Canton Turns Defense Into Offense Against North

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Jake Verille (right) tries to get past North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (left) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With North Attleboro’s half-court defense giving Canton’s offense fits, the Bulldogs needed to find other ways to get its offense in gear.

The offensive jumpstart that Canton needed started on the defensive end, as the Bulldogs’ defense came up with continuous stops that allowed the team to cash in in transition. And on top of that, five of the Bulldogs’ six offensive rebounds resulted in second-chance points.

That combination gave Canton’s offense the boost it needed and the defense did the result, earning a 53-35 win over the Rocketeers.

“It all started with our defense,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “[North] has a lot of size and we were concerned about post entries so we worked really hard on defending it. I felt like we did a good executing our defensive gameplan.

“I thought North did a really good job in the half court against us defensively, we struggled. They did a good job containing our guards. We talked about it during a timeout in the quarter. We said tonight our best offense is going to be getting stops and then pushing the ball in transition. That’s a credit to North, they did a nice job taking away some things.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton got off to a strong start, limiting Big Red to just a pair of field goals in the first quarter. The Bulldogs hauled in nine defensive rebounds and got out running, leading to a 14-5 lead after eight minutes.

North Attleboro’s offense got back on track in the second, which also helped slow Canton’s offense down. After a transition bucket from Devin Foster (13 points) put Canton up 21-8 early in the quarter, North’s offense rattled off an 11-4 run to end the half.

North junior Josh Montague (12 points, eight rebounds, three assists) was the catalyst of the run. Matt Seavey’s two free throws started the surge but Montague scored the Rocketeers’ next nine points, including a putback, a drive the length of the court after hauling in a defensive rebound, and one at the free throw line.

But as quickly as North got back into the game at the end of the half, Canton recreated its lead with a surge to open the third quarter. Austin Maffie (10 points, six rebounds) converted a putback to open the scoring, senior Tony Harris cut across the paint and took a feed from Jake Verille (nine points, seven rebounds, four assists) for an easy two, and then Foster capped the run with a triple, followed by a strong take to the rim.

“I thought our defense was bad pretty much throughout,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “I didn’t think we had any passion, I didn’t think we tried to do what we wanted to do. They dictated the pace and had a good game plan against us. We didn’t make shots but that doesn’t excuse the lack of effort. They killed us on 50/50 balls, seemed like they got everyone. Then we’d finally defend for 25 seconds, their shot goes up and we’d get beat to the rebound. We have to defend better than that to be competitive”

Big Red rattled off four straight points to get within 11 again but a bucket from Kyle Fitzgerald in transition was followed by a putback from Matt Warburton to swing momentum back in favor of the visitors.

“North did a good job mucking it up so we needed to find other ways to score,” Gordy said. “If you can get some offensive rebound putbacks or offensive rebounds that turn into points, and then also score in transition, those are the extra little things that make the difference in the game.”

Canton’s defense limited North Attleboro 10 points or less in three of the four quarters, 26% shooting from the field overall, and just four three’s on 19 attempts.

“The defense set the tone for us tonight,” Gordy said. “If we can defend like that and push the ball like that…that’s when we’re at our best. Especially since we sometimes play two or three point guards who can handle it and get it going in transition.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton had an answer for every push North made in the final quarter. Junior Jake Petersen (eight points, nine rebounds) scored down low off a feed from Montague but Verille answered with a three-pointer. Peterson scored off an offensive rebound and Montague hit a step back triple for a quick 5-0 spurt but Maffie hit back-to-back baskets in response.

“Those second chance points kill any momentum you might have,” Mulkerrins said. “Points were at a premium, they didn’t exactly light it up with 53 points, but for us…I just kept yelling ‘wake up’ because I didn’t think at any point during the game we played to our ability level. It starts with us being aggressive, being passionate…being excited to be there. I just kind of felt we were a bit lethargic today and Canton does such a good job of getting Foster and Harris the ball and their other guys fill their roles great for them. Hats off to Canton, they showed up today and we didn’t.”

Canton boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 5-1 overall) will be back in action on Tuesday night when it hosts Milford. North Attleboro (1-3, 3-3) will try to bounce back when the same night when it takes a trip to Sharon. Both games are scheduled to tipoff at 6:30.

Foster, Canton Squeeze Past Archbishop Williams

Canton boys basketball
Canton boys basketball huddles up before the opening tip. (Danny Emerman/HockomockSports.com)

By Danny Emerman, HockomockSports.com Contributor

BRAINTREE, Mass. – Archbishop Williams’ Patrick Sexton converted a layup through contact. Though he missed the ensuing free throw, his teammate Thomas Veasey corralled the offensive rebound and completed his own traditional three-point play.

The five-point play swing, emblematic of a back-and-forth game, cut the Canton Bulldogs’ once 12-point lead down to just four with 41 seconds remaining.

But Canton made enough plays down in the final minute and held on for a 62-57 win.

“They found a way to make the game ugly, and we found a way to win an ugly game,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy.

Canton started the game in control from the tip, breaking the Archies’ zone defense for easy looks. The hosts hung around by attacking the rim, getting to the basket, and feeding the post, where they had size advantages.

Canton played man to man defense in the first half, aggressively denying passes and switching on-ball screens. They fronted the post without weak side help, but Archies elected to go over the top to find some success in the post.

“We wanted to front because we knew they had a little bit of size,” Gordy said. “They did a good job lobbing it over the top. We have to do a better job pressuring the inbounds pass to the post.”

Inside, Archbishop Williams’ big men either converted layups or got fouled, which put Canton in the bonus early.

“We did a good job of that lead pass and our bigs did a good job of finishing,” Archbishop Williams head coach Jimmy Dolan said. “We had a good balance of working the ball in and out, getting to the line,” Dolan added.

The Bishops went on a remarkable 18-3 blitz to open the second quarter, swinging the momentum in favor of the hosts. Archies entered halftime with a slim 31-26 lead by winning the second quarter 23-9.

Archbishop put their stamp on the second quarter, but Canton returned the favor by outscoring the Bishops 23-6 in the third, taking a 12-point lead into the final frame.

The difference, simply, was Devin Foster (23 points). Archbishop had no answer for the junior guard down the stretch, as Foster poured in 15 points in the second half, including 11 in the third quarter.

“He can do it all,” Gordy said of Foster. “He can shoot it, he can handle it, he makes guys better because when he attracts the defense, he likes to pitch and kick. We just have to make sure other guys are knocking down shots when they get opportunities so we can allow him the space he needs to operate.”

Canton opened the second half on a 12-0 run to retake the lead, with Foster responsible for 10 of those points.

Gordy aimed to “neutralize” Archbishop’s big men in the second half by switching to a high 1-3-1 trapping zone and by giving senior center Matt Warburton more minutes. “[Warburton] didn’t play a lot in the first half, but he was a huge X-factor for us,” Gordy said.

Foster’s electrifying play combined with Canton’s defensive adjustments had them in pole position, but the Bishops never went away.

A Sebastian Joseph (11 points) and-one cut the Bulldog lead to single digits, then James Dolan’s (10 points) triple cut it to six early in the fourth quarter. The rare five-point possession brought the Bishops within four.

Patrick Sexton’s three-pointer from the top of the key after a pair of Canton free throws made it 60-57 with 15 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough.

Canton senior guard Jake Verille stepped up on the offense end. Verille dropped 13 points and dished out a handful of pretty assists by swerving into the teeth of Archbishop Williams’ zone defense and kicking out to shooters.

Canton boys basketball (2-1 Hockomock, 4-1 overall) enters division play on Friday, with Milford scheduled to come to town at 6:30.

Foster’s Big Night Leads Canton Past King Philip

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Devin Foster (4) drives to the basket in the first half against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Canton head coach Ryan Gordy was clear on what helped his Bulldogs beat visiting King Philip on Tuesday night.

Devin Foster,” Gordy said without hesitation.

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

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

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

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.