North Attleboro Edges King Philip With Late Surge

North Attleboro boys basketball
North Attleboro’s Josh Montague drives to the basket in the second half at King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – In a back and forth battle between King Philip and North Attleboro, it was the visiting Rocketeers that landed the biggest blow of the game, rallying over the final five minutes to earn a 55-51 decision over the Warriors.

While the first half was a see-saw type game, featuring four lead changes and four ties, King Philip was in control for the majority of the second half.

The Warriors led by as much as 10 points early in the third quarter only for North to get within four heading into the final frame. The hosts extended their lead to seven with five minutes to go in the game, but KP’s offense went cold from there.

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North finished the game on a 12-1 run, rattling off eight straight to take its first lead of the second half with two minutes to go. Big Red tacked on a big three and a key free throw to go up by four in the final minute.

“I thought our kids worked really, really hard,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “In the first half, [King Philip’s] screens were bothering us, which they shouldn’t have. Some guys had some miscommunications, some breakdowns. And then at times, it was giving up open shots. You give KP a lot of credit because they put us in a lot of tough spots but give our kids a lot of credit to finish the game the way they finished and make just enough plays to get out of here with a win.

Rocketeers junior Josh Montague (25 points, four assists) scored on back-to-back drives to open the final quarter, tying the game at 43-43. King Philip responded with a 7-0 run with a bucket from Kyle Layman (14 points, eight rebounds, three assists) down low, a three from Tim Nault (career-high 13 points) and a pair of free throws from Bruce Santillus. King Philip led 50-43 with just over five minutes to play.

That’s when North went on its run. Junior Matt Seavey (six points, five rebounds) converted a putback, junior Jake Petersen scored an easy bucket after a strong drive and dish from Montague, Nate Gonsalves (seven points) came up with a huge steal that led to two points from Montague, and then Gonsalves beat the shot clock buzzer with a deep two, giving the Rocketeers a 51-50 lead with two minutes to play.

King Philip looked to answer but Gonsalves came up with yet another big defensive play, blocking a shot at the free throw line. The Warriors had another chance on the play but couldn’t get their three-point to fall.

Meanwhile, on the other end, Gonsalves wasn’t lacking any confidence when he launched a deep three from straight away, sinking the shot with a minute to go to put North up 54-50.

“Nate’s got a knack for scoring, he’s got pretty good instincts,” Mulkerrins said. “Defensively, he’s like a lot of our guys – a work in progress – but in the fourth he had that steal, that block…so for a kid like him who isn’t naturally gifted on the defensive side of the ball to make defensive plays down the stretch is so important. We know he can make threes, he’s becoming a pretty good consistent big game shooter for us.”

The Warriors missed on the other end but got the ball back with a North turnover. Pharoah Davis (15 points) sank one free throw to get within three. Montague sank a free throw of his own with 13 seconds to play, icing the win for the Rocketeers.

King Philip led 28-24 at the half-time break and came up with a quick 8-2 burst to take its largest lead of the game. A strong move from Davis, a jumper from Nault, a nice post move from Layman and a layup from Davis helped the Warriors build a 36-26 lead.

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But Montague spearheaded an 11-3 run from the visitors, hitting a pair of threes in the stretch while both Ethan Friberg and Seavey scored down low to bring North within two at 39-37.

“We’ve been trying to add a little bit of ball screen to our offense and I thought, on short notice, the guys did a pretty good job of getting pretty good looks,” Mulkerrins said. “[Josh] has that ability to get by most defenders in one-on-one, but its a matter of his ability to make the right read. Tonight I thought he did a better job of getting into that second level and finishing so a lot of credit to him.”

North Attleboro built an early 9-5 lead but five straight from Davis put the hosts in front. Junior Owen Nassaney (seven points) came off the bench and scored four straight of his own to give the Rocketeers the 13-10 edge after one.

Nassaney started the second quarter with a bang. Gonsalves came up with a steal, tossing it ahead to Nassaney for a two-handed dunk while being fouled. He made the free throw for a 16-10 lead.

“Owen’s someone I have to give a lot of credit to tonight He’s had a lot of good practices over the past week, week and a half,” Mulkerrins said. “And it’d be really easy for a kid in his situation, not playing a lot and watching his junior classmates play a lot, to just mail it in. To his credit, he’s stayed hungry. We’ve talked a lot as a team about being ready, being in the moment and he’s a great example of a kid caring about the team more than himself. He had a fantastic two days of practice and then it carried it over to tonight.”

King Philip responded with an 8-2 run of its own with two from Layman, a free throw from Tom Madden, a bucket from Davis, a triple from Nault and another layup from Davis for a 20-18 lead.

Montague tied the game at 20-20 but King Philip won the final tow minutes 8-4, including threes from Nault and Nolan Bradley.

The Warriors won the rebounding battle (30-27) but had 14 turnovers and shot 38% from the field.

“We seemed to play scared, we seemed to tighten up a little bit,” said KP head coach Mark Champagne. “It’s a little bit of a broken record a bit. Tim [Nault] played well for us, that was the best game he’s played. It was more minutes than he’s played, and he was solid for us. But overall, it’s just been frustrating.”

North Attleboro boys basketball (5-6 Hockomock, 7-6 overall) is back in action on Friday when it resumes play against division foes with a road trip to Canton at 5:00. King Philip (2-9, 2-11) will try to snap its current skip when it hosts Attleboro on Friday at 7:00.

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Defense, Rebounding Help Stoughton Beat King Philip

Stoughton boys basketball
Stoughton’s Colin Sanda (left) and David Bell (24) celebrate after Bell converted an offensive rebound while being fouled. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – Throughout the game, Stoughton had struggled to score against King Philip’s half-court defense. So with 37 seconds left, holding a three-point lead and in need of some insurance, the Black Knights found a way to get an easy bucket.

Coming out of a timeout after a near turnover and the inbounds at midcourt, Stoughton sent three of its players down one end of the court and kept Colin Sanda (17 points, 10 rebounds) alone in one half. The Warriors’ defense lined up in man-to-man, allowing Cam Andrews to get the ball into Sanda.

It seemed like a normal inbounds play into the backcourt, but that was only because of how the Black Knights lined up. Sanda was, in fact, in his offensive half and took the feed down for a wide-open layup with just 30 seconds to play.

That bucket, along with some late free throws, gave Stoughton enough of a cushion to hang on for a 60-55 win on the road.

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The Black Knights led by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter and had a nine-point lead with just two minutes to go before King Philip made a late charge. Kyle Layman (23 points, eight rebounds) scored inside and Brendan Kinghit a pair of free throws to make it a five-point game, 55-50.

Stoughton hit a free throw to extend it to six but Layman collected three points (free throw, field goal off Bruce Santillus’ offensive rebound) to make it a one-possession game, 56-53, with just under a minute to play.

That’s when Stoughton ran its play to Sanda for an easy two to keep the lead. King Philip once again got it down to three on an offensive putback but David Bell (career-high 19 points, 13 rebounds) hit free throws down the stretch to ice it.

While the inbounds play and free throws iced the game for Stoughton, it was the Black Knights’ full-court pressure defense and strong rebounding that really put them in position to win in the first place.

“We played with some energy tonight,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “We were a little shorthanded tonight and I think they recognized that so they picked each other up. We were trying to mix the defense up with some zone, some scramble, some straight man-to-man. After a while, we just stuck with what we were using and it ended up being enough.”

The Knights’ pressure really started paying off in the third quarter, and even more so when King Philip’s starting point guard Pharoah Davis had to leave the game for a stretch due to a head injury.

Stoughton outscored KP 15-9 over the final six minutes of the third. Trailing 29-25, Stoughton forced a turnover that led to a triple from Bell. Stoughton had a miss a possession later but Sanda flew in for an offensive rebound and easy putback. Layman tied the game with a traditional three-point play but Stoughton finished the frame with a 7-0 burst.

After another miss, Ruben Gonzalez came in for an offensive rebound and putback, Sanda made a jumper after KP missed the front end of a one-and-one, Andrews hit the first of two free throws for a 38-34 lead, and then Steevens Phelimond hauled in Andrews’ miss on the second attempt and put it back for a 40-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“The press is trying to get them out of a rhythm, get turnovers, its all of the above,” Gallivan said. “But we can’t score on their set defense, they are too long. When we tried, it looked awful. But when we got out in transition, and even though it might seem like a quick shot, it was the best shot. The press can make you or break you but I thought we got enough out of it to stay in it. Even at the end, we backed it up some but stayed in it just to slow them down and make them think a little bit. If that game went on for 30 more seconds, who knows.”

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Stoughton started the fourth when it forced a turnover and Andrews found Bell for an easy two. Layman answered with a triple and Stoughton missed its ensuing shot, but once again Sanda came flying in unguarded and converted the putback.

Holding a 44-38 lead, Stoughton’s effort on the offensive glass paid off once again. Its first shot missed but Bell grabbed the board and put it back up while being fouled. He sank the free throw for a 47-38 lead with 5:39 to play.

Stoughton won the rebounding battle, 45-31.

“I thought all of the putbacks were huge because maybe the original shot wasn’t a great one, but the putbacks were key,” Gallivan said. “I thought Sanda really started that whole thing, he got a couple early on. I said the kids before the game that if they win the rebounding battle that you’ll win this game. We know long shots mean long rebounds and those go to the quicker team.”

The Black Knights used the full press from the beginning of the game and forced 10 turnovers in the first half. While only four of those came in the first quarter, Stoughton’s defense mainly focused King Philip into bad shots. The Warriors shot just 24% in the first eight minutes (4-for-17) while going 0-for-4 from three-point range.

Though King Philip’s offense struggled to find a rhythm, its defense kept them in the game and in the lead. Even though Stoughton made nearly half of their shots in the opening quarter, the Black Knights turned the ball over 11 times and trailed 11-9 after one.

Stoughton took a lead, 14-13, on a triple from Phelimond but Santillus (17 points, 11 rebounds) caught fire to bring the hosts back in front. He converted a feed from King for two, drained a three on a feed from Tim Nault, and after Layman and Sanda traded basket, the junior splashed in another shot from downtown. Andrew McKinney capped the run with a runner to give KP a 25-16 edge.

But the Black Knights refused to go away, closing the half on a 6-0 run to get within three at the break. Bell contributed three straight points and Andrews drilled a three with two minutes to go. Neither team scored in the final two minutes of the half.

“It was 25-22 at halftime, there really wasn’t a lot of rhythm,” said KP head coach Mark Champagne. “We lost Pharoah for a stretch in the third, and then the other guys were tentative against it so [the press] did hurt us. Pharoah can create more against it so not having him hurt. But I thought our shot selection was poor, I thought we really regressed on that. We had the wrong guys shooting the ball, just because they were open doesn’t make it the best shot.

“I told them if anybody asks what happened, tell them you were poorly coached because you really looked like it tonight, they really did it. We had mental lapses. We wanted to foul coming out of a timeout and we didn’t. We have a major focus problem. Kyle did a good job in his first game back, he was tired but he sucked it up, no issues with him. They had a lot of offensive rebounds, not so much by big guys cause they don’t have much. [Sanda] got a couple extra ones, again mental lapses from us not boxing out. We just can’t seem to get out of the gate, it’s frustrating.”

While KP’s defense focused on Andrews (eight points), Sanda and Bell picked up the slack. Sanda tied a career-high while Bell set a new mark. Both had double-digit rebounds as well.

“We need that balance,” Gallivan said, who also got seven points and solid defense from senior Justin Ly. “It can’t be one guy, no matter who the one guy is. Our best games are when its spread out among three guys. And it could be any three guys. Ruben did it earlier this season against Randolph, it just shows it can be anyone. It was good to see other guys step up and help Cam out because they obviously focused a lot on Cam.”

Stoughton boys basketball (2-7 Hockomock, 3-8 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts Franklin. King Philip (2-7, 2-9) will try to bounce back when it visits Sharon on the same night.

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Foster’s Big Night Leads Canton Past King Philip

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Devin Foster (4) drives to the basket in the first half against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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CANTON, Mass. – Canton head coach Ryan Gordy was clear on what helped his Bulldogs beat visiting King Philip on Tuesday night.

Devin Foster,” Gordy said without hesitation.

And the answer wasn’t much of a surprise as Foster poured in 27 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished out six assists to help Canton survive with a 66-57 win over the Warriors.

“Devin was the difference between King Philip and Canton tonight,” Gordy said. “It wasn’t X’s and O’s, it wasn’t anything that we did special. Devin played a high-level basketball game tonight and just put us on his back. We kind of grinded and got some stops in that third quarter to get on a run.”

Canton led by as much as 19 in the second half, but struggles from the free throw line (9-for-22) kept the door open for a comeback, and King Philip nearly orchestrated just that in the fourth quarter.

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Foster had 15 of his points in the first half, forcing KP head coach Mark Champagne to switch up his defense and put junior Kyle Layman on Foster defensively. Layman kept Foster scoreless over the first five minutes of the third.

But off of an inbounds play, Foster found space against KP’s zone and drained a corner three. That basket sparked an 11-3 run over the final two minutes of the third. Kyle Fitzgerald finished a layup to make it 47-31 Canton.

King Philip answered when sophomore Robert Jarest drained a three but Foster came back and hit a big three of his own after a nice screen from Tony Harris (14 points, seven rebounds). After getting a stop, Foster drove to the basket to draw the defense in and kicked it to Austin Maffie for a triple and a 53-34 lead late in the third.

“Devin has the ability to make adjustments in-game,” Gordy said. “He has an incredibly high IQ for the game and works very hard on his craft. He’s going to find multiple ways to either score or get others involved, he’s just that good of a player.”

It looked as though a three from Harris would be enough when he made it 60-46. But King Philip had other plans. Behind the strong play of sophomore Andrew McKinney (13 points) and Layman (13 of his 18 points in the second half), KP rattled off an 11-1 run.

“It’s been trending, we’ve had difficult fourth quarters so far this season,” Gordy said. Canton had to hold off a late rally from Attleboro in the opener and lost a lead in the final frame against Mansfield. “It’s something we’re working on getting better at, closing games out. In all aspects of the game in the fourth quarter too, we had to make free throws when it matters. It’s still early in the season and we’re growing.”

McKinney hit back-to-back layups, Layman hit two free throws and McKinney drove to the basket for two more to cut the deficit to six. Canton’s Matt Warburton converted down low off a nice feed from Foster with two minutes left to get it back to eight, but another Layman free throw followed by a McKinney mid-range jumper made it 62-57 with just over a minute left.

KP even forced another stop but turned it over without getting a shot off. Foster went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 30 seconds to ice the game.

“I thought our shot selection was better and we made some stops on defense,” Champagne said of getting back into the game. To their credit, Foster really was on balance. Ryan [Gordy] does a really good job coaching them to their strengths. Similar to Foxboro with [Joe] Morrison and [Brandon] Borde, Canton knows who their scorers are. And we weren’t disciplined on defense at times and [Maffie] got a couple of shots, and we knew he could shoot it.

“We’re still not there yet. We have five guys who haven’t played as much, even though they were their tails off, their discipline on rules struggles. It’s getting better though. But Canton is the most improved team from last year.”

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King Philip led 16-15 after the first quarter with five different players scoring but Canton outscored the Warriors 20-9 in the second quarter, taking a 10-point lead (35-25) into the halftime break. Senior Jake Verille scored nine of his 11 points in the first half while Maffie hit a three in each half.

“When we have other guys making shots we become a difficult team to defend,” Gordy said. “But credit KP, they stuck with it and hung around and made a game of it.”

Tom Madden added six points and a game-high 14 rebounds for KP while Pharoah Davis added seven points. Champagne is encouraged with the progress his team is making after five players — all who play valuable minutes — got off to a delayed start because of the football season.

“From a year ago, it’s much better,” Champagne said. “The record is the same but we’re better than where we were last year. We just have to run our stuff with better discipline and then we’ll have better possessions. We’re still mixing more and more guys in. I thought McKinney had a very good game, I thought Jarest played well. You just can’t dig holes. Are we good enough to get back in the game? Yeah. But are we good enough to get back and then take the lead? We just can’t dig those holes.”

Canton boys basketball (2-1 Hockomock, 2-1 overall) will resume Hockomock League play in the new year, but will host Boston Latin on December 28th to close the calendar year. King Philip (1-2, 1-2) heads to the Bridgewater-Raynham tournament to take on Dorchester on December 27th.

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Strong Start Helps King Philip Avenge Loss to North

King Philip boys basketball
King Philip sophomore Kyle Layman takes a three in the first quarter against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Already having matched its win total from a year ago, King Philip came out determined to surpass it on Tuesday night.

On the back of a near flawless first half that included impressive defensive showing, the Warriors raced out to a 25 point lead by halftime and never looked back in a 71-52 win over the Rocketeers.

Starting with a three from sophomore Kyle Latman (12 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks), the Warriors were off and running in the first quarter. While the offense shot nearly 50% from the field— including a three Justin Vine (eight points) — the defense was equally impressive, forcing five turnovers.

The Warriors defense also limited North Attleboro to just two field goals in the opening eight minutes – both threes from Hacmoni Cuevas. The Rocketeers were 0/6 from inside the arch though and KP led 18-8 after a quarter.

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King Philip’s defense only got better in the second quarter, and so did its offense.

The Warriors rattled off a 13-2 run over the first four minutes of the second period. Tom Madden (seven points) made back to back baskets and Layman converted a putback for a quick 6-0 spurt. After Chad Peterson knocked down a midrange jumper for North, Layman took a feed from Madden for two, Vine drove to the basket for two and Seth Sullivan (21 points) drained a three to put an exclamation point on the run.

King Philip led 39-14 at halftime, shooting 47% from the field. The Warriors limited North Attleboro to just 18% shooting in the first half.

“I think so, because [North Attleboro] is a good team too,” said KP head coach Mark Champagne when asked if that was a good of a half as the Warriors have played this year. “When we were looking at the scoreboard and were like “Oh, man.” If they came out and scored 10 in a row we wouldn’t be shocked because they’re a good team. I’d say that was our best 16 minutes of the year so far — against a good basketball team. They present a lot of problems with the type of players they have.”

Two keys to King Philip’s strong start came on the defensive end. The Warriors limited North big man Jonny Friberg – who entered the game as the fifth leading scorer in the league – to just four points. KP also put a lot of focus on Brent Doherty (14.3 points per game) by extending their defense full court with Pharoah Davis (12 points) shadowing his every move.

“Doherty makes everyone on the floor better,” Champagne said. “There aren’t a lot of pure point guards so we wanted to limit his touches and wear him down. I don’t think we wore him down but I think we limited his touches and that helped us a lot. With Friberg, we played a little bit more on top of him this time with [Kyle] Layman coming to help. We learned our lesson last time.”

And part of the key to success on offense?

“We shot the ball well too. It’s interesting when you play a team a second time, with what you’re trying to do. I thought we got a good all around effort from the kids.”

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North rolled out full court pressure in the second half to jump start the offense, and it worked. The Rocketeers forced five turnovers and scored 15 points – more than its total in the first half – but KP kept pace with 16 points of its own in the third quarter.

The pressure continued to pay off in the final quarter as the Rocketeers forced seven turnovers, doubling the amount they had forced through the first three periods. Friberg scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and hauled in nine rebounds. Thomas Reynolds added five points and Matt Seavey chipped in with four in the fourth.

North Attleboro scored 38 points on 45% shooting in the second half, cutting the deficit to 20. But the early hole was too much.

The win marks King Philip’s third straight, turning a 3-8 mark to 6-8 overall as the Warriors prepare to go through the Kelley-Rex schedule for a second time. The first time through, KP posted a 1-4 record.

“We didn’t do well the first time through, to be blunt,” Champagne said. “But this is a great start, that’s three in a row now. We had played well the week before that and even though we lost, we improved. We got a little healthier this week. I hope this is a start of it. When you win a little you get some confidence. And we’re getting a little bit more leadership on the floor now too.”

The Warriors (6-8, 5-6 Hockomock) begin their Kelley-Rex schedule on Friday when Attleboro comes to town. North Attleboro (8-7, 5-6) will try to snap its three game skid when Canton comes to town the same night.

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King Philip Rides Fourth Quarter Run Past Stoughton

King Philip boys basketball
King Philip’s Pharoah Davis (right) goes up for a shot against Stoughton’s Cam Andrews (4). (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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STOUGHTON, Mass. – In a game in which the largest lead either side had was four through the first three quarters, it was only a matter of time before one side rattled off a game-changing run.

That run came from the King Philip Warriors, who went on a 10-0 spurt that took less than two minutes in the final quarter to pick up a 62-51 win over Stoughton.

The teams were tied at the end of the first quarter (15-15), separated by just two at halftime (29-27 Stoughton) and again knotted through 24 minutes of play (42-42). The largest lead at that point was when the Black Knights led 25-21 late in the first half.

Stoughton scored on its first two possessions of the fourth quarter on baskets from Cam Gomes (12 points) but wouldn’t add another field goal the rest of the way. Nolan Bradley started the run, taking a pass from Pharoah Davis to tie the game at 46 with 5:44 to play.

Seth Sullivan (14 points) took in a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup on back to back possessions to give the Warriors a 50-46 lead. Sophomore Kyle Layman (21 points, six rebounds, three blocks) hit a jumper and then found Sullivan on a cut up the middle for a layup to cap the 10-0 run with four minutes to play.

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A free throw from Stoughton’s Cam Andrews (17 points, seven rebounds, three assists) followed by two more from Craig Goodrich brought the Black Knights within five (54-49) with 3:08 to play but Justin Vine answered on the other end for KP. After a stop defensively, KP missed on the other end but Will Weir grabbed the rebound and Sullivan converted two free throws with just under two minutes to play to make it 58-49.

“The wins are huge at this point in the season,” said KP head coach Mark Champagne said. “We have to win 11 [to qualify for the tournament] because we have the 21 games. It’s a really good win and we really needed the win too.”

“I think [the run] was all driven by their defense,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “They just stepped it up a notch and took it to a level that we didn’t have an answer for. A six point lead seemed like 26 when it’s been that kind of game. They stepped it up and we stepped it back, and that’s what happens.”

After missing time in the first half because of an eye injury, Sullivan gave the Warriors a big boost in the second half. The senior scored all of his 14 points in the second half with 10 of them coming in the final quarter.

“We had a lot of adversity int he first half with Seth out, [Tom] Madden sick – I thought he sucked it up and played well – and Noah Goodwin isn’t even here, he’s got the bug. Every team is going to go through the flu,” Champagne said. “That was a good, gritty win. We were tied after three, down two at halftime. We came out and did a good job against their pressure. I thought we scored off of it a lot. Down the stretch, it was a little scary with some of the decisions we made playing against the clock but they had to foul just to get the bonus so that wasted more time.”

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Both Layman and Andrews had strong starts for their respective sides. Layman was 4/7 from the field to net nine points in the opening quarter while Andrews was 3/5 (2/2 FT) to lead the Black Knights with nine points as the teams were tied 15-15.

Both sides got help from the bench in the second quarter. While Adrian Castillo and Bradley provided a spark for KP, Stoughton got four points from Izon Swain-Price and two points apiece from Justin Ly, Luis Monteiro and Matt Gallagher to take a 29-27 advantage into the break.

Although King Philip won the game, the Warriors were held without a three point field goal (0/10).

“Seth wasn’t in the game as much, [Justin] Vine stepped in on one he made – Justin did a good job down the stretch and Pharoah was in foul trouble in the first,” offered Champagne. “I thought Adrian Castillo and Nolan Bradley did a great job off the bench. Bradley only had seven points but they were big points.”

The win marked the second time Layman, just a sophomore, went over the 20-point mark this season. He scored a career-high 24 points earlier this month in a win over Taunton.

“It’s becoming more consistent, and as it should be,” Champagne said. “Just like Cam Andrews is for them, he’s a very good player. I think it’s a matter of confidence for a sophomore. Sophomore year is an interesting year but he’s done a great job for us.”

King Philip (4-8 overall, 3-6 Hockomock) will look to make it two in a row when they welcome Sharon to Wrentham on Friday night. Stoughton (3-8, 2-7) tries to bounce back the same night with a trip to Franklin.

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Balanced Scoring Attack Lifts KP Over Canton

King Philip boys basketball
King Philip’s Kyle Layman (16 points) attempts to shoot over Canton’s Brian Albert. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WRENTHAM, Mass. — First year King Philip head coach Mark Champagne is still in the feeling out process but it appears he’s found something that works for his Warriors.

Champagne expanded rotation resulted in 10 different players scoring, a more consistent defensive effort and a 69-53 win over visiting Canton.

Beyond Champagne’s starting five of Seth Sullivan, Justin Vine, Tom Madden, Will Weir and Kyle Layman, the Warriors got extended runs from Pharaoh Davis and Noah Goodwin as well as minutes from Brendan King and Adrian Castillo. The Warriors got 19 points from the bench.

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“We’re still feeling out some situations,” Champagne said. “There’s not a big difference between our six, seven, eight and nine guys – I said, why aren’t we playing more guys? I think it helped with our defensive intensity, I think we were able to maintain it longer. I thought we did a good job recovering and making them tough shots. We haven’t played that many guys in the first two games but I think it’s something we should do.”

That defensive effort limited Canton to just seven points in the first quarter as KP held a four point advantage after one. With fresh legs in the second quarter, the Warriors offensive exploded for 23 points.

Canton’s Eric Olshaker came away with a steal and Devin Foster, who scored 14 of his career-high 24 points in the second quarter, converted on the other end to bring the Bulldogs within two at 18-16. That’s when KP really created separation.

First, Layman (team-high 16 points, five rebounds) drilled a three and after an offensive rebound, Sullivan hit a three of his own. Weir added a bucket in the paint before Layman connected for another three pointer to create a 10-point lead, 29-19. Sullivan added a late three and KP took a 34-25 lead into the locker room.

Six points apiece from Vine and Layman helped carry King Philip’s offense early while Goodwin added a basket late off the bench. KP allowed just nine points in the third quarter and took a 50-34 lead after three quarters.

“I thought our inside presence was good,” Champagne said. “I thought it was good last Friday too, but we just had a bad third quarter overall. Our length helped close out on their shots too. They have a couple of pretty talented kids. We knew they’d get a certain amount of points but overall I thought we contained them pretty well.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton had its best offensive quarter in the fourth, scoring 19 points but King Philip matched it each step of the way with 19 points of their own.

“They spread it around, they had good depth and they had a lot of guys hurt us in a lot of different ways,” Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said. “Right now we need to do a better job of getting more guys involved, maybe we need to tweak some offensive sets and find ways to get more guys to contribute offensively for us. It’s not going to cut it with just two guys scoring for us.”

Beyond Layman, Vine finished with 11 points and three assists, Weir had 10 points and seven rebounds, Sullivan had six points and King added six points off the bench.

Tony Harris added 15 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs while Danny Hartnett and Jake Verille each had six points.

Canton (0-3, 0-3) will look for its first win when they return to action after the holidays on Thursday, December 29th with a trip to Middleboro.

“It’s just about getting better and honoring that process and really focusing on one day at a time and finding ways to improve,” Gordy said.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boys Basketball: 2016-17 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Mansfield boys basketball
(Tom Madigan/Photo).

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro

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

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

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

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

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

Franklin

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

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

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

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

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

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

King Philip

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

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

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

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

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

Mansfield

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

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

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

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

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

Oliver Ames

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

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

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

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

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

taunton

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

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

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

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

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

King Philip Hires Mark Champagne As Hoops Coach

By HockomockSports.com Staff

King Philip has hired Mark Champagne as its new boys basketball coach. Champagne, who has been the head coach at Ashland High School since 2010, takes over for Matt Coute who stepped down following the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season.

“I’m really excited about it,” Champagne, a Wrentham resident, told HockomockSports.com on Tuesday. “I never wanted to leave Ashland but when this opportunity came up, I had to look into it. You don’t know until you go through the process yourself if its something you want to do. The location, being close to home and my family was obviously a good thing. I’ve been involved in the area’s youth sports for a bunch of years with my son.

“I want people to know I had a positive experience where I was. This was a better opportunity for me, for my family and to be close to my home and in my community.”

Champagne inherits a squad that went 5-15 last season overall and 4-12 in league play. Ashland ventured into the postseason in four the six years with Champagne at the helm, including a 37-23 regular season mark over the past three seasons.

“I never knew if I wanted to coach in the town that I live in, there are different pluses and minuses,” Champagne said. “But I’ve enjoyed a lot of the people I’ve met here. I understand being a parent and dealing with people’s most valued treasures, their kids. I travel around country and advocate for young men and women. It’s not just a game to me. When I coached college, it was all about the game and about me. Now it’s totally different, working with the younger guys…this was just the right fit.”

Previous stops for Champagne include a decade at the helm of the Bridgewater State men’s team, preceded by stints as an assistant at Boston University and UMass Dartmouth (his alma mater, when it was Southeastern Massachusetts University). He was an assistant at Taunton High as well.

“I met some kids when I got to run drills in the interview process and the kids worked really hard,” he said. “I left [KP] really excited about coaching them. The type of kids they were, that’s what I’m excited about. I want them to enjoy experience, have a strong work ethic and to work on their game. Each year is going to be different but each year you should be competitive and enjoy the experience. We’re concerned about going forward with the group of kids there and the youth group up so they aspire to play high school basketball and play in a league that’s challenging.

“I’ve always believed the Hockomock is the best league in the state, in all their sports, not just basketball. It’s going to be a good challenge, a Division 1 school. We have a great opportunity to build the program and try to give these group of kids a sense of pride. It sounds like just a cliché but I mean it.”

Champagne has been involved in the tri-town area, coordinating a flag football program with nearly 300 kids participating. Now he’s excited to get involved at the high school level as well.

“After meeting with athletic director Steve Schairer, Principal Oliveira and football coach Brian Lee, they made me feel very comfortable and I really enjoyed the meeting,” Champagne said. “It was important to me that I could be myself around them and I felt at home there.

“I’m 100% on board and I think my experience will help with the challenges we’ll face.”