Foxboro Falls Short In D2 State Semifinal

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro’s Ashley Sampson drives to the basket in the second half against Arlington Catholic. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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BOSTON, Mass. – Things were looking good for Foxboro after pitching a shutout in the third quarter, seizing control of its D2 State Semifinal against Arlington Catholic.

Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t quite keep up with the outstanding defense.

The Warriors kept Arlington Catholic without a point for a near 12 minute stretch — the final 3:50 of there first half, the entire eight minutes of the third quarter and the first couple of seconds of the fourth quarter.

However, Foxboro went just 1/10 from the field in the final frame. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ offense finally came to life, scoring 18 points — eight from the charity stripe — and picked up a 37-30 win over the Warriors to advance to the D2 State Final on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, the shots just weren’t falling in the fourth quarter,” said Foxboro head coach Lisa Downs. “To hold a team like that scoreless in third quarter, it was looking pretty optimistic for us. But the shots just weren’t falling tonight.”

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Arlington Catholic surged to a 19-10 lead halfway through the second quarter but Foxboro’s defense — and offense — turned it up. The Warriors didn’t allow any points the rest of the half while rattling off a 7-0 run. To start that run, junior Ashley Sampson (13 points, 11 rebounds) drained a three to eclipse the 1,000 point mark for her career.

“Obviously it’s great for her to get her 1,000th point and we’re extremely proud of her,” Downs said. “But she could have cared less about that tonight. She just wanted to win. That attitude bodes well for everyone on the team. The team chemistry, that’s what I’m going to miss more than anything to tell you the truth.”

“I honestly really didn’t care about scoring the 1,000th point, we just wanted to get the win,” Sampson said. “It didn’t happen but we’re going to work just as hard as we did this year to try and get back here next year and hopefully get the ‘W.’”

Riley Collins (five points) added a basket and Grace Tamulionis (five points, six rebounds) converted a put back just before the buzzer to get the Warriors within two, 19-17, at the break.

“We definitely had our looks,” Downs said. “Especially in the first half, we had some bunnies and some short jumpers. Usually our shooting percentage is far better than it was tonight, which will happen, but usually our defense will make up for that and give us additional opportunities. And we had those tonight, but they were very aggressive on defense. Ashley was getting double teamed, sometimes triple teamed and we just weren’t reversing the ball quite enough.”

Foxboro kept the momentum up in the third quarter. Lily Sykes gave the Warriors the lead with a three 90 seconds into the third quarter. Sykes added a free throw, Sampson hit three free throws and Collins drained a three in the final minute to give the Warriors a 26-19 lead through three.

“Those kids from Foxboro, their heart was ridiculous,” said Arlington Catholic coach David Brady. “I thought they scratched and clawed within the rules of basketball to rebound the ball. You get to this point, nobody wants to lose, nobody wants to quit. Foxboro was an incredible team tonight.”

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Arlington’s offense came to life in the fourth quarter, mainly by attacking the basket and getting to the line. Erin Donlan (13 points) broke the scoreless streak with a free throw eight seconds into the final frame. Donlan then added two more free throws and then hit a layup to cut the deficit to 26-24. Monica Rayo (eight points, five points) then tied the game with just under six minutes to play and hit another basket a minute later to give the Cougars a 28-26 lead, capping a 9-0 run.

Foxboro’s offense finally broke into the scoring column in the fourth quarter, taking the lead back on a three from Tamulionis at 29-28. Lauren Flahive stretched the lead to two with a free throw with 2:31 to play, but that would be the last of Foxboro’s scoring.

AC’s Lena Perez 11 points, 15 rebounds) tied the game off an inbounds play with just under two minutes to go. Foxboro came up empty on its offensive possession, and the Cougars’ Alexandra Bell (eight rebounds) his a turn-around jumper with 1:20 to play to give AC the lead back.

Foxboro missed a shot and then had a turnover on the next possession, forcing the Warriors into foul mode. AC made five free throws in the final 44 seconds to seal the deal.

“I think defensively we were scrappy as we always are. We created opportunities for ourselves but on the offensive end, when we didn’t set the offense exactly as we normally do, we weren’t getting the looks we normally do. The ones we were getting weren’t the ones we wanted, it just wasn’t our night unfortunately.”

Brady admitted the Cougars’ main defensive game plan focused on Sampson.

“They hit some big shots but we had to live with it a little bit,” Downs said. “To try and take Sampson away, are you kidding me? That girls fantastic. It takes a village to stop her, she’s something else.”

Foxboro girls basketball finishes the season at 22-3 and as Davenport division champions.

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Fourth Quarter Rally Lifts Warriors to South Title

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro relied on the experience of having played in the South final two years ago to stay calm and rally in the fourth quarter to win its first sectional title since 2003. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com

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BROCKTON, Mass. – Two years ago in the Div. 2 South final, freshmen Ashley Sampson and Grace Tamulionis combined for 20 points in a loss to eventual state champion Duxbury. On Saturday afternoon, Sampson, Tamulionis, and the Warriors returned to Brockton High and used that experience to good effect to rally Foxboro in the fourth quarter.

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Sampson scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the final quarter (and added 10 rebounds as well) and Tamulionis scored six of her 11 points in the fourth to bring Foxboro back from a point down to beat Westwood 47-38 and claim the program’s first sectional title since 2003 and book a trip to the TD Garden.

“I think having been in here before, even though it was two years ago, was a huge advantage,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “I’m sure that a lot of their team hadn’t been in this venue with this many people. Even though they’re juniors, they play like seniors and they weren’t cautious at the end.”

Tamulionis added, “Knowing the environment really helped with all the fans and I know freshmen year everyone was nervous but this year almost all of us had been here before so it really helped.”

The Wolverines did not look overwhelmed by the environment early and came out strong in the first quarter with senior forward Carly Sugrue knocking down a pair of threes and scoring eight of her 13 points. Haley Connaughton also hit one from deep and Allison Morin had three assists, as the Westwood offense was clicking at the start.

Sampson was keeping the Warriors afloat on the offensive end with eight points in the first, all coming off drives to the basket. Foxboro’s aggressiveness driving to the basket led to seven Westwood fouls in the opening quarter. Junior Shannon Smally (six rebounds) also provided a spark with three points and a couple boards in the first.

“She did a lot of the things today that we’ve been asking her to do all along,” said Downs of Smally. “Luckily, it’s gotten to the point that she’s doing things in March we asked her to do in December, but she timed it perfectly.”

Foxboro trailed 17-14 after one and would continue to struggle shooting from the outside for the better part of the next two quarters. The Warriors stayed in the game in large part due to a defensive effort that held the Wolverines to only 21 points over the final 24 minutes.

“We just had to focus on our defense,” said Sampson. “Our shots weren’t falling, but our defense is what got us back into it.”

With Westwood leading 24-19, Foxboro inbounded the ball to Lily Sykes for a half-court heave as the half expired. The horn sounded and the shot fell short, but an official’s whistle blew just before the clock read all zeroes and Sykes made 2-of-3 free throws to cut the lead to just three.

In the second half, Downs made a change and put Sampson on Sugrue, a switch that limited the Westwood forward to just two points after the break.

Downs explained, “Ashley’s got these long arms because Carly does a good job with these step back jumps and Ashley can just get a little more in her face.”

Foxboro finally found the range from three. Sykes (seven points) buried her only shot of the game to cut the lead to 26-24. After a Westwood basket, Sykes drove baseline and kicked it all the way out to the three-point line for Riley Collins to knock one down and tie the game. The Wolverines responded with four straight but then again Collins got a clean look and hit from three sending Foxboro into the fourth down just 32-31.

Tamulionis said, “No one got frustrated and I think that really helped. When coach called timeout, she just kind of settled us down a little and we knew that we had to step it up.”

Catherine Bonfiglio (team-high 14 points) started the fourth with a drive to the basket to extend the lead to three, but her six points accounted for all of Westwood’s points in the fourth. After a ragged start in which both teams missed a lot of open looks, Foxboro clamped down and contested every Westwood chance.

On the other end, Sampson, the Hockomock League MVP, started to assert herself. She drove baseline and finished with a reverse layup plus the foul and then knocked down a jumper off a Sykes assist to give Foxboro its first lead (36-34) since the first quarter.

When asked if she knew that it was time to be aggressive at that point, Sampson replied, “I don’t know. When I got the third foul, I kind of got into my own head. I just had to calm down and play.”

Tamulionis stepped up next, knocking down a long jumper off a Smally kick out to extend the lead to four and then stepped a couple feet further back to drain an open three that made it 41-36 with 1:05 remaining.

Foxboro went 6-of-8 at the line in the closing minute to complete its run as the top seed in the South by lifting the sectional championship trophy.

“I knew we had it in us,” Downs said, “and I never panicked too much because I could see it in their eyes that they had this game within their grasp and it was theirs to win or lose. Defense was going to win it for us.

“It’s so exciting. The girls knew that they could win today and never looked back.”

Tamulionis said, “It’s awesome. The whole year, the whole team has worked so hard and we deserve it. Everyone has done a great job all year.”

Foxboro (22-2) advances to the Eastern Mass. final at the TD Garden on Monday at 5:45 to play the winner of Arlington Catholic and Hamilton-Wenham.

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Warriors Win Rubber Match With North, Head to Final

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro junior Ashley Sampson (5) drives to the basket against North Attleboro in the Div. 2 South semifinal at Massasoit Community College. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BROCKTON, Mass. – North Attleboro won the first meeting with Foxboro this season, thanks in part to a huge fourth quarter by senior Ashley Ahern. With Ahern out injured for the second meeting, Foxboro ran over the Rocketeers and clinched the Davenport title with a 26-point victory.

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On Monday night at Massasoit Community College, the teams met for the third time to not only decide the season series but also to see which team would represent the Hockomock in Saturday’s Div. 2 South final.

With Ahern in uniform for the introductions, but not able to play, North came in with the plan of slowing the game down, turning it into a half-court battle, playing physical defense, and trying to take advantage of its edge in size in the post. The game plan worked perfectly, but Foxboro showed that it had some grit to go along with its ability to put points on the board.

Behind a game-high 20 points from league MVP Ashley Sampson and 17 from fellow junior Lily Sykes, Foxboro defended, crashed the boards, and found just enough offense to pull out a 49-39 victory that earns the Warriors a second trip to the South final in three seasons.

“We did exactly what we needed to do to beat that team,” admitted North Attleboro coach Derek Herber from the first row of the bleachers following the game. “You can’t let them run, you can’t let them shoot all those shots…Through three quarters we did what we needed to do; we just needed a little more offense to get to that spot.”

Foxboro coach Lisa Downs recognized the difficulty of playing an opponent for the third time and credited her team for finding a way to win.

“At this point, jitters are normal and we’re in a different gym, some of these girls have been here and some have not, so we’ll take a ‘W’ any day,” she said. “It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but they played with heart.”

The first quarter was not pretty, but the Warriors had a lead and it felt like they were ready to pull away as they did on their home court three weeks ago. Sampson and Sykes split the scoring in the first, each with six points, but Foxboro lacked the typical frenetic pace that it usually plays at.

North was slowing things down and shots were not falling, which made it difficult to get into the full-court press the Warriors prefer. Sykes opened the second with a drive that extended the lead to eight, but it was the only made field goal by the Warriors in the quarter.

The Rocketeers climbed back into the game with Julia Feid (six points) scoring on a drive and Samantha Taggart drilling a three (her only basket of the game) to cut the lead to four. Emily Haskell gave North a big lift right before the break with a steal and a layup and then a runner on the baseline. The junior’s only four points of the game made it 20-17 at the break.

“I think we were beating ourselves to be honest with you,” said Downs. “We were overthinking our shots because we had some wide open looks and we were just thinking too much instead of releasing the ball. We were only up because of our defense.”

When asked about the sloppiness of the first half, Herber insisted, “Part of the sloppiness is that everything we do, they know, and everything they do, I know, so the sloppiness is playing a third game against a team you’ve seen in a high stakes game.”

In the third quarter, senior forward Caroline Collard started to get going for North, scoring six of her team-high 10 points. Liz Morehouse added three of her five points, including a turn around jumper from the left block. After Feid pulled up for a jumper and Collard scored off an Emily Schromm inbound pass, North was within one at 29-28.

Foxboro was still struggling to find the range and in desperate need of a spark. Sykes stepped up and drilled a three off a Sampson assist to extend the lead to four and then Sampson was able to beat Feid in the post for a layup to give Foxboro a six-point edge heading to the fourth.

“When the shots weren’t falling, we were getting into our own heads, so we just had to settle down,” said Sampson of the Warriors struggles on the offensive end of the floor. “In the third quarter, Lily hit some huge shots and I think once she did that it made everyone more confident.”

Things started to get going for Foxboro in the fourth quarter. Grace Tamulionis opened the quarter with a jumper that Feid answered with a drive, but then Sampson drove and kicked it out to Riley Collins for a straightaway three (her only point of the night) and Foxboro finally had some separation.

“At this point in the season, 22 games in, we’re still telling them to shoot with confidence,” said Downs. “Grace finally warmed up a little bit in the second half, which was huge, and Ashley, so we stepped up when we had to step up and played with grit.”

Tamulionis had six of her seven points in the fourth and Sampson added six as well. North did not give up with Schromm knocking down a jumper and driving the length of the floor for a layup plus the foul. She missed the free throw but grabbed her own rebound with North down 44-38.

The Rocketeers had only more chance to get closer but a long three by Feid was halfway down and popped out and Tamulionis clinched it with an offensive rebound and score on a missed free throw on the other end.

“I’m so proud of the way the girls played,” said Herber. “We held them down as best we could to get to that point. We tried to muck it up as best we could and slow it down and take advantage of our post players.”

When asked about his senior class and what they have brought to the program, Herber could not hide his emotions. He said, “Every year we try to focus on our seniors, but these kids have been with our program as long as I’ve been here, for three years, and they’re just great kids. I just wish better for them today.”

For Sampson and the Warriors the win means a return to Brockton High where the Warriors played eventual state champion Duxbury in 2015. Sampson said, “It’s really exciting. We have an opportunity to win the South final, so it’s just really cool.

“It’s definitely tough. They beat us the first time and we beat them last time by 20-something, so they were out for blood. They wanted it and so did we. It was tough but we had to be mentally prepared for it.”

Foxboro (21-2) will face No. 7 Westwood in the Div. 2 South final on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Brockton High.

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Foxboro Starts Strong, Knocks Out Hingham

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro junior Ashley Sampson (5) scored 19 of her game-high 24 points in the final 11 minutes of the game to seal a 62-39 victory over Hingham. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Coming off a difficult opening round game against No. 16 seed Scituate, top seeded Foxboro wanted to send a message right from the start in Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 South quarterfinal against 2016 sectional runner-up Hingham.

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The Warriors came out firing on all cylinders, started 7-for-9 from the field, with six assists on those seven baskets, and scored 21 points in the opening quarter against the Harborwomen, nearly half of what they scored in the entire first round game.

Thanks to the strong start, Foxboro never trailed at any point against Hingham. In fact, the Harborwomen never got closer than nine points (midway through the second quarter) and Foxboro eased into the semifinal with a 62-39 victory.

“That first game jitters,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs about the Warriors’ struggles in the tournament opener. “Even though they seem like a confident team, in that we’ve been here, until you step on the court in the state tournament…they freeze up a little bit, the shots get a little bit tighter, but they came right into the game tonight ready to take care of business.”

Senior guard Kristen Bortolotti was injured prior to the beginning of the playoffs and in her absence, junior forward Shannon Smally was given a spot in the starting lineup. She made it count scoring six of her 10 points in the first and providing a spark in the post on both ends of the floor.

“That was huge,” said Downs of Smally’s contribution, “and it’s been right below the surface for the entire season and I’ve been begging her to unleash it and she did tonight. She was just confident out there; she was strong with the ball; she was doing the things that she shows in practice all along. She was huge for us tonight.”

Lily Sykes drilled a pair of threes in the first and Grace Tamulionis knocked down a baseline jumper and a three to help Foxboro extend the lead out to 10 points, 21-11, by the end of the quarter. Defensively, the Warriors also made a switch from their typical man-to-man to a 2-3 zone to try and limit Hingham’s ability to get into the paint.

“I’m mixing it up,” said Downs. “Their game is primarily driving, so we were just trying to take away the middle and force them to shoot from the perimeter. They were starting to hit some and we weren’t boxing out well enough, so I was more comfortable settling back into what we know best, which is man.”

The second quarter was very different for Foxboro, which only scored six points and made two shots from the floor, but the defense, whether in man or zone, clamped down and held Hingham to only one basket and three points. Senior Lauren Flahive was an important cog in that defense with four first half steals, as well as six rebounds and two assists.

“She does so much out there that even someone four inches taller than her couldn’t be doing,” said Downs of Flahive. “She does all those intangible things that, unless you break her game down, you’re not going to recognize she does. She’s so effective at her craft.”

The Warriors led by 13 at the break and never allowed Hingham to get any closer, although there was still some trepidation that the Harborwomen could go on a run.

Ashley Sampson, who was named Hockomock MVP by the league coaches, had picked up a third foul (in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity) and sat for a few minutes but Downs decided to bring her back with about three minutes left in the third and a 13-point lead.

“She’s smart enough that she’s not going to pick up that next foul,” Downs explained, “and I changed her defensive assignment too to someone who wasn’t as involved in the offense, but I needed her on the court.”

The move paid off. Sampson, who had only scored six points up to that point, buried a step-back three and then drove to the basket to close out the third quarter with Foxboro ahead by 17, 38-21.

In the fourth, Sampson took over. She scored 13 of her game-high 24 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line, as Hingham tried to extend the game with fouls. Tamulionis also came through in the fourth with five of her 12 points and Riley Collins nailed a corner three to add some separation in the final minute.

Although Hingham was never really that close in the second half, Downs admitted that it was only in the final couple of minutes that she started to feel like the game was in control.

She said, “I think it was only with four or five minutes left in the fourth that I said, okay I can breathe now. They’re a very good team and they came back against Oliver Ames. I never felt real comfortable until about four minutes left.”

As the Warriors move forward in the tournament, they will miss not having Bortolotti in the lineup but Downs is confident that the other players can pick up the slack on both ends of the floor.

“Of course it’s devastating not to have Kristen out there,” she said, “but if we all do just one or two more things that we don’t normally do…everybody pick up the slack a little bit, then everything will take care of itself.”

Foxboro (20-2) will face No. 4 North Attleboro in the Div. 2 South semifinal at Massasoit Community College on Monday night at 5:30. The teams split two meetings in the regular season.

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Warriors Run Past North Attleboro, Clinch League Title

Foxboro girls basketball
Junior Grace Tamulionis (21) scored 18 points for Foxboro in a big win over North Attleboro in the final league game of the season to help clinch the division title for the Warriors. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – For the past month, Foxboro and North Attleboro have been taking care of business on the court with half an eye on each other’s results. Since the two teams last met on Jan. 20, North went 5-2 (despite missing senior guard Ashley Ahern for all seven games) including a five-game win streak entering Friday night. Meanwhile, Foxboro rattled off nine straight wins, eight off those coming in the league.

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Grace Tamulionis scored 11 points, knocking down a trio of three-pointers, and all four of her shots were assisted by Lily Sykes (seven assists). Kristen Bortolotti also got off to a strong start with six of her 12 points in the first.

“It’s what they’ve been doing,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “They’ve been hot for a while. Once they got that consistent third shooter then they present a matchup problem for anyone. I was hoping we could mix and match and keep them uncomfortable but unfortunately they came out and shot the ball very well.”

The lead stretched to as many as 18 in the second quarter, after a Lauren Flahive (six points) jumper, but North started to find the range on offense and slow down the Warriors. Samantha Taggart scored seven of her team-high 12 in the second and assisted on a Caroline Collard (seven points, seven rebounds) jumper that cut the lead to 28-21.

It was as close as the Rocketeers would get for the rest of the night. Hailey Maling drove and kicked out to Riley Collins for a three that regained a double digit lead for the hosts at the break.

“Obviously, we had a great first quarter and we were bound to have a little bit of an offensive letdown in the second, but to be up by 10 going into halftime I was pleased with that,” said Downs. “Just the way the came out and the amount of energy they showed, I knew we were in for a good game.”

Foxboro came out of halftime intent on putting the game away and that is what the Warriors did, using an 11-0 run to extend the lead to 21 points (46-25). Ashley Sampson (game-high 19 points) was the aggressor for the Warriors, scoring seven in the third including a corner three off a Sykes assist and then going coast-to-coast for a layup off a steal. Bortolotti and Tamulionis (18 points) each added four in the quarter.

“In the second quarter we were able to score and defend a little better and keep them disrupted. In the third quarter, we just couldn’t sustain it offensively,” said Herber, whose team trailed 50-32 entering the fourth.

On Monday night against Bridgewater-Raynham, Foxboro had only four players get on the score sheet, but on Friday eight Warriors scored at least two points. That balance made it difficult for North to send help for Emily Schromm on Sampson and the senior got into foul trouble in the third quarter. In the end, Schromm and Collard would both foul out.

“The problem is the third player,” Herber explained. “We can cover two, but the third player is a tough matchup for us. We need to keep our bigs in the game to score on offense but it puts them in a bind on defense.”

Foxboro also had a decisive edge on the glass, despite North’s advantage in height. The Warriors were plus-10 on the boards, which Downs credited to a total team effort.

She said, “That hasn’t been our story all season long…especially against a team that has some height on us…They were all contributing to keeping that ball and getting second and third opportunities.”

Julia Feid scored a traditional three-point play to cut the lead to 19 in the fourth, but Foxboro responded to seal the win and the title. Sampson hit a pair of free throws (two of her six points in the fourth and 13 in the second half) and then assisted on a Maling jumper. Maling then provided her second assist of the game on a kick-out to Tamulionis for a dagger three.

“You can’t win games with two or three girls scoring,” Downs said, “and we have scorers, so we have to make sure that we keep them in the offense and we’re rotating the ball to get different looks from different people so that we’re a hard matchup.”

After clinching its eighth league title and second in the past three seasons, Foxboro (16-2, 14-2) will try to sew up the top seed in Div. 2 South in its end-of-season Warrior Classic beginning with Whitman-Hanson on Monday. North Attleboro (15-5, 13-3) will also try to work on its seeding for Div. 2 South and get revenge for an earlier loss when it travels to Attleboro.

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Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/14/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Franklin, 73 @ Attleboro, 65 – FinalFranklin built a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter and held off the Bombardiers to earn the win. Attleboro cut the deficit to five on two separate occasions, including with just under a minute to play but the Panthers finished the game strong. Connor Peterson had 16 points while Josh Macchi and Paul Mahon each chipped in with 14 points for the Panthers.

Foxboro, 51 @ Canton, 44 – FinalIt was a close contest throughout between the two Davenport rivals, with Canton seizing a 14-10 lead after one and Foxboro 26-23 at half and 34-33 heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to one with less than a minute to play but Foxboro senior Andrew Block drained a three to put the Warriors ahead for good. Block scored eight of his 11 points in the final quarter while Joe Morrison scored 13 points, Mark Clagg had nine points and both Brandon Borde and Jamaine Few each had eight points. Canton sophomore Devin Foster had 13 points and junior Tony Harris added 10 points.

Mansfield, 56 @ King Philip, 53 – FinalMansfield senior Sam Goldberg (six reobunds) scored 17 of his game-high 29 points in the second half, helping offset a poor shooting night by the Hornets to clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title. Mansfield shot just 3-23 from three point range with only Max Boen (11 points) connecting from deep. Goldberg scored 11 points in the third quarter to give Mansfield a 43-36 lead heading into the fourth. The senior scored six of the team’s 13 points in the final quarter. Evan Christo added 11 rebounds for the Hornets.

Oliver Ames, 73 @ Taunton, 61 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

Sharon, 81 @ Stoughton, 72 – FinalSharon junior Malik Lorquet had a monster night for the Eagles, tying a career-high with 17 points while hauling in 13 rebounds and adding four steals and three blocks. Senior Jimmy Fitzhenry had a team-high 18 points while classmate Danny Emerman finished with 12 points. Stoughton junior Cam Andrews scored a game-high 24 points.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 52 @ Franklin, 59 – Final (OT)Franklin rallied late in the game to force overtime and outscored Attleboro 16-9 in the extra period. Carli Koffinke buried a pair of threes (her only two of the game) and Bea Bondhus scored five points in OT to lead the Panthers, after the duo combined for only one point in regulation. Freshman Ali Brigham was the game’s top scorer, leading the Panthers with 21 points, and classmate Megan O’Connell added nine points in the win. Julia Strachan led the Bombardiers with 18 points and Sarah Deyo had nine.

Canton, 28 @ Foxboro, 69 – FinalAfter scoring 31 on Monday night, Ashley Sampson scored a team-high 17 on Tuesday to ensure that Foxboro will go into the final league game in at least a tie for first place in the division. Kristen Bortolotti scored 16 points and Riley Collins had 11 for the Warriors.

King Philip, 33 @ Mansfield, 52 – FinalJunior Ann Maher paced the Hornets with a game-high 14 points. Sophomore Emily Vigeant chipped in with six points and Jen Peel added 12 assists for Mansfield, which had 11 players score in the game. Julia Leroux and Christina Hathaway each scored seven points apiece for the Warriors.

Milford, 55 @ Hopedale, 37 – FinalWith the victory, Milford booked a place in the state tournament for the first time since 2012.

Taunton, 20 @ Oliver Ames, 54 – FinalOliver Ames had another impressive defensive effort while junior Kayla Raymond scored a game-high 11 points. Niyera Mitchell and Hannah Carroll each had nine points for OA.

Stoughton, 59 @ Sharon, 45 – FinalStoughton was led by a pair of freshmen against the Eagles. Aliyah Wright scored a team-high 17 points, while Shyanne Trinh added 15 points for the Black Knights.

Hockey
Stoughton, 5 vs. Bellingham, 2 – FinalStoughton senior Jon Lessa netted a hat trick to pace the Black Knights past Bellingham. Brendan Campbell and Josh Hough also found the back of the net for the Knights.

Girls Hockey
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalCat Luciano scored a hat trick for the Warriors and Madison Haughey scored the fourth.

Tamulionis, Foxboro Dunk the Hawks To Move Into First

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro’s Ashley Sampson drives to the basket along the baseline against Milford. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Coming into a game, Foxboro opponents know that they have to try and contain the Warriors leading scorer Ashley Sampson. The offense flows through the junior guard, who always seems to have the ball in her hands and can make plays in a number of different ways.

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While stopping one player is hard enough, the challenge grows when the other players find the range as well. On Saturday morning at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Milford struggled to contain a Foxboro attack that was spearheaded by junior forward Grace Tamulionis, who scored a game- (and career-) high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and four steals.

Foxboro had three scorers reach double digits and eight players get on the board on Saturday to beat Milford 66-37 and pull into a first place tie with North Attleboro atop the Davenport division standings.

“We’ve been practicing a little bit more and been able to translate that into the games,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “It started on Thursday against Oliver Ames (a 51-35 win) and they’re shooting the ball with a lot more confidence. It’s not just one girl that is contributing and every day we’re getting someone new to step up.”

Foxboro came out firing in the first quarter and Sampson led the way with eight of her 16 points. Three times Sampson got to the baseline on drives to the hoop and she also knocked down a step-back jumper. Tamulionis also looked up for it from the start with four points in the first.

Milford stayed close largely thanks to Jill Burley. After Riley Collins drilled a three off a Lauren Flahive assist to push the Foxboro lead to nine, Burley, who scored seven of her 11 in the quarter, scored on a pair of drives to the hoop to cut the deficit to five despite leading scorer Kate Irwin being forced to the bench with foul trouble.

In the second, Emma Liskov came off the bench to score five of her team-high 13 points to keep Milford hanging around, but Foxboro was able to push the lead to nine by the break. Shannon Smally scored her lone basket to make it 22-15 and then Flahive and Kristen Bortolotti (from a Lily Sykes steal and assist) scored the final four points of the half.

When asked if playing in the arena setting could have impacted the way the Hawks started, Milford coach T.J. Dolliver responded, “It could’ve been, I can’t say for sure. I know for me, it’s a big environment and it’s a little intimidating, but after you get out there and run around you’re playing, you’re coaching.”

In the third quarter, Milford was held to only two made field goals (one for Liskov and the other for Christine Pye) and Foxboro’s defense continued to shut down Irwin, who was held to just one point for the game.

“Our focus was to block her out from touching the ball,” said Downs of guarding Irwin. “We kept rotating Lily and Riley, our two quickest girls, and that’s going to tire anyone out.”

Dolliver added, “It’s tough. In games like this, you need your stars, your leading scorer, to show up and unfortunately it wasn’t a good game for all of us. It’s hard for me to say the effort wasn’t there because I have a great group of girls…but we didn’t show up to play.”

On the other end, Tamulionis emerged as the go-to player for the Foxboro offense. She scored 10 points in the third, including a pair of threes, and looked confident every time she touched the ball. Sykes (12 points) extended the lead to 20 with a pair of high-arcing three-pointers of her own that closed out the third with Foxboro ahead 47-27.

“Grace has been doing some amazing things defensively and on the boards and now to have her being able to put the points on the board is just an extra bonus that’s going to get us far,” said Downs of Tamulionis’ contributions.

Sampson scored four in the fourth quarter, Sykes added six, Collins knocked down a three, and Tamulionis hit a jumper as well. Milford was struggling to slow down the Warriors, who were shooting the lights out.

“We didn’t have a game plan of trying to stop Ashley,” said Dolliver, “because they have so many; we had to stop so many. They made some really good, contested shots, pulled away, and we couldn’t do anything about it.”

Downs was asked what impact it has on the Warriors when different players provide scoring, as Tamulionis did on Saturday and Sykes did against OA (she had 19 against the Tigers). Downs replied, “It’s huge. When we have another girl that other teams aren’t really paying attention to…all the focus isn’t on Ashley. That opens up a lot more things that we can do offensively.”

Foxboro (9-2, 8-2) is now tied with North Attleboro for first in the division heading into a tough trip to Attleboro on Tuesday. Milford (8-5, 5-5) drops to .500 in the league this season and faces a trip to Kelley-Rex leader Mansfield.

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Sykes Fires Foxboro to Key Win Over Oliver Ames

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro junior Lily Sykes (3) scored a game-high 19 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the Warriors to a win over Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Oliver Ames was starting to click and had scored seven straight points to cut the Foxboro lead from 11 points down to four in the closing minutes of the third quarter.

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The Tigers grabbed a rebound and had a chance to make it a one-possession game, but a turnover led to an and-one and on the next possession the ball swung from Lauren Flahive out to junior Lily Sykes, who drilled the fourth of her five threes on the night to push the lead back to 10 heading into the fourth.

Sykes finished with a game-high 19 points and hit half of Foxboro’s 10 three-pointers, as the Warriors pulled away in the fourth for a 51-35 victory over OA that moves the hosts within a game of division-leading North Attleboro.

“She’s another one who’s been stepping up for us pretty consistently,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs of Sykes. “When the pressure is on Ashley [Sampson], [Lily] is able to step up and take those shots. That’s huge for us and it opens up things for Ashley too.”

While OA did not struggle offensively to the same level as last week’s loss to Mansfield (the Tigers scored more in the first half on Thursday then they did in the entire game against the Hornets), the Foxboro full-court press and aggressive half-court defense had the Tigers off-balance.

Kayla Raymond (11 points, six rebounds) started the game with a three and Hannah Carroll knocked one down for a 6-3 lead, but the Warriors went on an 8-0 run to a lead they would never relinquish. Kristen Bortolotti (nine points) buried one of her three shots from beyond the arc to tie it, Sampson fed Sykes for her second from outside, and then Sampson (13 points, 10 rebounds) scored off a steal.

Niyera Mitchell hit a jumper and Raymond scored on a rebound putback to cut the lead to four after one, but again Foxboro put together a 10-0 run to break the game open. Sykes knocked down another three, scored on a reverse, and Bortolotti buried a three off a feed from Grace Tamulionis.

Meanwhile, the OA offense was stagnating. Sadie Homer (seven points) hit a three and Raymond got out on the break for a layup to get back into the game but the Tigers struggled to find consistent looks. Riley Collins closed out the half with a corner three to put the Warriors ahead 27-18 at halftime.

“We just couldn’t score,” said Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We made bad decisions and we just couldn’t score. We need to figure this out because we didn’t rebound…Our bread and butter is getting out to run and if you’re not willing to rebound then it’s hard to run.”

The Warriors are regularly out-rebounded and the Tigers had a significant edge in size, but Foxboro was holding its own on the boards and at times dominating the glass. Flahive came off the bench and grabbed eight boards, Tamulionis and Sykes each snagged six, and Sampson grabbed 10.

“Because we don’t have the height,” Downs explained, “we need to work our butts off inside the paint. Once we start facing the taller teams, the stronger teams, that’s going to be huge for us because we can run the ball, we play great defense but if we don’t rebound then we can’t get our offensive game going.”

Bortolotti started the second half with another three and Collins answered an Abby Reardon jumper with an offensive rebound basket. Trailing by 11 the Tigers finally started to click. Mitchell kicked out a pass to Carroll (six points) for a three and then fed Brenna Burkett for a layup before snatching an offensive rebound and going up strong for a basket.

Just when it seemed like the game might be turning towards OA, a turnover handed the ball to Sampson for a layup plus the foul. Foxboro then broke quickly off a rebound and the ball was kicked out to Sykes, who stole any momentum that the Tigers may have built with another long-range shot.

“We got it close, down to four, and then we fell asleep,” said Clement-Holbrook. “It’s been this problem all season long in terms of playing four consistent quarters and it’s just….[shrugs].”

Downs was proud of her team for withstanding the run and turning it back around. She said, “They righted the ship without me having to call a timeout. They were able to settle themselves down on the court, which is something we didn’t do against North Attleboro (in a 53-47 loss).

“Tonight, they settled themselves down and it wasn’t crazy Coach Downs over here. They were able to just relax a little bit and keep their composure.”

Foxboro extended the run to 13-0 with the first seven points of the fourth quarter to effectively put the game away. Sykes scored five more in the run, picking up the scoring for Sampson who was being pressured by Homer.

“That’s going to happen because you’re helping off of someone and they have the game of the century,” said Clement-Holbrook of Sykes. She added, “Sadie did a great job on [Ashley]. If we could have everyone playing with that kind of heart and soul then things would be different.”

Foxboro (8-2, 7-2) will play at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday against Milford, while Oliver Ames (8-4, 7-3), which is now 1-1/2 games behind Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex, will be off until Tuesday against Canton.

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Sampson, Sykes Lift Foxboro to Non-League Road Win

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro junior Lily Sykes scored 15 rebounds, pulled down five boards and dished out a pair of assists to help Foxboro beat B-R. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – After taking all of Christmas break off and not playing for 17 days, Foxboro is in the midst of a busy stretch of basketball and on Monday night traveled to Bridgewater-Raynham for a non-league matchup against the Trojans.

The Warriors were clearly the more talented team and took a big lead into halftime but came out sluggish to start the third quarter, allowing the hosts to go on a 7-2 run that cut the lead to 14 points and forced head coach Lisa Downs into a timeout.

Downs was able to wake Foxboro up from its halftime slumber and the Warriors scored 15 of the next 19 points to take back control and head into the fourth with a 25-point advantage. Foxboro cruised to a 65-36, extending its win streak to four games since a season-opening loss to Mansfield and made it three straight wins by more than 20 points.

The Warriors came out with typical intensity on the defensive side of the floor and held the Trojans to only one made field goal in the first quarter and only three for the entire first half, but they were also committing fouls and sent B-R to the line 12 times. Junior guard Ashley Sampson missed almost the entire first quarter after picking up a second early foul.

“That’s kind of been our Achille’s heel the past few games,” said Downs. “We play so fast and our hands are so quick that if the refs are calling the touch fouls and the hand checks…We’re very aggressive and we work on that but we also work on not using our hands, which is not what we’ve been doing the past couple games.”

It took the Warriors time to get going offensively without Sampson, but Grace Tamulionis (eight points, seven rebounds) knocked down a jumper and scored on a drive down the lane. Lauren Flahive also came off the bench to score four of her eight points, both on pump-fakes and drives to the basket.

Leading 11-4 after the first, Foxboro brought Sampson back in for the second and the offense exploded for 22 points. Sampson (game-high 16 points) got it started with a bucket in transition and then buried a three off a Lily Sykes assist. Sykes (15 points) followed it with a score plus the foul to cap a 9-0 run.

Sykes would assist on a Tamulionis corner three and then Hailey Maling kicked it out to Sykes for another three and a 33-14 halftime advantage.

The intensity that the Warriors showed in the early part of the game was mimicked by the Trojans at the start of the second half. B-R went into a full-court press and Foxboro seemed rattled by it, struggling to get the ball up the court and turning it over frequently. B-R went on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 35-21 before Downs called a timeout.

“They just got a little bit lax on our rebounding and our half-court defense wasn’t as good as it had been in the first half,” she explained. “Things like that just make me cringe.”

Sampson scored back-to-back baskets out of the timeout to restore an 18-point lead and sparked another Foxboro run that had the Warriors doubling up the Trojans heading to the fourth.

Flahive scored on a layup, Riley Collins (10 points) finished a three-point play on the break and then Sykes closed the quarter with a corner three off a Tamulionis assist and another from deep off an assist by Shannon Smally. Collins started the fourth with a shot from long distance and then Kristen Bortolotti followed with a three as well, as the game turned into a rout.

“Riley’s been a little sparkplug in there,” said Downs. “She’s been great to have out there this year. She’s a great complement to have off the bench for Ashley or Lily or even to have the three on the floor is a powerful thing.”

The Warriors are not the biggest team but they were able to hold their own on the glass, pulling down one fewer rebound than the Trojans on the night. It is a key component to the defensive effort and Downs was happy to see players like Flahive, Sykes (five rebounds), and Sampson (seven rebounds) get involved.

“Grace did a great job on the boards and even Lauren Flahive did good things on the boards,” Downs said. “That’s the thing I tell them all the time is that you don’t have to be a great basketball player to be a great rebounder or good defensive player, it’s all about effort and who wants it more.”

Foxboro (4-1) will return to league play on Tuesday night when it hosts Stoughton.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/06/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
King Philip, 49 @ Attleboro, 68 – FinalAttleboro won the second quarter 19-7 to build a 33-16 lead at halftime and never looked back. Andrew Milliken dropped a career-high 21 points to pace the Bombardiers while Jake Dunkley had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, Berlyns Abraham added 10 points and Nate Douglas chipped in with nine points.

North Attleboro, 58 @ Canton, 60 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Sharon, 47 @ Foxboro, 75 – FinalFoxboro had a dominate second quarter, turning a nine point lead after one (19-10) into a commanding 43-17 advantage at the halftime break. Senior Mark Clagg connected for a career-high 32 points while junior Joe Morrison added 10 points. Ricardo Ripley and Malik Lorquet each had 12 points for the Eagles.

Oliver Ames, 42 @ Franklin, 75 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Taunton, 46 @ Mansfield, 63 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Milford, 56 @ Stoughton, 50 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Girls Basketball
King Philip, 37 @ Attleboro, 58 – Final

North Attleboro, 59 @ Canton, 47 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Sharon, 34 @ Foxboro, 73 – FinalAshley Sampson scored 19 points to lead the Warriors and Shannon Smalley had 13 and Riley Collins had 11 for Foxboro.

Oliver Ames, 64 @ Franklin, 50 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Taunton, 34 @ Mansfield, 62 – FinalMeg Hill had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Hornets. Mansfield also got 11 points and seven assists from Jen Peel and a career-high 11 points from Erin Daniels. Lily Patneaude scored 12 points and hit four three-pointers for Taunton.

Milford, 51 @ Stoughton, 37 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Swimming
Boys
Canton, 85 @ Westwood, 96 – Final
Taunton, 92 @ North Attleboro, 71 – Final
Sharon, 57 @ King Philip, 94 – Final

Girls
Canton, 85 @ Westwood, 96 – Final
Taunton, 97 @ North Attleboro, 72 – Final
Sharon, 77 @ King Philip, 98 – Final

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro, 138.4 @ Newton North, 158.6 – Final