ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Five Attleboro players scored in double digits, each contributing in a big way at various points of the game and the Bombardiers closed the season with a 75-67 win over playoff bound Durfee squad.
Junior Jake Dunkley scored a game-high 19 points and pulled in nine rebounds, junior Andrew Milliken added 16 points, sophomore Nate Douglas chipped in with 12 points, senior Brent Cook had 10 points and six rebounds and junior Berlyns Abraham scored 10 points and finished with seven rebounds.
Milliken got Attleboro started early, going a perfect 4/4 from three point range in the first half. The juniors sharp shooting helped Attleboro to a 21-19 lead after one and kept the Bombardiers in the game as they trailed by one (37-36) at halftime.
Douglas scored seven of his 12 points in the final frame, none bigger than his basket with just under a minute to play. The Bombardiers held a 70-65 lead but were forced to call a timeout with 10 seconds left on the shot clock after the original play fizzled. Douglas took possession out of the timeout, raced around his man and hit a layup just before the shot clock expired to put Attleboro up 72-65.
Cook scored the game’s first four points and added another key three in the third quarter, helping Attleboro take a 54-52 lead into the final frame. When the Hilltoppers pulled within two points early in the fourth quarter, Cook drained his third three of the game to reestablish a two possession lead for Attleboro — one they relinquish for the rest of the way.
“Brent Cook, in his last game, really played well both offensively and defensively,” Attleboro head coach Mark Houle said. “He made some big plays for us. He’s been that kind of player for us throughout the course of the year where he’s come off the bench and given us some energy. I was proud to see him and all of the seniors go out winners tonight.
Abraham was a huge spark plug in the second half for Attleboro. He came off the bench to net a pair of putbacks in the third quarter and hauled in six rebounds in just six minutes of play. He then added six more points in the final quarter, including an elbow jumper that put the Bombardiers up seven with just under three minutes to play.
And Dunkley got it done in all four quarters. He scored five in the first, four in the second, seven in the third and then drained a three on the possession after Cook’s trey that capped a 10-4 run to open the final quarter.
“It was important for us to come out and play hard,” Mark Houle said. “I think early on offensively we did well but we didn’t do a nice job on the boards in the first half. In the beginning of the second half I think we started to get a little better at it with some more effort.
“Berlyns Abraham came off the bench early in the third quarter and gave us a ton of energy. I think he had six rebounds in the third alone and he kind of set the tone on the boards and that we weren’t going to give up second chance points. That got us to the point where we got the lead and we were able to hit shots and make good decisions. Different guys stepped up today for us, we worked hard. At halftime we said the team that wants to play more defense is going to win and that ended up being us.”
While Attleboro shot similar percentages from the floor in both halves (36% in the first, 38% in the second), the Bombardiers dominated the rebounding battle in the second half. After a seven rebound advantage at half (23-16), Attleboro finished with a 49-29 edge on the glass.
The Bombardiers hit 15 two point field goals, connected on 10 three pointers and hit 15 free throws. Eight different players scored for Attleboro.
“We found different ways to score,” Houle said. “We felt like we were getting better towards the end of the year. We left a lot of games on the table early on but I’m proud to see us keep working hard and play well against quality teams and beat quality teams.”
Attleboro’s start to the final quarter created the initial separation. Up by two to start, Abraham took a feed from Lucas Boucicaut and after a stop on the other end, Milliken drained a pair of free throws. Durfee responded with a pair of baskets but consecutive threes from Cook and Dunkley kept the hosts ahead.
Over the final two minutes – in a five point game – Attleboro outscored Durfee 9-5 to close the game.
“The last couple minutes of the game are pivotal,” Houle said. “You have to be able to defend and rebound but you have to also know the time and the score and be able to put a team away. It’s a confidence thing and we felt confident at the end, I’m happy to be standing here saying we got the win.”
Attleboro boys basketball closes the season at 7-15 and will lose five seniors to graduation: Brent Cook, Kevin Aguirre, Prowo Kinkoue-Poufong, Max Bohannon and Kyle Murphy (five points and 12 rebounds against Durfee).
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.