Below are the official 2018 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Michael Shannon, Mansfield
Hockomock League All Stars
Nathan Douglas, Attleboro
Colin Levis, Attleboro
Cordel Smith, Canton
Tyler Brogan, Franklin
Dylan Kehoe, Franklin
Aeden Angelone, King Philip
Michael Griffin, King Philip
Kevin Crawford, Mansfield
Jared DiLorenzo, Mansfield
Patrick Heavey, Mansfield
Nicholas Horn, Mansfield
Daniel Knight, Mansfield
Kevin McCree, Mansfield
Kalin Petrov, Mansfield
Collin Rice, Mansfield
Michael Shannon, Mansfield
Patrick Brogioli, Milford
Jack Kalil, Milford
Joseph Madden, Milford
Mario Bresko, North Attleboro
Omar Jasseh, North Attleboro
Tau Preacher, North Attleboro
Jonathan Shultz, North Attleboro
Matthew Tarantino, North Attleboro
Dylan Weir, North Attleboro
Jack MacAdam, Oliver Ames
Kalil Matier, Oliver Ames
Jason Windvogel, Oliver Ames
Christopher Gong, Sharon
Matthew McManus, Sharon
David Bell, Stoughton
Nicholas Joyce, Stoughton
David Peters, Stoughton
Jadin Bruneau, Taunton
Jacob DeAndrade, Taunton
Jahmeir Lewis, Taunton
Joe Manchester, Taunton
Owen O’Gara, Taunton
Alexander Boedeker, Attleboro
Colin Messinger, Canton
Ryan Proulx, Foxboro
Michael Hagen, Franklin
Josh Smith, King Philip
Greg Waters, Mansfield
Hugo Lopes, Milford
Sam Bullock, North Attleboro
Jack Mills, Oliver Ames
Jeffrey Thomas, Sharon
Ritchy Laguerre, Stoughton
Colin Quinlan, Taunton
BROCKTON, Mass. – For the first 16 minutes of the game, the 13th-seeded Attleboro Bombarders went punch for punch with the third-seeded Brockton Boxers.
But the second half was a different story.
The Boxers amped up their defensive pressure, leading to turnovers and transition baskets and a 71-48 win in the opening round of the D1 South tournament.
Attleboro trailed by as much as five but held a 9-8 lead at the midway point of the first, and used a late three to knot the game 15-15 at the end of one.
Sophomore Bryant Ciccio (13 points) scored six straight for Attleboro early in the second quarter, each bucket erasing a deficit to tie the game.
A banked three from junior Mason Houle gave the Bombardiers a 24-23 edge, and two free throws from senior Nate Douglas (eight points) put Big Blue back in front 26-25 at the midway point.
But late in the first half, the Boxers switched their defense up to apply a halfcourt trap. From that point, Attleboro scored just two points over the final four minutes, a bucket down low off the hands of sophomore Qualeem Charles (eight points, nine rebounds).
Although trailing 32-28 at half, the Bombardiers seemed to be in a good spot, shooting nearly 50% from the floor despite missing some transition layups.
“We were okay at halftime,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “I thought if we came out in the second half and played a little bit better…we did some really good things in the first half we just had to hit some transition baskets on our own side. But we really never put the pressure on them to keep it close. Their defense in the second half just swarmed us. Even our good looks didn’t seem as good.”
“I just said to Coach Houle that I thought [Attleboro] controlled the game in the first half,” said Brockton head coach Bob Boen. “We were playing at their pace, we were doing what they wanted to do. I thought we were lucky to be ahead by four the way the first half went. I just decided we couldn’t play that way any longer, we had to get out and start pressing and pressuring in the half court.
Unfortunately for Attleboro, it was the Boxers who dominated the second half.
The halfcourt trap continued to bother Attleboro, who had more turnovers (seven) than field goals made (five) in the third quarter. Brockton’s active pressure led to easy transition buckets.
“[The pressure] made the difference,” Boen said. “It really got us lively and kind of took them out of their offense. They made a couple of threes against us but not much else. We did a real nice job with it, we were active and covered up when they made good passes.”
Kevin Velazquez hit an early triple to cut the deficit to three, and Douglas drained one from deep to get the Bombardiers within six with five minutes left in the third. But Attleboro couldn’t find consistency in its offense due to the trap and Brockton rattled off eight straight points over the next two and a half minutes.
“We did some good things early in the game obviously,” Houle said. “Even in the first half we had some opportunities to get them out of the 1-3-1 but we missed some shots and missed on some inside outs. We had a couple of chances in transition to really kind of force them into some different things. I thought if we got a couple of baskets against the 1-3-1 early on they might not have stayed in it, it definitely gave us fits there.”
Charles snapped the run with a putback of his own miss to get it back to 10, but Brockton created plenty of separation with a 9-3 run to finish the quarter, taking a 57-41 lead into the final quarter.
“They are long, they are quick and they got into the passing lanes, and we didn’t come to the ball,” Houle said. “When we did have opportunities to make plays, we didn’t play with as much confidence in the second half. I think that’s what it came down to. We were a little less confident as the game went on.”
It was more of the same in the fourth for Attleboro. The Bombardiers only managed seven points in the final quarter and didn’t score until two minutes left in the game. Ciccio hit two free throws, Lorenzo Wilson scored in the paint and Jornell Abadia drained a three.
“One of the things we had to do tonight was play through contact, and we didn’t do that,” Houle said. “And they had their run outs, and we didn’t want to let them get out in transition. So two things right there hurt us, especially in the third quarter. That opened the lead a little bit.”
Attleboro boys basketball finishes the season 13-10.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Six of the last seven contests between rivals Attleboro and North Attleboro have been decided by 10 points or less, and the Rocketeers have walked away victorious in all of them.
Attleboro was ready to buck the trend.
After being limited to 18 points in the first half, the Bombardiers made the necessary adjustments to get the offense in gear and picked up a 60-38 win over Big Red. It marked Big Blue’s first victory over their neighbor since January 2014.
“Anytime it’s Attleboro against North Attleboro, we want to play our best,” said longtime AHS coach Mark Houle. “We had an opportunity to go out and cement a victory against a good team. I think our kids did a nice job executing in the second half and I was really proud of them.”
The Bombardiers relied upon improved rebounding (a 22-11 advantage in the second half), transition offense, and improved three-point shooting (six triples in the second compared to one in the first half) to turn a two-point deficit at halftime into an eight-point lead entering the fourth and a 22-point win.
And the biggest reason for a lot of that was Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (17 points). The 6’5” sophomore hauled in 10 of his 14 rebounds in the second half, which help set up the transition game. And on offense, Charles demanded the attention of North’s defense, which helped open things up on the perimeter.
“I think Mark [Houle] did a great job at half, they adjusted to our fronting and double teaming of Charles,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “To his kids’ credit, [Kevin] Velazquez and a couple other guys hit some open threes in the weak side corner. It was a little frustrating because we know its the read and we know its the counter to our counter, so maybe we just need to recognize it a step sooner on the skip pass.
“Hats off to Attleboro, they out-executed us in the second half. I feel for our two seniors, tough to go out this way. But Attleboro is a well-coached team and they have a lot of kids that can put the ball in the hoop.”
A triple from sophomore Bryant Ciccio (nine points, four rebounds) helped tie the game, 23-23, with under five minutes left in the third quarter. From there, the Bombardiers rattled off a 12-2 run to seize control of the game.
Nate Douglas (10 points, eight rebounds) went baseline for two, Ciccio hit a pair of free throws, Charles converted a putback and Mason Houle and Tim Callahan each hit a three-pointer to stretch Attleboro’s lead to two.
A putback at the buzzer from North’s Matt Seavey (eight points, three rebounds) cut the deficit to single digits heading into the fourth quarter, 35-27.
That’s when things clicked for Attleboro.
Charles scored down low on a feed from Ciccio, and then Attleboro took advantage of North bringing weak side help on the big man. Douglas found Velazquez (14 points, three assists) on skip passes into the weak side corner for back-to-back three-pointers.
Then the Bombardiers got out in transition with Velazquez threading the needle with a long bounce pass for an easy two for Jason Weir.
“We were just going too fast so we just slowed it down on offense,” Houle said. “We were trying to attack the rim and everything was clogged. They were switching on defense so our motion offense really wasn’t doing anything. So we went to some of our quick hitter stuff.
“They really looked to front Q and bring help from the weak side. If we couldn’t get it into Q, we could skip it and get some good looks and Kevin was able to hit them. And then after that, we finally got Q inside on the seal. Those were the adjustments we worked on and it was good to see them execute in the second half.”
North’s Derek Shanks (nine points, six rebounds) had six consecutive points for the hosts but Attleboro had an answer each time. Ciccio sandwiched a pair of buckets around another triple from Velazquez in the weak side corner to give the Bombardiers a 52-36 lead with 3:40 to play.
Charles scored down low on two consecutive possessions while Douglas put an exclamation point on the win with a breakaway dunk.
“When he’s inside like that, he’s a mismatch,” Houle said of Charles. “North is big and long but he’s still a mismatch because he’s so good with his hands and his feet. They have to put another body in there, and when we can hit the shots, it works well. Fortunately for us, we hit the shots. If we don’t hit the shots then they are winning those possessions.”
North Attleboro raced out to a 6-0 lead after hitting its first three shots of the game but Attleboro closed the game with a 6-2 run over the final six minutes.
Shanks tied the game, 12-12, in the second quarter with a pair of free throws, Josh Montague (eight points) hit a triple, Jake Petersen (eight points, four rebounds) converted a putback and Nate Gonsalves hit a three late to give North a 20-18 lead at halftime.
“I thought we defended fairly well in the first half. We knew where they wanted to go and with the exception of one set play they ran, we didn’t feel like they ever got their first option. Second half, they made a couple of extra buckets and we had some empty possessions, and I think we started losing a little bit of confidence we had in the first half.”
Attleboro boys basketball (12-9 overall) will close out its regular season when it hosts Durfee on Wednesday night at 6:30. Attleboro (8-11) concludes its season when it travels to rival Bishop Feehan on the same night at the same time.
“It’s North Attleboro and Feehan so I shouldn’t have to say much to motivate our guys,” Mulkerrins said. “It’s the last game for our two seniors and our manager so there’s motivation to play for those three games. When they know it’s their last game, I’m sure the kids will have a little extra motivation.”
Attleboro, 70 @ Taunton, 45 – Final – Attleboro’s offense was clicking on Friday night, shooting over 60% from the field in a win over the Tigers. With the win, Attleboro qualifies for the state tournament. The Bombardiers were 29-for-48 from the field, including eight three-pointers. Sophomore Bryant Ciccio had a career-high 24 points along with seven assists, Kevin Velazquez and senior Nate Douglas each added 13 points apiece and sophomore Qualeem Charles had six points and 13 rebounds.
Stoughton, 56 @ Canton, 65 – Final – Canton added to its lead after each of the first three quarters to beat Stoughton and clinch a share of the Davenport division title, the program’s first Hock title since 1992. The Bulldogs led 11-8 after one, 32-26 at halftime and 47-37 heading into the fourth. Senior Jake Verille scored a career-high 20 points while classmate Austin Maffie poured in 20 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to pace Canton. Colin Sanda had 15 points and four assists for the Black Knights.
North Attleboro, 38 @ Foxboro, 56 – Final
King Philip, 49 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – Franklin pulled away in the fourth quarter to hold off an upset attempt from King Philip. The Panthers led 36-35 going into the final period and scored 26 points to secure the win. Senior Paul Mahon paced Franklin with 21 points while junior Jalen Samuels added 17 points.
Mansfield, 59 @ Oliver Ames, 48 – Final
Milford, 72 @ Sharon, 55 – Final – Milford scored 45 points in the first half, running away with a win over a division foe on the road. Junior Brendan White scored a game-high 24 points, Andrew Fraioli (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Kayden Kelley (10 points, 12 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles and Zach Tammaro chipped in with 13 points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet scored a team-high 20 points for the Eagles.
Taunton, 42 @ Attleboro, 43 – Final – Jordyn Lako hit a go-ahead free throw with eight seconds left and Liv McCall sealed the win with a steal three seconds later. Sam Pierce scored 14 points to lead the Bombardiers, while Nyah Thomas added eight. Hannah Moniz was Taunton’s top scorer with 10 points.
Foxboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 41 – Final – Lily Sykes scored a team-high 23 points for the Warriors, who capped off the program’s first perfect season in the Hockomock League.
Franklin, 57 @ King Philip, 41 – Final
Oliver Ames, 49 @ Mansfield, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames pulled away late, breaking open a 34-34 game by going 5-for-5 from the line and scoring off its defense down the stretch to earn a split of the season series with the Hornets. Abby Reardon and Caroline Flynn each came up with key free throws during that stretch. Kayla Raymond led the way for the Tigers with 14 points and Erin Holmberg added 11. Maggie Danehy had 13 and Mady Bendanillo had 10 for Mansfield.
Sharon, 55 @ Milford, 62 – Final – Emily Piergustavo celebrated senior night with a career-high in points and a triple-double to help the Hawks close out the regular season with a win. Piergustavo scored 27 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Julie Rabinowitz scored 14 for Milford, knocking down four three-pointers. Emma Eberhardt was Sharon’s top scorer with 27 points, while Telishya Herbert had 15 and Kaitlyn Wallace has 11.
Attleboro, 73 @ King Philip, 65 – Final – Attleboro sophomore Bryant Ciccio scored 15 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, helping the Bombardiers storm past King Philip. The Warriors built a 20-point lead in the second quarter, but an 11-2 run from Attleboro made it a 10-point game at halftime (31-21). Ciccio and Dom Victor each scored six points in the third period, helping Big Blue outscore KP 25-10 in the period, including a three from Victor at the buzzer. Qualeem Charles added 11 points and 16 rebounds, Kevin Velazquez added 11 points off the bench, Nate Douglas chipped in with eight points while Mason Houle and Elvin Sam each finished with seven points, including key second-half triples. King Philip senior Pharoah Davis scored a career-high 23 points for the Warriors.
North Attleboro, 39 @ Canton, 58 – Final – Canton senior Tony Harris tied a program record with a career-high 36 points to lead the Bulldogs to a win over visiting North Attleboro. The Dogs built a 14-11 lead in the first quarter and then took a 35-21 lead into the halftime break. Harris hit seven three-pointers in the game, Austin Maffie had nine points and junior Devin Foster dished out 14 assists. Josh Montague had a team-high 12 points while junior Jake Petersen added nine points for Big Red.
Sharon, 54 @ Foxboro, 63 – Final – Sharon led 19-11 after one, and took a 26-25 lead into the half but the Warriors outscored the Eagles 21-6 in the third quarter to seize control of the game. Junior Anthony Mollica scored 12 of his career-high 18 points in the first half and Matt Rongione dropped eight of his 11-points in the third quarter to help the Warriors. Sophomore Brandon Borde added 11 points for the Warriors. Sharon’s Alex Kaufmann had a team-high 18 points.
Oliver Ames, 36 @ Franklin, 70 – Final – Franklin was in control from the beginning with sophomore Chris Edgehill scoring a team-high 24 points in the win.
Mansfield, 74 @ Taunton, 54 – Final – Mansfield opened the second half on an 11-0 run, turning a 37-26 lead into a 22-point advantage in the third quarter. Senior Tyler Boulter led the way with 22 points, including four three-pointers, seven rebounds, and three steals. Damani Scott added 13 points and six rebounds and Ryan Otto chipped in with 12 points for the Hornets, who had 10 players register points.
Milford, 66 @ Stoughton, 69 – Final – Stoughton senior Cam Andrews connected on a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to lift the Black Knights to a division win over the visiting Scarlet Hawks. Milford junior Cam Falcon hit a deep three to tie the game with under 30 seconds to play but Andrews, who scored a career-high 36 points, hit the last shot to earn the win.
Attleboro, 58 @ King Philip, 53 – Final (OT) – Attleboro rallied from six points down in the final minute of the fourth quarter to force overtime and earn a sweep of the season series. Sam Pierce led the way with 21 points, while Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall each had 12 (including five in overtime). Faith Roy scored 15 for the Warriors and Julia Leroux added 12.
North Attleboro, 52 @ Canton, 68 – Final – Hannah Jerrier had career nights in points, rebounds and charges taken to help Canton pull out an important victory to push the Bulldogs back above .500 and get within two wins of a tournament berth. Jerrier finished with 41 points and 25 rebounds while adding four assists, three steals and two charges taken. Erin Devine also had a double-double for Canton with 10 points and 14 boards and added six assists as well.
Sharon, 30 @ Foxboro, 72 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 20 points and Katelyn Mollica had 16 for the Warriors to keep the Davenport leaders unbeaten in league play.
Taunton, 29 @ Mansfield, 56 – Final – Mansfield broke the game open with a strong defensive second half, holding Taunton to just five points after going into the break tied at 24-24. Meg Hill continues to close in on 1,000 points for her career with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Maggie Danehy also chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Sydney Mulkern added nine points. Hannah Moniz paced the Tigers with 12 points and MacKenzie Handrahan had eight.
Milford, 42 @ Stoughton, 47 – Final – Aliyah Wright scored 14 points to lead the Black Knights to a sixth straight win, helping Stoughton get back to .500 on the season and take over second place in the Davenport division. Lindsey McDonald added a season-high 12 points and 11 rebounds for Stoughton.
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 6 – Final
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro used its defense to get back into the game, but Foxboro used its defense to slam the door shut on the Bombardiers’ comeback.
Trailing 58-52 with just over two minutes left in the game, Attleboro applied a full court pressure. The result was back-to-back steals from senior Nathan Douglas (12 points), the first Douglas scored on himself, the second turning into a layup from Elvin Sam.
After Foxboro called timeout, Attleboro’s defense once again came up with a big play. Sam and junior Mason Houle jumped onto a loose ball, forcing a jump ball and giving possession to the hosts, down two, with a minute to go.
But before Attleboro could set its play in motion, Foxboro senior Teddy Maher came up with a huge steal in a one-on-one situation. The Warriors used nearly the entire play clock before sophomore Brandon Borde (10 points, four rebounds) drove through traffic converted at the rim for a 60-56 lead with 22 seconds to play.
The Bombardiers called timeout and executed right away as sophomore Qualeem Charles (career-high 28 points, 12 rebounds) quickly scored down low to get the deficit back to two with 12 seconds to go.
Foxboro senior Joe Morrison (19 points) got the inbounds, was fouled, and iced the game with a pair of free throws, giving the Warriors a hard-fought 62-58 win over Attleboro in a very entertaining contest.
“I thought we showed incredible poise,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “They threw that press on us and we weren’t really ready for it, and they got two quick steals. The momentum was completely in Attleboro’s favor…we’re on the road, the crowd is getting louder. It would have been really easy for us to fold but Teddy made a senior play. Teddy’s a phenomenal defender, he gives us a lot of intangibles, he gives a lot of things that don’t really show up in the box score but that’s what seniors do this time of year. They make winning plays.
“I thought it showed a lot of character and a lot of poise, instead of us folding mentally, we showed some true toughness and came up with a big stop when things weren’t going our way.”
“It was a good fight by us to get back in it, to get it within two,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We didn’t execute towards the end, we wanted to go inside but you never know what could have happened. Foxboro does a nice job and makes you work for everything you get.”
It was the second time Attleboro rallied in the second half, only for Foxboro to regain its footing late. The Warriors led by 10 (36-26) at halftime, but the Bombardiers executed their game plan nearly flawlessly early in the third to get back into it.
Houle (four points, six assists) drove to the basket for two, Dom Victor hit back-to-back shots in the paint, Charles converted a pair of putbacks and then completed a traditional three-point play after a feed from Houle, giving Attleboro a 39-38 lead on the back of a 13-2 run over the first four minutes of the third.
Foxboro regained the lead when senior Matt Rongione (14 points) knocked down his fourth three-pointer of the game and Maher converted a layup after an Attleboro turnover. But the Bombardiers went to work down low again, with Charles hitting two free throws after being fouled in the paint, and Victor again converting close to the basket.
“In the third quarter we came out and we did a nice job of really going high low with our bigs,” Mark Houle said. “We got a lot of paint touches and got Dom going down low. When they started overplaying our guards we had some good layup opportunities. I think we got back in it going inside, which is our strength, but Foxboro’s defense is obviously good. The outside looks we got were contested and we didn’t hit the outside shots that you’d like to be able to knock down.”
Morrison took over for the final 90 seconds of the third. He came up with a steal and went the distance for a layup. After a steal fromDevin Hassett, Morrison drained a three-pointer to put the Warriors up five. And then the senior hit a technical free throw with 7.8 seconds left to give Foxboro a 49-43 lead entering the fourth.
Morrison also had five points in the fourth quarter, including an early three that put Foxboro up nine, an assist on Borde’s alley-layup at the midway point that kept Foxboro ahead by seven, and his game-clinching free throws.
“That’s Joe…it seems like its that way in every game that in the second half, in the fourth quarter, coming down the stretch when we need big plays, Joe is the one who is right there to make it, whether its on the offensive end or the defensive end,” Gibbs said. “He’s incredible, he’s without a doubt the best pure winner and pure competitor I’ve ever coached. He just has the knack for the big play, whatever we need. We’re so lucky to have him, he’s a once in a lifetime player for me as a coach. He’s the ultimate winner and you saw it tonight.”
The first half was highlighted by mismatches on both sides of the court. Charles was Attleboro’s focus early on, scoring eight points and hauling in five rebounds in the first quarter. Douglas hit both of the Bombardiers’ three-pointers of the game in the opening frame, helping Big Blue take a 16-14 lead after one.
While Charles gave Attleboro an advantage down low on the offensive end, Foxboro’s ability to spread the floor and shoot from distance gave the Warriors a leg up, especially in the second quarter.
Foxboro hit five three-pointers in the second quarter to surge past Attleboro. Senior Bobby Harrison (career-high 15 points) was responsible for four of those triples, taking advantage of his matchup. With Charles defending the hoop in the paint, Harrison was left open and converted his chances. Rongione also hit a three in the period, helping the Warriors seize a 36-26 lead at the break.
“Obviously [Charles] presents a huge mismatch for us when they are on offense because we don’t have anyone to match his size inside,” Gibbs said. “But we were also hoping we could do the same when we had the ball and use our perimeter to cause some mismatches for them. We talked to Bobby a lot about setting ball screens on the perimeter and pulling out to either shoot or drive.
“Bobby was able to get some open looks and to his credit, he stepped up and knocked them down. He caused Attleboro some problems, I assume they don’t want [Charles] out on the perimeter chasing guys around, and he was forced to come out because Bobby made some threes.”
Foxboro finished 10-for-19 from three-point and 23-for-47 from the field overall.
“Foxboro is a talented team, and Borde and Morrison are very good off the dribble,” Houle said. “We really wanted to use Qualeem as much as we could inside to sag the middle. I think the first quarter we were able to get away with it but once Harrison hit one, we had more of a soft close out, then he hit two, then hit the third one which was a dagger. Then we had to open up more and get out and cover him. That was big because we were hoping to be able to sag more inside and not allow that ball penetration.”
Foxboro boys basketball (8-3 Hockomock, 12-3 overall) begins its second go through of the Davenport schedule on Friday when it hosts Sharon at 6:30. Attleboro (6-5, 9-6) will try to bounce back when it travels to take on King Philip on Friday at 7:00.
MILFORD, Mass. – It was a tale of two halves in a crossover matchup between Milford and Attleboro boys basketball. The Hawks started hot but it was the Bombardiers that finished strong.
Big Blue overcame an 11-point deficit at halftime with a stellar third quarter and then finished the job in the second half, finishing the game off with an 8-0 run over the final two minutes to beat the Hawks, 59-51.
“I think the difference in the second half was we did a good job of pressuring their guards and we did a better job in the post,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “Their post players are very talented, Kelley is very talented and Fraioli is a big talented kid that takes up a lot of space, sets good screens. Their high-low really hurt us really so in the second half we did a better job of dropping our big in the paint and kind of forcing them to take an outside shot. It could have hurt us but it ended up helping us in the long run because we got multiple stops and that’s what we needed to get.”
The fourth quarter featured plenty of momentum swings but the Bombardiers put an exclamation point on the comeback with a couple of big plays in the final minutes.
A putback from sophomore Qualeem Charles (10 points, 16 rebounds) and a pull up jumper just inside the free throw line from Bryant Ciccio (nine points) gave Attleboro an early five-point lead, but Milford chipped away with four straight points from junior Brendan White (17 points) to cut the deficit to one.
Senior Nate Douglas drained a three to get the lead back to four and then hit one of two free throws to take a 50-45 lead. Milford’s Kayden Kelley (11 points, 15 rebounds) scored four straight points, taking feeds from White and Andrew Fraioli (eight points, five rebounds) on slips to the basket to again cut it down to one.
Velazquez came up with another steal but was fouled, and hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to two. Fraioli answered immediately with a bucket while being fouled to tie the game, but couldn’t convert the free throw to take a lead.
Tied 51-51, Attleboro put together its best stretch to win the game. Immediately following Fraioli’s tying bucket, Charles scored in traffic down low to regain the lead. Milford missed a three, Dom Victor (10 points, seven rebounds) hauled in the rebound and hit one of two free throws after being fouled.
Despite missing the second free throw, Charles came across the paint to grab the board. Attleboro called timeout, and out of the break, hit a huge shot.
Mason Houle and Douglas played catch as the shot clock ticked down. With just a few seconds remaining, Houle went in to Charles in the post, sucking the defense in. Charles returned the pass to Houle with just a couple of seconds on the shot clock, and the junior could have forced a contested three, but instead made one extra pass to Douglas in the corner. The senior calmly buried a three, giving Attleboro a 57-51 lead.
“We’ve been stressing at practice, especially recent, the extra pass gets us that great look, an uncontested look,” Houle said of the play. “An inside-outside look, and then the pass to the corner and Nate Douglas hit a really big three for us. It gave us a lot of energy, and in this game [six points] felt like a cushion. It might have been our biggest lead of the game at the time and it put pressure on them to make a play.”
Victor picked off a pass two plays later and went in along, finishing with a two-handed slam to put an exclamation point on the win.
“We wanted to be team tough tonight and that means doing the right things for our team, for our teammates,” Houle said. “In the flow of the game, it’s not always going to be easy. There’s going to be runs on both sides. I was proud of the toughness we had as a team. They came right back and tied it and we showed toughness and went right back down to take the lead.”
After being outrebounded 30-25 through three quarters, the Bombardiers had a 12-8 advantage in the final frame.
“Our key is always rebounding and we did a better job of it in the second half,” Houle said. “I think overall pressuring the guards was key, it kind of got us into a good defensive rhythm. Then we were able to get out on some breaks, got some transition baskets and that gave us some energy. Our energy in the second half throughout the whole second half was very good. “
The hosts came out red-hot in the opening quarter, hitting four of their first six attempts from behind the arc and shooting 50% from the field to build an early double-digit lead, and a 14-point advantage late in the quarter.
A late three from Ciccio cut the deficit to 11 at the end of one, and the teams played an even second period. Milford led by as much as 15 (25-10) at the midway point of the period, but Attleboro outscored the Hawks 11-5 the rest of the way to keep the deficit the same at halftime as it was after one.
Momentum swung in favor of the visitors in the third quarter. Attleboro sophomore Tim Callahan bookended the Bombardiers’ 19-6 surge in the period with a pair of three’s. An inbounds play on the baseline from Ciccio to Douglas resulted in a traditional three-point play.
Trailing by 10, Douglas hit a pair of free throws, Kevin Velazquez drained a three then two plays later, stole a pass and went in for an easy layup. The teams traded a pair of misses before Victor hit two free throws to make it a one-point game.
Fraioli converted a putback to extend the lead back to three but Victor drove strong to the basket for two, and Callahan drained another three off a feed from Charles to give Attleboro a 42-40 lead after three.
“Playing Milford is always tough, Coach Seaver does a terrific job,” Houle said. “Their kids play hard and they have a recipe to win every single night. They have tough bigs, they can shoot it, so we knew coming in it wouldn’t be an easy game…there’s never an easy game in this league. We knew coming in we had to play well and fortunately, we played very well in the second half.”
Attleboro boys basketball (6-4 Hockomock, 9-4 overall) returns to action on Sunday to take on Bishop Feehan at 3:00. Milford (4-6, 6-7) will try to snap its current two-game skid on Tuesday when it travels to Mansfield.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It’s no secret that Attleboro’s 6’5 sophomore Qualeem Charles can be a game changer. But with opponents making him the focus of their defensive game plan, getting him the ball in the right spots can be a challenge.
For three and half quarters, Taunton nearly neutralized the big man, fronting him in its man-to-man defense, bringing weak side help and even double teaming when necessary. But over the final five minutes of play, Attleboro finally got Charles going.
The sophomore scored eight of his 11 points in that stretch, helping the shorthanded Bombardiers — playing without three starters — outscore the Tigers 16-7 and pick up a key division win, 57-47.
“Coming into this game we knew it was going to be a pretty big challenge for us as a program,” said AHS head coach Mark Houle. “I’m really proud of the team for stepping up. We had kids that haven’t played a lot come in and give us some quality minutes.”
Holding a 41-40 led with five minutes to go, Charles (15 rebounds) finally got into a rhythm. He increased the lead to three of a feed from Nate Douglas (nine points, six assists). Charles had all 11 of his points in the second half after the Tigers held him without a point over the first 16 minutes.
“We were a bit slow getting the inside game going and I think we were forcing it too much,” Houle said. “In the fourth quarter we started doing a better job, we kept moving the ball and keeping the flow of the offense. We used the whole court and that really opened up the inside. It was really nothing more than just good ball movement.”
Kevin Velazquez scored on a floater in the lane only for Taunton sophomore Prince Brown to answer with a three, keeping the deficit at two. Sophomore Jason Weir, who was starting his first game, drained a pair of free throws on one end and Velazquez came away with a block from behind on the other end.
That allowed Attleboro get up the court and Velazquez dumped a pass over the top to Charles for an easy lay-in and a 49-43 lead.
Despite coming off with an offensive rebound on its next possession, Taunton turned the ball over. That led to another connection between Velazquez and Charles, the latter finishing after an up fake to extend the lead to eight.
An inbounds violation gave Attleboro possession back, and Charles hit one of two free throws on back-to-back possessions for a 53-43 lead with a minute to go.
“Taunton did a nice job early in the game taking away the inside presence,” Houle said. “We were forcing it to him early on the first pass. We realized that wasn’t working. The kids trusted the offense and kept moving it until we got a better look. We had a lot more passes per possession in the last six minutes of the game and that opened up the inside game.”
The Tigers and Bombardiers were near inseparable through three quarters. A pair of free throws from sophomore Dante Law (10 points, eight rebounds) helped pull Taunton into an 18-18 tie after the first quarter.
Both offenses cooled down significantly in the second, scoring just six points apiece to a 24-24 score at halftime.
Douglas converted on a feed from sophomore Bryant Ciccio (19 points, five rebounds) put Attleboro up six, and a free throw from Charles gave the Bombardiers their best lead, 37-28, with just over a minute left in the third.
Taunton junior John Martins (eight points, three assists) scored five straight to get the Tigers within five at the end of three. The Tigers then used a 7-3 surge over the first three minutes of the fourth to get within one.
Lens Esquil (18 points, 10 rebounds) scored early to make it a three-point game, and Law followed up with a bucket down low against the zone to make it a one-point game. A free throw from Brown tied the game at 38 but Weir drained a triple to give Attleboro the lead back.
“Guys stepped up tonight…Jason Weir in his first career start, he played like an upperclassman today. He got some key rebounds, he was strong with the basketball,” Houle said. “Bryant Ciccio continued to be steady for us, putting teammates in good positions.”
Law scored again to make it a one-point game, but Charles took control over the final five minutes.
In the final five minutes, Taunton went 3-for-8 from the field with a pair of turnovers. Attleboro also had three offensive rebounds during the stretch.
“We got into these lulls, and we seem to crack under not so great pressure,” said THS head coach Charlie Dacey. “[Attleboro] scores easily and we don’t. And getting the ball to [Charles] is a pretty good way to score easily. We have to really work hard to get a good shot, and sometimes when we get a good shot and we miss it.”
With Attleboro playing a zone defense for the majority of the game, Taunton was held to its lowest scoring output of the season, including just 4-for-14 from three.
“With a short bench, we wanted the tempo tonight to be our tempo,” Houle said. “The kids did a nice job controlling the tempo of the game, not allowing too many transition baskets. We knew they’d be effective in their zone offense at times, but as the game kind of progressed, the zone kind of was shrinking with Lens getting it in the high post and Dante getting it in the short corner. But our guards did a nice job of shrinking the zone down. I know they hit some outside shots but fortunately not enough of them.”
Attleboro boys basketball (5-3 Hockomock, 8-3 overall) will look to make it two in a row when it hosts rival North Attleboro on Tuesday at 6:30. Taunton (4-4, 7-5) will look to bounce back when it travels to rival Coyle & Cassidy on Sunday at 1:00.
“I think it started with our defensive energy,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “Early on, they kind of had their way, they had some transition baskets early. In the second half, we did a better job of getting back and not letting up any easy baskets. It was a physical game.
“We finally started penetrating their zone on the offensive end, which got us some open looks, and we were able to penetrate and go inside to [Qualeem Charles]. It took a little while to get the rhythm going, we really didn’t have it. Once we did that then we felt more confident and knock down some shots.”
The Bombardiers were limited to 10 points in the first quarter and 11 points in the second. Meanwhile, Oliver Ames senior Jack Spillane (career-high 34 points) was getting almost everything he wanted. He scored 18 of the Tigers’ first 19 points and helped OA take a 31-21 lead at the break.
Attleboro started hot in the third quarter, quickly getting the game within six but then went cold from outside. Big Blue missed from three-point range on six straight possessions, allowing Oliver Ames to get out in transition and convert, taking a 41-27 lead with 3:35 to go in the third quarter.
But on the ensuing possession, Attleboro finally got the ball in low as junior RMff (eight points, six assists) found sophomore Qualeem Charles (13 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks) who converted plus the harm. Charles’ traditional three-point play set the Attleboro offense in motion.
“You want to have some balance there but we weren’t getting the ball inside enough,” Houle said. “With any zone, there are some gaps and once we started penetrating with guard play to get into them, that created some opportunities for our bigs. When you play a zone you can get a three anytime you want, but when you’re not hitting them you have to get some paint touches.”
Senior Nate Douglas (17 points, four rebounds) and sophomore Jason Weir (seven points, five rebounds) made back-to-back baskets, and then Weir came up with a putback off of a missed three to keep the momentum with Attleboro.
“Jason Weir was one of the guys that came off the bench for us and had a terrific game,” Houle said. “Not only scoring but he got some key rebounds and some second-chance opportunities for us. And he played a physical game for us. We talked at halftime about how we needed guys to step up and he was one of them.”
After an Oliver Ames miss, sophomore Bryant Ciccio (career-high 18 points, five rebounds, five assists) went coast to coast, finishing with a nice up and under move high off the glass. Big Blue got another stop and this time fed Charles at the top of the key, sucking the defense in which allowed the sophomore to find Ciccio for a three-pointer.
Douglas hit a pull up on the baseline shortly before the buzzer to cap a 16-2 run, tying the game 43-43 at the end of the third.
With the game in the balance over the final eight minutes, Attleboro finished the job.
Spillane gave OA an early lead with a nice take to the basket, but Charles hauled in an offensive rebound and converted a putback to tie it. Charles scored on another offensive rebound only for OA’s Noah Fitzgerald (six points, three assists) to respond.
Attleboro put the game away over the next two and a half minutes with a 14-2 run. Ciccio started the surge with a layup and then Houle picked off a cross-court pass and went in alone for a layup, plus the foul, for the traditional three-point play.
Spillane brought OA within three with a pair of free throws but Douglas and Kevin Velazquez drained threes to extend the lead to 58-49. Charles finished the run with a free throw and yet another putback.
“Nate Douglas played his best game of the season, he was aggressive on offense and made impact plays for us on both ends of the court,” Houle said. “He played like a senior and we needed him to perform like he did for us to come back and win the game.”
After shooting 40% in the first half (50% from three-point range), the Tigers shot just 30% from the field in the second half and hit just one triple.
“Part of it is offensively we did more [in the first half],” said OA head coach Don Byron about the first half effectiveness of the zone defense. “They’re taking the ball out of bounds, we’re setting our defense every time. Once it turns into a more free-flowing game, we’re at a disadvantage then.
“We worked hard it but our efficiency in the second half wasn’t as sharp, We threw some passes away, made some simple, unforced mistakes. We just didn’t shoot the ball as well. And a couple of guys that we kept quiet early found themselves and we weren’t able to knock them off their stride at that point.”
Attleboro boys basketball (4-2 Hockomock, 7-2 overall) is back in action on Tuesday in a key Kelley-Rex division showdown with first place Franklin; a battle of the division’s top scoring team against top defensive team. Oliver Ames (2-4, 4-5) hits the road to take on Taunton on the same day.