Football: 2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview
Mansfield can’t defend its D2 state title, but the Hornets will be looking to bring home a third straight league title when the new Fall II season kicks off. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Football Preview

Attleboro

2019 Record: 6-5
2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Christian Dame, Jr., TE/DE; Alvin Harrison, Jr., OL/DL; Chris Leonardo, Jr., OL/DL; Kaiden Murray, Jr., RB/FS; Trainor Sherck, Sr., OLB; Michael Strachan, Sr., LB/RB; Freddy Wheaton, Jr., LB

Outlook:
Attleboro was able to incorporate a number of underclassmen last season and will be hoping that experience pays off with the junior class being asked to step up all across the field this season, as the Bombardiers look to challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex.

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview

Size won’t be an issue for Attleboro and the offensive line should be a strength this season led by junior tackles Chris Leonardo (6’3, 275 pounds) and Alvin Harrison (6’3, 255) along with seniors Trainor Sherck and Ryan Grover and junior Adam Struminski. The Bombardiers are going to use that line a lot this season with new quarterback Blake Garzaro, who saw some action as a sophomore, handing the ball off frequently to junior Kaiden Murray, who looks poised for a breakout season, and bruising fullback Michael Strachan. Junior Freddy Wheaton is another physical back who will get touches this year. In the passing game, Garzaro can look for 6’4 tight end Christian Dame, who leads a largely new cast of receivers.

The strengths on offense should mirror the strengths for Attleboro’s defense as well. Leonardo, Dame, and Harrison will be the core of the defensive line with junior Isaac Pereira another big body that will be tough for opposing teams to run against. Strachan leads the linebacking corps. The URI-commit is the program’s all-time leading tackler and he’s a four-year varsity player. Wheaton will join Strachan at inside linebacker and Sherck and Ryan Betts will be on the outside. The secondary will have several new faces, but Murray is a tough tackler at free safety and William Runey will be one of the more experienced cornerbacks on the roster.

Franklin

2019 Record: 7-4
2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players: Jared Arone, Jr., QB; Parker Cheuvront, Sr., K; Dan Cormier, Sr., LB; Brady Duncan, Sr., OL; Mike Griffin, Sr., WR/S; Mack Gulla, Jr., RB; Xander Honor, Sr., LB; Isaac Hughes, Sr., WR; Shane Kindred, Jr., WR; Vincent Lackey, Sr., T; Jonathan Martins, Jr., DE; Jake O’Brien, Sr., WR; Anthony Quintina, Sr., DL;

Outlook:

Franklin is coming off an impressive run to the Div. 1 South final but the Panthers also graduated a host of important pieces from last year’s team, particularly at the skill positions, and will need some younger players to step in to stay competitive in the Kelley-Rex this season.

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview

Junior Jared Arone will step in at quarterback this season, hoping to have the same level of success running Franklin’s up-tempo style as Thomas Gasbarro did last year. Junior running back Mack Gulla got some time in the backfield last season but will be getting the bulk of the touches this year. A new receiving corps will also have to learn on the job, including senior Jake O’Brien and junior Shane Kindred, and junior tight end Jonathan Martins, but there is potential for this to be an explosive group. Seniors Brady Duncan and Vincent Lackey will be counted on to provide leadership on the offensive line. The consistency of senior kicker Parker Cheuvront will be a huge boost to a Franklin offense that may have some growing pains early in the season.

Defensively, the Panthers return several players and will rely on that experience to combat the top offenses in the league and to allow time for the younger players to get up to speed. Seniors Xander Honor and Dan Cormier will spearhead the defense from their linebacker positions, while seniors Anthony Quintina and Lackey are stout in the middle of the line. Martins will be a force at defensive end and Griffin is a playmaker at safety.

“We need to focus on getting better every day,” said Franklin coach Eain Bain. “Appreciate, and focus on, the here and now. Don’t look ahead or behind, but stay in tuned to the task at hand. And always, Row the Boat.”




King Philip

2019 Record: 8-3
2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players: Crawford Cantave, Jr., RB/SS; Drew Danson, Jr., TE; Mike Malatesta, Sr., MLB; Kevin Pierro, Sr., C; Nick Viscusi, Jr., SS; Michael Zagrodney, Sr., WR; Patrick Zarba, Sr., G/DT

Outlook:
This is an atypical season in so many ways, not least of all because King Philip, one of the perennial powers in the Kelley-Rex, is going through a transition. The Warriors will have a lot of new faces this year, using a number of underclassmen who will have to quickly learn the KP style of play through a tough slate of divisional games.

KP returns only two starters on offense from last year’s team that reached the D2 South semifinal. Senior guard Pat Zarba and junior tight end Drew Danson will be the lone holdovers, although several other players did see action at times. Junior Crawford Cantave filled in for an injured Ryan Halliday at running back last year and has the potential to be next in a long line of standout backs at KP. Mike Malatesta will also be in the backfield at fullback and sophomore Ryan Gately is a newcomer to keep an eye on. Junior Charlie Grant is set to be the new quarterback and will have Danson, senior Michael Zagrodney, and junior Nick Viscusi as targets in the passing game. Senior Kevin Pierro will be the center to add some experience to what is otherwise a largely new group on the line.

Defense has always been a priority for KP and this year’s group has a lot of players who will be learning on the job. Zarba and Danson will be on the defensive line, along with junior Hunter Hastings and senior Harry Brown. Malatesta and Gately will be joined by junior Jake Sullivan at linebacker. The secondary is young but has some experience, as Cantave and Viscusi both are coming off strong sophomore seasons at safety.

“I am hoping that our weakness (inexperience and lack of seniors) will be a strength in the fall as we are forced to play a lot of juniors and sophomores now,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “I’m also worried about injuries, as we have not been in our weight room in a year.”

Mansfield

2019 Record: 11-1 (Kelley-Rex Division Champion)
2019 Finish: Won D2 Super Bowl
Coach: Mike Redding

Key/Returning Players: Nick Bertolino, Sr., CB/WR; Matt Boen, Sr., WR/QB/DB; Anthony Comer, Sr., RB/DB; Mark DeGirolamo, Jr., G/DT; Joe Forte, Jr., C/NG; Cincere Gill, Sr., RB/DB; TJ Guy, Sr., OT/DE; Nico Holmes, Sr., FB/LB;Everett Knowlton, Sr., TE/DE; Jake McCoy, Sr., G/DT

Outlook:
It has been 15 months since Mansfield rolled to a D2 state title at Gillette Stadium and the Hornets are excited to get back on the field, searching for a third straight league title and looking forward to a 90th anniversary game against Foxboro at Alumni Field to close out the season.

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview

While Mansfield graduated a number of key players from last year’s state championship-winning team, the Hornets return plenty of offensive firepower, especially in the backfield. Senior Cincere Gill will be the focus after racking up nearly 1,000 rushing yards last season, but he will get plenty of help from classmates Anthony Comer and Nico Holmes and newcomer sophomore Rocco Scarpellini. In addition, the Hornets will have Matt Boen and Nick Bertolino back at receiver and Everett Knowlton returns at tight end. Juniors Jake Wall and Dana Johnson will add to the depth in the passing game. The offensive line should be a strength for Mansfield this season with three returning starters, seniors TJ Guy and Jake McCoy and junior Joe Forte. Juniors Jimmy Gilleran and Braedon Veno will fill out the rest of the line.

The Hornets were dominant on defense last season and they remain solid on that side of the ball, particularly in the front seven. With Guy on the end and junior Mark DeGirolamo and McCoy in the interior of the defensive line, Mansfield will be stout up front. Holmes is a standout at linebacker and senior Sean Weber will be a player to watch in his outside linebacker position. The secondary has depth with a handful of players fighting for three defensive back spots.

“Toughest part is mentally, everything’s backward with the weather – feels like November and the end of a typical season, but it’s pre-season,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “Just hoping Friday nights under the lights feel the same once games get going and it feels like we’re starting to finally get into a groove with execution. We’re all thankful to be playing and trying to enjoy every day we can go out and be a team.”




Milford

2019 Record: 4-7
2019 Finish: Reached D3 South First Round
Coach: Dale Olson

Key/Returning Players: Evan Hazard, Sr., SS; Josh Kravets, Sr., DL; Mario Lee, Sr., DL; Max Martin, Sr., WR; Sean Murray, Sr., OL; Kevin O’Connor, Sr., LB; Brady Olson, Sr., QB; Angelo Romero, Jr., LB; Dom Schofield, Sr., DE; Carter Scudo, Sr., WR; Grant Scudo, Jr., DB; Matt Varteresian, Sr., WR; Nick Yohn, Sr., OL

Outlook:
There are a lot of changes at Milford this season, with a new coaching staff taking over and the Hawks making the switch to the Kelley-Rex for the first time, but there is a lot of experience on the field to make that transition with nine starters returning on both sides of the ball.

One of the biggest changes for Milford will be under center, as Brady Olson takes over following his transfer from Bishop Feehan. The UMass-commit will have plenty of targets to aim for, as Milford returns arguably the deepest group of receivers in the league led by seniors Carter Scudo, Max Martin, and Matt Varteresian. They combine deep threat potential with the willingness to make the tough catches in traffic. Up front, Sean Murray and Nick Yohn will lead the protection for Olson and try to open up lanes for a new crop of running backs.

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview

Experience will be a strength on the defensive side of the ball as well. Dom Schofield highlights a tough defensive line. Another of the team’s UMass commits, Schofield will be a force at the defensive end position, while Mario Lee and Josh Kravets return in the heart of the line. Milford lost a couple of standout linebackers from last year’s squad, Luke Rosa and CJ Cerrella, but Kevin O’Connor and Angelo Romero are playmakers who should be ready for breakout seasons. Grant Scudo and Evan Hazard are back in what should be a strong secondary for the Hawks.

“I have a strong senior class that has played a ton of football and we’ll lean on them to help us compete in the Hock large this year,” said new Milford coach Dale Olson.

Taunton

2019 Record: 4-6
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players: Tommy Ambrose, Sr., OL/DL; Nathan Arieta, Sr., TE/DE; Nigel Choate, Sr., WR/DB; Bretton Heggs, Sr., RB/DB; Josh Lopes, Sr., RB/LB; Dan Macdougall, Sr., QB/DB; Jorden Manning, Sr., OL/DL; Deandre McPhail, Sr., DL; Kedrick Santos, Sr., LB/WR; Trent Santos, Jr., WR/DB; Nolan Tomaszycki, Sr., WR/DB

Outlook:
With 10 returning starters and 18 returning lettermen, Taunton will be relying on its senior leadership to stay competitive against what has the potential to be a daunting Kelley-Rex division schedule.

The Tigers have plenty of athleticism on both sides of the ball and also versatile players who can line up in multiple positions, making it difficult for opponents to match up. Senior Danny MacDougall moves under center this season, although he has also lined up at receiver in the past. Seniors Josh Lopes and Bretton Heggs give Taunton a pair of dangerous backs, while Trent Santos, Kedrick Santos, Nigel Choate, and Nolan Tomaszycki are weapons in the passing game. Senior Nathan Arieta, at 6-foot-5, is a big target at tight end. Seniors Tommy Ambrose and Jorden Manning are two returning starters on the offensive line. The depth on the line will be tested, as Taunton has several underclassmen with the size to step in but not a lot of experience.

Defensively, Taunton relies on its quickness and athleticism, but also has plenty of size up front. Ambrose, Manning, and Arieta will all play on the defensive line, along with classmate Deandre McPhail and junior Faisal Mass. Lopes, Kedrick Santos, Caleb Nicholson, and Evan Perrotta have experience in the linebacking corps. The secondary is filled with playmakers, including Trent Santos, MacDougall, Heggs, Tomaszycki, and Choate.

2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview

Taunton Rallies To Clinch Share Of First Hock Title

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton senior Tyler Stewart goes up for a layup against Attleboro in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 TAUNTON, Mass. – It’s been a most challenging season for everyone, but with a delayed start and a one-week hiatus smack in the middle of its schedule, it’s been a bit tougher on the Taunton boys basketball team.

So it’s only fitting that the Tigers made clinching their first-ever Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division title a bit more difficult than it needed to be.

A near-perfect start from visiting Attleboro coupled with a sluggish first eight minutes from the Tigers put the hosts in a double-digit deficit.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But as these Tigers have done all season, they responded. Despite starting their season two weeks after everyone else, Taunton opened the season with five straight wins. And when they were forced to the sideline for a week, the Tigers came right back and beat one of the best teams in the state in Mansfield with just one day of practice.

And on Thursday afternoon, in their fourth game in the five-day span, the Tigers dominated the final three quarters of play, not only digging out of the hole they were in but burying it and covering it with a mound of dirt in the form of a 76-57 win over the Bombardiers.

The Tigers’ game with King Philip will not be made up and the Hockomock League is expected to award Taunton with a win via forfeit for that game multiple sources told HockomockSports.com.

It marks Taunton’s first league title since 2008 when it won the Old Colony League.

“Everyone has gone through issues this year but this is an extraordinary group, I’ve said it many times,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “Across the board, not just the first five either, you go right down the roster. We’ve had no issues at all this year. There’s usually something but this group has been great, they really like each other too.

“When we got into our offense, we got the lead into double figures and that force them to pressure a little bit. Then we really started to figure out that if we can our offense, things were working. Once we’re relaxed, like any team, they get into a comfort zone and we really pulled away.”










Attleboro got whatever it wanted to start the game, hitting mid-range jumpers and getting to the rim on open layups. The Bombardiers shot 9-for-16 from the field for 20 points while their defense was on point too, the Tigers were forced to settle for contested looks inside and out. The result was a 20-9 lead, seemingly stunning Taunton.

“We had confidence from yesterday’s game and that carried over to today,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “I thought the first quarter we played as well as we could have…defensively, offensively, transition baskets, we controlled the boards. They started rebounding better and we couldn’t stop them. We had them for 26 possessions in the second and third quarters and they scored on 22 of them. We tried to change it up as much as we could but they made plays consistently and we couldn’t stop them.

“Overall between yesterday and today we really battled but [Taunton] is a really good team.

The comeback didn’t come quickly, but it was steady. Attleboro scored to push its lead to 22-9 to start the frame and Taunton had three chances to get back on the board but went empty on two shots from the field and two from the line. The next play, however, might have been the spark that lit a fire for the Tigers.

Junior Tristan Herry, who scored a season-high 20 points, poked the ball free and won a foot race to the loose ball on the other end of the court. From there, Taunton went on to score on 12 straight possessions to erase the deficit and take a lead by halftime.

“Tristan was bustin’ on defense, he was trying to do all the right things on offense. I think that sunk into the other four, if he’s going to do it then we should do it. He was the catalyst in that turnaround for us. Tyler [Stewart] changes the flow of the offense because he demands attention, even if he’s not scoring. But Tristan got us going.”

Senior Josh Lopes (nine points, five rebounds) scored the first three points on a jumper and a free throw and Herry stepped up on the offensive end with his first three-pointer. A steal by Nigel Choate gave Taunton the ball back and an offensive rebound resulted in two points from senior Tyler Stewart (10 points, five rebounds).

Attleboro’s Justin Daniels (17 points) answered for the Bombardiers but junior Trent Santos (18 points, four assists) attacked the basket for two for the hosts. Herry sank his second three of the period to make it a four-point game but junior Evan Houle (nine points, four rebounds) answered with a triple of his own out of an Attleboro timeout.

The Tigers’ relentless offensive attack continued as an offensive board from Choate turned into a free throw from junior Faisal Mass (12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists). Joe Francois-Annevil took a feed from Alvin Harrison and scored down low but Herry drained another triple and a steal from Choate resulted in two after a putback from Mass.

Stewart had a big block and then found Choate for two down low, and after another Attleboro turnover, Mass finished through contact to put the hosts ahead for the first time, 32-31. Stewart then sank an elbow jumper and the Tiger took a 34-32 lead into halftime.

“I think we were a little fatigued from yesterday but going into the second, we talked with each other about how we felt we were the better team,” said Stewart, who is committed to play at Wentworth. “Tristan hit some big shots that really changed the momentum for us. Once he hit those shots, it got the rest of us going.

“Just a chance to play [this season] was really exciting for us. I think we’ve shown that this group plays really well under adversity. The amount of things we’ve had to go through to get to this point is insane, all the way back to the start of last year through this year, shows a lot about this group.”

Taunton’s offense wasn’t as effective in the third quarter, but it was pretty close. The Tigers picked up points on 10 of their first 11 possessions of the quarter to build a double-digit advantage.

Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos Tyler Stewart Josh Lopes Tristan Herry Faisal Mass

Lopes and Daniels traded buckets to start and the Tigers finally had an empty possession on their second trip up court. Mass found Santos for a three and then Santos returned the favor to Lopes for two more. Attleboro cashed on its third shot of its next possession when Chris Holcomb sank a three to keep the deficit at four.

Santos and Mass each connected from downtown in a one-minute span and layups from Santos and Stewart pushed Taunton’s lead to 55-45 going into the final quarter.

“Herry kept them in it early and then after that, it was all of them, I think every single one of them played well today,” Houle said of the Tigers. “It was pretty spread out, and it felt like any time we did get a stop in the second or third they got an offensive rebound and got an extra opportunity.”

Attleboro cut into the lead early in the fourth as a strong take from Francois-Annevil make it 60-51 but Mass answered with two after a nice fake, Santos dropped in a floater, Herry hit on a pull-up, and Lopes scored after a turnover and the lead ballooned to 68-51 with just under four minutes.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After scoring just nine points in the first, Taunton scored 20 or more points in each of the second, third, and fourth quarters.

Taunton becomes just the third team to win the Kelley-Rex division in boys basketball since the Hockomock League split in two. Mansfield has won it 10 times, including a share this year, while Franklin won it outright in 2012 and earned a share in 2016.

Taunton boys basketball (8-1 Kelley-Rex, 8-1 overall) will host Sharon on Saturday at noon for its final game of the season. Attleboro (5-5, 10-5) will host rival North Attleboro on Sunday at 1:30.

Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos Tyler Stewart Josh Lopes Tristan Herry Faisal Mass

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.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/04/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 44 @ Franklin, 60 – Final Franklin established a lead after a quarter, built on it by halftime, and pulled away with a dominant third quarter to avenge its loss to Attleboro. The Panthers were up 31-20 at the halftime break before winning the third quarter, 20-4, to put the game away. Declan Walmsley (13 points) hit a pair of threes in the third, Andrew Byfield (11 points) added five points and both Jake O’Brien and Zach Harvey added four as the Panthers took a 51-24 lead into the final frame.

Canton, 39 @ Foxboro, 46 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Oliver Ames, 51 @ Stoughton, 47 – FinalOliver Ames senior Drew Nickla beat the shot clock with a spinning shot in the lane with just over a minute to go and the Tigers hung on for a win over the Black Knights. Nickla scored eight of his career-high 20 points as the Tigers raced out to a 21-6 lead through eight minutes, and carrie a 29-17 advantage into halftime. OA led by 10 (42-32) going into the fourth but a late 7-0 run from the Knights made it a two-point game in the final minutes, setting up Nickla’s big basket. Amari Brown added 11 points for OA in the win. Brett Pendenza scored a team-high 18 points for Stoughton while KC Ugwuakazi chipped in with 10 points.

Mansfield, 74 @ Milford, 36 – Final After a close first quarter, Mansfield extended its lead to double-digits by halftime and never looked back in a win over Milford. The Hornets held a slim 10-8 lead after a quarter, pushed the advantage to 30-16 at halftime, and went off for 22 third quarter points for a 52-30 edge going into the final frame. Senior Matt Boen led the way with a team-high 30 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two assists, junior Chris Hill added 15 points, five rebounds, and four steals, and senior Brendan Foley finished with 10 points.

King Philip, 55 @ Taunton, 84 – FinalTaunton’s offense was too much too handle for the visiting Warriors as the Tigers scored 40 first half points and exploded for 29 points in the third quarter to pull away. The Warriors kept pace with the hosts through the first eight minutes, trailing by just two, 21-19, after the first. Taunton’s offense kept rolling with 19 more points in the second for a 40-28 lead at halftime before its 29-point third made it 69-43. Junior Trent Santos scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the third. Tyler Stewart added 16 points, Josh Lopes finished with 13 points, Nigel Choate chipped in with 11 points and Danny MacDougall scored 10 points for Taunton. Sophomore Will Laplante led KP with a game-high 20 points.










Girls Basketball
Franklin, 47 @ Attleboro, 28 – FinalFranklin closed out is second straight unbeaten regular season with a sweep of the Bombardiers. Olivia Quinn led the Panthers in all 10 games this season, including 16 points against Attleboro. Elizabeth Wilson, who recently committed to Endicott College, chipped in with nine points for the Panthers.

Foxboro, 64 @ Canton, 54 – Final (OT)Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Sharon, 22 @ North Attleboro, 65 – FinalNorth celebrated senior night with a strong defensive performance and a big win. All four seniors hit double digits for the Rocketeers. Amanda Kaiser led the way with 19, including 12 in the opening quarter. Lydia Santos added a dozen, Siobhan Weir had 11 points, and Cailyn Maxcy scored a career-high 10. North led 40-16 at halftime, but allowed only six points after the break and North coach Nikki Correia praised her team’s pressure defense for creating easy baskets on the other end of the floor.

Stoughton @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to TBD.

Milford, 41 @ Mansfield, 61 – FinalAll 10 Hornets scored for Mansfield on Thursday, as the Hornets pulled away for a big win. Olivia Salisbury scored nine point to pace Mansfield, while Abby Wager and Kayla Vine each scored eight points. Jillian Michelson was Milford’s top scorer with 10 points.

Boys Hockey
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalOliver Ames avenged its loss to the Black Knights on Wednesday evening with a 2-1 win on Thursday afternoon. Freshman Jack Corey scored his first career goal while classmate Andy Livingstone scored the game-winner late in the third for the Tigers.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/28/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Milford, 39 @ Taunton, 73 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Taunton opened with a 22-point first quarter and started the second quarter on a 15-0 run to create plenty of separation in a win over visiting Milford. Junior Trent Santos scored all nine of his points in the opening quarter as the Tigers staked a 22-14 lead after one. Both Josh Lopes (16 points, five rebounds, five assists) and Isiah Seldon (nine points, five rebounds) scored five points as Taunton pulled away with a 15-0 spurt over the first six minutes of the second. Nigel Choate added 12 points off the bench for the hosts while Tyler Stewart finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Darling led the Hawks with nine points.

Mansfield, 51 @ Franklin, 44 – FinalMansfield set the tone defensively in the first quarter and then held off a late surge from Franklin to earn a season sweep over the Panthers. The Hornets limited the hosts to four points in the first quarter and carried a 25-14 lead into halftime. Mansfield’s advantage grew to 37-25 going into the final frame before the Panthers got going and clawed back into it, cutting the lead down to 47-42 with under two minutes to go but Mansfield held on for the win. Senior Matt Boen had a team-high 16 points, seven rebounds, and four steals, Jack Colby added 11 points and nine rebounds, Matt Hyland had nine points and six boards, and Brendan Foley chipped in with eight points and 10 rebounds.




Girls Basketball
Canton, 43 @ Oliver Ames, 53 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Foxboro, 42 @ North Attleboro, 31 – FinalAfter being held to just 25 points through three quarters, Foxboro exploded for 17 in the fourth to pull out the road win. Both teams played tough defense through three quarters, with the Warriors holding a slim 25-24 lead, but Foxboro found the range and secured the season sweep. Katelyn Mollica and Erin Foley both scored a dozen points for the Warriors. Lydia Santos topped North’s scorers with nine points, while Ava McKeon and Siobhan Weir each scored seven.

Franklin, 63 @ Mansfield, 47 – FinalFranklin jumped out to a 15-3 lead after one quarter and never allowed the Hornets to climb back into the game to stay perfect on the season. Olivia Quinn was the leading scorer for the Panthers for the eighth time in eight games, finishing with 20 points. Elizabeth Wilson had a season-high 16 in the win. Ashley Santos (14 points) and Kayla Vine (11) both hit double digits for the Hornets.

Taunton, 30 @ Milford, 38 – FinalThe Hawks used a good defensive performance and strong third quarter to earn a second straight win against the Tigers. The game was tied at 8-8 after the first quarter, but Milford pulled ahead by three heading into halftime. Milford outscored the Tigers 12-5 in the third (with all 12 points coming from the three-point line) to stretch the lead to double digits. Taunton won the fourth, 11-9, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback. Emma Lawrence knocked down four of Milford’s nine threes and finished with a game-high 12 points. Brooke Ferreira added 10 points and Jillian Michelson had nine. Sonya Fernandez paced the Tigers with nine points.

Boys Hockey
Mansfield, 1 @ Franklin, 7 – FinalFranklin exploded for six goals in the second half to skate away with a big win over Mansfield. The Hornets opened the scoring but Justin Abely leveled the scoring on a power play chance with Dylan Marchand and Declan Lovett recording assists. In the second half, Dom Lampasona scored a pair of goals while JT Dwyer, Ben Jarosz, Adam Quinn, and Marchand scored once. Lovett, Marchand, Ryan Sicchio, and Joe LeBlanc all finished with two assists in the win while Gary Mandia made 15 saves in net.

Swimming
Sharon vs. Stoughton, 3:30

Taunton Holds Off Franklin To Give Dacey 400th Win

Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball
Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey, who earned his 400th win on Thursday, watches the action in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 TAUNTON, Mass. – Most teams in the Hockomock League are hitting the halfway point of the regular season this week, but the Taunton boys basketball team is just getting started.

Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball

While it was a victory for Taunton to just get on the court after weeks of delays, the Tigers were in search of a different kind of win.

Buoyed by a hot start offensively and solid defense throughout, the Tigers won their season opener, 55-46, giving head coach Charlie Dacey his 400th career win — all coming with Taunton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I thought our defense was pretty good,” Dacey said. “That’s a lot of motion, you can’t duplicate what they do in practice. If they were hitting their shots we would have been in trouble because they had some decent looks.

“We were hitting the threes [early] which certainly helps. Then we kind of insisted on shooting them as the game went on, which drives me crazy.”

Dacey coached at the sub-varsity level for over a decade, including seven years at Taunton, before taking over for the 1989-1990 season.

“It’s always a matter of longevity,” Dacey said of his milestone win. “We’ve got a little bit of a culture here in Taunton and there’s an expectation here. But it’s the kids, it’s true, it’s all about the kids. You don’t get this many wins without having some good, coachable kids and this is the most coachable group I’ve had in a while.”

The Tigers didn’t show much rust at the start of the game, shooting just under 50% from the floor and connecting from three-point range four times. The pace was frantic from the start, with the teams combining for over 50 possessions in the first eight minutes.

Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball










Junior Faisal Mass (13 points, six rebounds) converted a pass from Trent Santos (10 points, four rebounds) on the opening possession and the Tigers were off and running. Tyler Stewart (11 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks) scored down low, Josh Lopes (11 points, four rebounds) scored five straight surrounded by a pair of Franklin turnovers, and Santos sank a three as Taunton jumped out to a 12-5 lead just over three minutes in.

Santos hit his second trifecta of the period, Stewart hit two from the line after being fouled, and Lopes capped the quarter with his second three-pointer to give Taunton a 20-11 lead after one.

That momentum continued into the second as senior Danny MacDougall came off the bench to give the Tigers an early boost. After a free throw and a Franklin turnover, MacDougall knocked down a corner three. Taunton’s defense kept the hosts off the board for almost three minutes to start the second.

After a little lull, Mass sank a corner three and Nigel Choate came up with a steal, the Tigers eventually getting a three-pointer from Tristan Herry to make it 30-15 just past the midway point of the second. Lopes scored at the rim, Stewart cleaned up a miss with a putback, and Herry made a late layup for a 36-20 halftime lead.

“I think the start of the game was, unfortunately, the difference right off the bat,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “It felt like they got all 20 points in the first five minutes. It’s a big hole to dig against a really good team. It was a game we could have easily lost by 30 but credit to our guys for sticking with it. I thought defensively we did a really good job but scoring 46 points isn’t going to get it done.

“Just too many turnovers throughout the game really hurt us. Credit them for their defensive pressure, they had some blocked shots early so we were a little tentative taking it to the rim at times.”

To no one’s surprise, Franklin didn’t lay down and slowly crawled its way back into the contest. Even though Mass hit a three to open the second half to give the Tigers a 19-point lead, it would be the last triple for the visitors. And the Panthers held Taunton to just six points the rest of the third.

Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball

Freshman Henry Digiorgio connected from downtown early in the frame andAndrew Byfield (from Zach Harvey) added another triple as the Panthers stayed within striking distance. Despite limiting Taunton to just nine points in the quarter, Franklin entered the fourth quarter staring at a 45-30 deficit.




Taunton’s offense continued to sputter against Franklin’s aggressive defense. Not only were the Panthers doing a good job taking away open looks on the three-point line, Franklin put plenty of attention on Stewart, who dominated the paint all of last season.

Missed free throws and turnovers plagued both teams for the first four minutes of the final period, so when Santos finished off a fast break transition basket to make it 49-35 with 4:33 to go, Taunton’s lead looked safe.

But Byfield (nine points, six rebounds, two blocks) crashed the offensive boards for two, Jake O’Brien (17 points) drove the lane and hit a floater, and Declan Walmsley (nine points, eight rebounds) went coast-to-coast for two and suddenly it was just 49-41 with 2:27 to play.

“I don’t think fatigue was the issue but it was like, what’s going on?…we just lost our mojo [in the second half],” Dacey said. “The difference in games played matters. This is the first time we’ve been at game speed, and it certainly showed in places.”

Taunton turned it over coming out of a timeout and Walmsley found Byfield for two. The Tigers had three chances at stopping the run but couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Franklin’s three-point attempt was off with under a minute to go and Stewart hit one free throw after grabbing the defensive rebound.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Two more from Mass pushed it to 52-43 but a corner three from Alex Newman brought it back to a six-point game. Taunton made enough from the line down the stretch to hold on.

“They have three or four guys that can easily be a league all star so it’s kind of like pick your poison, trying to figure out which guy you want to stop,” Neely said. “We saw it last year, you stop one and another one gets going. They are a great team, I feel bad they don’t have a state tournament to play in because that’s one of the best teams around.”

Taunton (1-0) will host Franklin (4-1) in a rematch on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM.

Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball

Taunton Bounces Marshfield With Impressive Road Win

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton junior Tyler Stewart fights for a loose ball in the second half against Marshfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey saw a lot of growth out of his squad over the course of their 21-game regular season schedule.

A team with minimal experience at the varsity level matured plenty from when they first tipped off in December, but the postseason is a completely different animal, especially for a young team.

Those jitters were apparent as the 10th-seeded Tigers were whistled for traveling on their first three possessions on the road at #10 Marshfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But junior Tyler Stewart (23 points, 20 rebounds) cleaned up an offensive rebound for two and sophomore Trent Santos (11 points, five rebounds) drained a three, and just like that, all was right with Taunton.

Those buckets sparked a 10-0 spurt in the first quarter and Taunton dominated the third quarter to the tune of 21-4 to help the Tigers pin down a 64-44 upset of the Rams.

“We had tournament jitters for sure, I get that and kind of expected that,” Dacey said. “Defensively, [the third quarter] was excellent. Josh [Lopes] was leading the charge for us. He was on [Mike] Walsh, he’s their player, and josh did a nice job disrupting him all night long. That was the key because he’s there go-to guy and Josh did a nice job on him.”

Santos sank a second three and Stewart added another putback as Taunton quickly put the nerves in the backseat, taking a 10-4 lead just past the halfway mark of the first.

And then it was a three from junior Nigel Choate (seven points) off the bench, a triple from Lopes (13 points, four rebounds, three assists), and a spot up, contested three from straightaway from sophomore Faisal Mass (seven points) to beat the buzzer capped a 10-3 over the final 1:28 of the first to put Taunton ahead 20-8 after a quarter.

The Rams cut the deficit to seven when Trey O’Connor hit from deep and Evan Mallios converted an offensive rebound but Lopes answered for Taunton and Stewart went to work down low with four straight points. Mass added four more and the Tigers had a 31-22 lead at halftime.

Lopes opened the third with a three and Stewart converted off a feed from Danny MacDougall (five rebounds, three assists) to give the Tigers a good start on the offensive end. But the story was the Tigers’ defense, holding the hosts without a point for nearly four minutes.

The Rams went 0-for-2 from three-point – both contested well – and had a harder time attacking the basket with Stewart in the way. Both Lopes and Santos had steals in that span as well.

When Walsh, the Rams’ top offensive option, finally got his first shot off of the first half, MacDougall got a piece of it from behind. It wasn’t until O’Connor capitalized on a Tiger turnover that the Rams got on the board with 4:25 left in the third.

“It all started with the defense for us,” Stewart said, who also had three blocks. “We really tried to limit their three-point shots, close out hard, and make someone other than Walsh beat us. We focused a lot on him, we wanted to keep the ball out of his hands.

“We talked in the locker room and really emphasized our defense, we talked a lot about closing out on their shots and getting the rebounds. And then that defense led to offense for us.”




Taunton finished the quarter strong, closing on a 16-2 run after the Rams got on the board. Stewart cleaned up his own miss, Santos drilled a shot after a steal, and then Stewart showed some range with an elbow jumper.

Stewart hit two at the line then fought for an offensive rebound, feeding Choate for an easy two plus the foul. MacDougall had another block and linked up with Stewart again, and then Lopes pickpocketed a Ram and went in for a layup while being fouled, completing the three-point play in the final seconds of the quarter to seize a 52-26 lead.

Through three quarters, Lopes and the Tigers limited Walsh to 1-for-10 shooting, the lone make being a three in the final minute of the first.

“Tyler should be getting a touch every time down the floor, no matter what they are doing defensively, no matter how we are shooting good or bad…he can make things happen,” Dacey said. “He had the size [advantage] and he’s got some athleticism, he’s not a stiff down there. He can create once he gets the ball in the right place, and if they send a double at him he knows what to do and it’s helped discourage teams from doubling.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Josh stepped up [on the offensive end] too, and Trent made some threes for us. Nigel had a big three for us too. When we settle down, we’re fine but a typical young team, we have our moments.”

The Tigers spent the majority of the fourth running the shot clock down before getting a look. Stewart added four more, Santos had three, Lopes and MacDougall two each, and sophomore Tristan Herry, who battled foul trouble in the first half, had a free throw.

Taunton boys basketball (15-5) will take a ride up Route 24 on Friday to take on #2 Brockton (16-4) at 6:30.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/07/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 61 @ King Philip, 66 – FinalKing Philip outscored Attleboro 19-8 in the third quarter of the game, running away with the upset win after a four-point lead at halftime. The Warriors and Bombardiers were only separated by a point (11-10) after one and the hosts took a 29-25 advantage into the halftime break. Senior Tommy Donahue scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the third quarter while Robert Jarest added four of his six to help KP pull away. Alex Fritz hit on four three-pointers, one in each quarter, and finished with 22 points, and Andrew McKinney scored10 of his 12 points in the first half. Attleboro connected on six three-pointers in the fourth to close KP’s large lead. Qualeem Charles had a team-high 19 points.

Canton, 59 @ Sharon, 55 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Foxboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to Saturday, 2/8 at 12:00.

Taunton, 62 @ Franklin, 48 – FinalA tight battle for three quarters, Taunton clamped down defensively in the fourth to limit the Panthers to a pair of field goals and five total points and pull out the win. Taunton’s offense got off to a good start and led 21-14 after a quarter before Franklin tightened things up, trailing 33-31 at halftime and 47-43 heading into the fourth. The Tigers had five players scored in the final quarter to secure the win with sophomore Tristan Herry (career-high 19 points) and junior Josh Lopes (15 points) each scoring four while sophomore Trent Santos, junior Tyler Stewart (13 points), and sophomore Faisal Mass (eight points) each had two. Lopes hit three three-pointers in the opening quarter and had 11 of his 15 points while Herry had a pair of first half three-pointers. Nigel Choate also had a three for Taunton, who had all six of its threes in the first half. Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan had a team-high 17 points, junior Andrew Byfield added 11 points, and senior Chris Edgehill added 10 points.

North Attleboro, 37 @ Milford, 57 – FinalIt was the perfect start for the Scarlet Hawks, hitting five three-pointers in the opening eight minutes to build a lead it never relinquished. Ben Blanchard (13 points) and Colby Pires (11 points) each hit a pair of threes in the first frame while Jordan Darling hit one and went pour in a game-high 25 points. Milford led 21-12 after a quarter and extended it to 34-20 by halftime. Milford’s defense held the Rocketeers to single figures in each the second and third quarters. Sophomore Brody Rosenberg led North with 12 points.

Oliver Ames, 40 @ Mansfield, 51 – FinalAfter being limited to 16 points in the first half, Mansfield turned the tables on Oliver Ames, limiting the visitors to just 14 points after the break, and the Hornets took much better care of the ball in the second half to secure a 51-40 win over the Tigers. Mansfield had nearly as many turnovers (14) in the opening half as it did points (16) but that ratio changed drastically in the second half with the Hornets committing a total of three turnovers while more than doubling their offensive output of the first half between the third and fourth quarters. Only four Hornets scored in the win with junior TJ Guy (six rebounds) recording 14 of his team-high 19 points after the break, Sam Stevens (eight rebounds) added 17 points, freshman Chris Hill had eight points, and junior Matt Boen (10 rebounds) added seven second half points. Junior Amari Brown scored a team-high 16 points for OA.










Girls Basketball
King Philip, 55 @ Attleboro, 59 – Final Attleboro led by 16 points going into the fourth quarter but needed key free throws from Hailey Perry and Nyah Thomas late to hold off a furious rally from King Phillip. “It was a total team effort and a great win for our kids,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. Thomas had a team-high 18 points, Ryan Johnson added 10 points, Meghan Gordon chipped in with nine points, and Liv McCall finished with eight points. Brianna James, Faye Veilleux, and Faith Roy each scored 13 points for KP.

Sharon, 33 @ Canton, 54 – Final – Canton led 19-10 at halftime but poured in 20 points in the third to pull away from Sharon and win. Kiara Cerruti and Sydney Gallery each scored 13 points to pace the Bulldogs’ offense while Lilah Milton, Marissa Staffiere, and Carly Fitzgerald each had five points. Canton’s Kaitlyn Wallace scored a team-high 11 points and Leah Fandel added nine points.

Stoughton, 31 @ Foxboro, 67 – FinalFoxboro junior Katelyn Mollica scored 24 points, including her 1,000th career point, as the Warriors earned a win over Stoughton. Lizzy Davis chipped in with 13 points and Yara Fawaz added nine points for Foxboro. Shyanne Trinh led Stoughton with 10 points.

Franklin, 79 @ Taunton, 36 – FinalFranklin came out of the gates swinging, surging to a big lead early and never looked back to beat Taunton. Ali Brigham had a game-high 25 points, Olivia Quinn added 18 points and Megan O’Connell added 13 points. Taunton freshman Kameron St. Pierre scored a team-high 14 points and Sonya Fernandez added six points for the Tigers, who had a much better second half.

Mansfield, 49 @ Oliver Ames, 72 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Milford, 32 @ North Attleboro, 52 – Final

Girls Gymnastics
Franklin @ Norton – Postponed

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro @ Newton North, 6:30 (State Championships)

Stewart Powers Taunton Past Visiting Black Knights

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton junior Tyler Stewart goes up for a shot between Stoughton’s Donte Tyler and Jake Queeney (11) on Tuesday night. (Jakob Thorpe/Taunton High)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – Each time the Taunton boys basketball team hits the court, the first option in the offensive game plan is to get junior Tyler Stewart the ball.

The Tigers didn’t need to look for a second or third option many times on Tuesday night as Stewart, a 6’5 center, delivered a career-high 34 points to lead the hosts to a 73-63 win over visiting Stoughton. With the win, Taunton punched its ticket for the postseason.

Stewart, who also hauled in 13 rebounds and had a pair of blocks, shot 16-of-24 from two-point range and came away with points after each of his nine offensive rebounds to lead the way for the Tigers.

“What a night,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey about Stewart’s performance. “When we’re practicing, there are all sorts of convolutions we expect people to do to him, and we were expecting doubles from all over the place and it just didn’t happen tonight. If you leave him alone down low, obviously he can do some business. He’s used to waiting for the double and he’s able to finish when he’s close to the rim like that.”

Taunton wasted little time getting Stewart the ball as he scored the first two buckets for the home team, including a three-point play on the first possession of the game.

Only five times in the game did a possession that included a shot from Stewart not result in points for Taunton. He had back-to-back misses early in the first quarter, and another one later that resulted in a missed putback from a teammate. He converted his only other miss of the first with a putback of his own.

He did the same with his lone miss of the second quarter and shot 5-for-7 in the third quarter, but one miss was a full-court heave to try and beat the buzzer. And in the fourth, he had just three shots but the one time he missed, he gathered the offensive rebound and scored himself.

“That’s always going to be the first look, getting Tyler a touch,” Dacey said. “If the double comes, we can kick it out but he’s our go-to guy. And the rest of the league has smartened up on Trent [Santos], Canton was denying him the ball and Mansfield is just Mansfield, they can deny anyone. But if they deny those guys, that leaves Tyler down low. And Danny [MacDougall] and Faisal [Mass] are doing a good job recognizing the double team.”

Stewart’s early success (14 points in the opening quarter) resulted in a big lead for the Tigers after eight minutes (18-6). Taunton added 19 more points in the second quarter, getting four apiece from sophomore Faisal Mass (14 points, seven rebounds) and junior Josh Lopes (eight points, four assists), and a pair of layups from sophomore Tristan Herry (nine points, six rebounds, four assists) and junior Nigel Choate.

But Stoughton’s offense showed signs of life as well, with senior guard Ahmad Jahed (eight rebounds, five assists) scoring half of his 16 points in the second quarter and Myles Grigalunas-Powell (16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists) and Donte Tyler hitting three-pointers to get the Black Knights within 11, down 37-26, at halftime.

Stewart scored eight points early in the third with Trent Santos (from Danny MacDougall), Mass, and Choate also chipping in as the Tigers stretched the lead to 17 points, up 49-32 with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.

Stoughton turned to the three-point line to get back into the game and found success, closing the third quarter on a 12-4 run. Grigalunas-Powell, Brett Pendenza, Jake Queeney, and Obinna Ugwuakazi (12 points, eight rebounds) all connected down downtown to cut the deficit to 53-44 entering the fourth.










Queeney and Ugwuakazi sandwiched three-pointers around a make from Stewart to open the fourth quarter and suddenly Stoughton was down just five with seven minutes to play. After Taunton missed on back-to-back three-point chances, they got the ball back down low to Stewart, who ended up grabbing his own miss and putting it off the glass.

Another stop preceded a free throw from Lopes to make it 58-50 with 5:26 to play and Mass drove the baseline with a strong take to push the advantage back to double figures, 60-50, with 4:39 left.

“He’s really improved over the course of the season,” Dacey said of Mass. “He was in football shape at the beginning of the year and now he’s got a little bit of quickness, he has the toughness…and he’s just a sophomore too. It was just important for us to get into a flow because we didn’t on Friday night.”

Mass scored twice more in crunch time with Herry and Lopes each adding buckets as Taunton increased its lead to 68-54. Queeney sank another three late to make it an 11-point game but Stoughton was unable to get the deficit within single digits again.

“We started to relax,” Dacey said. “And we’re not young anymore, that’s no longer an excuse. The sophomores have had a ton of experience now. There’s no such thing as relaxing in this league, especially against that team. They play on emotion and I didn’t want them to get going, because when they get going they are tough. They are so athletic, they can obviously hit the three, so they can get back into a game pretty quickly.”

Taunton boys basketball (7-4 Hockomock, 11-4 overall) will visit Oliver Ames on Friday. OA nipped Taunton with a three-pointer in the final seconds in the first meeting on December 18th. Stoughton (4-7 Hockomock, 7-8 overall) will travel to North Attleboro on the same night. The Black Knights handed Big Red a loss in the first meeting.

Taunton Shines On Both Ends To Knock Off Franklin

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton boys basketball junior Tyler Stewart blocks a shot in the first half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton boys basketball team delivered a message to the rest of the Hockomock League on Friday night.

At the expense of visiting Franklin, that message was sent loud and clear.

The Tigers, locked in at both ends of the floor from start to finish, had one of their best all-around games since joining the league nearly a decade ago, earning a dominating 83-52 win over the previously unbeaten Panthers.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“That was one of the best games we’ve played on both ends of the floor,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.

Not that it was a hard decision for Dacey to make following a first half in which the Tigers were terrific on the defensive end of the court and a second half in which Taunton was nearly unstoppable on the offensive end.

“The underdog mentality the kids have…they are willing to work hard, they are great in practice,” Dacey said. “They’ve responded really well this year.”

Taunton set the tone with its active defense the featured steals from sophomore Tristan Herry (eight points, eight assists, five rebounds) and junior Danny MacDougall in the opening four minutes. The Tigers also stepped in to take a pair of charges (sophomore Trent Santos and MacDougall) in the opening minutes; Franklin finished with nine first half turnovers.

The energy on the defensive end translated to the offensive side for the Tigers, who raced out to a 10-4 lead in the game and took a 15-10 lead after one. Santos (21 points) had five points in the opening quarter while junior Tyler Stewart (21 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, two blocks) and Josh Lopes (23 points) had four points apiece in the first quarter.

“We worked on fighting through screens so we just had to stay focused, and we had to work on our close outs with their three-point shooting,” Dacey said. “It’s all fundamental stuff but these guys are willing to execute it come game time. It’s hard for 32 minutes to go through the Franklin grind. If you’re going to beat the best, you have to match what they do out there.”

Stewart, a 6’6 forward, remained a focal point of the Tigers’ offense, adding six more in the second quarter. The offense was contagious with Herry (four points), sophomore Faisal Mass, and MacDougall joining the scoring sheet in the second.

The Tigers held the Panthers to just 10 points in each the first and second quarters. Franklin senior Chris Edgehill (18 points, four rebounds) hit a pair of threes inside the final three minutes of the half to keep the visitors in the game, down 31-20 at halftime.

“We got beat in every aspect of the game of basketball tonight,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Taunton had a group that played with a chip on their shoulder with a lot of to prove…that was a group of hungry kids that came out right from the start ready to play, ready to compete. They had a great gameplan, and defensively they really tightened up early and we struggled to score.

“Once we started to get a little something going, we came out for the second half feeling alright and scored on the first possession but they just had an answer for pretty much everything. The floodgates really opened up after that. We’re not really in the business of trying to manage the scoreboard so we got into some defenses that weren’t our style but we had to try something to get back into it, we got up and pressed a little.”

True to form, Franklin emerged from the locker room with renewed energy as Santos fouled Panther senior Brayden Sullivan (10 points). Not only did Sullivan make the two free throws, Santos — arguably the Tigers’ top shooter — went to the bench with his third foul.

Franklin couldn’t capitalize on a Taunton turnover and the Tigers made them pay as Lopes ignited a three-point parade with his (and Taunton’s) first trifecta of the game.

Thomas Gasbarro sank a pair from the line to make it a 10-point game at 34-24 but Stewart answered down low on a feed from Herry, who set up Lopes for another three on Taunton’s next possession.

“That’s our gameplan, we have to get Tyler touches early,” Dacey said. “[Franklin] was throwing guys at him tonight, a couple times he had three guys on him but he’s pretty good at kicking it out. Six assists doesn’t surprise me tonight. Josh is a shooter and he hits his first couple he’s going to have a good night and Trent is a shooter, he doesn’t lack confidence putting them up.”

Jack Rudolph kept the Panthers in it finishing off a layup after a nice cut but once against Stewart answered off a nice feed from Nigel Choate and then Stewart scored on his own miss. Gasbarro set Sullivan up after a steal but Lopes came back down and sank a three for a 46-28 lead with three minutes left in the third.

‘You have to be able to respond,” Dacey said. “That’s the mark of a mature team, and even though we aren’t a mature team on paper (two seniors), we matured tonight. To be able to respond to their energy…we figured the first four minutes they would press and try and make it a full court game. We were able to respond to it.”




Edgehill finished through contact and the Panthers got a stop but a pair of offensive rebounds, the second hauled in by Stewart and put back up for two. Edgehill sank a three to try and keep the Panthers close but Lopes answered with his fourth three of the third quarter.

Herry added Taunton’s fifth three of the quarter in the final minute and Choate drove the baseline for a nice finish to cap a strong offensive quarter, putting the hosts up 57-35.

If there was any hope for a comeback, Taunton’s hot start to the fourth quickly put it to rest. Santos, back after missing the third in foul trouble, drained a three on the first play of the fourth. Mass was money on a 12-foot pull up, Stewart converted a traditional three-point play, and Santos pulled up for a long two as the Tigers pulled off a 12-3 run over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We had to adjust with Stewart killing us inside, so we started to sink down on him a little more and that opened the three a little more and credit to them, they shot great from three, it felt like they were 8-for-8,” Neely said. “We’ve kind of developed an identity of being a defensive team and I didn’t see it tonight. When you start pressing a little bit, sometimes you forget what makes you good in the first place.”

Taunton finished the second half going 8-for-11 from three-point range and 20-for-28 (71%) from the field overall.

Taunton boys basketball (4-2 Hockomock, 8-2 overall) earned its eighth straight win and will be back in action on Tuesday when it welcomes Milford to town. Franklin (5-1, 8-1) entertains North Attleboro on the same day.