The Tigers had one of those spurts to open the final quarter, putting up six straight points to go ahead by a point, 39-38. But Foxboro had a response, orchestrating a 14-5 run over the next three minutes to seize control and grab a 56-49 win over Taunton.
“Throughout the first three quarters, we got some good looks but didn’t make them,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I don’t think we did anything different [in the fourth] but luckily we have some really talented players on this team that stepped up and knocked them down. Kevin [Gallagher] and Brandon [Borde] stepped up and hit some huge, huge threes when we really needed them.”
Foxboro held a 36-33 advantage going into the final quarter and extended it to 38-33, but Taunton rattled off a 6-0 run to take the lead. Senior Wesner Charles scored down low on a feed from senior Michael Quinn, and senior John Martins converted a fast break after Quinn caused a turnover. Senior Lou Vendrell (12 points) cashed in on a steal to put Taunton up 39-38.
But as quickly as its lead disappeared, sophomore Kevin Gallagher gave the hosts the lead back. Gallagher drained a three, and junior Will Morrison hauled in a defensive rebound on the other end while being fouled, sinking two free throws to make it 43-39 with 3:54 to play.
Taunton answered with a three from Quinn to get within one, but just seconds later, junior Brandon Borde (19 points) drilled a three on a feed from Morrison to keep the Warriors up. After getting a stop on the defensive end, Gallagher sank a deep triple to make it 49-42.
Junior Dante Law (13 points) scored in traffic to make it a five-point game, but Borde sank another three on the other end to make it 52-44 with 1:51 to go.
The Tigers didn’t go quietly as Law finished at the rim and drew an offensive foul on the inbounds. Taunton cashed in on a second chance three from Vendrell to make it a three-point game, 52-49, with 30 seconds left.
Foxboro was initially trapped in the backcourt but used a timeout, got the ball in successfully and senior Anthony Mollica eventually sank both ends of a one-and-one to extend the lead to 54-49. The Warriors got another stop and Borde hit two free throws to seal it.
“We have good shooters on this team,” Gibbs said. “We finally had a game at home where we’re shooting on the rims we shoot on every day at practice. These guys bury shots in practice, and we always tell them to shoot with confidence. It was nice to see some of them knock those shots down in the second half and hopefully, we can keep them going and get some guys in a rhythm.”
Taunton had leads in three of the four quarters, including the final frame, but couldn’t put together a run to turn a small lead into a large advantage.
“Ball movement and defense, the magic formula,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “There was a lot of it for them and a lack of it from us. We have guys that want to do it themselves too much. They kept moving the ball, moving the ball and we’d have a lousy close out, or we left a gap open, and they took advantage of it.”
After scoring the first two points of the game, Taunton watched as Foxboro went on a 12-2 run for the rest of the quarter. The Tigers didn’t help themselves with four missed layups. Borde had five points in the opening frame, and Mollica hit a triple to give Foxboro a big lead early.
The second quarter was a different story as Taunton had a run to get back into the game. The Tigers opened with a 12-0 run, highlighted by points from five different players. Law hit a three, sophomore Tyler Stewart converted in close, Martins and Quinn each scored, and Vendrell capped the run on a nice pass from Law.
But Foxboro closed the quarter with a 7-0 burst, including a late three-point play from Mollica to give the Warriors a 23-21 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Foxboro extended its lead to seven when Gallagher hit a triple after an offensive rebound from junior Ryan Hughes (11 points), up 30-23. Taunton outscored the Warriors 10-6 the rest of the rest to make it a one-possession game going into the fourth.
“Our guys battled,” Gibbs said. “We knew coming into the game we needed to win the physical battle, really rebound strong. We know that Taunton is a phenomenal offensive rebounding team, they attack the glass from every position. We had our guards ready and in a mindset that they had to be physical. And I think that carried over to our post defense and made them take some tough shots.”
Foxboro boys basketball (1-2 Hockomock, 1-2 overall) is back in action on Friday night when it hosts Bishop Feehan. Taunton (2-1, 2-1) will try to bounce back when it hosts city rival Coyle & Cassidy on Thursday.