Mansfield Upended By Norwood In Double Overtime

Mansfield boys basketball Trevor Foley
Mansfield sophomore Trevor Foley chases down a loose ball after forcing a turnover in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 MANSFIELD, Mass. — Behind a spectacular defensive effort, the Mansfield boys basketball team battled back to get in position to take the game.

But the signature run that the Hornets have used to put away teams time and time again just never came to close it out.

The Hornets dug themselves out of a 15-point second half hole, erased a seven-point deficit in the final 90 seconds of regulation but couldn’t quite put the finishing touches on the big comeback, falling 57-51 in double overtime to Norwood in the Division 2 Round of 8.

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“I thought our defense was pretty spectacular,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan, who saw his team force the Mustangs into 25 turnovers. “I thought we did an awesome job on [Noah Beaudet]. I thought we were able to minimize their other guys’ chances and really put ourselves in a position to come back. The problem was, for whatever reason, the second half of the year we’ve struggled scoring. In the first half…you only have 14 points, you can’t do that against a team at this level.

“We continued to stay true to ourselves defensively and started to make some plays, hit a couple of shots. I just can’t say enough about their effort and commitment to playing the right way and playing hard. You can’t get a better high school game out of this.”

Mansfield boys basketball

The Hornets were limited to 14 points total in the opening half, and a bucket just seconds into the start of the second put the Mustangs ahead 29-14. Mansfield refused to go quietly and outscored the visitors 14-4 the rest of the way in the quarter to get back into it.

After an early bucket, sophomore Trevor Foley (16 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three steals) turned a steal into an emphatic one-handed slam to bring the hosts within a point, 33-32. Mansfield tied it on a free throw from junior Chris Hill (14 points, six rebounds), who tacked on a three a couple of possessions later to tie it 36-36.

Norwood star junior Noah Beaudet broke free for a rare open look and drained a triple and scored three from the foul line to bring the Mustangs back in front, 44-37, with 1:47 to go.

Senior Andrew Slaney connected on a corner three and the Hornets trapped immediately on the inbounds and forced a turnover, resulting in a quick layup from senior Matt Hyland (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, five steals).

Mansfield forced back-to-back turnovers but missed the front end of a one-and-one and had another chance blocked. With 26 seconds left, Hyland found Hill on a backdoor lob play and Mansfield tied it 44-44. The Hornets got another stop on defense with 10 seconds to go but a layup chance was off the mark for the hosts to send the game into overtime.

Points were at a premium in the four-minute overtime period. Hyland lost control in the paint but the ball fell right to Foley for a layup with 2:17 to go. Hill grabbed a steal but the Hornets missed on a chance to extend the lead. Hyland had a steal on the next possession but the Hornets turned it right back over and Norwood tied the game on a putback from Ziad Awde.

Both teams missed on a three in the final minute as the game went double overtime, tied 46-46.

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield sandwiched a pair of misses around a turnover, and Beaudet converted to put the visitors ahead. A free throw cut it to one but a tough jumper from Beaudet extended it back to three, 50-47. The Hornets couldn’t get anything to go on their next trip, and Norwood turned an offensive rebound into two points, 52-47 with 1:15 to go.

Foley scored to cut it to four but the Mustangs did enough at the line to keep the advantage the rest of the way.

“I think it just came down to us missing some bunnies, we had our opportunities. I thought in the first half we were forcing some action and then we got to a point we weren’t forcing it, but there were some opportunities when it looked like easy baskets that we just didn’t put in the hole. I’m not sure we shot great from the foul line either. Those two things…you can’t shoot yourself at this level. Defensively, we did it…we played great on defense and played as good as we could on defense.

“But offensively, I thought there were a lot of times we got exactly what we wanted but didn’t capitalize on it.”

Mansfield had an uncharacteristic day on the offensive end, shooting under 30% from the field overall and under 20% from three-point range.

Hill scored the opening basket of the game but it would end up as Mansfield’s lone lead of regulation. Hyland had the two other buckets but Norwood claimed a 14-6 lead after one.

An early three from Hill gave Mansfield a good start to the second quarter, and points from Foley and Anthony Sacchetti made it 14-13 before Mansfield’s offense went cold and the Mustangs closed the half on a 13-1 run.

Foley ignited the Hornet offense with back-to-back buckets in the third, Hyland and Caden Colby each had one from in close, and Slaney added a three. By the end of the third, Mansfield closed the gap to just five, 33-28.

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The Hornets lose five seniors to graduation including Hyland, Sacchetti, Slaney, Jack Lasbury-Casey, and Riley Waldron.

“They are tremendous kids,” Vaughan said. “This was just a great group, starting with the seniors all the way through. Nice kids, came to work every day and never complained. I had no issues with this team all year long. They were great, it was a fun team to be around.”

Mansfield boys basketball finishes the season at 21-5.

Taunton Storms Past Mansfield For Share Of Kelley-Rex

Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos
Taunton senior Trent Santos pulls up for a three in transition in the fourth quarter against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 TAUNTON, Mass. — Not many players in the state have the license to take a pull-up three on a fast break in any ordinary game, let alone a tie game in the fourth quarter with the league title at stake.

Taunton’s Trent Santos is an exception.

Santos drained the shot with 4:30 to go to put the Tigers ahead for the first time in the second half, a lead that never vanished as Taunton used a dominant fourth quarter to secure a 56-46 win, clinching at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title.

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Taunton boys basketball

Taunton can become the first team besides Mansfield to win the division outright since 2012 with a win over Milford on Friday. Santos finished with 11 of his 27 points in the final quarter along with seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

“I know coach wouldn’t have been too happy if I missed that shot but we were on a run and the momentum was crazy, I just felt it so I shot it and when it went in, I was relieved,” said Santos. “Franklin and Mansfield, all of their help defense and how they force you way out, they do a really good job with it. But that shot, we were on a run there so I felt it.”

Santos’ pull-up three was the midway point of a stunning turnaround for the Tigers. Mansfield’s suffocating defense held the hosts without a point for the final five minutes of the first half, and limited Taunton to 12 hard-earned points in the third quarter.

Going into the fourth, Taunton scored on back-to-back possessions just twice. Once in the first quarter on a putback from Santos and then a three from Faisal Mass (12 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks). And once in the second quarter, a three from Troy Santos (eight points, six rebounds) followed by a layup from Trent Santos. The Tigers didn’t have a significant run at any point through the first 24 minutes.

A commitment to an improved defensive performance and better rebounding (13-4 in the fourth) led to a spirited offensive performance over the final eight minutes as the Tigers opened the quarter with a 14-0 run, and in the end, outscored the Hornets 20-2.

“It was really our defense in the fourth quarter,” Santos said. “We all locked in and committed to rebounding and getting out on the break and we were able to hit some big shots to go on that run that won us the game. It feels amazing, the atmosphere in here was crazy, and in that fourth quarter, it was really fun to play basketball.”

The fourth quarter fittingly started with a stop for the Tigers, first a steal and then a miss from Mansfield. Although Taunton was off on its first shot, sophomore Cyrus Morissette came up with a pair of offensive boards to keep the possession alive and he found Tristan Herry for his lone make from the field, a three-pointer.

Another stop was hauled in by Herry, and he quickly pushed it up for Santos, who didn’t hesitate before draining a three. Out of a timeout, Taunton forced a shot clock violation, Mansfield got a stop of its own, and then Mass came down with a board after the Hornets missed again.

Morissette took a pass at the top of the key and bullied his way to the basket, banking it in to tie it at 44-44 with under five minutes to play.

Then came the steal from Santos, the pass from Herry, and the pull-up three from Santos that put Taunton ahead for good.

“They kind of just locked in collectively defensively,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “We got some stops and obviously came down the other end and hit some shots. Trent hit some shots, maybe not recommended shots but he’s been taking them and making them all year. And Tristan had a big three too, and Cyrus getting to the rim was another one. A lot of small things added up.

“They’ve been working hard all year long and we’ve been pushing them in practice, we really have. And they’ve responded. Other teams I’ve had in the past haven’t always done that. They show up every day and they go, and that’s unique in high school.”

Mansfield had a couple of chances to get back into it but had a travel to start and then missed on a pair of three-point attempts. They got a couple of stops but couldn’t get it going on offense, missing another three and then a pair of free throws.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton came back the other way and Santos got his man in the air on a fake, took a step to his right, and then drained another triple — his third of the quarter — to make it 50-44 with 1:43 to go.

“That momentum is huge for us, just huge. Success breeds success…it’s at that point, I’m hands off,” Dacey said. “It’s always Mansfield or Franklin, and then us. This year, now it’s us. It’s great for the kids, it’s good for the psyche of the school.”

Taunton boys basketball

Mansfield finally broke its cold spell when sophomore Trevor Foley (10 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks) converted a putback to cut it to four points. Mansfield scrambled on defense to try and double but Santos was able to find Morissette cutting to the basket for two and a 52-46 lead with under a minute to go, icing the win.

“I thought we did a really good job rebounding the and then we gave up the three to Herry off an offensive rebound, and then Santos came down and hit another one and I could see faces on my guys deflated,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I just said to them, when you wear this uniform, you always believe we’re winning. I felt like we played not to lose instead of going out to win. There were so many things in the last four minutes that weren’t what we typically do.

“I thought we did a good job contesting shooters and making them work for everything. I don’t know if they got an open look really throughout the game so I was happy with what I thought was high-level defense. If you’re holding them to 56, you’re doing a pretty good job defensively.”

Santos got off to a great start to the game. After being shut out in the first half during the first meeting in Mansfield, Santos exploded for 12 points out of the game as the Tigers staked a 15-13 lead after eight minutes.

“It’s my eighth time playing [Mansfield] and I get more sick of it every time I play them, they do such a good job moving the ball and forcing us into tough shots and getting us tired, that’s how they win,” Santos said. “For us to really just commit and lock in and finish strong, I think that’s really what won us the game.”

Mansfield took control of the game with a 13-0 run to end the first half. Matt Hyland (17 points, six assists, two steals, two blocks) sandwiched a pair of makes around a putback from Foley to tie the game. Hyland then found Foley for two, Hyland drained a three-pointer, and then a layup from Hyland following a block from Foley had the visitors up 31-24 at the break.

An early three from Troy Santos and a take from Mass got Taunton going early in the third but Mansfield countered with a free throw from Anthony Sacchetti and a transition bucket from Hyland. Chris Hill dropped in a baseline jumper, Sacchetti cut to the basket for two more, and another bucket from Foley had the Hornets ahead, 44-36, going into the fourth.

Mansfield is still mathematically alive for their 10th straight Kelley-Rex title but the Hornets would need to beat both Milford and Attleboro to close the week and would need the Scarlet Hawks to land an upset over Taunton on Friday.

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Taunton boys basketball

But if Taunton wins on Friday, it will give the Tigers the division title outright. It would be the program’s second straight (after sharing with Mansfield a year ago), and first outright Hock title.

“We still have to win on Friday against Milford, but we definitely had a sour taste in our mouth from last year in the loss at Mansfield, seeing them cut the nets down,” Santos said. “It really felt good to get one back here, against them especially.

Taunton boys basketball (14-1, 16-2) will host Milford on Friday for a chance to clinch the league crown, but the Scarlet Hawks will first travel to Mansfield (12-2, 15-4) on Wednesday night for a date with the Hornets.

Mansfield Edges Franklin In Back-And-Forth Battle

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Hyland
Mansfield senior Matt Hyland goes up for a shot against Franklin’s Sean Vinson (right) and Sean O’Leary (25) in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 FRANKLIN, Mass. — One of the best rivalries in the state added a new chapter on Friday night, and it was one of the best games in series history.

Up-and-down, back-and-forth the Panthers and the Hornets went, matching shot for shot and stop for stop over the course of four quarters — and it took every second of the 32 minutes to decide this one.

Mansfield senior Matty Hyland sank both of his one-and-one free throws with 13.4 seconds left and the Hornets held on as Franklin’s last-second turnaround jumper at the elbow hit off the iron and stayed out, securing a 56-55 victory in a thriller.

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The largest lead for either side was nine in favor of the hosts after senior Sean Vinson, who had a career-high 27 points in a gutsy performance, knocked down one of his five three-pointers just a minute into the second quarter for a 20-11 lead.

Meanwhile, the visiting Hornets had the lead just three times in the first half. The first coming on the back of an 11-0 run that erased Franklin’s largest advantage, and twice more over the next couple of minutes. But each of the three leads never increased more than two points before Franklin tied it or went back ahead.

Mansfield’s first lead of the second half came on a three-pointer with a minute to go in the third quarter, a 42-41 lead that the Hornets carried into the final quarter.

And the final quarter, a rollercoaster back-and-forth that featured nine lead changes, the largest lead being five points for Mansfield at 52-47, but that too, was quickly erased as the Panthers retook the lead.

“It was a good old-fashioned boxing match,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “How many lead changes were there? It had to be a lot, it was back-and-forth. I think they had a little bigger of a margin than we did, I don’t think we ever had a big lead. I thought there were times we could have folded and put our tail between our legs but we came down and made big plays.

“Against Franklin, you have to find creative ways to score. Sometimes it’s threes, sometimes you have to get to the rim. They are so solid defensively, you have to be creative and find different ways to score each trip, and ultimately, we were able to do that for sure.”

The fourth lead change of the final quarter came on a nice pass from Mansfield junior Chris Hill to find sophomore Trevor Foley cutting to the basket. Foley had one of the best games of his career with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks — more to come on the blocks.

The fifth came right after on a nice up-and-under move from Vinson and the Panthers took a timeout.

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield was the first team to get back-to-back buckets in the quarter, first with Hill dropping one in from close, and then after a stop, Hyland battled through some great defense to finish off a tough layup for a 50-47 lead. Another stop led to another bucket from Hyland for Mansfield’s largest lead of the entire game at 52-47.

It didn’t last long: Vinson knocked down a corner three off a pass from Justin Allen (11 points). The Panthers looked poised to tie the game after a turnover but Foley came racing back and pinned the ball against the backboard for a huge chase-down block.

The Panthers, who played the entire second half without leading scorer sophomore Henry Digiorgio because of an injury in the first half, weren’t too fazed as they got a stop and Ben Harvey found Vinson for yet another three, and just like that, Franklin was ahead with under two minutes to play.

The see-saw battle continued, and arguably the biggest plays of the game came next. Hyland came up with an offensive rebound to give the visitors a second shot, which was also off but this time Foley won the battle for the board.

The Hornets missed another chance but once again, Foley came flying in and tipped in the offensive board for two, and a 54-53 lead with under a minute to go. Mansfield won the rebounding battle 9-1 in the final quarter, including five offensive boards.

Andrew Slaney came up for a steal for the Hornets, and Vaughan tried to call a timeout but neither official noticed. The Panthers took advantage with a steal and Allen laid in an uncontested layup for a 54-55 lead with 20 seconds to go.

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield came back up the floor in a hurry, and yet again Vaughan’s timeout efforts went unnoticed, and instead, Hyland drew a blocking call for Franklin’s seventh foul of the half.

Hyland finished with 17 of his 25 points in the second half for the Hornets, tying a career-high.

“There’s something to be said about guys like Matty and what he was able to do,” Vaughan said. “Vinson did a really good job against him defensively and really made him work for everything. And as much as I was trying to whine for a foul, he did it clean and he did a really good job of keeping him in front of him and Matty had to work for anything that he got.”

Hyland hit both free throws and Mansfield — who was well under the bonus — strategically fouled twice over the final 10 seconds to drain some clock. Franklin inbounded it with 3.9 seconds left and got off a shot but it was off the mark.

Mansfield boys basketball

“I thought the guys that were out there really gave their heart and soul, I can’t ask for more effort-wise,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “We’ll watch the film and probably see something things we could have done better execution-wise. You don’t want to let it go to that last possession like that, they had a lot of offensive rebounds that we could have pulled in and maybe turned it into a three-point lead instead of a one-point lead.

“You can’t give a team like that multiple chances down the stretch and unfortunately offensive rebounds killed us late. I don’t think it was for most of the game and we made them work for everything they got. Hyland’s a great player and made some big plays down the stretch that really sealed the game.”

As they often have this year, Franklin had a strong start to the game with success from range. Sophomore Andrew O’Neill hit a pair of three-pointers and sophomore Sean O’Leary cashed in on a Mansfield turnover for a quick 8-0 lead. A three from Caden Colby and a late steal and bucket from Foley closed the gap to 15-11 at the end of one.

O’Leary went to work in the paint for two and Vinson sank a three to Franklin’s largest lead but that was short-lived as Mansfield answered with an 11-0 run, sparked by a three from Jack Lasbury-Casey. Foley cleaned up his own miss and had another steal and layup, and Hyland had four straight to take a 22-20 lead.

“I’m proud of Trevor, he’s really come into his own. He’s played well the last couple of games and has kind of built some confidence and starting to play like a junior instead of a sophomore…his first half was huge, he stepped in and really took some of the pressure off Matty.”

Vinson stopped the bleeding to tie it 22-22, and then drained a three after Foley’s tough take handed Mansfield its second lead. Slaney hit one of Mansfield’s five total threes but this time it was Allen who answered with a three. Allen then added another one right before the buzzer to give Franklin a 32-27 lead at halftime.

“Sean Vinson has been one of the best leaders we’ve ever had and I expect nothing less of that when he’s on the floor,” Neely said. “He missed the first matchup [COVID], he was devastated. He was really looking forward to his chance to play Mansfield here at home, and you can see it in the effort he put out there. What a performance for him.”

Franklin finished 10-for-21 from three-point range, but only hit on three trifectas in the second half on half the attempts. Losing Digiorgio was a big blow to not only the shooting game (he made four on Tuesday against Taunton and had three in the first meeting with Mansfield), it hurt the Panthers’ rebounding game (Digiorgio had double-digit boards on Tuesday).

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“That’s our leading scorer and one of our best players, it’s hard to in-game adjust to losing him,” Neely said. “I do think we settled in eventually and get O’Leary some touches inside and Vinson had some big shots, big plays, and we had some other guys step up. But you don’t just replace a guy like Hank, he’s a really good player that we missed out there.”

“We always want to try and take [the three] away because they have a lot of firepower there and they can do it in a hurry, you really have to try and keep them in check,” Vaughan said. “We made some adjustments and obviously Digiorgio not playing is super unfortunate and he’s a high-level scorer and rebounder, so I hope it isn’t bad and he’s back soon. You never want to see something like that happen and it changed their rotations and their shot selection.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield boys basketball (12-1 Hockomock, 15-3) stays within a game of first place of the division with a game in hand and will travel to first place Taunton for a huge showdown on Tuesday. Franklin (11-3, 15-3) hits the road to visit Milford on the same day.

Mansfield Kicks Offense Into Gear to Beat Attleboro

Mansfield boys basketball Trevor Foley
Mansfield sophomore Trevor Foley goes up for a layup in the third quarter against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 ATTLEBORO, Mass. — When the Mansfield boys basketball team is moving the ball around, constantly cutting, slashing to the basket, and knocking down shots from beyond the arc at a high clip, it’s like a work of art on the hardwood.

Attleboro learned that first hand on Friday night as the Hornets played a nearly perfect third quarter, turning a two-possession game at halftime into a runaway 69-50 win over the Bombardiers.

Mansfield held a 36-30 lead coming out of the locker room for the second half, and then went on to miss just one shot on 10 attempts from the field over the next eight minutes. The result was a 13-4 burst over the first four minutes and a 22-9 quarter overall to pull ahead for good.

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Of Mansfield’s nine makes in the third, four came from three-point territory. Jack Lasbury-Casey (12 points) hit half of his four three’s in the frame, Chris Hill (seven points, six rebounds) connected from deep on the first play of the period, and senior Andrew Slaney (career-high 17 points) had one of his team-high five trifectas.

A week after attempting a total of 10 threes in a loss to Taunton, Mansfield surpassed that number on makes against the Bombardiers, shooting 50% from beyond the arc with a season-high 11 three-pointers.

“I was really happy with how our offense flowed today, I thought it was back to before Christmas where it looked like we knew what we were doing on offense,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We hit some timely shots and we got some key stops when we needed to get some separation. We needed a game like this where we shot the ball well because we really haven’t the last couple of weeks.

“We needed a run to get some separation. We needed to get some consistent stops and then we’d have to go down and have a couple good offensive possessions.”

Hill’s three got things started for the Hornets in the third and then Anthony Sachetti recorded one of his four assists to Lasbury-Casey for another triple. Sachetti then converted a steal into a layup, Hill scored off an inbounds set, and then sophomore Trevor Foley (10 points, six rebounds) found Slaney in the corner for a three and a 49-34 lead with 3:30 left in the quarter.

Not only was Mansfield finding success on the offensive end, the Hornets weren’t giving Attleboro any open looks on the defensive end. Hill had a block early, and the Hornets only let the Bombardiers get a single point out of offensive rebounds on back-to-back possessions. Attleboro ended up making just a pair of field goals in the frame despite four second-chance opportunities.

“It’s not anything we’re doing specifically but subconsciously, defense becomes easier when you’re playing well on offense,” Vaughan said of getting it done on both ends of the floor. “When you start scoring points and you start getting that separation, the lead going from six to eight to 10…it becomes easier to defend. Now you can take some chances, you can try some different things.”

Lasbury-Casey answered a putback from Attleboro sophomore Neo Franco (10 points) with another three and then after a block from Matt Hyland (14 points, seven rebounds, six assists), Foley attacked the rim for two more. Lasbury-Casey got a piece of another Attleboro shot and Hill had a steal near midcourt, resulting in another layup for Foley, who had six of his 10 points in the frame and Mansfield carried a 59-39 lead into the fourth.

Mansfield set the tone for its big shooting night in the opening quarter, hitting on six trifectas on nine attempts. Attleboro junior Trevor White, fresh off a 31-point performance on Tuesday, hit a midrange jumper for the first points of the game but exited shortly after with an injury and did not return.

Slaney hit from downtown on three straight possessions for the Hornets, the first and third off passes from Hyland, and the middle on a kick out from Sachetti. Lasbury-Casey and Attleboro senior Evan Houle (nine points) traded threes, and then Hill and Attleboro senior Alvin Harrison (team-high 12 points) did the same.

After another one from Lasbury-Casey, sophomore Eddie McCoy joined the three party with one of his own and then Foley cleaned up his own miss for a 22-15 lead after a quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro held the Hornets without a three in the second quarter (0-for-4), and won the quarter, albeit by one point. Both teams made it to the bonus relatively quickly and ended up combining for 24 of the 25 free throws attempted in the first half. The Bombardiers got a boost from their bench as senior Colin Morais scored six of his 11 points in the frame and senior Hayden Hagerty hit four free throws to cut it to six, 36-30, by the break.

“It’s just how the game flowed,” Vaughan said of his team’s shooting. “We’ve really been focusing on taking open shots in practice and making them. We shot the ball so poorly recently, and we haven’t even got the volume either. We’re usually taking 25 or so a game and we were shooting 13 or 11 or nine, and that’s not us. We have to open the floor for guys like Matty and Chris to get downhill. And on top of that, we have the right guys shooting them.”

Mansfield boys basketball (9-1 Hockomock, 11-2 overall) is scheduled to travel to Bridgewater-Raynham on Monday while Attleboro (7-3, 9-3) is scheduled to travel to Bishop Feehan on Sunday, weather permitting.

Taunton Hangs On In Close Battle With Mansfield

Taunton boys basketball Faisal Mass
Taunton senior Faisal Mass (1) drives to the basket against Mansfield’s Chris Hill (31) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Taunton boys basketball has leaned on its offense to earn its first seven wins. The Tigers needed a defensive stop to get their eighth — and biggest — win of the year.

Holding a two-point advantage on the road at Mansfield with under 30 seconds to go, Taunton got the stop it needed as senior Faisal Mass stepped in to draw a charge along the baseline with 3.1 seconds left and the Tigers escaped with a 59-56 verdict over the Hornets.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton had its largest lead of the entire game at 52-44 with three minutes to play but the game came down to the final possessions after Mansfield rallied, but the Tigers never let their lead disappear.

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“Winning in an away gym in this league is tough,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “And to get one here, that’s quite an achievement. We had some clutch shots and defensively we got some stops. It was a real choppy game but [Mansfield] makes you play that way. You have to fight for everything. It always comes down to one possession. But in the end, we gutted it out. That’s absolutely a character win.”

Junior Matt Small cleaned up a miss with a putback to give the Tigers their largest lead but Mansfield answered seconds later when junior Dante Jamtes converted a putback of his own.

Taunton boys basketball

Taunton didn’t get a chance to extend its lead on the other end as Mansfield senior Matt Hyland came up with back-to-back steals, the first leading to a layup himself and the second to one from James to make it 52-50 with two minutes to play.

Mansfield drew an offensive foul with its full court pressure but couldn’t cash in, turning it back over on a travel. Out of a timeout, senior Trent Santos drained an off-balance three from the corner to keep the visitors ahead, 55-50.

The momentum was short-lived as Hyland found Chris Hill cutting baseline and the junior put down a two-handed jam to make it 55-52 with just over a minute to go. After a foul, there was a scramble off the inbounds pass but Taunton sophomore Cyrus Morissette got to it, found Small under the basket and he handed it off to senior Faisal Mass for an easy two.

Once again the Hornets answered as James found Hyland cutting the baseline for two, and Mansfield got the ball back with its full court pressure, leading to a layup from Hill to make it 57-56.

Trent Santos hit one of two from the line with 27 seconds left to give the Hornets a shot to tie or take the lead, but after running some action, Mass stepped in and took a charge on a floater attempt along the baseline to get the ball back.

Trent Santos added another free throw and Mansfield’s three-quarters court heave was off the mark at the buzzer.

“I don’t think we ever got comfortable offensively,” said Mansfield head coach Charlie Dacey. “Part of that is they did a good job defensively but the last few games we just haven’t really gotten into a good offensive flow. Maybe that’s the play calls or maybe it’s the focus on defense in practice. We had [BC High senior Mike] Loughnane the other night, we had Sharon who is scoring a ton of points, you had Santos coming in tonight, so we’ve really focused on the defensive end thinking the offense would take care of itself.

“We held Taunton below their average as a team and we held Santos below his scoring average, so when you hold a team like that to 59 points, you have to win. And how do you win? You gotta score points.”

Mansfield took advantage of slips and baseline cuts to jump out to an early lead with Hyland, Hill, and Jack Lasbury-Casey finding success at the rim. But an 8-0 run — highlighted by threes from senior Tristan Herry (16 points, five assists) and sophomore Troy Santos (eight points, three assists) — plus a late strong take from Mass had the visitors ahead 12-11 after a quarter.

The teams went back-and-forth throughout the second quarter with the Hornets getting the majority of their points attacking the rim while both Herry, Santos, and Small hit from midrange to keep pace. Hill’s three with just over a minute to go was Mansfield’s lone trifecta of the opening half.

Herry scored four straight but Hyland sank a late free throw to give Mansfield a 25-24 lead at the half.

Coming off a spectacular 46-point performance on Tuesday, Trent Santos was held scoreless throughout the first half with Hyland and the Hornets following his every move.

But a steal from Troy Santos led to Trent’s first basket of the contest — a three. Trevor Foley hit two from the line to put Mansfield ahead but Trent Santos hit two more threes in the frame and Troy added one from the corner to present Taunton a 40-37 edge going into the fourth.

Trent Santos finished with a game-high 17 points along with five rebounds and a pair of assists.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“As odd as it sounds, he lost his confidence a little but he’s not allowed to do that,” Dacey said. “He got it back it…he hit a couple of leaners and now he’s right back in it. Do I demand we run our sets all the way through? No, sometimes we go a little NBA style and let him do his thing because it generally works out.

“[Mansfield] just doesn’t beat themselves. You hope for a mistake and you hope for a mistake and you just don’t get it. They get a good solid shot every time down the floor and that’s all you can ask for out of a high school. They don’t rush the clock, they grind and grind, and if you make a defensive mistake, they make you pay.”

Taunton boys basketball (8-0 Hockomock, 8-1 overall) carries its five-game win streak to North Attleboro, who has won two straight, for a Tuesday night tipoff. Mansfield (6-1, 8-2) has its fifth game in 10 days on Sunday with an afternoon trip to King Philip.

Mansfield Hangs On Against Franklin In Defensive Battle

Mansfield boys basketball Chris Hill
Mansfield junior Chris Hill goes up for a shot against Franklin’s John Brigham in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 MANSFIELD, Mass. – The solution to Mansfield’s problem was so simple, yet incredibly difficult at the same time.

The Hornets needed a basket.

With two elite defenses going at it, points were at a premium on Friday night and Mansfield’s 15-point lead over Franklin had dwindled down to three, having scored just four points in a six-minute span between the third and fourth quarters.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin’s attempt at a tying three rimmed out and the Hornets got just what they needed, scoring on three of their next four possessions to finish strong and earn a 48-38 win over the previously undefeated Panthers.

The Hornets drew three fouls on one possession, getting into the bonus where Dante James hit a pair of free throws to extend the hosts’ lead to five, 41-36. Another open three from Franklin was off the mark and the Hornets survived a turnover as James went back to the line for two more.

After Caden Colby drew an offensive foul on the baseline to get the ball back, junior Chris Hill drove to the basket to draw the defense before dishing to senior Andrew Slaney for a wide-open three from the corner to put Mansfield up double-digits with just under two minutes to go.

Mansfield boys basketball

“That was a good old-fashioned fistfight,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We had to come down and get some points, it felt like we hadn’t scored much in the last couple of minutes. We had made a few silly plays and started to get a little passive. We got some points to push it to five and then Slaney hit the three a couple of possessions after and that was kind of the backbreaker.

“It’s a huge win, this is always one you get anxious about, you lose sleep over it…you’re watching a lot of game film, trying to be prepared. We know CJ [Neely] is going to do such a good job of knowing what we’re going to do so you feel like you’ve got to match that to give your kids a fighting chance. Any time you get can get a win against them in the league, now we’re playing from ahead instead of behind in the league race and that’s a big deal.”

The game got off to a hot start for both offenses, combining for 19 points over the first four minutes, but both defenses started to settle in as the game went on. After Mansfield won the opening quarter 18-12, the two squads combined for just 15 points (10-5 Mansfield) in the second quarter.

Mansfield boys basketball

Defense continued to be the theme in the second half. Mansfield’s lead peaked at 15 points after Matt Hyland (17 points, 12 rebounds, two steals) had a three-point play and a breakaway layup sandwiched around a strong take from Hill (seven points, five rebounds, five assists) to make it 35-20 with three minutes to play in the third.

The Panthers came out of the timeout with a renewed energy as sophomore Henry Digiorgio (11 points, six rebounds) drained a three off of an offensive rebound and junior John Brigham had a big block that led to a shot clock violation.

Digiorgio and James traded buckets before Brigham converted a putback and Sean O’Leary tacked on a free throw to pull Franklin within single digits, 37-28, going into the final quarter.

O’Leary scored on a nice post move to open the fourth and after a brief scoreless stretch from both sides, junior Justin Allen sank a three-pointer to get the visitors within four at 37-33.

Franklin got the stop it needed but couldn’t convert on a three and James dished it off to Hyland for two after a big rebound from Eddie McCoy. The Panthers quickly answered as Ben Harvey got into the paint to draw the help, finding Allen open for another three to make it 39-36 with four minutes left.

The Panthers got another stop and got a good look at the tying three but it stayed out and the Hornets called a timeout. They ended up finishing the game on a 9-2 run.

“I thought we had a lot of great looks…but 38 points isn’t going to get it done,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “I really believe in what we were doing, I thought the ball was moving really well, they were composed, they made the passes, and we got some really, really good looks for guys that we’re used to seeing make shots, uncontested threes. This was a night where they hit some of their open ones and we didn’t.

“I’m really proud of the defense and the way that we responded after we went down, we had a shot in the air to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. But we just didn’t make our looks.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield opened the game hitting nearly 80% of its shots, hitting on 7-of-9 attempts from the field, including a trio of three-pointers. Slaney, Hill, and Jack Lasbury-Casey each connected from downtown while Hyland attacked the rim for a pair of field goals. The Hornets only hit a pair of threes the rest of the way, including Slaney’s second with just two minutes left.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Digiorgio hit a pair of threes in the opening quarter but the Panthers were limited to one three in each the second and third quarters, finishing 6-for-25 from three-point range. Franklin ended up with 11 more field goal attempts than the hosts, and also struggled at the free throw line going 2-for-10.

“A lot of these guys were playing freshman basketball last year, they didn’t even get the JV experience because of COVID,” Neely said. The Panthers started three sophomores and two juniors. “It’s a pretty big jump from that to playing Mansfield’s varsity team in an environment like this. I really think they played well and had a good game but some of the shots just didn’t fall. We did what we had to do to get some great looks against one of the best defensive teams in the league so I was impressed with their response.”

Mansfield boys basketball (5-0 Hockomock, 7-0 overall) is back in action on Monday with a big non-league showdown at BC High. Franklin (4-1, 7-1) has a big test this weekend when it travels to Taunton on Sunday afternoon.

Depth On Display In Mansfield’s Big Win Over North

Mansfield boys basketball Trevor Foley
Mansfield sophomore Trevor Foley takes a shot over a pair of North Attleboro players in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming into the season, Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan was quietly optimistic about the depth of his team this year.

Down three starters and one more rotation player in just the fourth game of the season, Mansfield’s depth was put to the test.

Following a dominant third quarter and the team’s fourth straight 30-point plus win, it’s safe to say the Hornets passed with flying colors.

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Locked in a tight, two-possession game at halftime, the Hornets nearly equaled their first half output (28) in the next eight minutes, outscoring the hosts 26-6, to run away with a 72-42 victory over North Attleboro.

“I think it goes to show the depth that we have and the guys that are able to come in and play,” Vaughan said. “There are guys on our team that came off our bench that would be starters on other teams. A lot of it is kids just believing in themselves.

“We thought coming in that this might be really good for our team, regardless of the results, the next two games, to try and figure out can these guys contribute in a different way than just a quality role player. Can they come in and do this for us maybe in February or March?”

The two starters still in the lineup for the Hornets also delivered with senior Matt Hyland (eight rebounds, six assists, three steals) scoring 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, and classmate Jack Lasbury-Casey sank four three-pointers in the decisive third quarter on his way to 14 points and eight rebounds.

Without leading scorer Chris Hill (15.3 points per game), senior Anthony Sachetti (7.3 ppg), and point guard Andrew Slaney (4.7 ppg), the Hornets needed a boost from players who have come off the bench so far this year.

Junior Dante James added a scoring punch with 14 points and helped the Hornets’ ball movement with seven assists, 6’6 junior JT Veiking gave the Hornets a big presence down low defensively and stepped out to hit a couple of threes, finishing with 12 points and four boards, and sophomore Trevor Foley sparked the visitors early with nine first quarter points, finishing with nine boards, a block, and a steal as well.

Mansfield boys basketball

Locked in a close battle over the first six minutes, Mansfield finished the opening frame with a 10-2 run to build a 16-6 lead. North had a bright start to the second quarter with a nice drive by Givany Carney and back-to-back buckets from Brody Rosenberg (13 points) to stay in it.

In fact, the Rocketeers used a 7-2 spurt in the middle of the quarter — four points from Gavin Wells (10 points) and a three from Casey Poirier — the stake a 22-20 lead with two minutes to go until halftime. Similar to the first quarter, Mansfield finished strong in the form of an 8-0 run (a three-point play by James and then five straight from Veiking — to claim a 28-22 lead by halftime.

But as the Hornets have done to so many teams before, they turned the game on its head with a big run, a run that turned into a dominant eight-minute frame.

James got two from the line to start and then Lasbury-Casey hit back-to-back threes — the first off an offensive rebound and the second off a turnover from the Big Red. North came up empty on one end and James converted at the rim for Mansfield. Another turnover from the hosts turned into another three from Lasbury-Casey and just like that it was 41-24 at the midway point on the third.

“We had some lapses in our transition defense but give all the credit to [Mansfield], they run their lanes so hard and so good at looking up,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Add in a couple of lapses defensively and some threes by [Lasbury-Casey]. Hats off to them, we held on for a bit but not enough. It didn’t look good on the scoreboard but I was really proud of the way we played hard and battled.”

Derek Maceda snapped the scoring drought for the Rocketeers but Mansfield answered on a putback from Hyland, who was fouled and added the free throw. Hyland added two more, Mansfield got a stop, and James added the Hornets’ fourth three of the frame. Lasbury-Casey hit another triple in the final seconds to cap an incredible quarter as Mansfield turned an eight-point lead into a 54-28 advantage going into the final quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“They are disciplined in whatever it is they do,” Mulkerrins said of defending the Hornets for four quarters. “At the end of the day, especially high school athletes, the group that is more disciplined in what they do is more often than not going to find success. You have to defend an away screen and then a second cut, and then do it again, and then do it again. Doesn’t matter if they run a flex or some ball screen offense, knowing how well coach Vaughan prepares those kids, they’re going to run it again and again.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Hyland put the game away with nine points in the final quarter and Veiking had five more.

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield boys basketball (3-0 Hockomock, 4-0 overall) is on the road again for its annual New Year’s Eve day clash at Bridgewater-Raynham at 4:00. North Attleboro (0-3, 0-4) is off until the new year when it travels to Foxboro on January 7th.

Hornets Clinch Division Title, Celebrate Boen’s Milestone

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen
Mansfield senior Matt Boen goes up for a layup in the second half against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Mansfield boys basketball team had plenty to celebrate on Monday night after clinching at least a share of the program’s ninth straight Kelley-Rex division title while senior Matt Boen scored his 1,000th career point in the process.

But neither accomplishment came very easily.

After suffering their first loss of the season to Taunton on Sunday afternoon, the Hornets found themselves in close to a must-win situation against the Tigers if they wanted to extend their impressive reign atop the Hockomock League.

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And after Boen dropped 31 points on Sunday, the senior guard attracted plenty of attention from the Taunton defense. That defense coupled with the pressure and nerves of nearing the milestone resulted in just two points through three quarters of play.

But all’s well that ends well as the Hornets put the game to bed with a dominant fourth quarter, limiting the visitors to just three total points over the first six minutes of the final frame to pull away. Boen got going as well, and the Tigers did their part in making sure the senior guard reached the milestone in front of family and friends by intentionally fouling twice in the final minute.

Boen got a kind roll off the front of the rim on a free throw with 15.2 seconds to go to hit the millennium mark, the final touch to a 68-53 win for the Hornets.

“I talked to Coach Vaughan and told him that the first thing I wanted to do was cut down the nets [for a league title] and then focus on getting my name on the banner,” Boen said. “To get them both done on the same night is even better.”










Boen finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore Chris Hill (18 points), junior Matt Hyland (15 points), and senior Brendan Foley (14 points) each recorded career-highs in scoring.

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen

“When’s the last time we won one without a Boen, that’s the big question,” asked Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. Michael Boen was apart of three straight from 2013-2015 while Max Boen won three as well (2015-2017). Matt has been apart of the past four teams that have raised a banner.

“Taunton played great last night, they gave us everything we could handle,” Vaughan continued. “Tonight I thought we did a much better job rebounding the ball which I think was the difference in the game. We made some plays when we needed to. Matty was off a little bit with the pressure but he was able to find other ways to help us.”


Mansfield came out with more zest in this contest compared to just over 24 hours before when Taunton dictated play with its energy. Even though Taunton held a slim lead at the end of the first quarter (13-12) and used a late bucket to tie things at halftime (29-29), it never felt like the Tigers had real control of the game.

The Hornets threatened to pull away in the third, getting key contributions from the rest of the roster as Boen tried to find his rhythm. Foley (six rebounds) had five points, including a three, and Hill (six rebounds) was responsible for four more as Mansfield rattled off a 9-0 run for a 42-33 lead.

Taunton did its best to hang around with senior Tyler Stewart (9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) fighting through a double team for two only for Hyland (five rebounds, five assists) to answer with a three-point play on the other end. Ryan Sullivan (15 points, six rebounds) drained a three and Josh Lopes dropped in a floater to get the Tigers back within five at the end of the third, 45-40, but that would be as close as the visitors would get the rest of the way.




“It was everything, we were a half step slow tonight,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “We won the 50-50s yesterday and they won the 50-50s today. It just started mounting up, our kids were dead tired. But you have to play through it, they are no less tired than [Mansfield], they played the same game yesterday. We just got too deflated too early. Things weren’t going our way and you could see it in their body language. Our outside shots weren’t falling and then Tyler’s in foul trouble…it just snowballed.

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen

“Last night it was Boen, Boen, Boen, and tonight the other guys stepped up. They have their ball movement and all of a sudden it’s flying around and we’re late on a close-out or behind on a cut, two points here, two points there.”

Foley opened the fourth with back-to-back confident, strong takes to the rim and Boen picked up just his second field goal of the game to push the lead to two possessions. Boen hit two from the line before Taunton finally snapped the scoreless drought, Stewart alertly finding Faisal Mass (16 points, nine rebounds) for two down low. But the Tigers couldn’t get a stop as Foley once again found success driving to the rim.

Stewart added one from the line but Jack Colby responded with a nice take and, after an offensive foul took gave Stewart his fifth foul, Foley came down with a dagger three to make it 60-43 with just under two minutes to go.

“Just the commitment the guys make year in and year out, we never rebuild we just keep reloading with new guys and new faces,” Vaughan said. “What about Jack’s play the last couple of weeks? What about Foley’s play today, it was tremendous. Chris Hill is no longer a sophomore after today’s game, he really came out and battled and played really well. We told him in our film session we needed him to be better and that’s a lot of pressure for a sophomore but he stepped up to the plate. Matty Hyland’s been super consistent all year, he had some big baskets tonight. I couldn’t be prouder of the guys.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets wasted little time getting Hill going in the first quarter as he took a shot on four of Mansfield’s first six possessions with seven points. Meanwhile, Taunton had five players get on the scoring sheet in the opening eight minutes with Mass hitting a corner three late to give the visitors a 13-12 lead.

Hyland and Hill had early triples for the Hornets and then scored back-to-back at the rim to keep the Hornets ahead. Santos answered with three and Lopes attacked the basket for two but Brian See drained a key three and Hyland took a charge to get the Hornets the ball back. Hyland scored on the other end but five straight from the Tigers — two from the line from Santos and a traditional three-point play by Mass — brought the visitors level by halftime.

Mansfield (9-1 Kelley-Rex, 13-1 overall) will host Lowell Catholic on Wednesday night at 6:30. Taunton (6-1, 6-1) will try to bounce back when it travels to Attleboro on Wednesday at 12:00.

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen

Taunton Rides Strong Start, Finish Past Mansfield

Taunton boys basketball Josh Lopes
Taunton senior Josh Lopes goes up for a layup in the second half against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 TAUNTON, Mass. – Having to play Mansfield, the standard-bearer of the Hockomock League over the past decade, is a big challenge in and of itself.

And on top of that, the Taunton boys basketball team had just one practice to prepare following a one-week layoff.

The Tigers overcame both obstacles, alleviating any fears of rust with a strong start that set the tone for the rest of the way in a 72-66 win over the visiting Hornets.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The win marked Taunton’s first win over Mansfield since January 2016, snapping a 10-game skid.

“I was really afraid of the rust factor, I was exactly afraid of a slow start,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.

But Dacey’s fears were quickly erased as the Tigers opened the game with their best offensive quarter of the game (21 points) to establish a lead that they only relinquished once, and briefly, in the third quarter.

“Shaking [any rust] right away was huge, they didn’t lose any confidence,” Dacey said after his side his half of their 16 shots from the field in the first eight minutes. “Having an experienced group helps with that. We’re running some stuff but [Mansfield] knows it, they’re taking away what we have so we’re adjusting on the fly. The kids did some self-adjusting on the floor which is real important.”

Taunton extended its lead to 38-29 by halftime but Mansfield came out with a renewed energy to start the second half and slowly chipped away at the lead. A big three from sophomore Chris Hill (13 points, 5 rebounds) finally made a real dent in Taunton’s lead, and then Matt Boen (31 points) and Hill scored back-to-back to make it a three-point game, down 47-44.










“I think a lot of it when there were some 50-50 balls, Taunton wanted it a little bit more,” offered Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I bet when the stats come out, they probably won more 50-50 balls by a two-to-one margin. We talked at halftime if you don’t win those battles against a good quality basketball team, 90% of the time you lose and this was 90% of the time. Game for game, the stat lines look good. We did some good things, they did some good things, we both hit shots. It was really two high-quality teams that were well prepared.

“We thought in the third quarter and early in the fourth, they might be running out of gas a little bit but they found extra energy and made some plays down the stretch and took care of business.”

Hill had a strong take to his left for two with just under two minutes to go in the third and the Hornets grabbed their first lead of the game when Boen hit one of his four threes for a 49-47 lead. It was a momentum swing that has forced many Hockomock foes to fold in the past, but Taunton was able to recover before the end of the quarter.

The Tigers broke the press and junior Trent Santos (22 points, seven assists, six rebounds) found Nigel Choate wide open with a nice pass underneath for two to tie it back up. Tyler Stewart (12 points, 22 rebounds, 5 blocks) converted down low and Josh Lopes (13 points, 4 assists) added two more as Taunton took a 53-52 lead into the final quarter.

“They maintain their confidence in those moments and they have a good chemistry together,” Dacey said. “They believe in each other and trust each other and that’s really important in high school basketball.




The teams took turns landing jabs in the final quarter, each time Taunton scored to extend its lead, the Hornets had an answer to keep it close. Stewart added two from the line and junior Tristan Herry (eight points, six assists, two steals) hit a three late in the shot clock only for Mansfield senior Brendan Foley to answer with back-to-back strong takes to the rim.

“Stewart has a major impact inside, whether it’s a post touch, an offensive rebound, keeping a ball alive, or just the amount of energy we have to focus on him leaves some other guys open,” Vaughan said. “I’ve said it in the past about our teams, when you get a fourth or fifth guy stepping up making some critical play in a huge game, that sometimes separates you.

“[Herry] hitting the three at the top…we doubled the post, we did everything we wanted, we rotated off what we mark as not their top shooter and he hits a three. When you get stuff like that…Taunton is a very talented deep team with a lot of pieces that can cause matchup problems all over the place.”

Santos took advantage of a steal and scored in transition, and after a Mansfield miss, Herry linked up with Santos for a big three. Herry then found Faisal Mass (13 points, eight rebounds) in good position down low for two and the Tigers had a 65-57 lead at the halfway point of the final quarter.

Jack Colby (11 points, five rebounds) answered with two from the line for the Hornets and Foley came up with a steal and assist, finding Boen for two in transition to cut it back to for. After a Taunton miss, Boen sank a pull up jumper and it was back to a two-point game.

Santos floated a perfectly weighted entry pass to Stewart down low for an easy two. With time ticking away, the Hornets elected to foul Mass to send him to the line for one-and-one. Mass hit the first to push the lead to 68-63 with 1:16 to play.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Unsurprisingly, the Hornets once again had an answer as Boen took a handoff from Colby and drained an off-balance three to make it 68-66. Mansfield continued to press but the hosts passed through it, Herry finding Santos at half court who skipped a pass to Mass for a layup.

Taunton got a stop on a missed three but Mansfield appeared to have the offensive rebound. Instead of getting a second look, Herry came swooping in and knocked the ball free to get Taunton the ball back. Three passes later, Santos had an open layup to make it 72-66 with 20 seconds to go.

The teams won’t have to wait long to renew acquaintances as Taunton boys basketball (6-0 Kelley-Rex, 6-0 overall) travels to Mansfield (8-1, 12-1) on Monday at 6:15.

Mansfield Rides Second Half Rally Past Franklin

Mansfield boys basketball Jack Colby
Mansfield senior Jack Colby is defended by Franklin’s Jake O’Brien in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 MANSFIELD, Mass. – For nearly three quarters, the Franklin boys basketball was following its gameplay to near perfection.

The Panthers were sharing the ball on offense, cutting to the basket, and hitting open looks from outside. And the defense was on point too, keeping the Hockomock League’s leading scorer Matt Boen in check for over 20 minutes.

But as the visitors learned the hard way, anything short of a full 32-minute performance isn’t enough to beat the Hornets.

Mansfield boys basketball

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Franklin’s double-digit second half lead evaporated, shrinking over the final minutes of the third quarter and disappearing by the midway point of the fourth. Instead, it was Mansfield who walked away with a double-digit victory, 60-50, behind a big second half turnaround.

There wasn’t much separating the teams throughout the first half but a pair of late threes had the Panthers up 32-24 at the halftime break. Franklin added two more from downtown range in the opening minutes of the third and suddenly, what was once a back-and-forth game that featured lead change after lead change, was looking like a runaway win for the Panthers up 42-27 at the midway point of the third.

“I just thought we had to exert ourselves a little bit on both ends of the court,” offered Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan.

It started with defense as the Hornets held the visitors without points for nearly five minutes. In fact, Mansfield allowed just two points over the final five minutes of the third quarter. And with stops on the defensive end came some confidence on the offensive end.










Boen got the offense going with a floater from the baseline and senior Brendan Foley had an easy layup after a nice back cut. After two more free throws from Boen, junior Matt Hyland (14 points, five rebounds) hit a big three and junior Chris Hill had a nice take to the rim.

Boen capped Mansfield’s 13-2 run by hitting both of his chances from the free throw line and just like that, the deficit was just four, 44-40, going into the fourth. Mansfield went 19-of-25 from the line while Franklin was 4-of-6.

Mansfield boys basketball

“It helped they missed some shots that they didn’t miss in the first half,” Vaughan added. “They shot the ball really well, they did some things to put ourselves in some bad situations. Historically I like to give Franklin credit for their defense but [on offense] they put us in some situations that don’t normally get put in with their cutting and their movement, they were really committed to it. And I don’t think it was a lack of effort as much as really good design by them. And they hit shots to follow it.”

Franklins seemed to shake off the Hornets’ run when senior Andrew Byfield scored down low and freshman Henry Digiorgio had a big steal that ended up with a free throw. But by this point, Mansfield was in a rhythm as Jack Colby (12 points, nine rebounds) hit two free throws after a big defensive board and Boen tied the game with five minutes to go with a triple.

Mansfield got a stop and Boen, who was limited to just five points on 3-of-3 shooting in the first half, drained another triple to put the hosts ahead. Byfield answered with a putback on one end but Colby corralled an offensive rebound on the other end, completing a traditional three-point play after being fouled on the putback.

“We have to be consistent throughout the game,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Everything we did to get that lead went out the window when they started to make that run. Honestly, I didn’t think we handled it well mentally…we started doing things that were out of character, different from what we were doing in the first half…the ball movement, the patience, the sharing the basketball, following the scout defensively…instead we started to press a little bit trying to make plays instead of letting it come to us. We had a very specific plan defensively and I thought we got away from that and they got free.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Franklin shot 46% from the field (11-of-24) in the first half but managed just seven makes (7-of-28) in the second half, including just 2-of-12 from three-point range.

Another Franklin miss allowed Mansfield to get out and run and Boen attacked the rim for two, and following a Franklin turnover, it was two more points for the senior guard for a 57-50 lead with just over two minutes to go.

“I thought we tried to make up their entire run on one possession,” Neely said. “We knew they’d make some plays but instead of buckling down when it happened, it seemed like we started to panic a bit and take shots that were uncharacteristic to what was giving us success. You can’t allow that to happen against Mansfield, they’re a great team, they are disciplined and they aren’t going away.”

An off-ball offensive foul gave the Hornets the ball back and Hyland made the most of a second chance opportunity, darting to the basket for two to ice the win.




“Once we figured their pace on offense to at least slow them down some, they missed a couple shots, and we were able to go down and score a couple in a row,” Vaughan said, “We found some rhythm and it felt like they got a little tight. As they say, you’d rather be playing well in the fourth than the first.”

Franklin’s best offensive quarter was the second with five of their six makes from the field coming from three-point range. Sean Vinson hit the first one, Jake O’Brien (14 points) hit three in a three minute span, and freshman Henry Digiorgio had another. Declan Walmsley (11 points, nine rebounds) added two three-pointers in the game while Alex Newman had one as the Panthers finished with 10 makes from downtown.

Mansfield boys basketball

Boen ended up with 12 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. With Franklin paying extra attention to the senior guard, and with Hornet senior forward TJ Guy out with an injury, Mansfield needed other players to step up. Both Hyland and Colby answered the call.

Both players scored five points in the opening quarter to help the Hornets keep pace with the visitors, who hit three trifectas in the opening eight minutes. Digiorgio (10 points) hit two of those to help the Panthers build a 15-14 lead after one quarter.

Hyland continued to attack the basket in the second quarter while Franklin’s defense continued to limit Boen’s touches. In the second half, Colby made a lot of hustle players, including a team-high four offensive rebounds, to help spark the comeback.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Hyland and Jack stepped up and had some big plays for us,” Vaughan said. “And granted, [Boen] hit some shots too which built our confidence. When he scores, the level of pressure for the other guys goes down. They have some room to make a mistake because they know he’s going to find a way to make a basket. Then all of a sudden, they’re making baskets too and that inflates the confidence. Both Hyland and Jack came up with big plays right when we needed them to.

“I talked to Jack earlier this season about how we needed him to be a competitor, not just someone who sits in the corner and shoots threes. We need a mixture of both and he’s really taken that to heart. If he just sits in the corner and shoots, I can sub someone else in for that. If he’s grabbing rebounds, plays defense, contests defense, I can’t replace him. He becomes one of the guys I have to leave on the floor for most of the game. And Jack, out of all kids on this team, has made an unbelievable commitment to the game and now you’re seeing the fruits of his labor, it’s paying off. Now we need to see him committed to that style of play each game.”

This will be the quickest turnaround between games for the two rivals as Mansfield (6-0 overall, 5-0 Kelley-Rex) travel to Franklin (4-3, 4-3) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

Mansfield boys basketball