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 Lanctot (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.

Player of the Week – Sarah Deyo, Attleboro Basketball

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Sarah Deyo
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Attleboro senior Sarah Deyo has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for December 18th through December 24th; the 13th player chosen during the 2016-17 school year and second for the winter season. Deyo has been a double-double threat every night, as the Bombardiers have jumped out to a perfect 3-0 start to the season.

In Attleboro’s lone game last week, Deyo scored 28 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, and dished out seven assists, while recording the 1,000th point of her four-year varsity career in a win at Sharon. In the previous game, on the Friday before, Deyo had scored 10 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against Stoughton.

“You’re looking for a leader,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch, “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, 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.”

Deyo, a Southern New Hampshire-commit, is averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this year. She is the second straight Attleboro basketball player to be named Player of the Week this season, following classmate Jake Dunkley.

The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.

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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.

Girls Basketball: 2016-17 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Kelley-Rex Preview
King Philip’s Shannon O’Connor (32) and Taunton’s Abby Kingman (1) are two returning players hoping to give their teams a shot at the postseason this winter. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016-2017 Kelley-Rex Girls Basketball Preview

ATTLEBORO

2015-16 Record: 21-3 (14-2)
2015-16 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 South quarterfinal
Head Coach: Rick Patch

The Bombardiers came within one game of winning their first Hockomock League title last year and despite the loss of 2015-16 Player of the Year Emily Houle to graduation, Attleboro comes into this season as one of the favorites in the Kelley-Rex again this winter.

One reason for the high expectations for the Bombardiers is senior forward Sarah Deyo. The Southern New Hampshire-commit comes into the season just 68 points shy of 1,000 for her career and is a matchup nightmare for the opposition with her ability to score in the paint and from the outside. Fellow senior Julia Strachan returns from a knee injury that cost her all of last season and the Adelphi-commit adds another strong shooter and rebounder to the front line. The Bombardiers are loaded at the forward position with junior Sam Pierce coming back after a breakout sophomore campaign that saw her average nearly a double-double.

While the strength of the Bombardiers is in the post, Attleboro has experience in the backcourt with senior Mish Logie and sophomore Jordyn Lako returning as the primary ball-handlers and strong on-the-ball defenders. Juniors Grace Mayer and Kim White will add depth in the backcourt off the bench. Guard Liv McCall is another who could contribute this season, among a group of six freshmen that will be on the varsity roster.

“We are very excited about our program and how its progressed over the last three seasons,” said head coach Rick Patch, “and the positive, entitled-to-nothing culture we have established that best represents ‘Blue Pride’ and the Attleboro community.”

FRANKLIN

2015-16 Record: 13-8 (10-6)
2015-16 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central quarterfinal
Head Coach: John Leighton

Franklin has been consistently one of the top programs in the league and despite losing a strong group of seniors, the Panthers are once again in the mix for a league title and a return to the Div. 1 Central tournament.

Leading the way this season is a core of five experienced seniors that offer Franklin a good balance of interior and perimeter scoring. Carli Koffinke is in her third year on varsity and is a threat from the outside, taking advantage of the Panthers’ drive and kick style of offense. Point guard Margaux Welsh will take over the primary ball-handling role and will be expected to get the offense going. Izzy Faught and Grace McDermott will add depth in the backcourt and forward Erin Skidmore adds athleticism and quickness in the paint.

In order to stay consistently competitive, the Panthers have always been able to count on new players coming in to refresh the roster. This winter will be no different with junior forward Kate Morse in her first year on the team as well as sophomore point guard Shannon Gray and three-point threat Bea Bondhus, who had a team-high 11 points in the season opener. Freshmen Ali Brigham and Megan O’Connell will add to Franklin’s front-court depth.

“With so many younger and newer players, we are hoping to build team chemistry and improve each and every day,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “We are very encouraged with our depth and will lean on our seniors for leadership.”

KING PHILIP

2015-16 Record: 6-14 (4-12)
2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Martin Crowley

Under head coach Martin Crowley, King Philip has been a very tough team to play against, focused on high-pressure defensive effort and not letting up from the opening tip to the final whistle. This year, the Warriors are hoping to get a little more consistency on the offensive end to match that defensive intensity.

KP will not lack for athletes this winter beginning with returning starter Shannon O’Connor, who emerged as a potential scoring threat on the wing as a freshman last season. Classmate Julia Leroux also impressed in her rookie season and they are already go-to players on the offensive end. Junior forwards Hadley Zolak and Christina Hathaway and senior Courtney Kelleher will give additional scoring and rebounding as athletic forwards that can battle in the paint and get out and run the break.

There is also a youth movement at KP this year with a strong, athletic freshman class that has already put in a standout soccer season this past fall and is ready to contribute to the basketball team as well. Chloe Layne has stepped right in and will be an instant contributor at the point guard position and will be joined by classmate Faith Roy on the varsity roster.

“Youth will be served,” said Crowley, “however our goal is the same it is every season whether you have a veteran team or not and that is to qualify for the tournament in what I believe is the most competitive league in the state.”

MANSFIELD

2015-16 Record: 21-4 (15-1)
2015-16 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South semifinal
Head Coach: Mike Redding

The Hornets are coming off the program’s first ever Hockomock League title, edging Attleboro in the final game of a dramatic league campaign, in front of arguably the biggest crowd to watch a game (male or female) in the league last season. This year, Mansfield has the challenge of trying to defend its title despite losing eight seniors from last season.

Mansfield’s title defense begins with senior guard Jen Peel, who has been limited by an injury in the preseason and will be moving from the point to the off-guard position this year. She is one of the best playmakers in the league and will have junior center Meg Hill to find in the half-court. Hill is a dominant force on both ends of the floor and should expect to get even more touches this year and needs to be aggressive looking for her shot.

The Hornets will have plenty of size beyond the 6-foot-3 Hill. Senior Olivia Broyles and junior Maeve Carney are both over six feet tall and sophomores Maggie Danehy and Emily Vigeant are just under six feet. Sophomore twins Mady and Kara Bendanillo will add speed to the roster with Mady having the experience of playing time as a freshmen, including a start in the South semifinal against Bishop Feehan. Junior Ann Maher is another player that can be expected to take on a bigger role this year at the shooting guard position.

“We may be more athletic than a year ago and we’ll run as much as we can and press more than we did a year ago,” said head coach Mike Redding. “It should be fun and with seven sophomores in our top 11 we should get better and better as they get experience and confidence.”

OLIVER AMES

2015-16 Record: 21-4 (13-3)
2015-16 Finish: Won Div. 2 South title
Head Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook

Oliver Ames is coming off a remarkable 2015-16 season that saw the Tigers reach the 20-win mark, claim the Davenport division title, make a run to the Div. 2 South title and a chance to play at the TD Garden, and celebrate the career of head coach Elaine Clement-Holbrook, who became the state’s all-time career leader in wins (finishing the season with 645). This year, OA will face the challenge of trying to match that level of success while taking on a new division after being moved into the Kelley-Rex.

The key to the Tigers putting in league title fight is junior forward Kayla Raymond, who is one of the most talented players in the Hock and one of the toughest match-ups with her combination of size, speed, shooting touch, and handle. Raymond will get help from senior guard Hannah Carroll, who became one of the team’s top shooters from the perimeter and can stretch opposing defense. Senior Niyera Mitchell is coming back from an off-season injury and has the size and touch to be a strong performer on both ends of the court.

OA lost only two seniors to graduation but then also lost shooting guard Francesca Calabraro to a knee injury during the soccer season. Senior Abby Reardon will be one of the backcourt players that will be counted on to pick up the scoring slack, while Clement-Holbrook will be hoping for senior Brenna Burkett and junior Sadie Homer to provide a scoring touch at the forward position.

“Moving to the Kelley Rex will be a tremendous challenge for us,” said Clement-Holbrook. “Our goals are the same as before: Compete to qualify for the tournament, challenge for the Hock title and go as deep as possible in the tournament.”

TAUNTON

2015-16 Record: 4-16 (2-14)
2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Walter Harrigan

Taunton is coming off a tough year in which the Tigers only managed four wins, but it was also a chance for a number of young players to get valuable varsity experience and Taunton will be hoping to have it pay off with seven returning players on this season’s roster.

One of the exciting younger players that emerged last year was Lily Patneaude, who showed off athleticism and a range of offensive skills as a freshman. Junior Hannah Moniz is another wing player that can provide scoring off the dribble or from the perimeter. Junior MacKenzie Handrahan will add rebounding and defense on the post and eighth grader Sonya Fernandes could be a newcomer to watch on the Taunton front line.

The back court has a mix of experience and youth led by senior guard Abby Kingman, whose ball-handling and speed will be vital. Kingman’s classmate Jess Regan is returning after missing her entire junior year to an injury and will offer a steady hand at the point guard position. Junior Dominique Bradley and sophomore Alexa White will add depth to the guard positions.

“Taunton has a combination of experience and youth,” said head coach Walter Harrigan, “along with some skill and athleticism that has the makings for a fun and interesting year.”

The 2016 Hockomock Girls Basketball All Stars & HMs

Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Emily Houle, Attleboro

Hockomock League All Stars

Sarah Deyo, Attleboro
Emily Houle, Attleboro
Emma Murphy, Canton
Cassidy Harrison, Foxboro
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Aubrie Kutil, Franklin
Lauren Rudolph, Franklin
Meg Hill, Mansfield
Jen Peel, Mansfield
Caroline Maher, Mansfield
Kate Irwin, Milford
Ashley Ahern, North Attleboro
Francesca Calabraro, Oliver Ames
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Alyssa Piazza, Sharon
Alecia Quinones, Stoughton

Honorable Mentions

Sam Pierce, Attleboro
Hannah Jerrier, Canton
Lily Sykes, Foxboro
Olivia Adiletto, Franklin
Maddie Purdue, King Philip
Jackie Carchedi, Mansfield
Nicole Dahlgren, Milford
Emily Peters, North Attleboro
Samantha Bamford, Oliver Ames
Jordan Motley, Stoughton
Charlotte Ransom, Sharon
Jordan Wade, Taunton