Attleboro Grounds Hawks With Second Half Comeback

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro’s Jason Weir attacks the basket in the first half against Milford. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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MILFORD, Mass. – It was a tale of two halves in a crossover matchup between Milford and Attleboro boys basketball. The Hawks started hot but it was the Bombardiers that finished strong.

Big Blue overcame an 11-point deficit at halftime with a stellar third quarter and then finished the job in the second half, finishing the game off with an 8-0 run over the final two minutes to beat the Hawks, 59-51.

“I think the difference in the second half was we did a good job of pressuring their guards and we did a better job in the post,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “Their post players are very talented, Kelley is very talented and Fraioli is a big talented kid that takes up a lot of space, sets good screens. Their high-low really hurt us really so in the second half we did a better job of dropping our big in the paint and kind of forcing them to take an outside shot. It could have hurt us but it ended up helping us in the long run because we got multiple stops and that’s what we needed to get.”

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The fourth quarter featured plenty of momentum swings but the Bombardiers put an exclamation point on the comeback with a couple of big plays in the final minutes.

A putback from sophomore Qualeem Charles (10 points, 16 rebounds) and a pull up jumper just inside the free throw line from Bryant Ciccio (nine points) gave Attleboro an early five-point lead, but Milford chipped away with four straight points from junior Brendan White (17 points) to cut the deficit to one.

Senior Nate Douglas drained a three to get the lead back to four and then hit one of two free throws to take a 50-45 lead. Milford’s Kayden Kelley (11 points, 15 rebounds) scored four straight points, taking feeds from White and Andrew Fraioli (eight points, five rebounds) on slips to the basket to again cut it down to one.

Velazquez came up with another steal but was fouled, and hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to two. Fraioli answered immediately with a bucket while being fouled to tie the game, but couldn’t convert the free throw to take a lead.

Tied 51-51, Attleboro put together its best stretch to win the game. Immediately following Fraioli’s tying bucket, Charles scored in traffic down low to regain the lead. Milford missed a three, Dom Victor (10 points, seven rebounds) hauled in the rebound and hit one of two free throws after being fouled.

Despite missing the second free throw, Charles came across the paint to grab the board. Attleboro called timeout, and out of the break, hit a huge shot.

Mason Houle and Douglas played catch as the shot clock ticked down. With just a few seconds remaining, Houle went in to Charles in the post, sucking the defense in. Charles returned the pass to Houle with just a couple of seconds on the shot clock, and the junior could have forced a contested three, but instead made one extra pass to Douglas in the corner. The senior calmly buried a three, giving Attleboro a 57-51 lead.

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“We’ve been stressing at practice, especially recent, the extra pass gets us that great look, an uncontested look,” Houle said of the play. “An inside-outside look, and then the pass to the corner and Nate Douglas hit a really big three for us. It gave us a lot of energy, and in this game [six points] felt like a cushion. It might have been our biggest lead of the game at the time and it put pressure on them to make a play.”

Victor picked off a pass two plays later and went in along, finishing with a two-handed slam to put an exclamation point on the win.

“We wanted to be team tough tonight and that means doing the right things for our team, for our teammates,” Houle said. “In the flow of the game, it’s not always going to be easy. There’s going to be runs on both sides. I was proud of the toughness we had as a team. They came right back and tied it and we showed toughness and went right back down to take the lead.”

After being outrebounded 30-25 through three quarters, the Bombardiers had a 12-8 advantage in the final frame.

“Our key is always rebounding and we did a better job of it in the second half,” Houle said. “I think overall pressuring the guards was key, it kind of got us into a good defensive rhythm. Then we were able to get out on some breaks, got some transition baskets and that gave us some energy. Our energy in the second half throughout the whole second half was very good. “

The hosts came out red-hot in the opening quarter, hitting four of their first six attempts from behind the arc and shooting 50% from the field to build an early double-digit lead, and a 14-point advantage late in the quarter.

A late three from Ciccio cut the deficit to 11 at the end of one, and the teams played an even second period. Milford led by as much as 15 (25-10) at the midway point of the period, but Attleboro outscored the Hawks 11-5 the rest of the way to keep the deficit the same at halftime as it was after one.

Momentum swung in favor of the visitors in the third quarter. Attleboro sophomore Tim Callahan bookended the Bombardiers’ 19-6 surge in the period with a pair of three’s. An inbounds play on the baseline from Ciccio to Douglas resulted in a traditional three-point play.

Trailing by 10, Douglas hit a pair of free throws, Kevin Velazquez drained a three then two plays later, stole a pass and went in for an easy layup. The teams traded a pair of misses before Victor hit two free throws to make it a one-point game.

Fraioli converted a putback to extend the lead back to three but Victor drove strong to the basket for two, and Callahan drained another three off a feed from Charles to give Attleboro a 42-40 lead after three.

“Playing Milford is always tough, Coach Seaver does a terrific job,” Houle said. “Their kids play hard and they have a recipe to win every single night. They have tough bigs, they can shoot it, so we knew coming in it wouldn’t be an easy game…there’s never an easy game in this league. We knew coming in we had to play well and fortunately, we played very well in the second half.”

Attleboro boys basketball (6-4 Hockomock, 9-4 overall) returns to action on Sunday to take on Bishop Feehan at 3:00. Milford (4-6, 6-7) will try to snap its current two-game skid on Tuesday when it travels to Mansfield.

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Charles Helps Shorthanded Attleboro Get Past Taunton

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (left) battles with Taunton’s Malik Charles for position in the post. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It’s no secret that Attleboro’s 6’5 sophomore Qualeem Charles can be a game changer. But with opponents making him the focus of their defensive game plan, getting him the ball in the right spots can be a challenge.

For three and half quarters, Taunton nearly neutralized the big man, fronting him in its man-to-man defense, bringing weak side help and even double teaming when necessary. But over the final five minutes of play, Attleboro finally got Charles going.

The sophomore scored eight of his 11 points in that stretch, helping the shorthanded Bombardiers — playing without three starters — outscore the Tigers 16-7 and pick up a key division win, 57-47.

“Coming into this game we knew it was going to be a pretty big challenge for us as a program,” said AHS head coach Mark Houle. “I’m really proud of the team for stepping up. We had kids that haven’t played a lot come in and give us some quality minutes.”

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Holding a 41-40 led with five minutes to go, Charles (15 rebounds) finally got into a rhythm. He increased the lead to three of a feed from Nate Douglas (nine points, six assists). Charles had all 11 of his points in the second half after the Tigers held him without a point over the first 16 minutes.

“We were a bit slow getting the inside game going and I think we were forcing it too much,” Houle said. “In the fourth quarter we started doing a better job, we kept moving the ball and keeping the flow of the offense. We used the whole court and that really opened up the inside. It was really nothing more than just good ball movement.”

Kevin Velazquez scored on a floater in the lane only for Taunton sophomore Prince Brown to answer with a three, keeping the deficit at two. Sophomore Jason Weir, who was starting his first game, drained a pair of free throws on one end and Velazquez came away with a block from behind on the other end.

That allowed Attleboro get up the court and Velazquez dumped a pass over the top to Charles for an easy lay-in and a 49-43 lead.

Despite coming off with an offensive rebound on its next possession, Taunton turned the ball over. That led to another connection between Velazquez and Charles, the latter finishing after an up fake to extend the lead to eight.

An inbounds violation gave Attleboro possession back, and Charles hit one of two free throws on back-to-back possessions for a 53-43 lead with a minute to go.

“Taunton did a nice job early in the game taking away the inside presence,” Houle said. “We were forcing it to him early on the first pass. We realized that wasn’t working. The kids trusted the offense and kept moving it until we got a better look. We had a lot more passes per possession in the last six minutes of the game and that opened up the inside game.”

The Tigers and Bombardiers were near inseparable through three quarters. A pair of free throws from sophomore Dante Law (10 points, eight rebounds) helped pull Taunton into an 18-18 tie after the first quarter.

Both offenses cooled down significantly in the second, scoring just six points apiece to a 24-24 score at halftime.

Douglas converted on a feed from sophomore Bryant Ciccio (19 points, five rebounds) put Attleboro up six, and a free throw from Charles gave the Bombardiers their best lead, 37-28, with just over a minute left in the third.

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Taunton junior John Martins (eight points, three assists) scored five straight to get the Tigers within five at the end of three. The Tigers then used a 7-3 surge over the first three minutes of the fourth to get within one.

Lens Esquil (18 points, 10 rebounds) scored early to make it a three-point game, and Law followed up with a bucket down low against the zone to make it a one-point game. A free throw from Brown tied the game at 38 but Weir drained a triple to give Attleboro the lead back.

“Guys stepped up tonight…Jason Weir in his first career start, he played like an upperclassman today. He got some key rebounds, he was strong with the basketball,” Houle said. “Bryant Ciccio continued to be steady for us, putting teammates in good positions.”

Law scored again to make it a one-point game, but Charles took control over the final five minutes.

In the final five minutes, Taunton went 3-for-8 from the field with a pair of turnovers. Attleboro also had three offensive rebounds during the stretch.

“We got into these lulls, and we seem to crack under not so great pressure,” said THS head coach Charlie Dacey. “[Attleboro] scores easily and we don’t. And getting the ball to [Charles] is a pretty good way to score easily. We have to really work hard to get a good shot, and sometimes when we get a good shot and we miss it.”

With Attleboro playing a zone defense for the majority of the game, Taunton was held to its lowest scoring output of the season, including just 4-for-14 from three.

“With a short bench, we wanted the tempo tonight to be our tempo,” Houle said. “The kids did a nice job controlling the tempo of the game, not allowing too many transition baskets. We knew they’d be effective in their zone offense at times, but as the game kind of progressed, the zone kind of was shrinking with Lens getting it in the high post and Dante getting it in the short corner. But our guards did a nice job of shrinking the zone down. I know they hit some outside shots but fortunately not enough of them.”

Attleboro boys basketball (5-3 Hockomock, 8-3 overall) will look to make it two in a row when it hosts rival North Attleboro on Tuesday at 6:30. Taunton (4-4, 7-5) will look to bounce back when it travels to rival Coyle & Cassidy on Sunday at 1:00.

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Attleboro Storms Past OA With Second Half Comeback

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro’s Bryant Cicco (right) attempts to drive past Oliver Ames’ Noah Fitzgerald in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – For two and a half quarters, Oliver Ames’ zone defense frustrated Attleboro’s offense and limited its high-power offense to just 27 points.

But once the Bombardiers found their rhythm, due in part to an improved defensive showing, Attleboro was nearly unstoppable the rest of the way.

Attleboro outscored Oliver Ames 44-16 over the final 12 minutes of play, erasing a double-digit deficit and turning it into a double-digit win, 71-57.

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“I think it started with our defensive energy,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “Early on, they kind of had their way, they had some transition baskets early. In the second half, we did a better job of getting back and not letting up any easy baskets. It was a physical game.

“We finally started penetrating their zone on the offensive end, which got us some open looks, and we were able to penetrate and go inside to [Qualeem Charles]. It took a little while to get the rhythm going, we really didn’t have it. Once we did that then we felt more confident and knock down some shots.”

The Bombardiers were limited to 10 points in the first quarter and 11 points in the second. Meanwhile, Oliver Ames senior Jack Spillane (career-high 34 points) was getting almost everything he wanted. He scored 18 of the Tigers’ first 19 points and helped OA take a 31-21 lead at the break.

Attleboro started hot in the third quarter, quickly getting the game within six but then went cold from outside. Big Blue missed from three-point range on six straight possessions, allowing Oliver Ames to get out in transition and convert, taking a 41-27 lead with 3:35 to go in the third quarter.

But on the ensuing possession, Attleboro finally got the ball in low as junior RMff (eight points, six assists) found sophomore Qualeem Charles (13 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks) who converted plus the harm. Charles’ traditional three-point play set the Attleboro offense in motion.

“You want to have some balance there but we weren’t getting the ball inside enough,” Houle said. “With any zone, there are some gaps and once we started penetrating with guard play to get into them, that created some opportunities for our bigs. When you play a zone you can get a three anytime you want, but when you’re not hitting them you have to get some paint touches.”

Senior Nate Douglas (17 points, four rebounds) and sophomore Jason Weir (seven points, five rebounds) made back-to-back baskets, and then Weir came up with a putback off of a missed three to keep the momentum with Attleboro.

“Jason Weir was one of the guys that came off the bench for us and had a terrific game,” Houle said. “Not only scoring but he got some key rebounds and some second-chance opportunities for us. And he played a physical game for us. We talked at halftime about how we needed guys to step up and he was one of them.”

After an Oliver Ames miss, sophomore Bryant Ciccio (career-high 18 points, five rebounds, five assists) went coast to coast, finishing with a nice up and under move high off the glass. Big Blue got another stop and this time fed Charles at the top of the key, sucking the defense in which allowed the sophomore to find Ciccio for a three-pointer.

Douglas hit a pull up on the baseline shortly before the buzzer to cap a 16-2 run, tying the game 43-43 at the end of the third.

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With the game in the balance over the final eight minutes, Attleboro finished the job.

Spillane gave OA an early lead with a nice take to the basket, but Charles hauled in an offensive rebound and converted a putback to tie it. Charles scored on another offensive rebound only for OA’s Noah Fitzgerald (six points, three assists) to respond.

Attleboro put the game away over the next two and a half minutes with a 14-2 run. Ciccio started the surge with a layup and then Houle picked off a cross-court pass and went in alone for a layup, plus the foul, for the traditional three-point play.

Spillane brought OA within three with a pair of free throws but Douglas and Kevin Velazquez drained threes to extend the lead to 58-49. Charles finished the run with a free throw and yet another putback.

“Nate Douglas played his best game of the season, he was aggressive on offense and made impact plays for us on both ends of the court,” Houle said. “He played like a senior and we needed him to perform like he did for us to come back and win the game.”

After shooting 40% in the first half (50% from three-point range), the Tigers shot just 30% from the field in the second half and hit just one triple.

“Part of it is offensively we did more [in the first half],” said OA head coach Don Byron about the first half effectiveness of the zone defense. “They’re taking the ball out of bounds, we’re setting our defense every time. Once it turns into a more free-flowing game, we’re at a disadvantage then.

“We worked hard it but our efficiency in the second half wasn’t as sharp, We threw some passes away, made some simple, unforced mistakes. We just didn’t shoot the ball as well. And a couple of guys that we kept quiet early found themselves and we weren’t able to knock them off their stride at that point.”

Attleboro boys basketball (4-2 Hockomock, 7-2 overall) is back in action on Tuesday in a key Kelley-Rex division showdown with first place Franklin; a battle of the division’s top scoring team against top defensive team. Oliver Ames (2-4, 4-5) hits the road to take on Taunton on the same day.

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Attleboro Showcases Offensive Prowess In Big Win

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro’s Tim Callahan drives to the basket in the second half against Dartmouth. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro boy’s basketball team wasted little time in flexing its offensive muscles against Dartmouth.

Bombardier sophomore Bryant Ciccio scored less than five seconds into the game off of the opening tip and then hit back-to-back threes, giving Attleboro an 8-0 lead just 1:13 into the game.

Attleboro went on another 8-0 run to start the second quarter, creating a double-digit lead that was never relinquished in a 72-44 win for the Indians.

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“In the game of basketball it’s those surges and runs that can make the difference,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “If you pile those back to back, you can really pull away. We went from a six-point lead to a 14 point lead, and once you get another one, you’re able to cut out any chance of a comeback.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to put away a team early and I think today, early in the second half we did that. It started with defense, especially our half-court defense which was pretty solid.”

Dartmouth closed the first quarter strong to stay within two possessions (14-6) after eight minutes. But the separation came early in the second. Sophomore Qualeem Charles (eight points, seven rebounds) converted one of two free throws before sophomore Tim Callahan, fresh off the bench, came up with a steal and easy layup.

After a miss, Charles came up with a big offensive rebound and putback and two possessions later, junior Mason Houle (eight points, three assists) drained a three off a feed from Ciccio to make it 22-8 with just over five minutes left in the third.

“We’re still learning, we turned the ball over a lot against the zone, it’s the first time we’ve seen a zone team,” Houle said. I think we were prepped for it earlier this year but didn’t see it and we just didn’t take care of the ball in the half court as much as we should have. And our transition defense is something we have to work on, things we can’t do going forward.”

Mason Houle banked a three from just over half court at the halftime buzzer, giving Attleboro its largest lead, 33-14, heading into the locker rooms.

While the teams were level for the first four minutes of the third quarter, the Bombardiers put the game away with an 11-0 run over the next two minutes.

Callahan (career-high 15 points) got it started with a triple, then came up with a steal for an easy layup. Ciccio forced another turnover and Nate Douglas (six points) hit a jumper. Ciccio then split the defense and hit a pull up jumper and Callahan capped the run with a strong take to the basket.

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“He scored when we needed him too, and he’s capable of doing that,” Houle said of Callahan. “He’s a solid player, and only a sophomore. He’s filling his role very well right now coming off the bench. As soon as he comes in he gets open looks and he’s ready to knock them down. He made some mistakes in some rotations on defense but overall he definitely had his finest game for us.”

Ciccio finished with a game-high 16 points along with three assists.

“I think Bryant really played a solid game for us,” Houle said. “And Bryant’s done that for us the last couple of games. He’s leading us from the point guard position and he’s doing a nice job defensively. He’s getting open looks and he’s hitting shots. He scored the first eight points and they were all from what we want to do. I definitely think Bryant’s last couple of games, both ends of the court, he’s really playing solid for us.”

Attleboro shot 50% (27/54) from the floor overall and hit 12 of its 25 three-point attempts. It marked the third straight game that the Bombardiers hit double-digit threes, following 11 triples against Stoughton and 10 against Sharon. On Wednesday afternoon, five different Attleboro players connected for at least one three-pointer.

“When you can shot 50% from three good things are going to happen,” Houle said. “Guys start running out at you and then it opens things up inside too. We have a nice balance right now. Kids are understanding where the shots are coming from and they are working hard on them. When the ball goes in, it makes it easier.”

Attleboro boys basketball (2-1 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) is back in action on Friday when it welcomes in-town rival Bishop Feehan at 6:30.

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Attleboro Hires Crowley As Girls Basketball Coach

Marty Crowley
Marty Crowley spent four years as the King Philip girls basketball coach. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Attleboro High School announced Marty Crowley as its new girls basketball coach on Tuesday morning. Crowley, who spent four years as the girls basketball coach at King Philip, takes over for Rick Patch who stepped down in May.

“We welcome Coach Martin Crowley to AHS,” said Attleboro Athletic Director Mark Houle in a press release. “Coach Crowley’s basketball experience and vision to cultivate a positive experience for our girls at all levels of our program is promising. I look forward to working with Coach Crowley to reach the girls basketball programs goals.”

Crowley takes over a program that posted an impressive 16-8 record last season and finished third in the Kelley-Rex division. The Bombardiers have reached the postseason five straight seasons. During his four years patrolling the bench at King Philip, Crowley helped the Warriors to 33 wins and a playoff appearance in 2014.

Attleboro Falls Just Short At Bridgewater-Raynham

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro freshman Bryant Ciccio looks to make a pass against Bridgewater-Raynham. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – After weathering a tough opening quarter, Attleboro took a lead into halftime and held onto it until the midway point of the fourth quarter.

But the Bombardiers never landed the knockout punch, never fully took control of the momentum, leaving the door slightly open for Bridgewater-Raynham.

The fifth-seeded Trojans pounced, using a 9-0 run over a two minute span that erased a deficit and turned it into a lead — one they wouldn’t relinquish in a 74-71 win over 13th-seeded Attleboro.

“In the postseason, every possession matters, offensively and defensively,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “I thought we had some good momentum on offense but then we’d give up a transition basket. Our momentum was short lived because they came back and got something quick a lot of the time and I think that was a huge difference tonight.

“It wasn’t for a lack of effort, the effort was certainly there tonight. I just think [B-R] did a great job of executing what they needed to do to win the basketball game.”

After trailing by as much as nine in the first half, the Bombardiers used a successful second quarter to take a two-point lead into half. That two-point lead grew to a five-point advantage heading into the final frame and stayed at the point until midway through the quarter.

“It was a hell of a tournament ball game,” said B-R head coach Doug Alves. “Two good teams going at it and luckily we were the team that came out on top. I think we made one or two more plays than they did and that made a different in the fourth quarter.”

Jake Dunkley (17 points, eight rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to give Attleboro a 61-55 lead with just under six minutes to play but the Trojans were ready with a response.

Bridgewater-Raynham senior — and former Taunton standout — EJ Dambreville drained a deep three on a kind bounce to cut the deficit to three. After getting a stop on the defensive end, B-R took advantage of an offensive rebound, eventually finding the hands of Griffin Perry. His trifecta tied the game at 61-61 with just our four minutes to play in the game.

The Bombardiers were tripped up while going to the basket on the next play, one of the few times there wasn’t a whistle on the play. The teams combined for over 40 fouls and 61 free throw attempts.

Bridgewater-Raynham took advantage of the no-call when Darrius Hyppolite drained his third three of the contest to give the Trojans a 64-61 advantage.

“We kept that six point lead in the second half and it seemed when they would get it to four, we kept pushing it back to six or eight,” Houle said. “There was a couple of possessions in a row they got some threes, Dambreville had one from deep, then they got one to tie it and then they hit one to go ahead. THat’s when they got the momentum, it really went in their favor. It ended up being somewhat of a difference when they got over that hump. Down the stretch, they executed their transition offense better than we executed our defense.

“B-R’s a good team, they played hard, they played physical, everything was challenged.”

Attleboro snapped its near three minute scoreless streak with a pair of free throws from Dunkley to cut the deficit to two but B-R answered with a baseline jumper from John Tesson, who had a team-high 18 points.

Bombardiers’ freshman Bryant Ciccio (14 points, four assists) answered with a pull up jumper from the foul line to get with two again. Attleboro for the miss it needed but Dambreville went up, got a slight tough of the ball and pulled the rim down, allowing the ball to fall in for two.

“We knew they’d come out and pressure us, we had to take care of the basketball,” Houle said. “There were times they were able to get some deflections, get some steals and get the tempo to their liking. They scored a lot of points in transition offense. We’d make a big shot and then turnaround and they’ve come right back and get to the foul line or score or we just didn’t stop the ball. They won that battle tonight.”

The teams each traded a free throw as the B-R advantage stayed at four (70-66) with under two minutes to play. Attleboro had two looks to cut the deficit but missed the front end of a one and one and a missed on a drive to the basket. B-R then hit free throws down the stretch. Andrew Milliken (14 points) hit a late three to get to the final score.

The Trojans built an early lead through high pressure, forcing Attleboro into turnovers or quick shots. B-R took an early 11-3 lead and went up 16-7 on a three from Perry. Attleboro got back into the game with an 8-2 run – a bucket from Dom Victor and three point plays from Milliken and Qualeem Charles (seven points, eight rebounds). But Perry hit a late three and then Dambreville got on to go just before the buzzer from just over half to put the Trojans up 24-15 after one.

Ciccio took over in the second quarter for Big Blue, scoring 10 points in the quarter to help the Bombardiers go from behind to ahead. Over the first four and half minutes of the quarter, Attleboro went on a 13-4 run with Ciccio hitting a pair of free throws to tie the game. Ciccio’s lone field goal – which turned into a traditional three point play – of the quarter put Attleboro ahead by two. Lucas Boucicaut drove to the basket for two, giving Attleboro a 36-29 lead. B-R close the quarter on a 6-1 run to get within two at half.

“Bryant has had a real solid freshman season,” Houle said. “I think that second quarter, he really took over and showed what he can do offensively creating space and creating opportunities for us to score. His energy level and his ability to get by a defender is a great skill. Being freshmen, him and Q, they’re only going to get better.”

Attleboro boys basketball finishes the season 13-10 overall, tied four fourth in the Kelley-Rex. The Bombardiers will graduate four players, including Dunkley, who finished with over 900 career points. Houle had high praise for all four of the seniors.

“Jake Dunkley is such a hard worker, he’s so passionate about the game of basketball. He works hard on both ends of the court. He’s a terrific leader for us. Andrew Milliken is another leader. He’s done anything and everything we’ve asked of him this year, playing guard or playing a big, his heart and effort is what we take pride in. Lucas Boucicaut has been playing varsity since his sophomore year. He’s had his ups and downs but I’ll tell you he’s grown a lot as a young man. He’s been a pleasure to coach and he’s given us everything he had. Robby Pierce, this year came in and was probably our best worker in practice and did all the little things. His game time might not be as much but his effort and attitude is something you really want your seniors to have. I’m really proud of all four of them.”

North Edges Attleboro On McCarthy’s Buzzer Beater

North Attleboro boys basketball
North Attleboro players swarm Kyle McCarthy following his game-winning buzzer beater against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro senior Kyle McCarthy took the inbounds pass with 5.7 seconds to go and streaked up the right side of the court. He switched the ball to his right hand before crossing back to his left as he hit the three point line. He found space between a pair of defenders, rose up and released.

The ball seemed to take a deflection off a defenders hand, hit the front end of the rim, took a bounce and fell through the net as time expired.

The result was a 56-54 win for North Attleboro in a non-league contest with rival Attleboro, giving the Rocketeers a season sweep of the Bombardiers.

“I saw a couple of defenders in front of me but coach wanted us to attack the hoop,” McCarthy said. “I got to the rim, put it up, it might have been tipped in but it went in, that’s what matters. It was just a great team win. North Attleboro against Attleboro, we couldn’t have scripted it better, it was just an unreal game to be apart of.”

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Both sides traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter, with Attleboro taking a 50-49 lead with just over three minutes to play on a jumper from Nate Douglas. But North had an answer right away as Hacmoni Cuevas took a pass from McCarthy and drained a three near the end of the shot clock to put North ahead 52-50.

The teams traded misses before McCarthy came away with a steal and went down for a layup. His shot rimmed out but senior Jonny Friberg (22 points, 12 rebounds) was there to clean it up with the put back with 1:22 to play.

“When it comes down to it, they made some big plays down the stretch,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “That three by Cuevas was a big one. And then McCarthy is just a gamer, he made a nice play. We were trying to get a sub in to get a matchup but we didn’t get it in. Bottom line, we needed to stop the ball and we didn’t do that. Our kids battled, I think we did a better job on Friberg than we did the first time. Brent’s a terrific player, you can’t make mistakes on him. For them to go back to back and beat two teams is not easy.”

Attleboro senior Jake Dunkley (20 points, 10 rebounds) cut the deficit in half with a pair of free throws with 1:01 to play. The Bombardiers came away with a stop on the defensive end and sprinted ahead to try to find the tying bucket, but North came away with a steal to take possession with 28 seconds to play.

Attleboro was forced to foul its way into the bonus, sending the Rocketeers to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. North missed the front end, giving the Bombardiers a final chance with 12.9 to go.

Douglas navigated his way around a screen and drew the foul to head to the line with two shots. North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins called a timeout before the shots to draw up the play.

“We wanted to get the ball to either Kyle or Brent [Doherty] off the inbounds, get Jonny down for a rebound and then get Moni and Chad [Peterson] set up for a shot,” Mulkerrins said. “We wanted to penetrate and have two guys ready for a shot or Jonny for the rebound. I think there might have been a little luck involved in the shot going in but Kyle did a nice job and we’ve been on the other side of that a couple of that so I think our kids deserved it.”

The largest lead of the entire game was nine, coming midway through the first quarter when Attleboro raced out to a 15-6 lead. Back to back threes from Cuevas and McCarthy helped the Rocketeers cut the deficit down, trailing 17-12 after one quarter.

North surged back to take the lead on back-to-back baskets from Doherty (17 points) and McCarthy but a quick 6-2 surge from the Bombardiers gave the hosts a slim 29-27 advantage at half.

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“We knew after the first game this season, they’d come at us with everything,” Mulkerrins said. “I thought Mark [Houle] and his staff did a tremendous job being without a starter or two or at least kids that can play starter minutes. Coming out, they were so intense defensively and that led to some good offense opportunities for them. Coming off a back to back, we came out a little slow but to our kids’ credit, their mental toughness, we punched back after the first and kept it close.”

It was a see-saw third quarter with Andrew Milliken (eight points, seven rebounds) hitting a three to put Attleboro ahead only for Doherty and Friberg to hit back to back buckets to take the lead back. Dunkley converted a three point play, Friberg responded with two free throws to tie it and then Dunkley drained a three for another three point lead.

Friberg added two but baskets from Dunkley and Lucas Boucicaut created a five point separation. Doherty cut into that with a three, Attleboro’s Elvin Sam (13 points) pushed it back to four with a layup, Friberg answered again but Dunkley had the final basket of the quarter to give the Bombardiers a 46-42 edge heading into the final quarter.

“For us, playing Attleboro at their place, regardless of or record, or scenario or situations, it’s always a tough game,” Mulkerrins said. “It’s one of my favorite places on our schedule to play because the people of Attleboro love basketball. There’s always a great atmosphere and you can’t play in a better gym to get more prepared for the tournament.”

North Attleboro boys basketball (14-7 overall, 10-6 Hockomock) will conclude the regular season on Wednesday when they host Bishop Feehan. The Rocketeers have a chance to earn a home playoff game with a win. Attleboro (12-9, 8-8) will finish the regular season with a trip to Durfee on Wednesday in a showdown of two D1 playoff teams.

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North Makes Plays Down the Stretch to Beat Attleboro

North Attleboro boys basketball
Jonny Friberg scored a career-high 24 points to lead North Attleboro to a come from behind win over Attleboro on Tuesday night. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Trailing in the second half at home in front a packed crowd in the Kenneth Pickering Gym against rival Attleboro, the Rocketeers switched the defensive look to a 2-3 zone and turned the offense back over to senior forward Jonny Friberg and senior guard Brent Doherty.

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After scoring 11 points in the opening quarter, Friberg had seen far less of the ball after the Bombardiers turned up the defensive pressure on the North Attleboro guards and had managed only two points in the quarter and a half since. Meanwhile, Doherty was held in check with just six points midway through the third.

That changed down the stretch.

North started to pound the ball into the paint in the final 12 minutes and Friberg (10 rebounds) responded with 11 of his career-high 24 points and Doherty added 11 of his 17 as well, as the Rocketeers turned an eight-point deficit into a 62-55 victory that extended their win streak to four games and moved them into a tie with Milford for the Davenport division lead.

“They did a great job adjusting defensively,” said North coach Sean Mulkerrins about Friberg’s drop from 11 points in the first quarter to none in the second. “They didn’t allow us to move the ball and then they doubled inside. At halftime we talked about using that to our advantage. We knew it would either get [Jonny] or a shooter and Chad [Peterson] and the guys on the perimeter knocked down some big shots.”

In addition to the change of emphasis offensively, which included getting the ball into the post quickly to force the Attleboro defense to send help on Friberg, the Rocketeers also switch into a zone that slowed down the Bombardiers.

“The change of pace kind of hurt us a little bit,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “In the end, they went to their strength; they went to Jonny inside and, as mightily as we tried to fight in there, we just didn’t have enough muscle.”

North took control in the opening half by getting the ball into the block where Friberg used his size to overpower the Attleboro defense. He scored 11 of North’s 20 points in the first with a series of baskets from in close and then a three to close out the half off a feed by Kyle McCarthy.

Despite Jake Dunkley’s seven points in the first, Attleboro trailed by six heading to the second. The lead grew to as many as 11 points (30-19), as Peterson drilled back-to-back threes and McCarthy came through with four of his six points.

After a timeout, Attleboro turned things around with pressure defense by freshman Bryant Ciccio (seven points) and seniors Nate Douglas (12 points) and Lucas Boucicaut (four assists). Forcing turnovers allowed the Bombardiers to get in transition and they closed the half with a 10-0 run. Douglas scored twice on offensive rebounds and Ciccio and Dunkley each grabbed steals and layups.

“I thought in the second quarter and definitely in the third quarter their athleticism, we started getting long in the legs,” said Mulkerrins. “We’ve played a lot of zone in the past but we haven’t played a lot of it this year and it’s a risk…but we made just enough plays.”

The run stretched to 14-0 and 19-3, as Attleboro turned the game around and built the lead to as many as eight points in the third quarter after Elvin Sam stole the ball from Friberg under the basket and fed it to Andrew Milliken (10 points) for the finish plus the foul.

North started to creep back into the game thanks to its seniors. Friberg drilled a straightaway three to cut the lead to five and then added a fall-away jumper to make it 44-41. Milliken scored off a Dunkley assist to make it a five-point game heading to the fourth, but North had stemmed the tide.

“We’ve been talking all season about being scoreboard watchers; we don’t want to be scoreboard watchers,” said Mulkerrins. “It shows the resiliency of the kids. I’m proud of them.”

Doherty started the fourth with a basket in transition and, after a Friberg free throw, scored again on the break to tie it. Douglas knocked down a big three to put Attleboro back on top but it was answered by three at the line from Peterson. The junior guard then pulled up and the free throw line to give North its first lead since the opening minute of the third quarter.

Friberg scored the next two baskets for North and the lead stretched to six. Attleboro tried to extend the game by crashing the boards and getting its chances at the line, but the Rocketeers closed out the game shooting 6-of-7 on free throws to earn the win.

“Down the stretch you have to execute,” said Houle. “Brent and Jonny made big plays in those situations and those are the players that need to make the plays and they did.”

Mulkerrins added, “I think it’s the maturity of the group…I was yelling at the guys the word complete; we needed to play a more complete game than we did against Foxboro because we knew Attleboro was going to bring it.”

North Attleboro (8-4, 5-3) will travel to Mansfield on Friday before facing Milford in a battle for first in the division at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday. Attleboro (8-5, 4-5) will try to put an end to its five-game skid (and help North) against Milford on Friday.

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Attleboro girls basketball
Attleboro junior forward Sam Pierce (44) swoops to the basket for two of her 11 points, as Attleboro rolled to a victory over North. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Lady Bombardiers Dominate Start to Finish Against North

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the opening game of a the basketball doubleheader at the Kenneth Pickering Gym, the Attleboro girls set aside the struggles of last week and put in a dominating performance to hand North Attleboro its first league loss of the season, 56-19.


Senior Sarah Deyo led the way for the Bombardiers with another double-double of 22 points and 18 rebounds. She also added five blocks, as the Attleboro defense held North scoreless for the opening seven-plus minutes, allowed only two points in the first, gave up seven points in the opening half, and only 19 for the game.

“We didn’t hurt ourselves,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “We kept possession, we got good looks…and the defense has always been really good.”

Deyo scored eight in the first and North did not get on the board until the closing minute when Caroline Collard knocked down a long jumper. Attleboro essentially put the game away with a 26-point second quarter, highlighted by Deyo scoring another six points and junior Sam Pierce scoring 11, including a deep three at the buzzer.

Senior Julia Strachan marked her return to North Attleboro, where she transferred from after her sophomore year, with 12 points and Jordyn Lako chipped in with five.

Patch said of the team’s ability to bounce back after the losses to Mansfield and Oliver Ames, “We just refocused everything and the girls have been doing a great job. It’s more of a team offensively rather than just a few great individual plays.”

North was shorthanded on Tuesday night with senior guard Ashley Ahern ruled out due to injury. Julia Santos led the way with eight points, Samantha Taggart added five, and Collard had four points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Attleboro (11-2, 7-2) stayed one-game back of Mansfield in the race for the Kelley-Rex title and will travel to Milford on Friday. North Attleboro (10-3, 8-1) has a one-game lead on Milford and Foxboro in the Davenport and will host fellow league leader Mansfield on Friday.

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Mansfield Outlasts Attleboro in Kelley-Rex Showdown

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Christian Weber goes up for a layup against three Attleboro defenders in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Contributor

MANSFIELD, Mass. – In typical Mansfield fashion, the Hornets moved the ball around the perimeter from player to player, eventually a pass finding its way to a wide-open Max Boen. The senior guard drilled the three-pointer, putting an exclamation point on a game-changing swing from the Hornets.

After holding a slim lead (22-21) at half, Mansfield rattled off an 11-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half to create the necessary separation for the rest of the way in a 54-49 win over previously unbeaten Attleboro.

Sam Goldberg (15 points, nine rebounds) started the run with a putback, Tyler Boulter (eight points, three rebounds) added a layup, Christian Weber (13 points) drained a three and Boen (seven points, eight rebounds, three assists) hit a free throw before his big three.

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“I think we did a good job of wearing them out,” Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan said.

The Hornets stifled the previously undefeated Attleboro offense with a full court press for all 32 minutes.

With scoring hard to come by for either side in the first, Mansfield opened the game with an inbound pass to Boen for an easy layup. Sam Hyland shadowed the Attleboro ball carrier all the way up the backcourt forcing a turnover, darting the other way to give the Hornets an early 4-0 lead.

“There were times during the game that they had trouble breaking the press, trying to run their half court stuff and still get a good shot,” Vaughan said. “I thought we did a good job of taking them out of the stuff they had been doing.”

But as the first quarter dragged on, Attleboro settled in. Bombardier senior Jake Dunkley hit a three and added another bucket to spark the visitors, who trailed 10-7 at the conclusion of the first quarter.

“I think early on, they started scoring and we were struggling to score,” Attleboro head coach Mark Houle said. “Finally we isolated Jake down low and got a basket.”

Dunkley (20 points carried Attleboro through a strong second quarter. He opened the frame with another three from the corner, then proceeded to work the post. He backed his defender down, pivoted and finished a fade away jumper.

On the next Attleboro possession Dunkley drained another triple. After a basket from Berlyns Abraham (seven points, 10 rebounds), Attleboro had its lone lead of the game, 17-15.

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“It came down to balance,” Houle said. “They had better balance on offense than we did overall.”

Mansfield stayed persistent in the third quarter not allowing Attleboro to diminish the Hornet’s 11-0 run. Goldberg and Weber each worked their way through the Bombardier defense and found their way to the room.

Weber began at the top of the key, he stutter-stepped left, passed an Attleboro defender and finished with a right-hand layup. By the finish of the third quarter, Mansfield was up 41-30 — the difference equalling their run to open the half.

“I knew (Attleboro was) going to be ready” Vaughan said. “We got up 12 or 13 and I said to the guys this game was not over.”

Attleboro lingered in the fourth quarter with Nate Douglas (seven rebounds) scoring seven of his nine points in the frame. The Bombardiers came within five points following a Dunkley basket and missed Mansfield free throws but the late surge was not enough as the Hornets closed the game out.

Up next, Mansfield boys basketball (7-1) puts its undefeated league record on the line when it hosts rival Franklin on Friday at 6:30. Also on Friday, Attleboro (8-1) hosts Oliver Ames at 6:30.

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Dominant Third Quarter Lifts Attleboro Over Indians

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro’s Jake Dunkley takes a shot against Dartmouth in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – It’s not that the Attleboro Bombardiers played a bad first half by any stretch, it’s just that head coach Mark Houle knew his squad could play better.

Behind a high pressure full court pressure, the Bombardiers used a dominate third quarter to make a somewhat close game into a rout, finishing the 2016 calendar year with a 78-40 win over Dartmouth.

Attleboro forced 10 turnovers in the first half but held just a 29-21 lead at the break against Dartmouth’s zone. The Indians were even within two points with just over two minutes to play in the first half before an 8-2 run game the Bombardiers a bit of breathing room.

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“We’ve seen a lot of zone so far this year, more zone than man,” Houle said. “We’ve been working a lot against it. With that, ball movement – I always say keep the ball hot – it’s just ball movement. Then looking inside out and over the years, the teams that are able to be successful are teams that can do that.”

The third quarter completely belonged to Big Blue. It took little time to see what kind of pace Attleboro wanted to play with as senior Jake Dunkley (19 points, six rebounds, five assists) hauled in a miss and went coast-to-coast for a layup.

Attleboro forced five straight turnovers over the next two minutes, resulting in points each time. First, Andrew Milliken (17 points, four rebounds) drained a three off a feed from Dunkley. Nate Douglas got an easy layup and Berlyns Abraham converted a three point play after back-to-back mistakes from the Indians.

Dunkley added a free throw and Douglas converted a three point play on Dartmouth’s fourth and fifth turnovers of the third quarter.

Over the first 2:15 of the second half, Attleboro rattled off a 14-0 run to take a commanding 43-21 lead.

“We didn’t play a bad first half, we defended well,” Houle said. “The kid #12 for them [Marquise Adams] had 10 points so that was a challenge – one kid who scored about half their points. We put an emphasis on making him work. And then it created some turnovers and we finished the turnovers. In the first half we forced around 10 turnovers but we didn’t finish off of them. Second half, we did and that lead to that nice run to start the third quarter. That was good to see because the kids are working hard. We’re trying to get to that next gear and I think we did that today.”

After forcing 10 turnovers through the first 16 minutes of the game, Attleboro caused nine turnovers in a third quarter that they won 27-5. Adams did not score in the second half for Dartmouth.

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Dunkley added seven more points over the final four and a half minutes, accounting for 10 of his 19 in the quarter.

“We’ve had three games in Hock and we’ve done well…and in our non-league schedule so far we’ve done pretty good,” Houle said. “I think the biggest thing is now is that we’re hitting the open guy, we’re being selfless which is very important. And we’re defending. When you can defend and hit some shots, that’s very important. We did that today, we hit the open guy. That takes some commitment on each player to make sure they’re making the right reads and making the right plays and we’re starting to do that.”

Milliken scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half to pace Attleboro’s offense. Attleboro pulled its starters early in the fourth quarter and Houle was able to get all of his players in the game. All 12 players scored in the game, including seven points and three rebounds from Lucsas Boucicaut, six points from Elvin Sam and five points from Douglas. Sophomore Dom Victor and freshmen Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles each scored four points apiece.

“This is the first game that [Milliken’s] starting to hit some more since the first game,” Houle said. “He had 17 against Feehan but then he hit a little bit of a funk. Today was his second best game he’s had this year. When he’s hitting those outside shots, it opens up everything on the inside too. I think that was important.

“We have some nice pieces right now and everyone’s really finding what their role is. Now we’ve got one more non-league game against Durfee then right into the Kelley-Rex.”

Attleboro boys basketball (6-0) returns to action on Tuesday, January 3rd, when it hosts Durfee in a non-league contest.

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