Milford Can’t Complete Comeback In Central Semifinals

Milford boys basketball Jordan Darling
Milford junior Jordan Darling goes up for a shot against Hopkinton on the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MILFORD, Mass. – With all things considered, down just three points heading into the fourth quarter certainly wasn’t the worst situation for the Milford boys basketball team.

The Hawks were on the verge of erasing a forgettable first quarter in which Hopkinton dominated, draining shot after shot to build a 23-4 lead — a 19-point advantage less than seven minutes into the game.

But Milford was never quite able to get over the hump down the stretch, going ice cold from deep in the final frame as the eighth-seeded Hillers earned a 66-59 upset of the fourth-seeded Scarlet Hawks.

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“We were down 23-4, they were shooting lights out, and the hole was too big to dig out of,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We kind of weathered the storm, we got it down to five or six [at halftime], we just couldn’t get over the hump. Give [Hopkinton] credit, they are a good team, they had a good game plan. They took away Colby and Ben with their box-and-one and their triangle-and-two. We needed other shots to fall. And [Hopkinton] shot the lights out.”

Milford trimmed the large first quarter deficit down to 13 by the end of the period, and the upward trajectory continued as the Hawks dropped 21 points in the second to trail by just six, 37-31, at the halftime break.

Hopkinton threatened to run away with it as its lead ballooned to 12 points (46-34) two minutes into the third but Milford continued to battle back, holding the Hillers to two points over the final four minutes and scoring nine points themselves to head into the fourth down 51-48.

The shot Milford needed never came, misfiring on their first nine three-point attempts from the field. Hopkinton opened a 58-51 lead just before the midway point of the final quarter before junior Ralph Franklin Jr. (15 points, six rebounds), who gave the Hawks a big boost off the bench all game, hit two from the line after hauling in an offensive rebound.

The score stayed frozen at 59-53 for over two minutes as both Tyler Wetherbee and Max Martin stepped in to take charges to give Milford a chance. Junior Jordan Darling (14 points, 11 rebounds) converted his own miss and Hopkinton missed seven straight free throws to keep the Hawks in the game.

Darling sank a free throw with 1:15 to go to make it 60-56, and senior Colby Pires tipped a pass free to give the Hawks the ball back, but Milford couldn’t convert on a shot in the paint. Hopkinton sank two at the line and then forced the Hawks into a turnover, sinking two more for a 64-56 lead.

Matty Varteresian sank his second triple of the game, and Milford’s first of the fourth, with 11 seconds to go but the Hillers had a large enough lead to hold on.

“We had open shots, they dared other players to beat them,” Seaver said. “We had some guys hit some shots but we just couldn’t get enough to go down, especially in the fourth quarter. And the defense wasn’t good enough for us. It was a sign of a team with three seniors on the roster. [Hopkinton] has seven or eight seniors on their roster and they made plays. When it comes to the tournament, seniors do weird things and can find a way sometimes.”

It was a dream start for the Hillers, who knocked off top-seeded Grafton in the opener round and now will take on Wayland in the D2 Central Final. Hopkinton went 9-for-17 from the floor in the opening eight minutes, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.

And it wasn’t just one Hiller either, as six different players joined the scoring column in the opening minutes. And each of the four three-pointers came from a different player with Steven Maffiore, Thomas Ambrosone, Brian Keefe, and Travis Finfrock all connected from long range. And Hopkinton big man Elan Rosen had his way down low, going 3-for-3.

Wetherbee hit a three, Sean Murray came off the bench for a free throw, and Darling had a strong take to help Milford finish with a 6-0 surge to qualm the storm some.

After hitting a three to start the quarter, Darling was whistled for a foul, sending him to the bench alongside fellow starter Dom Schofield, both with two fouls. Franklin Jr. kept the Hawks afloat though, hitting a three and then a free throw. Wetherbee added three the traditional way and Ben Blanchard got free for his first triple of the game.

Murray hit another free throw and Franklin Jr. had four straight points as Milford closed with a 5-0 burst to get within 37-31 at the break.

After going down a dozen in the third, Milford’s bench sparked the comeback to get the Hawks back in the game. Franklin Jr. fought for an offensive board and putback and Varteresian splashed in a three.

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Martin added a three of his own on one end and came up with a steal on the other, leading to a fast break that resulted in two free throws from Pires. Darling closed with four straight points as Milford trialed 51-48 after three.

“Guys came off the bench like they have all season, we are a deep team and versatility has been a positive,” Seaver said. “It gave us a spark but we just couldn’t get over it, which goes back to the hole we dug early in the game which is frustrating.”

Milford boys basketball finishes the season at 14-8.

Hawks Land Key Crossover Win Over Oliver Ames

Milford boys basketball Jordan Darling
Milford junior Jordan Darling goes up for a layup against Oliver Ames’ Will Whiteside in the fourth quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MILFORD, Mass. – Coming off a pair of close losses, the Milford boys basketball team knew it couldn’t let another opportunity slip away.

A one-point loss to Taunton preceded a rare division home defeat to Stoughton last week but with a strong emphasis on defense and a career night from junior Jordan Darling (33 points, 12 rebounds), the Scarlet Hawks put an end to the brief skid with an important 73-61 verdict over visiting Oliver Ames.

The Hawks were the lone Davenport team to win on Tuesday, a week after the division was swept by the Kelley-Rex.

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Milford turned the game on its head with a terrific third quarter, doubling its output from the first half in just eight minutes while its defense got the job done against a Tigers’ squad that can score in a variety of ways.

“We came out [in the second half] with a sense of urgency,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “Our defense led to offense is the best way to put it. We had our opportunities in two games last week and we didn’t capitalize so we came into this game really focused on our team and what we can do.

“We put a real emphasis on defense the last couple of days and looking at the score, we held them to 40 points from the field so I thought our defense was phenomenal. I think our defense is what won us the game tonight.”

A back-and-forth first half featured 21 combined fouls and 23 combined free throw shots, so there wasn’t much rhythm for either side. Darling got off to a strong start with seven points in the first quarter while Dom Schofield, Colby Pires (11 points, eight rebounds), and Ben Blanchard (12 points) all scored to help the Hawks seize a 13-8 lead early.

Oliver Ames briefly overcame a tough first shooting quarter (2-for-10 from the field) for its best offensive stretch of the night. The Tigers went on a 12-0 run in the middle of the second quarter that featured seven straight from senior Evan Craig (15 points, eight rebounds), a layup and free throw from Amari Brown (12 points, five rebounds, four assists), and a mid-range jumper from Jay Spillane to go ahead 20-15.

But the Tigers’ offense cooled over the final four minutes of the second quarter, and for the majority of the game. Milford countered with an 11-4 run to end the quarter that was capped by a layup from Ralph Franklin Jr. at the buzzer that gave the Hawks a 26-24 lead at halftime.

Blanchard opened the third quarter with a three and the Hawks were off and running from there. And even when Milford was off the mark on its first shot, like it was on two of its next four possessions, the Hawks shined on the offensive boards. In both cases, it was Darling that collected the offensive rebound and went right back up for two, and junior Sean Murray chipped in with a putback of his own to give the hosts a 37-28 lead at the midway point.

The Hawks pushed the lead to double-digits for the first time on a layup from Blanchard, and the offense closed the quarter with an incredible surge.

Franklin Jr. scored off an assist from Tyler Wetherbee, Darling converted in the post and then on a breakaway after a steal. Weatherbee used a nifty feed from the baseline to find Darling for two more before Oliver Ames looked to put a stop to the bleeding by sinking its first three (after missing its first 12 attempts) via Owen Friel (10 points) with just a couple of seconds left in the third.

But Milford had one more punch to deliver as Darling banked in a shot from just over half court to beat the buzzer and give the Hawks a 52-36 advantage through three quarters.

“This is one of those ones where we got thoroughly outplayed in every phase,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “Right down the line, defensively not good, offensively bad choices, bad shooting, and on and on…just felt like we got outplayed.










“Because we’re not shooting well (19-for-59 FG), we’re in transition defense all the time. We usually shoot the ball better and can set the defense. And they hurt us on the boards all night.”

Pires opened the final quarter with a three, Murray scored down low, and Pires finished off his own miss as the Hawks pushed the lead to 59-38 early in the fourth. The Hawks held OA without a made field goal for the first three minutes, limiting the Tigers to just three free throws.

OA senior Ryan Burkett (13 points, 12 rebounds) scored down low but a three-point play from Darling with 2:50 left in the game gave the Hawks their largest lead at 64-46 and capped the junior forwards’ big night.

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“He’s always up for the challenge, there’s no doubt about it,” Seaver said of Darling. “And obviously tonight was a career night for Jordan but just after the game, I heard someone tell him how many points he had but he said the team won, that’s all that matters. That sums up the type of kid he is and the team-first attitude everyone on this team has.”

The teams combined for 20 free throws in the final two minutes of action to bring the final score to 73-61.

Milford boys basketball (5-4 Hockomock, 6-4 overall) moves into sole possession of first place in the Davenport just past the midway mark and will travel to Canton on Friday. Oliver Ames (4-5, 8-6) will try to bounce back when it visits King Philip on the same night.

Milford Survives Sharon Surge With Overtime Win

Milford boys basketball Jordan Darling
Milford junior Jordan Darling goes up for a layup in the first half against Sharon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – A typical high school basketball game will feature plenty of momentum swings and runs over the course of 32 minutes.

The Sharon and Milford boys basketball teams managed to fit all of the drama into the fourth quarter and overtime on Sunday afternoon. Although the Eagles managed to erase a large second half deficit, and another Milford lead in the final seconds, the Hawks prevailed with a 79-78 overtime victory on the road.

“That was just a classic, wild high school basketball game, that’s the only way to sum it up,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver.

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The Hawks’ lead ballooned to as much as 18 halfway through the third quarter, and the advantage sat at 55-42 with the visitors just eight minutes away from a win.

The Eagles had other plans, however, dominating the fourth quarter to the tune of an 11-0 run over the first four minutes, putting the Hawks’ lead in serious jeopardy. Despite a timeout to try and stop the bleeding, Sharon continued on, pushing the run to 17-0 to seize a four-point lead with two minutes to play.

But as shocking as the run from the Eagles was, so was the response from the Hawks, which was a 9-0 burst in a one minute span, turning a four-point deficit into a five-point lead. Again, Sharon refused to fold by rattling off a 7-2 burst over the final 20 seconds, capped by sophomore John Baez’s ridiculous three-pointer that beat the buzzer to force overtime.

“That was mostly just effort,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson of the comeback. “We got down 18 points in the third quarter so we called a timeout, switched up our defenses a little bit. The kids worked unbelievably hard on the defensive end, we found some shots on the offensive end with it. But it comes back to their effort and hard work.”

Sharon senior Andrew Burton (24 points, five rebounds, six assists) gave the hosts the lead in the overtime period before Milford senior Colby Pires (19 points, nine rebounds) answered with his fifth three-pointer of the game to put the visitors in front.

Baez knotted the score with a free throw before Ralph Franklin Jr. sank one of his own to put the Hawks back in front. Junior Matt Baskin (career-high 27 points, eight rebounds) sank a pair from the line on one end but a foul on the box out allowed Jordan Darling (22 points, 14 rebounds) to reciprocate on the other end for a 72-71 lead.

Baskin drove through the lane for two more for a lead with 1:20 to play but it was Darling again who had the answer, finishing over good defense down low. Tyler Wetherbee and Darling combined for three free twos as the Hawks’ defense picked up key back-to-back stops on defense.

Caleb Gayle brought the Eagles within two but Ben Blanchard (20 points) converted two huge free throws in the final seconds. Senior Aidan Kane sank a three at the buzzer to bring the final score to a one-point game.

“Give [Sharon] all the credit,” Seaver said. “We played well enough to build a double-digit lead, I think we got it up to 18 at one point. And they are the ones who hit shots in the fourth quarter and more importantly got stops. It took us forever to finally get a basket to fall. At the end of the day, a win is a win in this league. Everybody you play on any given night is good and you have to be ready to go. But a win is a win.”

Blanchard was a big reason that Milford got off to a strong start, hitting three trifectas in the opening eight minutes, slashing to the basket for another two for 11 of Milford’s 20 first quarter points.

The Hawks used an 11-3 burst in the second quarter to create the separation it carried into the fourth quarter. A three-pointer from Kane brought the Eagles within one possession at 22-19 but Darling hit four straight free throws, Pires knocked down a three, Blanchard scored again, and Ralph Franklin Jr. finished at the rim for a 33-22 advantage.

While Milford’s offense continued its normal pace in the third quarter, Sharon got a huge boost from Baskin. The junior wing scored 12 of his points in that quarter, keeping the Eagles within shouting distance entering the fourth quarter. He hit twice from three-point range and had three buckets driving to the hoop.

“We think he can be a very good player in this league and he’s gaining confidence in each practice, in each game,” Ferguson said about Baskin, who transferred into the program this season. “We’re in his ear about it. He creates a lot of mismatches with his height, length, and offensive ability. If they put a big on him, he can take them off the dribble or if they put a smaller guy on him, we can put him in the post and he made some nice post moves today. He really asserted himself for the first time this year.”

Burton sparked the fourth quarter with four straight points and Baez added a free throw. The Eagles took advantage of a foul and a technical foul, making two of the four three throws and Cam Baker (10 points) scored on the ensuing possession to make it 55-51.

“Their zone really slowed us down,” Seaver said. “We tried to get it to the high post, we tried to dump it down and we actually had a lot of good looks from the outside but we just went ice cold for a long stretch. That translated to a poor defensive end during their comeback but credit Sharon. Credit their zone, they did a good job changing the pace on us. In the end, we made one more play, hit one more free throw, and that’s what we needed.”

Kiran Chandrasekaran took a feed from Burton and finished to make it 55-53 and Burton tied the game after a fast break. Burton gave the Eagles the lead with a free throw and Baskin pushed it to 59-55 with a three-pointer with two minutes left.

Pires played the role of hero for the Hawks. After Darling hit a free throw, Pires sank two technical foul free throws and then drained a corner three on the ensuing possession. After the Hawks drew a charge, Pires sank another triple and Milford suddenly had a 64-59 lead.

“Colby is a three-year varsity player, a two-time captain, a two-year starter and he’s kind of the heart and soul of this program,” Seaver said. “He made senior plays and he made winning plays. That’s who he is, that’s what he does and most importantly he showed it on the court today for us.”

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Baskin hit two free throws with 20.3 seconds left only for Blanchard to answer with two of his own with 11.5 seconds left. Burton drove to the hoop for two and the Eagles were able to create a turnover on Milford’s inbounds pass. Baez beat the buzzer with a three to force overtime.

“It’s a matter of mentality,” Ferguson said of what can turn games like this into a win. “Yeah, maybe this group hasn’t won a lot of basketball games but they want to win basketball games. We saw that there. I have to coach it better, we have to get a little better with our execution, and we have to maintain our emotions. I think that hurt us today. Hopefully, these experiences are building the confidence that will help us in the long run.”

Milford boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) moves into sole possession of first place in the Davenport with the win and will be back in action on Wednesday against Mansfield. Sharon (0-4, 0-5) will host Taunton on Tuesday in search of its first win.

Bench Contributions Help Oliver Ames Hold Off Milford

Oliver Ames boys basketball
Oliver Ames’ Ethan Eckstrom (22) puts up a shot against Milford’s Dom Schofield in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Behind a fast start, a strong finish, and key contributions off the bench, Oliver Ames boys basketball picked up a crucial win over Milford on Tuesday.

The Tigers came out flying in the opening quarter and built a double-digit lead, but needed a strong fourth quarter after the Hawks got within one possession entering the final frame.

And on top of that, Oliver Ames’ bench combined to score 23 points, including 11 in the crucial final quarter.

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“I thought we had pretty good energy out of the shoot,” said OA head coach Don Byron. “This is a good group, they are pretty mentally tuned in to the situation and understand how important this game is to us. We’re sitting at 5-5 coming in, and the difference between 5-6 and 6-5 as you make the turn is getting bigger every night. We have to do everything we can to take care of home court because we’re on the road a lot in February so it was a big game.”

While Oliver Ames had an 18-5 lead after one, and a 26-15 lead at halftime, the Scarlet Hawks made it a close game with a big third quarter. Milford outscored the Tigers 19-11 in the frame, including four points in the final seconds to make it a one-possession game at 37-34.

A questionable bench technical on Milford gave OA two free throws to begin the final quarter, and senior Michael Greene (career-high 10 points off the bench) gave the Tigers a bit of breathing room by hitting both. After getting a stop on the defensive end, Greene sank a three to put Oliver Ames up 42-34.

Milford got within four behind back-to-back buckets from sophomore Dom Schofield (seven points, five rebounds) but OA senior Sean O’Brien drained a three off a feed from Greene to push it back to seven.

Greene came up with a steal on the next possession, which led to a fast break and two made free throws from senior Ethan Eckstrom (nine points, 11 rebounds) and a 47-38 lead with under five minutes to go.

Junior Owen Friel (four points off the bench) extended OA’s advantage to 11, a lead that the Tigers held for the majority of time left in the game. Friel and Greene each added two more in the final minutes.

Greene and Friel were joined by junior Ryan Burkett (five points, four rebounds) and sophomore Amari Brown (four points, three rebounds, three assists) as key contributors off the bench for OA. The four combined for 23 points.

“When they went zone, that changes the personnel package a little bit,” Byron said. “There were times [Milford] didn’t play particularly big, and we can play a little bit smaller as well. We had a couple of kids that we try to use situationally that got their minutes extended when they went zone, like Michael Greene and Owen Friel.”

While Milford outscored Oliver Ames over the final three quarters (42-38), its slow start to the game ended up being one of the main concerns for head coach Paul Seaver,

“We were not ready to play out of the gate, and I think that dictated the whole game,” Seaver said with Hawks behind 18-5 after one. “We were down early, down often, and everything tonight has to do with our poor start. It’s kind of been the story of the season, we compete for a good chunk of the ball game but not always the result. Sometimes it’s a good start, tonight was a poor start. We have to find a way to play a complete 32 minutes because that’s what you need to do in this league to have any shot at winning a game.”

Oliver Ames’ defense limited the Hawks to just 2-for-13 shooting in the opening quarter and Milford settled for a couple of contested long threes (1-for-9 in the period). Brown came off the bench and scored four points in first, Eckstrom had four in the first along with eight boards, and four other Tigers were on the scoreboard, including a late three from Greene.

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Milford switched to a zone in the second and that seemed to slow the Tigers down a bit, limiting OA to just eight points in the frame. Milford had a 7-0 run to start. The second to get within six but only scored three points the rest of the way and entered halftime down 11, 26-15.

Scarlet Hawks senior Brendan White took over in the third quarter. Fresh off his 40-point performance against Stoughton on Friday, White poured in 14 of his 19 points in the period to help get the Hawks in the game. In the final seconds of the third, White converted a layup and then stole the inbounds pass, quickly putting the ball up for two more to beat the buzzer to make it 37-34. Milford’s bench celebrated by walking onto the floor to greet White but was hit with a technical foul.

Oliver Ames boys basketball (4-5 Hockomock, 6-5 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts King Philip. Milford (3-6, 4-8) is also home on Friday night and will entertain Davenport rival Canton.

Hawks Start Strong But Fall To Algonquin In Opener

Milford boys basketball
Milford’s Brendan White drives baseline against Algonquin in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MILFORD, Mass. – Despite it being the first quarter of the first game of the season for Milford, the Scarlet Hawk defense looked in midseason form.

Using full court pressure and a 2-3 zone, the Hawks gave an experienced Algonquin team fits, forcing 11 turnovers and holding the Tomahawks – D1 Central finalists a season ago – without a field goal for the opening period.

But on the other end of the court, the Scarlet Hawks weren’t able to capitalize on the strong defensive work, and after one quarter, were tied 8-8.

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From there, Algonquin’s offense slowly got going in the second and then exploded in the third game, turning a one-possession game into a double-digit lead, resulting in a 67-51 win over the T-Hawks.

“I thought we came out great in the first quarter, [Algonquin] didn’t even have a field goal just eight free throws, so our defense was very good,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We find positives from this first game, that’s what we have to do to get better. Algonquin was in the D1 Central final last year, they are a very good program, that freshman [Alex Karaban] is a hell of a talent, and they have two of their top three scorers back in addition to that.

“They have tons of talent, this was a good non-league test for us. We wanted to put them on our schedule, we want to challenge ourselves. We certainly were challenged tonight and in the end, they hit shots and we didn’t.”

A three-pointer from Brendan White (21 points, seven rebounds) opened the scoring and then a steal from White led to a three for Brendon Sailer (eight points) and another turnover led to a layup for junior Colby Pires, giving Milford an 8-2 lead.

But the Hawks offense sputtered the rest of the quarter, finishing 3-for-15 from the field and the T-Hawks cashed in with eight free throws to knot the game 8-8 after eight minutes.

Milford’s offense got back on track to start the second quarter, rattling off a 9-1 run over the first two minutes to jump ahead 17-9. The Hawks hit three of their first four shots – a bucket down low from sophomore Jordan Darling, a three-point play from White, a triple from Danny Corsini (eight points), and a free throw from White – to take the lead.

But over the final 5:51, the Hawks went without a field goal (0-for-10), adding just one free throw while the Algonquin offense found some rhythm. The T-Hawks scored seven straight points, including their first field goal (a three from junior Artem Segarra) and finished the half with a 12-1 run to take a 21-18 lead into the break.

“They came out man-to-man and I think we did a nice job against that and got a lead but they switched to their 1-2-2 zone, which we were expecting, but we went ice cold,” Seaver said. “We knew it was coming at some point, but we just weren’t able to step up and knock down shots. But that’s what happens early in the season, that’s why we come to practice tomorrow and get better, we have to be an improved shooting team.

“I thought we got some good looks against the zone, but we just couldn’t knock them down, especially in the third quarter. It was a three-point game at halftime. But we went ice cold, they got some momentum off their defensive stops, and things started to open up a bit.”

Milford’s offensive woes continued into the third quarter as Algonquin – which has 10 seniors on the roster and five juniors – opened the frame with a 9-0 run over the first three minutes. On top of their experienced players, the T-Hawks feature 6’7 freshman guard Alex Karaban, who scored 21 points in the win following a 26-point performance in Algonquin’s season opener on Friday.

Karaban hit a pair of threes in that run, the points coming from senior Nick Redden (16 points, 14 rebounds).

A three from White ended the Algonquin run and a bucket from Darling made it a single-digit game (32-23), but Redden answered with a triple. A three from Sailer cut the deficit to eight with three minutes to play but Algonquin closed the third on an 8-0 run to stretch the lead to 14 (45-31).

Milford continued to push in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get the game back to single digits over the last eight minutes.

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“They hit the shots we needed to hits,” Seaver said. “That really sums it up, we had some looks, they just didn’t fall for us tonight. That’s an experienced team, we lost seven seniors from last year. We have guys in new roles and a handful of guys that played in their first varsity game and that’s a tough team to do that against.

“It’s a hell of a first two games with Algonquin tonight and Franklin on Tuesday but we’re going to learn a lot of about ourselves. But it’s a long season so we just have to keep getting better each day. We’ll take positives from this and give Franklin everything we have on Tuesday.”

Milford boys basketball (0-1) begins Hockomock League play on Tuesday when it travels to play Franklin, the team that beat Algonquin in the D1 Central final a year ago.

Hawks Dominate Second Half To Knock Off Dedham

Milford boys basketball
Milford senior Shane Cosquete goes up for a layup against Dedham in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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MILFORD, Mass. — Every team talks about playing its best basketball when the playoffs roll around.

The Milford boys basketball team is accomplishing just that.

The Hawks dominated the second half, allowing just three points in the fourth quarter to earn a 46-31 win over Dedham in the Scarlet Hawk Classic Championship. It marked Milford’s sixth straight win to close the regular season.

“Our defense was just fantastic,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver of what changed in the second half. “I don’t know how many points they had in the fourth quarter but I know they had 22 at halftime and only 31 to end the game. That’s what changed down the stretch…our defense was that good when it mattered the most.”

Beyond allowing just three points in the fourth, the Hawks allowed a total of just nine points in the entire second half.

“We talked all season about getting to the point of playing our best basketball when it matters the most down the stretch,” Seaver said. “We’ve said it since December. It’s been a process, we lost games we know we could have won. It took a good chunk of the season for us to get to the point where our confidence led to results. We have a lot of momentum going into the tournament.”

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Points were at a premium in the first half. A late putback in the final minute from Milford senior Andrew Fraioli (nine points, eight rebounds) had the Hawks ahead 10-8 after eight minutes of play.

Neither offense got in gear in the second quarter either. The teams went back and forth, having ties at 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20.

Junior Brendan White (10 rebounds) scored six of his game-high 13 points in the quarter while both Shane Cosquete (12 points) and Fraioli each had two to keep pace with the Marauders. Dedham’s Brian Tavares hit a midrange floater late to give the visitors a 22-20 lead at halftime.

“I credit Dedham’s defense,” Seaver said. “I thought they did a very good job playing tough, playing physical. It took us a while for us to get any offensive flow. Even when we did get to that point, it was a couple of guys hitting a couple of big shots that kind of opened things up for us. Usually, it’s good defense that fuels offense and that was the case in the second half.”

Dedham extended its lead to 26-22 at the midway point of the third quarter, but the Hawks finally got the momentum boost it needed. Senior Zach Tamarro took a feed from Cosquete and drained a three, Milford’s first triple since senior Matt Nickerson hit one early in the first quarter.

That three sparked what turned into a 10-2 run for the Hawks over the final 3:16 of the third quarter.

Kayden Kelley (13 rebounds) grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a putback to give Milford a 27-26 lead. Two possessions later, after Dedham regained the lead, Tammaro made the extra pass to White for a three-pointer. White scored on a nice cut to the basket, giving Milford a 32-28 edge heading into the fourth.

Free throws from Cosquete and Fraioli were answered by two free throws from Dedham’s Michael Mansour. Holding a 36-30 lead with five minutes to play, the Hawks put the game to bed with a 10-1 run to end the game.

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Tamarro dropped in a floater after a nice shot fake, Cosquete drained a three right before the shot clock buzzer and Fraioli scored down low on a feed from Cosquete. Cosquete put an exclamation point on the win with another triple late in the shot clock.

Milford boys basketball (12-8) will now await the tournament seeds, which will be released on Friday. The Hawks could be the third, fourth, or fifth seed based on results posted online. Milford will likely be in a tiebreaker with Grafton and Medfield, with names drawn out of a hat to break the tie. If the Hawks get the third or fourth seed, they will have a home game. The win over Dedham secured the Hawks would be in the three-way tiebreaker.

“We talked about getting a home game. We’ve been following along with everything over the past couple of weeks,” Seaver said. “We have a two-out-of-three shot to get a home game. It was a goal of this team and they did it, they put themselves in position. Now we have to get better at practice and be ready for wherever we play.”

Milford Completes Comeback To Beat Marlboro In OT

Milford boys basketball
Milford’s Kayden Kelley (right) takes a shot over Marlboro’s Chris Doherty in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
MARLBORO, Mass. – The venue was different, the opponent was different, but the situation was all too familiar for Milford.

For the second straight year, the ninth seeded Scarlet Hawks found themselves on the road in a hostile environment in the First Round of the D2 Central Sectional and once again, down double digits.

That’s where the similarities end.

Last year’s second half comeback came up short in the final minutes but the 2017 Scarlet Hawks, with a bit more experience under their belts, erased a 12-point fourth quarter deficit and walked out of Marlboro High with a 78-73 win over the Panthers in overtime.

“I think what really helped us tonight was last year,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “I have a handful of guys who played on the road at Holliston in the same 8-seed, 9-seed matchup. We were down nine at halftime and we came back to take the lead but lost late. It was familiar tonight, playing from behind but tonight we were able to figure it out.

“The kids believed. It says it right there on our shorts, ‘believe.’ They believed, they never thought we were out of it. Even in the first quarter, we were playing from the whole time but they never stopped believing, especially in the tournament.”

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The Scarlet Hawks made their move when they forced 6’8″ Marlboro star Chris Doherty to the bench with four fouls three minutes into the quarter. Junior Kayden Kelley (18 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists) converted a three point play on Doherty’s fourth foul, cutting the deficit to 61-53.

“[Kelley] got dunked on a couple times, you can talk about that if you want but he never stopped playing, he never stopped competing,” Seaver said. “He scored some of the biggest baskets in this game. Just wow, it takes a lot of resiliency to do that and that’s the definition of him.”

With Doherty on the bench, Milford put together a 7-2 run over a two minute span. Kelley hit two free throws, Shane Cosquete hit a floater and Anthony Arcudi (25 points) drained a three from the corner to cut the deficit to three, 63-60, with 2:53 to play.

“I knew how good [Doherty] was coming in, but we knew he got frustrated easily,” Kelley said. “We just kept going at him, once he got four fouls I knew it was my time to takeover.”

Cosquete (13 points) another free throw, Alex Macek came away with a steal on the defensive end, and Zack Tamagni (16 points four assists) converted a three point play with just under two minutes to play to put Milford up 64-63.

Marlboro’s Owen Cappadona (24 points) drained a three in response to put the hosts back up but Tamagni took a defensive rebound the length of the coast and laid it in to tie the game, 66-66, with 48.3 seconds to play.

Milford got a stop on Marlboro’s next possession, but turned the ball over with 2.2 seconds left before getting a shot up. Marlboro had its last second shot from beyond half court hit the front iron to send the game to overtime.

Doherty (17 points, 16 rebounds) started the overtime period and gave Marlboro a brief lead, 68-67 on free throw but Kelley responded with a shot over Doherty to put Milford up 68-67.

The Hawks got a stop on the defensive end and Kelley hauled in the rebound. Doherty went for the steal but instead was whistled for his fifth foul with 3:05 to play.

That gave Milford some momentum with Kelley hitting one free throw and then Cosquete driving to the basket to take a 71-67 lead. The Scarlet Hawks allowed Marlboro to get back into the game, turning to ball over on consecutive possessions leading to four points for the Panthers.

But with Doherty on the bench, the Hawks continued to attack the basket with Kelley taking a feed from Macek to a bucket with just over a minute to play. Marlboro missed a three and Milford went right back to the paint, with Kelley converted a fade away off a pass from Tamagni – who saved the ball from going out of bounds.

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“When [Doherty’s] in the game, he’s huge, it’s tough to get anything inside, that’s why he’s one of the best big men in the state,” Seaver said. “When he fouled out, we started getting Kayden some touches. In overtime he hit two big baskets to kind of ice the game, that’s why you stick with it. Doherty is fantastic, he has a bright basketball future ahead of him. But props to Kayden, he dug in the whole way, all 36 minutes.”

Marlboro cut the deficit to two, and then forced a turnover but their go-ahead three attempt rimmed out with 10 seconds to go. Arcudi hit two free throws to ice the game.

“Unreal, absolutely unreal,” Arcudi said. “[Milford’s] first tournament win since 2013. We knew Chris Doherty had four fouls so we wanted to attack the hoop and get to him. Once he got five, we knew we could get to the basket. It’s all about not being complacent, battling through adversity and getting to the hoop, drawing fouls and getting to the line.”

Milford was forced to get the majority of its offense from outside the three point line early on in the game. The Hawks went 5/7 from three point range in the opening quarter but Marlboro shot 56% from the field, hitting 10 field goals for a 23-17 lead after one.

Milford only hit three more three pointers the rest of the game.

“It’s a credit to Marlboro,” Seaver said. “They probably saw us sometime down the stretch when we were hot from the outside. So credit to them to game plan and take the three away from them. We didn’t hit a ton of threes tonight but we found ways to win and balance is going to help us get through.”

Marlboro led by as much as 13 in the second quarter but Milford battled back with Kelley connecting on a put back at the buzzer to keep the deficit in single digits – 37-29 – going into halftime.

The Scarlet Hawks continued to claw back in the third quarter, getting within five points at the midway point when Tamagni sliced through the defense for a circus layup. But Doherty used a nice spin move in the post for a dunk that sparked a 9-0 run that put the Panthers up 14 with under two minutes to play in the third.

“We had nothing to lose, all the pressure was on them,” Arcudi said. “They went to the state final two years ago, district finals last year. We didn’t have anything to lose so pressure was on them.”

Milford boys basketball (11-10) advances to the D2 Central Quarterfinal to take on top-seeded Nashoba (17-3). Of Nashoba’s three losses, two were against Marlboro. The Hawks will travel to Nashoba on Thursday at 7:30.

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Tamagni’s Buzzer Beater Lifts Milford At The Dunk

Milford girls basketball
Milford’s Zack Tamagni (14) celebrates with Nate Davila after his game-winning buzzer beater. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
PROVIDENCE, RI — North Attleboro erased an eight point deficit over the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, but left just enough time left on the clock for Milford senior Zack Tamagni.

After two free throws with 5.7 seconds from North Attleboro senior Brent Doherty tied the game, Tamagni took the inbound pass, broke through a pair of defenders at the three point line and then danced his way past the last defender, laying it up with his left and in off the glass as time expired to give the Scarlet Hawks a 57-55 win.

“The leaders on this team stepped up today,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We’ve talked in the last couple of weeks about guys stepping up. Nate Davila stepped up, Zack [Tamagni], Anthony [Arcudi] and Kayden [Kelley] stepped up and Zach Tammaro stepped up coming off the bench, maybe not statistically but he helped big time in the second half.”

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Milford had the original comeback of the game, cutting an 11-point deficit at halftime (35-24) down to just one (41-40) entering the final quarter by outscoring the Rocketeers 16-6 in the third quarter.

The Hawks carried that momentum into the fourth quarter with Nate Davila (14 points) draining an early three to give Milford its first lead since the first quarter. North’s Jonny Friberg (nine points, 13 rebounds, six assists) responded right away to tie the game at 43, but Milford would create separation with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes.

“Everyone will talk about the shot at the end but Milford got themselves back into the game in the third quarter,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “I thought we had some decent shots in the third quarter but we just couldn’t get any rhythm. I thought when the scoreboard got a little tight, we played a little tight. When we’re loose, we play our best basketball. I’m proud of the guys because they fought back but its just tough losing on a play like that. I have to do a better job coaching in those late game situations.”

Tamagni (17 points, four assists) hit two free throws, Ryan Sullivan (10 points, five rebounds) hit one and then three possessions later, Arcudi converted a putback with four minutes to play. Kayden Kelley (12 points, 13 rebounds) came up with a block on the defensive end and then converted a three-point play to put Milford up 51-43 with just over three minutes to play.

That’s when North Attleboro took its turn crafting a comeback. It started with a strong take from Thomas Reynolds (10 points, three boards, two assists) off a feed from Friberg and then was cut to five when Reynolds hit a free throw.

The Rocketeers then forced a turnover, resulting in Reynolds finding Doherty (game-high 18 points) for a three to bring North within two.

Tamagni (38 seconds left) and Friberg (22 seconds left) then each hit a pair of free throws to keep Milford’s two point lead. Tamagni then hit two more but Hacmoni Cuevas converted a putback, plus the harm, to get within two. North corralled the missed three throw and Doherty was fouled with 5.7 seconds left, converting both at the line to tie the game before Tamagni’s heroics.

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“We told him to go to the hoop,” Seaver said of the last play. “It was something we tried to do on Friday to tie the game and things didn’t go our way. We were able to get it today.

“Coming out of halftime, they needed to go and earn the victory if they wanted it, and the kids did that so credit to them.”

North Attleboro came out on fire to start the game, going 7/12 from the field in the first quarter to build a 19-13 lead. Milford was efficient as well, going 5/7 and a perfect 3/3 from deep but had seven turnovers.

“They came out like we did here last year,” Seaver said. “We were on the other side of it this time, it is what it is. We just trusted our defense and in the end, I guess we got one more stop, or just made one more play at the end.

“They were hitting shots early. They had 19 points in the first quarter, we couldn’t guard anyone. We trusted our defense, we didn’t really make an adjustment. We stayed with the zone in the second half and it paid off just enough to get that little separation.”

The Rocketeers’ offense continued its strong start by going 6/9 from the field in the second. At halftime, North Attleboro was 6/10 from deep. But in the second half, Big Red managed just one three on 10 attempts.

“They did a better job on collapsing on [Friberg] in the second half, I don’t think he got many touches in the second half,” Mulkerrins said. “He got a couple of late ones. Missing Chad [Peterson], our rotation was a little screwy. Guys are playing extra minutes and in positions they aren’t always used to playing in. Some guys have to be a shooter when they usually aren’t.”

Milford takes over the top spot in the Davenport division with the win, moving to 8-6 overall and 6-4 in league play. The Scarlet Hawks will try to extended their division lead on Tuesday when Mansfield comes to town. North Attleboro (8-6 overall, 5-5 Hockomock) looks to get back into the win column when it hosts King Philip on the same night.

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Second Half Adjustments Push Milford Past Stoughton

Milford boys basketball
Milford’s Kayden Kelley (left) and Zack Tamagni (right) surround Stoughton’s Izon Swain-Price in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – After 16 minutes of play, Milford head coach Paul Seaver knew he needed to change something.

Although his Scarlet Hawks trailed by just one, the defense was having a tough time stopping Stoughton junior Cam Andrews, who had 17 points by the halftime break.

The change came in the form of an intensified defensive effort with a full court 2-2-1 press, a switch from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone and a strong focus on getting offensive from down low.

Those changes resulted in a strong second half for the Scarlet Hawks and a 56-50 win over the Black Knights in both teams’ first Davenport clash of the season.

“It’s good to start the division games off on the right foot,” Seaver said. “It was a frustrating non-league loss on Wednesday. To bounce back two days later shows a lot of resiliency from the guys. We finally get to go home next week after five of our first eight on the road. But we have to turn the page and have a good practice tomorrow.”

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Stoughton jumped out to an early lead but Milford chipped away and took its first lead, 11-10, behind a layup from Zack Tamagni (17 points) in the final minute.

Andrews (20 points, seven rebounds) took control of the second quarter – a frame that saw five lead changes in the first minute alone before Stoughton held a slim lead the rest of the way. Andrews shot 4/5 from the field and 4/4 from the free throw line for 13 points in the quarter. Tamagni helped keep the Scarlet Hawks close, registering eight points in the frame while Zach Tomarro hit a late three to bring Milford within one, 27-26, at halftime.

With the changes installed to start the second half, the first four minutes when nearly as perfect as Seaver could have hoped for. Milford’s zone disrupted the rhythm of Stoughton’s offense as the Black Knights went 0/5 from the field and had four turnovers in four minutes.

“Even when we got open looks, we didn’t him them and we were tentative,” Stoughton head coach John Gallivan said. “I thought a lot of that started at the far end with their full court stuff. Even if they didn’t get a steal, they made everyone think twice before you do one thing. Sometimes if it was between ‘A’ and ‘B’ and we chose ‘A,’ it should have been ‘B.’”

Meanwhile on the other end, Milford’s game plan to get junior Kayden Kelley (16 points 11 rebounds) touches was working. Kelley went 4/6 to start the quarter, including a put back off a miss for an 8-0 run of his own to start the second half.

“Cam Andrews ate us up in the first half so that’s pretty much why we needed to go zone,” Seaver said. “[Getting the ball down low] was a focus for us and [Kayden] wanted the ball, he was demanding the ball tonight and he did a good job and that’s what he needs to do,” Seaver said. “He’s an upperclassman now, he’s been on the team for a couple of years. Tonight might have been his best offensive game of his career.”

Cam Gomes (13 points, 10 rebounds) converted a traditional three point play to break Stoughton’s scoreless skid but Kelley came back down the other end with another post basket. Stoughton’s Matt Valle (eight points) drained a three late to cut the deficit to four but a pair of free throws from Milford’s Brendan White gave the Scarlet Hawks a 41-35 lead going into the final quarter.

Tamagni had four points in the first three minutes of the final quarter while Gomes had a pair of free throws. With Milford leading 45-37, Tammaro stepped up to bury a three on back-to-back possessions and the Scarlet Hawks took a 51-37 lead with four and a half minutes to go.

“I thought the kids played hard, I thought they did a nice job of executing our defensive game plan,” Gallivan said. “Milford has some tough guys out there, they have a lot of weapons. If you focus too much on the three-point line, and you saw what happened in the third quarter with Kelley, he was a beast in that quarter. You choose your poison and sometimes its not pretty either way.”

Milford was able to keep a 10 point cushion for the rest of the way until Stoughton scored four points in the final 30 seconds.

Milford boys basketball (4-3 overall, 2-2 Hockomock) return to action on Tuesday with a visit from Canton. Stoughton (1-5, 0-4) will try to bounce back on the same day when it hosts Foxboro.

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Boys Basketball: 2016-17 Davenport Division Preview

2016-2017 Davenport Boys Basketball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Davenport Boys Basketball Preview

Canton

2015-2016 Record: 2-18
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ryan Gordy

After a difficult 2015-2016 season, the Bulldogs are looking to build on a strong offseason to have successful season this time around. Canton returns a strong core group that has a year of varsity experience under their belts now.

Junior Tony Harris had a strong sophomore year, leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 13.6 points per game and should be a big factor on both ends of the court this season. Sophomore Devin Foster had a terrific freshman season and will pair with junior Jake Verille, who saw plenty of time a year ago, to form an experienced backcourt.

The Bulldogs will rely on that experienced back court to pace the offense. Canton has a handful of weapons that can connect from deep as well. Defensively, expect Canton to rotate small and big lineups, depending on the matchup.

“The feeling around our program is that we are building momentum and have a chance to be pretty good relatively soon,” Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said. “This is a connected team who will be ready to grind out the always tough Hockomock League schedule.”

Foxboro

2015-2016 Record: 19-5
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Jon Gibbs

Out of all of the teams in the Davenport division, the Warriors certainly have the most holes to fill from a year ago. HockomockSports.com First Teamer Alex DuBrow (15 PPG, 7.1 APG, 2.8 SPG), leading scorer Jason Procaccini (16.3 PPG) and leading rebounder Robbie Lowey (10.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG) all graduated.

The good news is that Foxboro does have some players coming back that have varsity experience, including Joe Morrison, Jamaine Few, Andrew Block and Mark Clagg – his fourth year on varsity. Freshman Brandon Borde could make an impact right away for the Warriors as well.

The Warriors will continue to prioritize defense and rebounding again this season but the offensive game will have to change. Without their top three scorers, Foxboro will rely on sharing the ball and a balanced scoring attack for this season.

“We have a group of high character kids that are working extremely hard every day, they are fun to coach,” Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs said. “Practice has been very competitive, and we are focusing on daily improvement. If we stay committed to continuing to get better, we believe that we will be in position to achieve our goals at the end of the year.”

Milford

2015-2016 Record: 10-11
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round
Coach: Paul Seaver

After making a big jump in wins last season, head coach Paul Seaver and his Scarlet Hawks are looking to continue that trend in the 2016-2017 season. Milford qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2013 a year ago and are looking to make it two seasons in a row.

One big challenge will be replacing some of the scoring that graduated. Leading scorer Dimitry Torres (14.5) and second leading scorer Dwight Anderson (12.7) both are gone but senior Zack Tamagni, who scored 10.4 points a game a year ago, is back to lead the Scarlet Hawks this season.

Tamagni, who will pace the offense from the point guard position, will be helped along by senior Anthony Arcudi, who saw plenty of minutes a season ago, and junior Kayden Kelley, who begins his third year on varsity.

Arcudi will help replace some of the outside shooting that graduated while Kelley will give Milford a presence in the post. Tamagni can score from multiple spots on the court and his ability to move the ball and find the open teammate will pay dividends this season.

“Our goal this season is take the next step forward with our program,” Seaver said. “We have some production to replace, but we have the leadership and experience to do so. This is my third season at Milford and I believe that this is the best defensive team that I’ve had.”

North Attleboro

2015-2016 Record: 8-12
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Sean Mulkerrins

A switch to the Davenport division might have come at the perfect time for the Rocketeers, who have a strong core of experienced players looking to make a push for the postseason.

The Rocketeers have seven varsity players back from a year ago, including seniors Brent Doherty and Jonny Friberg, who have both started since their sophomore seasons. Doherty was third in scoring in the Hockomock a year ago with 16.8 points per game, as well as 4.2 RPG and 3.0 APG while Friberg offered Big Red rebounding (5.8 RPG) and a post option on offense (8.8 PPG).

Doherty and Friberg have a strong supporting cast with Kyle McCarthy, Chad Peterson, Tom Reynolds and Hacmoni Cuevas all getting plenty of minutes last season. The Rocketeers deployed more man-to-man defense a year ago after relying on zone the year prior. Expect Big Red to mix it up this year, and with experience using both, the defense could be a solid weapon.

“We believe our strength will be our experience in running our system,” North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins said. “The experience should allow us to develop a more consistent offense which relies on ball movement, spacing, and great shot selection.”

Sharon

2015-2016 Record: 12-10
2015-2016 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Andrew Ferguson

Sharon is bringing back just three players from a year ago so the Eagles will be relying on new faces to step up for the 2016-2017 season.

Though just three players are back, three-year starter Ricardo Ripley is one of them. His experience and skill will be vital, quarterbacking the offense and leading the charge defensively. Both Jimmy Fitzhenry and Malik Lorquet picked up varsity experience last year and will likely see expanded roles this year.

Expect the Eagles to use their speed and athleticism on both ends of the court to try and bother teams. Offensively, Sharon has a couple of shooters that can help space out the floor, which can provide Ripley with the space he needs.

“We’re going to need some of our less experienced varsity players to step up throughout the year,” Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson said. “There is some great chemistry on our team and we’re pushing each other in practice, so hopefully that extends into the season.”

Stoughton

2015-2016 Record: 7-13
2015-2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: John Gallivan

The Black Knights will be relying on a big senior class in the 2016-2017 while trying to get back to the postseason and make a push for the division title.

Stoughton has 10 seniors, including captains Ryan Sullivan, Cam Gomes and Matt Valle. Junior Cam Andrews is also a captain for the team. The Black Knights were able to give teams problems with their pace last year and will look to do the same again this year.

With plenty of athletes, the Black Knights will use their speed to try and run past teams while applying lots of pressure on the defensive end. Andrews (12.9 PPG as a sophomore) is one of the top returning scorers in the league and can be a handful for defenses to deal with.

“All four are captains and have two to three years of varsity experience each,” Stoughton head John Gallivan said. “Although we aren’t a real tall team, we have great speed and quickness and plan to play fast as much as possible.”