Hockomock Wrestling Duo Earns New England Titles

Hockomock Wrestling
Mansfield’s Jayden Curley (left) and North Attleboro’s Mateusz Kudra, pictured here in matches earlier this season, won MIAA All-State and New England championships. (HockomockSports.com Photos)

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For the first time in eight years, the Hockomock League had a wrestler bring home an individual title at the New England Championships when Mansfield’s Jayden Curley took first at 170 pounds. The wait for the next New England champ was much shorter, as North Attleboro’s Matuesz Kudra followed about an hour later with a title of his own at 285.

Both wrestlers earned the first New England titles in their respective program’s history and both followed up wins from the week before at the All-State Meet at St. John’s Prep in Danvers. When Curley and Kudra were asked how it felt to close out their high school careers with New England championships, both used the same word: overwhelming.

“A lot of people from my school showed up, my principal, my past coach, my family was there, so I just turned to them and I smiled and I was just excited,” said Kudra. Curley added, “It just kind of felt surreal.”

While each of the wrestlers was focused on the moment and their individual matches, they acknowledged that they were aware of each other’s success and were rooting for their Hock competitor.

“That was definitely some added motivation because I didn’t want Mateusz to be alone out there,” Curley said.

Kudra noted, “I was really excited for him because, you know, Hock guys stick together and support each other. I was trying to get in the zone, but at the same time I was peeking in at his match.”

The win at New Englands capped a perfect 51-0 season for Kudra, who was also North’s first all-state champ and its first Div. I college recruit. The University of Virginia-commit finished third in states and sixth in New England last season, wrestling at 220 pounds, and it inspired him to push for even more this winter.

“After the season, I was kind of disappointed with myself,” Kudra explained. “I realized that there was no reason I can’t be that top-level guy.”

With a new off-season regimen, Kudra, who only started wrestling his freshman year of high school and didn’t wrestle varsity until he was a sophomore, had a string of solid results i tournaments against other DI recruits. That included a third-place finish at the prestigious Super 32 Challenge. He also moved up a weight class, but without losing the speed and athleticism that he had at 220 pounds and the techniques he learned starting out in middleweights.

“He breaks that mold of a heavyweight and he wrestles more like a 195- or a 182-pounder,” said North Attleboro coach Geoff Burgess. “He moves less like a heavyweight and more like a middleweight. Every time he went out, I said something to the effect of, don’t let this be a heavyweight match. Put points on the board and keep scoring until he gives up and that was kind of what he did.”

After dominating throughout the season, helping the Rocketeers retain the Davenport dual meet title in the process, Kudra came into the postseason on a mission. He didn’t allow a point in his four matches at Div. 2 states, reaching the final with three pins, and continued that at all-states, not allowing a point until the third period of the final.

At New Englands, Kudra won 4-0 to get things started and then 7-1 in the quarterfinal. He got a first round pin in the semifinal and then jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the final against David Gross of Bucksport (Maine), holding on for a 5-4 victory.

“Last year when I was going to New Englands, I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was a small fish in a big pond,” Kudra said. “This year…I kind of felt like the top dog going into the tournament. I felt good, I felt dangerous, and I had a good tournament.”

Curley, who is considering several DI college programs, also had a dominant regular season, helping the Hornets claim the program’s first-ever league dual meet title. After losing to Springfield Central’s Dohnivin Harvey in the semifinals of Div. 1 states, Curley refocused on the technique ahead of all-states. That loss was a reminder of what he needed to do on the mat to reach his ultimate goal.

“It definitely woke me up,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily underestimate him, but I didn’t know what I needed to do to win a match like that and my coaches helped me figure that out.”

He won the first three matches at all-states by pin to set up a rematch with Harvey in the final. This time, the result was never in doubt. Curley jumped out to a 7-0 lead and responded to a Harvey takedown in the third period by rolling off five straight points for a major decision victory to become just the second Mansfield wrestler to win an all-state title (Jim Connors won at 285 in 2005).

“I don’t give people room to get their own attacks in because I’m always trying to attack,” Curley said. “I’ve learned over the years that you can’t get what you want on the mat by being nice, so sometimes you just have to be mean when you’re wrestling.”

That momentum carried over to New Englands. He won the first match 13-3 and pinned his next two opponents to reach the final. He wouldn’t get a rubber match against Harvey, who lost in the semifinal, but he jumped out to a 6-1 lead against Ben Dougherty of Chariho (R.I.) and took the title with a 7-5 decision.

Curley said, “I didn’t want to lose my last high school match ever, but when I’m warming up for the match I realize that none of that really matters and it’s not going to affect my wrestling. I just need to wrestle my best and that’s what I tried to do.”

“The way he wrestled at the All-State Tournament and at New Englands was one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen,” Burgess said of Curley. “The way he wrestled it didn’t look like any kid was going to have a chance to score any points on him.”

Both Curley and Kudra made history for their programs and both can now be considered among the best to ever take the mat at Mansfield and North Attleboro.

When Curley was asked about what it meant to him to be mentioned as one of the best, if not the best, wrestler that Mansfield has had, he replied, “I think that’s a good thing that I can set that goal for someone else to do better than I did. Four years ago, when I got here, I don’t know if they would have expected that from me. I just tried to work as hard as possible.”

“It’s hard for me to say he’s the best wrestler we’ve ever produced but he’s certainly got the potential to be the best,” said Burgess of Kudra, who finished with 112 career wins. “I think after four years in college, I’m pretty confident that he’ll be the best ever.”

Kudra remarked, “I fell in love with the sport, so if you love doing something then it doesn’t seem like a chore or doesn’t seem like it’s hard. I made wrestling my passion and I just wanted to be the best that I could be and I just wanted to make history.”

Hornets’ Comeback Comes Up Short In South Final

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Tommy Dooling goes up for a shot in the second half against Newton North in the D1 South Final. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com(
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – For the first 16 minutes of the 2019 Division 1 South Sectional Final, the second-seeded Mansfield Hornets couldn’t seem to do anything right.

Meanwhile, the fifth-seeded Tigers of Newton North played about as good as they could have hoped, combining eight made three-pointers with 14 Hornet turnovers for a 40-24 lead at halftime.

But there was no quit in the Hornets. Mansfield dominated the third quarter, making it a two-point contest — anyone’s game — with eight minutes left to go in the game.

The Tigers stood tall, though, never surrendering the lead and coming up with answer after answer to come away with a 74-64 victory, claiming the program’s first sectional title since 2006.

“I thought we did a good job disrupting them and taking stuff away,” said Newton North coach Paul Connolly. “We knew they’d have a run, and they had a huge run and came right at us. We responded, we made baskets when we needed them. We regained our poise (at the end).

”They are such a prolific offensive team, they really dissect people. We really worked on not allowing them to do what they do, to try and disrupt and take things away. They still scored 64 points. I told the guys at halftime Mansfield plays for 32 minutes. Even at the end, in the final seconds…they can score 10 points in their sleep.”

Mansfield looked like a completely different team in the third quarter, ramping up the aggressiveness and attacking the basket with a purpose. And on the defensive end, the Hornets played with a renewed sense of purpose that limited the Tigers to just seven points in the eight-minute stretch.

The surge mostly came over the final three minutes of the third. The defense limited Newton North to just three points over the first five minutes, but the Hornets were still trailing by double-digits, 45-34, with under three to go.

Sophomore Matt Boen (13 points, eight rebounds, five assists) hit a three-pointer and Damani Scott (17 points, six rebounds) came up with a steal that led to two free throws. The Hornets sandwiched a pair of stops around a free throw from Jack Mousette, and then junior Sam Stevens (14 points, four rebounds) drained a triple to make it a three-point game, down 46-43 with just under a minute to go.

Newton North added a free throw but Tommy Dooling (10 points) finished a contested layup at the buzzer to bring the Hornets — once down 19 points in the first half — within two, 47-45, entering the final quarter.

“Just play harder,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan of what went into the third quarter turnaround. “I told the guys at halftime we’re going to come out and play hard defense, move the ball with our 50 action, we’re not calling quick hitters, we’re not having personnel on certain kids. And it worked. Hindsight, we probably should have done that from the start, but we’re a little more of a finesse team and like to get out in space and trick teams a little bit. They did such a good job preparing for us, we weren’t going to out-trick them tonight. We needed to be more aggressive.”

Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t carry over right away in the fourth quarter. The Hornets reverted to the bad habits of the first half, mainly turnovers.

Mansfield committed four turnovers in the opening two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. After Newton North’s Kyle Ray-Canada (28 points) opened the quarter with the three, Mansfield missed a three and then was whistled for back-to-back offensive fouls after getting stops.

Khalil Lofton came up with a steal for an easy layup for the Tigers, the Hornets missed a triple, and Ray-Canada finished at the rim to cap a quick 7-0 spurt that gave Newton North breathing room up 54-45.

The Hornets once again made a push to get back in it. Dooling sank two free throws, Drew Rooney added another, and Boen, playing with an injured wrist, used a nice fake and lay-in for two to make it 56-52 with just over three minutes to go.

But Canada-Ray earned a trip to the line for two on back-to-back possessions, the Hornets had another turnover, and Lofton sank two more free throws to push the lead to 62-52 with two minutes left.

“It was everything going back to passive, reverting to what we were back in the first half instead of being aggressive,” Vaughan said. “Paul is one of the best [coaches] for a reason. There were times when we cut it to like four, where maybe in some other games, they made not have had an answer. But Paul had something drawn up, he had the right play, he had the right switch, and you can only do that when you’re at his level. He had answers for everything we did, hats off to how he coached and how his kids responded.”

Newton North had a terrific fourth quarter, taking advantage of some forced and some uncharacteristic Hornet turnovers. Mansfield gave the ball away nine times, and the Tigers hit nine field goals, include three from three-point range to race out to a 21-9 lead through eight minutes.

“They were very aggressive, they made us play 23-feet away from the hoop and they never really let us get comfortable,” Vaughan said. “It seemed like every pass we threw, every cut we made, every action we did, they were sitting there waiting for us. When the physicality is allowed that much, and we’re not matching it, it makes it a real grind it out first half.”

The Tigers’ three-point shooting only improved in the second quarter. Newton North connected on five more triples, including one from Ray-Canada with under a minute to go to push the lead to 40-21. Boen gave Mansfield some life with a late three and block on the final shot to make it 40-24 at halftime.

“I thought us playing from behind could create some nerves,” Vaughan said. “In the third quarter, we took the pressure off of thinking and just let them go out and play. I think it made the game so much easier for them, and you can only do that for so long and for so often. We almost were just kind of trying to play pick up and let the game freely go.

“I was happy with our young guys played. I thought Damani and Tommy played their hearts out, what more can you ask of them? In the end, I think the team that was a little more prepared, playing a little more hungry and with more effort won the game tonight.”

Mansfield boys basketball finishes the season at 22-5.

Mansfield Edges Taunton In D1 South Semifinal Clash

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield sophomore TJ Guy goes up for a layup in the second half against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton Tigers were on the verge of a big upset.

With just over two minutes to go in a tied game, Taunton senior Wesner Charles found an open lane for an easy layup to give the 14th-seeded Tigers a 58-56 lead. And on Mansfield’s ensuing trip up, Charles came up with a block that gave the Tigers the ball back and all of the momentum in front of a packed crowd inside the Rabouin Field House.

But the Tigers couldn’t slam the door shut on the second-seeded Hornets, as a potential dagger three rimmed out. And there aren’t many teams better at making you pay than the Hornets.

Senior Tommy Dooling (19 points) launched a corner three that bounced twice off the rim before falling, putting the Hornets up by one with 1:34 to go. Taunton couldn’t answer as a three-point shot was off the mark, and Mansfield sophomore TJ Guy (career-high 19 points, eight rebounds) concerted off his own miss with 44.5 seconds left to put Mansfield up 61-58.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We started the second half pretty well but [Taunton] came back and the crowd got pretty loud,” Dooling said. “We kept telling each other it was going to be okay, we stuck with what we do well. Sam Stevens had a nice screen and Damani [Scott] had a nice pass and I shot the three, it hit every part of the rim then finally went in, that felt great.”

The Hornets got the stop they needed, Guy broke free for another layup and Mansfield came out with a hard-fought 65-59 win over a gritty Tigers team.

With the win, the Hornets advance to their third straight Division 1 South Sectional Final, and seventh appearance in the last 10 years in the game.

“When the wheels started falling off, with this atmosphere, I was a little nervous with how some of our young guys, guys that haven’t been here before, were going to respond,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We looked panicked there for a little bit. But I reminded them ‘Don’t get too high, don’t get too low, come out and do what we do’ and we needed a couple of possessions of basket, stop, basket, stop, and we were able to do that.

“Taunton is playing really good right now, they were not going to go down easy. They were ready for the big moment, and a couple of bounces things might go the other way. Taunton did some good things in that second half.”

It was a close game throughout as the Hornets had a brief eight-point advantage in the first half, and led by only seven at one point early in the second half. Taunton had an early 11-8 advantage but didn’t take another lead until midway through the fourth quarter.

A three-pointer from Sam Stevens that came off an offensive rebound had the Hornets up 51-48 entering the fourth quarter. Free throws from Taunton senior John Martins (14 points) got the Tigers within two but Damani Scott answered with a strong take for the Hornets. A free throw from Lou Vendrell followed by a steal and bucket from Naz Kenion (career-high 20 points) knotted the score at 53-53.

Kenion continued his stellar play with a nice move baseline to give the Tigers a 55-54 lead, their first advantage of the second half. Kenion came up with a steal to get Taunton the ball back, but the Tigers missed a three. A free throw from Kenion extended the lead to 56-54, and Charles knocked away a pass to get the Tigers another chance to extend the lead, but Taunton’s layup was off the mark. Mansfield tied the game on the other end as sophomore Matt Boen had a layup off a feed from Drew Rooney.

“I thought we played great defense. It felt like we took them off the three-point line for the most part, which is a lot of their offense, But as usual, they adjust and they didn’t panic. If you’re not composed for 32 minutes, you make a mistake, they take advantage of it, that’s Mansfield.

“A game of inches, I think it came down to three plays in the end. Two offensive possessions on our end that we didn’t do well with, and one blown defensive possession. All of a sudden, it’s six points, and that feels like an insurmountable lead against them.”

The two teams battled back-and-forth in the opening quarter with Taunton jumping ahead 11-8 behind a three-pointer from Dante Law (nine point, seven rebounds) but Dooling had a pair of triples and Guy added six points to help the Hornets take a 17-14 lead after one.

Mansfield extended its lead to 22-14 — the largest lead of the game by either side — but Taunton clawed back into it. Sophomore Tyler Stewart came off the bench and scored four points, Law added four more, and Kenion scored his first seven points of the game, including a late three-point play to bring the Tigers within two, down 31-29 at half.

Martins sank two free throws to open the second half to tie the game but the Hornets grabbed momentum back with a 10-3 spurt. Stevens converted a putback, Boen and Dooling hit consecutive threes, and Guy scored down low for a 41-34 advantage.

Taunton ramped up its defensive pressure to get back into the game. Martins scored off a steal, and minutes later, Kenion and sophomore Danny MacDougall had back-to-back takeaways that led to layups to tie it at 46-46 with 2:34 left in the third quarter.

“They were a lot more disciplined. Sometimes you can get them on back cuts or dribble handoff action, and we didn’t get any of those,” Vaughan said of Taunton’s defense. “We really had to score the old fashion way and gut through some possessions. Even on offense too, this was probably the most disciplined Taunton team I’ve seen on both ends of the floor, they really bought in to what [Coach Dacey] was selling. It made it brutal. When guys do that, you can’t go on runs, you can’t create separation, it makes it tough.

“All the threes we got were either contested, or we got them off half broken plays.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

For Taunton (15-9), it was an end to a playoff run that saw upsets over league rival Attleboro and former league rival Bridgewater-Raynham.

“We discovered something, I don’t know exactly what it was,” Dacey said. “We work, work, work a lot on defense in practice. It clicked against Attleboro, then again against B-R, it’s something we’ve been looking for all year long.

“It hurts, it should hurt, and hopefully it’s a lesson for the underclassman. We have to get kids to want to be in the gym in the offseason. This was fun, so I hope the guys coming back realize it and say we can be here [again], but you have to put the work in.”

Mansfield boys basketball returns to Taunton High on Friday to take on #5 Newton North (20-5). Newton North defeated the Hornets in the regular season on February 10th. The D1 South Final is set to tipoff at 7:30.

Elliott, Franklin Edge Mansfield In Overtime

Franklin boys hockey Scott Elliott
Franklin senior Scott Elliott sets up for a shot against Mansfield in the second period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOURNE, Mass. – Three periods wasn’t enough to separate Mansfield and Franklin boys hockey when the two met in the regular season.

It wasn’t enough in the playoffs either.

After finishing level in their Hockomock League showdown back in January, the Panthers and Hornets were deadlocked at 2-2 through 45 minutes in their D1 South Quarterfinal clash.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin senior Scott Elliott emerged as the hero, scoring the game-winning goal with just 1:24 to go in the four-on-four overtime period, giving the 11th-seeded Panthers a 3-2 win over third-seeded Mansfield.

“There was a battle behind the net and I was able to get their guy off of me,” Elliott said. “I saw the goalie go the other so I just tried to spin around the other way and go five-hole it worked.

While Mansfield got the first shot in the six-minute overtime period, a bid from Jack Garland that was denied by Ray Ivers (24 saves), the rest of the extra frame belonged to the Panthers.

Defensemen Cam Cassella and Tom Tasker had low shots denied by Mansfield junior goalie Sean McCafferty (25 saves) just seconds apart. Then McCafferty prolonged the game with back-to-back stops, denying Shane McCaffrey with a point-blank pad stop, and then turning away a bid from Colin Hedvig.

The Panthers finally solved McCafferty in the overtime period when Elliott took a feed from CJ Spillane and was able to shake off a defenseman behind the net. Elliott faked to wrap around to the left but instead went back to his right, stuffing a backhand attempt in for the winner.

“Our guys had an extra gear in that overtime,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “Shane McCaffrey played a great game, Scotty Elliott was outstanding as well. It was a great hockey move to win a game, he’s played like that all year long for us so it was good for him to get that.

“We had a really slow start [to the season], we didn’t have any confidence and we were inconsistent. About midway through the season, they started believing in themselves. I think playing our strength of schedule from start to finish really helps us when we get here for sure.”

After a back-and-forth start to the game, the anthers were able to grab the lead just over the midway point of the first. Tasker whipped a clearance up the right side of the ice, and the puck eluded the Hornet defenseman at the blue line, leading to a two-on-one chance for the Panthers.

McCaffrey jumped on the puck and carried it into the offensive zone, tossing a pass to senior Joey Lizotte. The past was a little behind Lizotte, forcing him to pivot to gain possession, but it didn’t stop him from returning the pass back to McCaffrey, using a nifty backward pass. McCaffrey hit a one-timer from in close to put Franklin up 1-0.

Mansfield responded less than four minutes into the second period to tie the game. Freshman Brian Grant made a nice play at the blue line to prevent a Panther clearance and batted it down the walls to Garland. Garland turned a whipped a low shot towards that that found its way in to make it 1-1 with 11:15 left in the second.

After a clean first period, the Panthers were plagued by penalties in the second period and the ice tilted in favor of the Hornets.

Mansfield didn’t convert on their first power play chance when the Hornets were whistled for a hook with 10:10 to go in the middle period, but the Hornets did cash on when given a second opportunity five minutes later.

Jake Lund had a chance right on front that was denied but the Hornets continued to apply pressure. Grant fired two straight shots from the blue line that were over the net, but his third chance about a foot off the ice and sophomore Matt Copponi redirected the puck as he skated across the middle, giving Mansfield a 2-1 lead with 4:10 to go in the second.

The Hornets went on the power play for the third time in the period with 2:40 left but couldn’t increase their lead.

Franklin knotted the score at 2-2 with its first real chance of the final period. Kyle Hedvig carried the puck behind the goal before dropping the puck in front for a one-timer from Lizotte to tie the game with 9:41 to play in the third.

“It was a hell of a game, it really was,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “We were tired there in overtime, maybe too long of a shift. We tried a couple of different looks but with that long change, it was tough. But I thought we played well, we killed off that late penalty, we had a couple of chances shorthanded, and we seemed to have the momentum, but in the end we just didn’t have enough.

“I thought we responded well after they tied it. We’ve been in those situations before, both ahead and behind. It was a back and forth game and when it came down to it, whoever capitalized first was going to win.”

McCaffrey nearly put the Panthers ahead at the midway point of the third. On two occasions, the junior took the puck the length of the ice, beating a pair of Hornet defensemen on the first trip but his wrist shot was turned away.

Mansfield took its first penalty of the game with 3:03 left on an interference call, but the Hornets were able to prevent Franklin from going ahead in regulation.

Brad Grant blocked a shot early, leading to a clearance from Lund. McCafferty came up with three straight saves, including one on a blast from Tasker. After a shot from Cassella, Kevin Belanger came up with back-to-back clearances to kill time.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets earned an offensive zone faceoff with four seconds left in the game but Spillane won it straight back, and regulation came to a close.

In overtime, the Panthers had the edge on experience after playing in similar situations twice during its holiday tournament at Mount St. Charles. Along with the experience from in-season, Franklin has practiced for overtime since the beginning of the tournament, including getting the defense involved in the offense.

“That was part of practice, we’ve worked on it the last couple of practices, engaging our defensemen,” Spillane said. “Forget about the five-on-five hockey, it’s an open ice mentality…there are no defensemen, there are no forwards. As long as you have coverage and space, take it. We don’t practice it a lot but we know when you get to the tournament there’s a chance of 4-on-4 or 3-on-3, so it paid off.”

Mansfield finishes the season at 14-6-3. Franklin boys hockey (11-9-4) will take on #7 Catholic Memorial in the D1 South Semifinal on Wednesday, at 5:30 back at Gallo Ice Arena.

Mansfield Holds Off Late BC High Charge and Advances

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield senior Damani Scott scored a game-high 15 points and also had this big block in the first half of the Hornets’ 57-53 win over BC High in the first round of the tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – The game seemed over in the third quarter. Mansfield had found another gear defensively and used an 18-0 run either side of halftime to take control against BC High in Tuesday night’s Div. 1 South first round game in the Albertini Gym.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It is not often that the Hornets let what grew to as much as a 18-point lead slip, but the Eagles are not a typical No.15 seed and they came storming back. The lead was down to single digits by the end of the third quarter and only four points early in the fourth.

Each time, Mansfield found a response to keep the Eagles at bay, but with only a 1:34 left the lead was just five, and with 34.8 on the clock it was down to just two. While the Hornets are the defending state champions and come into the tournament as the No. 2 seed, there is still a learning curve for a number of players who are seeing their first significant tournament action.

As it turned out, the Hornets had just enough to get the win. Tommy Dooling got into the lane and dropped a pass off to T.J. Guy for the layup with just seconds left that put Mansfield back up four and that was how it would finish, a 57-53 win that could also serve a message about having to finish off an opponent when on top.

“They’re more like a 14-6, second round, opponent,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan. “Hopefully this game will help us and make these guys understand the value of, in the state tournament a 12-point lead can be gone in under a minute and you need to stay committed to doing the right thing. When we do the right thing, we’re tough to beat.”

When these two teams met back in December, Mansfield won by 22 points, but the Eagles were without 6-foot-8 junior center Ozzy Trapilo. The Eagles were without him for large portions of the first half on Tuesday as well because the Hornets went right at the big man from the start and got him into early foul trouble (three fouls in the opening five minutes).

“We didn’t really have a game plan to go at him,” said Vaughan, who admitted that Mansfield may have benefited from some calls early. “We really wanted to neutralize him in terms of giving Sam [Stevens] the opportunity to get shots because he had to come out and play him and then get T.J. screening and moving.”

Guy (14 points) took the ball into the body of the BC High center and earned a three-point play for Mansfield’s first basket. Sam Stevens (11 points) added a three-point play on an offensive rebound and Dooling (13 points) twice got to the rim, but the Hornets allowed eight points to Noah Rothhaar and were tied 12-12 after one.

The game stayed tight in the second and the Eagles took a 20-19 lead following a jumper by Kevin Keenan. BC High wouldn’t score again until midway through the third quarter. Mansfield closed the half on an 8-0 run. Stevens put the Hornets back in front with layup off a Damani Scott assist, Dooling drilled a three off a Matty Boen assist, and then Scott got to the rim on a drive to make it 27-20 at the break.

Mansfield kept its foot on the gas in the third quarter. Scott (game-high 15 points) got the crowd fired up with a steal and two-hand slam and that was followed by Guy picking off a pass and finishing with the first dunk of his career. After a pull-up three by Boen, it was suddenly 40-22 and the game was on the verge of getting out of hand.

It was on the verge but the Eagles made sure that it never fully got away. BC High answered Mansfield’s 21-2 run with a 14-3 run of its own, capped by Mike Loughnane’s third three of the night, and the Eagles got the lead back down to just seven.

“I thought the biggest momentum swing for and against us was T.J.’s dunk,” Vaughan explained, “because it excited the crowd, the place was rocking, it was awesome. We come down three straight possessions and it was like, let me do that now. Stay focused on what we do.”

He added, “It’s just a commitment to playing the team game. When we play the team game, we’re very difficult to defend because we have five guys who can play. When we start trying to go one-on-one, then we’re easy to defend.”

The lead was nine heading to the fourth, but a floater by Gavin Larnard and then a three-point play by Keenan had the Eagles down just four points and the visiting bench fired up. Stevens, who had been quiet for most of the game, sprung into action and drilled back-to-back threes to extend the advantage back to 10.

Larnard came right back with a three of his own, but Scott got an open look at a jumper off a Guy feed. A pair of free throws and a layup for Loughnane, off a steal by Korey Reynolds, got the Eagles to within five at 53-48. The home crowd was starting to get a little antsy.

Dooling drained a pull-up jumper to calm the nerves temporarily, but Keenan hit a turn-around baby hook from the left block and then Reynolds got free on the left wing for a clean look at a three and with only 34.8 remaining Mansfield got the ball over half and called timeout.

BC High elected to play the defensive possession out rather than foul and Dooling managed to get into the lane as the shot clock was winding down, drew the defense, and laid off a pass to Guy, who was able to get the ball up over the rim for the basket that sealed the win.

Mansfield (19-4) will host 10th seed Xaverian, which beat Needham, in the D1 South quarterfinal on Friday night.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.