Attleboro Starts, Finishes Strong In Win Over Franklin

Attleboro boys basketball Bryant Ciccio
Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio goes up for a shot against Franklin’s Andrew Cunningham in the third quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Behind a blazing start and a strong finish, the Attleboro boys basketball team earned a crucial division win on the road in Franklin on Friday night.

Senior Bryant Ciccio ignited the Bombardiers from the start, scoring half of Attleboro’s 22 first quarter points, and the visitors connected on four three-pointers in the opening quarter to build a lead they would never relinquish.

And to finish, it was a 12-2 run that spanned the first six minutes of the fourth quarter that propelled the Bombardiers to a 63-51 decision on the road.

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“I think the biggest thing about tonight was that we stuck to the game plan,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We weren’t just shooting on the first available shot, we really tried to get some paint shots. We didn’t get a lot but I think working the clock, making them work defensively, and looking to see where we had opportunities on skips and seals, I think that helped us.

“And Bryant coming out and really feeling it early was a spark for us. And defensively I thought we played pretty well.”

In the first, Ciccio (21 points, four rebounds, four assists) hit his first two shots, including one triple, and later in the frame hit a pair of three-pointers inside a 30-second span, the latter coming in transition that put the visitors ahead 17-8. Tim Callahan (nine points) added the other triple to give the Bombarders a 22-13 lead after eight minutes.

And in the fourth, holding a 48-41 advantage to start, the Bombardiers clamped down defensively to limit the hosts to just one made field goal over six minutes to push the lead to 60-43. Senior Qualeem Charles (10 points, 10 rebounds) got half of his points in the span and senior Jason Weir (career-high 17 points, seven rebounds) sank one of his four trifectas to give the Bombardiers breathing room.

“Jason played really well, he played within himself,” Houle said. “He’s the type of player that can play inside or outside and he’s definitely shooting the ball a lot better, he’s confident in himself. He didn’t play last year (injury) so it’s taken a little while but I’m really proud of his efforts because he’s stuck with it, he continues to battle. He’s such a competitor and it was a big night for him.

“I thought throughout the game, everyone at some point stepped up. I thought [Franklin] did a great job on Q, making him work for everything but he had a couple of key possessions in the fourth that were big for us. I don’t think it was one guy consistently but I thought different guys stepped up for us at different times and it was a really solid win against a very good team at Franklin.”

Charles started the late run off of a feed from Nick McMahon (six rebounds, four assists), who found Callahan for a bucket two plays later. Ciccio had a rare miss but Charles gobbled up the rebound and muscled through a foul to put it back in as the Bombardiers surged to a 54-43 lead with 5:15 to play.

After a bit of a lull from both sides, Attleboro got Charles the ball again and he was fouled, sinking one of two from the line. Callahan came up with a steal, Ciccio drove to the basket to collapse the defense and found Weir, who drained a three. Ciccio added two free throws with two minutes left to make it 60-43.

While Franklin entered the fourth having success from deep (6-for-18), the Panthers went ice cold from downtown for the majority of the final quarter. Jack Rudolph (14 points, four rebounds, five assists) had the Panthers’ lone bucket of the stretch with a nice take to the basket that made it 50-43 at the time.

After that, the Panthers missed on five straight three-pointers, had a turnover, and then missed two more from downtown.

“They came out hot in the first and that was a tough way to start the game, falling behind,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Ciccio was lights out, he was doing everything out there, he’s an awesome player. And at the end, I think our offense got a little stagnant and we started to force it a little bit. We don’t have the luxury to go out there and play one-on-one basketball, that’s not what we’ve been about. When we’ve been successful, it’s been a team effort, it’s been extra passes, ball reveals, screening for each other, and taking pride in all of those little details.










“Tonight, I thought we got away from those details in those big moments. It felt like we tried to get it all back in one basket. We got it down to five in the third but I thought it was a lot of those little things. I didn’t think we executed our plan very well, I didn’t think we made them earn it as much tonight. I’m not taking anything away from [Attleboro], they played great but when you’re trying to get back into a game, you can’t have lapses on those little moments.”

Franklin surged in each the second and third quarters to close the gap, but could never quite get over the hump. The only time the Panthers led in the game was after Steven Karayan (13 points) opened the game with a three-pointer.

In the second, Declan Walmsley converted through the contact after a steal from Brayden Sullivan. Rudolph sank a three-pointer and Matt Lazarek had an open layup as the Panthers closed the gap to 25-20. After a free throw from Charles, Karayan hit another three to make it a three-point game.

But Ciccio and Justin Daniels each converted from deep to give Attleboro a 32-25 lead at halftime.

Franklin closed the gap to three early in the third on a steal from Lazarek and layup from Chris Edgehill. Weir and Edgehill traded three-pointers but a steal from Charles led to a fast break for Ciccio and layup from Callahan.

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Sullivan got around his man to make it a three-point game again, but once more Attleboro answered with Ciccio connecting from downtown. Weir hit another three and Attleboro took advantage of two offensive rebounds from Weir and Callahan to push the lead to 48-41 after three.

“Both teams worked really hard,” Houle said. “They seemed to take more threes in the fourth than we did, and they are a good shooting team. It’s not like we were giving them the threes, but fortunately, they weren’t hitting them and we were getting some key box-outs and rebounds.”

Attleboro boys basketball (9-1 Hock, 11-2 overall) remains in a first-place tie with Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex with six games to go. The Bombardiers will host Davenport-leading Milford on Tuesday. Franklin (8-2, 11-2) will host Sharon on the same night.

Bombardiers Finish Strong To Upend Visiting Tigers

Attleboro boys basketball Qualeem Charles
Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (35) goes up for a shot against Taunton’s Tyler Stewart (15) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – A battle between two of the top teams in the Hockomock League boiled down to late game execution.

There wasn’t much to separate the Taunton and Attleboro boys basketball teams, locked in a tie game through three quarters, and still level two minutes into the final quarter.

In the end, it was the Bombardiers that did enough down the stretch, getting a pair of game-changing shots from senior Nick McMahon to earn a 52-46 decision over the Tigers.

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“I think the second of the fourth quarter, really it was the resilience of our team,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “Rebounding, hitting some tough shots and making some big plays. I thought we were engaged in the play down the stretch and in a close game, late in the fourth quarter that’s what you want to do. We showed some grit at the end.

“[Taunton] communicates well, they hedge the ball screens, they are engaged the whole time. That’s a team that’s really working hard on the defensive end and they made us work for everything we got tonight.”

The first came on the first possession after the Tigers a putback and the lead whipped away on a travel call that drew the ire of the Taunton bench. McMahon, who scored nine of his 11 points in the final quarter, took a pass slightly to the left of the top of the key and drained a three while being fouled.

Although he didn’t sink the ensuing free throw, the momentum swung heavily of the hosts with the play. Taunton’s Tyler Stewart (nine points, 15 rebounds, two blocks) and Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (15 points, 10 rebounds) — two of the league’s top post players this season — traded baskets as Attleboro’s lead sat at 44-41 as the clock went under four minutes to play.

The Tigers’ defense, which forced 13 second half turnovers, was close to another stop as the shot clock ticked into the final seconds. But McMahon dribbled around a screen on the right side and sank a fading baseline jumper to give Attleboro a 46-41 lead with 3:52 to play.

“Nick is such a hard worker, really smart player both offensively and defensively,” Houle said. “He’s capable of making the right reads and he knows when to take his opportunity. A lot of times it’s when they are doubling on Q, or helping on penetration with Bryant. He’s made some big shots for us this year, I was really proud to see him hit the big one tonight. And then the second one, it’s not part of our playbook but it was a great shot. I think it shows the toughness of this senior group.”

Attleboro got three consecutive stops as Taunton missed a layup, a pull jumper, and a three-pointer. The Tigers shot just 4/13 from the floor in the final quarter.

Senior Bryant Ciccio (11 points) overcame a tough shooting night to deliver his second field goal of the fourth to extend the hosts’ lead to 48-41 with just over two minutes to play. Taunton’s Tristan Herry converted in transition but McMahon sank a pair of free throws with 19.1 seconds left.

Taunton sophomore Trent Santos (20 points) cut the deficit to four with his fifth trifecta of the game but McMahon was money from the free throw line once again with 9.3 seconds left to ice the game.

“They made a couple more plays down the stretch,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “That travel call killed us and they came down and buried a three. They had another big shot before the shot clock a couple of plays later. There wasn’t much flow to the game, I felt like we left some points out there.”

The opening six minutes of the game set the tone for the entire game. Both defenses played well, making it tough for either offense to gain much momentum. The teams split the opening 10 points, tied at 5-5 with two minutes left in the first quarter.

There was a bit of a flurry in the final two minutes as Santos hit back-to-back threes and sank three free throws after being fouled taking another one while Ciccio and Charles each scored; the Tigers led 14-9 after one.

Attleboro cut into the deficit by a point after the second quarter. Attleboro’s Ryan Sullivan (six points, six rebounds) drained a three to tie the game at 20-20 but Taunton sophomore Faisal Mass (eight points) answered with one of his own and Santos connected from deep again to give Taunton a 26-22 lead at halftime.

Stewart, Taunton’s leading scorer, didn’t miss in the first half but was limited to just two field goal attempts as the Bombardiers put a heavy focus on him. Between Weir and Lorenzo Wilson guarding him, plus help from Charles to double, Taunton relied on its three-point shooting (4-for-12).










“Stewart is really good, he’s terrific in the post,” Houle said. “We didn’t want him to get going. Just like us, when you go inside out and start getting good looks, it can be tough to defend. We did a decent job early of not letting them get the ball in there. Second half, he did a better job opening it up, almost playing through the double team. We definitely double-teamed him and we used two big guys. We have Q in there, we had Jason in there, we had Zo in there…definitely some big boys in there.”

Dacey agreed, “They were smart in how they defended Tyler. I thought they would put Q on him but they didn’t, they doubled off with him and they have some size. We tried a couple of different things you have to pick your poison.”

Stewart picked up two quick fouls in the second half to push his total to three and had to sit for the final five minutes of the third quarter. Attleboro made sure to get Charles plenty of touches the rest of the way.

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The senior big man rewarded his team with seven points and a pair of offensive rebounds. Mass gave the Tigers a boost with a triple but with the defense focusing on Charles, Ciccio drilled an open triple to knot the score 37-37 after three quarters.

“We want to go inside-out all the time but early on [Taunton] was doing a good job collapsing on [Charles],” Houle said. “There were a few times he didn’t catch it clean that he’d probably like to have back, he has great hands. So second half, we started going with him right away and he got those first two baskets. We definitely made it a point to get him the ball with Stewart out.”

Attleboro boys basketball (7-1 Hockomock, 8-2 overall) is back in action on Sunday when it travels to New Bedford for a non-league clash. Taunton (6-3, 9-3) had its nine-game win streak snapped but will try to bounce back when it travels to Canton on Tuesday.

Attleboro Rides Dominant Fourth Quarter Past North

Attleboro boys basketball Bryant Ciccio Qualeem Charles
Attleboro’s Bryant Ciccio (left) and Qualeem Charles (35) double team North Attleboro’s Edan Kelley (15) in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For three quarters, not much could separate rivals Attleboro and North Attleboro on the hardwood inside Kenneth Pickering gymnasium.

A two-point lead for the visitors after a quarter, a tied game at the halftime break, and just a one-point advantage for the Bombardiers made it anyone’s game heading into the final frame.

And even two minutes into the final quarter, just one basket separated the rivals with Attleboro holding onto to a 45-43 lead.

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But just like that, the Bombardiers flexed their muscles on both ends of the court. Attleboro hit six of their next seven attempts from the floor with the lone miss hauled in for an offensive rebound that resulted in two free throws. And defensively, the Rocketeers missed three shots while committing four turnovers.

The result was an 18-0 run that turned the game on its head and a close contest into a comfortable 63-46 win for the Bombardiers.

“We made that run because we played defense,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “You can’t score 18 straight if you’re giving up baskets on the other end. We talk about being consistently good on defense and during that segment, we were very good.

“We went to a little different look on offense and we were able to spread them out a little bit. Obviously, when you make shots it changes everything. But we were stagnant on offense but it was because their defense kind of made us play like that.”

North Attleboro junior George Ladd (eight points, five assists) finished off a tough layup through contact to bring the hosts within 45-43 with 6:01 left on the clock.

Nick McMahon (nine points, seven assists) penetrated the North Attleboro zone and kicked it out to classmate Tim Callahan (17 points) for his fifth trifecta of the game, a shot that sparked the Attleboro offense.

Attleboro got a stop on the other end and senior Bryant Ciccio (15 points) sank a difficult baseline jumper before the Rocketeers had an empty trip. Ciccio took a pass from Jason Weir at the top of the key and sank another three for the Bombardiers, putting the visitors up 53-43 with just under four minutes to play.

North’s turnover woes (16 in total) factored in as Ciccio came up with a steal, the play resulting in two made free throws from Qualeem Charles (16 points, nine rebounds). It was near deja vu on the ensuing Rocketeer possession as Ciccio stripped the ball free and went in for an uncontested layup.

“We have to have more urgency at all times,” said North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins. “When the moment gets big, we can’t change our focus level or let the scoreboard dictate how we play. It’s a hard lesson for our guys to learn but that’s back-to-back games, five minutes to play against a quality team…we’re not about moral victories, we have to be better. We have to do a better job coaching too.

“Credit to their better players, Ciccio stepped up in that fourth quarter, McMahon had a nice play, they hurt us inside on the glass. But selfishly from my end, we can’t turn the ball over and then have a breakdown defensively, it’s a double whammy. And then look up at the scoreboard and feel bad for yourself and let that dictate how you play. It certainly snowballed. Ultimately we have to step up and have more urgency.”

A travel gave the visitors the ball back, and despite their first miss of the stretch, Charles hauled in the board and was fouled going back up. He hit two more free throws while North’s cold stretch continued with a missed corner three.

McMahon capped the run with back-to-back strong takes to the rim sandwiched around a Rocketeer turnover after a double team from Ciccio and Charles.

“I thought Nick started feeling more comfortable towards the end,” Houle said. “He’s been terrific for us this year and against a zone, you can’t just pass it around the whole time you have to slip and look to attack a little bit. And then he started hitting wide open guys. So it was a win-win when you knock them down, you get a paint touch on the dribble penetration then kick it out.

“And for us in the second half, every time Q touched it we wanted him to score it. He’s a very unselfish player, he’d rather pass to his teammates but for us to be successful, we need him scoring in there.”

While the Bombardiers finally pulled away in the fourth quarter, they were on the verge of doing so in each of the previous two quarters but the Rocketeers continually made timely shots and stops to stay in it.

Callahan (twice) and Ciccio both connected on early threes for the Bombardiers but Brody Rosenberg (eight points), Edan Kelley, and Ethan Friberg (11 points, eight rebounds) were equal to the task. A bucket from Lorenzo Wilson and two free throws from Ciccio had Attleboro up 15-13 at the end of one.

Another triple from Callahan opened the second quarter, Charles finished off a three-point play, and Callahan sank yet another three as Attleboro started the frame strong. But a triple from Rosenberg and another from Friberg kept the Rocketeers in the game.

After a Callahan putback, the Rocketeers closed the first half on a 7-0 run with Ladd scoring down low, Friberg connecting on his third trifecta of the half, and Tommy Whalen finishing off a nice pass from Josh Porter to make it 26-26 at the break.

“They shot very well tonight, they had nine threes,” Houle said. “When they hit them back-to-back, you can’t get over that hump to pull away. They started to miss some shots but I think our defense started forcing some different things. And then they started over-penetrating a little bit and we swallowed them up.”

Timmy carried us in the first half, he was terrific. And he needed that because he’s had some good looks throughout the season and he really stepped up tonight.

Attleboro created some room with a 9-4 run capped by a Ciccio three to start the second half but Whalen answered with a triple and Jared Vacher hit back-to-back threes as North Attleboro surged ahead for the first time, 39-37.

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But North closed the quarter with a pair of misses and three straight turnovers, the latter turning into a bucket from Alvin Harrison that gave Attleboro a 40-39 lead heading into the fourth.

“I think it was a combination of them having a concerted effort on where to attack us,” Mulkerrins said of the fourth. “We were mixing up man and zone, I have to see it but my feeling is that we got a little tired and got stuck watching. You can’t be late against that quality of a team.”

Attleboro boys basketball (4-1 Hockomock, 5-2 overall) will host King Philip on Friday. North Attleboro (2-3, 3-5) will try to bounce back when it hosts Milford on Friday.

Hornets Hang On For Division Win Over Bombardiers

Mansfield boys basketball TJ Guy
Mansfield boys basketball junior TJ Guy goes up for a layup against Attleboro’s Lorenzo Wilson in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MANSFIELD, Mass. – With under a minute to play and the game almost out of reach, Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio had his shot blocked but never gave up on the play and was the first to pounce on the loose ball, keeping possession by earning a jump ball.

The ensuing possession ended up in a three-point play by the Bombardiers, cutting Mansfield’s lead to just five points with 25.5 seconds to go. While the Hornets went on to sink all of their free throws to secure the win, it was that play by Ciccio and the no-quit attitude from the Bombardiers in which made it so tough for Mansfield to earn the 71-62 victory.

“They’re a good team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan on what the challenge was of pulling away. “Ciccio had over 30 points and kind of kept them in the game on key possessions and key times where we had them on the ropes. He’d come down and hit a shot when they needed it. I thought we got sloppy when we got up.

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“We’re still trying to find our identity and there were a few times I thought we had them on the ropes and we’d come down and throw the ball out of bounds or fouling when we had no business fouling. Instead of a seven or nine-point lead, it goes to five. We’re getting better with our turnovers but we have still have to take care of the ball and be more efficient.”

Mansfield made small runs to create separation a handful of times throughout the game, but never orchestrated a run to pull away completely. Instead, the Bombardiers would come up with an answer of their own, and more often than not a basket or defensive play made by Ciccio, who had a career-high 32 points, was the catalyst in it.

Holding a two-point lead to start the fourth quarter, junior Matt Boen (nine points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals) scored his first basket, assisted on a pull up jumper from Sam Stevens (26 points), and came up with a steal that led to two free throws of his own to give the hosts a 53-46 lead three minutes into the fourth.

But Nick McMahon drove to the basket for two and Ciccio (five rebounds, three assists, three steals) earned two free throws late in the shot clock, sinking both to bring it right back to a one-possession game, 53-50, with four minutes to go.

Boen found Drew Rooney (five points, five rebounds, four assists) for a huge three-pointer, the Hornets got a stop that Boen brought down and quickly pushed up court for an easy two from junior TJ Guy (24 points, four assists), and back-to-back Bombardier turnovers led to baskets from Guy and Boen (traditional three-point play) for a 63-50 lead with two minutes to go.

“Even though we have a senior group, we’re still molding into the team we want to be,” Houle said. “We’re still trying to figure out roles on the team. You never like to lose but playing in a game like tonight, knowing that we fought back and did some good things, is encouraging.”

An easy two from Qualeem Charles (nine points, four rebounds) preceded a big three from Ciccio, who then came up with a steal and finished in at the rim for a quick 7-0 surge in a one-minute span to make it 63-57. Ciccio and Stevens traded free throws, Boen added two more, and the Hornets finished 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the quarter to secure the win.

“We have a team full of kids that have played a lot of basketball and they have a lot of heart,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “It’s a gritty group and we’re not going to lie down. Back to the wall, it was nice to see some kids step up to make some plays for us, get some big rebounds, and claw our way back into it. Ultimately that first quarter, you can’t spot a team like Mansfield 10 points like that in a game on their home court. We’re striving to play 32 minutes…and I thought we played better in the second, third, and fourth quarters.”

The 10-point spot that Houle referenced was Mansfield’s strong start to the game. Stevens sank a pair of threes in the first minute, Guy scored twice, and Rooney finished off a layoff as the Hornets jumped ahead 12-3 three and a half minutes into the game.

Jason Weir (eight points) hit two first quarter threes and Tim Callahan hit another to help the Bombardiers stem the tide the rest of the frame, trailing 20-12 after one. Charles picked up his second foul in the first quarter and did not play for large portions of the second and third quarters.

“That’s a credit to Lorenzo [Wilson], Adam Pearstein stepped in and gave us some good minutes, and I thought Jason probably had his best game,” Houle said of the Bombardiers sustaining without Charles. “We knew it’d take around a month for him to get his basketball legs under him and he had his best game tonight. We just need to guys to continue to find their roles and step up when we need them.”

An early three from Callahan and a jumper from Ciccio made it a one-possession game but Stevens sank another triple to keep the hosts ahead. Mansfield pushed the lead to 12 after a steal from Boen, an assist from Guy, and bucket from Stevens but Attleboro responded with a 9-1 surge to close the gap by the break. Ciccio scored all nine points to get Attleboro within 31-26 halfway through the game.

“When you talk about kids that compete, he’s definitely one of those kids you want on your team,” Houle said of Ciccio. “He competes hard on both ends of the court, and this means a lot to him.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Threes from McMahon and Ciccio brought the visitors within two but Stevens had an answer from deep again and he scored through contact for a 44-37 lead late in the third. Attleboro countered with a three from Ciccio and Charles’ first basket in the final seconds of the third to make it 44-42 heading into the fourth.

“We never got that run,” Vaughan said. “Without watching the film, I’m not sure if it was those turnovers or if it was just the way they defended, I thought they did a good job of taking some things away. We never really got that run which is rare. I guess we got it a little at the start of the game but they seemed to answer.”

Mansfield boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Bridgewater-Raynham at 3:30. Attleboro (2-1 Hockomock, 3-2 overall) returns to action on Friday at Oliver Ames.

Attleboro Hangs On For Close Win Over Stoughton

Attleboro boys basketball Tim Callahan
Attleboro senior Tim Callahan puts up a three-point shot in the second quarter against Stoughton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro boys basketball team was at its best in the second quarter of Friday night’s contest against visiting Stoughton.

The Bombardiers were zipping passes all around the court, sharing the ball among all five players, hitting teammates in stride on cuts to the basket, and draining shots from three-point range. And Attleboro was good on the defensive end too, having a hand in eight Stoughton turnovers while holding the visitors to just three makes from the floor, none from three-point territory.

The result of that quarter, and a strong start to the second half, was an 18-point advantage for the hosts with just over a quarter and a half to play.

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But with two minutes to play, that lead had dwindled to just six points behind a spirited defensive effort from Stoughton, a halftime switch from zone to man-to-man helping the Black Knights get back into the game.

A three from Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (17 points, 3 rebounds) forced the Bombardiers into a timeout with 2:01 to go, the hosts having scored just four points over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

In desperate need of a basket to halt Stoughton’s run, which was 12-4 across the entire quarter so far, the Bombardiers turned to their “Mr. Reliable” – senior Bryant Ciccio (23 points, four assists). Ciccio, who had scored Attleboro’s lone two buckets of the frame and was playing in his 65th varsity game, took it himself, getting a step on the defender to attack the basket before pulling up and sinking an elbow jumper with 1:22 to give Attleboro a 59-51 advantage.

Stoughton, which never developed a rhythm from downtown, missed on its next three shots including two from deep, and the Bombardiers held on for a 59-53 win.

“We worked really hard adjusting in the second quarter, and I think our defense in the second quarter was terrific too,” said longtime Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We shot the ball well, and we were getting more paint touches too and that’s how we built the 18-point lead. We wanted to extend the lead in the second half but [Stoughton] came out and got right back into it. They switched to man, and they played terrific. They forced us into a lot of things that we weren’t comfortable doing.

“We weren’t comfortable against the zone in the first quarter, then after we got comfortable against it in the second, they went man and I don’t think we ever felt comfortable against it. They did a nice job, they have some terrific athletics and they defended really hard. But we didn’t lose our composure as a team and Bryant hit that big elbow jumper.”

Ciccio scored Attleboro’s first field goal of the fourth with 6:15 to go, and finished off a nice layup along the baseline for the Bombardiers’ only other points with 4:19 to play in the game.

“He’s been in a lot of games for us, and he made the right play and we trust him to do that,” Houle said of Ciccio. “He pulled up at the elbow, and that’s a shot he practices a lot and we have confidence he’s going to make those plays. If he wasn’t open, he’s the type of player who’s going to find someone who is. Stoughton’s defensive intensity in the second half was really good, we didn’t get any second-chance points, we didn’t get to the foul line. We didn’t execute well against the zone in the first quarter or against man in the second half.”

The Black Knights built a 9-2 lead early on but Attleboro slowly found success against the Stoughton zone and started to get hot from three-point range as both Ciccio and Tim Callahan (11 points, six assists) each connected from deep in the last two minutes to get the Bombardiers within one, 13-12, at the first break.

The momentum carried into the second as the Bombardiers exploded for 22 points in the frame. Callahan sank a three off a feed from Nick McMahon (eight assists), who followed up with a triple of his own off a feed from Ciccio.

Stoughton senior Tahkwan Gates Brown (nine points, seven rebounds) kept the Black Knights close with a bucket from down low but Ciccio sank another triple followed by a pair of free throws. Callahan found classmate Qualeem Charles (12 points on 6-for-7 shooting, 11 rebounds) on a cut to the basket for an easy two, and Ciccio sank yet another triple for a 32-19 advantage with just over a minute to go in the frame. Stoughton finished the first half 0-for-9 from three-point range.

“We lost this game in the second quarter,” said Stoughton coach John Gallivan. The Black Knights outscored the hosts 34-25 in the second half but couldn’t overcome the 22-6 second quarter. “We had three good quarters but we always talk about having four. There are so many ways that Attleboro can hurt you, and we were probably a little too focused on them hurting us inside which led to all the threes. Second half, they got some twos but twos are less than three. And it was a bad combination in the second quarter of them hitting those shots and us not hitting.”

Stoughton senior Ahmad Jahed (11 points, seven rebounds) sank a three and classmate Obinna Ugwuakazi (14 points, 10 rebounds) found Gates Brown for an easy two out in transition to help spark the Black Knights’ comeback.

Ciccio swished his fourth triple of the night to push the lead back to 18 at 46-28 but Stoughton closed the third with 11 points in the final 3:15 to stay in the game. Ugwuakazi scored six straight and Grigalunas-Powell buried a deep three just before the buzzer to make it 53-39.

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“In the second half, the guys just started playing,” Gallivan said. “In the past, we’ve had some teams that have may have folded. That’s a great environment, its hostile, and it’s a lot of fun but it’s hard to play in. And these kids responded and kept it a game the entire way.

“There was nothing positive to say after last Friday and tonight, this was a building block game. There are no moral victories in this league but if you get something out of it, you can use it in your next game.”

Attleboro boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it travels to Durfee. Stoughton (1-2, 1-2) hosts Fenway on the same night.

Taunton Upsets Attleboro With Second Half Surge

Wesner Charles Taunton boys basketball
Taunton senior Wesner Charles dunks the ball in the fourth quarter against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Those who were in attendance for the clash between #3 Attleboro and #14 Taunton certainly got their money’s worth.

The Bombardiers and Tigers, playing for the third time this season, traded punches back-and-forth for the entirety of Tuesday night’s contest, one that felt at times more like a final than an opening round game. And just when it looked like Taunton was ready to land a knockout blow, the Bombardiers valiantly battled back.

But in the end, Taunton’s second-half run, punctuated with clutch free throws in the final minute, proved to be enough as the Tigers earned their first win over Attleboro this year, 61-56.

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“They knew they could perform at a higher level,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey of his team. “It’s good that they got it going at this stage of the season. I think the key tonight was they we spread the points around. Our half court offense was a little unorganized but when situations broke down tonight, we had guys hit some shots in some key situations.

“It certainly helps we’ve seen them twice before. We pulled apart the game film from the first two games. We didn’t do much with it in the first half, but we knew what was coming in the second half so it’s nice when you can predict some of the offense.”

Besides Attleboro’s brief eight-point in the second quarter, the first 24 minutes of the contest was mostly a one or two possession game. It wasn’t until the late in the third quarter and early in the fourth that Taunton made its move.

Trailing 43-31, senior Lou Vendrell (10 points) hauled in an Attleboro miss and alertly pushed the ball up in transition, finding classmate John Martins (eight points) for an easy layup. Two minutes later, just a player after drawing an offensive foul, Vendrell took a handoff from Wesner Charles (10 points, nine rebounds) and drained a three, giving the Tigers just their second lead of the half.

With under a minute to go, Taunton’s defense got another stop, senior Mike Quinn grabbed the rebound and hit Dante Law (22 points, 12 rebounds) on an outlet pass and the junior used a two-handed slam to put Taunton up 48-43 heading into the fourth quarter.

Attleboro opened the fourth with a bucket from senior Mason Houle (12 points, five assists) but Taunton’s run continued as Charles hauled in an offensive board and found Law for a three. Houle answered with a free throw but Law came back down and hit another three to make it 54-46.

“It was timely shots, good stops, all of the above,” Law said. “We trust each other with the ball, so we’re able to spread it around. We talked about getting 10 points from everybody, and that’s what we what did tonight.

“We were excited to get another chance at them. Coach talked about how it’s hard to beat a team three times so we went out there and just gave everything we had.

After a scoreless two minute stretch from both sides, Charles put an exclamation point on Taunton’s run. The senior took a pass in the corner, found space on the baseline and drove to the basket, rising up and finishing with a two-handed slam while being fouled. His free throw gave Taunton a commanding 57-46 lead with 4:30 to play.

“Wesner is pretty athletic, he’s pretty strong, and he’s willing to fight,” Dacey said. “I felt like that was the key to the game was not letting [Qualeem] go off on us and Wesner made some plays for us.”

But the Bombardiers refused to go quietly, getting a spark from a pair of reserves. Lorenzo Wilson converted back-to-back offensive rebounds, and Nick McMahon finished a layup after a pull-up jumper from Bryant Ciccio (13 points, eight rebounds) to make it 57-54.

Taunton was called for an illegal screen, and the Bombardiers quickly got the ball into Qualeem Charles (14 points, six rebounds) for two, cutting the deficit to just one at 57-56 with a minute to go.

Junior Naz Kenion (11 points, five rebounds, three assists) was fouled as he drove to the basket, connecting on both ends of a 1-and-1 to make it 59-56. Attleboro had a look to tie it with 20 seconds to go, but it was off the mark and Law came down with the board. Kenion was fouled again, and he sank the first or two to extend the lead to 60-56 with 12.5 seconds to go. Law tacked on a free throw in the final seconds.

“The big thing playing Taunton is transition defense, getting stops, and rebounding,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “They out-rebounded us, especially on the offensive glass and that translated into a lot of opportunities for them. In a big game like this, you can’t give good teams second and third chances. And their defensive pressure was good tonight, it was good all night long. That pressure, maybe in the second half, forced us into some quicker shots than maybe we wanted to.

“Defensively [Taunton] got after it tonight. It’s tough to simulate that in practice. They did a nice job of keeping the ball on one side of the court and got into the passing lanes. They really made us work. They got that lead and I think it was because of their ball pressure.”

Attleboro opened had four players connect on a three-pointer in the first quarter with Ciccio, Houle, Kevin Velazquez (six rebounds), and Tim Callahan all hit from deep. Taunton kept pace though as Martins had a triple and Law attacked the basket with success, scoring eight points as the Tigers trailed 17-13 after one.

Qualeem Charles and Callahan scored on back-to-back possessions to give Attleboro its largest lead of the game at 21-13. Taunton responded with an 11-1 run to take its first lead of the game. Kenion slashed to the basket, Vendrell hit a three and then a free throw and Martins connected on his second triple of the game. A free throw from Qualeem Charles tied it but Kenion was fouled and hit two free throws of his own to make it 24-22.

The teams went on a bit of a scoring spree, trading three-pointers on back-to-back possessions. First Houle drained one from deep only for Vendrell to answer seconds later. Ciccio stepped up to sink one for a 28-27 advantage but Law responded on the other end to put Taunton up 30-28.

Attleboro closed the half on a 7-2 run. Houle and Qualeem Charles converting at the rim while Ciccio broke a tie game with a triple to put the Bombardiers up 35-32 at half.

The Bombardiers shot 7-for-12 from three-point range in the first half.

“At halftime, we stated firmly to get them off of the three-point line, we don’t care what you do but get them off,” Dacey said. “We had some bad , but luckily we were able to force them further out into deeper threes.

Taunton’s pressure on the perimeter worked as the Bombardiers connected on just one three in the second half, having a couple of open looks rim out as well.

“I think we forced some shots in the second half from deep,” Houle said. “I don’t think we worked the ball around, we didn’t get as many passes per possession that we like to get. I think we settled for some outside shots and we weren’t getting offensive rebounds, and they were. They won the loose ball battle too. Those 50/50 balls and offensive rebounds, in a close game like this, that’s going to be the difference.”

Attleboro closes the season at 18-5, finishing second in the Kelley-Rex division. It was the first loss at home of the season for the Bombardiers.

“This team has been resilient all year, we’ve had a good attitude in every game,” Houle said. “I knew in my mind, if we could have gotten a little momentum we’d be right back in it, and we did. It came down to the last couple possessions, and we had some opportunities but we weren’t able to get it tied or take the lead.

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“This was a really good group of young men that battled every night. We have a lot to be proud of. This strings, especially as a home game which is something we worked hard to get, but nothing is guaranteed in the state tournament and that’s a lesson we all learned.”

Taunton boys basketball (14-8) advances to the D1 South Quarterfinal to take on rival Bridgewater-Raynham (13-8), marking the first team the two teams have played since the Tigers left the OCL and joined the Hockomock League in 2012. The game is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 at Bridgewater-Raynham.

“I think this is huge for this team,” Dacey said. “It’s been a tough season, up and down year, a fight every day. Now they are believing and they are in a good place.”

Franklin Dominates Attleboro In Hockomock Finale

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin senior Jalen Samuels attacks the basket in the first half against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – For the Franklin boys basketball team, terrific defense led to easy offense.

And that combination resulted in a dominant performance and a comfortably 57-36 win over visiting Attleboro.

The Panthers flipped a two-point game upside down with a 20-0 run over the final six minutes of the second quarter to pull away from the Bombardiers, who entered the contest with a chance to win at least a share of its first Kelley-Rex title.

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Franklin limited the visitors to just 22% shooting from the field in the opening half as the Bombardiers couldn’t find a connection from deep, going just 1-for-17 from three-point range. And with consistent stops, Franklin’s pushed the pace and cashed in with an impressive transition offense, converting some easy looks down low. Franklin shot 65% from the field in the opening half, making 12-of-18 shots from two-point range.

“That was definitely our best game of the season, by far,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “The guys were excited to play tonight, there’s no doubt about it. I think they were a little sore about how last game went and how the season has gone in some respects. They wanted to make a statement tonight and I thought they did, especially in that second quarter. We went in at halftime, and we usually have a list of things we want to change or that we did poorly, and we didn’t have many things on the list. The guys really bought in, that was the best they’ve bought in to a game plan and scouting report all season.”

While Attleboro only had four first half turnovers, it couldn’t solve the Panthers defensively. During Franklin’s game-changing run, Attleboro only had one turnover on a shot clock violation, and 0-for-11 from the field, with eight of those shots coming from three-point range.

“They did everything better than us tonight, offensively and defensively,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “They made us really feel uncomfortable all night, and we didn’t have any answers.

“We didn’t hit [a three] in the first quarter but I have confidence in our guys that can shoot it, we can get hot, but we didn’t get enough paint touches. [Franklin] did a nice job of taking that away early, something that most teams haven’t been able to do. That limited us really. But quite honestly, we weren’t executing on offense. There were still things that we could have done, but we weren’t executing, and that led to a stagnant offense. And we couldn’t attack the rim because their defense was set. That was a very good defensive effort by them.”

Franklin led 15-7 after the first quarter but Attleboro opened the second quarter with a quick 5-0 run to make it a two-point game. Bryant Ciccio (11 points) drained a three and Kevin Velazquez picked off a pace and went the distance for a layup to make it 15-13.

From there, it was all Panthers. Jalen Samuels (15 points, nine rebounds, four assists) converted his own putback and then scored off a feed from Chris Edgehill (seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists). Will Harvey (career-high 19 points, nine rebounds) sank a three-pointer off a feed from Jack Rudolph, then Edgehill came down with a defensive rebound, pushed it up court and found Rudolph for two. Samuels then drove to the basket, drew in the defense and dished it off to Harvey for an easy two and a 26-13 lead with 3:43 left in the second quarter.

The Bombardiers tried to shoot their way out of the funk, taking six triples on their next seven possessions. The lone trip that didn’t result in a three-point attempt was a turnover on a shot clock violation.

Meanwhile, Franklin continued to cash in on the offensive end. Edgehill got some space in the lane for two, Jake Macchi (nine points) sank a three on a pass from Rudolph just moments after Samuels blocked an Attleboro three, and Samuels scored in low on a floater to put Franklin up 35-13 heading into halftime.

“Getting out in transition was key for us, getting up and down,” Neely said. “And when we attacked the paint, I think the biggest thing was getting in there and then making the extra pass for some dunks and some layups.”

The second half was much more even than the first, but the damage was already done by the Panthers. Tim Callahan made Attleboro’s second triple of the game with 2:44 left in the quarter (2-for-21 from deep through three), Ciccio added five points, including Attleboro’s only two free throws in the game, and Qualeem Charles (eight points, 10 rebounds) got an early bucket, but Franklin got points from Macchi (a three), Harvey (five) and two apiece from Edgehill and Rudolph to hold a 47-24 advantage entering the fourth.

“One of the biggest things we worked on was long closeouts,” Neely said. “We practiced having to get there and get there with a hand without flying into the crowd. We’re going to have to live with them making a couple. We knew we’d have to focus on Q, you can’t let one guy try and do it himself. I thought Harvey played one of his best games this season, and he rebounded really well and played great defensively.”

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Attleboro’s defense limited the Panthers to 10 points in the fourth, but only scored 12 on its own. Mason Houle sank two threes in the fourth, the latter cutting the deficit to 15 points but with only three minutes to go. Harvey added four in the final frame and Matt Lazarek came off the bench to hit a triple for the Panthers, who shot 56% from the floor for the game and dominated the rebounding battle, 33-18.

“We had some good looks, but they were mostly contested shots,” Houle said. “We have to regroup. We have the opportunity to learn from this. We didn’t do many good things tonight on either end tonight. Their transition offense, we didn’t do a good enough job against it. That led to 20 straight points…and just layups. It was them getting the rebound and pushing it for a layup.”

Franklin boys basketball (12-4 Hockomock, 14-5 overall) is back in action on Sunday with a noon tipoff against New Bedford. Attleboro (13-3, 16-4) will try to bounce back when it travels to rival North Attleboro for a non-league clash on Monday.

Hornets Hold Off Attleboro to Force Tie Atop League

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield junior Sam Stevens scored a team-high 13 points to help the Hornets split the season series with Attleboro and force a tie at the top of the Kelley-Rex division. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – The first time Attleboro and Mansfield met, the game went to overtime before a winner could be decided. On Friday night in the Albertini Gym, it looked like the two teams could be headed for another extra period when the Bombardiers battled back to tie the game at 53-53 in the fourth quarter.

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As they had all game long, the Hornets made shots when they needed to, closing the game on a 10-4 run and sealing a 63-57 win that split the season series against the Bombardiers and forged a tie atop the Kelley-Rex division.

T.J. Guy got the Hornets off to a good start to the game, scoring the team’s first seven points, including a three-pointer, to take an early lead. Sam Stevens hit his first of three from beyond the arc to extend the lead to 10-4. Attleboro climbed back into the game by getting the ball into the post to junior Qualeem Charles (21 points and 17 rebounds). He scored eight in the first to keep the Bombardiers close.

Tim Callahan drilled a three to get Attleboro back within three but then Damani Scott (11 points and 11 rebounds) answered with one of his one and finished with Mansfield’s last eight points of the quarter to give the hosts a 22-17 edge.

Tommy Dooling (10 points) got free on back-to-back possessions in the second and drilled a pair of threes to extend the lead to 30-19, which was the largest of the night. Even without injured point guard Bryant Ciccio, the Bombardiers kept finding ways to hang around. Charles got a three-point play off a Mason Houle assist and then Houle (nine points) got a steal and assist for a Kevin Velazquez transition basket.

“All season long, we’ve had guys down and had guys step up,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle about battling through the game without Ciccio. “This group really plays for each other. We’re still first place in the league…and we need to finish strong, take care of what we need to do, and work hard then we’ll be alright.”

A Matt Boen three pushed the lead back to nine, but a Charles layup off a Nick McMahon feed and a pair of baskets from Houle kept Attleboro within seven, 37-30, heading into the break.

“We tried to really run at Mason and really neutralize Q,” said Vaughan. “I mean, Q is going to get his points but if we neutralize him and really make it difficult for Tim and Mason to get going I thought that was probably our best recipe for winning. You’ve got to pick your poison.”

The Bombardiers cut the lead down to four at the start of the third quarter, but every time Mansfield would have a response. This time it was Boen drilling a corner three from a Dooling assist and then Stevens got going with seven points in the quarter. When Boen (12 points) hit his second three of the quarter, and third of the night, the Hornets led 53-42 and felt on the verge of putting the game out of reach.

Instead, Attleboro rallied with 11 straight points. Callahan hit a three and McMahon beat the buzzer with a pull-up jumper in the final seconds of the third. Callahan hit another to start the fourth and Charles scored off a Houle assist and got fouled on an offensive rebound to tie the game.

“We had to rebound,” said Vaughan. “I think in the third quarter when they made a push, the first time I thought we could’ve put them away, it was all done on the offensive glass.”

Houle noted, “We’re a resilient group. There were a couple possessions we’d like to have back, kind of settled a little bit, but Mansfield’s good. They buckled down on two, three possessions that ended up being key when we had momentum going.”

After a Scott free throw, Stevens got a good look at a straightaway three and nailed it to make it 57-53. Dooling beat his man for a layup and then Scott followed up a miss with a rebound basket to put the home team up seven with time running out.

“They made shots,” said Houle. “We adjusted some things at halftime and it was the first time we played zone all year. I think it took them out of their rhythm for a little while and we were gritty, scrappy, and I’m proud of our effort. We played like champions need to.”

With the Hornets struggling at the line, just 3-for-10 in the fourth quarter, Attleboro was still in the game and Houle buried his first three of the game to make it 61-57 with 43 seconds left. It just wasn’t enough for the Bombardiers as time ran out on the latest comeback attempt.

“If you’re not making free throws,” Vaughan explained, “you give opportunities and they had a few opportunities but they missed a few shots there that could’ve changed the outcome of the game. Some of it is they’re just not used to the moment, so having games like this will definitely prepare us come tournament time.”

The win moves Mansfield into a first place tie, but both teams have to run the gauntlet of division play over the final four games in the league.

“It doesn’t getting easy for either one of us,” said Vaughan about the closing stretch in league play. “It’s what I love about the league is that it isn’t easy and they didn’t make it easy for us tonight. Now we’ve got to enjoy this tonight and come out on Tuesday and be ready for Franklin because they’re going to come out and say hey this is our league title game.”

As Vaughan noted, Mansfield (14-2, 10-2) will travel to Franklin, which is just one game out of first, on Tuesday night. Attleboro (13-3, 10-2) will also be on the road, traveling to Oliver Ames, looking to stay in the hunt for its first ever Hock title.

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Charles, Attleboro Get Past Franklin In Overtime

Qualeem Charles
Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (right) goes up for a shot against Franklin’s Sean Leonard in the second quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Having to try and match up with Attleboro’s 6-foot-5, 295-pound center Qualeem Charles for 32 minutes is one of the toughest covers in the entire Hockomock League.

Having to try and stop him for four more minutes in overtime just might be impossible.

Franklin stormed back from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game in the final seconds and send the game to overtime but Charles scored half of Attleboro’s points in the overtime period to help the Bombardiers secure a 51-46 decision in overtime.

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Charles scored 13 of his game-high 18 points after halftime and hauled of his 17 rebounds after the break as well.

“We always want to go inside, they did a nice job of challenging him early,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “He’s very unselfish so a lot of the times he got the ball he was kicking it out and we were getting great looks and we weren’t knocking them down. We told him in the second half when you touch the ball, you shoot the ball and he did that more consistently. If he didn’t score the field goal, he went to the line and he hit his foul shots which was key for us.”

After Mason Houle (nine points) and Will Harvey traded three-pointers to open the extra stanza, the Bombardiers got Charles going inside. Kevin Velazquez (six points, nine rebounds) found the big man in the post and Charles used a nice post move to go up two.

The teams traded misses before Attleboro came up short on a Tim Callahan three. But Callahan was quick to hustle back on defense and drew a charge to get the ball back with 1:32 to play and a 46-44 lead.

Attleboro went back inside and Charles was fouled, hitting one of two attempts to extend the lead to 47-44. Franklin missed a three and Charles came down with a big rebound. On the offensive end, the Panthers’ collapsed to try and cover Charles, allowing Velazquez to take it strong to the basket for two.

Franklin once again came up short on a layup attempt and Charles hauled in the rebound while being fouled. He hit two free throws to give Attleboro 51-46 lead with 28 seconds and that’s how the game finished.

After putting up just five shots in the first half total, Charles attempted five field goals in the third quarter and then went 2-for-2 in the fourth.

“I was definitely overlooking at times, I wanted to find teammates,” Charles said. “I know my teammates can make those big shots but they weren’t falling tonight so I had to try and close it out. Eventually my shot started falling. Their bigger players started getting in foul trouble, so I was getting more of a mismatch so I was able to convert.”

There wasn’t much happening for either side in the first half. The teams combined for just six made field goals in the opening eight minutes with Franklin senior Jalen Samuels (eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists) finding Thomas Gasbarro for a layup right before the buzzer to give Franklin a 9-7 edge.

But that would be the last field goal Franklin would make for the half. The Panthers were held scoreless for nearly the entire second quarter. Sean Leonard hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to get Franklin on the board.

Meanwhile while Attleboro’s offense didn’t exactly catch fire, it was able to use an 8-0 run over the first seven minutes. Bryant Ciccio and Nick McMahon made shots while Callahan and Houle sank two free throws apiece. A late bucket from Charles gave Attleboro a 17-11 lead at half.

“It’s a problem, he’s a big kid, and there’s not a lot of guys that can move him when he gets position where he wants to be,” Neely said of matching up with Charles. “We had a plan that was working early but late in the game, I think guys were a bit tired. I stuck with the same lineup for a long time. They get worn down banging around with him for a whole game and he was able to get some baskets, he’s a tough cover.”

The offenses for both sides came alive to start the second half. The Panthers matched their first half production in just over five minutes in the third quarter. Buckets from Chris Edgehill (12 points, eight rebounds), Jake Macchi, and Leonard brought the Panthers within two, 24-22, with 3:46 left in the third.

Attleboro answered with a 10-0 run to close the third quarter. Ciccio, Charles, and Houle hit back-to-back-to-back layups, and McMahon converted down low after a nice offensive rebound and pass from Velazquez to give the Bombardiers a 32-22 advantage heading into the final quarter.

“Coming into the game we talked about defensive stops and consecutive defensive stops and Franklin is terrific at it,” Houle said. “The last three games they’ve given up 40 points or less and they lead the league in defensive scoring average. So we knew we were going to have to execute. We wanted to take care of the ball, be strong with the ball, and attacking them when we can on ball reversals. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but neither did they, and I think that’s a credit to both defenses.”

It appeared the Bombardiers had the game in hand when they pushed the lead to 37-22 on a Callahan triple, a 15-point advantage with six minutes left.

But Attleboro’s offense stalled as the Panthers continued their pressure defensively. And over those six minutes, shots began to fall for the visitors. Steve Karayan drained a three after a steal from Will Harvey then Edgehill drained a transition three after an Attleboro turnover to make it 37-31 with three minutes to go.

Samuels hit a free throw and Harvey came up with another steal that led to two made free throws, cutting the deficit to 37-34 with two minutes left. After a five-second call on the inbounds, Harvey sank another free throw to make it 37-35.

Attleboro finally got some points on the board when Callahan hit Charles down low and the junior converted with a nice spin move. But Karayan drained another triple to make it a one-point game with just over a minute to go.

Velazquez missed but was fouled as he hustled for the offensive rebound and he sank two free throws with 42.6 to play.

Franklin came up short on the tying three, but the offensive rebound was batted out and corralled. Attleboro chose to foul with a three-point lead with 8.4 to go. The strategy worked as Franklin missed both free throws but the rebound was batted out to Edgehill, who alertly made an extra mass to Karayan for a straightaway three-pointer with 2.4 left, sending the game into overtime tied 41-41.

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“We found something that was working down the stretch,” Neely said.”But in the end, we weren’t ourselves in the first half. We weren’t playing the way we needed to play if we wanted to win. You can get away with that sometimes but not on the road at Attleboro in a big game tonight. We played good defense in the first half but they opened it up in the second half. I’m proud of them, they stuck with it. They shared the ball and got back into the game. Free throws hurt us, and that’s cost us basically in every loss this year. It’s frustrating to have a good offensive possession and get to the line and come away with nothing.

“We had a 15 point lead and they whittled it down to go to overtime, that’s Franklin,” Houle said. “They are a very good, gritty team. We knew coming in it wouldn’t be an easy game. As they were coming back, it felt like we weren’t playing to win anymore, we were just trying to hold on. After one of the timeouts, we talked about playing to win. We started to play with a bit more energy and were able to make some plays.”

Attleboro boys basketball (9-1 Hockomock, 12-2 overall) is back in action on Tuesday on the road at Milford. Franklin (7-3, 9-4) is also on the road with a trip to Sharon on tap.