Strong Start Keeps King Philip Ahead In Win Over North

King Philip boys basketball Brandon Nicastro
King Philip sophomore Brandon Nicastro goes up for a layup against North Attleboro senior Givany Carney in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 WRENTHAM, Mass. — King Philip came out and landed a haymaker against North Attleboro, but the Rocketeers refused to go do without a fight.

The Warriors jumped out to a 17-point lead less than six minutes into the game but had to hold off a handful of comeback attempts from the visiting Rocketeers to eventually secure a 60-50 win on Friday night.

Senior Tommy Martorano hit a trio of three-pointers and scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the opening frame, Tommy Kilroy (10 points, nine rebounds, three assists) tossed in another three for the Warriors, and the hosts turned a quick 11-0 lead into a 19-2 advantage after a transition bucket from Trevor Clyde.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While it wasn’t much in the grand scheme of the game, North Attleboro closed the first with a quick 7-0 burst and that would be a sign of things to come as the Rocketeers continually scratched and clawed their way back into the game.

“Any good team in this league, they are going to come back,” said King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano. “It’s a game of runs and it’s about how you respond. We knew they would and they did a good job making us uncomfortable with their pressure, we struggled against it for long stretches and I thought that carried over into our defense and our intensity.

“I’m happy the boys were able to roll with the punches and find a way to get through it, and that’s what they were able to do tonight.”

The lead ballooned back to 17 in the third quarter (36-19) after Grant Kinney (12 points, six rebounds, three assists) cashed in on a North turnover with a layup and Tommy McLeish (three points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks) scored in the post. But once again, there was no quit in North Attleboro as they responded with a 15-3 run over the final five minutes of the quarter. Sophomore Chase Frisoli (career-high 16 points, four rebounds) hit a pair of threes and Jonnie Obuchowski (10 rebounds, four assists) added one after an offensive rebound from Ryan Bannon. Frisoli sank another triple after Obuchowski crashed the offensive glass and then beat the shot clock with a mid-range jumper. A free throw from Givany Carney (team-high 17 points) trimmed the once-double-digit advantage down to just five, 39-34, with under a minute to play in the third.

“That’s where the frustration stems from because it’s not our first rodeo at this point,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins about having to overcome the early deficit. “We’ve had too many instances where we aren’t ready to play or not ready to execute part of the gameplan. We put ourselves in holes, and to come back was good. I’m proud of them for that, it speaks to their character and their mental toughness, but sooner than later we have to learn it because we’re making it too difficult for ourselves.”

As the game continued to play out, the Warriors got the shot they needed to answer as Kinney buried a corner three with just seconds left for a 42-34 lead going into the fourth.

KP kept the momentum to start the fourth, landing yet another heavy punch that could have put North away. Martorano (four rebounds) sank another three and then found Clyde out in transition for two more to give the Warriors a comfortable 47-34 lead.

Jack Munley cut to the rim for two for an immediate response from the Big Red, Frisoli attacked the rim for two more, and Munley found Carney for a three on the next trip to get within two possessions at 47-41.

“I thought we were stagnant offensively, credit to KP because their defense was good,” Mulkerrins said. “They got in the paint a lot better than we might have expected and took away some of our drives. I thought the press just freed us up a little bit. We were pressing on offense because we were playing so poorly on defense. I think once they saw the ball go in, they relax a little bit and were able to play a little bit.

“And we had some guys come off the bench play well. I thought our senior captain Jack Munley came in and had the best game he’s had, not to say he hasn’t played well before but he wasn’t getting a lot of rotational minutes and tonight he was an instant spark for us.”

North nearly got closer but KP got a couple of stops and Kilroy snatched an offensive rebound and found Martorano for a much-needed three for KP. A baseline jumper from Kinney was true and once again the Warriors had a double-digit lead with just 2:33 to go.

Derek Maceda answered for North with a strong take and a KP turnover resulted in a layup for Frisoli. North Attleboro, which used a press for the majority of the game, forced another turnover and Obuchowski dished one to Carney in the corner for three, and suddenly the Rocketeers were within four — the closest they had been since the first minute of the game — with just 1:33 to play.

But before North could get established defensively, KP senior Will Laplante (11 points, seven rebounds, three assists) sprinted up the court and found a gap in the middle, dropping in a floater for two. Martorano helped force a turnover and Laplante punished the visitors with a triple with a minute to go, pushing the lead to 57-48, which proved to be the final punch the Warriors needed.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“That was a big five points that Will had in the last couple of minutes. We had some guys hit some big shots when we needed it, and that’s what makes teams great when they can respond in those situations and they did a good job of that tonight.

“We’re still learning to play with the lead. It’s a work in progress and we’re still learning but it’s only the halfway point so we’re getting there.”

North’s 7-0 surge to end the first turned into a 14-3 run overall as the Rocketeers carried some momentum into the second to make it a six-point game. But as they would do the rest of the way, the Warriors responded when they had to as Laplante, Kilroy, and Martorano scored to give KP a double-digit lead, 31-19, going into the half.

King Philip boys basketball (5-3 Hockomock, 7-4 overall) hits the road for a visit to Canton on Tuesday while North Attleboro (0-8, 0-9) will visit Foxboro.

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview Foxboro boys basketball Alex Penders
Foxboro’s Alex Penders goes up for a layup against North Attleboro last season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2021-2022 Record: 16-7
Coach: Mark Houle

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro has consistently been in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division in recent years, and if the Bombardiers are going to be there again this year, they will have to do so with a lot of new players to the varsity level.

Not only did the Bombardiers graduate a sizable senior class, but the majority of them were also key pieces in longtime head coach Mark Houle’s lineup and rotation. Add in the transfer of promising 6’5-forward Trevor White, and Attleboro has very few pieces left from last year. But that’s not to say Attleboro is without talent. Junior Neo Franco is coming off a very successful first year with the team, earning HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team honors. Jaiden Outland saw more and more minutes as the season went on and he showed what he’s capable of with a career-high 18 points in Attleboro’s win over Durfee in late February last year; he could be poised for a big year. Senior Michael Beverly is the third returner for the Bombardiers after picking up some minutes last year while newcomer senior Justin Hanrahan could be a key piece right away.

Another reason for optimism is that most of the new faces in the lineup this year played for the Bombardiers’ JV squad last season, which posted an impressive 19-2 record. Seniors Spencer Sherck, Zyeem Charles, Nathan Hodson, and Michael Alfonso will provide key leadership for Houle this year. Junior Max Crawford will join sophomores Dante Monestime, Hayden Crowley, and Brady Erwin as potential contributors for the Bombardiers.

“We need to continue our commitment to be a highly competitive defensive team, our communication, and understanding of defensive concepts is a priority and is a reason we were one of the top defensive teams in the league last year,” Houle said.

Canton

2021-2022 Record: 9-11
Coach: Eric MacKinnon
Canton surprised a lot of people on the outside of the program with a nine-win season that certainly was good enough for a playoff spot, but the Bulldogs have put that seeding drama in the rearview mirror and are now focused on surprising people again this year.

In order to do so, the Bulldogs will need new players to step up as second-year head coach Eric MacKinnon only has one returning starter from last year. Matt Chafin emerged as a top perimeter option, averaging 8.8 points per game last year (reaching double figures in just under half of the games). Although he isn’t returning from last year’s lineup, Julius Hicks provides a big boost for MacKinnon and Bulldogs, coming back after missing all of last season with an injury. Hicks would have certainly been in the rotation last year and will be a vital piece this year. Junior Zaza Francoeur is an athletic wing player that can impact the game on both ends of the floor for the Bulldogs.

Defense emerged as one of Canton’s strengths a season ago as the Bulldogs bought into MacKinnon’s game plan. Canton allowed the least amount of points against in the Davenport division at 50.6, and they will look to replicate that again this year.

“With our personnel and style of play we have the ability to score from the perimeter and play inside-out at times,” MacKinnon said. “Our length and athleticism should allow us to get out in transition.”

Foxboro

2021-2022 Record: 12-10
Coach: Jon Gibbs

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Foxboro is one of the few teams in the league that has more familiar faces returning than not, and after only missing out on the Davenport title by one game last year, the Warriors are aiming to compete with defending champs Sharon and division newcomer Mansfield for the top spot this season.

The Warriors boast one of the better senior classes, anchored by HockomockSports First Team selection Alex Penders. Penders, a 6-foot-5 forward who averaged 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last year and recently committed to play at Ithaca next year, is joined by classmates Sam Golub, Ryan LeClair, and Andrew Finn. Golub and LeClair played a lot of minutes for head coach Jon Gibbs last season and both improved as the season went on. Having three experienced players will certainly give the Warriors an advantage, especially on the defensive side of the ball where Gibbs always has his teams prepared.

Penders can score in a variety of ways and will be a matchup problem for most teams in the league. Golub is a proven shooter that can get hot at any time while LeClair is a pesky defender, and as seen by his performance on the road at Stoughton last year, is a capable scorer. Penders will certainly be the focus of the offense but he’s a very unselfish player and Foxboro should have a good balance in the scoring column. While the Warriors have a strong senior class, they’re still a relatively young team. With only two juniors, the rest of the roster is filled by six sophomores and two freshmen. Junior Ryan Cotter and sophomores Ryan Kelley and Nolan Gordon will be names to keep an eye on.

“This is a very hard-working and coachable group that is improving on a daily basis,” Gibbs said. “We have a very exciting blend of experienced veterans and newcomers who are hungry to contribute. If we can defend and rebound at a high level, the potential is there for a very successful season.”







2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Franklin

2021-2022 Record: 21-4
Coach: CJ Neely
Entering the past two seasons, there was a lot of unknown for the Panthers after graduating a large senior class each year. It’s the opposite this year as Franklin graduated just three players and has the majority of last year’s squad that went 21-4 back in the fold.

After a third-place finish in the Kelley-Rex last season, Franklin could be the team to beat this go around. Junior Sean O’Leary highlights a talented and experienced group of long, athletic players. O’Leary, a 6-foot-4 forward that can score from anywhere on the court and was named to the HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team last year, will be one of the top players in the league this year. Junior Andrew O’Neill (8.8 points per game) is another returner and head coach CJ Neely will lean on a small but talented senior class that features Ben Harvey (HockomockSports All-Defensive Team), Justin Allen, Geino Scaringello, and Hayden Morandi.

Juniors Hansy Jacques, Bradley Herndon, and Andrew Benoit were all on the team last year and could see increased minutes this season. There will be more opportunities on offense for players to step up with the graduation of Sean Vinson (12.8 ppg) and last year’s leading scorer and HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Henry Digirogio (16.1 ppg) has opted not to play this year. And promising sophomore Caden Sullivan, who likely would have been in the rotation, will miss significant time due to injury.

“The preseason has been very competitive at practice,” Neely said. “We have a great group of guys who really care for each other. While we do have a good amount of returning players, there is a lot of playing time up for grabs and it will be a daily challenge for guys to earn roles. I have been most impressed with how committed and focused the players have been each day on the court and in film sessions to always look for ways to improve as a group. It will be fun to watch them grow and compete all year.”

King Philip

2021-2022 Record: 6-16
Head Coach: Dave DeStefano
King Philip brings back a good portion of its roster and is looking to book a spot in the tournament and contend for the Kelley-Rex division title.

The Warriors are one of the few teams in the league that brings back their leading scorer from a year ago in Will Laplante, a seasoned veteran that has averaged over 16 points per year in each of the last two seasons. Laplante is joined by senior Grant Kinney, who had some breakout games last year, and Tommy Martorano, who showed that at his best (a career-high 36 points) that he can score with the best players in the league. That trio is three of KP’s top five scorers from a year ago. Senior Colin Peck, a 6-foot-2 forward, will likely see an expanded role after playing some valuable minutes last year.

Juniors Tommy McLeish and Trevor Clyde, both 6-foot-3 forwards, have made a big jump from last year and will be key pieces for head coach Dave DeStefano this year. New additions Danny Silveria and Peter Cataldo, both juniors, look to factor in as key defensive pieces for the Warriors. Sophomore Tommy Kilroy didn’t see a ton of minutes early on last year but his role expanded as the season went on, scoring in double figures against Mansfield and in a win over Xaverian. Fellow sophomores Brandon Nicastro, Drew Laplante, and Jack Assini will all looking to contribute this season as well.

“The boys have really committed this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The limited practices so far have been really competitive. It’s no secret that our defense has to drastically improve to be competitive in the league. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense, we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Mansfield

2021-2022 Record: 21-5
Coach: Mike Vaughan
Mansfield had its incredible streak of nine straight Kelley-Rex division titles come to an end last season, and now the Hornets start a new chapter as they begin their first season in the Davenport. Expectations remain sky-high for the Hornets, who are an immediate favorite for the division crown.

The Hornets have two of their best scorers back from last year in senior Chris Hill (12.5 ppg) and junior Trevor Foley (8.2 ppg), but Mansfield did graduate its leading scorer in Matty Hyland and lost five of its top seven scorers. That means there’s a lot of opportunity for new faces to step up. Hill has probably played more varsity minutes than anyone else in the league and he can compete at a high-level night in and night out. Foley really emerged as a top player by the end of the season, averaging over 16 points per game in March.

Senior Caden Colby was part of the rotation last year and will see a bigger role this year while classmate JT Veiking is a 6-foot-5 forward that can score on the perimeter or down low. Senior Michael Creedon rounds out the senior class and can provide a spark with increased minutes this year. Junior Eddie McCoy is poised for a breakout year, an athletic wing player that can attack the rim and cause problems for opposing defenses. Juniors Brandon Jackman and Davon Sanders should see time in the Mansfield backcourt this year.

“This season will be our tallest team in my tenure, it will be fun to see what different things we can do on the defensive end,” Vaughan said. “Offensively we should have plenty of power to put points on the board but the big question mark will be how quickly we can find our max compete level.”




Milford

2021-2022 Record: 2-21
Coach: Paul Seaver
Milford had an entirely new team last season and was the youngest team in the league. With just four seniors gone from last year, the Hawks are still a young team but head coach Paul Seaver believes his group learned a lot last year and is trending in the right direction.

The Scarlet Hawks have three of the top four scorers from last season back in the fold, including junior Jake Soares (8.0 ppg), sophomore Andrew Rivera (7.8 ppg), and senior Wyatt Zagami (7.1 ppg). Zagami, who can really fill it up when he’s on a hot streak, is joined by classmates Guy Saintyl, Jacob Ligor, and Joe Buckley to round out a small senior class for the Hawks. Soares was probably Milford’s most consistent player for the first two months before an injury ended his season early, and Rivera showed some glimpses of high-level play throughout the year.

Having a year of experience will be key, especially as a lot of other Hock teams are featuring a lot of first-year varsity players. Sophomore Luca Testa is another young player that saw a lot of minutes for the Hawks last year and will be a key piece during this campaign. Sophomore Gus Coutinho is a dangerous shooter and freshman CJ Farrell could be an impact player right away as well.

“Last season we were very young and very inexperienced,” Seaver said. “We learned how to compete while playing a tough schedule. Now with double digits returnees, we not only aim to improve on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball – we aim to improve in all aspects. Our goals and expectations will be what we make them and what we do with the opportunities that are given to us. I have a great crop of kids who are committed, hard-working individuals who continue to climb the ladder and do things the right way.”

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

North Attleboro

2021-2022 Record: 5-15
Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
North Attleboro battled through an up-and-down season last year that featured some impressive wins — like a double-digit victory over Foxboro and a sweep of Stoughton — as well as some tough losses, like to Foxboro in overtime and to rival Attleboro by just three points. The Rocketeers graduated their two leading scorers from a year ago but return the majority of a roster that was playing their first varsity minutes last year.

Besides its four seniors last year, the rest of the Rocketeers were brand new to the varsity level. That means this year’s group will feature a bit more experience, albeit North is still on the young side. Givany Carney is North’s most experienced player and will be one of the go-to options on the offensive end of the court. Carney is a crafty player that does well getting to the rim with a good combination of speed and size. Senior Jack Munley is a tone-setter and can change the momentum of a game with his effort while senior Derek Maceda showed glimpses last season as a potential go-to guy offensively, both on the perimeter and attacking the basket.

Sophomores Ryan Bannon and Chase Frisoli both played some valuable minutes as freshmen and should see increased roles this year. Bannon is a solid defender and can be a contributor on the offensive end while Frisoli is a high-IQ player with range. Junior Chris Hanewich is another player that head coach Sean Mulkerrins is relying on to contribute on both ends of the floor. With some good experience, North will be looking to establish itself as one of the hardest-working teams in the league, which starts on the defensive end.

“We have a roster of kids who are working hard to improve and learn our system,” Mulkerrins said. “Our practices have been very competitive. We are very focused on building and maintaining our team culture so we are prepared to compete against the talented basketball programs in the Hockomock League.”

Oliver Ames

2021-2022 Record: 10-12
Coach: Oliver Vil
Oliver Ames is going to have a new look this year under second-year head coach Oliver Vil. The Tigers lost the majority of the team that won a preliminary playoff game last season and missed out on the Davenport division title by just a game.

Not only will the lineup feature new faces, but it will also feature a lot of new faces as the Tigers have a deep group this year. Senior captains Chris Elias and Ari Spiliakos are two returners that will be leaders for the team both on and off the court. Senior Nick Asiaf is a capable ball handler and can attack the rim while seniors Nick Rhodes and Jaden Graham provide key depth. Sophomore Cole Craffey played some meaningful minutes a year ago and will be one of the Tigers’ go-to options offensively this year. He’s very confident with the ball and can score inside and out.

With seven of their top eight scorers from a season ago gone, there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up. Freshman Solen Lolonga was in the starting lineup for the Tigers’ season-opening win over Southeastern and had a strong showing with 19 points. Vil also has a deep junior class that features Jake Willard, Daniel Casey, Andrew Sullivan, and David Rodgers, who all played in the win.

“Our strength this season on offense will be our ability to move the ball and create shots for one another,” Vil said. “We will have the same defense approach as last season, forcing our opponents into taking difficult shots and limiting transition offensive baskets. We now have minimal room for careless mistakes to compete in an already difficult conference. I am extremely excited to battle a plethora of well-coached disinclined teams every night we step on the floor to play a game this season.”




2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Sharon

2021-2022 Record: 12-9 (Davenport division champions)
Coach: Andrew Ferguson
Sharon won its first Davenport division title in eight seasons last year and with its top three scoring options back in the mix this year, the Eagles will be in contention to repeat that feat again this year.

Senior Matt Baur and juniors Jacob McLoughlin and Nate Katznelson give Sharon one of the top trios of players in the league. Baur, who earned HockomockSports First Team honors last year after averaging 15.1 points and 6 rebounds a game, is the heart and soul of the team. He leads by example both on and off the court and is the engine of the team. He doesn’t have to fill up the scoring column to have a big impact on the game. Both Katznelson and McLoughlin emerged as top players in their first season and will be vital pieces this year.

Senior captains Jack Bates and Tyler Goodman both came off the bench as key pieces for head coach Andrew Ferguson last year and will see increased responsibility this year. Bates is a pesky defender and a good floor general while Goodman can provide a spark with his shooting. Senior Dante James, an athletic wing player, comes over from Mansfield and should give the Eagles a big boost with their depth. Juniors Ryan Brown, Anthony Piron, and Cam Sherman provide backcourt depth while juniors Zach Wise, Jaden Segal, and sophomore Sam Letendre provide physicality to the Eagles’ frontcourt.

“With a small senior class, this team is blending experience with youth and has already begun to form a tight bond both on and off the court. Our practices have been super competitive and we look forward to competing against a very strong schedule.”

Stoughton

2021-2022 Record: 9-11
Coach: Evan Taylor
Last season, Stoughton entered the final stretch of league games right in the mix for the Davenport division title but ended up on the outside looking in finishing in a tie for fourth and just missing out on the postseason. With just a few returners back in the mix, the Knights will be looking for a new group of players to lead them into the tournament and contend for the division crown.

Stoughton has two major challenges to address this year, one on each side of the ball. The Black Knights lost their three top scorers from last year with Connor Andrews (19.9 ppg) and Cash Mathurin (5.9 ppg) graduating, and Rayan Sablon (18.3 ppg) transferring out. Head coach Evan Taylor will lean heavily on his four returning players to try and fill that void. Senior Jayden Costa Haywood played some meaningful minutes a season ago and has taken a big leap and the Knights will look for him to provide an offensive punch. Junior Liam Pearl (5.2 ppg) also worked his way into the rotation and made some key shots in clutch moments, including at Foxboro and at home against Canton. Sophomore Matthew Greenspoon (5.6 ppg) is the top scorer back from last year and will look to build on a strong debut season as a freshman.

The other challenge for Stoughton will be on the defensive end as the Knights look to make a drastic improvement after allowing over 60 points per game last year. On top of the returners, Taylor is looking for senior Tagh Swierzewski and junior Jarred Daughtry to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball. Other newcomers include senior Obioma Dike, juniors Elijah Connor, and Nathan Figaro, sophomore Mykel Thomas, and freshmen Anthony Alessi and Aiden Rideout.

“Defense has been the main focus at the start of this season,” Taylor said. “Our goal is to be a top three defense in the league with a lot of great on-ball defenders and high IQ players on the
floor.”

taunton

2020-2021 Record: 19-3 (Kelley-Rex division champions)
Coach: Charlie Dacey
This season will mark a new chapter in the storied history of Taunton basketball. After back-to-back Kelley-Rex championships, including the program’s first outright title a year ago, the Tigers will have a lot of new faces in the lineup this year.

The biggest challenge will be replacing the production from one of the best trios in the Hock in recent history in Player of the Year Trent Santos, Faisal Mass, and Tristan Herry, who combined for just under 75% of the team’s scoring last year. One of the familiar faces returning to the starting group is junior Troy Santos, who has the most career points of anyone on the roster. Santos showed some flashes last year but will have a lot more looks this year. Seniors Chris Volcy and Alvinsky Morisseau, and junior Tyson Carter are also returners from last year and figure to see increased minutes this season.

Senior Chris Perault could be the biggest addition for the Tigers, a player that can score both from the perimeter and attacking the basket. Santos will factor in as one of the top shooters both on the team and in the league while Volcy has really improved from last year and could be a top scoring option for the Tigers. Longtime head coach Charlie Dacey is looking for Dimari Brown and Travis Johnson to provide a spark on the low block, plus some more faces to step up off of the bench.

“This year’s Taunton team will be very different from last year. This edition will be faster without a singular scorer, points can come from a variety of styles,” Dacey said. “Speed and aggressive defense will be the key to Taunton’s success this year.”

2022-2023 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

King Philip Outlasts North Attleboro To Snap Skid

King Philip boys basketball Grant Kinney
King Philip junior Grant Kinney finishes a layup after being fouled in the first half against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 WRENTHAM, Mass. – Buoyed by a big second quarter, a solid defensive performance, and timely baskets in the fourth quarter, King Philip got back into the win column after a five-game skid.

The Warriors had their best defensive quarter of the game in the second eight-minute frame, and that translated into their best offensive quarter of the game, turning a deficit into a lead that it never relinquished in a 65-51 decision over North Attleboro.

King Philip boys basketball

King Philip forced the visiting Rocketeers into eight turnovers in the second quarter which translated into 10 of their 25 points in the frame. The Warriors also cashed in after North’s misses, as the Rocketeers were unable to get into the full-court press. Instead, KP hit three of their five total trifectas after North misses, and a total of 11 points came after a stop.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We did a very good job of taking away all of the gaps and even if the guys weren’t there in time, they seemed to get a hand in there to dig it out,” said King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano. “I thought we were pretty aggressive defensively not allowing to get into the paint and get many easy looks.”

The big second quarter turned a four-point deficit at the end of the first quarter (14-10) into a 35-23 advantage at halftime.

After KP’s Will Laplante (20 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and North’s Nate Bennett traded threes just before the midway point of the quarter, the Warriors closed on a 12-4 surge. Grant Kinney (16 points, six rebounds) scored off a turnover, Danny Clancy (15 points, 10 rebounds) dished one off to classmate Braeden Sottile for an easy two, and then Clancy converted a putback off a missed free throw following another North turnover.

King Philip boys basketball

Sottile took advantage of another turnover and went in for an easy two, Laplante had a steal and assist to set up Kinney on the break, and then tacked on two free throws after North missed the front end of a one-and-one. North finished just 9-for-20 from the free throw line, missing all seven attempts from the line in the second.

“I thought we played hard throughout, which I don’t take for granted,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “We’ve had this throughout the season, we have spells where we lose focus a little bit. Whether it’s a turnover or a missed shot, and that seems to turn into another play or two, and against a team like that, and with Laplante back, they’re offensively talented enough to really make you pay. We had too many lulls in the second quarter, missed a bunch of free throws. I thought we fought like heck to get back into it during the second half but we just had too many lulls.”

KP pushed its lead to 15 when Kinney converted one of KP’s 11 offensive rebounds for two, Sottile cleaned up another miss, and Clancy drove to the basket for two more to make it 41-26.

A quick 8-2 surge kept North in the game with senior Casey Poirier (15 points, seven rebounds) connecting from the line, a traditional three-point play from junior Givany Carney, and sophomore Derek Maceda (seven points, five rebounds) sank a triple to bring the visitors within single digits at 43-34.

Laplante answered with a deep three and Charlie Grant went in for an uncontested two after a steal near midcourt to give KP a 48-34 advantage going into the fourth.

North made another push early in the fourth after back-to-back buckets from Jack Munley and a three-point play from Brody Rosenberg close the game to 50-43. Laplante and Carney traded baskets, and North got a stop on the first shot but Clancy cashed in on an offensive board to stall the momentum.

After a stop, Laplante got back his man and finished through contact for a three-point play, and then after another North miss, Laplante once again muscled his way to the rim for two plus the harm, and suddenly KP’s lead surged back to 60-45 with three minutes to go.

“I think in the end when we calmed down and relaxed against their pressure, and we stopped forcing shots, when we were able to move the ball and move them around defensively, we were able to get some get some good baskets,” DeStefano said. “We had some good drives and got some good kicks to the corner too.

“Grant Kinney had a great start for us (all 10 of KP’s first quarter points) and then Will finished it for us with 10 points in the fourth. Those two stepped up for us in big moments. And it helped to give up single digits in two of the quarters defensively, I thought we stepped up on the defensive end when we needed to.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After a three-game absence due to injury, Laplante finished with 10 of his 20 points in the final eight minutes.

“Will’s a gamer and I thought he stepped up and looked really good after being out for a while,” DeStefano said. “He did a good job with his shots, and he understands the game so well and understands when you need a big basket, and he knows how to get it for us.”

King Philip boys basketball (2-8 Hock, 4-9 overall) will try to make it two in a row when it entertains first place Taunton on Friday. North Attleboro (2-9, 2-10) returns home for a clash with Sharon on the same night.

Foxboro Outlasts North Attleboro In Overtime Battle

Foxboro boys basketball Alex Penders
Foxboro junior Alex Penders goes up for a layup in the first half against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 FOXBORO, Mass. – There’s never a dull night in the Davenport division.

Even on a Monday, in a rescheduled game inside a gym with capacity limitations, division rivals Foxboro and North Attleboro battled back and forth before the Warriors emerged with a 62-55 overtime win.

It looked like Foxboro was on the verge of the win at the end of regulation, holding a four-point lead with 23.6 seconds to go. But as we’ve seen earlier this season and in years prior, nothing is decided until the final buzzer.

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North Attleboro came flying down the court to cut the deficit in half with 18 seconds to go and then forced a jump ball off the inbounds with 9.9 seconds to go. The Warriors kept possession but a heave down court on the ensuing inbounds was picked off by North senior Gavin Wells.

Wells got the ball to classmate Brody Rosenberg, who got past his defender, split another two Warriors, went up and under the rim, and finished just before the buzzer to send the game to overtime, 51-51.

Foxboro boys basketball

The back-and-forth slugfest that started in the fourth quarter continued to start overtime as junior Alex Penders (16 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) finished down low off a feed from senior Dylan Gordon (16 points, 11 rebounds), but North quickly answered on a drive from senior Casey Poirier, who tied a career-high 22 points along with 10 boards.

Gordon took it to the rim to get the Warriors back ahead while North’s layup bid was just off the mark. Andrew Finn (9 points, 9 rebounds) increased the lead to three with a free throw, and again, the Rocketeers’ two chances from down low rolled off the rim and out. North got a stop but a contested layup bounced out.

Junior guard Sam Golub sank his fourth triple down the other end and Foxboro’s advantage jumped to six, 59-53, with a minute to go in overtime. Golub finished with a career-high 16 points.

“I was very proud of the response to start overtime,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I reminded them of the Stoughton game earlier this year, the same thing happened with the other team scoring at the buzzer. We came out and won that one, so I reminded them of that and we had to move on to the next four minutes. It had to start with our defense and I was really proud of the grit they showed and how they were able to go out and execute. I thought it showed a lot of character and hopefully, it will stay that way the rest of the season.”

Foxboro boys basketball

North Attleboro was unable to answer again as Foxboro connected enough from the free throw line to keep the Rocketeers at bay over the final minute.

“I’m proud of the way our guys didn’t quit through the fourth quarter,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “We just had too many mental errors, whether it was missed bunnies or just being in the wrong spot. And I don’t know if it was fatigue or mental, or a combination of both, but I thought there was a stretch we had some missed assignments. After making them earn a lot, I thought all of a sudden we kind of opened things up for them and give them credit, they made the shots. We just couldn’t make enough shots down the stretch.”

Penders scored six points in the first quarter to help the hosts establish an early 13-9 advantage after one quarter, and then Golub had eight in the second quarter as the Warriors’ lead ballooned to double-digits, 30-19, at halftime.

North responded in a big way in the third, preventing Foxboro from pulling away with one of its best shooting quarters of the season. Poirier hit a three to start the second half and hit another two trips later. Gordon answered with a triple of his own to keep the lead at nine but North Attleboro closed the rest of the quarter on an 11-3 run.

Senior Nate Bennett scored off a nice post move and sophomore Derek Maceda splashed in a triple. A minute later, Wells hit a triple of his own off a pass from Givany Carney (11 points, four rebounds, four assists), and then Wells returned the favor to Carney for a three — North’s five trifecta of the frame — with less than 30 seconds to go to cut what was once a 13-point deficit down to one point going into the fourth.

“We wanted to come out and win the third to get more separation but to North’s credit, they knocked down a bunch of shots in the third to get them back in the game in the hurry, and because they were able to score more that allowed them to get into their full court pressure which just threw us out of rhythm and sped us up,” Gibbs said. “I thought there were times we got good shots out of it that we just didn’t make but North’s shooting changed the momentum of the game.”

There weren’t any runs from either squad in the fourth, only punches and counterpunches.

Poirier scored to give the Rocketeers their first lead since the opening bucket but Finn answered on the other end to get the hosts back ahead right away.

Foxboro boys basketball

Carney broke a lengthy scoreless stretch but North’s lead once again just lasted seconds as Gordon cut to the basket for two off a feed from Penders. The visitors tied it on a free from Poirier and North once again took the lead on a layup from Carney.

After a defensive stop, Gordon muscled his way to the rim for two more to make it 45-45 with 1:41 to play. Ryan LeClair (five points, four rebounds, four assists) found Finn on a baseline cut for two and Penders stole an inbounds pass and sank two from the line to put Foxboro back in front.

“I think it’s experience, these guys have played a lot of games together now going back to last season,” Gibbs said. “The quality of this league and how tough the teams are. Even though we’ve had some tough losses, playing against quality teams has helped us get better, learn and prepare for these situations.”

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After a free throw from Gordon, Foxboro led 50-45 with 33 seconds to play but the visitors were able to rally for a 6-1 burst in the final moments, starting with a layup from Poirier.

“The last two weeks or so, Casey is playing at the level he expects himself to be at,” Mulkerrins said. “And [Carney] has emerged that’s been aggressive for us. But at the end of the day, we need more points. It’s hard to win in this league no matter what but when you’re barely breaking 50 points you have to be pretty near perfect on defense, and at times we’ve been pretty close.”

Foxboro boys basketball (2-5 Hockomock, 3-5 overall) will try to make it two in a row when it hosts Milford for its second game of a four-game homestand on Tuesday. North Attleboro (2-6, 2-7) returns home to host Taunton on the same night.

Rocketeers Ride Rosenberg, Defense To Win Over Milford

North Attleboro boys basketball Brody Rosenberg
North Attleboro senior Brody Rosenberg (career-high 30 points) goes up for layup in the second quarter at Milford. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 MILFORD, Mass. – The North Attleboro boys basketball team built its lead over Milford through its full-court pressure defense, so it’s only fitting the game came down to one final stop for the Rocketeers.

North got it, and then another, surviving a pair of highly contested three-point attempts from the host Hawks to break into the win column for the first time this year with a 53-50 decision on Tuesday night.

Senior Brody Rosenberg scored a career-high 30 points, including a key three-pointer midway through the fourth, and anchored North’s full-court pressure, grabbing six steals along with six boards.

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“I think our group has been pretty good defensively all year, we’ve held four of the six teams we’ve played under their average entering tonight but we just haven’t really found our footing on offense,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “But I was proud of our guys making enough plays tonight. Milford, hats off to them, they didn’t quit and if there are another two minutes in this game, I’m not sure who the winner is.

The Scarlet Hawks capitalized on a turnover from the visitors inside the final minute, getting a three-pointer from Wyatt Zagami (eight points) in the corner after breaking North’s press to make it a one-point game, 51-50, with 18 seconds to play.

North Attleboro boys basketball

North Attleboro junior Givany Carney (nine points, seven rebounds) was fouled before the ensuing inbounds pass and hit both of his free throws to push the advantage back to three. Milford got the ball up the court but a contested corner three was off the front rim, and despite a tip out from Justin Lucini (23 points, 10 rebounds), the Rocketeers surrounded the shooter and the last-second heave was off the mark.

North Attleboro surged ahead in the second quarter and led for the entire second half. The Rocketeers led by as much as eight points in the third quarter, but the offense stalled against Milford’s 2-3 zone. After being shut out over the final four minutes of the fourth, North managed just six points over the first four minutes of the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Hawks continued to chip away. A drive from freshman Jack Buckley and free throws from Lucini and freshman Luca Testa cut it to 38-35 at the end of the third quarter.

North extended its lead back to seven early in the fourth behind a steal and score from Rosenberg, and then a layup from Carney after a good defensive play from senior Casey Poirier, making it 42-35.

Milford made a game of it with a quick 8-2 surge, getting five points from Lucini, who made his sixth three of the game, and then three straight from freshman Andrew Rivera (eight points, three rebounds, three assists) made it 44-43 as the clock ticked under four minutes to play.

“I thought every single time in the late third and early fourth that we could have separated ourselves, we hurt ourselves. Either a turnover there, missed one, or we fouled. And we were in the bonus before I blinked. At that point, I think guys started looking at the scoreboard and got away from being the more aggressive team. We’re still learning how to win, we have a lot of young guys, a lot of new juniors so hopefully this helps us down the road.

Rosenberg came back down the other end and came up short on a layup attempt but Carney secured one of North’s 17 offensive rebounds. After kicking it around the perimeter, Rosenberg faked a shot to get the defender in the air, took a step into space, and sank a three — his first triple since the second quarter, and just North’s fourth three in the game.

The Rocketeers got a stop on the defensive end and Rosenberg sliced to the basket for two more and North had some breathing room at 49-44 with 2:33 to go.

A quick foul led to a free throw from Paul Roberts, and a steal on the defensive end resulted in two more from the line from Roberts, and the Hawks got the ball back down just two. But North’s pressure paid off again as Jack Munley came up with a loose ball and Rosenberg drained two from the line to extend the lead to 51-47.

“I’m really proud of him,” Mulkerrins said of Rosenberg, who accounted for over half of the team’s points. “He hasn’t filled it up like he expects to and I think he’s feeling the weight of the record, the youth and inexperience and at times, maybe pressing like all four of our seniors have. Everyone in that locker room has a lot of confidence in him and when he shoots the ball, we assume it’s going in. There’s no one else we want taking the big three in that moment so I’m proud of him for staying the course and hitting the big one.

After a back-and-forth start, Milford separated itself on Lucini’s sharpshooting. The senior hit his first two attempts from deep and Zagami added one of his own to help the Hawks overcome eight turnovers to grab a 16-9 lead.

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But North’s full-court pressure continued to limit the Hawks’ offensive chances as the Rocketeers forced 10 turnovers in the second quarter. North Attleboro turned that into 15 of its 23 points in the middle frame, including a four-point play from Rosenberg and a putback from Nate Bennett. North ran a nice inside-out play with Munley finding Poirier for an open three, leading to a 31-29 halftime edge.

“Even if it wasn’t getting a turnover, I thought it was keeping our guys mentally engaged,” Mulkerrins said. “We saw in our scout that we could possibly turn them over a little bit, and even when we weren’t getting that turnover, I felt like we were speeding them up. We just thought at halftime if we were able to keep it up and then get to [Lucini] a bit better in transition, I thought it was the appropriate defensive decision.”

North Attleboro boys basketball (1-5 Hockomock, 1-6 overall) is on the road again on Friday when it visits Stoughton. Milford (0-7, 0-8) has two games to end the week, hosting Brockton on Thursday and then visiting Franklin on Friday night.

Depth On Display In Mansfield’s Big Win Over North

Mansfield boys basketball Trevor Foley
Mansfield sophomore Trevor Foley takes a shot over a pair of North Attleboro players in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming into the season, Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan was quietly optimistic about the depth of his team this year.

Down three starters and one more rotation player in just the fourth game of the season, Mansfield’s depth was put to the test.

Following a dominant third quarter and the team’s fourth straight 30-point plus win, it’s safe to say the Hornets passed with flying colors.

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Locked in a tight, two-possession game at halftime, the Hornets nearly equaled their first half output (28) in the next eight minutes, outscoring the hosts 26-6, to run away with a 72-42 victory over North Attleboro.

“I think it goes to show the depth that we have and the guys that are able to come in and play,” Vaughan said. “There are guys on our team that came off our bench that would be starters on other teams. A lot of it is kids just believing in themselves.

“We thought coming in that this might be really good for our team, regardless of the results, the next two games, to try and figure out can these guys contribute in a different way than just a quality role player. Can they come in and do this for us maybe in February or March?”

The two starters still in the lineup for the Hornets also delivered with senior Matt Hyland (eight rebounds, six assists, three steals) scoring 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, and classmate Jack Lasbury-Casey sank four three-pointers in the decisive third quarter on his way to 14 points and eight rebounds.

Without leading scorer Chris Hill (15.3 points per game), senior Anthony Sachetti (7.3 ppg), and point guard Andrew Slaney (4.7 ppg), the Hornets needed a boost from players who have come off the bench so far this year.

Junior Dante James added a scoring punch with 14 points and helped the Hornets’ ball movement with seven assists, 6’6 junior JT Veiking gave the Hornets a big presence down low defensively and stepped out to hit a couple of threes, finishing with 12 points and four boards, and sophomore Trevor Foley sparked the visitors early with nine first quarter points, finishing with nine boards, a block, and a steal as well.

Mansfield boys basketball

Locked in a close battle over the first six minutes, Mansfield finished the opening frame with a 10-2 run to build a 16-6 lead. North had a bright start to the second quarter with a nice drive by Givany Carney and back-to-back buckets from Brody Rosenberg (13 points) to stay in it.

In fact, the Rocketeers used a 7-2 spurt in the middle of the quarter — four points from Gavin Wells (10 points) and a three from Casey Poirier — the stake a 22-20 lead with two minutes to go until halftime. Similar to the first quarter, Mansfield finished strong in the form of an 8-0 run (a three-point play by James and then five straight from Veiking — to claim a 28-22 lead by halftime.

But as the Hornets have done to so many teams before, they turned the game on its head with a big run, a run that turned into a dominant eight-minute frame.

James got two from the line to start and then Lasbury-Casey hit back-to-back threes — the first off an offensive rebound and the second off a turnover from the Big Red. North came up empty on one end and James converted at the rim for Mansfield. Another turnover from the hosts turned into another three from Lasbury-Casey and just like that it was 41-24 at the midway point on the third.

“We had some lapses in our transition defense but give all the credit to [Mansfield], they run their lanes so hard and so good at looking up,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Add in a couple of lapses defensively and some threes by [Lasbury-Casey]. Hats off to them, we held on for a bit but not enough. It didn’t look good on the scoreboard but I was really proud of the way we played hard and battled.”

Derek Maceda snapped the scoring drought for the Rocketeers but Mansfield answered on a putback from Hyland, who was fouled and added the free throw. Hyland added two more, Mansfield got a stop, and James added the Hornets’ fourth three of the frame. Lasbury-Casey hit another triple in the final seconds to cap an incredible quarter as Mansfield turned an eight-point lead into a 54-28 advantage going into the final quarter.

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“They are disciplined in whatever it is they do,” Mulkerrins said of defending the Hornets for four quarters. “At the end of the day, especially high school athletes, the group that is more disciplined in what they do is more often than not going to find success. You have to defend an away screen and then a second cut, and then do it again, and then do it again. Doesn’t matter if they run a flex or some ball screen offense, knowing how well coach Vaughan prepares those kids, they’re going to run it again and again.”

Mansfield boys basketball

Hyland put the game away with nine points in the final quarter and Veiking had five more.

Mansfield boys basketball

Mansfield boys basketball (3-0 Hockomock, 4-0 overall) is on the road again for its annual New Year’s Eve day clash at Bridgewater-Raynham at 4:00. North Attleboro (0-3, 0-4) is off until the new year when it travels to Foxboro on January 7th.

Rocketeers Ride Experience Past Young Warriors

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd
North Attleboro senior George Ladd takes a shot over Foxboro sophomore Alex Penders in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 FOXBORO, Mass. – The final eight minutes of Wednesday afternoon’s contest gave us a glimpse into the future as a young Foxboro squad scratched and clawed its way back into the game, showing what the Warriors are capable of.

But the first 24 minutes belonged to North Attleboro, a veteran group that built a big cushion through the first three quarters and showed its experience by making enough plays down the stretch to fend off Foxboro’s ferocious comeback attempt, earning a 61-53 win.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

The Rocketeers’ offense exploded for 21 points in the first quarter and added 19 more in the second, carrying a 17-point lead into the final quarter. The Warriors made things interesting, cutting the deficit to single digits with three minutes to play but North Attleboro did enough to close out the win.

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“Basketball is a game of swings, I always say it,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “They are a younger team, we have an older group and I didn’t want us to have a hangover from the 23-point final to lead into this start so I want at them pretty hard yesterday and prior to the start of the game to stress how important a good start was. Jon [Gibbs] obviously does a great job and they came back with a counter punch and thankfully we had just enough of a cushion.”

North Attleboro followed a similar blueprint from its win over the Warriors (58-35) on Monday evening as Mulkerrins stressed the importance of a strong start, fully aware of what Foxboro can do (as seen in the fourth quarter).

The Rocketeers heeded the advice of their coach and came out flying in the first eight minutes. North score on six of its first eight possessions to build a 13-4 lead over the first four minutes of action. After missing on the first possession, Casey Poirier (nine points, five rebounds) took a feed from Edan Kelley (nine points) to break the ice and get the run started.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

“North is an excellent team, they are a veteran team and they execute extremely well on offense,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “They get the ball to the right guys in the right places and put you in difficult positions. And defensively they are so well prepared and they do a great job taking away what you want to do, which is a credit to their coaches and players. Playing against a good team like that, it certainly gives us a good measuring stick moving forward.”










Brody Rosenberg (nine points, five assists, four rebounds) sniffed out a pass and laid it in for two and Poirier scored after Jared Vacher forced a Foxboro turnover. The Big Red missed on its first shot of the next possession but junior Gavin Wells (career-high 13 points) crashed hard and tipped it back in. North’s defense got its sixth stop of the game and Rosenberg cut to the basket, taking a feed from Kelley for two and a 10-2 lead, forcing the home side into a timeout.

Foxboro got one stop but couldn’t turn it into points and North came back down and senior George Ladd (21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) came down with a traditional three-point play. JuniorDylan Gordon (16 points) hit two from the line but Kelley answered with a three to make it 16-6, a double-digit lead the visitors would carry for the majority of the game.

“We knew that Foxboro would be ready and it wouldn’t be a continuation of what the scoreboard was from the first game,” Mulkerrins said of the strong start. “I was real happy with the way our guys were locked in. There were a couple of things, counters to the counters so to speak, that I thought we were ready for. Defensively we were locked in too.”

Ladd added two more and Rosenberg drained a three off a feed from Poirier and the visitors staked a 21-8 claim through one quarter.

Foxboro made things interesting in the opening moments of the second with back-to-back threes from sophomore Sam Golub (12 points, four rebounds) to get within two possessions but North responded with a pair of runs to regain a comfortable lead. Wells, Kelley, and Poirier all hit from two-point range and then Jason Rodriguez linked up with Ladd for two more. Ladd used a strong post move for two to cap a 10-4 surge that put the Rocketeers ahead 31-20.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

Gordon finished at the rim to get Foxboro back into the scoring column but North used another run, this time a 9-2 spurt to close out the first half. Wells drained a corner three off a feed from Ladd and then Rosenberg rewarded Ladd for his movement down low. Kelley scored off a turnover and then fed Wells for two in the final minute to put North ahead 40-22 at the half.

At halftime, North Attleboro had 12 assists on its 18 makes from the field.

“Our guys have done a great job committing to sharing the ball with each other,” Mulkerrins said. “It starts with George because if your best player offensively isn’t willing to share the ball then it creates some issues. We know he’s going to get doubled, going to get tripled and he’s willing to share it and I think there’s a domino effect.”




Foxboro’s defense started to slow the Rocketeers’ offense in the third quarter, limiting the visitors to just 10 points on four makes from the floor while forcing three turnovers. Foxboro’s offense was steady. Four players scored for the Warriors with Gordon getting four, Golub and sophomore Alex Penders (16 points, 15 rebounds three blocks) had a bucket each, and Sean O’Leary drained a three but the deficit was 50-33 going into the final quarter.

The Warriors made things interesting with a quick 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter, Golub making an early three, and Gordon scoring four straight in just 1:30 of action. Six straight from Ladd, including a traditional three-point play, kept the visitors ahead, pushing the lead back to 56-42, but Foxboro continued to claw its way back.

“Penders is a heck of a player, he’s a bull,” Mulkerrins said. “We tried to go to George early and often to try and see what counter [Foxboro] would make defensively. They did a good job on him but I thought later in the contest, a couple of penetrations he made from the right-wing area, I thought he showed his senior stripes a bit there and made some big buckets for us.”

Penders had back-to-back strong takes down low and Gordon sliced through the defense for two more and the lead was down to just six, 56-48, with three minutes to go. Foxboro fouled to try and extend the game and North obliged with some missed free throws but the Rocketeers’ defense clamped down and didn’t let Foxboro get any closer.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wells added four free throws down the stretch to help ice the game.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of their effort,” Gibbs said. “North made some timely shots throughout the game and we missed some shots that we probably hope to make. We had a couple of stretches where we got sloppy with the ball and had some turnovers and that allowed North to build a little bit of a lead.

“But at the end of the day, our effort and energy was phenomenal and it could have been easy for a team that’s 2-8 to quit when you’re doing 17 points going into the fourth quarter but we fought and scrapped and battled and made it a game and a had chance to steal it. I think that speaks a lot to the character of those kids and I’m really proud of that.”

North Attleboro boys basketball (7-2 Davenport, 7-2 overall) kept its hopes for a share of the division title alive with a win at the time but Oliver Ames won it outright with a victory over Stoughton later in the day. The Rocketeers travel to Sharon on Friday to close out their division schedule. Foxboro finishes its season at 2-8 in the division and 2-9 overall.

North Attleboro boys basketball George Ladd

North Attleboro Edges Canton In Overtime Thriller

North Attleboro boys basketball Julius Hicks Edan Kelley
Canton’s Julius Hicks goes up for a shot with North Attleboro’s Edan Kelley defending. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was a tale of two halves between the Canton and North Attleboro boys basketball teams.

But the overtime period? That was completely up for grabs.

In the end, the pendulum swung in favor of the Rocketeers just once more than it did for the visiting Bulldogs as North Attleboro claimed a 52-50 win over Canton inside Kenneth Pickering Gymnasium.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The decision was split after 32 minutes of action, North Attleboro claiming a double-digit first half advantage only for Canton to completely flip the script in the second half, stifling the Rocketeers’ offense and turning stops into points, and a deficit into a lead.

“We felt good about getting to overtime because we were on our last life for what felt like forever,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “To get to overtime, we stole the momentum and their bench quieted down a bit. It was big to get points on the first possession. For us, it was just continuing what got us back into it against their zone and we had to keep playing good defense. It was a great Hockomock basketball game, felt like a playoff game almost. We made just enough plays.”

North Attleboro boys basketball

North Attleboro’s lead at halftime, 26-10, took a major hit when Canton came out swinging in the form of a 10-2 run in just over two minutes of action, putting the hosts on their heels. By the end of the third eight-minute segment, North Attleboro’s lead shrunk down to just five, 31-26, the Rocketeers getting a much-needed three from senior Tommy Onorato in the final minute.

It turned out to be a sign of things to come for Onorato, who finished with a career-high 12 points, and the Rocketeers. Canton’s comeback continued into the fourth though as a pair of free throws from Steven Burbank (12 points, six rebounds) preceded a three from Will Keefe (12 points) that gave Canton its first lead since the opening moments of the game.

Eric Mischler (11 points, eight rebounds) sliced his way to the rim for two, the Bulldogs earned back-to-back stops and Keefe tossed another triple in and Canton, on the back of a 12-1 run, suddenly had a 40-34 lead with 1:34 to play.










“It’s kind of been like that in the Davenport this year, seems like one team brings it for a half and another brings it the other half,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “It was kind of the opposite when we played them at home, we had a good first three quarters and they came back in the fourth. We talked at halftime about how we could get back into this game. Instead of quitting, the kids made a commitment and the effort to really start rebounding and playing defense, which got us back into the game.”

North Attleboro had an answer to stem the tide. With the defense collapsing on him in the paint, senior George Ladd (16 points, 15 rebounds) dished it out to Brody Rosenberg (seven points), who hit his first field goal of the game with a triple to halve the deficit.

Ryan Connerney (13 points, five assists) pushed the lead back to five when he sank a pair of free throws but North Attleboro had another answer from downtown. This time, Casey Poirier (four points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals) dished it to Onorato for a three with 41.1 left to make it 42-40.

Canton added to its lead with a free throw but once again the Rocketeers, who had just five makes from three-point range through the first three quarters, hit their third three of crunch time. Poirier was short on his attempt from the corner but followed his shot, got the rebound, and dished it to senior Edan Kelley for a three – his first make of the game – from the top of the key to tie the game with 12 seconds to go.

“Tommy Onorato, I’m really proud of him, the second half of the season he’s really stepped into a nice role for us and understood what it took to be on the court,” Mulkerrins said. “Edan, a senior co-captain, missed some time this year and still isn’t completely back but hit a big shot. He’s got that big moment in him.”

The Bulldogs’ attempt at a game-winner was off the mark, only getting a chance to chuck a shot off an inbounds play with 0.6 seconds to go.

In overtime, the momentum swings continued back and forth as North opened the scoring when Ladd converted an offensive rebound but Canton went back ahead on their third look of the possession on a Mischler three, with Dillon Nguyen’s offensive rebound the catalyst of the play.

North Attleboro boys basketball

But just seconds after Mischler gave the visitors a slight lead, Rosenberg hit his second three of the night to put the hosts ahead. The teams traded stops as the game ticked under a minute to go, North Attleboro getting its biggest stop forcing a turnover. With the shot clock shrinking, Onorato stepped up and drained another three, this one with 14 seconds to go in overtime, to give North a 51-46 lead.

Canton fought to the very end, getting two free throws from Burbank to make it a one-possession game. A trap on the inbounds led to a jump ball and Canton getting possession back. Another foul led to two free throws from Connerney, making it a one-point game, 51-50, with 7.8 seconds to go.

The Bulldogs trapped once again and got another jump ball called, but the ball stayed with the Rocketeers. Rosenberg added a free throw to make it 52-50, and North Attleboro held on as Canton’s half-court heave was just off the mark.

North Attleboro had full control of the opening half, hitting 7-of-10 field goals from two-point range to go along with four three-pointers. And on the defensive end, the Rocketeers were doing just enough to keep the streaky Bulldogs from getting going.

Tied early, North closed the final three minutes of the first with an 8-0 burst. Onorato hit his first three of the game, Poirier added a triple, and Ladd attacked the rim for two and a 14-6 lead after one.




Big Red’s run continued into the second with Jared Vacher tossing in a three, Ladd getting back-to-back baskets and Nate Bennett scoring from in close for a 17-0 run in total. Jimmy Caraballo added a three as well as North staked a 26-10 halftime lead.

“Basketball is a game of runs and there’s some psychology behind it,” Mulkerrins said. “I thought the scoreboard was deceptive at half. I thought we played good but not as good as the other night and I felt Canton missed a lot of shots that they can make. I told them at half, if they make a couple in the second half they are going to relax, and then their defense will get better, and sure enough they hit some shots right away. Then the basket on our end starts looking smaller.

“Coach Gordy did a great job adjusting, made some changes. You never know exactly what you’re going to get with him, you’ll get the kitchen sink of tricks and if you aren’t mentally ready, which we learned on Monday night, you’re going to be on the wrong side of games against them. So hats off to them, they had a great season with a lot of great seniors, we have nothing but respect for that program.”

After North found success against Canton’s 1-3-1 defense in the first half, the Bulldogs elected to shake things up defensively, going with a 2-3 zone — a defense they hadn’t utilized all season.

Despite their inexperience in the set, the defense was very effective as North’s offense came to a screeching halt, managing just five points in the third. Meanwhile, those stops turned into buckets for the Bulldogs. Connerney scored on Canton’s first possession, Keefe got going with a triple, and Mischler added one from downtown as well. Burbank got a layup to fall and Canton’s 10-2 run to open the second half turned the game around.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We haven’t practiced the 2-3 zone this season,” Gordy said. “Ladd’s a nightmare for us to match up with, Rosenberg, Poirier, and Kelley are all really good players. I didn’t think we could guard them man-to-man for an extended period of time. We had a lot of success with the 1-3-1 on Monday, they figured out some things tonight. They were getting to us on the glass so we went to the 2-3 to try and clean some things up on the rebounding which I thought helped big time in the game.

“It all flows, once you’re getting stops you can push in transition. Will Keefe got hot a little bit in the second half and a lot of those came from us getting stops, getting out, and not letting them set up in the half court.”

North Attleboro (5-2 Davenport, 5-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Foxboro. Canton wraps up its season at 4-6 in the Davenport and 4-9 overall.

North Attleboro boys basketball

North Attleboro Holds On For Close Win Over OA

North Attleboro boys basketball Jason Rodriguez
North Attleboro’s Jason Rodriguez sores through the air on a layup attempt in the second half against OA. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The defensive game plan for the North Attleboro boys basketball team was clear and concise: try and stop Amari Brown.

Short of the kitchen sink, the Rocketeers threw everything — and nearly everyone — at trying to stop the senior guard. The plan worked enough for the hosts, who made just enough plays down the stretch on the offensive end to earn a 48-43 win over Oliver Ames, handing the Tigers their first loss of the season.

“Amari is one of the best players in the league, he’s tremendously dangerous in transition, even on made baskets and he’s able to score before your defense is set,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “And then even in the half court he’s so quick, he can make the three, and the element of his game that gets overlooked is he’s so strong, even at whatever he’s at height-wise, he’s able to get guys in the box and score. Our game plan was pretty straight forward, we wanted to build a wall and really pack it in around him. And we had to get back on transition defense and rebound because OA does a great job crashing.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Brown, one of the top players in the Hockomock League and one of the leading scorers this season, accounted for over half of the Tigers’ points (24) in the first meeting between Oliver Ames and North Attleboro, a win for the former back at the start of January.

North Attleboro boys basketball

In order to prevent an encore performance, North Attleboro sprinted back on defense to prevent transition opportunities, brought double teams to contest three-point looks, and built a “Big Red” wall with up to three or four players in the way on the defensive end to try and prevent one of the most dynamic guards in the league for getting to the rim.

Oliver Ames’ defense was up to the task as well, holding the hosts to just seven points in the second quarter and 17 total first half points. Both teams started to pick it up offensively in the third and North’s offense had just enough of a run in the final quarter to create enough separation to hold on.

“I thought out guys were focused defensively and that was the difference,” Mulkerrins said, holding the visitors to just three made three-pointers and forcing the Tigers into 15 turnovers. “We definitely weren’t in cruise control on offense but I felt like our defense was so solid that our offense would figure it out and we have a lot of high IQ guys that will make plays for us. And we made just enough of them to get the win.”

North Attleboro nearly matched its first half offensive output in the third quarter, turning a one-point deficit through 16 minutes of action into a three-point edge going into the final frame.

North Attleboro boys basketball










Gavin Wells, one of eight Rocketeers to hit a field goal, opened the quarter with a corner three, and senior Jason Rodriguez drove hard to the rim for a layup and then got out in transition, resulting in two free throws and a 38-32 lead two minutes into the fourth.

Brown (eight points) hit a free throw to cut the deficit to five but North Attleboro senior George Ladd (19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) came back with back-to-back field goals to give the hosts their largest lead, 42-33, and forced an OA timeout with 4:41 to play.

Different faces stepped up for OA as the Tigers grinded their way back into the game. Jake Grimaldi came off the bench for two in the post, Brown hit another free throw, and Drew Nickla added two more from the line to make it 42-38 with three minutes left.

Wells hustled to earn the Rocketeers a second chance on the offensive board before the teams traded turnovers, the latter a steal from Brody Rosenberg that resulted in a layup from Casey Poirier.

With under a minute to play, Drew Baxter (13 points) earned a trip to the line and sank both chances and Oliver Ames’ full court resulted in a traveling call to get the ball back. Will Whiteside got an open look from straight away and drained it and what was once a nine-point lead shrunk to just one, 44-43, with 40.4 seconds to play.

“That’s not a lot of difference between that game and what we’ve been doing all year,” said OA head coach Don Byron. “We’ve managed to be on the right side of the games before this but they’ve all been around this. It wasn’t that much out of character. I think sometimes the thought of a big game, doesn’t necessarily get you nervous but you get caught standing around waiting for something to happen. I think we did a lot of that early on. Defensively we were still pretty good, put ourselves in a position to win.”




The Tigers were whistled for an off ball foul in the post and Ladd sank both attempts of his one-and-one from the line with 27.5 to go. OA launched two threes to try and tie the game but couldn’t convert and Ladd came down with the second miss, went to the line again, and iced the game with two more free throws.

“I never felt like the game got away from us, OA’s defense is so solid, they are bumping cutters, and so much of our offense is dictated by moving the ball, moving people, moving defenders, and they were doing such a good job grabbing and holding, matching wanting what we wanted to do,” Mulkerrins said. “We never got really going offensively but I had faith we could make plays down the stretch.”

North got off to a strong start with Edan Kelley hitting his first shot in his first game back and Ladd going for six straight and an 8-0 lead. OA responded with strong defense, forcing Rocketeer turnovers into layups for Whiteside and Brown while Trey Buggs added a three to get within three, 10-7, after a quarter.

The Tigers’ strong defense continued into the second quarter, limiting the hosts to seven points on 3-for-11 shooting from the field with four turnovers. That gave the visitors enough of a chance to claw their way through North’s tough defense. Baxter hit an early three and then drove to the basket for two, Jaden Krowski cut to the basket to beat the shot clock, and Nickla scored the final four points of the quarter as OA staked an 18-17 halftime lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

North Attleboro hit on six of its nine field goal attempts in the third quarter to jump back ahead. Jared Vacher sandwiched a pair of buckets around a putback from Ladd, Tommy Onorato drained a three-pointer when Ladd was triple-teamed in the post, and then Ladd himself stepped out of his comfort zone and sank a rare corner three.

“Eight guys got into the scoring column for us, which was great to see,” Mulkerrins said. “We know what George is going to bring and that he’s going to get a lot of attention. We just keep preaching movement off the ball and cutting to the rim. I have a lot of faith in everyone on this team.”

Oliver Ames (6-1, 6-1) travels to rival Sharon on the same day.

North Attleboro boys basketball

Rocketeers Run Away With Win Over Black Knights

North Attleboro boys basketball
North Attleboro senior George Ladd goes up for a shot in the first half against Stoughton. Ladd finished with 21 points. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The North Attleboro boys basketball team was on the verge of running away with a win during the third period, but visiting Stoughton made enough plays to stay in striking distance.

When given a second chance to put the game to bed, the Rocketeers didn’t take their foot off the pedal and ran away with a 61-36 decision over the Black Knights.

North extended its lead to 15 points with three minutes left in the third but the Black Knights chipped away, led by some hustle plays from junior Connor Andrews. Andrews took a charge and hauled in a pair of defensive rebounds on one end, and scored five straight on the other end to keep the visitors’ hopes alive, down 36-26.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But the Rocketeers’ offense couldn’t be contained in the fourth quarter. Senior George Ladd (eight rebounds) scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the final frame, taking advantage of Stoughton turnovers and second-chance points. North ended up with 25 points in the quarter, pulling away for the win.

“In the third quarter we kind of relaxed a little and took our foot off the gas,” admitted North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins, who is in his eighth year at the helm. “In the fourth, I thought our defensive focus was better, our rebounding focus was better, and our attention to protecting the ball was better and I think that was the difference. We thought we had a better man-to-man defense scheme than we executed the first game so we worked a lot on that in practice.”

Junior Casey Poirier set the tone in the first minute, taking a charge as the Rocketeers’ defense forced back-to-back turnovers to start the quarter. On the other end, senior Edan Kelley (seven points, five assists) found Ladd cutting backdoor on an inbounds play, a lob finished plus the foul for a three-point play and the Rocketeers were off and running.

Kelley found Jared Vacher for two and Ladd hit two free throws after a Stoughton turnover. Kelley and Ladd hooked up once again with the latter using a nice scoop finish. Poirier’s hard drive drew the defense’s attention and Ladd was there to finish again. Vacher missed the front end of a one-and-one but grabbed his own miss and snuck a layup in.

Three of Stoughton’s next four possessions resulted in turnovers, the last two turning into back-to-back buckets for Ladd and Brody Rosenberg (11 points, seven rebounds), as North opened the quarter with a 17-7 run and took a 53-33 lead with just over three minutes to go.

North Attleboro boys basketball

“We’re not really a team that gets up and forces a lot of turnovers, we’re trying to play solid defense without giving up easy ones,” Mulkerrins said. “With everything going on this season, lack of practice, roster moves, I think that’s naturally going to lead to turnovers so if you can just be solid defensively, more often than not you’ll be in a good spot.”










Besides the first basket of the game from Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi (eight points, 11 rebounds), the Rocketeers never trailed. The response was a 14-2 run in the opening quarter. Rosenberg sliced through the defense, Ladd cleaned up a miss, Kelley confidently sank a triple, Poirier hit one from the line and Ladd scored again. Kelley scored back-to-back baskets and North stretched its lead to double digits in the opening quarter.

“When a couple of things go wrong, and it feels like we’re down a hundred then we try to make up all the points on one play instead of slowly chipping away at it,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Evan Taylor. “I think it starts with a better start at the beginning of the game.”

“I think the biggest concern is on the offensive end. We’ve been playing pretty well defensively, holding teams to reasonable scores besides tonight. But we’re just not scoring enough, we’re not being aggressive enough. I don’t think we’re being unselfish enough. We have too many guys looking for their own shot and it shows on the scoreboard. Our offense as a whole needs to play more together.”

The second was a bit better for the Black Knights, who outscored the hosts 10-9 in the frame. Both Andrews and Jake Queeney connected from three-point range to keep Stoughton close but North got some key contributions from its bench, as it did throughout the entire game.

After Queeney’s triple cut the deficit to four, Nate Bennett’s hustle led to a putback off his own miss. And Rosenberg hit a key triple late in the quarter, getting an open look after a nice off-ball screen from Jason Rodriguez.

The contributions from the bench continued into the third as Tommy Onorato knocked down a triple on one end and Rodriguez stepped in to take a charge on Stoughton’s ensuing possession.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I have all the faith in the world in every single one of these kids,” said Mulkerrins, who played his entire available roster, most in meaningful minutes. “They are here every day, working hard in practice…we’re trying to pride ourselves this year on having really competitive practices and giving guys a chance. We talk about when guys come off the bench, the energy level has to go up. We had guys do that tonight, Jason Rodriguez stepped up and his focus was there, we got the ball in his hand on offense. I was really proud of the group tonight, they really made the best of their minutes.”

Stoughton got a stop early in the third but the defensive rebound was quickly turned over and Rosenberg dished it off to Ladd for two. Two more from Rosenberg and Onorato’s three pushed North’s lead to 32-17.

North Attleboro (2-1) returns to action on Tuesday when it travels to take on Canton (3-1). Stoughton (0-4) will look for its first win when it hosts Foxboro on the same day.

North Attleboro boys basketball