford, 58 @ Taunton, 59 – Final – Taunton junior Josh Lopes sank a pair of free throws with six seconds left in the game to push the Tigers’ lead to two possessions, securing a win over visiting Milford. The Tigers, who led 22-16 after a quarter, threatened to pull away in the second quarter when they pushed their lead to 10 but Milford’s Sean Murray came off the bench, took a pair of charges and scored six points to help the Hawks go into halftime down just one. Another even quarter had the teams tied at 44-44 heading into the fourth quarter. Taunton junior Tyler Stewart scored six of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter while sophomore Trent Santos hit a big three in the final quarter, finishing with 15 points. Limited to three points through three quarters, Lopes had a big bucket and the key free throws in the fourth to seal the win. Sophomore Tristan Herry added 11 points for the hosts. Milford junior Jordan Darling had a game-high 21 points while Ben Blanchard added 17 points for the Hawks.
Sharon, 46 @ Oliver Ames, 77 – Final – After jumping out to a 15-5 lead through a quarter of action, Oliver Ames scored 23 points in the second quarter to double its lead by halftime. Oliver Ames put the game away with a strong third, adding 21 more points to seize a 59-28 lead through 24 minutes of action. OA junior Amari Brown had a strong start, scoring seven of his team-high 18 points in the opening quarter and went 7-for-10 from the line to help the Tigers get the win. Senior Jay Spillane had nine points of his 13 points in the second quarter and Ryan Burkett finished with 10 points for OA, who had 10 players get in the scoring column. Aidan Kane recorded a team-high 12 points for Sharon.
Attleboro, 44 @ Foxboro, 65 – Final – Three players scored in double digits for the Warriors to pick up the win against Attleboro. Katelyn Mollica continued her strong season with a team-high 19 and Lizzy Davis added 13. Foxboro also got strong play in the paint from Shakirah Ketant, who scored 12 points in the win.
Mansfield, 56 @ Canton, 61 – Final – Canton led by six after the first quarter, eight at halftime, and by nine heading into the fourth quarter but was never able to pull away from the Hornets, who scored 20 points in the final eight minutes to keep within striking distance. Kiara Cerruti scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth, to help the Bulldogs hold on. Sydney Gallery also scored 16 for Canton, all in the first half. Fay Gallery added 10 and Lilah Milton had eight points. Point guard Carly Fitzgerald scored seven points and Canton coach Jim Choquette praised her for a great all-around game, including her defense, rebounding, and care with the ball. Kayla Vine was the top scorer for Mansfield with 16 points. Ashley Santos chipped in with 11 and Brooke Berube finished with 10 points.
Franklin, 53 @ North Attleboro, 33 – Final – Franklin remained unbeaten with a road win at North Attleboro. The Panthers scored 24 points in the first quarter to get off to a perfect start, led by 18 at the half, and then held North to only three points in the third to put the game away. Ali Brigham was the game’s top scorer with 26 points and Olivia Quinn put up 13 for the Panthers. Franklin also used its advantage in the paint to dominate on the glass. On a rough shooting night for the Rocketeers, Regan Fein led the way with nine points and Amanda Kaiser added eight.
King Philip, 69 @ Stoughton, 39 – Final – KP built a 14-point lead at halftime and continued to pull away throughout the second half. Emma Glaser and Faith Roy paced the KP offense, each scoring 12 points, while Faye Veilleux added 10. Aliyah Wright was Stoughton’s top scorer with a game-high 16 points.
Oliver Ames, 48 @ Sharon, 17 – Final – Oliver Ames shrugged off a slow start to build a 10-point lead at halftime and never looked back to earn a win on the road. The Tigers led just 5-4 after a quarter but pushed the advantage to 21-11 at halftime. OA’s defense continued to shine in the second half, holding the Eagles to just six points. Caroline Flynn led OA with 10 points while Tate Hadges added nine points.
Franklin, 4 vs. Westwood, 5 – Final – Franklin went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the state in Westwood but the Wolverines scored with less than a minute to go in the game to earn the win. The teams traded a pair of first period goals with Katelyn Brown and Libby Carter (from Lyndsey Atkinson and Amanda Lewandowski) but the Wolverines scored two straight in the second period to seize the lead. Carter scored in the final minute of the second to make it a one goal game and Lewandowski scored six minutes into the third period to bring the Panthers level. Westwood scored with 45 seconds to play to get the win.
Attleboro, 91 @ Oliver Ames, 74 – Final
Results: 200 Medley Relay: 1. Oliver Ames (Nick Farley, Ben Turner, Anthony Carraggi, Ryan Moore) – 1:57.72 | 2. Attleboro (Robert Winkler, Anthony Burns, Aaron Dumont, Zack Moore) – 2:24.61 | 3. Attleboro (Aiden Moore, Ninad Bartakke, Brady Dumont, Aidrinn Nottage) – 2:52.44 200 Free: 1. Colton Mangion, Att – 2:18.03 | 2. Dylan Nisbet, Att – 2:20.76 | 3. Cormac Ganshirt, OA – 2:21.21 200 IM: 1. Ben Turner, OA – 2:14.41 | 2. Damien Geltrade, Att – 2:41.66 | 3. Zack Dorrance, Att – 3:08.79 50 Free: 1. Anthony Carraggi, OA – 23.59 | 2. Brett Wortham, Att – 27.40 | 3. Nick Farley, OA – 27.72 100 Fly: 1. Ben Turner, OA – 58.75 | 2. Alex Harrop, Att – 1:05.13 | 3. Zack Dorrance, Att – 1:28.88 100 Free: 1. Anthony Carraggi, OA – 52.06 | 2. Matt Marcil, Att – 55.28 | 3. Evan Foltz, OA – 58.91 500 Free: 1. Colton Mangion, Att – 6:33.81 | 2. Cormac Ganshirt, OA – 6:40:38 | 3. Robert Winkler, Att – 7:22.76 200 Free Relay: 1. Attleboro (Matt Marcil, Zack Dorrance, Dylan Nisbet, Brett Wortham) – 1:44.30 | 2. Oliver Ames (Alex Priajinski, Evan Foltz, Nick Farley, Cormac Ganshirt) – 1:51.81 | 3. Attleboro (Colton Mangion, Brandon Sanford, Zack Moore, Alex Harrop) – 1:23.31 100 Back: 1. Matt Marcil, Att – 1:04.84 | 2. Naaman Wheeler, OA – 1:23.00 | 3. Andrew Greaves, Att – 1:23.31 100 Breast: 1. Evan Foltz, OA – 1:16.31 | 2. Anthony Burns, Att – 1:37.72 | 3. Ninad Burtakke, Att – 1:47.69 400 Free Relay: 1. Oliver Ames (Anthony Carraggi, Evan Foltz, Ryan Moore, Ben Turner) – 3:48.31 | 2. Attleboro (Alex Harrop, Zack Dorrance, Damien Geltrude, Colton Mangion) – 4:14.66 | 3. Attleboro (Dylan Nisbet, Andrew Greaves, Justin Wennerberg, Robert Winkler) – 4:36.24
Attleboro, 72 @ Oliver Ames, 90 – Final
Results: 200 Medley Relay: 3. Attleboro – 2:22.13 200 Free: 4. Ally Cronin, Att | 5. Olivia Mastandrea, Att 200 IM: 3. Shanis Tolliver, Att | 5. Lily Schuerger, Att 50 Free: 2. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att – 27:09 (sectional qualifier) | 4. Brenna O’Connell, Att 100 Fly: 3. Lily Schuerger, Att | 5. Victoria Greaves, Att 100 Free: 1. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 59.76 | 5. Brenna O’Connell, Att 500 Free: 3. Faith Morrison, Att | 5. Jenna Torres, Att 200 Free Relay: 2. Attleboro (Ella Lynch-Bartek, Brenna O’Connell, Rachel Priestley, Jackie Lynch-Bartek) 100 Back: 1. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:09.72 | 2. Olivia Mastandrea, Att | 3. Ally Cronin, Att 100 Breast: 1. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:13.03 | 2. Faith Morrison, Att | 3. Rachel Priestley, Att 400 Free: 1. Attleboro (Ella Lynch-Bartek, Brenna O’Connell, Faith Morrison, Jackie Lynch-Bartek) – 4:18.81 | 2. Attleboro (Ally Cronin, Shanise Tolliver, Jenna Torres, Rena Danho)
Canton, 51 vs. Norwood, 43 – Final – For the second time this season, Canton used a second half turnaround to knock off Norwood. Down 24-21 at halftime, the Bulldogs dominated the third quarter to the tune of 18-5 to take a lead it never relinquished. Junior Eric Mischler scored eight of his team-high 20 points in the third quarter to help the Bulldogs jump ahead. Kyle Fitzgerald had all 11 of his points after the halftime break while sophomore Lanse Dorcelus hit one of his two threes in the pivotal third quarter. Matt Giglio finished with 10 points in the win.
Milford, 80 vs. Paulo Freire, 65 – Final – Milford juniors Ben Blanchard, Jordan Darling, and Dom Schofield each scored in double figures as the Hawks scored a season-high 80 points in a win over visiting Paulo Freire. Blanchard tied a career-high with 28 points, connecting on seven three pointers including four trifectas in the third quarter. Darling scored nine of his 19 points in the opening quarter as the Scarlet Hawks built a 20-13 lead through eight minutes of action. Schofield netted a career-high 18 points, hitting a pair of three-pointers while scoring 11 of Milford’s 14 second quarter points.
Canton, 67 vs. Brookline, 38 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Bulldogs broke the game open with a 10-0 run in the first quarter to jump ahead by 15 and never looked back to win their second game in a row. Kiara Cerruti scored 18 of her game-high 20 points in the first half, burying five three-pointers to help Canton put the game away before the break. Sydney Gallery had a big third quarter, scoring eight of her 14 points, including a corner three in the final seconds of the third that kept Canton up by 21 heading into the final eight minutes. Fay Gallery scored seven of her 11 points in the second half and showed off her all-around game with nine rebounds and four assists. Canton also dominated on the glass, with Cerruti pulling down nine boards, Lilah Milton (six points) grabbing seven, and Kayla Albert (six points) collecting a game-high 12 rebounds. Freshman Han Hong scored her first career points in the fourth quarter.
Attleboro, 153.8 vs. Lowell, 123.6 – Final – Attleboro’s Shawn Trombley took first on the floor, Jacob Mammoli and Anthony Hoyt shared the top spot on the rings, and Andrae Butler was first in four events as the Bombardiers knocked off Lowell. Trombley scored a 7.9 for first on the floor, Mammoli and Hoyt each received a first place score of 6.7 on the rings, and Butler won the pommel horse, the highbar, the parallel bars, and the vault.
Floor – 1. Shawn Trombley, Att – 7.9 | 2. Andrae Butler, Att – 7.2 | 3. Thomas Russo, Att – 7.1
Pommel Horse – 1. A. Butler, Att – 6.3 | 2. S. Trombley, Att – 5.4
Highbar – 1. A. Butler, Att – 8.4 | 2. S. Trombley, Att – 7.2 | 3. Jacob Mammoli, Att – 5.3
Parallel Bars – 1. A. Butler, Att – 7.8 | 2. S. Trombley, Att – 7.1 | 3. J. Mammoli, Att – 6.9
Vault – 1. A. Butler, Att – 9.2 | 2. J. Mammoli, Att – 8.0 | J. Mammoli, Att – 7.4
Rings – T1 J. Mammoli, Att – 6.7 | T1. Anthony Hoyt, Att – 6.7 | 3. A. Butler, Att – 6.0
King Philip, 54 @ Attleboro, 62 – Final – Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio connected on a key three-pointer in the final minutes of the game and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final quarter to help the Bombardiers pull out a win over visiting King Philip. With the game tied 42-42 through 24 minutes of action, Ciccio netted eight of his team-high 15 points in the final quarter while classmate Qualeem Charles (12 rebounds) netted half of his 12 points in the fourth. Nick McMahon (nine points) and Jason Weir (six rebounds) also had key buckets in the fourth for Attleboro. King Philip, which led by three after a quarter (19-16) and outscored the hosts in the third to bring the game even heading into the fourth, got 25 points from senior Alex Fritz while classmate Andrew McKinney added 10 points.
Sharon, 43 @ Canton, 60 – Final – Canton won each quarter but it was its lopsided second quarter that created the necessary separation to secure a win over visiting Sharon. The Dogs held a 14-11 lead through eight minutes but limited the Eagles to just five points in the second while its offense produced its best frame of the game with 17 points, creating a 31-16 advantage at halftime. Junior Eric Mischler drained three of his five triples in the second quarter, totaling 11 of his career-high 25 points in the frame to help Canton create its big lead. Nick Cushman gave the Bulldogs a big boost, scoring nine second half points while senior Kyle Fitzgerald scored all seven of his points after the break. Andrew Burton scored a team-high 12 points for the Eagles, who were limited to just one three-pointer in the second half and three total for the game. Caleb Gayle added 10 points for Sharon.
Stoughton, 46 @ Foxboro, 64 – Final – Foxboro had one of its best offensive quarters of the season, exploding for 26 points in the third quarter to turn a close game into a runaway win over visiting Stoughton. The Warriors built a 16-10 lead through eight minutes and took a 26-19 advantage into the locker room at halftime. A 7-0 run to start the third sparked the big quarter as Foxboro held a 52-35 advantage with one quarter to play. Senior Brandon Borde scored seven of his team-high 21 points in the third, Ryan Hughes had six of his nine points, Will Morrison (10 points) drained a pair of three-pointers, and Kevin Gallagher added a trifecta of his own. Senior Tahkwan Gates Brown netted a team-high 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to pace the Black Knights. Ahmad Jahed and Myles Grigalunas-Powell each chipped in with eight points.
Milford, 56 @ North Attleboro, 46 – Final – Milford built its lead over the first two quarters and got key contributions up and down the lineup to stay in front the rest of the way. The Scarlet Hawks jumped ahead 19-12 after a quarter and pushed the advantage to 29-20 at halftime. Milford senior Colby Pires scored 13 of his career-high 23 points in the first quarter whole Ralph Franklin Jr. (eight points) and Matty Varteresian (six points) combined to score all 10 of Milford’s second quarter points. Pires went back to work in the third, hitting two more threes while Jordan Darling and Dom Schofield also scored to keep Milford up 43-33 going into the fourth. Junior Ben Blanchard helped put the game away with an early three, scoring eight of his 10 points in the fourth. Junior Edan Kelley scored a career-high 17 points to pace the Rocketeers, who were without leading scorer George Ladd (illness). Ethan Friberg added 13 points for North.
Mansfield, 71 @ Oliver Ames, 59 – Final – Trailing at halftime and holding just a one-point lead after three quarters of action, the Hornets used a strong start to the fourth quarter to pull away from the win. Five Hornets factored into the fourth quarter scoring with senior Sam Stevens scoring seven of his 19 points, junior TJ Guy adding six of his 20 points, and Cincere Gill giving the visitors a boost with five of his seven points. Drew Rooney (seven points) and Matt Boen (16 points) also scored in the fourth, a period in which the Hornets won 22-11. Oliver Ames had a 24-point second quarter to take a halftime lead. Junior Amari Brown scored seven of his game-high 24 points in the second while Jay Spillane had seven of his 12 points and Ryan Burkett netted six of his 11 points.
Attleboro, 44 @ King Philip, 62 – Final – KP broke the game open by winning the third quarter 18-6 and pushing the lead out to double digits. Emma Glaser was the top scorer for the Warriors with 14 points. Faye Veilleux and Claire Keswick each scored 11 in the win.
Canton, 44 @ Sharon, 20 – Final – Canton locked down on the defensive end in the fourth quarter, holding the Eagles to just two points and running away with a road win. The Bulldogs led by only two points after one quarter (8-6) and extended that to six (17-11) low-scoring first half. Canton held Sharon to single digits in all four quarters and extended the lead to 28-18 heading into the final eight minutes. Fay Gallery paced the visitors with 15 points and Kiara Cerruti scored 10. Lilah Milton added eight points and freshman Erin Beatty made her varsity debut and added to the team’s strong defense in the fourth.
Foxboro, 79 @ Stoughton, 39 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. For the second time this season, Foxboro shutout an opponent in the first quarter, while scoring more than 20 points of their own. The Warriors raced out to a 23-0 lead after the opening eight minutes, extending the lead to 31-0 before Stoughton got on the board. Foxboro led 49-11 at halftime. The second half was just about even, with the Black Knights continuing to battle despite the deficit. Katelyn Mollica scored 27 points through three quarters, burying seven three-pointers in the process, but Foxboro had a number of players step up. Jamie DeVellis came off the bench and scored 11 points, Lizzy Davis scored 10 points, and Hannah Blake scored nine. Abby Hassman (nine rebounds and five assists), Shakirah Ketant (eight rebounds) and Yara Fawaz (11 rebounds and six assists) each scored six points. Shyanne Trinh scored 22 points over the final three quarters and Aliyah Wright added seven points (six in the fourth quarter).
Taunton, 18 @ Franklin, 66 – Final – Ali Brigham scored 17 points and Olivia Quinn added 12 to help the Panthers continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Oliver Ames, 58 @ Mansfield, 38 – Final – The Tigers took control from the start, leading 18-4 after the first quarter and 33-12 at the half to earn a road win and extend their win streak to four. Caroline Peper scored 13 to lead the way for OA, while Tate Hadges and Jess Erlich each scored nine. For the second straight game, Kayla Vine scored 20 points to lead Mansfield. Ashley Santos chipped in with eight in the loss.
North Attleboro, 53 @ Milford, 23 – Final – North Attleboro tossed a shutout in the second quarter, outscoring the Hawks 15-0 in the frame, and allowed only two points in the first half. Big Red led 24-2 at the break, but Milford won the third quarter 11-10. North pulled away with 19 points in the fourth. Amanda Kaiser caught fire from three-point range, knocking down five shots from beyond the arc, on her way to a game-high 19 points. Regan Fein scored 15 and Summer Doherty scored 11 in the win. North coach Nikki Correia praised her team’s full-court defense and the control that the Rocketeers played with on the other end.
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:00
Sharon @ Foxboro, 7:00
Mansfield, 73 @ Franklin, 92 – Final
Milford @ Stoughton, 6:00
Canton @ North Attleboro, 7:00
Sharon @ Foxboro, 7:00
Mansfield, 56 @ Franklin, 107 – Final
Milford @ Stoughton, 6:00
CANTON, Mass. – It was not a great shooting night for Foxboro and leading scorer Katelyn Mollica was held to only three made baskets by the Canton defense (especially the attentions of guards Carly Fitzgerald and Marissa Staffiere). In other seasons that could have led to a long evening and potentially a tough loss to a division rival, but this year the Warriors can dominate in the paint as well as the perimeter.
Foxboro had three players grab double digit rebounds, controlling the glass on both ends of the floor, and ran away in the second half to earn a 65-33 win over last year’s division runner-up. The defending league champions now have an early two-game lead in the Davenport standings.
“We talked about how they had more offensive rebounds than we did rebounds for the whole game combined,” said Canton coach JIm Choquette after the game. “It’s a detail about boxing out and doing their job individually. It’s a shared responsibility, it’s on all of us to get better. As coaches, it’s something we need to stress more at practice.”
Despite the big win, Foxboro coach Lisa Downs was less than enthusiastic about her team’s play, calling for a better effort on the defensive end.
“We were giving them way too many foul shots and we should’ve learned from what was being called in the first quarter,” she said. “We didn’t react well to that. I know what their potential is and to see them almost take a step back tonight from what we did against Concord-Carlisle is frustrating.”
Over the weekend, the Warriors started the game against Concord-Carlisle with a 27-0 run that essentially put the game away after eight minutes. Canton made sure that wouldn’t happen again, scoring the first five points of the game. A Sydney Gallery (10 points and six rebounds) basket and a three from Fay Gallery (eight points) made it 5-0 early on.
It took a couple of minutes to get going, but Foxboro turned the game on its head quickly, scoring the final 14 points of the first quarter and 16 straight overall to grab control.
A great outlet pass by Shakirah Ketant (13 points and 11 boards) set up Abby Hassman (six points and 12 boards) for a layup and then Lizzy Davis (11 points) grabbed an offensive board to keep a possession alive that ended in a Yara Fawaz (eight points and 10 rebounds) three. Davis added a three after a Jordyn Collins rebound and then scored on a drive to close the quarter.
Downs praised Hassman’s overall contribution. The senior added two blocks and four steals to her scoring and rebounding. “She’s probably my most consistent player,” Downs explained. “Mollica is always going to have her good nights and get her points even if she’s not shooting well, but Abby is just lights out with defense and rebounding and it’s the same thing night-in, night-out.”
Canton tried to mount a comeback at the start of the second. Sydney Gallery knocked down a shot off a pass by Lilah Milton and Kiara Cerruti (six points) got on the board with a jumper. The Bulldogs got as close as five but a Ketant putback and a stepback three by Mollica (13 points, 6-of-6 from the line) got Foxboro’s lead back to double digits.
“When we handled the press and got into the half-court sets and rushed, we were atrocious,” Choquette noted. “When we handled the press and got into our sets, I think we scored every time that we ran a play. We talked about the discipline of being able to do that for four quarters because there was a 10-minute gap where we’d break the press and jack up a shot as quick as you can.”
Leading 30-18 at the break, Foxboro came out of halftime ready to break the game wide open. The Warriors went on a 16-4 run. Davis scored the first basket and assisted on a bucket for Fawaz. Ketant scored in the post and then Mollica got back-to-back baskets, the second coming off another offensive rebound by Fawaz.
“Defensively, I think we had a decent game plan in terms of guarding Katelyn and we also stressed sticking with so many of their other players,” said Choquette. “Some things we did well defensively in the first half, we got away from in the second half and a little inexperience where everyone is trying to play catchup.”
The Bulldogs found it tough get going offensively. Fay Gallery hit a stepback three, Kayla Albert got a putback, and freshman Samya DaSilva hit a runner, but that was all that Canton got in the third and went into the final eight minutes down by 22.
Foxboro kept its foot on the gas in the fourth. Ketant was a force in the paint, scoring seven points in the quarter, Davis grabbed a steal and layup, and Morgan Sylvestre came off the bench to score four points.
“With Shakirah in there, it just adds a whole new dimension,” said Downs about adding an element of post play to the offense. “Teams have to pay attention to her.”
Foxboro (4-0) will be back home on Friday night when it faces Milford. Canton (1-3) will look to end its three-game losing streak when it hosts Stoughton.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Canton went scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half, allowing Attleboro to grab an eight-point lead in Friday night’s season opener for both teams. But, the Bombardiers struggled to take full advantage of their defensive effort and Canton was able to stay close until its offense finally found a groove.
After going six minutes without a point, the Bulldogs scored 25 over the final 10 minutes, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and they secured a 48-44 road victory.
“When we came out and we weren’t scoring, I don’t think anyone was hanging their heads or sulking about it,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “We were running good offense, we were confident in what we were doing, the ball just happened to not go in.
He added, “All the girls on our team have played together long enough to know if we keep sticking to what we’re doing someone’s going to hit a shot or someone’s going to get a rebound.”
Kiara Cerruti (team-high 16 points) hit a pair of free throws with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter to give Canton its first points of the second half and cut the Attleboro lead to 31-25. Ryan Johnson answered with a layup off a Liv McCall assist, but freshman Samya DaSilva (10 rebounds) drilled a corner three and Fay Gallery (10 points and five assists) hit a layup to make it a three-point game heading to the final quarter.
“[The lead] was two for a long time, it was three for a long time, and we just couldn’t pull away,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “I think if we pull away a little earlier then maybe it changes it, but we held them scoreless for six minutes and we’re not generating anything off our defense.”
Momentum had switched and the Bulldogs kept control at the start of the fourth. Lilah Milton, the only senior on the roster, scored a pair of tough shots from the right baseline and Sydney Gallery swooped in for a lefty finish to put Canton ahead 36-33.
Fay Gallery had struggled with her shot for most of the game but buried a step-back three to make it 41-37. Cerruti hit a lefty layup and hit a pair of free throws to keep the Bulldogs up by five, 45-40.
Attleboro didn’t go quietly. Nyah Thomas (game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds) made a steal in the backcourt and was able to finish in traffic, followed by a Gabby Bosh offensive rebound and short jumper to cut the lead to just one point.
Again it was Gallery that came through in the clutch. The sophomore, who had been more of a facilitator for the first three quarters, banked in a three to effectively seal the win.
“Fay was able to play with four fouls for the end of the game there and it was good that she did because she hit a big shot to help us win it,” said Choquette. After graduating four-year point guard Julia Hamilton, Canton will need people to step into that role and it was Gallery that took the responsibility for game one. “Fay took the bulk of it tonight, but you saw how many times she found Kiara or she found her sister down low, we got the ball to Samaya and she was able to create some things.”
The Bombardiers came out with the game-plan of putting pressure on the ball-handler, using an aggressive trap at the three-point line. It seemed to work, as Canton struggled to get a rhythm offensively for nearly three quarters.
Thomas was giving the hosts a spark on the other end. She scored 14 points in the first half, slashing through the defense and getting out on the break. Twice Thomas was able to finish plus the contact, once after a Lillian Froio block and the other after a block, rebound, and outlet pass by Meghan Gordon (11 rebounds).
“Nyah was phenomenal,” said Crowley. “She’s worked very hard at her game in the off-season and it showed. She’s one of our leaders, she played under control, and it was good to see her play like this.”
He added, “Our kids played awesome tonight start to finish. If they play like this then we’ll win games in this very competitive league. Give Canton credit, they made shots when they needed to.”
The game was tied at 11 after one, but the Bulldogs had only three made field goals and were 5-for-8 from the line. In the second quarter, Cerruti started to find a rhythm, knocking down a pair of threes and getting to the basket off an assist by Gallery. Sydney Gallery added four in the quarter, on a scoop and then a steal and layup.
It was 23-23 at the break and Attleboro grabbed the lead to start the third. Bosh (seven points) grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper, then Froio also crashed the glass to get a bucket. McCall finally got a good look in the corner off a Thomas drive-and-dish and her three extended the lead to 31-23.
It took Canton a while to get going, but things seemed to click into gear at the perfect time. The Bulldogs found the range and went home with the road win.
“In a close game, the ultimate thing is to win it and they were able to pull it out, which was awesome,” Choquette said.
Canton (1-0) will be at home on Tuesday and playing host to defending league champion Foxboro. Attleboro (0-1) will stay at home for the visit of Mansfield.
2018-2019 Record: 8-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
Attleboro was three wins shy of reaching the postseason last year, despite a roster filled with inexperienced players, and the Bombardiers demonstrated the potential in the squad by upsetting Franklin late in the season and handing the Panthers their only league loss. This winter, the Bombardiers will be looking to turn potential into reality and make a jump into the playoff picture.
Six players are returning from last year, including seniors Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall, who give Attleboro a talented backcourt on both ends of the court. Thomas adds length and slashing ability, while McCall is a sharpshooter who will be the team’s primary ball-handler. Sophomore Meg Gordon has taken a big leap from last year and head coach Marty Crowley thinks that she is ready for a breakout season on the wing.
Juniors Gabby Bosh and Emma Reilly will both be back to add some nous to the lineup, while sophomores Hailey and Lindsey Perry add grit and toughness. Junior Ryan Johnson will add size to the frontcourt, while sophomore Lillian Froio and juniors Jackie MacDonald and Laura McVeigh add depth and physicality. Overall, it is a much deeper, more experienced group for Crowley to build lineups with this season.
“For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound,” Crowley said. “Nyah and Liv I am sure are going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone, however, we feel as if we have the players in place who will contribute offensively.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-7 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Jim Choquette
Youth was served for the Bulldogs last season, as a talented trio of freshmen jumped into the starting lineup and helped Canton have one of its most successful seasons in program history, with 14 wins and a return to the state tournament. There were still some learning curves to overcome, but now a more experienced group is play with speed and get out on the break as often as possible to give Foxboro a challenge in the Davenport title race and bring home a postseason win.
Although Canton is still a relatively young team, the talent on the roster is undeniable. Sophomores Kiara Cerruti and Sydney and Fay Gallery all had impressive rookie campaigns, showing off their skills on the wing, from three-point range, and in the paint. They will face even more pressure this season, as teams know what they like to do and will be even more determined to take them out of their games.
Sophomore Carly Fitzgerald will be one of the players stepping into the point guard role vacated by the graduation of Julia Hamilton and will be the facilitator getting Canton into its offense. In the paint, Canton has size and athleticism in senior Lilah Milton and junior Kayla Albert, who are both active rebounders and finishers at the rim and both have shown the ability to knock down the occasional jumper as well. Juniors Angie Elias and Sam Lamarr and sophomore Annie Hoban all have experience from last year to add to Canton’s depth.
Canton coach Jim Choquette said, “Each day we will try to improve as a coaching staff and a program. By the end of the season, our hopes are to be playing at our best.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-3 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Lisa Downs
The two-time defending Davenport division champions return all but one player from last year’s roster, so Foxboro remains the team to beat for the league title and expectations are very high heading into a new season. After a trip to the Div. 2 South semifinals last season, the Warriors will be aiming for even more this winter, trying to regain the top spot not just in the Hock but also in the South sectional.
Junior Katelyn Mollica was the team’s leading scorer last year and is already closing in on 1,000 points for her career. The team’s primary ball-handler and one of the best shooters in the league, Mollica will be one of the top offensive threats in the league. She will have plenty of help. Senior guard Lizzy Davis and senior forwards Yara Fawaz and Abby Hassman will also return to the starting lineup this season and add athleticism, speed, and tenacity on both ends of the floor, taking some pressure off Mollica with their ability to score in the open court.
Senior Shakirah Ketant came on strong at the end of last season and gives Foxboro a different, more physical look in the paint. Junior Jordyn Collins is a tough on-the-ball defender and has speed to burn. Seniors Jamie DeVellis and Julia Kelley both saw time on the floor last year and will add to Foxboro’s depth. Sophomore center Hannah Blake is a new face that could provide more strength in the post.
“The Hockomock League continues to produce teams, which make every night a tough one – there are really no teams that you can take lightly,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “The preparation required to compete in this league really benefits teams that get to the postseason.”
2018-2019 Record: 21-4 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinal. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin is coming off its best season in program history and the Panthers have the talent returning to potentially surpass that success this winter. After winning the program’s first sectional title and coming within minutes of reaching the state title game, Franklin returns three of its starters and a host of bench players ready to step into bigger roles this year.
The key to it all is senior Ali Brigham. The George Washington-commit controlled the paint on both ends of the floor last season and remains the league’s most dominant star, as she continues to expand her game to make it even more difficult for the opposition. Teams can’t focus only on Brigham, as senior forward Meghan O’Connell showed in the playoffs the problems she can present with her ability to score and rebound and sophomore Olivia Quinn is another forward with size that teams will struggle to match up with.
Junior point guard Erin Quaile is a tenacious defender and a solid ball-handler, who is developing her outside shot. Senior Sydney Garilli and juniors Elizabeth Wilson, Teagan Collins, and Carissa Alers all saw time last season and will be in the backcourt rotation. Franklin will also add several newcomers, who could step right in and contribute, including juniors Katelynn Taylor and Kaleigh Houlihan and sophomores Emma Sousa and Stefany Padula. On balance, the Panthers look likely to be the team to beat again in the Kelley-Rex.
“I am excited by what I have seen to date,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “They are a very motivated group who have bought into their team motto ‘We Over Me.’ They are good teammates who seek team success over individual glory.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-8 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip had a breakout season in 2018-19, winning 13 games and reaching the Div. 1 South quarterfinal. Returning seven players from last year’s roster, new head coach Dan Nagle takes over a program in solid shape and is looking to build on last season’s success and try to challenge Franklin at the top of the league standings this winter.
Senior Faye Veilleux spearheaded KP’s breakout season when she emerged as one of the top post scorers in the league. Her versatility and her ability to get out in transition will be crucial to Nagle’s fastbreaking style. Senior Faith Roy will give the Warriors a clutch outside shooter and classmate Taylor Butler adds physicality to the guard or forward position.
Junior Emma Glaser will be expected to take on a bigger role after a strong sophomore season on the wing and junior point guard Brianna James demonstrated the ability to get into the lane at will and finish even against taller opponents. Juniors Caroline Aaron and Courtney Keswick are also back from last year to provide depth on the wings and 6-foot-3 freshman Emily Sawyer will give KP much-needed size in the post, as they try to combat Franklin’s Ali Brigham. The Warriors are going to try and break teams down with aggressive defending and their speed in transition.
Nagle said, “It has been a great start to the year with this group of kids. From top to bottom our roster is full of girls who love the game of basketball and are enjoying the process of improving day to day here in the early going. I think we will be a fun team to watch this season, and I look forward to the challenge of having our kids compete night in and night out in an excellent league like the Hockomock.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Mike Redding
Mansfield has consistently been one of the top programs in the Kelley-Rex division but even the best programs are going to need time to overcome the graduation of 10 seniors. The Hornets will lack experience, but head coach Mike Redding will be looking for improvement over the course of the season and will be hoping to have the team playing its best basketball as the tournament rolls around.
Senior Becca Hottleman was recently cleared after knee surgery and will be back at the point for the Hornets. Hottleman is one of only two players that got starts last year. Junior forward Ashley Santos is the other and she will be one of the players expected to see her numbers take a jump, as she should expect to get a few more looks on the offensive end. Senior Kelly Doherty and junior Kayla Vine will jump into starting roles on the wings, while junior Sara Dooling will be a starter at forward.
While there is a lack of varsity playing time on the roster, there are plenty of upperclassmen that will be expected to contribute. Junior Sarah Sacco will back-up Hottleman at the point, while junior Ally Prentis and senior Grace Benton will add depth at the wing. Senior Grace Maher and juniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking will see time in the frontcourt and freshman wing Abby Wager should get opportunities to build experience this season.
“This group has very limited varsity basketball experience overall because we had that large and talented group of 10 seniors last year, but we’re not young and will rely on senior leadership and a deep junior class and all have varsity experience in other sports,” said Redding. “We have good size and depth in the post and all of them can shoot, handle the ball, and play like guards, which should cause some problems for the defense. It will be a work in progress and we’ll have to battle for wins in a very good league but this will be a good basketball team by February when the tourney rolls around.”
2018-2019 Record: 1-19 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Last year was a tough one for Milford. After graduating the bulk of the roster, an inexperienced group struggled through the season, but never lost the work rate and closed out the winter with its first win. The Hawks are still relatively young, but head coach TJ Dolliver is approaching the new year with optimism because of his team’s continued growth.
Four juniors are entering their third varsity seasons and the Hawks will be counting on them to provide necessary leadership on and off the court. Emma Lawrence, Jillian Michelson, Carly Fereira, and Katie Maietta have all gotten plenty of playing time last year and the hope is that experience will serve them well this winter.
This will be a guard-heavy lineup, especially with no player over 5-foot-8. Junior Elise Fauerbach will add some physical play to the frontcourt and sophomore forward Jill Araujo is a newcomer that can add some depth in the paint.
“There is a lot to pay attention to but what I care about the most is how we do this together,” said Dolliver. “I have a great group of girls and a great coaching staff and I believe this season will be very rewarding.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Nikki Correia
It has been a tough run over the last few seasons for North Attleboro, which won seven games and missed the playoffs for the third straight year, but there are still positives to take away as former assistant Nikki Correia takes over for her first year in charge. North has several experienced players returning to try and push Big Red back up the standings.
The backcourt should be a plus for North with senior point guard Olivia Forbes back to run the show and keep the Rocketeers getting into the transition game that Correia prefers. She will be joined at the guard position by junior Amanda Kaiser, who emerged as not only a threat from deep but also as a tough defender who gets her hands into the passing lane. Juniors Siobhan Weir and Lydia Santos will add to the depth at guard to help with the full-court pressure that North will turn to this year.
North hasn’t had much height in the past few seasons, but there are several forwards who can compete on the glass. Senior forward Eliza Dion is an aggressive defender and can take her defender off the dribble. Senior Regan Fein will add extra depth in the paint. Freshman guard Ava McKeown and sophomore guard Summer Doherty are two newcomers that could make an instant impact.
“I am looking forward to being apart of watching this team and this program grow this year,” Correia said. “There are six returning seniors, so that veteran play will be very helpful, as well as returning a great shooter and adding an athletic sophomore and freshman to the mix.”
2018-2019 Record: 13-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames had a lot of new faces last year, but the success was very familiar. The Tigers finished with 13 wins and reached the Div. 1 South quarterfinal, giving Wellesley all it could handle on the road. A year of experience and the return of a strong core of players means expectations are even higher for OA this winter.
Sophomore Caroline Peper will be the player that is going to draw the most attention at the start of the new season. As a freshman, Peper was one of the league’s top scorers and its top shooters. Junior Caroline Flynn was also an all-star last year. She runs the point, is one of the top passers on the team, and also one of its top rebounders. Her overall game helps the Tigers control games. Also in the backcourt will be seniors Meg Holleran and Erin Holmberg, who is coming back after surgery cost her almost all of last season.
Senior Tate Hadges will be on the front line, giving OA another strong defender and rebounder. Sophomore Hailey Bourne, while undersized, gives the Tigers a lot of effort in the post even when matched up against some of the best frontcourt players in the league. Junior Jess Erlich and Tori Harney and sophomore Anna Murphy will add to the team’s depth on the wing.
“As always, the Hock will present with a very high level of competition,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We are looking forward to being capable of putting together a variety of strong personnel combinations which will provide us with depth as we face those challenges.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sandra Lombardi
Sharon narrowly missed out on its first playoff appearance under head coach Sandy Lombardi, finishing just one win away from a tournament berth. With three returning starters and several younger players who got significant playing time last year, the Eagles will be eyeing that elusive postseason berth.
Three seniors will be counted on to lead the team at both ends of the floor. Point guard Ally Brown will be expected to get the Eagles into their offensive sets and is a strong defender on the other end, keeping pressure on the perimeter. Shooting guard Kaitlyn Wallace is the team’s top outside threat, stretching the defense with her range and also being a strong passer off the dribble. Forward Telishya Herbert led the team in scoring last year and is a matchup nightmare in the paint with her aggressive play going to the basket.
The starting lineup will be rounded out by junior Leah Fandel and sophomore Trinity Payne, two athletic forwards that will give Sharon decent size on the front line. Senior Nicole Teven, juniors Julia Early and Gaby Cabral and freshman Tess Letendre will all see plenty of playing time this season and will look to contribute to the team’s success.
“Ally, Kaitlyn, and Telishya have the most varsity experience and I expect great things from them this year,” Lombardi said. “We have a young team and I am hoping some of the younger players are able to step up this year as well.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
A new era will begin this winter, as Stoughton moves into its brand new gym with a lot of new faces on the roster, hoping to get the Black Knights back into the playoff race this season after missing out on the tournament last year.
The key for the Black Knights will be its senior leadership. Although Sydnee Hyacinthe has moved on to Milton Academy, they still return a strong core led by senior Aliyah Wright. The point guard can be a dominant presence on both ends of the floor, sparking Stoughton on defense and breaking down the opposition off the dribble. Senior Shyanne Trinh is healthy to start the season and will be the team’s top outside threat, with the ability to knock down shots off the dribble. Senior forward Lexi Baptista is an athletic post threat who can also step back and knock down the mid-range jumper.
Senior Hannah Pagano and juniors Brooke Bulger, Mackenzie Manning, and Catherine Downey will add to the team’s depth, especially in the backcourt. Sophomore Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and freshman Kyla Sheedy-Goff will be two of the newcomers to the roster that could make a name for themselves this season.
“Despite being somewhat young this season this group of ladies worked really hard in the off-season,” said Stoughton coach Charmain Steele Jordan. “The sky is the limit this season and our Black Knights are going compete hard until the final whistle blows.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-15 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
After a number of seasons under coach Walter Harrigan, Taunton has turned to former King Philip coach Amy Siggens this year and she has brought plenty of energy into her first preseason with the Tigers, trying to push the program back into the playoff hunt.
As Siggens and the players become more comfortable with each other, the Tigers will count on their returning starters to get things off to a good start. Juniors Sonya and Jaelyn Fernandez and Kelsey White will be the players to watch this season after strong sophomore campaigns. All three have good size, with both Sonya and Jaelyn providing strong presences on the boards and out on the break and White causing match-up issues on the perimeter. All three will need to step up on the defensive end and keep the Tigers running.
Taunton also has depth, although it will be relatively inexperienced. Seniors Liz Crisman and Jaylah Chaves and junior Tori DaRosa will add more depth in the backcourt. Sophomores Braeley McDonald and Abby Souza (who has helped out on varsity since she was an eighth-grader) and freshman Kameron St. Pierre will also chip in this season.
“Any coaching change brings lots of challenges and, this season, we will be faced with our share,” said Siggens. “I am very encouraged from what I’ve seen thus far. Our bench is young and talented but how quickly a good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start.”
Last season, Canton needed a dramatic, overtime win against Weymouth in the regular season finale to end a seven-year state tournament drought. One day short of a full year later and the Bulldogs welcomed the Wildcats for this year’s regular season finale in second place in the Davenport division and several weeks after securing a much quicker return to the state tournament.
The Wildcats would make Tuesday night’s game interesting, cutting the Canton lead down from as many as 16 in the second half to just three points in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs closed on a 9-3 run to earn the 57-48 victory. It was the 14th win of the season for Canton, which is the program’s highest win total in at least 23 years.
“From the beginning, the whole team has had their sights set on having a great postseason,” Canton coach Jim Choquette explained. “Last year, we were happy to make it there, which we were able to accomplish, and this year I know the girls are excited to try and make a good run and trying to play our best at the end of the year and extend the season as long as possible.”
Canton also celebrated senior night on Tuesday and, as Choquette is quick to point out, the graduating class has made great strides over the past four years. As freshmen, the current seniors went 6-14. They have now flipped that record completely, made back-to-back playoff appearances, and are the program’s winningest class in two decades.
“It’s awesome,” said senior Julia Hamilton. “It’s pretty amazing to me. Everyone’s put in so much hard work to come this far and prove to everyone else that we deserve to be in the tournament and one of the teams that people have to watch out for.”
On senior night, Nicole Galvin, who has been injured this season, was able to take the floor for the opening tip. Her classmates then took over to put Canton in front early.
With Weymouth ahead 10-7, senior Molly Ludwig drove to the basket for a layup to cut the lead to one. On the following possession, senior Maggie Connolly (four assists) kicked it out to Hamilton for the first of her two threes in the first quarter. That put the Bulldogs up 12-10 and they wouldn’t trail again.
Freshman Kiara Cerruti (team-high 14 points) scored on a drive to the basket and senior Erin Devine (eight points and five rebounds) followed with a basket off one of Hamilton’s six assists. Hamilton then nailed her second triple to make it 19-14 and Ludwig closed the quarter with her second basket for a six-point lead, 21-15.
Fay Gallery scored to start the second quarter, extending the lead to eight, but the Wildcats rallied with seven straight points to get back within one. Canton closed the half on a 9-0 run to take back control. Devine started the run with a layup off a Sydney Gallery (eight points) pass and then Fay Gallery got free in transition for a layup. Cerruti nailed a three and Sydney Gallery got an open look off an inbounds play to push the Canton lead to double digits at the break.
The second half started like the first, with Canton in control. Connolly and Lilah Milton got baskets to start the third and a Sydney Gallery steal and layup pushed the lead to 40-24, but Weymouth bounced back with an 8-0 run to end the quarter.
The run extended to 11-0 thanks to a Kerin McCarthy three-point play to start the fourth, but Sydney Gallery answered with an offensive rebound and score. After a Weymouth basket, Connolly got free in transition and Kayla Albert knocked down a jumper on an inbounds play.
“The four times we’ve played Weymouth their fourth quarter finish has been outstanding,” said Choquette. “One thing we said during one of the timeouts was don’t try and hang on and win this, we really need to finish the game and that was a nice change.”
He added, “A lot of it just comes down to execution. We had an inbounds play where we executed terribly and they got a five-second call on it. We got the ball back and ran an offensive play where we executed perfectly and got a layup. How well we can execute will determine how well we do in the tournament.”
Weymouth again got the lead to just three points at 48-45, but Fay Gallery responded with a drive down the lane for two and then a three off a Hamilton drive and dish. A pair of free throws by Cerruti and a layup for Sydney Gallery clinched the win in the final minute.
Canton (14-6, 11-5) will be in the top half of the Div. 2 bracket and will find out its seed on Friday.
Hamilton said, “It’s our responsibility [as seniors] to show more leadership and the experience that we have from the playoffs last year. As long as everyone keeps working hard, it’s just a team game…It’s really exciting and it’s my senior year and I don’t want this to end.”
CANTON, Mass. – King Philip kept fighting back in the second half, closing the gap to as little as five points in the fourth quarter, but for the second time in three games Canton went to the free throw line and sealed a victory.
Five days before, Canton came from behind to beat division rival Stoughton with nine free throws in the final minutes. On Tuesday night, at home, the Bulldogs were at it again, shooting 11-of-12 at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter to hold off the Warriors and pull out a 53-41 victory. It is a fourth straight victory for Canton.
“It’s tough for other teams because if they foul one girl she’s making her free throws and if they foul another girl, she’s hitting her free throws,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “We’re doing a good job moving the ball, getting it to the right girls at the right times and the girls are really doing it – they’re executing from the line and it’s obviously something that puts us in situations to win.”
The Warriors needed to come from behind with a strong fourth quarter to beat Taunton last time out and got off to another tough start on Tuesday. Canton jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the first quarter. Julia Hamilton scored six of her game-high 14 points in that run, knocking down a pair of three-pointers, and freshman Fay Gallery scored five of her 13 points to get Canton off to the perfect start.
“Frustration got us,” said KP coach Amy Siggens about the tough start. “If someone misses a shot, they’re young kids and we’re teaching them that you have to move on and get over it and it’s been a struggle. We had a 14-day break and we’ve been on the road since and it’s been tough.”
KP did cut into the lead as leading scorer Faye Veilleux (14 points and 12 rebounds) knocked down a corner three and then a pull-up jumper in transition, but Lilah Milton’s offensive rebound and putback put the Bulldogs up 17-9 after one.
The second quarter was a defensive struggle. Kiara Cerruti (10 points) nailed a three off a Hamilton assist to start the scoring but Canton managed only eight points in the quarter. Gallery also hit a three and Erin Devine scored on an offensive rebound, but that was all.
Despite the lack of scoring, Canton extended its lead by a couple of points because its defense held the Warriors to just six points in the second. Caroline Aaron scored on a back-cut and nice dish from Emma Glaser and then Faith Roy (five points) drilled a three, but it was a 10-point lead for Canton at the break.
Things picked up offensively for both teams in the third quarter. Cerruti started the third with a three but KP cut the lead down to just eight. Catherine Cummings, Glaser, Julia Leroux, and Taylor Butler all scored buckets to get the lead down to single digits.
“We came back into it in the second half,” Siggens said. “I was impressed with how they came out and fought for it a little more than we did in the first half. We saw some different combinations and we’re still figuring it out day to day and see what works.”
Cerruti scored off a steal and then Hamilton drilled another one from beyond the arc to get the Bulldogs back on track and give them an 11-point cushion heading to the fourth.
KP scored the first six points of the final quarter, as the game got even more frenetic. Veilleux scored twice and Butler knocked down a jumper to make it 38-33. Canton answered right back with a 6-0 run. Hamilton sank a pair at the line, Sydney Gallery (six points) got a layup, and Fay Gallery (five steals) got an offensive rebound and scored.
Choquette explained, ,”One of the strengths for us this season is different people doing different things during games. Kiara has led us in scoring a number of games and tonight she guarded Roy and held her scoreless in the second half. [Roy’s] having an amazing year and I told Kiara that this was a terrific defensive performance.”
Brianna James scored and got fouled. She missed the free throw but KP got the offensive board and Veilleux swung it around to Courtney Keswick for a basket. Trailing by nine, Veilleux managed to fire a pass from halfcourt to James for another layup. It was KP’s last basket.
“It really comes down to fundamentals,” said Siggens. “They’re a great team, they outplayed us and they out-hustled us.”
Sydney Gallery and Maggie Connolly (nine rebounds and four steals) each hit a pair at the line and Canton walked away with a fourth victory in the last seven days.
“This is our fourth game in seven days, so towards the end of the game I’m not surprised if people are a little tired,” Choquette said. “We come out and do wonderful things and then get a little tired, which is why I think one of the strengths of our team is the entire team, it’s 13 girls, it’s the bench, it’s everyone coming in and contributing.”
Canton (5-2) will try to keep the momentum going on Friday night at Sharon, while King Philip (4-2) will try to bounce back at Attleboro.