Strachan Steps Up in Big Spot, Attleboro Edges Brockton

Attleboro girls basketball
Attleboro senior Julia Strachan knocked down a long jumper with 57.4 remaining in the game for what turned out to be the game-winning points in a 63-58 playoff victory against Brockton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Entering the state tournament, Attleboro had been struggling to find the consistent form that got the Bombardiers off to an 8-0 start to the season. Blown leads and close losses in rematches against Franklin and North Attleboro in the final week highlighted what was a 7-7 run over the last 14 games.

In the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s playoff opener against Brockton, it seemed like Attleboro would once again struggle to pull out a win in a close game. The Boxers rallied from as many as nine points down in the second half to take the lead on a Jade Wilt (10 points) jumper with a minute remaining.

This time, Attleboro did not fold. Senior guard Julia Strachan capped off a 24-point night by driving up the court and pulling up for a jumper with her toe on the three-point line that put the Bombardiers ahead 59-58 with 57.4 on the clock.

A pair of free throws from Sam Pierce (11 points, six rebounds) and two from Jordyn Lako (six points) sealed a 63-58 victory for Attleboro, which avenged a first round playoff loss to the Boxers in 2014 and sets up a third meeting with league champion Mansfield, the top seed in Div. 1 South.

“I thought they did a great job handling the adversity this time,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “When Brockton took the lead, we didn’t wilt. Strachan came down and made a big shot.”

Patch was asked about the difference it makes for Attleboro when Strachan (five three-pointers) starts knocking down shots from the outside. He responded, “Just for her to get her confidence like that, she is a bona fide shooter. She likes to shoot the ball, she’s very good at it and she feels like she can’t be stopped.”

He added, “That’s a kid who wants to win and who is an offensive threat inside and out.”

The Bombardiers needed Strachan to be on fire early, as Attleboro was slow out of the gates against an aggressive Brockton team that dominated on the glass and in hustle plays for much of the first half. Strachan had nine of Attleboro’s 14 first quarter points, but the Boxers held an 18-14 lead after one.

In the middle of the quarter, Patch called a timeout and laid into his team to try and wake the Bombardiers up. He explained, “We were getting beat to every loose ball, every rebound. They must have had six offensive rebounds in the first four minutes and that was the discouraging part. We called timeout to challenge them.”

The challenge was not accepted right away and, after a layup by freshman Alexandra Giannaros (team-high 14 points), Brockton led 28-20 in the closing stages of the second quarter. Attleboro finally responded with eight straight points to end the half tied.

Pierce drilled a three and scored off a nice bounce pass by Grace Mayer (three assists). Pierce then assisted on a basket by Sarah Deyo, who added a free throw to even the scores.

“As a staff, we were going into half thrilled that it was 28-28,” said Patch. “Last time we played them, they were up two. We knew if we could come out in the second half and get two or three positive possessions it would help.”

The Bombardiers came out of halftime determined to grab the lead and to gain control of the glass. Deyo scored 10 of her 18 points in the third, twice scoring on offensive rebounds and also a three-point play on another Mayer assist. Deyo started to dominate the boards and finished with 19 rebounds.

“Sarah is literally a rebounding machine,” Patch said. “She gets anything within six or eight feet of her, which is great. It’s what I was emphasizing to everyone else to just get your five rebounds this half, get the rebound.”

Strachan nailed her third three to put Attleboro ahead by five, then Pierce scored off an inbounds pass by Mish Logie, and Madison Brown came off the bench to snag her only rebound and turn it into her only basket to push the Bombardiers in front by as many as nine.

The lead was six heading to the fourth, as the Boxers just would not go away. Jalani Jackson (12 points) assisted on a three by Makayla Robinson to start the final quarter, but that was quickly answered by a long-range shot by Strachan, who also matched a three by Wint to keep the lead at eight points.

Brockton crept back into the game at the line. The Boxers went on a 9-0 run to take the lead for the first time in the second half and were helped by going 7-for-8 at the line, including two clutch free throws by Giannaros that cut the Attleboro lead to one.

Strachan provided the heroics for the Bombardiers and sent Attleboro into the next round for a heavily-anticipated third meeting with Mansfield. The Hornets won both meetings in the regular season and there is little mystery between these rivals.

“The good thing is we have one day to prepare for them and we’ll see what happens,” said Patch. “We have our work cut out for us.”

He smiled when asked if there was anything specific that the Bombardiers would try to do differently the third time around. “Score more points than they do,” he quipped.

Patch added, “We’ve tried a lot of different things and the last couple times they seemed to be a step ahead of us, so we expect a great challenge ahead of for sure.”

Attleboro (16-7) will travel to Albertini Gym on Thursday night at 6:30 to face Mansfield (18-2).

Peel Powers Hornets Past Attleboro and to League Title

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield senior Jen Peel (14) scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Hornets to a season sweep of Attleboro and clinched at least a share of a second straight league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Last winter Mansfield edged Attleboro on the final night of the league campaign to earn the program’s second Hockomock title. Coming into this season, the Hornets were young with only two seniors on the roster and a host of talented, if inexperienced, underclassmen.

Hornets coach Mike Redding knew his team would still be good, and would get better over the course of the season, but he had no idea that with three games left to spare Mansfield would have the chance to win back-to-back titles for the first time in program history.

That is exactly what the Hornets accomplished on Monday night. Led by senior point guard Jen Peel, who scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds despite being the focal point of the Attleboro defense, Mansfield pulled out a 54-47 victory in the James Albertini Gym to sweep the season series against the Bombardiers and clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title.

“If you told me we’d clinch a share of the title with three to play, I’d say no way,” said Redding. “I think we were hoping we’d be hanging around at this point and the girls have played above and beyond all year. They played really high-level basketball beyond their years.”

Peel came out firing and buried a pair of threes, as the Hornets jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. She added seven points in the second to give Mansfield a halftime lead and in the fourth quarter Peel knocked down the final two of her five three-pointers on the night to extend the Hornets’ lead to as many as 11 and seal the victory.

“I think the bottom line is Jen Peel took over the game. She hit some big threes, was driving and creating, and played great,” said Redding. He added, “She’s just so good with the ball and her vision is great, she finds open people, and she’s the difference tonight.”

Mansfield got off to a quick start in the first, but Attleboro answered back with an 11-0 run take the lead for the first time. Julia Strachan found Sarah Deyo open in the corner for her second three-pointer of the quarter and a piece of program history.

With that basket, Deyo recorded her 1,222nd career point, which moved her past Becky Hardt (Class of 1994) on the school’s all-time scoring chart. Deyo, who finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds on the night, is now the highest scoring female player in Attleboro history.


“That’s a great testament to her hard work,” said Rick Patch of Deyo’s accomplishment. “She takes a beating, she does a lot of little things, and she’s worked hard for that since elementary school. It’s great for her to see her hard work pay off.”

After Deyo’s slice of history, Kara Bendanillo answered back with a three of her own to tie the game at 11-11. Following a pair of free throws by Sam Pierce (eight points), Bendanillo drove and kicked a pass to Meg Hill (eight points, eight rebounds) for a 15-foot jumper that tied the game at 13 apiece after one.

Despite being in the double bonus for the majority of the second quarter, Attleboro struggled to get consistent offense. Strachan was held scoreless for the entire first half and Deyo had no points in the second. The teams traded baskets with Kim White (eight points) knocking down a jumper and Mish Logie and Jordyn Lako scoring on drives that gave Attleboro its last lead of the game at 21-19.

Erin Daniel came off the bench to give Mansfield a spark, assisting on a Mady Bendanillo (eight points, nine rebounds) three and knocking down a long jumper to tie the game. After a Peel free throw, Ann Maher drove to the basket and Peel hit three from the line to close out the half with a six-point advantage.

Attleboro hung around in the third quarter. Grace Mayer banked in a long jumper from a tough angle, Deyo scored on an offensive rebound, and Strachan hit her only shot from the field to cut the lead to 34-32. Mansfield saw Hill head to the bench with her fourth foul with five minutes remaining in the third, but the Bombardiers struggled to take advantage.

Senior Olivia Broyles gave the Hornets a huge lift with a putback and, after Deyo got a three-point play, she scored on a layup off a Peel assist. Those were her only four points of the game, but Broyles also played an important role as a defensive substitute for Hill down the stretch.

“The hidden hero of the game was Olivia Broyles, just playing unbelievable defense and rebounding when Meg got into some foul trouble,” said Redding.

Patch said, “There was no offensive sync. It was like we were playing downhill; we were playing at a breakneck speed. I think we went like 1-for-8 in the next eight possessions. That would’ve been a point to regain momentum, take the lead, and…we didn’t.”

Maggie Danehy and Hill scored the opening four points of the fourth to give Mansfield a little cushion and then Peel put the game away for the Hornets with three-pointers on back-to-back possessions that extended the lead to 11 at 50-39.

“Jen Peel was just on fire when she needed to be,” said Patch. “She hit big shots when she needed to and that’s why she’s an MVP-caliber player. She makes that team go.”

Redding added, “These are two very, very good games and I’m just praying we don’t play again in D1 South, which could happen and if it does it will be another battle.”

Mansfield (14-2, 12-1) can clinch the outright title on Friday night and avenge its only league loss of the season against Franklin. Attleboro (13-4, 9-4) will also look to avenge an earlier defeat and take control of second place in the division with a trip to Oliver Ames.

Sampson Powers Foxboro to Critical Win at Attleboro

Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro junior Ashley Sampson (5) put up a game-high 27 points to lead the Warriors to a road win at Attleboro that keeps them tied with North Attleboro atop the division. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Over the past couple of games, Foxboro has been able to turn to some of its supporting cast for big nights. Lily Sykes scored 19 in the win over Oliver Ames and on Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center it was Grace Tamulionis who stepped up with a career-high 20 points to beat Sharon.

On Wednesday night at Attleboro, the now league-leading Warriors were able to turn to star Ashley Sampson. Not only did the junior guard scored a game-high 27 points and snag seven steals, but she also took turns guarding Bombardiers star forward Sarah Deyo. It was the kind of all-around performance that head coach Lisa Downs has been counting on from Sampson.

“She was a leader on the court tonight, which is what I’ve been asking of her pretty much from day one,” Downs explained. “She took control of the offensive end and she had the tough defensive matchup…so it wasn’t like she got to take a rest on the defensive end.”

Sampson’s big night helped Foxboro pull out a 58-46 victory over the Bombardiers and keep the Warriors in a first place tie with North Attleboro atop the Davenport division standings. Meanwhile, the defeat dropped Attleboro two games behind Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex.

“It all comes with preparation and we’re not preparing ourselves well enough for a team that’s aggressive and fast like that,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “When you get off to a slow start and get down a little bit, it’s hard to come back against a team like that.”

After the game, Downs called the first half defensive performance by the Warriors as their best of the season. Foxboro used its team speed, depth, and versatility to stymie the Bombardiers. The Warriors held Attleboro to just 17 points as a team in the half and held Samantha Pierce and Julia Strachan scoreless over the opening 16 minutes of play.

Downs added, “That was the key. We had to keep fresh legs on Strachan and they did a fantastic job holding her to zero points in the first half and then Deyo is a matchup nightmare, so we had to know whoever we put in there had to be as physical as they can be, which is not always our strong suit.”

Foxboro added Lauren Flahive to the starting lineup on Wednesday, going smaller but adding speed. It paid dividends immediately, as the Warriors used a 13-0 run to break the game open in the first quarter. Sampson scored seven in the first and Kristen Bortolotti added four. Tamulionis (team-high nine rebounds), fresh off her career-high on Sunday, buried a pair from beyond the arc for six of her 12 on the night.

Deyo had four in the first and assisted on a three by Jordyn Lako to close out the quarter but the Bombardiers trailed by 12 points. Deyo, who finished with 15 points an 15 rebounds, added another six points in the second, but she was struggling to get the ball in good positions and four of her five baskets in the first half came from offensive rebounds.

“We go up and down too,” said Patch, ‘and my whole point with [the girls] was push the ball, go to the basket, and get points in the paint. That’s how we beat them last year with all our kids down and this year it was the game plan but it just wasn’t happening.”

Sampson buried a three off a Shannon Smally kick out and then stole the ball from Deyo, who was also bringing the ball up the court at times, and went in for a layup. Sykes (10 points) drilled a three and it was a 31-17 lead at half for the visitors.

“We knew we had to play our best defense to beat a quality team like Attleboro,” said Downs. “They’re going to fight you tooth and nail every possession, so if you can take care of business on the defensive end and hold their offense lower than they have in recent game then we knew we’d be in decent shape.”

Coming out of halftime, Attleboro started to pick up the pace and tried to cut into the lead, scoring as many points in the third as it had in the entire first half. Deyo twice got the ball at the rim for easy baskets, Grace Mayer (five points) buried a corner three, and Pierce (eight points) finally got going with four in the quarter.

Foxboro held onto a double digit lead through the third thanks to eight more points by Sampson, including a baseline drive to the basket plus the foul that pushed the lead to as many as 17 points. Bortlotti (seven points) ended a mini-run by the Bombardiers to give Foxboro a 47-34 lead heading to the fourth.

Attleboro gave the Warriors a scare in the fourth by scoring the opening eight points to cut the lead down to as little as five. Pierce had four of those points and Lako scored in transition from a Mish Logie assist. The home crowd was making noise and the bench was fired up, but the Warriors forced a pair of turnovers and took back control.

After Sykes knocked down a couple of free throws, Sampson took the ball baseline and got to the rim and then on the next possession again got into the heart of the Attleboro defense for another layup that put Foxboro ahead 53-42. Sykes closed out the game going 5-of-8 from the line.

“We just lost our poise, had two or three turnovers that resulted in two baskets on the other end that made it 11 and it’s hard to overcome that,” Patch said. “It’s definitely discouraging but we’ve got to get better preparation.”

This was a big win for Foxboro to stay level with the Rocketeers, which beat King Philip earlier in the night.

Downs said, “It was huge. Before tonight we were tied with North but head-to-head they were one up on us, so we knew we had to win this game. It was a big one.”

Foxboro (10-2, 9-2) will look to extend its win streak to five games at Sharon on Friday. Attleboro (12-3, 8-3) will try to bounce back at home against King Philip.

North Makes Plays Down the Stretch to Beat Attleboro

North Attleboro boys basketball
Jonny Friberg scored a career-high 24 points to lead North Attleboro to a come from behind win over Attleboro on Tuesday night. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Trailing in the second half at home in front a packed crowd in the Kenneth Pickering Gym against rival Attleboro, the Rocketeers switched the defensive look to a 2-3 zone and turned the offense back over to senior forward Jonny Friberg and senior guard Brent Doherty.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After scoring 11 points in the opening quarter, Friberg had seen far less of the ball after the Bombardiers turned up the defensive pressure on the North Attleboro guards and had managed only two points in the quarter and a half since. Meanwhile, Doherty was held in check with just six points midway through the third.

That changed down the stretch.

North started to pound the ball into the paint in the final 12 minutes and Friberg (10 rebounds) responded with 11 of his career-high 24 points and Doherty added 11 of his 17 as well, as the Rocketeers turned an eight-point deficit into a 62-55 victory that extended their win streak to four games and moved them into a tie with Milford for the Davenport division lead.

“They did a great job adjusting defensively,” said North coach Sean Mulkerrins about Friberg’s drop from 11 points in the first quarter to none in the second. “They didn’t allow us to move the ball and then they doubled inside. At halftime we talked about using that to our advantage. We knew it would either get [Jonny] or a shooter and Chad [Peterson] and the guys on the perimeter knocked down some big shots.”

In addition to the change of emphasis offensively, which included getting the ball into the post quickly to force the Attleboro defense to send help on Friberg, the Rocketeers also switch into a zone that slowed down the Bombardiers.

“The change of pace kind of hurt us a little bit,” said Attleboro coach Mark Houle. “In the end, they went to their strength; they went to Jonny inside and, as mightily as we tried to fight in there, we just didn’t have enough muscle.”

North took control in the opening half by getting the ball into the block where Friberg used his size to overpower the Attleboro defense. He scored 11 of North’s 20 points in the first with a series of baskets from in close and then a three to close out the half off a feed by Kyle McCarthy.

Despite Jake Dunkley’s seven points in the first, Attleboro trailed by six heading to the second. The lead grew to as many as 11 points (30-19), as Peterson drilled back-to-back threes and McCarthy came through with four of his six points.

After a timeout, Attleboro turned things around with pressure defense by freshman Bryant Ciccio (seven points) and seniors Nate Douglas (12 points) and Lucas Boucicaut (four assists). Forcing turnovers allowed the Bombardiers to get in transition and they closed the half with a 10-0 run. Douglas scored twice on offensive rebounds and Ciccio and Dunkley each grabbed steals and layups.

“I thought in the second quarter and definitely in the third quarter their athleticism, we started getting long in the legs,” said Mulkerrins. “We’ve played a lot of zone in the past but we haven’t played a lot of it this year and it’s a risk…but we made just enough plays.”

The run stretched to 14-0 and 19-3, as Attleboro turned the game around and built the lead to as many as eight points in the third quarter after Elvin Sam stole the ball from Friberg under the basket and fed it to Andrew Milliken (10 points) for the finish plus the foul.

North started to creep back into the game thanks to its seniors. Friberg drilled a straightaway three to cut the lead to five and then added a fall-away jumper to make it 44-41. Milliken scored off a Dunkley assist to make it a five-point game heading to the fourth, but North had stemmed the tide.

“We’ve been talking all season about being scoreboard watchers; we don’t want to be scoreboard watchers,” said Mulkerrins. “It shows the resiliency of the kids. I’m proud of them.”

Doherty started the fourth with a basket in transition and, after a Friberg free throw, scored again on the break to tie it. Douglas knocked down a big three to put Attleboro back on top but it was answered by three at the line from Peterson. The junior guard then pulled up and the free throw line to give North its first lead since the opening minute of the third quarter.

Friberg scored the next two baskets for North and the lead stretched to six. Attleboro tried to extend the game by crashing the boards and getting its chances at the line, but the Rocketeers closed out the game shooting 6-of-7 on free throws to earn the win.

“Down the stretch you have to execute,” said Houle. “Brent and Jonny made big plays in those situations and those are the players that need to make the plays and they did.”

Mulkerrins added, “I think it’s the maturity of the group…I was yelling at the guys the word complete; we needed to play a more complete game than we did against Foxboro because we knew Attleboro was going to bring it.”

North Attleboro (8-4, 5-3) will travel to Mansfield on Friday before facing Milford in a battle for first in the division at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday. Attleboro (8-5, 4-5) will try to put an end to its five-game skid (and help North) against Milford on Friday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro girls basketball
Attleboro junior forward Sam Pierce (44) swoops to the basket for two of her 11 points, as Attleboro rolled to a victory over North. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Lady Bombardiers Dominate Start to Finish Against North

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the opening game of a the basketball doubleheader at the Kenneth Pickering Gym, the Attleboro girls set aside the struggles of last week and put in a dominating performance to hand North Attleboro its first league loss of the season, 56-19.


Senior Sarah Deyo led the way for the Bombardiers with another double-double of 22 points and 18 rebounds. She also added five blocks, as the Attleboro defense held North scoreless for the opening seven-plus minutes, allowed only two points in the first, gave up seven points in the opening half, and only 19 for the game.

“We didn’t hurt ourselves,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “We kept possession, we got good looks…and the defense has always been really good.”

Deyo scored eight in the first and North did not get on the board until the closing minute when Caroline Collard knocked down a long jumper. Attleboro essentially put the game away with a 26-point second quarter, highlighted by Deyo scoring another six points and junior Sam Pierce scoring 11, including a deep three at the buzzer.

Senior Julia Strachan marked her return to North Attleboro, where she transferred from after her sophomore year, with 12 points and Jordyn Lako chipped in with five.

Patch said of the team’s ability to bounce back after the losses to Mansfield and Oliver Ames, “We just refocused everything and the girls have been doing a great job. It’s more of a team offensively rather than just a few great individual plays.”

North was shorthanded on Tuesday night with senior guard Ashley Ahern ruled out due to injury. Julia Santos led the way with eight points, Samantha Taggart added five, and Collard had four points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Attleboro (11-2, 7-2) stayed one-game back of Mansfield in the race for the Kelley-Rex title and will travel to Milford on Friday. North Attleboro (10-3, 8-1) has a one-game lead on Milford and Foxboro in the Davenport and will host fellow league leader Mansfield on Friday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Hornets Shut Down Explosive Attleboro in Big Win

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield swarmed the high-powered Attleboro offense and held the Bombardiers to 40 points below their per game average in a 61-30 road win that gives the Hornets an early edge in the Kelley-Rex division. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming into Tuesday night’s game, unbeaten Attleboro was averaging more than 70 points per game, which was the highest scoring total of any basketball team in the Hockomock (male or female). Meanwhile, Mansfield was unbeaten on the back of a stingy defense that was allowing opponents only 40 points per game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It was a battle of contrasts and a battle of two teams that had developed a rivalry over the course of last year’s Kelley-Rex title race, which came down to the final night of the regular season. The intensity was high on and off the court on Tuesday and it felt like the playoffs not a game from the first half of the season.

The Bombardiers will be thankful that there are still 11 league games left to play, including a rematch in the Albertini Gym on Feb. 6, because this night belonged to the Hornets. Behind 22 points and five steals from senior Jen Peel and a stifling defense that limited Attleboro to two made field goals in the first half, Mansfield rolled to a 61-30 victory that gives the Hornets an early edge in their quest to repeat as league champs.

“This win was one of the most important wins that we’re going to have to get,” said Peel. “It sets the tone for the rest of the league, gives us the top spot for league champs and when we get them again it’s going to be a huge game.”

Mansfield coach Mike Redding added, “It was our night. Everything went our way. When you’re shooting threes off the backboard when you don’t mean them to it’s a sign that it’s going to be a good night.”

Sophomore Maggie Danehy got things started with a layup that was answered by a basket for Jordyn Lako (on an assist by Mish Logie), but then Mansfield took control with a 14-0 run. Peel knocked down a pair of threes, including one that caromed off the glass, and scored eight points in the first. Ann Maher (15 points) banked in the first of her five threes on the night and Mady Bendanillo (eight points, eight rebounds, five assists) buried one from the corner.

Logie hit a three off a Sam Pierce assist to close the quarter but the Bombardiers found themselves in an 18-7 hole and with the ‘Big Three’ of Sarah Deyo, Julia Strachan, and Pierce held to only two free throws.

“You have to give Mansfield all the credit,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “They were the better prepared team, they were the tougher team, and they beat us in the categories we usually win, which is defense, rebound, hustle, and they really took us out of it.”

The Hornets continued the defensive pressure in the second, holding Attleboro to six points (all from the free throw line). Mansfield went into halftime holding a 28-13 lead and the Bombardiers looked stunned.

In Mansfield’s season opener, Maher (with help off the bench from Kara Bendanillo) held Foxboro star Ashley Sampson scoreless and on Tuesday she put in a similar effort on Strachan (seven points), who came in averaging more than 20 per game.

“She’s not really our most athletic player but she’s one of our smartest kids,” said Redding of Maher. “She always had good position, stayed tight, didn’t let her go to her right, and we didn’t give her very many open threes at all.”

In the third quarter, Attleboro tried to make a concerted effort to get the ball to Deyo (12 points, 12 rebounds), who would score seven in the period but she was having a difficult time getting good looks in the paint against Meg Hill (six points, six rebounds, four blocks). Strachan scored five in the quarter, but the Bombardiers could not piece together the possessions it needed to make a run.

Redding explained, “Bottom line, I thought we played really good man-to-man defense.”

Peel added six points in the third (four from the line), Maher knocked down another three, and Mady Bendanillo scored off a defensive rebound that she took the length of the court for a layup.

“She’s just so fast off the dribble and creates so much,” said Redding of Bendanillo. “She’s finding the right people, getting steals and we sub her out but I don’t think we need to. She could probably play a full 32 minutes.”

Mansfield won the third quarter, which Redding said was the focus coming out of halftime, and then put the game away with a 16-0 run to start the fourth with Peel and Maher each knocking down a pair of threes.

“Every quarter we came out, I said play like we did in the first quarter, with the same intensity,” Peel explained. “If we let down even a little bit that’s when Attleboro makes those shots that changes the game and we did a great job of shutting them down.”

Redding said, “We’re deeper. I think they’re big three got a little tired as the game went on. That was a big emphasis pregame that our bench would make a difference tonight.”

He continued, “Everyone stepped up…It was just everything we could’ve hoped for in 32 minutes.”

When asked if it was better to get a game like this out of the system early in the season rather than late, Patch responded, “Every year, in every sport, a team has a game where nothing goes right. It’s never a good time to have it…We had a really flat practice yesterday and it carried over.”

Mansfield (7-1) will try to keep the momentum going on Friday when it travels to Franklin. Attleboro (8-1) will look to bounce back when it heads to Oliver Ames.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/30/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Foxboro, 65 vs. Hingham, 57 – FinalFoxboro cut into a seven point deficit at the end of the first quarter and turned a three point Hingham lead at halftime around to earn the win in the consolation game of the Westwood Holiday Tournament. The Warriors won the fourth quarter 16-9. Junior Joe Morrison scored a career-high 19 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Jamaine Few chipped in with 13 points while junior Matt Rongione added a career-high 12 points.

Mansfield, 75 vs. Everglades (FL), 56 – Final

North Attleboro, 51 @ Bishop Feehan, 56 – FinalTrailing by 12 with four minutes to play, the Rocketeers cut into the Shamrocks’ lead to get within four in the final minute but couldn’t complete the comeback. Brent Doherty scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the second half while Thomas Reynolds and Jonny Friberg each had 11 points.

Stoughton, 60 @ Randolph, 56 – FinalClick here for a recap of the game.

Franklin, 76 vs. East Boston, 35 – FinalJunior Paul Mahon scored a team-high 17 points as the Panthers cruised in their final game of the calendar year. James Hanlon added 11 points while sophomore Jalen Samuels recorded 10 points.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 63 vs. Brockton, 55 – Final Sarah Deyo scored 22 points and pulled down 23 rebounds for the Bombardiers, who took control in the third quarter after trailing by two at the half. Julia Strachan added 18 and Sam Pierce had 14 for Attleboro.

North Attleboro, 46 @ Hingham, 34 – FinalNorth Attleboro claimed its second straight impressive win, knocking off host Hingham in the final of the Hingham Holiday Tournament. The Rocketeers have won three straight games against MIAA D2 South Semifinalists from a year ago – Oliver Ames, Westwood and Hingham. Ashley Ahern scored 14 points and was named the tournament MVP. Samantha Taggart dropped a season-high 17 points to lead Big Red and was named to the all-tournament team along with Caroline Collard.

Sharon, 50 @ North Quincy, 54 – FinalSophomore Emma Eberhardt paced Sharon with 18 points while junior Shira Stoller hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds.

Hockey
Franklin, 5 vs. La Salle Academy 1 – Final

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Westwood, 5- Final

Taunton, 12 vs. Apponequet/Connolly, 1 – FinalJordan Hoey and Zack Albert each recorded five points as the Tigers ended 2016 on a high note. Hoey had a hat trick and two assists while Albert scored once and had four helpers. Nick Terry scored once and had three assists, Cam Welby scored twice and Cam Carnes and Jaden Weyant each had a goal and an assist. Josh Denham, Cam Sneyd and Owen Ross each scored once in the win.

Wrestling
BC High Team Duals (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames went a perfect 4-0 to at the BC High New Years Duals. The Tigers beat Silver Lake (58-15), New Bedford (72-12), Josiah Quincy (54-13) and Chicopee Comp (48-27). Liston Funai (132) and Eric Berardi (152) both went a perfect 4-0 on the day with four pins apiece. Brandon Belleton (138) also went 4-0, Cobey Williamson (120) went 3-0 with three opins and sophomore Anthony Berksza (145) was 3-0 with a pair of pins.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 0 vs. Westwood, 1 – Final

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/27/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 76 vs. Bishop Feehan, 47 – FinalA pair of freshmen made an impact as Attleboro swept the season series against Feehan. Qualeem Charles had 10 points and seven rebounds and Bryant Ciccio had 12 points and five rebounds. Senior Jake Dunkley led the Bombardiers with 19 points and six rebounds.

Franklin, 64 vs. Malden Catholic, 70 – Final

Milford, 69 vs. Tantasqua, 46 – FinalAnthony Arcudi dropped a career-high 22 points to pace the Scarlet Hawks to a win. Zack Tamagni added 13 points while Shane Cosquete finished with nine points. Junior Kayden Kelley scored 10 points and hauled in a career-high 21 rebounds. Milford will face Waltham in the final of the Scarlet Hawks Classic on Thursday at 7 p.m.

King Philip, 59 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 58 – FinalKing Philip overcame a seven point deficit in the first half to take a five point lead by half. The Trojans came back to seize a three point advantage after three quarters. KP was able to build a four point lead late and hold on. Sophomore Kyle Layman had 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to lead the Warriors while Justin Vine added 17 points and Will Weir had 12 points.

North Attleboro, 57 vs. Reading, 42 – FinalThe Rocketeers jumped out to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Up 33-21, Big Red used another dominate quarter, outscoring the Rockets 17-4 in the third. Junior Chad Peterson led the way with a career-high 15 points while Jonny Friberg added 14 points and Kyle McCarthy finished with 13 points.

Oliver Ames, 58 vs. East Boston, 36 – FinalOliver Ames deployed a zone defense and then pounced with a press in the second quarter to pull away from East Boston. The Tigers outscored East Boston 21-4 in the second quarter and 13-5 in the third quarter. “We used the press and we played zone,” OA head coach Don Byron said. “We got pretty active – tops on that list was probably Welch, he gets his hands on a lot of stuff in the zone. We ran out on that pretty well and we were able to compound things a little bit by jumping into the press once we scored.” Jack Spillane led OA with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Dylan Mahoney had 12 points and five rebounds and Matt Muir finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

Sharon, 52 vs. Arlington Catholic, 33 – FinalSenior Ricardo Ripley scored all of his team-high 14 points in the second half to lead Sharon to the win on the road at Wilmington. The Eagles only allowed 13 points in the second half and won the fourth quarter 17-6. Jimmy Fitzhenry also had 14 points in the win while Jayvon Monteiro scored 11 points.

Taunton, 73 vs. Hope (RI), 49 – FinalFreshman Naz Kenian scored a career-high 16 points as Taunton rolled past Hope. Junior Malik Charles chipped in with 14 points for the Tigers.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 60 vs. Cranston West 35 – FinalSarah Deyo led the way for the Bombardiers with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Julia Strachan, Sam Pierce, and Jordyn Lako each added 10 points for Attleboro.

Mansfield, 52 vs. Marshfield, 47 – FinalJen Peel had 18 points and five assists to pace the Hornets. Meg Hill added 12 points, 12 rebounds, and eight blocks and Ann Maher had 10 points for Mansfield. The Hornets will play Duxbury in the final of the Holiday Tournament on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.

Milford, 60 @ Hudson, 31 – FinalKate Irwin was the top scorer for the Hawks with 23 points and Jess Tomaso chipped in with eight points.

Oliver Ames, 48 vs. Needham, 42 – FinalOliver Ames rallied from a halftime deficit to tie the game but the Rockets reestablished a lead (31-26) at the end of the third. The Tigers seized the lead early in the fourth quarter and held on. Kayla Raymond led the Tigers with 18 points while Niyera Mitchell had nine points and a career-high 19 rebounds. The Tigers will host Walpole in the final of the Sure Rivard Tournament.

Hockey
Attleboro, 3 vs. Ludlow 5 – Final

King Philip, 4 @ Quincy, 6 – Final

Wrestling
Lowell Holiday Tournament (Canton, Foxboro, Franklin, Stoughton) – After the first day, Foxboro is in eighth place with 79 points and Franklin is in 11th with 69.5 points. Wrestlers that made the quarterfinals include Foxboro’s Adam Lactot (106), Canton’s Justin Dickie (113), Franklin’s TJ Remillard and Foxboro’s Phil Dure (126) and Foxboro’s Matt Kelley (132).

Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Sharon) – North Attleboro is in third place with 111.5 points with 10 wrestlers moving onto day two. Mansfield is just outside the top 10 with 66.5 points (13th place) with six wrestlers moving on. Wrestlers that advanced to the semifinals include North Attleboro’s Brady Folan and Mansfield’s Antonios Sevastos (106), Sharon’s Yosef Ellis-Rech (126), Oliver Ames’ Liston Funai (132), Mansfield’s George Glaropoulos and North Attleboro’s Nick Gould (152), Mansfield’s Vinnie Holmes (170) and North Attleboro’s Brad White (220).

Gymnastics
Franklin @ Mansfield, 1:00
King Philip @ Mansfield, 12:30

Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 vs. Dedham, 0 – FinalSophomores Lauren Fitzpatrick and Maggie Malloy each netted a goal in the third period to lift the Bulldogs. Junior goalie Colleen Kelleher made 24 saves for her second shutout of the season.

Deyo Hits Milestone as Attleboro Wins at Sharon

Attleboro girls basketball
Attleboro senior Sarah Deyo (32) celebrated with her teammates and her family after reaching the 1,000-point mark for her career in a win at Sharon. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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SHARON, Mass. – Attleboro senior Sarah Deyo stepped to the line in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s game at Sharon needing just one point to reach 1,000 points for her career. Her friends and family, including her parents and her brother, were cheering in the stands just over her right shoulder while her teammates stood in anticipation on the bench to her left.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Deyo took a breath and shot the front end of a one-and-one. That is when things got a little different.

The shot missed short, but none of the rebounders had moved and the ball caromed directly back to Deyo. She grabbed it and looked down at the ball, seemingly in shock. Still, no one moved. It seemed like an eternity (but was most likely only a second) before Attleboro coach Rick Patch yelled at Deyo to shoot and the Southern New Hampshire-commit realized what was happening and drove to the basket for the milestone-achieving layup.

“Everyone just stood there and everyone was just looking at me,” joked Deyo after the game. 
“I was just looking at the ball and was like what am I supposed to be doing until someone said, shoot it! I just dribbled and shot the ball.” She added with a laugh, “I was so confused.”

Deyo finished the game with 28 points, leaving her at 1,002 for her career, and Julia Strachan added 30 points, on 10 made three-pointers, to lift the Bombardiers to a 92-55 victory. It was Attleboro’s third straight win by at least 30 points to start the season.

But after the game, all the talk was about Deyo and her accomplishment. Patch said, “You’re looking for a leader and often times she’ll finish doing cardio and she’ll see other kids still running and she’ll jump in and she continues to encourage.”

When it was mentioned that Deyo reached the milestone while unselfishly dishing out seven assists (and pulling down 15 rebounds), Patch replied, “I think that says everything about her and what our program is about… That’s part of her commitment to the team…She’s a very selfless kid who really just wants to win.”

As she was surrounded by well-wishers after the final whistle, Deyo explained, “I wasn’t trying to force anything, I just wanted it to happen when it was meant to happen. I just felt like if I continued to play how I play, rebounding, passing the ball, shooting, then it was going to come.”

She admitted, “That last free throw that I missed, it was definitely on my mind. I could just see everyone standing up and I was like, oh God.”

The Bombardiers came in focused on getting the ball to Deyo and allowing her to make a run at the milestone and their press forced turnovers and led to easy baskets in transition. Sharon scored the opening basket on a layup by Emma Eberhardt (team-high 20 points), but Attleboro would go on a 21-2 run to break the game open early.

Deyo scored eight in the quarter and Strachan knocked down a pair of threes. Jordyn Lako added four points, including a fast break layup off a Sam Pierce (nine points) steal. The Eagles tried to stay close when Kaitlyn Wallace (14 points) and Veronica Wallace(nine points) buried threes to end the quarter but the hosts trailed 23-10 after one.

Sharon coach Cliff Tomassian said, “We talked about running our press break in our positions the way we were supposed to be and a couple of times we just didn’t have a girl in the middle where they’re most vulnerable. We got over half-court and the girls didn’t know what to do anymore.

“Once that got going, it was just tough for us to get back into it.”

As a contest, the Bombardiers put the game out of reach in the second, outscoring Sharon 30-5. The Bombardiers hit seven shots from beyond the arc with Strachan hitting four, Lako (12 points) knocking down two and Deyo stepping back to make one as well.

The hot shooting carried over to the third quarter with Strachan again showing off the range. The Adelphi-commit made three more from outside, two from the corner including one off a drive and kick by Deyo. With 10 threes on Tuesday, Strachan has already made 20 on the season and hit the 30-point mark in a game for the second time this year.

“When she gets one of her first two it’s like a confidence boost for her,” said Patch. “She is probably one of the best shooters, male or female, I’ve seen in high school. She’s had…20 threes; that’s a lot. That’s a season for some kids.”

The Eagles continued to play hard in the final quarter despite the big deficit. Shira Stoller (eight points, seven rebounds, and four assists) knocked down a pair of threes and Kaitlyn Wallace added a pair as well. Eberhardt led the way with 11 of her 20 points in the fourth.

Tomassian said, “I know they took most of their starters out at that point but it’s good to see that our bench players and even our starters were still engaged in the game. It’s good to know they’re all staying positive.”

Last season, the Bombardiers had another player chasing 1,000 but Emily Houle did not close in on the milestone until the final few games of the regular season. This year, the Bombardiers will not have to worry about that and can now focus solely on their quest for a first Hockomock title.

“Last year was a perfect storm for everyone but us,” Patch admitted. “That was a big wear and tear on everybody. I just told [Sarah] to go out and play and once she gets close you know we’re going to pound it to you.”

Attleboro (3-0) will step out of the league next week to play in the Cranston East (R.I.) tournament, with the first game against Cranston West (R.I.) on Tuesday. Sharon (2-2) has eight days off before hosting Holliston.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Balanced Bombardiers Put Knights Away In Second Half

Attleboro girls basketball
Senior forward Julia Strachan (20) scored a game-high 14 points to lead four Bombardiers in double figures in a 30-point win for Attleboro against Stoughton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Before Friday night’s game, last year’s league MVP Emily Houle was honored for reaching the 1,000-point plateau and had her name added to the gym’s banner. Once the game tipped off all eyes were a current MVP candidate as she went in search of the same milestone.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While much of the focus from the fans, and from the Stoughton defense, was on Attleboro senior forward Sarah Deyo, who came into the game needing 36 points to reach 1,000 for her career, the Bombardiers showed that they have other weapons to give opponents problems.

Led by a game-high 14 points from senior Julia Strachan, Attleboro had four players reach double digits and saw 10 players record at least a single point in an emphatic 65-35 victory over Stoughton. Deyo finished with 10 points and 20 rebounds on the night, leaving her 26 points short of the milestone.

“Even last year, we had the ‘big three’ and this year people are saying the ‘big three’ again but we think we have another three that can do that on any given night,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. He added, “We don’t even play polished basketball and we still win by 30.”

Stoughton jumped out to a 3-0 lead on early free throws and after a Jordan Motley layup led again at 5-3, but Attleboro took over and went on a 24-2 run to seemingly take control of the game. The Bombardiers knocked down four shots from beyond the arc in the opening quarter with Jordyn Lako (11 points and eight rebounds), Mish Logie (six points and six assists), Sam Pierce (11 points and six rebounds) and Strachan each knocking down one.

“For us it’s mentally we have to decide that we’re not going to let anyone outwork us,” said second-year Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The threes they got early were uncontested. Our hands were down and we’ve got to keep improving being long on defense.”

The Attleboro run continued in the second with Lako scoring off a Logie assist then feeding freshman Nyah Thomas for a layup. A Deyo putback and another Strachan three had the Bombardiers ahead 27-7 and forced a Stoughton timeout.

The Black Knights got themselves back into it after the breather. Motley (four points and 11 rebounds) got a putback basket and freshman Aliyah Wrightdrilled a three. Another three from senior Lili Njiem and a layup for freshman Shyanne Trinh (team-high 12 points) cut the lead to just 12. Deyo hit a corner three to stem the comeback, but the Black Knights were down just 13 heading into halftime.

“We were disappointed with the last three- or 3-1/2-minute stretch,” said Patch. “We made an emphasis at that point to call out the entire team for the effort and having the bench more engaged. When they’re in you really can’t skip a beat.”

The Bombardiers heeded the coaching staff’s message and put the game away in a dominant third quarter. Attleboro outscored Stoughton 19-2 in the third, held the Black Knights without a point for the first 6:30 of the half and extended the lead to 30 points heading to the fourth.

“We kept them to one-and-done and kind of dictated the play and put them in positions not to get great looks,” Patch explained. “None of them were layups.”

While the trapping defense of Attleboro certainly played its part against a very young Stoughton lineup that features three freshmen, four sophomores, and just two seniors, Steele Jordan also saw the Black Knights miss some looks that could have kept them in the game.

“We missed a lot of shots,” she said. “We had open threes that didn’t fall for us. We’ve just got to keep getting to the rim.”

Deyo got another rebound and putback to start it and then Strachan, who transferred from North Attleboro last winter but injured her knee in the third game and missed the rest of the 2015-16 season, knocked down a jumper. Pierce buried a three and freshman Liv McCall hit one as well to help Attleboro pull away. Lauren Berteletti had the lone bucket in the third for Stoughton.

In the fourth, Attleboro continued to pile on, eventually getting the lead to as many as 36 points. One of the question marks for the Bombardiers coming into the season was who would run the point for them and Patch credited Logie for working hard to make that position hers.

“This year she’s in much better shape,” he said. “We’ve demanded of her to shoot her shot. Last year she was very tentative but she’s much more confident.”

Stoughton’s biggest bright spot on Friday was the play of Trinh. Despite missing a large portion of the game due to foul trouble, she stepped up in the fourth quarter with seven of her 12 points, including a three and a runner in the lane. Steele Jordan admits it will be a steep learning curve for her young roster (especially with Oliver Ames and Attleboro as the opening two games) but she is still confident in the Black Knights’ potential.

“I’m excited for my whole team,” she said. “Everyone brings something different. Shyanne was bright spot and she works hard for us. There’s a lot of season left and we’re just going to keep grinding it out.”

Attleboro (2-0) will travel to Sharon on Tuesday night, while Stoughton (0-2) continues its very difficult stretch by hosting Mansfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Girls Basketball: Ten Players to Watch for 2016-2017

Players to Watch
Meg Hill (31) of Mansfield and Sarah Deyo (32) of Attleboro are two of the players to watch in Hockomock girls’ basketball this winter. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Players are listed alphabetically

Ashley Ahern, Senior – North Attleboro

The senior guard helped North Attleboro reach the tournament last year and with a deeper roster around her will be eyeing a run at a league title in the Rocketeers’ first winter in the Davenport division. Ahern, who was named to the HockomockSports.com Third Team last year, was North’s leading scorer with 10.6 points, 3.3 assists and three steals per game. She was also third on the team with 3.7 rebounds per game and recorded five blocks, a sign of the tenacity she displays every game on both ends of the court. When her shot is falling, Ahern can score from just about anywhere and when defenses step out to watch for the three, she can get into the lane to finish or create openings for her teammates. It’s not unusual to see Ahern grab a defensive rebound on one end and take the ball up court to create an open look for a teammate at the other. North has good balance of paint and perimeter scorers and when shots start to drop then the Rocketeers can put up points in a hurry, with Ahern typically in the middle of it all.

Sarah Deyo, Senior – Attleboro

The senior forward was an honorable mention for Player of the Year last season and is one of the favorites for MVP coming into this winter. Deyo’s versatility makes her difficult for any team to matchup against, as on one possession she will battle on the block or grab an offensive rebound for an easy basket and the next she can step back and knock down a three (she made 14 last season). Deyo, who was the Underclassman of the Year in 2014-15, averaged a double-double of 16.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game and added 55 blocks on the defensive side while guarding anyone from guards to centers. With the graduation of Emily Houle, even more of the scoring load could fall on Deyo’s shoulders, but the Southern New Hampshire-commit seems prepared for that responsibility, as she showed last year when Houle and fellow senior Julia Strachan were injured and Deyo recorded a triple-double in a win over North Attleboro.

Emma Eberhardt, Sophomore – Sharon

The sophomore guard/forward will be one of the go-to offensive players for the Eagles this season after an impressive rookie campaign in which she showed flashes of being the type of wing scorer that Sharon had been missing for a couple of seasons. Eberhardt, despite her youth, was the third leading scorer for the Eagles last year and is continuing to improve her outside shot, which will be a great addition to the solid mid-range game that she already possesses. Her partnership with junior point guard Shira Stoller will be instrumental in Sharon improving on the offensive end of the floor even with the loss of Alyssa Piazza to graduation. Eberhardt will also be counted on to defend multiple positions on the wing and in the post, as the Eagles try to find the right balance in the lineup. Sharon has youth and talent and Eberhardt will be an important piece, if the Eagles are going to make a return to the postseason.

Meg Hill, Junior – Mansfeild

The junior 6-foot-3 center continues to develop her game and will be a major factor in Mansfield’s attempt to try and follow up its first league title with a second one this winter. Hill feeds off senior point guard Jen Peel, who seems to have an innate sense of how to get the ball to her near the basket. Hill can finish over anyone but at times does not look for her shot first. As her confidence grows, so will her scoring numbers and Hill has already proven that she can dominate a game, including a 15-rebound game in the title-clincher against Attleboro. Last year, Hill led Mansfield with 9.7 points per game on 56 percent shooting from the floor. She also pulled down 9.5 rebounds and had 4.7 blocks per game. After being named to the HockomockSports.com Second Team last year, Hill has the opportunity to be in the running for Player of the Year, if she continues to develop as a dominant low-post threat on both ends of the floor.

Kate Irwin, Junior – Milford

The junior guard is the spark plug of the Milford offense and had a stellar sophomore campaign, being named to the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team. Expectations are even higher for a young Hawks roster in head coach T.J. Dolliver’s second season and Irwin is one of the primary reasons why. The southpaw gives defenses fits with her speed and her craftiness, almost always finding that sliver of space to squeeze into the lane and get to the rim. Despite not being one of the biggest guards in the league, Irwin is one of the top finishers in the lane and does not shy away from contact. She also has great vision and her ability to draw the defense will provide open looks for her teammates, including Emily Piergustavo, who returns after missing last winter with a shoulder injury. The Hawks are a sleeper team in the Davenport division this year, but teams are well aware of the impact Irwin can have and will be focused on trying to stop her.

Carli Koffinke, Senior – Franklin

The senior shooting guard, who is in her third season on the varsity team, will be asked to take on more responsibility for the Panthers this season with the graduation of leading scorers Lauren Rudolph and Aubrie Kutil. Koffinke has shown the ability to be a dangerous threat for Franklin from beyond the arc but she can also take the ball off the dribble to make things happen going to the basket. As she develops on the defensive end, Koffinke can guard several positions and is a solid rebounder, particularly on the offensive end of the floor, and she will be another ball-handler to help new point guard Margaux Welsh against opponents that like to press high up the court. As one of five seniors on the Franklin roster, Koffinke will have to provide leadership on both ends of the floor but has the potential for a breakout season and could help the Panthers make another trip to the tournament.

Jordan Motley, Junior – Stoughton

The junior forward is one of the key returning players for the Black Knights and will be counted on to provide more scoring punch now that last year’s league-leading scorer Alecia Quinones is putting up points for UMass Boston. Motley is a strong interior defender and rebounder, who at times last season could be dominant in the paint. She also has quick feet and good post moves on the offensive end, but at times finishing could be an issue for her and classmate Val Whalen and that will be a big area for her to improve this winter. Motley’s (and Whalen’s) quickness and ability to get out and run the break could be a huge weapon for Stoughton and her continued development will play a big role in whether or not the Black Knights can get into the playoffs for the first time under second-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.

Samantha Pierce, Junior – Attleboro

The junior forward had a breakout season last year, being named to the HockomockSports.com Third Team and All-Underclassman Team. Pierce gave Emily Houle and Sarah Deyo that all-important third scorer and was always in solid position to grab rebounds, which is why she nearly averaged a double-double as a sophomore. Last season, Pierce averaged 10.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while adding nearly two assists, a steal, and a block per game and shooting 82 percent from the free throw line. Pierce’s game stretches from the basket out beyond the three-point line, meaning teams can’t sink off her to help on Deyo in the paint or send her defender for a double-team. Pierce’s development helped Attleboro overcome early season injuries and stay in the league title hunt until the final day and also made the Bombardiers one of the hardest teams in the Hock to try and match up with.

Kayla Raymond, Junior – Oliver Ames

The junior forward will be the go-to player for the Tigers on offense this season, particularly after an injury ruled Francesca Calabraro out for the season. Raymond is coming off a stellar sophomore season in which she was named to the HockomockSports.com First Team and led the team with 10.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 41 percent from the floor, 37 percent from three and 79 percent from the line. Raymond also came through in big moments, like her game-winning drive to beat North Attleboro in the tournament. Her length and athleticism allows her to finish in the lane and be one of the top rim protectors in the league, while playing anywhere across the front line. OA won a league title and reached the TD Garden last year and for the Tigers to repeat that again this winter, Raymond will have to continue her development as one of the top players in the Hock.

Ashley Sampson, Junior – Foxboro

The junior guard, who was named this site’s Underclassman of the Year in 2015-16, took over primary ball-handling duties last season and ran the show for the Warriors with her ability to create, score, and defend. Sampson joined Kayla Raymond as one of two sophomores on the HockomockSports.com First Team last year and she continues to grow in stature and confidence heading into her third year on varsity. Sampson averaged more than 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game and shot 70 percent from the line last winter, reaching double figures in almost every game. The Warriors are loaded with youth, something that somehow seems to be said of them each season, and those players will be counting on Sampson to get the ball to the right spots and make sure that the Foxboro offense is clicking. She also adds rebounding, for a team that continues to lack size in the paint, and is a solid on-the-ball defender.