Milford, 34 @ Mansfield, 62 – Final – Mansfield used a strong second half on both ends of the floor to pull away from the Hawks. The Hornets led by double digits in the first half before the Hawks closed the gap, going into half down 29-22. Mansfield’s defense clamped down, allowing just four points in the third quarter to take a 43-28 lead. Senior Jack Colby scored 13 of his career-high 17 points in the first half to lead the way for the Hornets. Matt Boen added 15 points and Chris Hill chipped in with 10 points for Mansfield.
Mansfield, 64 @ Milford, 33 – Final – The Hornets picked up a second win in as many days. Abby Wager had a career-high 20 points for Mansfield, while Ashley Santos added 11 and Sarah Dooling had 10. Brooke Ferreira was Milford’s top scorer with eight points.
North Attleboro, 58 @ Sharon, 26 – Final – North Attleboro used a big third quarter to pull away and secure a second win in as many days against the Eagles. Leading 25-13 at halftime, the Rocketeers scored 23 points in the third quarter to break the game open. For the second straight day, four North player finished in double digits. Amanda Kaiser was the top scorer with 15, Taylor McMath had 12, Siobhan Weir had 11, and Cailyn Maxcy had 10 in the win.
Franklin, 3 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – Junior Christian Shabbick scored his first career goal and added an assist to help the Panthers sweep the season series against Attleboro. Shabbick set up Ben Jarosz for a first period goal and Justin Magazu (from Pat Dolan) added a second as Franklin claimed a 2-1 lead after a period. Shabbick extended the visitors’ lead with a goal assisted by Justin Abely in the second period. Attleboro goalie Nick Piazza made 35 saves in net.
Canton, 7 vs. Boston Latin, 1 – Final – Canton scored seven goals against Boston Latin for the second straight game. Lizzie Tassinari and Maria Femia each scored twice for the Bulldogs.
Attleboro, 99 @ Taunton, 67 – Final – Attleboro earned a win over the Tigers in a virtual meet, swimming three days apart. The team of Matt Marcil, Ben Connors, Ryan Connors, and Colton Mangion won the 20 medley relay for the Bombardiers while Zach Dorrance, Brady Dumont, Dylan Nisbet, and Alex Harrop won the 400 free relay. Marcil (50 free), Ryan Connors (100 free, 100 back), and Ben Connors (500 free, 100 breast) all had individual wins for Attleboro.
Canton @ Foxboro, 6:00
Oliver Ames @ Stoughton, 3:30
Attleboro, 87 @ Taunton, 73 – Final – Natalia Kotnisz, Sydney Dorval, Brenna O’Connell, and Ella Lynch-Bartek each won individual races and the Bombardiers’ 400 free relay touched first in a win over Taunton. The team of Kelly Neuendorf, Corinne Blaisdell, and Eleanor Graber won the 400 free relay for Attleboro. Kotnisz won the 200 free, Dorval was first int he 200 IM and second in the 100 fly, O’Connell finished first 50 free, and Lynch-Bartek was first in the 100 back and second in the 100 free.
Canton @ Foxboro, 6:00
Oliver Ames @ Stoughton, 3:30
Taunton, 68 @ Milford, 44 – Final – After a close first quarter, Taunton exploded for 22 points in the second quarter while limiting the Hawks to seven points to create a double-digit lead it held onto the rest of the way. Milford led 9-8 after one but Taunton senior Josh Lopes scored nine of this team-high 21 points in the second while senior Tyler Stewart added six of his 10 points to give the Tigers a 30-16 lead at halftime. Junior Trent Santos scored nine of his 16 points in the third as Taunton extended its lead to 50-32 through three quarters. Senior Ben Blanchard scored a team-high 14 points for the Hawks.
Oliver Ames, 76 @ Canton, 40 – Final – Oliver Ames used a number of runs and great team defense to create a big lead by halftime and never looked back. The Tigers built a 35-16 lead by halftime. Caroline Flynn scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds, Caroline Peper added 12 points, and freshman Jasmyn Cooper chipped in with 10 points and eight boards for OA. Sydney Gallery led the way for Canton with 19 points while Fay Gallery added 12 points.
North Attleboro, 46 @ Foxboro, 57 – Final – Foxboro held off North Attleboro in the second half to make it three wins in a row. Katelyn Mollica continued her hot streak, scoring 17 to lead the Warriors. Morgan Sylvestre had a career-high 12 points and Erin Foley added 11 in the win. The Rocketeers were able to get as close as eight points but Foxboro managed to keep them at arm’s length. North didn’t help its own cause with 11 missed free throws, but North coach Nikki Correia was happy with the team’s effort. She highlighted the defensive work of Ava McKeon, who tried to slow down Mollica and make her work for every point. Lydia Santos, Amanda Kaiser, and Taylor McMath all scored 10 points apiece in the loss.
Mansfield, 43 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – Franklin broke the game open in the second half to stay perfect on the season. Behind a strong second quarter, Mansfield had cut the lead to just 25-21 at the half, but the Panthers extended the lead to seven after three and exploded for 25 points in the fourth to put the game out of reach. Olivia Quinn scored a game-high 16 points in the win, while Brigid Earley chipped in with 12. The Hornets were led by Ashley Santos’ eight points. Sarah Dooling and Anna Darlington each scored seven for the visitors.
Sharon, 23 @ Stoughton, 35 – Final – Junior Makiayah Singleton brought a big spark on offense, leading the Knights in scoring with 12 points while senior Camille Firmin grabbed 16 boards and junior Vanessa Phelimond snatched 11 boards and had six steals. Rachel Hager led Sharon in scoring with 10 points.
Attleboro, 58 @ Mansfield, 66 – Final – Mansfield senior Matt Boen poured in a career-high 35 points to help the Hornets overcome an upset bid from visiting Attleboro. The Bombardiers built an eight-point lead after eight minutes (18-10) but Mansfield battled back to make it a two-point game, 33-31, at halftime. Both teams went for 11 points in the third as Attleboro carried a 44-42 lead into the fourth. But Boen flipped a switch in the final frame, hitting a pair of threes and six total field goals, netting 16 points to help the Hornets pull away. Boen also scored 10 points in the second to help the Hornets close the gap. Jack Colby added 10 points while Matt Hyland had eight points. Attleboro senior Justin Daniels shined with a career-high 25 points while Evan Houle and Trevor White each had eight points for the Bombardiers.
Canton @ North Attleboro – Postponed to TBD.
Stoughton, 52 @ Foxboro, 44 – Final – After being held to 23 points through three quarters, Stoughton’s offense exploded for 29 points in the fourth quarter to storm past Foxboro. It was a low scoring first half for both sides with the Warriors staking a 14-9 lead through a quarter and an 18-16 lead at halftime. Foxboro had its best offensive showing in third as sophomore Alex Penders (14 points) scored nine of the team’s 13 points to seize a 31-23 lead going into the fourth. But the Black Knights caught fire from three-point land with Connor Andrews (nine points) and Waseem Sablon (10 points) each hitting two and Jake Queeney adding another. Queeney’s three midway through the period gave Stoughton a 38-37 lead before Foxboro jumped back ahead on two free throws from Dylan Gordon (18 points). A strong take from Brett Pendenza put Stoughton back ahead and a steal from Sablon led to two points from junior KC Ugwuakazi (17 points). After a stop, Sablon drained a three as the clock ticked under two minutes. Foxboro got two back from the line but Andrews hit a straightaway three off an offensive rebound to make it 48-40 with a minute to go to ice the win.
Mansfield, 41 @ Attleboro, 63 – Final – For the second straight game, Attleboro jumped out to a big first quarter lead, but this time the Bombardiers kept control and didn’t let Mansfield back into the contest. Attleboro led 25-10 after the first quarter, as Meghan Gordon and Narissa Smith combined for 18 of the team’s 25 points. Unlike on Tuesday night, Mansfield couldn’t mount a second quarter comeback and the Bombardiers went into the break leading 42-19. Gordon finished with a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds and Smith scored 14 points (knocking down four threes on the night). Emma Reilly added eight in the win. Attleboro coach Marty Crowley said it was a “great team victory. Our defense was outstanding tonight.” The Hornets were led by Sarah Dooling and Abby Wager, who each finished with eight points.
Foxboro, 53 @ Stoughton, 13 – Final – Katelyn Mollica had her second straight game with 20-plus points and Foxboro swept the series against the Black Knights with a strong defensive performance. Mollica finished with 22 on the night and Hannah Blake chipped in with nine.
Franklin, 66 @ Taunton, 29 – Final – Franklin went on the road and scored a big win to stay unbeaten on the season. Olivia Quinn was the top scorer for the Panthers with 12 points, but it was a balanced effort as all 13 players got on the score sheet. Taunton got nine points from Sonya Fernandez and eight points from Jaelyn Fernandez in the season opener for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 52 @ Sharon, 15 – Final – Oliver Ames used a balanced attack to get a season sweep of Sharon. Caroline Flynn didn’t miss a shot, finishing with 11 points while Sarah Hilliard added eight points. Jasmyn Cooper hauled in 10 rebounds while Maddie Homer had six steals.
North Attleboro @ Canton – Postponed to Friday, 2/12.
King Philip, 72 @ Milford, 38 – Final – Emily Sawyer scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to get the Warriors back in the win column. Fellow sophomore Jackie Bonner scored 11 points for KP, which jumped out to a 43-15 lead by halftime and knocked down 11 threes as a team. Milford was led by Emma Lawrence and Jillian Michelson, who both scored eight points.
King Philip, 3 vs. Austin Prep, 8 – Final
Attleboro @ Mansfield, 5:00
Sharon vs. Oliver Ames, 3:30
Following a free throw by Emma Reilly put Attleboro up one with less than 20 seconds to play at the Albertini Gym, the Hornets got the ball on the side with three-quarters of the court to go. The play was designed to get the ball into the hands of sophomore Abby Wager and the athletic guard was supposed to drive and get to the rim.
The play worked exactly as planned.
Wager beat her defender, got to the basket for a layup with eight seconds to play, and put Mansfield ahead by one. When Reilly’s last-second three bounced off the rim, the Hornets celebrated a 54-53 victory.
“She just made me look like a hell of a coach because that’s what we wrote up. She made us look good,” McPherson said of Wager, who finished with a team-high 14 points and four steals and impacted the game on both ends of the court down the stretch.
Attleboro coach Marty Crowley added, “They made one more play than we did. I’m very proud of our effort. The kids we had (Lindsey and Hailey Perry were out for the game) played hard tonight and it came down to one play. It was a typical Mansfield/Attleboro game.”
The Bombardiers stunned the home crowd by dominating the first quarter and holding Mansfield, which scored 39 in the first half against North Attleboro over the weekend, to just one made field goal and three points. Attleboro’s quickness and length made it tough for Mansfield to run its sets.
On the other end, the Bombardiers were moving the ball to get good looks. Gabby Bosh (nine points and four steals) started the game with a theft and a layup, Reilly (13 points) drove for two, Meghan Gordon (game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds) banked in a jumper, and freshman Narissa Smith drained a deep three.
It certainly didn’t look like a game that was going to come down to the wire, as Mansfield trailed 15-3, but the Hornets turned the game around in the second.
Anna Darlington proved to be a spark off the bench, scoring only two points but grabbing four steals and slowing down Smith. McPherson said of Darlington’s impact, “She crushed it. Smith is very athletic, so quick, and Anna shut her down.”
Trailing 20-10, Ashley Santos (14 points and 10 rebounds) scored six straight points to get Mansfield right back into the game. The Hornets were starting to pass the ball well and break the press. Darlington scored on a putback and Wager drove to the basket to make it a two-point game.
Reilly answered with a pull-up jumper to put stem the tide, but Olivia Salisbury banked in her only points of the game and Kara Santos banked in a short jumper to send the teams into the break tied 24-24.
“They’re so athletic,” McPherson said about Attleboro, “but we just talked about playing good defense and getting those stops and playing a simple game. I think the big difference offensively was that one more pass. We weren’t hitting it in the first quarter and then it slowly started to come together.”
Both teams came out firing to start the second half, combining for 35 points in the third quarter. Kayla Vine (seven points) drilled a three off an Ally Prentis pass put the Hornets ahead for the first time in the game, 29-28.
Attleboro answered right back. Gordon rose above everyone for an impressive putback that made it 34-31. After a step-back three by Smith (six points and three assists), the Bombardiers were up 42-35 and threatening to pull away again. Mansfield closed the quarter on a 6-0 run, including a Vine basket in the dying seconds to make it a one-point game heading to the fourth.
Neither team could grab more than a five-point lead in the final eight minutes. A tough finish in traffic by Kayla Goldrick, who absorbed the contact and still got the ball to the rim, made it 47-43 for Attleboro.
Crowley said, “Our kids kept our composure tonight. We fought hard right to the end. It’s tough when someone makes a run on you like that, puts up 21 points in a quarter, which isn’t typical of our defense.”
Ashley Santos started to take over offensively, while Wager made plays on the defensive end. Santos knocked down a jumper then converted a Wager steal and long outlet into a three-point play that put the Hornets up 48-47 with 3:45 on the clock.
McPherson said, “Ashley was big. We’re kind of looking for her to get her momentum and she needed a game like this. She runs the floor well, she sees the floor, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
Wager then got another steal and assist on a Vine layup and blocked a Smith layup attempt, winning the ball back for the Hornets. Sarah Dooling (six points) scored with a drive to make it 52-47.
After a timeout, Attleboro settled down and got back into it. Gordon made two at the line and then stepped back to drill a three right in front of the bench that tied the game at 52 with 1:39 to play.
“That’s the thing about this team, any night it’s a different person,” said Crowley. “Meg hit some shots, Narissa made some big threes, Emma played very well again tonight. I feel for the kids because they work so hard but in less than two days we’re back at it again.”
With the clock winding down, Reilly went to the line and put Attleboro ahead, but Mansfield had one more chance and took advantage.
Mansfield (3-1) and Attleboro (2-1) will have a quick turnaround before facing each other again on Thursday night.
Mansfield, 89 @ King Philip, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game – Mansfield’s active defensive pressured King Philip into double-digit turnovers in each of the first two quarters, building a large lead by halftime that it never surrendered. The win marked the 300th career victory for Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. The Hornets outscored the Warriors 20-4 in the first and poured in 31 points in the second quarter alone. Senior Matt Boen tied a career-high with 32 points to go along with seven rebounds, six steals, and five assists. TJ Guy added 20 points and 12 rebounds, Jack Colby chipped in with 10 points, and junior Matt Hyland had nine points, six assists, and five rebounds. KP junior Danny Clancy scored a career-high 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Mansfield, 51 @ King Philip, 58 – Final – KP got off to a great start in its home opener, jumping out to a double-digit lead in the first half, and held on to split the series with Mansfield. After a tough shooting performance in game one, the Warriors made 11 threes as a team on Sunday. Courtney Keswick scored 14 points to pace the Warriors and sophomore Jackie Bonner added a career-high 12 points. Emma Glaser scored nine points and had seven steals in the win, as the KP defense forced more than 30 turnovers. Kayla Vine was the top scorer for the Hornets with 15 points and Sarah Dooling scored 12 for the second consecutive game.
Canton @ Attleboro, 10:00AM
Attleboro @ Sharon, 7:00
King Philip, 130.35 @ Mansfield, 136.5 – Final – Mansfield won all four events and senior Erin Hurley took first in the All Around as the Hornets opened the season with a victory over King Philip. Hurley won the All Around with a score of 38.05 while freshman Maddie Morris took third with a 35.15; King Philip’s Lauren Fusco was second (35.8) and Missy Canning (32.6) was fourth. Hurley was first in all four events, winning the vault (9.5), the bars (9.6), the beam (9.5), and the floor (9.45).
Top 3 Scores: Vault: 1. Erin Hurley (M) – 9.5 | 2. Lauren Fusco (KP) – 9.2 3. Maddie Morris (M) – 8.95 || Bars: 1. E. Hurley (M) – 9.6 | 2. L. Fusco (KP) – 9.3 | 3. M. Morris (9.1) || Beam: 1. E. Hurley (M) – 9.5 | 2. Missy Cannon (KP) – 8.8 | 3. M. Morris (8.6) || Floor: 1. E. Hurley (M) – 9.45 | 2. L. Fusco (KP) – 8.5 | 3. M. Norris (M) 8.5.
North Attleboro, 131.95 @ Franklin, 138.60 – Final – Junior Emma White impressed on Sunday afternoon, taking the top spot for the Panthers in every event and won the All Around. White had Franklin’s top scores in the vault (9.6), the bars (8.7), the beam (9.4) and the floor (9.2). It marked Franklin’s first win over North since rebooting the gymnastics program in 2016.
Top 3 Scores (Franklin only): Vault: Emma White (F) – 9.6 | Kate Rudolph (F) – 9.2 | Caroline Woelfel (F) 9.0 || Bars: E. White (F) – 8.7 | Elizabeth Schirduan (F) – 8.3 | K. Rudolph (F) – 8.2 || Beam: E. White (F) – 9.4 | K. Rudolph (F) – 8.6 | E. Schirduan (F) – 8.6 || Floor: E. White (F) – 9.2 | K. Rudolph (F) – 8.6 | C. Woelfel (F) – 8.5
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Early in Thursday night’s season opener at the Albertini Gym, Mansfield looked like it might be on the ropes. Even though it was only midway through the first quarter and the Hornets were only down single digits, the game was being played at the pace and style that King Philip loves. Chaos reigned.
Mansfield hung on with its defense, broke the press a couple of times, and built the confidence that would allow the Hornets to turn it around and pull out a 56-48 victory in their first game under first-year head coach Heather McPherson.
“KP wants to embrace the chaos and they made us adjust to the chaos,” McPherson explained. “We knew it was coming but I think a lot of it has been the girls trying to figure out our new culture and new adjustments and then getting in this kind of game. I couldn’t be happier with my girls.
“It would’ve been easy for them to doubt it starting in that slow rut but I had 10 girls I was confident throwing in and I think the depth for us was huge.”
Even with head coach Dan Nagle watching the live stream at home after being sidelined because of COVID protocols, KP jumped right into its high-energy, fast-paced game plan. Grace Clyde kicked it out to Courtney Keswick for a three and a drive by Caroline Aaron (game-high 14 points) made it 7-2 early.
Although the Warriors were forcing turnover after turnover, they were unable to convert the defense into baskets, which helped keep the score close early.
“I tried to my best for Dan and keep with the system,” joked assistant coach Nicole Nunes, who was filling in for Nagle. “Our shots just weren’t falling. They kept getting the long ball deep off of the press, we weren’t getting back quick enough, weren’t getting rebounds.”
The Hornets chipped away and started to get behind the press. Kara Santos set up Brooke Berube (10 points and 10 rebounds) for a layup and Olivia Salisbury (four assists) laid a pass into Sarah Dooling (12 points and 10 rebounds) for another easy finish to cut the lead to 11-9.
Back-to-back baskets by Liv Lafond (eight points), including a steal and layup, pushed the lead back to six but Kayla Vine (team-high 13 points and seven rebounds) scored off a Salisbury assist to make it a four-point game after one.
After KP went back up by six, Mansfield went on a 7-0 run to grab its first lead of the night. Kara Santos knocked down a jumper off a feed from her sister Ashley, Abby Wager scored with a putback, and Anna Darlington capped the run with a steal that turned into a three-point play and 20-19 lead.
“That was our send home from the beginning,” McPherson said. “We’re going to make mistakes and it wasn’t going to be you’re coming out after a mistake but how you come back from that mistake that sets the tone. It can’t be a missed layup and then dogging it on defense, it’s got to be a sprint back.”
The Warriors bounced right back with six straight. Emily Sawyer scored in the paint off a Jackie Bonner assist and then Aaron went to work with back-to-back steals and transition buckets. She scored eight of her 14 in the second. Vine answered back with her first three of the night and the teams went into the break tied at 25.
Momentum was with the hosts and the Hornets turned it on in the third to break the game open. Mansfield outscored KP 13-4 in the quarter. Dooling scored on the press break (off a Berube assist) and Vine followed with her second three in as many quarters. After Santos finished at the rim, the Hornets led 34-27.
Aaron and Keswick got baskets for KP but an Ashley Santos jumper and then a Vine layup off a pinpoint long outlet pass by Kacey Veiking extended the lead to nine heading to the fourth quarter.
With the style that KP plays and the number of shots that the Warriors are going to get up in a short span, no lead feels safe, but Mansfield never allowed KP to get any closer than eight points in the final quarter. The Hornets strength in the paint proved too much to handle.
An Ally Prentis steal led to a Wager layup, but Keswick (10 points) answered with her second three. Berube scored with an offensive rebound to build the lead to back to double digits and then she fed Dooling for a three-point play and the largest lead of the night for the Hornets. Berube added four more points, both baskets coming off rebounds, and had six of her 10 in the fourth.
“We were waiting for that fire from our seniors,” said McPherson. “The senior leadership has been top notch. The poise of our team down the stretch was huge.”
KP kept running and Lafond added a layup and assisted on a Sawyer bucket to try and keep things close, but Mansfield was able to stay in control and see out the win.
“We were a little sloppy on the offensive side, a little rushed passes, not typical for KP,” said Nunes. “But it’s our first game, we’re in masks, it’s a little different for everybody. Good thing we play again on Sunday, right?”
Mansfield (1-0) and King Philip (0-1) will square off again on Sunday afternoon in the second game of a doubleheader.
2019-2020 Record: 10-12 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Martin Crowley
After a couple of rebuilding years, Attleboro made a jump last winter and clinched its return to the playoffs in the final game of the regular season. While the Bombardiers will miss the all-around game of Nyah Thomas, who is at Worcester State after a breakout senior season, Attleboro will count on six returners from last year’s roster and a couple of promising newcomers to make some noise in the Kelley-Rex.
Thomas’ scoring and ball-handling will be tough to replicate, but the Bombardiers have strength and athleticism in the post. Junior Meg Gordon developed into a double-double machine last year, using her quickness and length to cause problems in the paint. Senior Ryan Johnson is another forward with length that can impact the game on the glass and protecting the rim.
In the backcourt, senior Gabby Bosh is back to run the point as well as being a pesky defender. Juniors Hailey and Lindsey Perry will also add to the depth at the guard position and to the team’s overall speed and defensive effort. Freshmen guards Kayla Goldrick and Narissa Smith are newcomers that have the potential to make an instant impact and should immediately find themselves in the backcourt rotation.
Attleboro coach Marty Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. This is by far the most athletic team we have had and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. We are blessed to be in the gym everyday with such great kids and that is a win in itself.”
2019-2020 Record: 13-10 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jim Choquette
Canton has been a youthful team with potential for the past two seasons and the Bulldogs come into the winter with an opportunity to turn that potential into the program’s first league title since 1992. After graduating just one player from last year’s team and with many of its standout players now in year three as starters, Canton has the experience to match its talent.
Juniors Fay and Sydney Gallery and Kiara Cerruti have been standouts since their first games as freshmen and have the all-around games to cause match-up problems for the opposition. All three can score from the perimeter, but Sydney gives the Bulldogs a presence on the post while Fay can score off the dribble and be a playmaker on offense. Cerruti is a pure scorer, with good range and the ability to take defenders off the bounce.
Depth should be a strength for the Bulldogs this season, with players able to come off the bench and produce at every position. Carly Fitzgerald and Marissa Staffiere will return in the backcourt, giving Canton solid ball-handlers and a pair of strong defenders. Senior Kayla Albert adds length and rebounding in the paint and sophomore Samya DaSilva showed off great footwork last year and will be another scoring threat on the block.
“I’m very excited to take the floor with this group of girls,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “I love their desire to improve, win games and represent the town of Canton to the best of their abilities. We all want to improve on our past successes, and we’ve been working hard to do so. Very lucky to be coaching this team!”
2019-2020 Record: 24-2 2019-2020 Finish: D2 State Co-Champion Coach: Lisa Downs
Foxboro closed out the 2019-20 season by winning its final 16 games and securing a second state title in the past three seasons. The Warriors graduated four starters from last year’s team, so players will have to step into bigger roles this season and newcomers will have to produce right away to make it five straight Davenport titles.
Defense and tempo are the hallmarks of Foxboro’s success under head coach Lisa Downs and that should be the same this year. For scoring, the Warriors are going to count on senior Katelyn Mollica. One of the top players in the league for the past three seasons, the Stonehill College-commit is one of the league’s top shooters and strong help defender. Senior Jordyn Collins is another key component from last year’s team, as a tenacious defender and a slasher who can get to the rim.
Senior Hannah Blake will step into the starting lineup at center this winter and Downs thinks that she has the potential to be one of the best bigs in the league. Senior Morgan Sylvestre had some big moments last year (for instance, the D2 South final against Hingham) and will see more time at point guard this year. Freshmen guards Camryn Collins and Erin Foley will both be in the mix right away and sophomore Lauren Miley is back after missing all of last year with an injury.
“We graduated a large chunk of our roster from last season so we will have quite a few new faces on the court to accompany Katelyn,” Downs said. “We will continue to focus on our defensive efforts and will strive to pursue the fast pace that we have become familiar with. Safety of the girls is obviously my first concern, but it is also my hope to be able to provide the most fulfilling season possible in terms of overall improvement on both ends of the court.”
2019-2020 Record: 25-0 2019-2020 Finish: D1 State Co-Champion Coach: John Leighton
Last winter, Franklin went start-to-finish as the top team not only in the league but in the state and capped off an undefeated season with the program’s first state championship. The graduation of center Ali Brigham, who was arguably the program’s best-ever player, is a big change for the Panthers this year but there is plenty of talent and experience on the roster to make a push for a three-peat of Kelley-Rex titles.
Junior Olivia Quinn is one of the main reasons that the Panthers are considered the favorites in the Kelley-Rex again this year. Quinn scored nearly 400 points and was one of the top three or four players in the league last season. She continues to develop and improve and will be the focal point of the offense this year. Senior Erin Quaile is the two-time Defensive Player of the Year but is also a solid point guard who limits turnovers, calms things down, and gets Franklin into its sets.
The offense will obviously look a little different this year, without a 6-foot-3 center in the middle, but the Panthers have talent on the wings to cause problems. Seniors Elizabeth Wilson and Kaleigh Houlihan, and junior Stefany Padula can all stretch the defense with their ability to knock down perimeter shots. The forward position should also be strong with Emma Sousa, Brigid Early, and Katie Peterson giving Franklin length and athleticism on the block.
“We are excited to be back on the court and I have been very impressed by our depth,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “Our girls have been committed to getting better and competing on every play.”
2019-2020 Record: 12-9 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip head coach Dan Nagle has implemented a unique system based on high pressure and constant running. The Warriors don’t have to worry about shot clock violations. With a roster of athletic players who will all be counted on at some point and have a year of experience in the system, Nagle hopes this year’s team can create even more chaos that last winter and push Franklin at the top of the Kelley-Rex.
Senior Emma Glaser is the team’s top returning scorer and the Springfield College-commit will be counted on to take a step up, as the Warriors lost their top three scorers to graduation and transfers. Glaser is an athletic wing with range out beyond the three-point line. Athleticism is a common theme for this roster. Senior Caroline Aaron is another versatile wing who can contribute on both ends of the floor.
Depth won’t be an issue for the Warriors, who regularly sub five players at once and everyone gets playing time. Junior guards Elizabeth Molla, Liv Lafond, Grace Clyde, and Julia Marsden will provide scoring punch. At 6-foot-3, sophomore center Emily Sawyer gives KP a unique weapon in the middle and looks more comfortable with the speed at varsity. Senior Courtney Keswick battled injuries last year but is back healthy and gives KP a consistent three-point threat. Sophomore Jackie Bonner is a scorer being moved up from JV who could be poised for a breakout year.
Nagle said, “It’s year two in the system, so the learning curve has been a lot smaller and kids are picking things up fast. What we do is no secret. It’s going to be pandemonium every game, win or lose. This year’s team might even be a better fit for it because generally we have better team speed and it being year two makes a huge difference.”
2019-2020 Record: 9-14 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Heather McPherson
After more than two decades in charge, Mike Redding retired as head coach after last season. There will be some continuity for the program however, as former player and assistant coach Heather McPherson will move into the first seat this year. McPherson can count on continuity on the floor as well, with six seniors among the returning players for the Hornets.
While the Hornets missed the playoffs last year, they also had some impressive wins against playoff teams along the way, beating Attleboro, King Philip, and Bishop Feehan. Senior Kayla Vine was one of the league’s top perimeter shooters and also a solid playmaker with her ability to get into the paint. Senior Ashley Santos extended her range as a shooter last year was a strong all-around player that was a tough matchup on both ends of the court. Sophomore Abby Wager showed flashes of her potential as a scorer during a strong rookie season and her development could be a big boost this year.
Mansfield will have plenty of depth to call on. Senior Ally Prentis adds another shooter, senior Sarah Dooling is another versatile forward, and seniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking give the Hornets a lot of height in the paint. Junior Anna Darlington and sophomore Olivia Salisbury should see more time in the backcourt.
McPherson said, “I couldn’t ask for a better senior group to begin my varsity coaching career, they have set an exciting tone to the season with their energy, effort, enthusiasm. With all of the uncertainty that this year has brought we are excited for the opportunity to be playing basketball. For us to compete each night we will need to play good fundamental basketball.”
2019-2020 Record: 3-17 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: TJ Dolliver
While Milford went winless in league play last year, the Hawks lost no one to graduation and will have seven seniors on this season’s roster. Experience will be a key for Milford, which for the first time will be playing in the Kelley-Rex division. Although the Hawks have struggled at times offensively, no one can argue with the team’s effort and athleticism, especially on defense (ask state champion Foxboro, which was held to just 44 points last year) and that should once again be the team’s strength.
Senior Emma Lawrence will be the team’s focal point this year after an all-star junior season. Lawrence has long arms, endless energy, and the ability to get to the basket. Fellow senior Jillian Michelson is another player who will shadow the opposing team’s top offensive player and use her speed and length to cause problems. Sophomore Brooke Ferreira stepped in at point guard last year and had an impressive rookie campaign. Her ball-handling and ability to get into the lane was critical to the team’s offense, which could at times struggle from the perimeter.
Milford is not a tall team, but the Hawks have several versatile forwards that crash the boards and will make it tough for teams to score in the paint. Seniors Carly Ferreira, Katie Maietta, and Elise Fauerbach add physicality on the block for a team that likes to get up and pressure the ball.
“Having a senior-heavy roster and a team of hard working girls, this season will be a lot of fun,” said Milford coach TJ Dolliver.
2019-2020 Record: 9-11 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Nikki Correia
Under first-year head coach Nikki Correia, North Attleboro bounced back last year and went into the final game of the regular season with a chance of clinching a return to the postseason. Although Big Red missed out on the tournament, the Rocketeers come into this season with optimism. A year of experience in Correia’s system and a strong corps of returning players gives North hopes of springing a surprise in the Davenport division.
Senior guard Amanda Kaiser will remain the focal point for opposing defenses and will force them to extend beyond the three-point line to prevent her from getting going. Kaiser is also a strong defender, who can kickstart the North break by forcing turnovers. Sophomore Summer Doherty is another wing player whose quickness and length causes problems on defense and her strength allows her to get into the lane on offense.
Senior Siobhan Weir keeps things calm even as North tries to get out and run as often as possible, while also adding a strong mid-range game. Senior Lydia Santos missed last season with injury and will be another strong ball-handler and leader in the backcourt. Sophomore Ava McKeon had an impressive rookie season on the wing and uses her strength and athleticism to get into the lane and her energy to get on the boards. Fellow sophomore Taylor McMath got called up last season and made an instant impact as a post player. North isn’t the tallest team, but McMath gives the Rocketeers extra length in the paint on both ends of the floor.
“I know with my team they have been so excited just to be on the basketball court again with their teammates and ready to compete,” said Correia. “Overall we have a strong unit and I can not wait to start the basketball season and see what these girls will do as a team. They all bring different strengths to the game so once they can mesh it all together on the court it will be great to see.”
2019-2020 Record: 14-7 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division for the first time since 2016, when the Tigers won their last league title. OA returns with the goal of ending Foxboro’s four-year run as the top team in the division and has a talented, experienced roster to try and win the program’s Hock-best 23rd league title.
The Tigers pushed Franklin for the Kelley-Rex crown all the way to the final week of league play last year and that experience has given them added confidence heading into the new season. Injuries took their toll down the stretch, but when fully healthy OA boasts one of the deepest rosters in the league. Caroline Flynn is more of a point forward than a point guard but she has developed into one of the league’s top playmakers, while also being one of its top rebounding guards. Caroline Peper battled a back injury all of last season, but when healthy is one of the top shooters in the Hock.
Junior Hailey Bourne has emerged as one of the top defensive players in the league, capable of guarding players on the perimeter or in the post. Senior Jess Erlich adds shooting from her forward position. OA has six returning players who will be bolstered by an exciting crop of newcomers, including freshman guard Jasmyn Cooper.
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook, who passed the 700-win mark last season, said, “OA’s strengths will come from the depth of their lineup and a cast of young and upcoming players with great intensity and love for the game. Despite the challenges associated with pandemic, OA is excited to have the chance to play this season and value every second they get to compete for the top spot.”
2019-2020 Record: 4-16 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Sandy Lombardi
Sharon finished with only four wins last season, but the Eagles also lost seven games by 10 points or less, including five games by five points or fewer and twice lost by a single basket. With a good core of versatile players returning, the Eagles are hoping to make a move up the standings in what continues to be a competitive Davenport division.
The graduations of Ally Brown and Kaitlyn Wallace take away two of the team’s top ball-handlers and perimeter scorers, but the Eagles can make up for that with strength in the paint. Senior Leah Fandel and junior Trinity Payne are difference makers on both ends of the court, capable of crashing the boards, protecting the rim, and offering interior scoring. Both players are capable of stepping back and knocking down short jumpers too, adding a different dimension to the offense.
Sophomore guards Tess Letendre and Emily Freeman will be counted on to pick up some of the slack on the perimeter and get the Eagles into their offensive sets. Seniors Gaby Cabral and Julia Early will also be counted on to take bigger roles this season. The Eagles will also have a pair of freshmen, Rachel Hager and Eva Poulton, who will be expected to contribute right away.
“I’m excited for the girls to have an opportunity to play this season,” said Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi. “Looking back a few months ago I would not have imagined us having a season at all.”
2019-2020 Record: 9-11 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last year, falling just one win short of qualifying for the tournament (that included a one-point loss to North Attleboro midway through the season). The Black Knights will have to try and make up for the graduation of their two leading scorers, Aliyah Wright and Shyanne Trinh, but head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan expects that this year’s roster will live up to the program’s standard of hustle, hard work, and aggressiveness.
Mackenzie Manning is the team’s top returning scorer and Steele Jordan is counting on the senior guard to provide leadership and passion for the younger players. Fellow seniors Cate Downey and Jess Maddalena (who is out for the season with an injury) are also going to be counted on to set the tone for the team.
Junior guard Makaiyah Singleton Rivera saw plenty of time last year and gives the Black Knights a boost of speed and energy on the perimeter. There are also several underclassmen who will be jumping up to varsity and could add important minutes this season. Sophomore guards Kiara Scardina and Shayla Ford and freshman forward Alyssa Edwards are newcomers to keep an eye on this season.
Steele Jordan said, “I’m really thankful for all the players that came out for our program this year in the middle of pandemic. Looking forward to kicking off the season in 2021. Our goals have not changed, the Black Knights will play hard, play together and represent the Stoughton community with pride this season.”
2019-2020 Record: 5-15 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Amy Siggens
Taunton has struggled to get going this winter, as practices were halted after just three days and the teams won’t resume basketball activities until next week, which has forced the opening games with Attleboro to be postponed. The Tigers will also be without last year’s leading scorer, sophomore Kameron St. Pierre, who has opted out. With all of that, second-year head coach Amy Siggens is still excited that the team this season and building on the fundamentals of her system.
The Tigers will be an experienced, if still young, team this season. Seniors Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will be the focal points on the offensive end. They are both versatile players capable of stepping back and knocking down shots and also taking their defenders off the dribble. Their athleticism on both ends of the court makes them a tough matchup. They also provide leadership for a team that is building consistency. The Tigers won five games last year, but also lost seven times by single digits, including once in overtime.
A strength of the team will be its depth in the backcourt. Senior Tori DaRosa is a tough defender and gets the Tigers into their sets. Juniors Abby Souza and Braeley McDonald are also strong options to provide shooting off the bench. Sophomore Maddie Michenzie can be a force on the boards and adds a different dimension in the post on both ends of the court.
“We’re rolling with the punches here,” said Siggens about having to postpone practices until the New Year. “Everyday is something new and you just have to adjust. We’re focusing on the leadership of our seniors but also the development of our young kids. This is a year to really pull it back and go after the fundamentals and the basics.”
Attleboro, 71 vs. Tech Boston, 66 – Final – Attleboro used an 8-0 surge at the end of the third quarter to take the lead back, Jason Weir hit a pair of big three pointers in the final quarter, and Bryant Ciccio went 7-for-8 at the line to help the Bombardiers secure a win over Tech Boston. Attleboro led 16-15 after one and 32-31 at halftime before Tech Boston took a lead late in the third. Justin Daniels hit a three, Tim Callahan hit two from downtown, and Qualeem Charles had five of his 17 in the third to help Attleboro take a 48-45 lead entering the fourth. Weir finished with 12 points and Ciccio had a game-high 25 points, going 9-for-10 from the line overall, hitting four three-pointers in the first quarter.
Canton, 54 @ Bishop Feehan, 59 – Final – Canton rallied to get within striking distance in the fourth quarter but Bishop Feehan iced the game at the free throw line to get the win in the Bulldogs’ season finale. After a close first quarter (9-8), the Shamrocks created a nine-point advantage (24-15) at halftime, a lead they carried into the fourth (38-29). Nick Cushman (12 points) hit a pair of threes in the fourth while Eric Mischler (17 points), Will Keefe, and Matt Giglio each hit one, and Robbie Gallery added four of his 12 in the final frame, but the Shamrocks made just enough of their chances from the line to get the win.
Foxboro, 82 vs. Holliston, 40 – Final – Foxboro’s offense poured in 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back in a big win over Holliston. The Warriors built a 46-11 halftime lead with 10 players getting into the scoring column over the first 16 minutes. Senior Brandon Borde scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the opening quarter while Donald Rogers had nine of his 11 points in the same frame. Freshman Alex Penders added a career-high nine points and sophomore Dylan Gordon had eight points. Foxboro will play Randolph in the tournament final on Tuesday at 4:30.
King Philip, 80 @ Somerset-Berkley, 60 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – King Philip closed the first half on a 12-0 run to create the separation it needed to get the win and punch its ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2015. Senior Alex Fritz (five assists) scored 10 of his game-high 26 points in the second while Andrew McKinney (eight rebounds) had a big second half, netting 11 of his 16 points. Tommy Donahue added 12 points and nine rebounds and Robert Jarest finished with 11 points and four rebounds for KP, who will play Hanover in the tournament final on Wednesday at 6:30.
Milford, 67 vs. Tantasqua, 56 – Final – Milford senior Colby Pires poured in a career-high 41 points to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a win at home over Tantasqua. Pires got off to a hot start, hitting three three-pointers in the first, finishing with 14 points in the frame. He added eight more in the second and then went back to the three-point line in the third, hitting a trio of three-pointers again. He closed strong with 10 points in the fourth. Jordan Darling added seven of his nine points in the fourth to help the Hawks close the win out.
Sharon, 47 vs. Dedham, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Sharon got within eight in the second half but couldn’t overcome a slow first half against Dedham in the final game of the season. The Eagles were limited to eight points in the first and five in the second, going into halftime down 29-13. A strong start to the third capped by a bucket from Aidan Kane (nine points, five rebounds) made it 33-25 but Dedham finished the quarter with a 7-3 burst to push the lead back to double-digits. Andrew Burton led the Eagles with 11 points and four rebounds while Sam Cohen chipped in with eight points.
Franklin, 73 vs. Cathedral, 56 – Final – Franklin closed out a perfect regular season with its second straight 17-point win against a highly-ranked opponent at the Comcast Classic. Ali Brigham scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, but she also got plenty of help, as Franklin got another strong team effort in the win. Megan O’Connell scored 16 points and Olivia Quinn had a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Canton, 66 vs. Nauset, 50 – Final – The Bulldogs earned an impressive win against a potential playoff opponent and split the season series with the Warriors. Canton led 17-10 after one quarter, extended the lead to 13 by halftime, and by 16 heading into the fourth. Kiara Cerruti paced the offense with 16 points, while Fay and Sydney Gallery each scored 14 points. Fay added six assists and eight rebounds. Kayla Albert had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds and Samya DaSilva finished with eight points and 10 boards.
Foxboro, 60 vs. Scituate, 48 – Final – Foxboro won the opening game of the Warrior Classic to advance to tomorrow’s championship. Katelyn Mollica knocked down six three-pointers and scored 24 to lead the Warriors. Yara Fawaz had 10 points, Shakirah Ketant had nine, and Lizzy Davis added eight in the win.
Mansfield, 47 vs. Bishop Feehan, 44 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Mansfield rallied from eight points down heading into the fourth, outscoring Feehan 18-7 over the final eight minutes to grab the win in the semifinal of the Roundball Classic. Kayla Vine scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth, including 7-of-8 at the line, and had what turned out to be the game-winning free throw. Ashley Santos had a game-high 17 points, including six in the fourth quarter, and Kelly Doherty knocked down a pair of clutch free throws in the closing seconds to seal the win. Feehan jumped out to a 15-10 lead after one, but the Hornets held the visitors to only four points in the seconds. A last second bucket put Feehan up by one at half and the Shamrocks came out of the break with 18 points in the third to extend the lead to eight. Santos scored four points in the third to try and keep Mansfield close and Allison Prentis knocked down a clutch three. Sarah Dooling added six points and seven rebounds in the win.
Taunton, 65 @ Durfee, 47 – Final – The Tigers went on the road and picked up their fifth win of the season. Youth was served for Taunton, with freshman Kameron St. Pierre and eighth grader Sam Lincoln continuing their impressive rookie campaigns on varsity by leading the team with 16 points apiece. Junior Jaelyn Fernandez also got into double digits with 11 points. Taunton closes out its season at home against New Bedford on Wednesday.
Canton, 4 vs. Boston Latin, 2 – Final
Foxboro, 3 vs. East Bridgewater, 0 – Final
King Philip, 3 vs. Norwood, 3 – Final – King Philip erased a 2-1 deficit to take a third period lead but the Mustangs of Norwood scored with less than a minute left to steal a point from the Warriors. Nolan Feyler gave the Warriors a 1-0 first period lead before Norwood responded with a pair of second half goals to seize a 2-1 advantage. Aidan Boulger made it 2-2 with just under two minutes to go in the second and Feyler netted his second just under six minutes into the third to put KP ahead 3-2. With the goalie pulled, Norwood tied the game with 17 seconds left to make it 3-3.
Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Westwood, 3 – Final
Taunton, 3 @ Auburn, 6 – Final
Canton, 3 vs. Barnstable, 0 – Final – Olivia Maffeo, Lizzie Tassinari, and Payton McDonough each scored as the Bulldogs skated to a win over Barnstable. Freshman Carolyn Durand recorded her 12th shutout of the season in net.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Laney Clement-Holbrook took over at Oliver Ames in her early 20s and over the next 44 years turned the Tigers into a perennial power. Three years ago, Clement-Holbrook became the all-time winningest high school basketball coach in the state and on Friday night at the Nixon Gym she added a new historic milestone to her already legendary career when she became the state’s first member of the 700-win club.
It was a moment that she tried to keep quiet, wanting to keep the attention on her players, especially the three players celebrating senior night. Athletic director Bill Matthews sent a notice to the media the night before the game and word spread, drawing a big crowd for the visit of Mansfield.
Any worries that her team might be distracted or not be able to handle the moment were quickly dispelled. The Tigers won each of the individual quarters, took a double-digit lead by halftime, and pulled away in the second half for a 72-49 win and a season sweep of the Hornets.
“This is what we want them to be able to handle is the big stage, so I thought for the kids this was a great experience for them just because there would be a lot more people, a lot of energy,” Clement-Holbrook said. “Hopefully this will move us forward as a team.”
When asked what it has meant to coach at OA for as long as she has, Clement-Holbrook praised the coaches who she learned from, including Val Muscato, Bill Nixon, and Sue Rivard, and she also pointed to the numerous alumni that came back to celebrate the special night.
“Some of these kids played for me in the 80s,” she said with a laugh. “I’m just so grateful to have the chance to be here for so long. It was the first place and it will be the last place I coach. It’s a special moment.”
After the handshake line, Clement-Holbrook shared a quick word with Mansfield coach Mike Redding. He expressed his admiration for someone he has coached against for more than 20 years.
“It’s been an honor going against her. I’ve done 23 years and they have been the standard bearer,” he said. “Just the quality every single year is amazing. She still has the passion, the enthusiasm, she’s been doing it 40-plus years but it’s still like her first year coaching.”
OA senior guard Meg Holleran is the third member of her family to play for Clement-Holbrook, following her older sisters Kate and Shannon, who were both in attendance, and was a freshman on the varsity team when Clement-Holbrook set the wins record three years ago.
“She wanted this to be about senior night and just getting the win,” Holleran said. “We actually heard it was the 700th from a parent, she didn’t even tell us herself. We just wanted to come out and we had a big surprise for her at the end.”
The Tigers got off to a fast start, as Caroline Peper (21 points and four assists) drilled a pair of threes and scored eight points in the first. Her second attempt came on the third shot of a possession, as OA dominated the glass. Senior Tate Hadges (seven points) added four in the first and classmate Erin Holmberg (four points and five assists) got on the board off a pass from Holleran.
Sarah Dooling scored five of her eight points in the first and Abby Wager added four of her five points, but OA held a 17-12 lead after one.
Ashley Santos tried to keep the Hornets close in the second, as she scored 10 points in the quarter, but Mansfield only managed one more point as a team. Meanwhile, the Tigers were getting contributions from up and down the roster. Tori Harney (10 points) hit a couple of long jumpers and had six points in the second and Caroline Flynn (13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists) got a layup after a Peper steal.
Mansfield cut the lead from 11 points down to seven after back-to-back buckets by Santos, but the Tigers closed the half with threes from Jess Erlich (eight points) and Peper to go into the break up 36-23.
“We had some turnovers and they took advantage and it seemed like anytime we had a little momentum, we couldn’t get a stop,” Redding explained. “We try hard, but we’re just maybe not quick enough, tall enough. We had a decent effort, they just had some kids step up.”
OA broke the game wide open in the third. Peper came out firing again, scoring eight points on a pair of threes and a transition layup, all assisted by Flynn, who added four points of her own. Santos continued to stay hot for the Hornets with five more points and Kayla Vine got an and-one for her lone points of the night, but OA’s depth pushed the lead to 19 by the end of the quarter.
A three by Santos cut the lead to as little as 14 in the fourth, but the Tigers never allowed Mansfield to get too close, finishing the game on a 14-5 run. Hailey Bourne got it started with an offensive rebound and layup, Flynn added a drive plus the foul, and then Erlich had a corner three to restore a comfortable margin.
The final minutes were largely a countdown to history. Only when the horn sounded on another OA victory, did Clement-Holbrook finally crack and smile and acknowledge what the student section had been chanting about over the game’s closing minutes.
It was the perfect way to end a day filled with recognition of one of the state’s most successful coaching careers.
“It has been a very busy day,” said Clement-Holbrook, who gave the keynote address at the MIAA’s Girls and Women in Sports Day at Faneuil Hall in Boston in the morning. “What an incredible honor it was today to walk into Faneuil Hall and for it to be such a historical event. To see this game go from me playing six-player basketball at Dedham High School to this in my lifetime is incredible.”
Holleran added, “I’m so happy for her. She deserves it so much. I got to go see her give the speech today at the MIAA Girls and Women in Sports Day and it’s just surreal, she’s achieved so much, and I’m so proud of her. It’s great to be part of it.”
When asked to try and put 700 wins into perspective, Redding replied, “It’s mind-boggling. Just the longevity, the quality, and just classy young women. It makes this league special, such good people, great competition, and we’ve become good friends. Pretty special coach, got to be the best in Massachusetts history and one of the best in national history.”
Oliver Ames (13-3, 12-2) will travel to Franklin on Tuesday hoping to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season and push the Kelley-Rex title race to the final game of the season. Mansfield (6-12) will host North Attleboro on Sunday afternoon and try to stay alive for the postseason, needing to win out to qualify.
With the game tied at 50 and the clock running down under 20 seconds left to play, Sharon had a look from in close that wouldn’t fall. The rebound was batted around and was heading out of play. Sharon guard Kaitlyn Wallace was sure that the Eagles were going to retain possession and let the ball go out of bounds. The officials had other ideas and gave Mansfield the ball and a shot at the win.
The Hornets got the ball into the hands of senior point guard Becca Hottleman, who took off up court. Mansfield coach Mike Redding thought about calling a timeout to set up a play, but Hottleman didn’t need one. She stepped to her right, found a seam in the Sharon defense, and made a difficult layup under pressure to put her team in front with 4.5 on the clock.
Hottleman missed her free throw, but Sharon was unable to advance the ball before time ran out on a 52-50 Mansfield victory. It was the first win of the season for the Hornets and the first-ever game-winner for Hottleman, who is still working her way back from a knee injury that has kept her out since March.
“She’s our best off the dribble and she had some space and I thought maybe if she kicked it out and nothing was there then maybe take the timeout,” Redding explained. “I just asked her when’s the last time she hit a game-winner and she said she’d never hit one before. Good thing to save it for her senior year.”
Sharon is still looking for its first win of the season, but head coach Sandy Lombardi is pleased with the progress her team showed from the first game and the fight that it demonstrated in battling back from an early deficit.
“You read the articles, oh they’re having trouble shooting from the outside and then they come out and stick I don’t know how many threes in the first half and it was like, I thought you couldn’t shoot?” Lombardi joked. “The second quarter we bounced back, we got down by 10 or 12 and came back. It was a tough loss but I thought it was a great game overall.”
It has been a rough start to the season for the Mansfield offense, but the Hornets were firing on all cylinders in the opening quarter, knocking down four three-pointers and scoring 21 as a team. Kayla Vine scored seven of her team-high 14 in the first, including a pair from beyond the arc. Hottleman and classmate Kelly Doherty both hit one each from outside as well.
Trailing 21-11 after one, the Eagles turned things around in the second. Sharon pressured the perimeter to limit Mansfield’s chances and started to find openings in the Hornets’ zone defense.
Wallace (game-high 16 points, nine rebounds, and five assists) got things started with a three on a kick-out by Leah Fandel (11 points) and then she assisted on a corner three by Telishya Herbert (10 points and six rebounds). Fandel was left open on an inbounds play for a layup and then Ally Brown (eight points) buried a three to cut the Mansfield lead to just one, 29-28.
“Kaitlyn had a big game,” said Lombardi. “Ally had a good game for us and those kids don’t come out of the game. They play the whole game for us and that’s pretty much the way it’s going to be the rest of the season.”
The Eagles got their first lead of the night on a pair of Wallace free throws, but Ashley Santos (12 points, five rebounds, and three blocks) answered back with two at the line. Freshman AAbby Wager had a big block on a Sharon layup attempt in the closing seconds of the half, but the loose ball fell right to Brown, who knocked down a baseline jumper right at the buzzer for a 32-31 halftime edge.
“The second quarter they heated up,” Redding said. “It kind of forced us out of the zone and then we went to a 1-3-1 trap and eventually ended up playing man. The good thing was we made shots tonight and got some confidence on offense but now we got to defend a little better, but I think they did a good job moving the ball and making shots.”
Sharon came out of the break looking to grab hold of the game, but struggled to find its offense. Brown nailed another three off an assist by Trinity Payne, but baskets by Sarah Dooling (eight points) and Santos tied the game.
Wallace drilled her third three of the night to make it 38-35, but the Hornets would go on a spurt, scoring the final eight points of the quarter to grab the lead. Vine had a steal and layup and then Grace Maher grabbed an offensive rebound for her only basket of the night. Vine closed out the third with a driving hoop for a 43-38 lead.
“We started moving the ball around a little bit, we were getting wide open outside shots, we were getting the ball inside, the high-low was working well, and it kind of fell apart in the third,” Lombardi said.
At the start of the fourth, it was Sharon’s turn to make a run and the hosts scored seven straight to start the quarter and get the lead. Fandel hit a short jumper on a pass from Nicole Teven, who also grabbed a steal and layup to make it a one-point game. Another Fandel basket on another inbound play put the Eagles in front.
“She was on the varsity last year,” Lombardi said of Fandel, “but she’s still feeling her oats a little bit and I thought she had a strong game inside.”
Santos answered with a post move to tie the game at 45-45 and Doherty (nine points) chipped in with a basket on a rebound. Wallace would get her last points of the night to tie it again, but then Vine got open and knocked down her first three since the first quarter to put the Hornets ahead 50-47.
Fandel continued to be a menace for the home team. A putback brought the Eagles back within one and then she tied the game with one of two from the line. The junior scored seven of her team’s 12 points in the quarter.
“We needed a win,” Redding admitted. “Two tough ones to start and this gives us a little boost going into the holidays. We’re going to have a lot of these in the league with teams like us that are good but young and getting better. These are the ones that you’ve got to get and to get one on the road is even better.”
Both teams will step out of the Hock for their next games. Mansfield (1-2) will host Newtown (Conn.) next Friday in the start of a holiday tournament that also includes Fontbonne and Bridgewater-Raynham. Sharon (0-2) will host Holliston the following Sunday.