ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Five Attleboro players scored in double digits, each contributing in a big way at various points of the game and the Bombardiers closed the season with a 75-67 win over playoff bound Durfee squad.
Junior Jake Dunkley scored a game-high 19 points and pulled in nine rebounds, junior Andrew Milliken added 16 points, sophomore Nate Douglas chipped in with 12 points, senior Brent Cook had 10 points and six rebounds and junior Berlyns Abraham scored 10 points and finished with seven rebounds.
Milliken got Attleboro started early, going a perfect 4/4 from three point range in the first half. The juniors sharp shooting helped Attleboro to a 21-19 lead after one and kept the Bombardiers in the game as they trailed by one (37-36) at halftime.
Douglas scored seven of his 12 points in the final frame, none bigger than his basket with just under a minute to play. The Bombardiers held a 70-65 lead but were forced to call a timeout with 10 seconds left on the shot clock after the original play fizzled. Douglas took possession out of the timeout, raced around his man and hit a layup just before the shot clock expired to put Attleboro up 72-65.
Cook scored the game’s first four points and added another key three in the third quarter, helping Attleboro take a 54-52 lead into the final frame. When the Hilltoppers pulled within two points early in the fourth quarter, Cook drained his third three of the game to reestablish a two possession lead for Attleboro — one they relinquish for the rest of the way.
“Brent Cook, in his last game, really played well both offensively and defensively,” Attleboro head coach Mark Houle said. “He made some big plays for us. He’s been that kind of player for us throughout the course of the year where he’s come off the bench and given us some energy. I was proud to see him and all of the seniors go out winners tonight.
Abraham was a huge spark plug in the second half for Attleboro. He came off the bench to net a pair of putbacks in the third quarter and hauled in six rebounds in just six minutes of play. He then added six more points in the final quarter, including an elbow jumper that put the Bombardiers up seven with just under three minutes to play.
And Dunkley got it done in all four quarters. He scored five in the first, four in the second, seven in the third and then drained a three on the possession after Cook’s trey that capped a 10-4 run to open the final quarter.
“It was important for us to come out and play hard,” Mark Houle said. “I think early on offensively we did well but we didn’t do a nice job on the boards in the first half. In the beginning of the second half I think we started to get a little better at it with some more effort.
“Berlyns Abraham came off the bench early in the third quarter and gave us a ton of energy. I think he had six rebounds in the third alone and he kind of set the tone on the boards and that we weren’t going to give up second chance points. That got us to the point where we got the lead and we were able to hit shots and make good decisions. Different guys stepped up today for us, we worked hard. At halftime we said the team that wants to play more defense is going to win and that ended up being us.”
While Attleboro shot similar percentages from the floor in both halves (36% in the first, 38% in the second), the Bombardiers dominated the rebounding battle in the second half. After a seven rebound advantage at half (23-16), Attleboro finished with a 49-29 edge on the glass.
The Bombardiers hit 15 two point field goals, connected on 10 three pointers and hit 15 free throws. Eight different players scored for Attleboro.
“We found different ways to score,” Houle said. “We felt like we were getting better towards the end of the year. We left a lot of games on the table early on but I’m proud to see us keep working hard and play well against quality teams and beat quality teams.”
Attleboro’s start to the final quarter created the initial separation. Up by two to start, Abraham took a feed from Lucas Boucicaut and after a stop on the other end, Milliken drained a pair of free throws. Durfee responded with a pair of baskets but consecutive threes from Cook and Dunkley kept the hosts ahead.
Over the final two minutes – in a five point game – Attleboro outscored Durfee 9-5 to close the game.
“The last couple minutes of the game are pivotal,” Houle said. “You have to be able to defend and rebound but you have to also know the time and the score and be able to put a team away. It’s a confidence thing and we felt confident at the end, I’m happy to be standing here saying we got the win.”
Attleboro boys basketball closes the season at 7-15 and will lose five seniors to graduation: Brent Cook, Kevin Aguirre, Prowo Kinkoue-Poufong, Max Bohannon and Kyle Murphy (five points and 12 rebounds against Durfee).
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was like watching a replay, over and over again. Every time the Bombardiers played the ball over the top in the first half, the whistle would blow and the referee’s arm would get raised and the attack would be cut short by an offsides call.
Dartmouth and Attleboro are old rivals from the EAC and the Old Colony League, but the Indians sprung a surprise on the Bombardiers on Saturday morning at Tozier-Cassidy Field by playing a high line that was practically in the opposition half with the keeper out near the 30 yard line.
The line worked wonders as Attleboro was called offsides 14 times, according to head coach Peter Pereira, and it felt like much more. Nikolas George scored 14 minutes into the game and it held up to hand Dartmouth the 1-0 non-league win.
“They won all the 50-50 challenges and when you win those then you’ll win the game,” said Pereira. “They got a cheapy goal but a goal is a goal and they created it. They’re a decent team.”
Dartmouth took 13 minutes to create the first chance when Nathaniel Fernandes hit a shot on the half-volley that forced Attleboro keeper Tyler Stowe into a diving save. A minute later, the Indians had the opener.
George got behind the Attleboro back four down the left channel and took the ball around the sliding Stowe only to have his shot blocked on the line by Dante Arcese. Rather than let the ball go out for a corner, and ignoring the yells of Dartmouth coach Josh Silva, George settled the rebound, dribbled past a scrambling defender, and finished past Stowe at the near post.
It was a scrappy goal and came out of nothing, but it sparked the Indians into life and they could have put the game away before the break but for Stowe, who made six of his eight saves in the first 40 minutes.
He stopped Anthony Neves from close range when the midfielder got to a poor clearance and then again when Neves created space for a left-footed shot that seemed destined for the bottom corner. In the final seconds of the half, he was strong to stop an Isaac Sequeira shot at the near post.
“He’s been making big saves and even saves that don’t look so big become important,” explained Pereira. “He’s doing a really good job for us. The more he plays, the better he gets.”
Pereira also credited his entire back four (Zach White, Ryan Kearney, Max Bohannon, and Arcese) for its growth since allowing five goals in the season opener against Foxboro.
Attleboro struggled to angle or delay its runs in behind the defense, but there were a couple of chances for the Bombardiers.
Harry Lancaster, who was moved up front to try and spark the Attleboro attack, slipped through the right channel but could not get his chip high enough to elude keeper Nathan Morgado. Two minutes before the break, Ahijah Joseph had a go from near midfield but Morgado again was able to back pedal and make a comfortable save.
“When you’e anxious out there…we had 14 of them and if you cut that in half that’s seven more chances to go to goal,” said Pereira.
Pereira let his team know about his frustrations with how the game went in the opening 40 minutes and the halftime team talk seemed to work as Attleboro played much better in the second half, although clear chances were still at a premium.
Lancaster had the best chance when he was sprung by a through ball from midfielder Junior Coca but Morgado raced out to make a slide tackle near the 30 yard line and prevent a shot on goal.
Stowe also had to be sharp to stop shots from Fernandes and Josh Sousa and keep it a one-goal game. Joseph had a shot on target in the 66th minute from the edge of the box, but again Mrogado was in position to make the stop.
It would be the last chance Attleboro would create. Zach Rodrigues, Jack Flynn, and Lancaster were also able to spring the offsides trap a few times but either the pass was too heavy or the touches forced the Bombardiers wide.
“The second half we tried to push people up and it just didn’t happen,” concluded Pereira. “This will hopefully carry over to Tuesday’s game against a league match that is important.”
“We’re still making progress; we’re still getting better. We played better in the second half and if we can do that every game by the end of the season we’ll be playing our best.”
Attleboro (2-4-1) will host league-leading Mansfield on Tuesday night.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.