NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. — It’s been quite a 10-day stretch for North Attleboro, qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2011 last week and winning their first Hockomock championship since 2001 on Friday night.
But the Rocketeers had no problem getting motivated for Sunday night’s contest with the visiting Milford Scarlet Hawks.
All they had to do was look back three weeks when the Hawks went coast-to-coast to beat the Rocketeers on a buzzer beater at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Or two seasons ago, when a pair of free throws with no time left turned a one-point advantage into a one-point loss.
In fact, North Attleboro’s senior class was winless against the Hawks heading into the final Hockomock League game of the season.
Hosting Milford for the first time in four years, the Rocketeers closed out the fourth quarter in true championship fashion, outscoring the Scarlet Hawks 20-1 over the final six minutes of play to turn a close game into a 66-45 win.
“We just clinched playoffs, we just won the league championship but we didn’t need any extra motivation for this one,” said North Attleboro senior Thomas Reynolds, who was on the court for both of Milford’s last second wins. “You just have to look back at the last couple of years. Losing on the free throw, losing at the Dunk twice, we had never beat them. It was definitely nice to come in here to get the last league win.”
“It’s a satisfying win for the kids, especially for the seniors,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins, who also picked up his first win over Milford. “For the past four years, Milford has been our boogeyman, we just couldn’t beat them. Hopefully this is just one in a string of games that we’re in here that could potentially get us a home game in the playoffs.
North Attleboro’s strategy to feed big man Jonny Friberg paid off in two ways – the 6’6 senior poured in a career-high 28 points while hauling in 11 rebounds and the pounding inside resulted in some fouls for the Hawks.
Milford was whistled for eight fouls in the third quarter — four of them on Hawks leading rebounder Kayden Kelley (five points, six rebounds).
The Rocketeers started their big run taking advantage of Kelley’s absence with Chad Peterson (eight points, six rebounds, five assists) finishing a put back, Reynolds (nine points, two rebounds) hitting a free throw and then Peterson draining a three off of an offensive rebound.
Brent Doherty (14 points, four rebounds, four assists) found Friberg in the post for two to extend North Attleboro’s lead to 55-44 with four minutes to play. After a pair of stops from the Rocketeers’ defense, Reynolds drained a three off a pass from Peterson to make it 57-44 with 2:31 to play.
“It’s just about confidence,” Reynolds said about being able to close out games better. “We’ve figured out how to win games, close out games. We’re all confident in each other, it doesn’t matter who takes the big shot. We all just want to make sure we get a great shot over a good shot.”
Doherty added a layup and Reynolds added two more free throws to push the run to 15-0 over a five minute span. It marked the second straight game that North Attleboro kept its opponent for five minutes in the final quarter.
Milford shot 0/6 and had five turnovers in the stretch.
“When guys are thinking about defense first and you play good defense, you don’t have to think too much about the offense,” Mulkerrins said. “You look at that 20-1 run down the stretch and a lot of people look at the 20 but I look at the one. If you want to beat teams like Milford and Foxboro, the one is much more important to us.”
North Attleboro had a near flawless start to the game, finding Friberg early and often. The senior scored 11 of the team’s first 14 points while Doherty added five and Peterson had a trifecta. North shot 8/11 from the field while forcing four turnovers.
But Milford responded with an even better second quarter to take the lead into halftime. After North scored the opening bucket of the quarter, the Hawks went on a wild 18-0 run to seize a five point advantage. Zack Tamagni (14 points, four assists) bookended the run with a pair of layups while both Nate Davila (nine points) and Shane Cosquete (nine points, five rebounds) hit a pair of three pointers in the stretch.
The Rocketeers closed the deficit some in the final two minutes of the half, with Doherty finding space for a layup and Friberg grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring right before the buzzer. Milford led 28-25 at half.
Big Red carried that momentum into the third quarter and used a 12-0 run to take the lead back. Reynolds started the run with a three, Friberg added two free throws and a bucket in the paint and Doherty hit a three and converted a put back in the stretch.
“We knew it’d be a game of runs,” Mulkerrins said. “We knew they’d punch back. I thought Milford did an excellent job in the second quarter of executing their game plan and moving the ball and getting the pace that works for them. I was proud of how we finished the second quarter and then we started the second half on a much better run. I’m real proud of the guys for counter punching.”
North Attleboro finished with 19 assists on 23 made field goals and won the rebounding battle 30-27.
“This group has really bought into the concept of team over individual,” Mulkerrins said. “We’re always striving to get a great shot instead of a good shot. To their credit, they continued to share the ball and gave up individual opportunities for the greater good of the team.”
“This has been surreal,” Reynolds said.”To go 0-20 my freshman year and see how far we’ve progressed, it’s just an unreal feeling. I couldn’t be prouder to be teammates with these guys.”
North Attleboro boys basketball (13-7 overall, 10-6 Hockomock) is back in action on Monday when they travel to take on rival Attleboro in a non-league contest at 6:00. Milford (9-10, 7-9) is also back in action on Monday when it hosts Medway. The Scarlet Hawks need a win to get into the state tournament.
The Warriors weren’t going to share the Hockomock League Championship title with anyone.
For the second straight year, King Philip took home first place at the league meet held at Milford High School, pulling away from Canton, Milford, Franklin and Taunton down the stretch. The Warriors had a total of 279 points.
“It was an exciting meet to come into,” said first-year KP head coach Jack Pettine. “We were looking to do the best we could today. Throughout the season we had a lot of great competition to prepare us for today.”
King Philip won the first event of the day (200 medley relay) and it turned out to be the only first place finish the Warriors. In the final 10 events, the Warriors relied on their depth with a swimming finishing in fourth or better in eight of them. The only two events KP didn’t have a placement in the top six were the 100 yard free and the 200 free relay.
“We had some really strong showings from guys all throughout the team,” Pettine said. “After our guys who came in first, the guys who came in second, those little points really add up at the end to get us in first place.”
The team of sophomore Colby Vieira, senior Jack Poppenberger, senior Andy Sprague and sophomore Tyler Stringfellow got the Warriors off to a strong start, clocking in at 1:46.96 to win the 200 medley relay, edging Franklin, Milford and Franklin by a second or less.
That foursome went on to pace King Philip the rest of the way.
Vieira took fourth in the 200 IM (2:07.78) and third in the 100 backstroke (57.74), Poppenberger took third in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.04) and was apart of the 200 free relay that placed seventh, Sprague had a pair of third place finishes, first in the 50 free (23.35) and then in the 100 fly (55.12) and Stringfellow took second in both the 200 free (1:50.30) and 500 free (4:53.69).
Sprague, Vieira and Stringfellow, along with Dean Whyte, took second in the 400 free relay (3:28.06) to finish the meet.
KP also got strong performances from freshman John Dionis (eighth in the 200 free), Dean Whyte (eighth in 200 IM and fifth in the 100 backstroke) and Tate Duffy (fourth in 500 free and eighth in 100 breaststroke). All three were also apart of the 200 free relay that took seventh.
“Dean Whyte came in with some really good placing, Andy Sprague and John Dionis picked up some big points, Kyle Loud helped out too,” Pettine said. “Pretty much everyone on the team, top to bottom, came through in the clutch and that was exciting. It was all-team effort which is great.
“And I could not have done this season without my assistant coach Danielle Hopkins. She kept me going through it all. She worked great with the kids, she was one of our biggest strengths all season long.”
Fresh off a Davenport division dual meet title, Canton carried its momentum in to grab second place with 256 points.
The Bulldogs followed the lead of senior Sebastian Melendez (four time winner) and capitalized on strong showings in the freestyle events to get second place.
Melendez took first in both the 200 free (1:45.54) and the 500 free (4:46.23) – touching the wall at least five seconds ahead of second place in both events. Melendez also anchored the 400 free relay to a thrilling comeback in the final event of the meet and was also apart of the 200 free relay that took first.
Melendez was joined by seniors Owen Guerini and Sean Mitchell as well as freshman Adrian Bankowski in both relay wins.
“Those were big points there are the end, that really elevated us at the end,” said Canton coach Cheryl Cavanaugh. “Our relays were awesome. All of the kids had personal bests, some of the kids were even knocking as much as five and six seconds off of their time. It was an incredible day for us.
“All of the kids in the middle really improved today and knocked a lot of time off.”
Guerini, Mitchell and Bankowski made their mark throughout the meet as well. Mitchell picked up points with a second place in the 50 free (22.99) and touched in fourth in the 100 breaststroke, Guerini was fifth in the 50 free (23.39) and finished sixth overall in the 100 free and Bankowski, in his first league championship meet, was seventh overall in the 50 free (23.88) and came in sixth in the 500 free (5:32.55)
Diego Ferstler also record points for the Bulldogs, placing ninth in the 50 free, 11th in the 100 free and taking 10th in the 200 medley relay along with Chris Milne, Matthew Gilmore and Justin Diep. Mile also took 11th in the 100 breaststroke and Gilmore and Deep took sixth and 12th, respectively, in the 100 fly.
“We were right in the thick of things for a while and we were shocked to be in first at times and be with the big schools,” Cavanaugh said. “We came in just looking for personal bests and trying to get as many medals as we could. It was great for the kids to hear we were in contention for first place.”
Milford rounded out the top three, finishing with 251 points. Senior Nick Antonellis followed up an impressive performance at last year’s meet with another strong showing on Friday night.
“We were right in the thick of it the entire day,” said Milford head coach Dave Chaplin. “I’ve got to give total credit to our staff, they really prepared the kids for a great performance today. I don’t think we had a kid dive in the pool and not swim their best. Every sectional and state qualifying time we were looking to accomplish, we did that in spades. Just a fantastic effort, it was a great performance.”
Antonellis claimed first place in both the 200 IM (1:59.15) and the 100 fly (53.96) and helped two relay teams to top five finishes.
Antonellis teamed with Daniel Pacella, Chris Watson and Marcello Panno to clock in at 1:47.65 in the 200 medley relay – good enough for third place. That same foursome teamed together for the 400 free relay and finished in 3:35.26, taking fourth place.
Watson surged to a first place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
Panno also placed in the 50 free (sixth, 23.65) and the 100 free (fifth, 52.71). Scarlet Hawk freshman Gillieson Hobert took seven in the 100 backstroke (1:04.77) and 11th in the 50 free (25.25) and teamed with Pacella, Michael Khoury and Gianni Panno for a fourth place finish in the 200 free relay.
Franklin senior Connor Bourgeois won the 50 free (22.51), Oliver Ames sophomore Kyle Gray touched first in a very close 100 free race, coming in at 51.20 – 0.02 seconds ahead of Sharon’s Jason Hertz. North Attleboro’s Nick Haddad claimed first in the 100 backstroke (55.09).
King Philip’s Cara Angelo and Oliver Ames’ Cam Bourne won the diving championships at the beginning of the meet.
1. King Philip – 279
2. Canton – 256
3. Milford – 251
4. Franklin – 249.50
5. Taunton – 238
6. Oliver Ames – 210.50
7. Attleboro – 149
8. Mansfield – 138
9. North Attleboro – 133
10. Sharon – 129
11. Foxboro – 31
12. Stoughton (one swimmer) – 4
200 Yard Medley Relay
1. King Philip (Colby Vieira, Jack Poppenberger, Andy Sprague, Tyler Stringfellow) – 1:46.96
2. Franklin (Jack Cashin, Roy Wang, Sumit Choudhury, Connor Bourgeois) – 1:47.41
3. Milford (Daniel Pacella, Chris Watson, Nick Antonellis, Marcello Panno) – 1:47.65
4. Taunton (Navid Darius, Matthew Heather, Caelan Schrama, Noah Moniz) – 1:47.98
5. Attleboro (Colton Parkinson, Camren Fuller, Casey Cross, Connor Dunn) – 1:50.56
6. Mansfield (Zachary Costello, Jared Gabrilowtiz, Sebastian Gwynne, Matthew Weiner) – 1:54.34
200 Yard Free
1. Sebastian Melendez, Canton – 1:45.54
2. Tyler Stringfellow, King Philip – 1:50.30
3. Andrew Abramson, Oliver Ames – 1:56.01
4. Sumit Choudhury, Franklin – 2:02.94
5. Matthew Heather, Taunton – 2:03.00
6. Gianni Panno, Milford – 2:05.40
200 Yard IM
1. Nick Antonellis, Milford – 1:59.15
2. Nick Haddad, North Attleboro – 2:04.76
3. Colton Parkinson, Attleboro – 2:04.28
4. Colby Vieira, King Philip – 2:07.78
5. Noah Moniz, Taunton – 2:07.83
6. Roy Wang, Franklin – 2:10.41
50 Yard Free
1. Connor Bourgeois, Franklin – 22.51
2. Sean Mitchell, Canton – 22.99
3. Andy Sprague, King Philip – 23.35
4. Jason Hertz, Sharon – 23.37
5. Owen Guerini, Canton – 23.39
6. Marcello Panno, Milford – 23.65
100 Yard Butterfly
1. Nick Antonellis, Milford – 53.96
2. Sebastian Gwynne, Mansfield – 54.99
3. Andy Sprague, King Philip – 55.12
4. Kyle Gray, Oliver Ames – 55.17
5. Sumit Choudhury, Franklin – 59.84
6. Matthew Gilmore, Canton – 1:00.65
100 Yard Free
1. Kyle Gray, Oliver Ames – 51.20
2. Jason Hertz, Sharon – 51.22
3. Connor Bourgeois, Franklin – 51.30
4. Caelan Schrama, Taunton – 51.65
5. Marcello Panno, Milford – 52.17
6. Owen Guerini, Canton – 53.08
500 Yard Free
1. Sebastian Melendez, Canton – 4:46.23
2. Tyler Stringfellow, King Philip – 4:53.69
3. Colton Parkinson, Attleboro – 4:54.04
4. Tate Duffy, King Philip – 5:07.26
5. Andrew Abramson, Oliver Ames – 5:07.35
6. Nicholas Lombardo, Oliver Ames – 5:14.78
200 Yard Free Relay
1. Canton (Owen Guerini, Sean Mitchell, Adrian Bankowski, Sebastian Melendez) – 1:31.65
2. Franklin (Jack Cashin, Roy Wang, Sumit Choudhury, Connor Bourgeois) – 1:35.85
3. Sharon (Alexander Lurie, Kevin Yang, Dennis Chau, Jason Hertz) – 1:38.51
4. Milford (Daniel Pacella, Michael Khoury, Gianni Panno, Gillieson Hobert) – 1:39.57
5. Oliver Ames (Anthony Carraggi, Nicholas Lombardo, Alex Buche, Kyle Gray) – 1:40.41
6. North Attleboro (Lucas Haddad, Camrin Young, Brian Hines, Nick Haddad) – 1:42.15
100 Yard Backstroke
1. Nick Haddad, North Attleboro – 55.05
2. Noah Moniz, Taunton – 57.10
3. Colby Vieira, King Philip – 57.74
4. Nicholas Lombardo, Oliver Ames – 1:00.84
5. Dean Whyte, King Philip – 1:02.22
6. Navid Darius, Taunton – 1:04.31
100 Yard Breaststroke
1. Chris Watson, Milford – 1:06.35
2. Roy Wang, Franklin – 1:06.80
3. Jack Poppenberger, King Philip – 1:07.04
4. Sean Mitchell, Canton – 1:07.30
5. Jack Cashin, Franklin – 1:07.89
6. Lucas Haddad, North Attleboro – 1:08.27
400 Yard Free Relay
1. Canton (Owen Guerini, Sean Mitchell, Adrian Bankowski, Sebastian Melendez) – 2:36.31
2. King Philip (Andy Sprague, Dean Whyte, Colby Vieira, Tyler Stringfellow) – 3:28.06
3. Taunton (Noah Moniz, Matthew Heather, Johnathan Rego, Caelan Schrama) – 3:31.89
4. Milford (Marcello Panno, Daniel Pacella, Chris Watson, Nick Antonellis) – 3:35.26
5. Oliver Ames (Nicholas Lombardo, Alex Buche, Andrew Abramson, Kyle Gray) – 3:35.39
6. Attleboro (Connor Dunn, Casey Cross, Camren Fuller, Colton Parkinson) – 3:44.91
PROVIDENCE, RI — North Attleboro erased an eight point deficit over the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, but left just enough time left on the clock for Milford senior Zack Tamagni.
After two free throws with 5.7 seconds from North Attleboro senior Brent Doherty tied the game, Tamagni took the inbound pass, broke through a pair of defenders at the three point line and then danced his way past the last defender, laying it up with his left and in off the glass as time expired to give the Scarlet Hawks a 57-55 win.
“The leaders on this team stepped up today,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We’ve talked in the last couple of weeks about guys stepping up. Nate Davila stepped up, Zack [Tamagni], Anthony [Arcudi] and Kayden [Kelley] stepped up and Zach Tammaro stepped up coming off the bench, maybe not statistically but he helped big time in the second half.”
Milford had the original comeback of the game, cutting an 11-point deficit at halftime (35-24) down to just one (41-40) entering the final quarter by outscoring the Rocketeers 16-6 in the third quarter.
The Hawks carried that momentum into the fourth quarter with Nate Davila (14 points) draining an early three to give Milford its first lead since the first quarter. North’s Jonny Friberg (nine points, 13 rebounds, six assists) responded right away to tie the game at 43, but Milford would create separation with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes.
“Everyone will talk about the shot at the end but Milford got themselves back into the game in the third quarter,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “I thought we had some decent shots in the third quarter but we just couldn’t get any rhythm. I thought when the scoreboard got a little tight, we played a little tight. When we’re loose, we play our best basketball. I’m proud of the guys because they fought back but its just tough losing on a play like that. I have to do a better job coaching in those late game situations.”
Tamagni (17 points, four assists) hit two free throws, Ryan Sullivan (10 points, five rebounds) hit one and then three possessions later, Arcudi converted a putback with four minutes to play. Kayden Kelley (12 points, 13 rebounds) came up with a block on the defensive end and then converted a three-point play to put Milford up 51-43 with just over three minutes to play.
That’s when North Attleboro took its turn crafting a comeback. It started with a strong take from Thomas Reynolds (10 points, three boards, two assists) off a feed from Friberg and then was cut to five when Reynolds hit a free throw.
The Rocketeers then forced a turnover, resulting in Reynolds finding Doherty (game-high 18 points) for a three to bring North within two.
Tamagni (38 seconds left) and Friberg (22 seconds left) then each hit a pair of free throws to keep Milford’s two point lead. Tamagni then hit two more but Hacmoni Cuevas converted a putback, plus the harm, to get within two. North corralled the missed three throw and Doherty was fouled with 5.7 seconds left, converting both at the line to tie the game before Tamagni’s heroics.
“We told him to go to the hoop,” Seaver said of the last play. “It was something we tried to do on Friday to tie the game and things didn’t go our way. We were able to get it today.
“Coming out of halftime, they needed to go and earn the victory if they wanted it, and the kids did that so credit to them.”
North Attleboro came out on fire to start the game, going 7/12 from the field in the first quarter to build a 19-13 lead. Milford was efficient as well, going 5/7 and a perfect 3/3 from deep but had seven turnovers.
“They came out like we did here last year,” Seaver said. “We were on the other side of it this time, it is what it is. We just trusted our defense and in the end, I guess we got one more stop, or just made one more play at the end.
“They were hitting shots early. They had 19 points in the first quarter, we couldn’t guard anyone. We trusted our defense, we didn’t really make an adjustment. We stayed with the zone in the second half and it paid off just enough to get that little separation.”
The Rocketeers’ offense continued its strong start by going 6/9 from the field in the second. At halftime, North Attleboro was 6/10 from deep. But in the second half, Big Red managed just one three on 10 attempts.
“They did a better job on collapsing on [Friberg] in the second half, I don’t think he got many touches in the second half,” Mulkerrins said. “He got a couple of late ones. Missing Chad [Peterson], our rotation was a little screwy. Guys are playing extra minutes and in positions they aren’t always used to playing in. Some guys have to be a shooter when they usually aren’t.”
Milford takes over the top spot in the Davenport division with the win, moving to 8-6 overall and 6-4 in league play. The Scarlet Hawks will try to extended their division lead on Tuesday when Mansfield comes to town. North Attleboro (8-6 overall, 5-5 Hockomock) looks to get back into the win column when it hosts King Philip on the same night.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Coming into a game, Foxboro opponents know that they have to try and contain the Warriors leading scorer Ashley Sampson. The offense flows through the junior guard, who always seems to have the ball in her hands and can make plays in a number of different ways.
While stopping one player is hard enough, the challenge grows when the other players find the range as well. On Saturday morning at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Milford struggled to contain a Foxboro attack that was spearheaded by junior forward Grace Tamulionis, who scored a game- (and career-) high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and four steals.
Foxboro had three scorers reach double digits and eight players get on the board on Saturday to beat Milford 66-37 and pull into a first place tie with North Attleboro atop the Davenport division standings.
“We’ve been practicing a little bit more and been able to translate that into the games,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “It started on Thursday against Oliver Ames (a 51-35 win) and they’re shooting the ball with a lot more confidence. It’s not just one girl that is contributing and every day we’re getting someone new to step up.”
Foxboro came out firing in the first quarter and Sampson led the way with eight of her 16 points. Three times Sampson got to the baseline on drives to the hoop and she also knocked down a step-back jumper. Tamulionis also looked up for it from the start with four points in the first.
Milford stayed close largely thanks to Jill Burley. After Riley Collins drilled a three off a Lauren Flahive assist to push the Foxboro lead to nine, Burley, who scored seven of her 11 in the quarter, scored on a pair of drives to the hoop to cut the deficit to five despite leading scorer Kate Irwin being forced to the bench with foul trouble.
In the second, Emma Liskov came off the bench to score five of her team-high 13 points to keep Milford hanging around, but Foxboro was able to push the lead to nine by the break. Shannon Smally scored her lone basket to make it 22-15 and then Flahive and Kristen Bortolotti (from a Lily Sykes steal and assist) scored the final four points of the half.
When asked if playing in the arena setting could have impacted the way the Hawks started, Milford coach T.J. Dolliver responded, “It could’ve been, I can’t say for sure. I know for me, it’s a big environment and it’s a little intimidating, but after you get out there and run around you’re playing, you’re coaching.”
In the third quarter, Milford was held to only two made field goals (one for Liskov and the other for Christine Pye) and Foxboro’s defense continued to shut down Irwin, who was held to just one point for the game.
“Our focus was to block her out from touching the ball,” said Downs of guarding Irwin. “We kept rotating Lily and Riley, our two quickest girls, and that’s going to tire anyone out.”
Dolliver added, “It’s tough. In games like this, you need your stars, your leading scorer, to show up and unfortunately it wasn’t a good game for all of us. It’s hard for me to say the effort wasn’t there because I have a great group of girls…but we didn’t show up to play.”
On the other end, Tamulionis emerged as the go-to player for the Foxboro offense. She scored 10 points in the third, including a pair of threes, and looked confident every time she touched the ball. Sykes (12 points) extended the lead to 20 with a pair of high-arcing three-pointers of her own that closed out the third with Foxboro ahead 47-27.
“Grace has been doing some amazing things defensively and on the boards and now to have her being able to put the points on the board is just an extra bonus that’s going to get us far,” said Downs of Tamulionis’ contributions.
Sampson scored four in the fourth quarter, Sykes added six, Collins knocked down a three, and Tamulionis hit a jumper as well. Milford was struggling to slow down the Warriors, who were shooting the lights out.
“We didn’t have a game plan of trying to stop Ashley,” said Dolliver, “because they have so many; we had to stop so many. They made some really good, contested shots, pulled away, and we couldn’t do anything about it.”
Downs was asked what impact it has on the Warriors when different players provide scoring, as Tamulionis did on Saturday and Sykes did against OA (she had 19 against the Tigers). Downs replied, “It’s huge. When we have another girl that other teams aren’t really paying attention to…all the focus isn’t on Ashley. That opens up a lot more things that we can do offensively.”
Foxboro (9-2, 8-2) is now tied with North Attleboro for first in the division heading into a tough trip to Attleboro on Tuesday. Milford (8-5, 5-5) drops to .500 in the league this season and faces a trip to Kelley-Rex leader Mansfield.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Franklin had three individual champions, two second place finishes and four more grapplers finish third or fourth to win the team title at the Hockomock League Wrestling Championships at Oliver Ames on Saturday.
The Panthers registered 218.5 points, edging out North Attleboro (212.5 points) and Foxboro (200.5 points).
Franklin’s Ian Bakalars won the 113 title with a 6-2 decision, Mike Racca notched a first round pin to win the 120 title and Dylan Maclean earned the 145 title with a pin. Jordan Carlucci (106) and Brian Perry (285) had second place finishes, Evan Hernandez (182) and Kyler Colella (195) each came in third and TJ Remillard (126) and Brian Farrell (132) both placed fourth.
The Rocketeers, who have clinched at least a share of the Davenport division dual meet title, only had one winner in the tournament but once again show off its depth with three second place finishes, and nine other wrestlers finishing either third, fourth, fifth or sixth. North Attleboro’s Nick Gould was the team’s only champion, scoring an impressive 14-0 win at 152. It marks the second straight year Gould won a Hockomock title after winning the 145 title a year ago. Dan Cooper (113), Jake Direnzo (120) and Brandon Graveline (132) each placed second for Big Red.
Foxboro’s Matt Kelley was impressive in winning his third straight Hockomock League title. Kelley raced out to a quick 14-0 lead before scoring a pin to earn the Hockomock title at 132. During his sophomore year, Kelley won the 120 title and during his junior year, Kelley scored an 8-0 decision to win the 126 title. Brian Kelley was equally impressive, notching a 10-0 win in a very competitive 138 bracket to win his first Hockomock title. Matt Mullally held on for a 6-5 win to claim the Hock title at 160 – his second straight title at that weight class.
While plenty of veterans claimed titles, there were three freshmen that won Hockomock League titles in their first ever championship event. Mansfield’s Antonios Sevastos, who suffered a first round pin to Franklin’s Jordan Carlucci in a dual meet earlier this week, avenged that loss by scoring a takedown in the final 20 seconds to win the 106 crown. Teammate and classmate Vinnie Holmes continued his stellar freshman campaign, rolling through the bracket and picking up a 14-2 win in the finals. Canton’s Eddie Marinilli made his mark as well, winning four matches on the day, including an 11-2 decision in the 126 final match.
Oliver Ames was fifth on the day, the top finishing team without a champion. Sophomore Anthony Berksza was second at 145 and sophomore Dean Pacini made a run to the finals before falling to Milford’s Ryan Gray (7-1) at 195.
1. Franklin – 218.5
2. North Attleboro – 212.5
3. Foxboro – 200.5
4. Oliver Ames – 128
5. King Philip – 119
6. Canton – 115.5
7. Sharon – 108.5
8. Mansfield – 107
9. Stoughton – 106
10. Milford – 79
11. Taunton – 48
|106||Jordan Carlucci (Franklin) vs. Antonios Secastos (Mansfield)||Sevastos (2-0)|
|113||Ian Bakalars (Franklin) vs. Dan Cooper (North Attleboro)||Bakalars (6-2)|
|120||Jake Direnzo (North Attleboro) vs. Mike Racca (Franklin)||Racca (pin)|
|126||Eddie Marinilli (Canton) vs. Yosef Ellis-Rech (Sharon)||Marinilli (11-2)|
|132||Matt Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Brandon Graveline (North Attleboro)||Kelley (pin)|
|138||Brian Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Brett Kimball (Milford)||Kelley (10-0)|
|145||Anthony Berksza (Oliver Ames) vs. Dylan Maclean (Franklin)||Maclean (pin)|
|152||Nick Gould (North Attleboro) vs. Max Dorman (Foxboro)||Gould (14-0)|
|160||Matt Mullally (Foxboro) vs. Cameron Smith (King Philip)||Mullally (6-5)|
|170||Wilhelm Bolt (Sharon) vs. Vinnie Holmes (Mansfield)||Holmes (14-2)|
|182||Nuno Camara (Taunton) vs. Nick DeGloria (King Philip)||DeGloria (9-4)|
|195||Ryan Gray (Milford) vs. Dean Pacini (Oliver Ames)||Gray (7-1)|
|220||Andrew Iverson (Stoughton) vs. Bradley Oliverio (King Philip)||Oliverio (3-1)|
|285||Lino Azul (Stoughton) vs. Brian Perry (Franklin)||Azul (14-5)|
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro was trailing by a point as the clock wound down under 90 seconds remaining in Tuesday’s game at the Kenneth Pickering Gym. The Rocketeers needed someone to make a play to avoid the upset against an upstart Milford team that was trying to tie North for the Davenport division lead.
Senior Ashley Ahern picked the pocket of Jill Burley, her fifth steal of the game, and raced the length of the court for a layup to give North a 46-45 lead. It turned out to be the game-winning basket, as the Rocketeers locked down on defense and Ahern sealed the 51-45 victory by knocking down 5-of-6 free throws.
It was an impressive come from behind win for the hosts, who trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, but also an indication of how far Milford has come in head coach T.J. Dolliver’s second season that the Hawks had the division leaders on the ropes.
“They did,” replied North coach Derek Herber about Milford having the Rocketeers on the edge. “We’ve seen enough of them…I told my girls that they’re scrappy like us and they can shoot a little bit, so we’ve got to be ready to play. They came out right away and did exactly that.
“They’ve come a long way and credit to T.J., he’s put a team together over there and they’re going to be a problem throughout the season.”
The opening quarter was an indication of the confidence that the Hawks are playing with this season. In an end-to-end period that resembled a track meet as much as a basketball game, the Hawks got points from six different players and scored 19 points.
Christine Pye (eight points) knocked down a pair of long jumpers and Burley scored four of her eight points on a pair of runners in the lane. Nicole Dahlgren (12 points, eight rebounds, five assists) scored on an offensive rebound plus the foul then assisted on a three-pointer by Juliana Tracy.
North kept it close in the opening quarter with a strong offensive attack of its own. Ahern scored four of her game-high 16 points and sophomore Julia Feid added six of her seven points in the first.
The pace continued in the second quarter, but the scoring slowed down. The teams scored six points apiece and headed into halftime with the Hawks ahead 25-21.
In the third quarter, Milford came out strong and took a double digit lead. Kate Irwin flipped a pass over the defense to Dahlgren for a layup then Gillian Valanzola used a pump fake to get past Caroline Collard in the post for a basket. After Dahlgren scored on one of Burley’s six assists, she then managed to keep a play alive while falling to set up Irwin (six points) for a three.
North trailed 36-26 and Herber called timeout.
“We’ve got to execute better on offense,” Herber told his team. “We have a height advantage, so lets try to get the ball to Collard and if we get the shots off that look that’s what we need to do. We were able to put some pressure on their guards and get in their face a little bit.”
Feid snagged a rebound of a missed free throw and fed it to Collard for a layup to get North started. Collard then scored a layup in transition off an Ahern assist and another off of a Feid inbound pass to get the Rocketeers back within three. Collard scored 10 of her game-high 16 in the quarter.
North regained the lead before the end of the third on back-to-back steals and transition baskets by Ahern. Dolliver was left rueing the missed opportunity to put North away.
“We just turned the ball over too much and it was just…careless,” he said. “They played good defense on it, but they were passes that we could avoid. We definitely have to take care of the ball a little more and that was the difference.”
North extended the run to 13 straight points with a pair of free throws and then Samantha Taggart answered a Dahlgren jumper with a three-pointer that made it 42-38. Pye scored on a layup to cut the lead in half, but Liz Morehouse scored her only points of the night to push the lead back to four.
Pye was left open on an inbounds play for a layup and then Dahlgren buried a straightaway three-pointer that put Milford back in front by a point with time running out for North.
“I was happy to see that they bounced back,” said Dolliver of his team’s response to the North run. “I really love this group. That’s the No. 1 seed [in the division] and you had them, so it’s a good sign in that aspect but I hold them to higher standards now. They know how to take care of end-of-game situations.”
The North defense was aggressive throughout the second half with Ahern causing problems for Burley and Emily Schromm holding Irwin, who currently leads the Hockomock in scoring, to just six points. It was Ahern who made the biggest play, turning the game around for North when it needed a stop and scoring the final seven points of the game.
“They all know it too, she’s the heart of the team,” said Herber of Ahern. “They take their cue from her. If she’s up on her person and in their face then everyone else has to have the same mentality. She’s still a little banged up and she fought through it today.”
North Attleboro (9-2, 6-0) will continue a tough stretch when it hosts Foxboro on Friday in another game against a team that is one game back in the division. Milford (6-2, 4-2) will have no time to dwell on the loss, as the Hawks host Hopedale on Wednesday.