By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor
MANSFIELD, Mass.- Led by seniors Sam Goldberg (15 points) and Christian Weber (13 points), the Mansfield Hornets beat the King Philip Warriors, 58-39, on Tuesday night inside James Albertini gymnasium.
“I was excited with our efforts in the second and third quarters, I thought we did a good job of responding and playing well,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan. “I thought we had a nice routine, and when we got in the rhythm, offensively we were able to score some points.”
“I thought we played hard but didn’t concentrate well enough on offense,” said King Philip coach Mark Champagne. “[Mansfield’s] a good team, they’re well-coached, and they made us pay for mistakes, but we stayed in our stance pretty good, I thought we competed a little better, [but] the offense wasn’t good at all.”
Both sides initially struggled to sink shots after the tipoff, with the Hornets and Warriors exchanging chances and misses alike. Boulter opened the scoring for the Hornets with a three point shot.
While the two teams exchanged baskets early on, Mansfield never relinquished its lead, with the closest King Philip coming being after Pharoah Davis‘s shot brought the Warriors within one at 5-4.
A relatively low-scoring first quarter ended with King Philip’s Will Weir sinking a buzzer-beating three, making it 13-11, but in the second quarter, the Hornets began to break away. The Hornets extended their lead to double digits when Benjamin Albanese‘s three-pointer made it 29-19. The Warriors struck back before the half, and remained within striking distance as they trailed the hosts 29-21.
The second half opened similarly to the first, as both sides struggled again to sink their initial shots until Goodwin’s shot from outside the paint broke through the gridlock. After a slow start, in part due to a strong defensive effort from the Warriors’ guards, the Hornets began hitting their stride again after Goldberg sunk two free throws after being fouled on Kyle Layman, and quickly hit another basket on their next offensive possession.
Weber hit a quick five points to extend the Hornets lead to 12, but thanks to Layman’s layup, King Philip brought the game back within 10 at 42-32. A free throw by Layman after a foul made it 42-33 as the two Kelley-Rex opponents headed into the final eight minutes of action.
Mansfield’s Ryan Otto hit a three pointer to start off the quarter, and it set the pace for the Hornets to continue extending their lead. Though the Warriors, led offensively by Layman, continued to fight on, in the end the Hornets would be too much for them to contain. Goldberg’s seven fourth-quarter points lead the way, while Albanese and Sam Hyland added on and Mansfield sealed another league victory.
“We’ve got to build [on our success],” said Vaughan. “We’ve got to continue to play well and play positive, and continue to do some good things and I think we can take a lot of things out of tonight’s result.”