Hockomock Wrestling Duo Earns New England Titles

Hockomock Wrestling
Mansfield’s Jayden Curley (left) and North Attleboro’s Mateusz Kudra, pictured here in matches earlier this season, won MIAA All-State and New England championships. (HockomockSports.com Photos)

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For the first time in eight years, the Hockomock League had a wrestler bring home an individual title at the New England Championships when Mansfield’s Jayden Curley took first at 170 pounds. The wait for the next New England champ was much shorter, as North Attleboro’s Matuesz Kudra followed about an hour later with a title of his own at 285.

Both wrestlers earned the first New England titles in their respective program’s history and both followed up wins from the week before at the All-State Meet at St. John’s Prep in Danvers. When Curley and Kudra were asked how it felt to close out their high school careers with New England championships, both used the same word: overwhelming.

“A lot of people from my school showed up, my principal, my past coach, my family was there, so I just turned to them and I smiled and I was just excited,” said Kudra. Curley added, “It just kind of felt surreal.”

While each of the wrestlers was focused on the moment and their individual matches, they acknowledged that they were aware of each other’s success and were rooting for their Hock competitor.

“That was definitely some added motivation because I didn’t want Mateusz to be alone out there,” Curley said.

Kudra noted, “I was really excited for him because, you know, Hock guys stick together and support each other. I was trying to get in the zone, but at the same time I was peeking in at his match.”

The win at New Englands capped a perfect 51-0 season for Kudra, who was also North’s first all-state champ and its first Div. I college recruit. The University of Virginia-commit finished third in states and sixth in New England last season, wrestling at 220 pounds, and it inspired him to push for even more this winter.

“After the season, I was kind of disappointed with myself,” Kudra explained. “I realized that there was no reason I can’t be that top-level guy.”

With a new off-season regimen, Kudra, who only started wrestling his freshman year of high school and didn’t wrestle varsity until he was a sophomore, had a string of solid results i tournaments against other DI recruits. That included a third-place finish at the prestigious Super 32 Challenge. He also moved up a weight class, but without losing the speed and athleticism that he had at 220 pounds and the techniques he learned starting out in middleweights.

“He breaks that mold of a heavyweight and he wrestles more like a 195- or a 182-pounder,” said North Attleboro coach Geoff Burgess. “He moves less like a heavyweight and more like a middleweight. Every time he went out, I said something to the effect of, don’t let this be a heavyweight match. Put points on the board and keep scoring until he gives up and that was kind of what he did.”

After dominating throughout the season, helping the Rocketeers retain the Davenport dual meet title in the process, Kudra came into the postseason on a mission. He didn’t allow a point in his four matches at Div. 2 states, reaching the final with three pins, and continued that at all-states, not allowing a point until the third period of the final.

At New Englands, Kudra won 4-0 to get things started and then 7-1 in the quarterfinal. He got a first round pin in the semifinal and then jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the final against David Gross of Bucksport (Maine), holding on for a 5-4 victory.

“Last year when I was going to New Englands, I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was a small fish in a big pond,” Kudra said. “This year…I kind of felt like the top dog going into the tournament. I felt good, I felt dangerous, and I had a good tournament.”

Curley, who is considering several DI college programs, also had a dominant regular season, helping the Hornets claim the program’s first-ever league dual meet title. After losing to Springfield Central’s Dohnivin Harvey in the semifinals of Div. 1 states, Curley refocused on the technique ahead of all-states. That loss was a reminder of what he needed to do on the mat to reach his ultimate goal.

“It definitely woke me up,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily underestimate him, but I didn’t know what I needed to do to win a match like that and my coaches helped me figure that out.”

He won the first three matches at all-states by pin to set up a rematch with Harvey in the final. This time, the result was never in doubt. Curley jumped out to a 7-0 lead and responded to a Harvey takedown in the third period by rolling off five straight points for a major decision victory to become just the second Mansfield wrestler to win an all-state title (Jim Connors won at 285 in 2005).

“I don’t give people room to get their own attacks in because I’m always trying to attack,” Curley said. “I’ve learned over the years that you can’t get what you want on the mat by being nice, so sometimes you just have to be mean when you’re wrestling.”

That momentum carried over to New Englands. He won the first match 13-3 and pinned his next two opponents to reach the final. He wouldn’t get a rubber match against Harvey, who lost in the semifinal, but he jumped out to a 6-1 lead against Ben Dougherty of Chariho (R.I.) and took the title with a 7-5 decision.

Curley said, “I didn’t want to lose my last high school match ever, but when I’m warming up for the match I realize that none of that really matters and it’s not going to affect my wrestling. I just need to wrestle my best and that’s what I tried to do.”

“The way he wrestled at the All-State Tournament and at New Englands was one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen,” Burgess said of Curley. “The way he wrestled it didn’t look like any kid was going to have a chance to score any points on him.”

Both Curley and Kudra made history for their programs and both can now be considered among the best to ever take the mat at Mansfield and North Attleboro.

When Curley was asked about what it meant to him to be mentioned as one of the best, if not the best, wrestler that Mansfield has had, he replied, “I think that’s a good thing that I can set that goal for someone else to do better than I did. Four years ago, when I got here, I don’t know if they would have expected that from me. I just tried to work as hard as possible.”

“It’s hard for me to say he’s the best wrestler we’ve ever produced but he’s certainly got the potential to be the best,” said Burgess of Kudra, who finished with 112 career wins. “I think after four years in college, I’m pretty confident that he’ll be the best ever.”

Kudra remarked, “I fell in love with the sport, so if you love doing something then it doesn’t seem like a chore or doesn’t seem like it’s hard. I made wrestling my passion and I just wanted to be the best that I could be and I just wanted to make history.”

Hockomock Boys Hockey Playoff Seeds & Matchups

Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Records listed are for MIAA tournament purposes and do not include exclusion games. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.

D1 South
Seeding will be determined following Monday’s Super 8 play-in games.

D2 South
#1 Canton (20-0-1) will host the winner of #16 Dedham (8-8-4)/#17 Medway (9-10-2) on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 at the Canton Ice House.

#9 Oliver Ames (13-8-1) will face #8 Plymouth North (11-6-3) on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 5:30 at Gallo Arena in Bourne.

#13 North Attleboro (10-8-2) will face #4 Quincy (15-4-3) on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6:00 at the Canton Ice House.

D3 South
#13 Foxboro (11-6-3) will host #20 Mashpee/Monomoy (9-9-2) on Monday, Feb. 25 at 4:00 at the Foxboro Sports Center.

#17 Attleboro (10-8-2) will travel to #16 Nantucket (9-7-2) on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 5:15 at the Nantucket Ice Skating Rink.

Warriors Show Strength in Depth to Win at North

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro junior center Shakirah Ketant had a breakout game for the Warriors, scoring a game-high 15 points to spark a big win over North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Foxboro won a state title last season using mostly a six-player rotation, but this year’s squad relies on eight or more players to contribute in different ways every game. On Friday night at North Attleboro, the Warriors needed every bit of that depth to come away from the Pickering Gym with a win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The league’s top scoring team was held without a made field goal in the first quarter, the league’s second leading scorer, Katelyn Mollica, was held to just six made free throws for the night, and one of Foxboro’s starters, Yara Fawaz, was limited by illness to only a few minutes on the court, but Foxboro still had three players score in double figures and rolled to a 60-29 victory.

“At this time of the year, knowing that I can go eight kids deep and that they can all contribute offensively is huge because last year we couldn’t go that deep,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “That was the fewest points Mollica’s ever had and we can still beat a team by 20-plus points.”

In many ways, the Rocketeers match up well with the Warriors in terms of athleticism and they came out with a game plan to stop the driving lanes, close out hard on shooters, and be as active as possible on the defensive end.

For eight minutes, it worked perfectly. Foxboro was held without a made basket in the first quarter, scoring all five points from the line, including 4-of-4 for Mollica. The problem for the Rocketeers was on the offensive end. North only made three shots of its own and led by just two points after one. Eliza Dion scored four of her six in the first and Colette Petit drilled a three.

Junior center Shakirah Ketant scored Foxboro’s first basket to tie the game at the start of the second quarter, but Amanda Kaiser answered back with a three to regain the lead. It was the last lead that North would hold, as the Warriors went on a 24-2 run to take control.

“It was a great start for us,” said North coach Derek Herber. “You know going in that you have to stop Mollica and then you just hope and pray no one else is hitting, which in that first quarter we played great defense to do that. The problem is they played great defense and we can’t score on the other end. We hung in there until the middle of the second quarter.”

Lizzy Davis scored nine of her 14 points in the second to spark the Foxboro run, while Chelsea Gibbons added five of her 14. After scoring only five points in the first quarter, Foxboro scored 23 in the second, while holding North to just a handful. Davis knocked down a dagger three-pointer as the half ended, helped by Abby Hassman (nine rebounds) chasing down a loose ball.

“It was a dagger,” Herber said about Davis’ buzzer beater. “It just switched the whole tenor of the half…it kind of deflated the kids.”

He added, “We hang in there and we do a lot of good things, but we just can’t score. You feel for everybody, but we go through stretches. We’re just on the cusp. Hopefully it’s a building process and we’re learning from these things.”

In the third quarter, the Warriors extended the lead. Gibbons had a steal under the North basket for a layup plus the foul and then Davis nailed a three to push the lead to 20 points. Jordyn Collins knocked down a jumper and Anita Busznyak twice scored on drives to the basket. Although Regan Fein and Michelle Pothier scored for North, the visitors led 42-19 after three.

Downs explained, “To go into tournament knowing that we have other girls who can contribute when [Katelyn] is being shut down is huge. Shakirah had kind of a breakthrough, Lizzy is back in the scoring, and Chelsea has been pretty consistent.”

North tried to cut into the lead in the fourth quarter, with Kaiser (eight rebounds) getting a layup off an Olivia Forbes steal and then Forbes following with a three off a Kaiser assist and Julia Feid added three points, but Ketant proved to be too much for the Rocketeers to handle in the post.

She scored off a putback, a post move from the left block, and off a steal under the North basket. Ketant had 10 of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, and she also added 12 rebounds as well.

“She was the difference maker today,” said Herber about Ketant’s impact. “In the first game, they didn’t really have a post presence, so we were able to do some things. She was a beast today and just able to take control in there to give them another option.”

Foxboro (16-2, 14-2) will head into its annual Warrior Classic to face Old Rochester on Monday night in a battle of the two teams tied for the top seed in Div. 2 South. North Attleboro (6-14, 4-12) will close out its season on Thursday against Weston.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foster Carries Canton Past North Attleboro

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Paul Corcoran goes up for a layup against North Attleboro’s George Ladd in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Locked in a defensive battle, the North Attleboro and Canton boys basketball teams spent the majority of the fourth quarter in a one-possession game.

For the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, only one minute of it was spent with Canton holding more than a one-possession lead. And for a three and a half minute stretch, neither side could make a move to either pull away or erase the deficit.

North Attleboro senior Josh Montague converted a tough layup to bring the Rocketeers within three at 41-38 with just over four minutes left in the game. Canton had plenty of chances to pull away, but the Rocketeers wouldn’t allow it.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Over the next three and a half minutes, Canton went 0-for-5 from the field, leaving the lead at just three points and the door open for the Rocketeers.

But while Canton’s offense sputtered, its defense continued to force the Rocketeers into tough shots. North Attleboro didn’t fare any better in the stretch, going 0-for-3 from the field, missed the front end of a one-and-one, and had three turnovers.

Despite the lack of success for North, it’s defense also kept them in the game, and the Rocketeers trailed by three the under a minute to go.

It wasn’t until Canton forced a turnover off an inbounds play and with just under 20 seconds to go in the game, the Bulldogs turned to the man who had carried them virtually the entire game: senior Devin Foster.

Foster made a cut through the lane and took a feed from Kyle Fitzgerald and laid it in for a five-point lead. And to seal the deal, Foster stepped in to take a charge on North’s next possession to get the ball back.

With the 43-38 victory, Canton clinches sole possession of the Davenport division title. It marks the second straight year the Bulldogs have won the division.

“It was a strange game because of the flow of it, or lack of flow to it,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “It was kind of a unique game. We had a really bad first quarter, giving up 18 points but then we held them to 20 points the rest of the way. And they are a good team, they have bigs, they have shooters. For us to be able to hold a good team like that through the final three quarters is big for us. It was a defensive battle, a classic Davenport division game.”

Foster’s last bucket was just the cherry on top of a terrific performance. The senior guard scored all of Canton’s eight points in the final quarter, and accounted for 19 of the team’s 22 points in the second half. Foster finished with 29 points and five rebounds.

“They were switching, and we knew that coming in, so we drew some plays up to try and get him some easier baskets and put him in different matchups that we felt we could take advantage of,” Gordy said. “So the gameplan kind of just went that way. And the other thing is our road woes. Over the last three years, we’re much better at home than on the road. Devin has been great both at home and on the road but we have to get everybody else playing like they do at home.”

North Attleboro’s offense came out strong, scoring 18 points in the opening quarter. But it fizzled from there as the Rocketeers managed just 20 points over the final three quarters, going just 2-for-18 from three point range for the game. The Rocketeers opened by hitting eight of their first 11 shots from the field but managed just six field goals on 31 attempts over the final 24 minutes.

“I’m proud of the effort, but, defensively obviously Foster is a handful,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “We tried a couple of different things and he found ways to make plays and make shots. Ultimately we just didn’t down enough good looks, some great looks. I’m proud that we got those looks, we’ve knocked them down the last couple of games but tonight, for whatever reason, we just didn’t knock enough down shots. Holding them to 43 is good but scoring 38 isn’t enough.”

The teams combined for just 14 points in the second quarter. Sophomore George Ladd (10 points, nine rebounds) scored the first three points for the Rocketeers while Nate Gonsalves hit a pair of free throws. For Canton, Fitzgerald drained a three, Robbie Gallery added a free throw, and Foster scored four straight to get the Bulldogs within two, 23-21, at halftime.

The Bulldogs seemed to make a concerted effort to get Foster the ball in the third quarter, and the senior delivered. After Fitzgerald hit a three to open the frame for the Bulldogs, Foster scored the next 11 for Canton.

He followed Fitzgeralds three with a triple of his own and drove to the basket for two more for a 29-25 lead. Foster and North’s Jake Petersen traded two points apiece before Foster hit back-to-back shots for a 35-28 advantage, the largest lead of the night for Canton.

“They made some more significant changes defensively at halftime,” Mulkerrins said. “They defended our sets pretty well, they did a better job of closing down our driving lanes. In the third quarter, we didn’t get as many looks. In the second and fourth quarter, we got the looks but if you don’t capitalize on them you won’t win the game.”

Josh Porter and Montague connected on back-to-back chances to bring North Attleboro within three heading into the final quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Nate Gonsalves got North within two early and a pair of free throws from Joe MiloshCanton boys basketball (9-6 Hockomock, 11-8 overall) concludes its league schedule when it hosts Milford on Friday night. North Attleboro (6-9, 8-9) hits the road to take on Foxboro on the same night.

Franklin, Mansfield, and North Claim Sectional Titles

Hockomock wrestling
North Attleboro – Division 2 South Champions (Courtesy photo).
Hockomock wrestling
Franklin – Division 1 Central Champions (Courtesy photo).
Hockomock wrestling
Mansfield – Division 1 South Champions (Courtesy photo).

Click here for a photo gallery from the Hock Super Quad at Sharon High.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Hock Super Quad at Foxboro High.

Three Hockomock teams claimed sectional titles on Saturday, five others finished inside the top five, and 26 grapplers claimed individual sectional titles. Franklin dominated the D1 Central bracket, racking up 272 points behind six individual champions, two finalists, and two third-place finishes. The Panthers had over a 50 point cushion over second place Brookline. In the South section, Mansfield repeated as D1 South champions by edging out host Brockton, and North Attleboro snagged another D2 South title with six individual champions.

Foxboro earned second place in D3 South with an impressive 13 wrestlers finishing sixth or better at the tournament. Oliver Ames had its best ever finish at sectionals, taking third place in the D2 South bracket while Sharon took fifth overall. King Philip took third place in the D2 Central sectional, edging out Milford by a half of a point. Stoughton tied for seventh place in D2 South, Canton earned eighth in D2 Central, and Taunton placed 11th in D1 South.

Franklin’s Drew DiFilippo earned the D1 Central sectional title at 106 with a 7-0 decision. He scored all seven of his points in the first round, earning a takedown and then a pair of near falls. Jake Carlucci picked up a 7-4 win in the 113 final, using an escape and a late reversal to seal the title. Jordan Carlucci dominated in the 132 final, scoring nine straight points after the match was tied at 2-2 early on, and Ken Sauer won the 138 championship with an impressive 9-1 decision, only allowing an escape late in the third period. Dominic Sackley was the fifth Panther to win a title, using an escape and takedown in the second, and a takedown in the third to secure a 7-1 decision. And Matt Leofanti scored an upset in the 220 final, using a second period takedown and a third period escape to upend the top seed, 3-1. Caleb MacLean (160) and Riley Downing (285) earned second, Alex Fracassa (126) and Dylan Nawn (182) were both third, and Ben Jacoby (195) was fourth.

A year after Mansfield claimed its first sectional title, the Hornets grabbed their second D1 South crown in a row. Will Stratton needed less than two minutes to get a pinfall victory in the 145 title match, and George Glaropoulos had a similar performance in the 160 championship, earning the title by pinfall in 1:31. After a scoreless first period, CJ Glaropoulos scored a reversal in the second and a takedown in the third to secure the D1 South title at 152. Jayden Curley cruised through the 170 bracket in impressive fashion, pinning his first two opponents in under a minute, winning his semifinal match via pinfall in 1:34, and then took the title with a pin in just 33 seconds. Ethan Nirenberg was Mansfield’s fifth winner, using a second period escape and a near fall in the third to win 4-0. Antonios Sevastos added a second place finish, and Stefan Steyn earned third for the Hornets. Taunton’s Jackson Wellman, in his first year wrestling, earned third at 182 and Christian Balmain took home fourth.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Hock Super Quad at Sharon High.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Hock Super Quad at Foxboro High.

Of the 14 champions in Division 2 South, nine came from Hockomock teams with North Attleboro having six winners and Oliver Ames taking three individual titles. After a tech fall and a decision to reach the final, North Attleboro’s Mike Burns earned a first round pin to win the 138 crown. Two weight classes later, North’s Michael Edmonds scored all of his points in the second and third rounds, overcoming a 5-0 first round deficit to stun top-seeded Tristan Williamson of Hingham for the 152 D2 South championship. Montrel Jackson followed suit, scoring a second round pin to upset top-seeded Declan Byrne of Pembroke. In the 220 final, John Kummer added another upset win for the Rocketeers, getting five points in the final 31 seconds to knock off top-seeded Will Dion of Plymouth North by a score of 8-3. Liam Rizk was trailing 6-2 in the 220 match before securing a pinfall victory, and Mateusz Kudra needed just over a minute to get a pin over Stoughton’s Calvin LaGuerre in the 285 final for North’s sixth individual title. Oliver Ames’ Nick McGovern had a big day, earning two pins to advance to the semifinals, then knocked off #2 Vinay Chinnam of Sharon, 13-10. In the final, McGovern shocked top-seeded David White of Hingham with a second period pinfall. Billy Tat (170) earned the title with a first round pin, and Dean Pacini secured the 195 crown with a third round pin.

Also in D2 South, North Attleboro’s Ethan Smith (120) was second, and Jon Lozinski (132) and Matt Warsofsky (170) both placed third. OA freshman John Dobbin continued his strong rookie season by taking second in the 106 bracket, and Max Anderson (220), Nelson Malone (132), and Remi Creighton (120) all earned fourth place finishes. Sharon had five grapplers take third place including Alex Bolt (195), Amit Levin (120), Huguens Pierre (138), Jon Wald (182), and Tyler Cashton (152) while Andrew Ableman (160) and Vinay Chinnam (126) finished fourth. On top of LaGuerre’s second place finish in the heavyweight bracket, Stoughton’s John Santos (113) took third overall, and CJ Carpenter (106) was fourth.

All three Hockomock teams in the D2 Central tournament earned at least one individual champion. King Philip had a pair of champions as Luke Fitch (182), and Shawn Conniff (195) earned back-to-back pinfall victories. Conniff earned an upset in the final, knocking off top-seeded Alex Childs of Nashoba. Mohammad Lofti (145) and Yousef Lotfi (285) both finished second for the Warriors and Benjamin Leclair (113) and Noah Riedel (138) each finished fourth. Milford will be sending six wrestlers to states, highlighted by Carlos Terrinha, who won the D1 Central title at 120. After winning the first two matches by fall, Terrinha earned the title with a 10-3 decision. Nick Marcolini (152) finished second, Dan Pinto (138), Dylan Ortiz (132), and Joao Neiva (195) each took third, and Evan Hazard (126) was fourth overall. Canton’s Cole Murphy won his first sectional title, earning a pinfall victory (his second of the day) in the 170 final to get the win. Harry Carter (132) and Zach Peters (106) each took second, and Mark Carstairs (120) finished third overall for the Bulldogs.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Hock Super Quad at Sharon High.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Hock Super Quad at Foxboro High.

Foxboro had a terrific showing at the D3 Sectional, having a wrestler place sixth or better in all but one weight class. The Warriors, who finished second to Norton in the team standings, had three individual champions. Shayne Kerrigan (132) won by pinfall in his first two matches and then picked up a pair of decisions, the latter a 7-1 win in the finals to get the title. Tommy Gallagher (138) followed Kerrigan’s title win up with one of his own, earning a pin in his first match, a 2-0 decision in the semifinals, and then a 6-3 decision in the finals, highlighted by a nearfall in the third period. William Ogebebor (220) was the third Warrior to win a sectional title, needing just 30 seconds to win his first match, advancing to the final with a 5-0 win in the semifinal, and then an 8-2 decision to become the champion. Foxboro’s Adam Lanctot (120), Tom Cullen (170), and William McNeil (285) each finished third while Matt Sharkey (145) and Sean Bubencik (106) each took fourth place.