Oliver Ames Surges Past Taunton In Second Half

Oliver Ames boys basketball
Oliver Ames’ Carter Evin (right) drives to the basket in the first half against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron looked up at the scoreboard and felt a little bit of deja vu as his side took on Taunton.

Just like the first meeting, his team had a 12 point lead with the fourth quarter set to begin. In the first game, Taunton roared back to erase that deficit and get the win.

Not this time around.

Oliver Ames kept its lead throughout the final period, walking away with a 73-61 win and a berth in the Division 2 State Tournament. It marks the eighth straight year under Byron that the Tigers are postseason bound.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA broke the game open with a big third quarter. After taking a one-point lead (39-38) into the locker room at halftime, the visitors doubled up Taunton with a 22-11 third quarter.

“They shot very, very well in the first half — and from deep,” Byron said. “Even if you tell the kids they can shoot from very deep, the kids take some time to adjust. I thought we did a better job on that in the second half, I thought cut down on the penetration more and when we did that, the kick outs weren’t there as much.”

Taunton hit an impressive nine three pointers (of 13 total field goals made) in the first half but were limited to just four in the second half. Taunton went just 1/7 from deep in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Oliver Ames was an efficient 9/14 from the floor, getting all of its offense from its starting lineup.

Nick Welch (19 points, four assists) hit a layup, Carter Evin (16 points, six rebounds), Dylan Mahoney (17 points, seven rebounds) converted in the post and Jack Spillane (19 points, four rebounds) grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a put back to put Taunton up 48-41.

“We didn’t want to look at it as having to get one out of five games left, we wanted to look at it just one game at a time,” Welch said of earning the playoff berth. “We didn’t get it Friday against Attleboro so we were extra motivated to get it tonight. It was a good win against a good team.

Another three point play from Evin — who found a home in the post against Taunton’s defense — a three from Welch, two more from Evin, a trifecta from Spillane and suddenly Oliver Ames had a 59-45 lead late in the third quarter.

“We wanted to play inside-out,” Byron said. “I thought Carter and Dylan did some good stuff on the block. And Nick’s been terrific…the whole year but specifically the second half of the season.

“[Taunton] plays small. We have chase guys on the perimeter on the defensive end and maybe that’s a disadvantage for us but we’re not particularly big. We really have five perimeter guys out there. Carter’s a little bit bigger but he’s really just a stretched out three, Mahoney the same thing. We wanted to play inside out though so it helped with our size.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The visitors deployed a press coming out of halftime. Although it didn’t force any turnovers, it wasn’t designed to. Instead, it was aimed to slowing Taunton down.

“That’s what it’s for,” Byron said. “We didn’t want them screaming up and down the court. It’s designed to keep the game at a pace that we’re comfortable in. If we can get a trap on the side and get a turnover, it’s a bonus.”

Oliver Ames led 61-49 going into the fourth quarter.

“I think it was almost the same lead. We talked about how we had been here before but we weren’t going to do what we did the last time,” Welch said. “We just took that message and went out and got it done. They can get hot quickly so we had to contain the three point line and we wanted to keep the lead at 10.

“All five of our starters can hit the three. Then Carter and Dylan can get down low, getting offensive rebounds. It distracts the defense a little, my man has to help, Jack’s man has to help so it gives us an extra step to get the shots off.”

Taunton cut the deficit to nine early in the fourth quarter on a three from Dimitri Barbosa and then to eight on a free throw from freshman Dante Law (19 points, nine rebounds) but that would be as close as the home side would get.

Evin pushed it back to 10 with a nice move in the post and OA’s defense kept Taunton off the board for three minutes. A three from Spillane extended the lead to 13 with 3:21 to play only for Taunton’s Tommy MacLean (nine points, six rebounds, six assists) to answer with a three of his own.

“You have to get to Mahoney, you have to get to Spillane, you have to get to them all…and we didn’t,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “And then we came down the other end and we panicked. We were looking for the five point shot. It was not wise basketball for us on either end of the floor.

“[The nine three pointers in the first half] was fools gold. You’re not going to win the game from the three point line, I don’t care who you are. We got seduced by that and started taking the quick early threes rather than working it.

Oliver Ames’ defense was able to limit Taunton to 23 points in the second half after surrendering 38 to the hosts in the opening half.

“We’ve had good games with Taunton but we haven’t beaten them in the last couple of years,” Byron said. “We had the buzzer beater [two years ago], the last one was a one possession game at the end. We didn’t do much right in the fourth quarter the first game. It was remarkably similar tonight. It was essentially the same difference going into the fourth quarter. It was an easier sell to tell the kids to keep the focus because Taunton can score in bunches.”

Sophomore Luis Vendrell added 19 points for Taunton while Barbosa finished with eight.

Oliver Ames boys basketball (11-8 overall, 9-6) will try to improve its record for tournament seeding on Friday with a visit to Kelley-Rex champion Mansfield Hornets. Taunton (13-7, 8-7) looks to bounce back with a trip to Attleboro on the same night.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/10/17

Today’s games are listed below. We will update this post with any changes based on the information we receive.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 67 @ Oliver Ames, 61 – FinalOliver Ames made a push in the second half with 24 points in the third quarter, and took a 53-46 lead, but the Bombardiers battled back to get the win an earn a postseason berth. Nate Douglas scored a career-high 16 points while Jake Dunkley also added 16 points for the Bombardiers. Lucas Boucicaut added 13 points in the win. Oliver Ames senior Nick Welch had a game-high 20 points while Jack Spillane and Carter Evin each had 13 points and Dylan Mahoney added 11 points.

Milford, 48 @ Foxboro, 55 – FinalMilford took an 11-10 lead after the first quarter but it Foxboro seized control in the second quarter and never looked back. The Warriors took a 29-25 lead by halftime but then relied on a late surge in the third quarter to create separation. Andrew Block dropped a career-high 20 points, including two threes late in the third. Mark Clagg also hit a three in the third to help the Warriors get the separation. Joe Morrison added 12 points and Jamaine Few chipped in with 11 points. Milford’s Anthony Arcudi had a team-high 17 points while Zack Tamagni and Kayden Kelley each had 10 points.

Mansfield, 60 @ Franklin, 43 – FinalClick here for a recap of the game.

King Philip, 63 @ Taunton, 64 – FinalTaunton freshman Dante Law hit a three pointer at the buzzer to lift the Tigers over the Warriors. Law (18 points) took a pass from sophomore Luis Vendrell (13 points), who drove the lane before kicking it out to Law. Vendrell had the tying bucket for the Tigers, converting an outlet pass from Tommy MacLean (12 points) to knot the game with 12 seconds to play. KP’s Seth Sullivan scored a pair of free throws to put the Warriors ahead but Law’s buzzer beater.

North Attleboro, 66 @ Stoughton, 56 – FinalNorth Attleboro had its two leading scorers come alive in the final quarter. Brent Doherty (six rebounds) scored 11 of his 21 points and Jonny Friberg (10 rebounds) netted eight of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Rocketeers qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2011. North Attleboro took a 43-42 lead into the final quarter but outscored the Black Knights 23-14 in the frame. Senior Kyle McCarthy (10 rebounds) helped carry Big Red in the middle quarters, totaling 10 of his 12 points between the second and third quarters. Stoughton’s Cam Gomes had a team-high 17 points while Matt Valle added 14 points and Ryan Sullivan finished with 10 points.

Girls Basketball
Oliver Ames, 55 @ Attleboro, 50 – FinalOliver Ames junior Kayla Raymond scored 20 of her career-high 31 points in the second half to lead the Tigers to a season sweep of the Bombardiers. Oliver Ames held a 25-19 advantage at half but Attleboro took a slim lead early in the fourth quarter. But Oliver Ames was able to battle back to earn the win. Raymond also had 10 rebounds while Hannah Carroll added 12 points and Niyera Mitchell registered 12 rebounds. “It was a great defensive effort,” said OA head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook.

Foxboro, 54 @ Milford, 33 – FinalAshley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 19 points and Lily Sykes added 12 for Foxboro, which remained in a first place tie with North Attleboro.

Franklin, 37 @ Mansfield, 59 – FinalThe Hornets sealed the outright Kelley-Rex division title with the victory. It is the third league title in program history and first time that the Hornets have won back-to-back championships. Meg Hill scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Mansfield, while Jen Peel scored 18 points and had six assists and Ann Maher scored 11 points. Franklin was led by freshman Ali Brigham’s 11 points and also got nine points from senior Carli Koffinke.

Taunton, 30 @ King Philip, 54 – FinalKP was led by sophomore Julia Leroux, who finished with 18 points, and classmate Shannon O’Connor, who tallied 11 points. Jess Regan was the top scorer for the Tigers with nine points.

Stoughton, 25 @ North Attleboro, 48 – FinalCaroline Collard had 13 points to lead the Rocketeers, who stay in a first place tie with Foxboro with the win. Val Whalen was the top scorer for Stoughton with 11 points.

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro @ State Championships (@ Newton North) – Attleboro placed fifth overall with a score of 142.95.

Law, Vendrell Help Taunton Bounce Back At Stoughton

Taunton boys basketball
Taunton freshman Dante Law puts up a shot in the second half at Stoughton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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STOUGHTON, Mass. – Taunton sophomore Luis Vendrell kept his team afloat in the first half and freshman Dante Law took control in the second half to lead the Tigers to an 80-61 win at Stoughton.

Vendrell scored 11 big his career-high 17 points in the first half as the Tigers took a 32-29 lead into half. Law – who drained a three before the halftime buzzer to give the Tigers that slim lead – went on to score 15 of his career-high 22 points in the second half.

It was a stark comparison in performances for Taunton, who were limited to just 36 points on Monday in a game at Franklin.

“It was better [than Monday] but we are just not doing a good job rebounding,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “With our size, OK that’s an issue but still you have to lay a body on someone and keep them off the boards. It’s almost like they saw our game on Monday, decided to sell out on the boards and send six, seven guys on the boards.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After a back and forth first quarter – a period that featured five lead changes and three ties – the Tigers held 14-11 lead. A three from Tommy MacLean (nine points, eight assists, four steals, four rebounds) stretched Taunton’s to six but Stoughton rattled off a quick 6-0 run to tie the game again.

The teams traded baskets until the final seconds, when Law drained his free throw just before the buzzer off an inbounds play.

The teams stayed within possession or two of each other for the first half of the third quarter and Colin Sanda’s (career-high 13 points, five rebounds) bucket brought Stoughton within three, 40-37 with just under fourth minutes to go.

But that’s when Taunton was able to gain some separation, rattling off a 14-4 run to conclude the quarter. Freshman Naz Kenian (11 points) got the run going, Law drained a three and Vendrell drove the lane for a quick 7-0 spurt. Stoughton freshman Ajahn Rue converted a three point play for the Black Knights but Vendrell got back to back baskets inside the final minute and Law beat the buzzer once again with another three to hand Taunton a 54-41 lead through three.

“The threes loosened it up a bit for us,” Dacey said. “But our gym is such a comfort zone for us. We play so differently. This gym and Attleboro are the two bugaboos for us.” Taunton shot just 6/22 from three (26/45 from 2PT).

The Tigers had their best offensive quarter of the game in the fourth, dropping 26 points.

Stoughton cut the lead to nine with three minutes to play but Taunton responded with a 9-0 run to put the game out of reach. Kenian drained a three, Lens Esquil (14 points, 10 rebounds) converted a layup and a pair of three throws and Vendrell his a pair of free throws to put the Tigers up 73-55.

Matt Valle added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Black Knights while sophomore Josh Cocchi chipped in with a career-high 10 points. Cam Gomes had eight points and eight rebounds.

Taunton boys basketball (12-6 overall, 7-6 Hockomock) is scheduled to be back in action on Friday when they host King Philip. The Warriors won the first matchup 70-51. Stoughton (3-12, 2-11) will host North Attleboro on the same night.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Late Comeback Propels Taunton Past Oliver Ames

By Anthony Rinaldi, HockomockSports.com Contributor

NORTH EASTON, Mass.- The Taunton boy’s basketball team went on a 14-3 run in the fourth quarter to erase an eight point deficit and beat Oliver Ames on Tuesday night in Nixon Gymnasium.

The game really picked up in the third quarter. Down 28-20 at the half, Taunton came out with an 8-0 run in the first minute of the quarter to tie the game. Coming out of an OA timeout, senior Nick Welch (17 points) hit a three to put OA up three.

Oliver Ames took a 51-42 lead into the final quarter, but Taunton surged back. Down 56-48, Taunton’s Tommy MacLean and Dante Law (from MacLean) hit back to back threes and a free throw from Lens Esquil cut the deficit to one.

After a stop, Luis Vendrell took the ball down the floor and drove to the basket to give Taunton a 57-56 lead with 2:20 to go. From there it was defense and foul shots. Taunton hit three free throws to go up 60-56 before a deep three from Dylan Mahoney cut it to one. MacLean hit two more free throws to go up by three and Taunton forced a turnover in the final seconds to ice the game.

Rebounding and strong defensive effort helped the visiting Tigers turn the game around.

When asked what changed for them defensively Dacey said, “We just picked up the intensity. That was it, there was nothing by the way of X’s and O’s, it was just let’s get up let’s pick up the intensity. Sometimes it is that simple.”

When talking about Taunton out rebounding OA in the fourth quarter Dacey said, “I thought that’s where the game changed.”

Oliver Ames’ original lead stemmed from a hot third quarter from Welch. The senior went a perfect 4/4 from three point range, scoring 12 of his 17 points in the third.

“He’s done a lot for us this year,” OA coach Don Byron said of Welch, “He’s pretty much making every decision for us over 32 minutes. He’s been very very good for us all year.”

Taunton also shared the basketball well against a tough 2-3 zone, having three players in double figures: MacLean with a team-high 14 points, freshman Law with 13 points and Vendrell with 12 points.

“That’s what we have to do. We share the ball we’re fine. On the days we’ve struggled we haven’t shared the ball enough. But tonight we did that well,” Dacey said.

For Oliver Ames, Dylan Mahoney led all scorers with 22 points and Jack Spillane added 15 points.

Taunton (7-4, 3-4 league) looks to make it two in a row when they face Attleboro at home Friday night at 6:30 while Oliver Ames (6-5 4-3 league) looks to bounce back against Mansfield at home the same night.

Mansfield Pulls Away From Taunton In Division Clash

By Jarett Leonard, HockomockSports.com Contributor

MANSFIELD, Mass. — After allowing Taunton to climb back from an early first quarter deficit, Mansfield slowly extended their lead and ran away from the Tigers, 63-46, on Friday night.

The Hornets jumped out a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and after Taunton got back within a point in the second, John McCoy and Sam Goldberg shut the door on a possible comeback.

“Other than the final two and a half minutes, I was never really comfortable with the lead,” Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said. “We had opportunities that we didn’t capitalize to put them away and we let them keep lingering. In high school basketball if you people to linger and they hit shots, they can make anything.”

With the Tigers within a point early in the second quarter, Goldberg and McCoy hit back-to-back baskets while Phil Vigeant hit a three and added two more to give the Hornets a 30-22 lead at the half.

In the third, Goldberg continued to have the hot hand, scoring six points as Mansfield went into the final frame with a 10-point advantage. In both the first and third quarters, the Hornets came out of the room and quickly went on a run.

“It’s always important anytime you have a chance to talk about things and reorganize and get everyone’s thought process going,” Vaughan said of his team’s success early in each half. “It’s equally concerning on the flip side that we’re giving up a counter run. Basketball is a game of runs, and you want to sustain runs and then minimize their runs.”

Taunton’s aggressive yet sloppy play combined with Mansfield’s efficient rebounding allowed the Hornets to run away with the game, aided by McCoy’s eight points in the fourth quarter.

“I thought our execution on both ends of the floor was subpar,” Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey said. “When you don’t execute defensively against a good team, they score. When you don’t execute offensively against a good team, you don’t score. It’s kind of a truism in basketball.”

Following a timeout down 7-0 midway through the first quarter, Taunton staged a run to get back in the game. Dante Law hit a three pointer, Lens Esquil added two points and Luis Vendrell made a free throw to cut the lead to a point. Malik Charles and Law again helped Taunton to within a point in the second before Mansfield increased their lead.

“All year it seems like we’ve gone on some early quarter or early half runs but they’ve been able to counter it to keep it somewhat in striking distance,” Vaughan said. “We’ve really got to get better at closing those gaps and making sure that we’re getting those things done as a team where we minimize those runs coming out of the quarter.”

McCoy led all players with 17 points while Goldberg had 14 points and seven rebounds and Vigeant had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Despite the lopsided win, Vaughan said there is still room for improvement.

“We’re still missing on some key opportunities,” he said. “There are some glaring things that have to get better as the season goes on, how efficient we are on offense and trying to find our identity and making sure that everyone’s getting touches.”

For Taunton, Tommy MacLean scored 14 points while Esquil and Law each added 10. Without a prolific singular talent that the Tigers have benefitted from over the past several seasons, Dacey said his team has to change its style to succeed.

“We don’t have the superstar, we’re not going to turn people loose, we have to run our stuff to get good shot,” he said. “It’s a team sport. Mansfield plays it as a team sport and we have to learn to play it as a team sport. Our early schedule has certainly not done us any favors by way of learning, and now all of a sudden it catches up to us.”

With the win, Mansfield improves to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the Hockomock League and will host Attleboro on Monday at 6:30 p.m. Taunton, now 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the league, will host Franklin the same night.

Balanced Attack Helps Taunton Sink New Bedford

Taunton boys basketball
Taunton junior Tyler Medeiros goes up for a shot in the second quarter against New Bedford. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – It wasn’t a perfect game, and at times it was far from pretty but an inexperienced Taunton team still came away with a 65-46 road win at New Bedford.

With just one player back with any legitimate varsity experience this year, things have been a bit inconsistent for the Tigers through the three games thus far this season. It was more of the same on Thursday night.

“It came in spurts, it’s in our DNA – we are schizophrenic,” Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey said. “The kids are still figuring themselves out, they don’t all have a ton of confidence so they’re tentative when they should go, and they go when they should be tentative. It’s about experience and how fast can we get it? We’re just not at the level we want to be at yet.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

A pair of New Bedford free throws brought the Whalers within one with just under two minutes to play in the first quarter. That’s when Taunton’s offense came back to life, rattling off a 7-0 run to end the frame. Luis Vendrell hit one free throw and then freshmen Naz Kenian and Dante Law connected on three pointers in the final minute – both on on a pass from Tommy MacLean – to take a 19-11 after the first quarter.

That cushion gave the Tigers a little room for error, which they needed in the second quarter. MacLean, who had six points and three assists at the time, was whistled for his second foul, forcing him too the bench.

Dacey elected to put in 6’4 junior Tyler Medeiros and the Tigers made him the focal point of the offense. While Taunton’s defense held up its end of the bargain, holding the Whalers to just nine points in the quarter, the offense was able to come up with just 11 points. However, Medeiros was responsible for six of those, going 3/5 from the field to keep the Tigers ahead, 30-20 at the break.

“We had to get points, he was able to carry us over,” Dacey said of Medeiros. “With Tommy out of the game, points have to come from somewhere. Tyler did a nice job tonight.”

Taunton’s offense was back at it again in the third quarter, dropping 18 points in the frame. New Bedford pulled within six early in the second half at 32-26. The Tigers rattled off an 8-0 run in just over a minute, with MacLean driving to the basket on to start and finish the run.

MacLean finished with a team-high 15 points and seven assists.

“He’s the guy out there,” Dacey said of MacLean. “He has a high basketball IQ and he has to demonstrate that because with the inexperience with the other players comes a lower basketball IQ. They’re working hard, they’re playing hard but we’re making too many mistakes still.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Back to back threes from Kenian followed by a take from Law stretched Taunton’s lead to 48-28 in the final minute of the third quarter.

While Taunton held that lead for the majority of the final quarter, the Whalers did make a small run to get within 14 but Lens Esquil (eight points, nine rebounds) converted a put back and then took a feed from MacLean for another basket.

Kenian finished with nine points and three rebounds, Medeiros had 10 points and five rebounds and Law had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. John Martins added six points, four assists and three rebounds.

“It’s a learning experience, that’s the way we look at it,” Dacey said. “It’s a chance for us to get more experience.”

Taunton (3-1, 2-1) will be back in action after the holiday when they travel to Durfee High School for the Skip Karam Tournament to take on Hope.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boys Basketball: 2016-17 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Mansfield boys basketball
(Tom Madigan/Photo).

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2015-2016 Record: 7-15
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Houle

After missing out on the playoffs a year ago, Attleboro will be relying on its senior leadership to try and earn a trip to the state tournament.

Captains Jake Dunkley and Andrew Milliken will help anchor the team along with classmates Lucas Boucicaut, Berlyns Abraham and Robby Peirce. Dunkley was the second leading scorer in the league last year with 18 points per game while Milliken is another top scoring option for the Bombardiers.

Boucicaut and junior Nate Douglas will pair up in the backcourt while freshman Bryant Ciccio will likely see plenty of minutes after his performance on opening night on Friday. Abraham provides length and athleticism down low and can make life difficult in the post for opponents.

“We need to defend and rebound to create transition opportunities and execute with a focus on details,” Attleboro head coach Mark Houle said. “Our strength will be our senior leadership.”

Franklin

2015-2016 Record: 19-5
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D1 Central Final
Coach: CJ Neely

There is no rebuilding when it comes to Franklin, just reloading. Despite graduating a handful of talent, including the Hockomock League MVP Tim Prunier and a couple other strong players, the Panthers are still in a spot to challenge for the Kelley-Rex title.

Two big reasons for that are juniors Paul Mahon and Connor Peterson. Both players started last year and were important pieces as the Panthers claimed a division title. With at least year of experience for both, look for both to be key players this season. Mahon has developed as a shooter to compliment his strong defensive game while Peterson continues to be one of the top big men in the league,.

The Panthers will look to move the ball as much as possible on offense and hope to have a balanced scoring attack so defenses can’t focus in on just a player or two. Franklin has been on the better teams defensively in recent history and will look to continue that trend for the 2016-2017 season.

“We are very excited about this group of guys,” Franklin head coach CJ Neely said. “Having a good balance of talent has made our practice games very competitive, everyone has really been pushing each other hard. Each year our goal remains the same, we will focus on day to day improvement and let the results take care of themselves.

“We want to be defined as a hardworking group that plays aggressively and shares the ball offensively. I think if we can stay committed to trusting each other and consistently competing on both ends of the floor we can have a good year.”

King Philip

2015-2016 Record: 5-15
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Champagne

The Warriors are returning a strong group of players from last year’s squad with one noticeable addition — new head coach Mark Champagne.

Champagne will have a group of experienced players to work with this season. Tom Madden, Noah Goodwin, Kyle Layman, Will Weir, Seth Sullivan, Pharaoh Davis and Justin Vine all saw either starting minutes or valuable time off the bench a season ago. Matt Lehoullier and Noah Bradley will also factor int this season to provide the Warriors with depth.

Goodwin and Weir have the most experience and will captain the team along with Sullivan. Madden impressed last year as did Layman during his rookie campaign. Between Goodwin, Weir, Madden and Layman, King Philip will have plenty of size to use down low. Davis and Sullivan are both strong with the ball while Vine provides KP with a shooting threat.

“We are very excited as a coaching staff to compete in the Hockomock League,” Champagne said. “We are fortunate to have a hard working group of players who are hungry for success.”

Mansfield

2015-2016 Record: 20-5
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Mike Vaughan

Even though Mansfield won the Kelley-Rex division a year ago, the Hornets still might be bringing back the most talent in the league this year. After only graduating three seniors, Mike Vaughan has nearly all of his weapons at his disposal again this year.

HockomockSports.com First Team selection Sam Goldberg (11.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG) leads a strong group back that includes Christian Weber, Matt Ehrlich, Max Boen, Phil Vigeant, Tyler Boulter and Evan Christo. Expect the likes of John McCoy, Sam Hyland and Kristian Conner to also factor in for the Hornets.

It doesn’t matter who it is listed above, almost all of them are capable of being “the guy” on any given night, which makes Mansfield incredibly hard to defend. Weber, Ehrlich, Vigeant, Boen and Boulter are all strong from beyond the arc but also have no problem making the extra pass to find a better shot.

“We’re looking forward to a fun season with seven seniors and a great group of underclassmen, we should have plenty of depth to stay competitive,” Vaughan said. “The league looks loaded again with talent so we shouldn’t have any nights off.”

Oliver Ames

2015-2016 Record: 11-11
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Don Byron

The Tigers will face a steep challenge because of the switch to the Kelley-Rex division but bringing back a strong core of players will be a big help.

Seniors Carter Evin, Dylan Mahoney, Nick Welch and Mike Graziano are all back as are juniors Matt Muir and Jack Spillane. All six players saw time last year, including some who started all season long.

Between the returning players, the Tigers will be able to score from multiple positions. Evin, a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection, led the Tigers in scoring with 13.4 points per game – and did so in a variety of ways. Mahoney is able to shoot or attack the hoop while both Welchn and Graziano showed the ability to get hot from deep.

“We have a number of players back who played quite a bit last year and showed marked improvement during the course of the season,” Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron said. “We’ll be leaning on them as we develop depth from a number of kids who played jv last year. Our schedule will be a challenge as we make the move to the Kelly-Rex division of the league and our non-league schedule won’t provide any breaks either.”

taunton

2015-2016 Record: 16-7
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Charlie Dacey

While there will be some changes for Taunton this year, there will also be some similarities to last year. The Tigers will aim to use their speed and athleticism to their advantage and try to make up for their lack of size and experience.

The youthful Tigers will by led by the very experienced Tommy MacLean, who has played varsity minutes since his freshman year. Junior Tyler Medeiros is back after suffering an injury early last year while junior Lens Esquil also got some minutes a year ago.

Junior Malik Charles, sophomores John Martin and Luis Vendrell and freshmen Dante Law and Naz Kenan are all likely to factor in for Taunton this season. Another positive early on for Taunton is shooting, boasting a handful of players that can consistently knock down shots from deep.

“Our immediate strengths are speed and shooting,” Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey said. “Hopefully, our speed can counter our youth and allow us to play an uptempo game.”