Canton Rallies in the Second Half to Beat Franklin

Canton girls soccer
For the second time in a week, Canton rallied from a goal down in the second half and sealed a win thanks to a Mekhala Costello goal, this time beating Franklin 2-1. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Over the weekend, Canton played a tough, physical game against division rival Oliver Ames. It was Canton’s first loss of the season. Just a few days later, on Wednesday night at WWII Veterans Memorial Field, the Bulldogs had another competitive, physical encounter against division-leading Franklin.

This time, the Bulldogs started the game without leading scorer Emily McCabe. The senior forward was nursing an injury and would likely only be able to play a half, so head coach Idris Senyonjo left her out of the starting lineup. Canton struggled without the focal point of its attack, but McCabe emerged in the second half and sparked a massive turnaround.

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With McCabe up front for the final 40 minutes, Canton put the pressure on the Panthers, rallying from a goal down for the second time in a week and pulling out a 2-1 victory.

“She hasn’t trained all week, so I was going to either play her first half or second half,” Senyonjo explained. “Bringing her on in the second half would give them something different to think about. Em gives them a whole different dimension of what they’re going to have to worry about.”

It didn’t take long for McCabe to make her presence felt. She immediately charged at the Franklin back line and pressed center backs Norah Anderson and Lily Deforge (who was playing in the middle in place of injured junior Maddie Horton). McCabe added a different dimension to the attack, drawing attention and freeing up space on the wings, as both Emma Cahill and Caira McKinney looked dangerous after the break.

Twelve minutes into the second half, it was McCabe that would get the equalizer. She clipped a ball up over the defense from just outside the penalty area and then burst through a pair of defenders to get clean through on goal. She was just able to get a toe on the loose ball and poke it past onrushing Franklin keeper Rachel Welch.

“We knew it was going to be an aggressive game and we had to stick to the game plan,” Senyonjo said. “The idea was, if we could put their defense under pressure, we’re going to force them to make mistakes.”

Not only had Canton stemmed the tide of Franklin attacks, which was the story of the opening 40 minutes, but now the Bulldogs were taking control of the action in the midfield through Paige Sullivan and Mekhala Costello.

McCabe nearly created the go-ahead goal in the 56th minute. She slipped a pass into the path of Cahill, who was tripped up on the edge of the box. Canton cried out for a penalty but the official spotted the ball just outside. Costello’s free kick was on target, but right at Welch.

Ten minutes later, Costello would score the winner. Welch came out of the box to clear a ball over the top. Her clearance was in the middle of the field and Costello pulled it down about 40 yards from goal. The junior took a look, saw the keeper racing back to her line, and fired a shot into the unguarded net. It was her second game-winner in the past three games.

“I just feel bad for Rachel,” Franklin coach Tom Geysen explained. “She got caught too far out and there was nobody back there to help her, nobody. She feels like crap because the goal was scored on her, but where were her defenders? And that’s something I’ll make sure she understands.”

Franklin didn’t give up and battled right to the final whistle. The Panthers wrested some control back in the midfield down the stretch and had a series of free kick opportunities for Anderson, Deforge, and midfielder Bridget Leo to put the ball into the box.

With two minutes to play, the Panthers nearly snatched a point. Leo sent an angled ball to the edge of the area and Kelly O’Connor rose well to head the ball down across the penalty area. Right winger Olivia Costa raced in at the far post and appeared to get a touch to it, but Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere was off her line quickly and smothered the chance, saving the win.

Senyonjo loved the way his team was able to bounce back from the loss to OA, and that his team gave him a nice present for his birthday on Thursday.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Saturday was an emotional game. The girls were disappointed but super motivated to come and play today and it’s a huge win, at home against probably the top team in the other division right now.”

The game was physical throughout with neither team giving an inch, but in the first 40 minutes the chances almost all fell to the Panthers. Only three minutes in, striker Anya Zub found space running down the left channel and forced Staffiere into a save at the near post.

O’Connor was a constant menace on the left wing. She was able to turn away from her marker and chipped a pass for Zub to race onto, the forward’s clever outside of the foot chip again forcing Staffiere to make the stop. Three minutes later, the duo combined again with O’Connor getting a chance to test the keeper.

In the 22nd minute, Franklin’s pressure finally paid off. Leo’s outswinging corner dropped to the foot of Selene Hammad about eight yards from goal. She scuffed her first attempt at a shot but on her second attempt lashed the ball inside the post, giving Staffiere no chance.

Chances kept coming for the Panthers. This time it was a Katie Ewald corner that was headed clear by Sullivan. The ball dropped for Leo on the half-volley but her shot went over the bar. After a turnover at the back, O’Connor played a near-perfect angled, low cross to Costa at the back post, but Staffiere read it well and dove out to stop the pass hitting its target.

“We just ran out of gas,” Geysen said. “That’s the best effort we’ve had this season. They really worked their butts off tonight. I said, if you keep playing the way you played tonight, you’re going to win a lot of games. You got unlucky tonight, the soccer gods weren’t looking your way.”

Canton (6-1-1) won’t have much time to celebrate the win, as the Bulldogs will be on the road on Friday against Foxboro. Franklin (5-2-0) can expect another physical encounter on Friday when it travels to Attleboro.

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Canton Leaves It Late, Steals Win Over Stoughton

Canton girls soccer
Emily McCabe (19) celebrates Mekhala Costello’s last second goal that secured a win for Canton, despite the Bulldogs trailing Stoughton by a goal with just three minutes remaining. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – For about 77 minutes, Stoughton had yet to put a foot wrong. The Black Knights were organized, compact, and keeping Canton’s dynamic attack at arm’s length. Unfortunately for Stoughton, all it took was three minutes for the Bulldogs to finally find a way through and pull out an unlikely victory.

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Stoughton led Monday’s game at WWII Veterans Memorial Field for more than 50 minutes following Shayla Ford’s opener, but in the closing moments Emily McCabe finally found space in behind the defense to equalize. With nearly the last kick of the game, McCabe played a one-two with Mekhala Costello, who curled a shot inside the far post to break Stoughton’s hearts and snare a 2-1 victory.

“I think it was good that we fought all the way to the end and we were able to grind a result out,” Canton coach Idris Senyonjo said. “That’s the league, the games are coming thick and fast now and you have to respond to what’s in front of you and hope that you can get a good result out of it.”

The Black Knights have shown a lot of resiliency so far this season, having lost close games to Oliver Ames and King Philip, and came into Monday on the back of two straight wins. They were intent on making sure it wouldn’t be easy for Canton, which went with a rotated lineup as the Bulldogs were playing their fifth game in 10 days.

Canton still had some good early moments. Gisella Berardi played a nice cross from the wing that found Lauren Shatkin in the middle, but the shot went wide. A minute later, Caira McKinney cross clipped off the head of a Stoughton defender and fell to Shatkin, but the shot was blazed over the bar.

Stoughton grew into the game. Ford played a give-and-go with Morgan Cook on the edge of the box, but Cook hit her shot straight at Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere.

In the 21st minute, the visitors went in front. A clearance out of defense was played up the far sideline towards Ford. The senior speedster felt the defender on her back and was able to spin her, racing onto the ball and into space in the right channel. With a full head of steam and at an acute angle, Ford fired her shot just inside the near post.

“I’m waiting for a team to realize you can’t play high on her and you’ve got to drop somebody back,” said first-year Stoughton coach Jon Grant. “Canton did have somebody dropping back in the first 10-15 minutes but I think they got antsy, they wanted to push, push, push, and Shayla was able to turn that girl and get past her.”

The goal gave the Black Knight confidence with Emma Tran pulling the strings in midfield and Ford and Cook regularly combining. Sofia Issa had a go from distance, but Staffiere was right behind it for the save.

Canton went to some of its regular starters following the goal, notably McCabe and Costello, to try and turn the tide. McCabe, who came into Monday with eight goals in her first four games, nearly equalized with her first touch. Shatkin’s ball into the box ricocheted off a pair of defenders before falling to McCabe, who poked a shot just wide.

Emma Cahill passed the ball from the left wing to Shatkin, whose nice first touch played the ball into the path of McCabe, but Stoughton keeper Katrina Varnum was off her line quickly and bravely got down at the forward’s feet to deny the shot.

“We stayed organized for I’d say 77 minutes and they kind of caught us with that last three minutes,” Grant explained. “They played great coming out of the gates, staying organized, shutting them down, not letting them through us. They got around us, a few dangerous crosses, but other than that we played a great first half.”

The game started to fall into a familiar pattern. Canton was able to have the lion’s share of the possession, while Stoughton worked hard to keep its shape and not allow any great chances. Costello nearly opened things up with a cross from the right to McCabe but Emma Tremblay got across to block.

Tran tried to double the lead with a long free kick, but it was right at Staffiere, who held onto it comfortably. Two minutes later, McCabe was given a chance with a 30-yard free kick, but Varnum used her long reach to safely tip it over the bar.

“They boxed all our forwards in in the right areas and they knew exactly what to do and when to do it,” Senyonjo said of the Stoughton defense. “The goalkeeper is also very commanding in the air, so nothing was going past her easily, which is credit to them.”

Costello played a ball into McKinney, who teed it up for Han Hong, whose second attempt was held by Varnum. It was hardly one-way traffic, as Stoughton showed its ability to counter quickly. Ella Derby played a give-and-go with Tran to find room to run in the right channel, but as she bore down on goal Kristina Keefe recovered to make the block.

McCabe had a shot closed down by Isabella Rodrigues on one end and on the other Tran’s free kick was glanced wide by Makenzie O’Connor. Stoughton had one golden chance to double the lead with four minutes to play. Ford broke free again, getting behind the Canton defense but Staffiere closed the angle and was able to make the kick save. The ball came out to O’Connor, who spun and fired but curled it just wide.

Grant said, “Shayla had that opportunity and then it bounced out and Kenzie was able to get a shot off as well that just went wide. Even after they scored, right off the kickoff, we went back down and I love that mentality they have, let’s just go.”

After being so close to sealing the win, it was shocking to see what happened next. Costello played an angled ball in behind the Stoughton back line. McCabe ran onto it, getting the slightest touch to take it past Varnum, and then slid in to get the ball across the line ahead of two Stoughton defenders.

“The middle was so clogged up,” Senyonjo said. “I just said let’s move Mekhala somewhere else because you know she’s going to be dangerous wherever you put her and as long as there’s half a chance in the box you know Emily will take it.”

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors. As time was just about out, Costello passed it into McCabe on the edge of the box and she slid a perfect pass inside the right back. Costello collected it, picked her spot, and coolly bent her shot around Varnum and into the bottom far corner to win it.

“The nature of the game, coming off the game we played Saturday (against Norwell), how well everyone played, the morale was up,” said Senyonjo. “This would’ve deflated us going into the next couple games, but the way they fought until the end could actually elevate us even a little bit more.”

Canton (4-0-1) will continue its busy start to the season on Wednesday with a trip to Milford. Stoughton (2-3-0) will try to bounce back when it visits North Attleboro.

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Canton Holds off Tewksbury, Ends Playoff Drought

Canton girls basketball
Canton players celebrate at the final horn, as the Bulldogs beat Tewksbury to end a 14-year playoff drought. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Canton led by 15 heading to the fourth quarter and seemed to be in command of Friday night’s Div. 2 opening round game at the Masciarelli Gym, but after waiting 14 years for a playoff win (also the last time that the Bulldogs hosted a tournament game) things weren’t going to be that easy.

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Tewksbury stormed back in the final quarter, eventually cutting the lead to as little as five points. The Bulldogs were held scoreless for nearly four minutes, but, after shooting just 4-of-14 from the line up to that point, Canton made 6-of-7 free throws in the closing minute and pulled out a 56-49 win in front of its home fans.

“I think ultimately having the home game helped us prevail for sure,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “The crowd was great, the boys team was here going crazy, I think all that kind of stuff adds up. I’m really proud of them for the 20 games they played to get us up to this point. Those 20 games gave us this win tonight.”

For the senior trio of Kiara Cerruti (game-high 19 points), Fay Gallery (18 points) and Sydney Gallery (nine points and nine rebounds), it was a moment four years in the making. The Bulldogs lost first round road games in their first two years on the team and missed the chance at a postseason run with last year’s shortened winter.

“It’s definitely super exciting,” Fay Gallery explained. “We’ve always had that long bus ride home after losing and it always sucks, so I was excited to have a home playoff game. But, we didn’t come this far to only come this far, so I’m excited for our next game.”

Cerruti added, “It feels amazing. Being here for four years and we’ve had difficulty winning the first playoff game, so it feels great and we hope to go really far. I think we have some momentum now and I really think that’s going to help us.”

With a big student section at its backs, Canton came out flying. Fay Gallery entered the game needing 14 points to become just the third player in program history to reach 1,000 points (and second this season, following Cerruti, who hit the mark almost exactly a month ago). It looked like Gallery was going to get it all in the first quarter.

She started off 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and added a drive to the basket, scoring 11. Cerruti also started hot, turning Gallery’s steal into a transition layup, drilling a three on a pass from Sydney Gallery, and then driving baseline for a bucket. They combined for 18 of Canton’s 20 in the first and helped the Bulldogs take an early 12-point lead.

“They play fast, they run a lot,” Choquette said of Tewksbury, “and we knew that and we wanted to run because that’s our style. Shooting a lot of threes is what we’ve always done, taking advantage of fast breaks is what we’ve always done. We don’t want to change something we did for 20 games and do something different in the playoffs.”

Cerruti added her second three of the game to kick off the second and Samya DaSilva added back-to-back baskets in the paint, as Canton continued to move the ball well while still trying to get Gallery a shot at her career milestone. She had a chance to get there from the line after being fouled on a three-point attempt, but she made 2-of-3 and went into halftime just one point short.

Tewksbury was hanging around and threatening to get back into the game but Canton seemed to always keep the Redmen at arm’s length. Han Hong (six rebounds) hustled to grab a defensive rebound in the final seconds and sparked a break that led to a Cerruti layup and a 31-18 halftime lead.

Coming out of the break. Sydney Gallery blocked a shot and grabbed the loose ball on one end and then set up Cerruti for another three to push the lead back to 16. Tewksbury started to chip away, as Rachel Picher hit a pair of threes and had eight points in the third, helping the Redmen get as close as eight.

Then Fay Gallery got her moment to make history. Taking a pass right in front of the bench, Gallery took a dribble towards the corner and pulled up for a three, drilling the shot before being swarmed by her teammates and the Canton student section that spilled out onto the court to celebrate.

“A lot of pressure was on me for sure but I tried not to think about it,” Gallery said of that moment. “I didn’t think I was going to be in this position because of the COVID year last year, but I’ve definitely worked hard and I’m proud of where I am right now.”

When asked what it means to experience the milestone just weeks apart, Cerruti said, “It’s really special. We’ve worked really hard. Every day at practice, we try to get better and it’s really great how far we’ve come.”

Buoyed by the energy from the milestone basket, Canton closed the third on a 7-0 run. Sydney Gallery went coast-to-coast, spinning through the lane for a layup and Cerruti buried her fourth triple of the night to send the Bulldogs into the fourth leading 46-31.

Tewksbury started the quarter on an 8-0 run. Samantha Ryan (team-high 17 points) hit a three and drove to the basket to cut the lead down to seven. DaSilva (eight points) finally got Canton on the board in the fourth with a layup off a Cerruti assist just about midway through the quarter. After two free throws from the Redmen, Sydney Gallery took a pass from her sister and scored to keep the lead at nine.

Canton needed to make shots at the line to try and seal the win. DaSilva stepped up and calmly made a pair to make it a 10-point game. Tewksbury scored four straight and missed a three that would’ve made it a one-possession game. Sydney Gallery knocked down two free throws and, after Madison Stovesand nailed a three to keep things interesting, Fay Gallery hit two more to close things out.

“It was kind of clear that they were going to be different than your normal freshmen coming in,” Choquette replied when asked about his three senior stars, who all likely would’ve gotten to 1,00 career points if not for last winter being cut in half, and how they were able to come through to secure that elusive first playoff win. “There was a lot of pressure on them too. I think probably the most impressive thing is how well they handled it all four years.

“It’s not easy to go in and start three freshmen on a varsity team night-in and night-out. I think they were extremely mature when they were freshmen and sophomores, they proved themselves to the league, they proved themselves to the team, and now that they’re older, they’re leaders and everyone looks to them when the times are tough. To their credit, they did it beautifully.”

Canton (15-6) advances to the second round and will travel to No. 7 seed Westwood on a date to be determined. It will be a rematch of the final game of the regular season, which the Bulldogs won 46-40 in the final of the Riley Classic.

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Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/21/22

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 67 vs. Durfee, 42 – FinalAfter falling behind in the first quarter, Attleboro dominated the final three quarters to earn a season sweep of Durfee. Playing shorthanded without leading scorer Evan Houle, the Bombardiers got a huge boost from junior Jaiden Outland, who hit four three pointers and finished with career-high 18 points to pace the Attleboro offense. Durfee held a 18-14 lead after eight minutes but Attleboro came storming back in a 22-point second quarter with Outland netting eight point, Jake Struminski adding six of his eight points, and Colin Morais chipping in with five of his 15 points. The Bombardiers won the second quarter 22-5, taking a 36-23 lead into the locker room.

Canton, 66 vs. Fenway, 49 – FinalHolding a six point lead at the break, Canton used a 19-point third quarter to stretch the lead and eventually finish off Fenway for the second time in as many days. The Bulldogs got scoring contributions from six players in the big third quarter with senior Lanse Dorcelus scoring six of his team-high 16 points, senior Nate Mei adding five of his 13 points, and Matt Chafin (11 points), Dillon Nguyen, Conor Hunter, and Bahsor Mahn (eight points) all scored in the quarter as Canton turned its halftime lead (32-26) in a 51-36 advantage going into the fourth. Jacob Solomon added a trio of threes and finished with nine points.

Foxboro, 58 vs. Medfield, 54 – FinalTied at halftime, Foxboro pulled ahead for good with a big third quarter to land a key win over Division 2 foe Medfield. Foxboro had a 20-15 lead after a quarter but the teams went into the locker room at halftime deadlocked, 30-30. Five different Foxboro players scored in the third and the Warriors had their best defensive frame of the game, winning the third 17-9. Alex Penders had five of his 14 points, Andrew Finn and Cam Barreira each sank a three, Sam Golub (nine points) added a basket, and Dylan Gordon had four of his team-high 22 points to help Foxboro pull away.

Franklin, 43 vs. Leominster, 30 – FinalAnchored by one of its best defensive efforts of the season, Franklin landed an impressive win over one of the two ranked teams in Division 2. Junior Ben Harvey had a fantastic showing on the defensive end, holding one of Central Mass’ best players Justin Dadah Jr. to just one three-pointer in the fourth quarter. The Panthers used a 16-0 run across the first and second quarters to create separation. Sophomore Sean O’Leary scored eight of his 11 points in the opening half while Harvey got it going on the offensive end with six points in the second. Geino Scaringello gave the Franklin offense a big boost in the second half with all of his nine points coming over the final two frames.

King Philip, 68 vs. Falmouth, 36 – FinalKing Philip poured in 26 points in the third quarter to run away with a big win over Falmouth in the first round of the Somerset-Berkley tournament. The Warriors built a 27-16 lead at halftime, getting a trio of three-pointers from Grant Kinney in the first half and one apiece from Braeden Sottile (10 points) and freshman Tommy Kilroy. Junior Will Laplante took over in the third, hitting three more threes and went on to finish with 16 of his team-high 24 points after the halftime break. Charlie Grant and Sottile also hit threes in the third quarter for KP, who had 12 makes from three-point range.

Mansfield, 56 vs. Westford Academy, 41 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Mansfield struggled in the opening quarter against Westford’s zone, but the Hornets turned things around in the second quarter to send the teams into the locker room tied. In the second half, Mansfield locked down defensively, allowing only one point in the third and 12 points in the half, to pull out a win against a team ranked in the top 10 in Div. 1 and advance to the final of the Roundball Classic. Matt Hyland led all scorers with 16, 10 in the second half, and added nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Chris Hill added 13, including seven in the second to help the Hornets even up the game and 4-for-4 from the line in the fourth quarter. Andrew Slaney nailed four threes, including two in the first to keep Mansfield close, and finished with 12 points. Mansfield hit eight from beyond the arc as a team and will face the winner of Whitman-Hanson and Brockton in Wednesday’s final.

Milford, 46 vs. Shrewsbury, 57 – Final

Sharon, 59 vs. Walpole, 71 – FinalSharon trailed by just three at halftime but Walpole exploded for 27 points in the third quarter to run away with the win in the championship game of the Davenport Classic. Sophomore Nate Katznelson dropped a career-high 27 points for the Eagles, but Walpole’s balanced attack — five players scored in the third — and successful three-point shooting in the third (five makes) ended up the difference.

Stoughton, 59 vs. Milton, 38 – FinalAfter a back-and-forth first quarter, Stoughton dominated the middle quarters to build a double digit lead that never relinquished the rest of the way. Junior Rayan Sablon hit four three-pointers in the first half and finished with 22 of his career-high 31 points to help the Black Knights get the win. Connor Andrews added nine of his 17 points in the opening half as Stoughton built a 34-19 lead at halftime and had a 46-25 lead going into the fourth.

Taunton, 77 @ New Bedford, 42 – FinalTaunton senior Trent Santos scored his 1,000th career point as the Tigers rolled to a big win to finish the regular season. Santos finished with 29 points in the win and hit the milestone with — fittingly — a pull up three in transition in the fourth quarter. Santos had five threes in the game and 10 total makes. Chris Volcy came off the bench and scored half of his 12 points in Taunton’s 25-point second quarter, turning a close game into a blowout by halftime (43-21). Faisal Mass added eight points for Taunton, which had nine players get in the scoring column.










Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 61 @ Durfee, 30 – FinalThe Bombardiers held Durfee to 12 points in the first half, building a 32-12 lead through two quarters and never looking back to record a fifth straight win. Meghan Gordon scored 12 of her 16 points and Lindsey Perry scored all seven of her points in the first half to get Attleboro off to a great start. Vanessa Ellis scored 13 points (eight in the second half) and Rylie Camacho buried four three-pointers and finished with 12. Avery Vieira scored six of her eight points in the fourth.

Foxboro, 61 vs. Cambridge, 30 – FinalKailey Sullivan scored 23 points, knocking down five three-pointers, as the Warriors rolled to a big win in the opening round of the Warrior Classic. Nine players scored for Foxboro, which will face Walpole on Tuesday night in the final.

Mansfield, 54 vs. Westford Academy, 55 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Abigail Chambers hit a three from six feet behind the arc with only 4.5 on the clock and Westford pulled out a come from behind win in the first round of the Roundball Classic. The Hornets had led 54-48 in the closing minutes, but Westford closed the game on a 7-0 run. Abby Wager scored a team-high 22 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to pace the Hornets. She added six rebounds and four steals. Kara Santos chipped in with nine points (five in the fourth) and Bridget Hanley added nine points, five assist, and two blocks. Natlya Gill came off the bench and scored seven points. Mansfield will face Natick on Wednesday afternoon in the consolation round of the tournament.

Taunton, 52 vs. New Bedford, 59 – FinalTaunton and New Bedford had a shootout in the second half, as the teams combined for 68 points, but the Tigers weren’t able to pull off a comeback in the season finale and the Whalers earned a split of the season series. Kameron St. Pierre had a team-high 17 points for the Tigers, all of them in the second half, and knocked down three from beyond the arc. Liv Gannon scored nine, all in the first half, and Cali Melo and Abby Souza each scored eight points for the Tigers.

Canton, 46 @ Westwood, 40 – FinalThe Bulldogs closed out the regular season by winning the title at the Riley Classic and beating one of the teams ahead of them in the Div. 2 power rankings. Fay Gallery scored 17 points, dished our four assists, and had three steals to lead the way for Canton. Kiara Cerruti added 16 points and three steals and Sydney Gallery had seven points, five boards, and three assists. Canton also got a lot of help on the glass, with Han Hong and Erin Beatty each pulling down six rebounds and Samya DaSilva grabbing five boards. Marissa Staffiere made a pair of clutch free throws at the end to help seal the win. Fay Gallery was named tournament MVP and Cerruti was named to the all-tournament team.

King Philip, 49 vs. Archbishop Williams, 28 – FinalKP jumped out to a 16-2 lead after one quarter and extended that lead to 34-6 at halftime, running away with a big win in the consolation round of the end-of-season tournament. The Warriors had 48 points through three quarters. All 14 players saw time on the court and 11 ended up on the score sheet. Liv Lafond led the Warriors with 10 points, while Emily Sawyer had eight and Kylie Watson and Julia Marsden each scored seven points in the win. Olivia Ali knocked down a three-pointer for her first career varsity points.

Boys Hockey
North Attleboro, 1 vs. Walpole, 3 – Final

Mansfield, 3 vs. King Philip, 6 – Final

Stoughton, 1 @ Rockland, 2 – Final (OT)After being shutout by Rockland in the first time around, Stoughton pushed the Bulldogs to the limit this time around before falling in overtime. Joe McNulty had the goal for the Black Knights, Steven Westerlund had a strong game defensively, and Chris Andrade played well in net with 29 saves.

Girls Hockey
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 vs. Dedham, 0 – FinalMOA freshman Emma Rabinovich sparked the offense with her first career goal less than a minute into the game and the Warriors never looked back, skating to a shutout win over Dedham. Rabinovich lit the lamp 30 seconds into the game and then Kylie O’Keefe doubled the lead with a minute left in the period to make it 2-0. Cammy Shanteler (from O’Keefe) and Cataline Kipp each added a goal for the Warriors. Jess Widdop made 35 saves in net to earn the shutout for MOA.

King Philip, 5 vs. Milton, 0 – Final

Staffiere Caps Canton Comeback Against Attleboro

Canton girls basketball
Canton’s bench jumps up in celebration after Marissa Staffiere’s last-minute three put the Bulldogs ahead to stay in a come from behind win over Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – After trailing 18-1 to start the game and being down by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, Canton fought its way back to a standstill. The Bulldogs had largely been riding the hot hand of its stars, Fay Gallery and Sydney Gallery combined for 17 points in the fourth quarter and 39 for the game, but the biggest play of the night came from an unlikely source.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Junior guard Marissa Staffiere had just been subbed out but as she walked to the bench she told Canton coach Jim Choquette and his staff that she wanted to be out there and could help the team win. Choquette agreed and put her back in. When Emily McCabe hustled to keep a possession alive, snagging an offensive rebound on the baseline, she kicked it out to Staffiere for an open look at a straightaway three.

Despite not yet making a basket for the first 31-plus minutes of the game, Staffiere drilled the open look, providing what turned out to the game-winning basket in a 57-52 come from behind victory over Attleboro on Tuesday night at the Masciarelli Gym.

Choquette explained, “At that point, you have to trust your players. [Marissa] believed she could do it and there was no doubt in my mind, I wasn’t going to question her. She would’ve helped us no matter what. If it wasn’t that shot, then it would’ve been something else so I was really, really happy for her.”

The night started as a celebration of the third member of Canton’s senior stars. Kiara Cerruti came into the night needing just one point to become the second female player at Canton to reach 1,000 points for her career (Eileen Morneau in 1996 was the first). Cerruti nearly got the milestone just seconds into the game, but she was unable to finish after a steal led to a breakaway.

Although it took a few minutes, Cerruti was able to get the point she needed, knocking down a free throw to make history.

“She’s been working for this goal since third or fourth grade,” said Choquette. “We used to run our camps here when she was little and she’d be the first one to finish things and the one who stayed latest and she continued all that stuff all the way through her career. That’s the result of dedication and determination for an entire lifetime of playing basketball.”

With the larger crowd in the gym, all of the energy surrounding the chase of a milestone, and without point guard Lindsey Perry and leading scorer Meghan Gordon, the Bombardiers, who had won eight straight coming in, could have let the game get away from them. Instead, they dominated the opening quarter.

Attleboro scored the first 10 points of the game, crashing the boards, and playing tough defense in the paint. Lillian Froio (seven points and nine rebounds) got things going with a put-back and Vanessa Ellis (eight points, 10 rebounds, and four steals) scored a pair of baskets off the offensive glass. Riley Camacho’s steal led to a transition bucket for Lily Routhier and then the duo each buried a three to push the lead to 18-1.

“That’s pretty much our future and I was very impressed,” said Attleboro coach Bri Hochwarter about how her players stepped up without two starters. “I told the kids to hold their head high, they gave it their all on the court and that’s all I could ask for.”

Choquette was full of praise for Attleboro’s performance. He said, “They were really hitting shots. They were down a few players and they were really playing for let’s win it for the girls who can’t be here, which always makes a team play better. I was really impressed with what they did.”

Sydney Gallery got a basket to close out the first, but Canton trailed by 14. The Bulldogs managed to settled down in the second and put together a run that got the lead down to just six at the half. Cerruti (nine points and six steals) started it with a run out for a layup and McCabe added a bucket on a nice pass from Han Hong. Then Fay Gallery started to heat up, scoring seven points in the quarter.

Momentum was with the home side heading to the locker room and seemed to carry over into the third, as Canton continued to chip away. Camacho (12 points) opened things with a three and Kayla Goldrick (12 points and nine rebounds) got an open corner three off a cleverly worked side out-of-bounds play that kept the lead in double digits.

Gallery would lift the Bulldogs back into the game. She scored 10 points in the third, knocking down a trio from the outside and her steal and look ahead got Cerruti and easy two. Gallery’s third triple of the quarter tied the game 33-33 and it felt like Canton might finally have the shorthanded Bombardiers on the ropes.

Attleboro showed its mettle, answering back with six straight to close the quarter. Goldrick slipped an entry pass into Ellis on the right block and the freshman not only made a nice catch but finished plus the foul. Routhier closed the third with an open three off another Goldrick pass and it was 39-33 heading to the fourth.

“We started getting momentum again,” said Hochwarter. “I told the kids in the locker room that basketball is a game of runs and they went on their run in the second quarter but this is our chance. Don’t get defeated if they go on 6-0, 8-0 run, we stop them and then go on our run.”

Both teams kept answering runs by the other in the fourth quarter. After Fay Gallery buried a three to cut the lead to five, Goldrick grabbed two offensive rebounds to finish on the other end and then Froio got a layup after a great hustle play by Sarah Maher, who saved a possession while falling out of bounds under the hoop.

Canton kept battling back. Sydney Gallery got a pair of open looks from the outside, the second set up by a kick out from Cerruti, and she tied the game at 46-46. Camacho got free on the break for two, but Gallery drove down the lane to tie it again with two minutes to play. Her offensive rebound gave Canton the lead at 50-49 and Fay Gallery followed with a bucket to make it a three-point lead with 1:27 to play. The Bulldogs were on a 14-3 run.

“Attleboro took our best punches, they regrouped, and they made a really good run,” said Choquette. “Thankfully, with each momentum-changing shot they hit, we had an answer. They hit a three, Fay hit a three, they hit a three and Sydney hit a three, we got to the free throw line, we got a turnover, so that ultimately disrupts someone trying to finish a game off when you can answer the big shots.”

Every time it seemed Attleboro was out, someone stepped up and made a play. This time, it was Camacho, who took a pass from Routhier and drained her third three of the night to even the score once again. In the end, Canton was able to make one more play and Staffiere’s big shot proved to be the narrow difference.

“I asked kids to step up knowing that we weren’t going to have our two captains on the floor and everyone did,” said Hochwarter. “It just came down to those threes at the end and we weren’t boxing out and giving them second-chance opportunities. They’re a good team and hit some good shots at the end.”

Canton (9-4) will be home again on Friday night for a rematch with league-leading Oliver Ames. Attleboro (10-4) will be on the road to face the other league leader, Franklin.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/21/22

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
King Philip, 41 @ Attleboro, 76 – FinalAttleboro got off to a blistering start with 27 points in the opening quarter, and kept its foot on the pedal with 20 more points in the second on its way to a big win over King Philip. Alvin Harrison scored all nine of his points in the opening quarter, one of six Bombarders to hit a shot from the field as the hosts established a 27-11 lead after just eight minutes. Junior Trevor White accounted for four of Attleboro’s nine made three-pointers, including three in the opening half that led to a 47-23 halftime lead. White finished with a game-high 20 points, Evan Houle added 13 points, including a trio of trifectas, and sophomore Neo Franco chipped in with nine points. Will Laplante led King Philip with 11 points.

Sharon, 51 @ Canton, 59 – FinalCanton exploded for 21 points in the third quarter to surge ahead of Sharon and held on to land an upset win over the visiting Eagles. Trailing 27-25 at halftime, five different Bulldogs hit field goals, including a pair of threes from Jacob Solomon, to help the hosts stake a 46-38 lead going into the fourth. Canton was held to just one field goal in the fourth but went 10-for-12 from the free throw line to stay ahead. Senior Lanse Dorcelus score a game-high 17 points, going 9-for-10 from the free throw line to lead the charge offensively while Solomon finished with nine points. Junior Jack Bates scored a team-high 11 points for the Eagles while classmate Matt Baur added 10 points.

Foxboro, 56 @ Oliver Ames, 65 – FinalOliver Ames built a lead in the first quarter and added enough cushion in the second quarter to keep Foxboro at bay throughout the remainder of the game to get back into the win column, snapping a three-game skid. The Tigers got a balanced scoring attack with nine players registering points, and OA found success attacking the basket with 22 two-point field goals compared to just a pair of three-pointers. After just two points in the first half, junior Zach Tagliamonte got it going in the second to finish with a game-high 18 points. MJ Jean-Baptiste added 12 points and Drew Baxter had 10 for OA, which led 15-10 after one quarter, 30-18 at halftime, and 44-35 going into the final frame. Foxboro’s offense came alive in the second half, hitting on all eight of its three-pointers but couldn’t close the gap. Senior Dylan Gordon and juniors Sam Golub and Alex Penders all finished with 13 points apiece.

Milford, 34 @ Franklin, 77 – FinalFranklin poured in 21 points in the first quarter and never looked back in a big win over visiting Milford. Junior Justin Allen hit half of his four three-pointers in the first quarter, sophomore Henry Digiorgio hit had one of his game-high five three-pointers in the opening quarter, and senior Sean Vinson also hit from deep as the Panthers established a 21-9 lead after one, and pushed the lead to 40-17 at half after hitting five more threes in the second, including one from freshman Caden Sullivan. Digiorgio finished with a game-high 21 points, Allen had 16 points, Vinson finished at 10 points, and junior Geino Scaringello chipped in with 10 second half points.

Taunton, 59 @ Mansfield, 56 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

North Attleboro, 48 @ Stoughton, 46 – FinalJunior Jack Munley had a big block late and North Attleboro hit just enough free throws down the stretch to score an upset on the road at Stoughton. Stoughton led by one possession at halftime (23-20) and at the end of the third quarter (34-32) but the Rocketeers pulled even late and went ahead on free throws in the final minute. Freshman Ryan Bannon tied the game with a free throw before Stoughton went back ahead with one of their own. Senior Brody Rosenberg (game-high 16 points) went 2-for-2 at the line to put North ahead, 47-46, with 13 seconds to go and Munley came up with a big block on the other end to get the ball back. Junior Givany Carney (11 points) gave North a two-point lead with a free throw with five seconds to go, and Stoughton’s last-second three was off the mark. Senior Connor Andrews had a team-high 13 points while sophomore Liam Pearl added 11 points for the Black Knights.










Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 49 @ King Philip, 45 – FinalMeghan Gordon scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, as Attleboro rallied to pick up a road win and extend its streak to six straight victories. Attleboro led 28-18 at halftime, but the Warriors stormed out of the break, holding the Bombardiers to just four points in the third to take the lead. The visitors took the fourth quarter 17-11 to pull it out despite only making five field goals in the second half. Lindsey Perry added 11 points, including seven in the first, and Kayla Goldrick scored eight in the win. Emily Sawyer paced KP with 16 points, scoring six in each of the second and third quarters. Julia Marsden scored 10 and Liv Lafond finished with seven for the Warriors.

Canton, 66 @ Sharon, 33 – FinalKiara Cerruti and Sydney Gallery each scored 20 points to lead the Bulldogs to a sixth straight win. Cerruti added five rebounds and two assists and Gallery had six boards. Fay Gallery scored nine points and had five steals, while Emily McCabe chipped in with nine rebounds, five assists, and five steals and Marissa Staffiere had four assists. Samya DaSilva had four points and five rebounds and also played lockdown defense on Sharon star sophomore Jasmine Davis, holding her to four points and without a made basket.

Oliver Ames, 65 @ Foxboro, 30 – FinalOliver Ames raced out to a 35-9 lead by halftime and controlled the game from start to finish to secure a key division win over Foxboro. “We played great defense, and controlled the glass at both ends and got great finishes…it was a total team effort,” said OA head coach Laney Holbrook. Senior Caroline Peper led the offense with 18 points while Hailey Bourne provided a big spark with a season-high 12 points. Sophomore Jasmyn Cooper added 12 points, 11 rebounds, and seven steals while classmate Kaydance Derba added nine points.

Franklin, 62 @ Milford, 19 – FinalFranklin held Milford to six or fewer points in each quarter to continue its win streak. The Panthers jumped out to a 23-4 lead after the first and then extended the lead to 41-9 by halftime. Katie Peterson and Olivia Quinn each scored 11 to lead the Panthers and Stefany Padula added 10, as a dozen Franklin players got on the board. Maeve Driscoll led Milford with six, all in the fourth quarter on a pair of threes. Maddalena Mannucci Pacini and Brooke Ferreira each scored four.

Mansfield, 72 @ Taunton, 62 – FinalMansfield survived a Taunton fourth quarter comeback and won a shootout at the Raboiun Field House to make it three straight victories. Bridget Hanley led the way for the Hornets with a career-high 27 points, knocking down six of Mansfield’s 13 threes. Kameron St. Pierre was Taunton’s top scorer, finishing with a game-high 35 and making six threes of her own. The Hornets jumped out to a 42-128 lead by halftime and added three more to the lead after the third quarter, but Taunton responded with 25 points in the fourth to cut the lead back to 10. Abby Wager added 16 points for the Hornets, all but one coming in the first half, and Natalya Gill scored 11. Kara Santos chipped in with nine, including six in the fourth. Jillian Doherty scored eight and Abby Souza had seven in the loss.

Stoughton, 43 @ North Attleboro, 54 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Boys Hockey
Canton, 6 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final

Wrestling
Silver Lake Quad (Oliver Ames), 4:00

Swimming
Canton @ Sharon, 7:30 (@ North YMCA)
Stoughton @ Foxboro, 6:00
Taunton @ Milford, 4:00

Gymnastics
Franklin, 147.0 @ Attleboro, 140.6 – Final
Taunton @ Mansfield, 7:30

Canton Surges in Second Half to Pull Away From KP

Canton girls basketball
Canton senior Kiara Cerruti (13) scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Bulldogs to a win over King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – After putting up 80-plus points in each of its two games last week, it felt like only a matter of time before Canton was able to get into a groove on the offensive end. In the third quarter, the Bulldogs finally kicked into gear, scoring 23 points (four more than they had in the entire first half) and closing the third on an 11-2 run.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton turned a three-point lead into a 17-point advantage heading to the fourth quarter, riding the hot hand of senior Kiara Cerruti (game-high 21 points) and junior Samya DaSilva (16 points) to hand King Philip its first league loss of the season, 56-39.

“We’re not always going to score that many points but we want to be in a situation where we’re comfortable doing that, we want the tempo to be at that pace, but we have to understand how to win when we’re not [scoring like that],” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “I think the second half was a good example of that.”

KP coach Jeff Miszkiewicz was pleased with his team’s overall defense despite the loss. He said, “We knew coming in they were a high-octane offense, so we did our best to slow them down but you’re never going to slow a team like that down completely, you just have to make it tough. They hit a lot of tough shots.”

The first quarter was tight and dominated by defense. It was tough for either team to get good looks and both teams were guilty of turning the ball over against the heavy ball pressure. Fay Gallery (10 points and five steals) and DaSilva each hit threes to give Canton an early edge, but Emily Sawyer (16 points and 10 rebounds) got KP back into it with a pair of baskets.

Julia Marsden made a three, her only basket, to put the Warriors up for the first time and Jackie Bonner closed the quarter with a drive plus the contact to send KP into the first break up 10-8.

Canton answered with a 7-2 run to start the second. Cerruti had all seven of the points and all three of her baskets were assisted by Sydney Gallery (four points, seven assists, seven rebounds, two blocks). Cerruti’s three put the Bulldogs up 15-12.

Liv Lafond (four points and 12 rebounds) answered for KP with a drive and a pair at the line from Bonner put them in front but DaSilva responded with the final four points of the half. She drove down the lane for a bucket and then banked in a tough runner over Sawyer to send Canton into the locker room up 19-16.

After Bonner opened the second half with a three to tie it, Cerruti’s steal and assist on a Fay Gallery basket put Canton in front for good. DaSilva was a major factor in the Bulldogs being able to break the game open. She buried a corner three and three times was able to finish in the lane, scoring nine points in the quarter and taking some of the pressure off Canton’s three leading scorers.

“Samya is a player that has all of the gifts you want,” said Choquette. “There are so many games where she works her butt off to help everyone else and we said, tonight, this could be her night. She played one of her best games for us and that also helps everyone, it gives them a lift. Tonight we needed it and she came through.”

Sawyer had six in the third and her basket off a Lafond inbounds pass cut the lead to eight, but the Bulldogs closed on an 11-2 run to put the game out of reach. Cerruti (six rebounds and four steals) led the Bulldogs with 10 in the third, taking the ball to the basket and going 7-of-8 from the line in the quarter. She then knocked down a step-back three and Marissa Staffiere drove down the lane for two and a 42-25 lead.

“We kept saying that we can win this with defense,” Choquette said. “The more we defend, the more stuff will come up. We talked at halftime, we talked about making adjustments. We’re not going to stop shooting as much, but let’s work on other stuff. Let’s get to the free throw line. And playing fast, I think it tired them out.”

KP tried to rally in the fourth. Sawyer had four quick points and Maddie Paschke’s and-one had the lead down to 12. After a timeout, Canton was able to force a turnover (one of 34 for KP in the game) and get a layup for Sydney Gallery, who then added a runner in the lane. Fay Gallery then scored plus a foul and turned a steal and pass from her sister into another layup, extending the lead back to 20 in the closing minute.

“You can’t win with 34 turnovers, so that’s something we need to fix,” said Miszkiewicz. “We actually broke the press but then it was after we broke the press that we turned it over so we need to work on what to do after breaking the press.”

Canton (5-3) will put its four-game win streak on the line against Stoughton on Wednesday. King Philip (5-2) face another tough test on Friday with a visit from Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/30/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
King Philip, 41 @ Randolph, 69 – Final

Franklin, 64 @ Framingham, 45 – FinalFranklin limited the hosts to just six points in the second quarter, building a double-digit advantage it never relinquished to get the win. Sophomore Henry Digiorgio scored half of his 18 points in the third and earned tournament MVP honors. Senior Sean Vinson scored a career-high 22 points to earn all tournament team honors for the Panthers. Sophomore Sean O’Leary added 13 points in the win. Franklin hit 14 two-point field goals between the second and third quarters to pull away from the Flyers.

Oliver Ames, 57 vs. Classical, 67 – Final

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 75 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 45 – FinalMeghan Gordon scored a season-high 28 points to power Attleboro a big non-league victory. Gordon scored 19 of her points in the opening half, as Attleboro built a 36-28 lead at the breal. Attleboro held the Falcons to just six points in the third quarter and extended the lead to 15, before turning the game into a blowout by scoring 26 points in the fourth. Lillian Froio scored 12 points, including eight in the second half, and Lindsey Perry and Lily Routhier each scored 10 points. All three scored four points in the final eight minutes, and Gordon added six. Kayla Goldrick also added four of her eight points in the fourth, as the Bombardiers sealed a big win to close out the year.

Mansfield vs. Fontbonne – Postponed to TBD.

Milford vs. Lowell Catholic, 5:30 (@ Dracut)

Stoughton, 23 vs. Bedford, 45 – Final

Canton, 57 @ Hingham, 52 – FinalCanton rode the scoring of its three stars to earn a split in this week’s home-and-home series against fellow Div. 2 tournament contender Hingham. Fay Gallery scored a game-high 25 points (and five steals), Kiara Cerruti added 19, and Sydney Gallery had 11 (and 12 rebounds) to account for all but two of the Bulldogs’ 57 points on Thursday. After struggling early in Tuesday’s game and allowing Hingham to get a big lead, Canton came out strong on the road, winning the first quarter 16-7, behind nine from Fay Gallery. The Harborwomen bounced back in the second, taking it 18-9, to send the game into halftime tied. Canton was able to limit Hingham to eight points in the third to grab a three-point lead. Cerruti took over in the fourth, scoring 13 points, as Canton held on for the win. Erin Beatty made an impact on the glass in the first meeting and she followed it up by grabbing 14 rebounds in her first start of the season. Marissa Staffiere chipped in with five rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 4 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 5 – Final (OT)

Wrestling
Franklin, 58 @ Ashland, 24 – Final

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview
Oliver Ames and North Attleboro will battle again this year in what should be another competitive Hockomock League season. Check out our team-by-team preview. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2020-2021 Record: 9-4
Coach: Brianna Bracken
Attleboro finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last year and, despite only returning one starter, have an experienced corps that will be looking to push the Bombardiers back to postseason contention this season. There was a big change a few weeks ago when Marty Crowley stepped down as coach (after taking the athletic director job at Cumberland High) and former player and freshman coach Brianna Bracken was promoted to take over.

The change in coach won’t change the emphasis on defense and trying to use the roster’s athleticism to get easy baskets in transition. Attleboro’s lone returning starter is senior forward Meghan Gordon, who has improved every season on varsity and averaged nearly 17 points per game last year. Gordon will get help from classmates Lindsey Perry and Lillian Froio, who have both improved offensively and will help the Bombardiers take some of the pressure off Gordon on that end of the floor.

Injuries and transfers will have an impact as well. Senior Hailey Perry suffered a knee injury that will keep her out and last year’s freshman point guard Narissa Smith transferred to Rivers. Junior Lily Routhier has transferred in this year from Wheeler School and will help out on the boards. Sophomores Kayla Goldrick and Rylie Camacho will add to the Attleboro attack after getting experience as freshmen and senior Avery Vieira and sophomore Sarah Maher will try to fill Perry’s role in the backcourt. Sophomore Merry Bosh and Molly Moore and freshman Vanessa Ellis have had impressive preseasons as well.

“We have a great mix of experience and youth,” said Bracken. “We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been intense and the kids have been working really hard.” 

Canton

2020-2021 Record: 7-5
Coach: James Choquette
Canton could be poised for a big season with a mix of talented underclassmen and an experienced group of seniors who have played together on varsity for four years. The Bulldogs went 7-5 in the shortened 2020-21 season, but expectations are higher this winter, with hopes of challenging the top teams in the Davenport and putting together a playoff run.

Kiara Cerrutiis the team’s top returning scorer and the senior winger will be counted on to provide scoring punch with her mix of inside-outside skills. Fay Gallery is back to run the point for the Bulldogs, getting the team out in transition and finding ways to create good looks for teammates in the halfcourt. Sydney Gallery is also back to give Canton a strong post presence and scoring inside the arc. The three players combined to average 38 points per game last season and give the Bulldogs a strong foundation to build on and help spread the floor for a team that has the potential to be one of the top shooting teams in the league.

Marissa Staffiere and Carly Fitzgerald return to help run the point and give strong defensive effort in the backcourt and junior Samya DaSilva has stepped in to add another versatile weapon on the offensive end. If the Bulldogs can continue to improve defensively, they have the firepower to compete with anyone. Offensively, it will be about ball movement and making sure the ball doesn’t stick on the perimeter.

“Our program continues to grow and improve,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “With a strong senior class and a great group of underclassmen, we hope to improve each day we’re in the gym together and achieve the results we desire. Everyone knows how hard it is to win, but this group is willing to do whatever it takes and we’re so excited to see how this season unfolds.”

Foxboro

2020-2021 Record: 9-2
Coach: Lisa Downs
Foxboro had its four-year reign at the top of the Davenport division come to an end last season, as the Warriors came second to Oliver Ames. With a relatively young roster, Foxboro improved over the course of the shortened season and seemed to be peaking as it headed into what would have been the second half of a normal winter. The hope for this season is that those younger players will build on that experience to make another title challenge and playoff run.

With the graduation of the league’s leading scorer, Katelyn Mollica, the Warriors will have a lot of points to make up but have several players capable of taking on bigger roles this year. Senior forward Hannah Blake could help provide some of that scoring with her solid post-up game and mid-range jumper. Sophomore guards Erin Foley and Camryn Collins both had impressive rookie campaigns and showed versatile offensive games and both are aggressive and athletic defenders, who fit into Foxboro’s typical style.

Senior Andrea Slattery and junior Lauren Miley are under-sized forwards but both bring a lot of energy and aggression to the defensive end and hitting the glass. Freshmen Kaley Sullivan and Ava Hill will jump right into the varsity lineup this season and both could be ready to make instant impacts. Juniors Michelle Brandt and Maddie Maher and sophomore Isabelle Chamberlin will give the Warriors plenty of depth to call on this season, especially with their effort on the defensive end.

“Although we are young and have new faces, I am excited to see the potential and look forward to seeing the improvement every time they step onto the court,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs.







2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Franklin

2020-2021 Record: 10-0
Coach: John Leighton
Franklin returns eight players, including six seniors, from last year’s team, which extended the Panthers’ win streak to 35 games and clinched a third straight Kelley-Rex division title. The Panthers will be leaning on that experience as they seek to continue their reign at the top of the league and defend the Div. 1 state title that they won in 2019-20.

Senior forward Olivia Quinn will be the focal point of the Franklin offense this year after leading the team in scoring last winter and emerging as one of the top players in the Hock over the past two years. The reigning Kelley-Rex MVP will have plenty of help, particularly in the paint. While Franklin doesn’t have someone with Ali Brigham’s size, the Panthers have seven players on their roster that are listed at 5-foot-9 or taller. Senior Brigid Earley was the team’s leading rebounder last year and junior Katie Peterson is an athletic forward with a versatile game. Senior Emma Sousa is another experienced forward that gives depth in the post.

On the perimeter, Franklin has graduated a lot of its ball-handlers and shooters but senior Stefany Padula, a Springfield College-commit, is back and will help stretch the floor. Junior Bridget Leo is coming off a strong soccer season and could step in at point guard along with seniors Julia White and Jessica Pingeton, who saw some time last year. Sophomore guard Sasha Tracey is the lone underclassman on the roster this season.

“I am very excited to get back on the court with this team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “There is a lot of work ahead of us but there has also been many glimpses of what we could develop into. We have a very strong senior class who has set the bar high for the team. We hope to develop into a close-knit, supportive team that can win in different ways and also play defense that will limit our opponents’ options.”

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

King Philip

2020-2021 Record: 5-6
Coach: Jeff Miszkiewicz
There is going to be a transition period for King Philip this season, as the Warriors will be moving from former head coach Dan Nagle’s unique, non-stop pressure, quick-shot system to a new system brought in by first-year coach Jeff Miszkiewicz (who comes from LaSalle Academy in Rhode Island). With seven returning players, including five seniors, the Warriors should have the experience to adjust to the new style and be in the mix in the Kelley-Rex division.

Junior Emily Sawyer will be a major weapon for the Warriors on both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-3 center may be the biggest beneficiary of a change in system and is poised for a breakout year in the paint. Her classmate Jackie Bonner will move into a starting role this season, with her ability to create instant offense and be a pest on the defensive side of the game.

Seniors Liv Lafond, Julia Marsden, and Elizabeth Molla also project to be starters for the Warriors this season. All three are versatile wings that can space the floor and attack in transition. Lafond may be the best off-the-dribble player for KP this season and her ability to get into the paint and create will be key. Marsden is a smart player who always seems to be in the right spot and a solid scorer at the rim or out on the perimeter. Molla is a knockdown shooter from the outside and can punish teams that sink down into the paint to guard Sawyer or prevent driving lanes.

“The team plays really hard and is very coachable,” said Miszkiewicz. “I think that’s why we have seen so much improvement over the first week of practice. You’ll see us take full advantage of our athleticism on both offense and defense. We’re going to be a fun team to watch.”

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Mansfield

2020-2021 Record: 9-4
Coach: Heather McPherson
Mansfield closed out the shortened 2020-21 season with five straight wins and will hope to keep that momentum rolling into this winter, although the Hornets will need a lot of players to step into bigger roles. Six seniors graduated from last year’s team, including the bulk of the team’s frontcourt and two of its three leading scorers. New players will need the early part of the season to adjust to the pace of the varsity level.

The Hornets will be hoping that junior guard Abby Wager’s growing offensive game will allow her to improve on the nine points per game she averaged as a sophomore. Senior Anna Darlington brings tenacity on defense and will make it tough for teams to get into their half court sets. Seniors Kayla Doherty and Sophia Allen will also need to add experience to a lineup that is growing into the season.

Junior guard Olivia Salisbury and sophomore forward Kara Santos are going to be stepping up from utility roles into core pieces of the Mansfield offense this season. Salisbury has good vision and can create chances for teammates, while Santos will be a threat in the paint, making up for some of the size that graduated from last year’s team.

“After a shortened season under my belt I feel confident in the adjustments that the girls have made into a slightly different system than previous years,” said second-year Mansfield coach Heather McPherson. “We are emphasizing good fundamental defense and hoping that we can use it to create transition offense.”




Milford

2020-2021 Record: 3-8
Coach: TJ Dolliver
Milford ended last season with three wins in its final five games, building a little momentum that the Hawks are going to hope can get them off to a good start this winter. There will be a lot of changes from last year’s squad, as Milford graduated seven players, including a few four-year members of the team, so there may be some growing pains as new faces adjust to a new level.

Four seniors return to add experience and leadership to this year’s team. Guards Jess Douglas, Olivia Morelli, and Aubrey Korpi, and forward Jill Araujo are all back and will give Milford a foundation to build around. With so many new faces in the team this year, head coach TJ Dolliver will be leaning on his upperclassmen to help the younger players adjust, as the coaches work through the best way to utilize everyone’s skills on the court.

Junior forward Emily Croteau and guard Brooke Ferreira will be key players as well. The team’s top two returning scorers, Croteau and Ferreira will have to take on bigger roles this year and may be asked to carry a lot of the scoring punch. A three-year starter at point guard, Ferreira is the team’s top ball-handler and will be expected to get the Hawks into their sets while also looking for her own shot. An undersized forward, Croteau gives the team energy and rebounding, keeping possessions alive and getting chances thanks to her work rate.

“We are making a lot of changes this season,” Dolliver said. “It will be very important how we approach practice in regards to how successful we are this season. We have a lot of potential and I am excited to see where it goes.”

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

North Attleboro

2020-2021 Record: 4-9
Coach: Nikki Correia
North Attleboro had a tough finish to the 2020-21 season, losing five straight to close it out, but all five were against teams with winning records, including two against division champ Oliver Ames. With a full season ahead, North has two of its top scorers back and has added more size in the frontcourt to try and make a postseason push.

The two key returning players will be senior Summer Doherty and junior Ava McKeon. The two aggressive guards give North extra energy on both ends of the floor and push the Rocketeers into the transition game that head coach Nikki Correia prefers. Their defensive effort will be critical for North this season. Senior forward Taylor McMath has improved each year and adds scoring in the paint and is an aggressive rebounder on both ends.

Size hasn’t been a strength for North the past few seasons but freshman Maryellen Charette will be an important addition in the paint. Despite being just a rookie, Charette has shown good footwork with back to the basket and is a strong rebounder. Sam Sweeney is the other freshman on the roster, while North has seven seniors on the roster to provide necessary experience for the younger players.

“I am looking forward to this season with a full schedule and many returning players, so lots of familiarity with each other and playing more under control and trusting each other more,” said Correia. “They are already showing more confidence and being in the right spots, running the offense, and letting the game come to them instead of forcing it.”

Oliver Ames

2020-2021 Record: 10-0
Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames finished unbeaten and won the Davenport division title last season, but the Tigers will be disappointed to have missed out on a potentially deep tournament run. Coming into this year, expectations remain high with a good mix of experienced players and youth that will be getting their first taste of a full Hockomock League campaign.

Senior guard Caroline Peper is a four-year starter for the Tigers and has always been one of the league’s top long-range shooters, but continues adding to her game and her scoring will be critical. Senior Hailey Bourne is another four-year regular and one of the top defensive players in the league, capable of guarding multiple positions. Their leadership will be a key to OA’s success this winter. Senior forward Anna Murphy has improved each year and has a solid all-around game, making an impact on both ends of the floor, and junior guard Maddie Homer is a quick, tenacious defender and her improved offensive game will be important.

In addition to the more experienced players, OA is excited about the potential of the trio of sophomores who made cameos last year. Forwards Jasmyn Cooper, Kaydance Derba, and Sarah Hilliard all had good rookie seasons that gave a taste of their capabilities. Cooper and Hilliard provide size and scoring in the paint and both are excellent rebounders. Derba also has good size to be a tough matchup on the defensive end and is a dangerous three-point shooter who can stretch the floor.

“The Hockomock League, as always brings its share of tough competition, which will help us better prepare for the new standards established for the power rankings needed for the state tournament,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “The thing that I am most proud of is the fact that my players have worked tirelessly to improve themselves as players and we are ready to give it our best fight.”




2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Sharon

2020-2021 Record: 1-10
Coach: Sandy Lombardi
It is hard to predict what type of season this will be for Sharon because the Eagles will be incorporating so many new faces and many of the players will be experiencing their first full season on varsity. After one win in 2020-21, the Eagles return only one senior on this year’s roster, so there is the potential to spring a few surprises on teams this season.

Trinity Payne is the lone senior for the Eagles. The four-year varsity player is a strong defensive presence and can control the glass, especially on the defensive end. Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi is looking for more offensive punch from Payne this season. Junior point guard Tess Lentendre returns after missing a few games last winter. A leader in the backcourt, Letendre is a three-year varsity player and will help control things on the offensive end.

The rest of the starting five for Sharon will be sophomores. Rachel Hager and Eva Poulton both saw time on varsity last season and play out on the wings. Jasmine Davis didn’t play last year but will start at center and should give Sharon extra size in the middle and should be a force on both ends of the court. Junior forward Emily Freeman is back from last year, but the rest of the Sharon roster are newcomers to the varsity team, although Lombardi is expecting good contributions from the bench.

“The girls have been working hard,” Lombardi said. “We are excited for the season and hopefully we can make some noise in the Hock this year.”

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Stoughton

2020-2021 Record: 1-9
Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Last year was a little bit of a transition season for Stoughton, as the Black Knights graduated a lot from a team that was a win away from tournament qualification. An inexperienced Stoughton roster had some growing pains in 2020-21, but with five seniors this year head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan is hoping that last year will set a foundation for this year’s team to build on.

Senior Jess Maddalena is an important returning player for Stoughton. After missing her junior season to an injury, Maddalena will give the Black Knights additional scoring and depth on the wing. Senior guard Kate Bulger will be back to run the offense and provide strong perimeter defense. Senior Vanessa Philemond adds athleticism, energy, and rebounding and her length can be a weapon on both ends of the floor.

In addition to their three captains, the Black Knights will also be hoping for big seasons and lots of leadership from senior guards Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and Evie Lam. Stoughton also has three sophomores, Katrina Varnum, Alyssa Edwards, and Maiya Merritt, and freshman Raina Tat, who will be handling their first full season of varsity basketball this season.

“It’s so good to be back on the hardwood to compete this season,” said Steele Jordan. “We will continue to play hard on both ends of the court this season. I am looking forward to the five seniors taking charge and setting the pace for us. We will play tough, be gritty, and battle until the final buzzer sounds each night in the Hock.”

2021-2022 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Taunton

2020-2021 Record: 0-10
Coach: Amy Siggens
Taunton coach Amy Siggens is in her third year in charge of the program (and second season on the sidelines after not coaching last winter) and she will have a very different looking roster to the one that she first inherited. The Tigers graduated six seniors from last year’s team and there will be a lot of untested players getting their first taste of varsity action this season.

There is excitement about the return of junior guard Kameron St. Pierre. After a breakout rookie season in which she averaged more than 14 points per game, St. Pierre sat out last winter and will be back to carry a heavy load for the Taunton offense. The lefty point guard will get the Tigers into their sets and her long-range shooting should open the floor for teammates.

In addition to St. Pierre, the Tigers will have a host of guards to rotate through. Seniors Braeley McDonald, Kyanna Barros, and Abby Souza will give the Tigers plenty of energy on both ends of the floor and could benefit from the attention paid to St. Pierre to get decent looks from the perimeter. Sophomores Cali Melo and Lexi Haywood also have experience at the varsity level. Inside, Taunton will have several new faces but senior forward Olivia Gannon and junior Sayla DePina bring some size in the paint.

“As we look toward the beginning of this basketball season, caution and patience are the words that ring true for us,” said Siggens. “Baptism under fire is an appropriate description for our girls this season but with enthusiasm, hard work, and a commitment to improving, we have a chance to be competitive in a typically demanding Hockomock League.”

Canton and Milford Share Point Apiece After Wild Finish

Canton girls soccer
Junior Han Hong (3) celebrates after scoring the opening goal in a 2-2 draw between Canton and Milford. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


CANTON, Mass. – Canton and Milford both went into Saturday morning’s divisional crossover match at WWII Veterans Memorial Field with two losses from their opening two games. Both wanted to record their first victory to build momentum for the long season ahead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After sharing four goals in the final 15 minutes, including two in the final five, they had to settle for a first point. Serena Borges put Milford in front with three minutes to play but almost immediately from the kick off Canton leveled thanks to Anne Hoban and the game finished in a 2-2 draw.

“A tie is better than a loss,” said Canton coach Idris Senyonjo. “I think it’s going to have the next couple of games at home and I think we can build around that. I think this point can help us build a little momentum.”

It was a match filled with chances on both ends. The hosts had the first opportunity when Allie McCabe had a shot from distance that forced a save out of Milford keeper Yvonette Lima. After 15 minutes, the Hawks should have had the lead when Kaylee Whitney pounced on a short clearance by Canton goalie Marissa Staffiere and crossed to freshman Paige Caldon, but her header went wide of the open net.

Canton was attacking down the wings, trying to get in behind Milford’s young outside backs. Hoban, who has moved from defense to forward this season, hit a low cross from the left that Lima did well to cut out at the feet of Gabriella Herivaux. A couple minutes later, Emma Cahill got forward on the right and crossed for Hoban, but Lima was able to get behind the close-range shot.

“She never saw a day of varsity soccer before this year,” Milford coach Lou Colabello said of Lima. “She had 14 saves the first game, 16 saves the second game, and today she kept us in the game. She’s an athlete.”

After Milford went close from a Borges corner that bounced in the six-yard box, Emily McCabe forced Lima into a good save on a long free kick and then McCabe set up Hoban with a cross to the back post only for the header to go wide. Dani Atherton beat her marker on the right and crossed to Caldon, but the freshman couldn’t get enough on it to put the shot on net. Atherton again showed her skill to beat one defender on the right and tee up Brooke Ferreira for a shot from 20 yards out that landed on the roof of the net.

“We had more possession, more in their half, and just didn’t utilize it enough,” Senyonjo explained. “I think that’s going to be our biggest issue is that we don’t have many goal scorers this season. We’re going to have to find ways to use the chances we get. We let other teams get back into the game. If we finish some of those chances, maybe it could have gone differently.”

The first half was end-to-end and the chances kept coming in bunches for both sides after the break.

Just four minutes into the second half, Brianna Guerreiro was able to open space for a cross on the right and she picked out Caldon at the back stick. The ball was redirected back across goal and was going to sneak inside the post before Allie McCabe was able to clear off the line.

Two minutes later, Emily McCabe nearly broke the deadlock with another free kick, slamming one off the bar. Hoban then got free on the left side of the box and forced Lima into a good save. In the 52nd minute, Hoban again got loose in the left channel, running onto a through ball and forcing Lima into a sliding block.

The opening goal finally came in the 65th minute. Hoban found space on the left and crossed it to Herivaux in the middle of the box. The senior striker didn’t make clean contact but knocked it on target. Lima was able to make a full stretch save, but could only palm it into the path of Han Hong and she smashed in the rebound to make it 1-0.

Momentum was short-lived. Milford had a corner two minutes later and Borges was able to pick out Amy Oliveira. Her header deflected off a Canton defender on its way to goal, wrong-footing keeper Elyse Broderick and finding the back of the net.

Atherton nearly put the Hawks in front with five minutes to go. She got loose on the right and slid a shot past Broderick but not past Allie McCabe, who had her second goal line clearance of the game. Two minutes later, the Hawks pulled in front. Atherton created the opening, this time on the left side, and played the ball into Borges on the edge of the box. Borges took a nifty touch to get the ball onto her right foot and then curled a shot into the far corner.

It felt like the game-winner, but Canton created an almost immediate equalizer. As with so much of the Bulldogs attack, Hoban got in behind the Milford defense and the senior opened up her body and calmly side-footed her shot to Lima’s left.

Colabello said, “It goes back to knowing how to win in this league. When you get that lead, especially on the road, the confidence has got to be that we’re going to win. You can’t hope to win or try not to lose. You make a mental mistake and people are going to make you pay for it.”

Even though there was less than two minutes remaining, there was somehow still time for Emily McCabe to force Lima into yet another save and for Atherton to bend a shot that went narrowly wide of the bottom corner.

“One of the things to be really proud of is that we didn’t give up,” Senyonjo “That’s one of the things that we did in the first couple games. We gave up a couple goals and it went down and out whereas today I think there was belief that we could get a goal. Responding like that should get them pumped up for the next game.”

“Is it a good tie?” Colabello asked. “Surely after the two losses, and we haven’t beaten them in two years. Today was the best effort [of the season] for sure.”

Canton (0-2-1) will be back at home on Monday when it hosts Stoughton. Milford (0-2-1) will also be home on Monday for a visit from Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.