By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
WESTWOOD, Mass. – Despite leading by double digits for the majority of the game, Foxboro’s lead over Westwood never felt like a comfortable one.
The comfort level was even lower when Westwood’s Tim Giovino scored 12 points in the midst of a 13-6 run from the Wolverines that cut Foxboro’s lead to just seven with 2:05 to play.
But there was no panic from the Warriors this time out. Foxboro shut the door for the remaining time, not letting the Wolverines get off an open look and converted all eight of their free throws down the stretch for a 70-55 win over Westwood in the host’s Holiday Invitational.
A minute after Westwood had cut it to seven, both teams had traded empty trips and it looked like the Warriors were going to come up empty again. A three rimmed out but senior Rob Lowey skied for the rebound and kicked it back out. With just over a minute to play and a fresh play clock, Westwood was forced to foul. Alex DuBrow hit six straight free throws and Jason Procaccini had two to seal the win in the win 90 seconds.
DuBrow finished with a career-high 24 points and six assists and was named the Holiday Invitational Most Valuable Player. Procaccini had a game-high and career-best 25 points and 10 rebounds and was named a tournament all star.
“We talked at halftime about finishing the game just one possession at a time,” Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs said. “Just building up the lead one stop at a time, one quality possession at a time. We just couldn’t quite seem to get enough stops in a row to get the separation we wanted. It seemed like we were fouling a lot and giving them free throw opportunities and let them hang around. We talked about how a good team will extend that lead and put someone away.
“They hit a couple shots in a row and all of a sudden it’s a seven point game. But I was proud how we responded when things weren’t going our away. That was a big problem against Taunton. When adversity hit we didn’t respond well. I thought today we did a much better job, we hung in there and we held on and made the plays we had to down the stretch. We showed a lot of maturity I thought.”
It was a slow start for the Warriors, who connected on just five of their 21 attempts from the field in the first quarter. Despite forcing 10 turnovers, with just a minute to go in the opening quarter the game was knotted at 7-7. Over the final minute, DuBrow hit a three then sliced through the defense to the hoop and the Warriors held a 12-7 lead at the end of one.
The Wolverines took much better care of the ball in the second quarter but couldn’t stop a much more efficient offense from Foxboro. The Warriors shot 6/11 from the field and 7/9 from the free throw line. Procaccini got six points and Jamaine Few had four points off the bench in the quarter to help extend the lead to 31-18 at the break.
Procaccini had his best scoring quarter in the third, dropping 10 points. A three from Procaccini with 2:45 left in the quarter gave Foxboro’s its biggest lead of the game at 18 (45-27). Two more from the senior helped Foxboro take a 13 point lead into the final quarter.
“He’s a very talented scorer and he can score in a lot of ways,” Gibbs said of Procaccini. “He can be a mismatch problem for people and obviously he had a few baskets early and got his confidence going and it just snowballed. He had a big night and we have a lot of different guys on this team that are capable of having big nights. We talk about being balanced and different people getting the job done on different nights. Tonight he had the big game and it was nice to see some different guys carry the load.”
Foxboro finished 21/31 from the free throw line (Westwood was 14/20) and the Warriors dominated the glass with a 38-21 advantage, including a 13-4 edge on the offensive boards.
“We talked about rebounding coming into the game because we felt we had an advantage on the boards and that would be something we could take advantage of,” Gibbs said. “I thought for the most part we did a good job there. Early in the game we missed a lot of shots but luckily we were able to get offensive rebounds and give ourselves second chances and then I thought we limited their second chances.”
Foxboro (4-1) has won two in a row after a loss to Taunton at home. The Warriors will get back into league play on Monday when they host Stoughton.
Today’s games are listed below.
Foxboro, 70 @ Westwood, 55 – Final – Senior Jason Procaccini scored a career-high 25 points and had 10 rebounds for his first double-double with the Warriors. Classmate Alex DuBrow also had a career-high, scoring 24 points and adding six assists. DuBrow was named the Westwood Holiday Invitational MVP. Robbie Lowey had seven points and 11 rebounds for Foxboro.
Milford, 59 @ Hopedale, 81 – Final
North Attleboro, 37 vs. Bishop Feehan, 50 – Final – Junior Jonny Friberg scored a team-best 11 points off the bench for the Rocketeers and classmate Brent Doherty chipped in with seven points.
Oliver Ames, 67 vs. Falmouth, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames’ offense had its best game of the season led by Carter Evin, who scored 15 points and was named the Muscato Tournament MVP. Dylan Mahoney had a team-high 16 points and was named a tournament all star.
Stoughton, 54 @ Randolph, 61 – Final – Brandon Teixeira scored a team-high 20 points and was named an all star for the Blue Devils Holiday Tournament.
Attleboro, 55 @ Dartmouth, 45 – Final
Foxboro, 39 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 37 – Final – Cassidy Harrison led Foxboro with 12 points as the Warriors were able to hold off a late push from the Trojans.
Milford, 54 @ Hopedale, 41 – Final
North Attleboro, 51 @ Bishop Feehan, 85 – Final – Samantha Taggart led the Rocketeers with 12 points while Ashley Ahern and Caroline Collard each chipped in with nine points.
Sharon, 59 vs. Sandwich, 41 – Final – Charlotte Ransom was the top scorer for Sharon with 19 points and fellow captain Alyssa Piazza had 15. The Eagles broke open a one-point game with a 22-8 third quarter.
Attleboro, 6 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Sam Larkin scored his first career goal with a penalty shot and Evan Andrews made 16 saves to earn his first varsity win for the Bombardiers. Attleboro also got goals from Nick Miniati, Jack Flynn, Keigan Larkin, Dan Creavin, and Jake Parker.
Canton, 1 vs. Westwood, 1 – Final – Bobby Mullaney gave Canton the lead in the first period off an assist by Shaun Kirby but Westwood tied it in the second against the run of play. The Bulldogs outshot Westwood 30-14 for the game (25-5 in the final two periods).
Franklin, 2 vs. St. Joseph, 4 – Final
King Philip, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Matt Mancini netted his first hat trick and Owen Gallagher had a trio of assists and one goal for Oliver Ames. King Philip sophomore Collin Cooke had a pair of goals for the Warriors.
Taunton, 7 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Tyler Pietrzyk and Jordan Hoey each scored a pair of goals for Taunton while Nick Croft, Mike Volkmann and Mike Albert each scored once. RJ Stansbury and Griffin Burns each scored for Milford.
North Attleboro, 2 @ Dedham, 1 – Final – Junior Zach McGowan scored his first goal in the second period to tie the game and then scored the game-winner in the third period to lift the Rocketeers.
Stoughton, 4 vs. Apponequet/Connolly, 3 – Final – Junior captain Jon Lessa found the back of the net twice to help Stoughton edge Apponequet/Connolly at home.
Mansfield, 3 @ Norton, 63 – Final
Foxboro @ Hopkinton, 6:00
Canton, 118.05 @ Mansfield, 134.90 – Final
Canton, 1 vs. Medfield, 0 – Final
Franklin, 1 @ Westwood, 5 – Final
King Philip, 3 vs. Cohasset/Hanover, 5 – Final
Stoughton, 0 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 7 – Final
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Foxboro freshman Nic Biegel scored with less than five minutes to earn the Warriors a point in a 2-2 draw against Oliver Ames.
In a battle of the top two teams in the Hockomock League, Foxboro took the lead less than 10 minutes in but Oliver Ames scored twice off of set pieces to get a 2-1 lead before halftime.
Neither team found the back of the net, despite multiple chances for both sides until Biegel was able to slot home a rebound in the 76th minute.
“That’s a strength of this team, to not give up,” Foxboro first year coach Joe Franchino said. “They believe in themselves and that’s huge. If you go up 1-0 and then give up two goals it’s easy to put your head down but these guys didn’t do it.”
A neat combination play at the top of the area resulted in a little chip over the top from junior Anthony Barreira. Senior Devante Teixeira used his speed to race in and was able to get a touch to it as OA goalie Jack Carroll was also getting a hand to it. The rebound fell to Biegel and the freshman calmly placed it into the back of the net.
“I think it was a great goal, we needed it,” Franchino said. “Devante played big. We had high percentage chances right in front of the net that I couldn’t believe didn’t go in but that’s the nature of the game. I think it was a fair result 2-2 and we’ll move on.”
While it was a good comeback for Foxboro, Oliver Ames were certainly look back at some of the chances they had, specifically in the second half, that could have put the game out of reach.
In the 56th minute, Oliver Ames had a free kick put into the area that bounced around. It eventually fell to senior Keegan Nutt and he had a go from six yards out but his shot was blocked on the goal line by Foxboro senior Robbie Lowey.
In the 67th minute, the ball once again bounced around in the area before a foot from an OA player found the ball from close range but somehow Foxboro goalie Aaron Wentling was able to get a hand to it and collected the rebound.
The Tigers also had a handful of other chances, including a free kick from Cam Vella that curled just wide at the near post, but were able to add to their two goal first half.
“We had plenty of chances,” OA head coach John Barata said. “We had the ball bounce inside the six yard box close to the goal line four times. We minimized the chances from their trio [Barreira, Teixeira and Joe Morrison]. We knew they were going to score goals. The issue is that we thought we could score goals and we created a plethora of chances. Tonight we were good so I’m happy how we played overall. Disappointed we didn’t get the result but we still have five games to get better for the postseason.”
To start the game, Oliver Ames came out with the majority of the play and pressured high for the first 10 minutes but after a quick counter attack, Teixeira was able to earn a corner for Foxboro. Barreira curled in the cross and Teixeira elevated and headed the ball off the underside of the crossbar and in.
Foxboro nearly doubled the lead when Hussein Kafel was able to split OA’s defense with a pass to Barreira but the junior saw his bouncing shot go wide to the right.
Oliver Ames was able to level the scoring almost exactly 10 minutes after Teixeira’s game-opener. The Tigers were also able to earn a corner and an in-swinger from Chris Romero was hit on a side volley from junior Thomas McCormick to bring OA even.
Nearly two minutes later OA nearly took the lead when senior Joe Cucinotta used an individual effort to cut around a defender and rip a shot from 18 yards out but Wentling dove to his right for the stop and collected the rebound.
But in the 34th minute, the Tigers were once again able to use a set piece to get on the board. With a free kick on the right side, Vella and Nutt stood over the ball. Instead of a service into the area, Vella played a low ball straight ahead where sophomore Matt Campbell sprinted onto. Campbell put a low service into the area and McCormick was able to get a touch to it at the near post to put it in to make it 2-1.
“It was great, set pieces are the types of thing we need to work on for the playoffs,” Barata said. “Our goal is to do well in the playoffs and I think right now we’ve put ourselves in a position to at least compete there.”
It was the second time in less than a week that the set piece worked for OA as Campbell was able to find the back of the net against KP last Friday but the sophomore was deemed offside.
In the second half, Franchino elected to push Teixeira centrally after he had been shadowed all game. The move also allowed Morrison to take his two marks wide to create space in the midfield.
“It was a couple of mental lapses with the set pieces in the first half, giving two goals away,” Franchino said. “In the second half I thought we had some good chances. Joe Morrison was being double teamed the whole game so we tried get him to be creative and get wide to create some space in the midfield. I thought we had a better run of play in the second half so it might have worked. Overall it was a good fight by both teams.”
In the 47th minute, Barreira served in a free kick to the near post but no Foxboro player was able to get a touch to it and Carroll smothered the opportunity.
In the 60th minute, Teixeira ripped a free kick from just outside the area that he curved around the wall but Carroll was able to punched the ball over the bar. The next serious scoring chance from the Warriors turned into a goal
“We’ve only given up one clean goal all season and it was a great header from Teixeira,” Barata said. “They’re a very good team. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the win because we fought back from down 1-0 early to get the lead and I thought we played well enough to win the game.”
It was the first game Oliver Ames didn’t come out victorious in this season with their record now 10-0-1 in both the league and overall. The Tigers won’t have much time to dwell on the point as they host Stoughton, winners of four straight, on Friday. Foxboro (9-1-1, 9-1-1) will also be back in action on Friday when they host Canton.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.