Attleboro Rides Big Second Half Past North Attleboro

Attleboro boys basketball
Attleboro’s Bryant Ciccio attempts a layup against North Attleboro in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Six of the last seven contests between rivals Attleboro and North Attleboro have been decided by 10 points or less, and the Rocketeers have walked away victorious in all of them.

Attleboro was ready to buck the trend.

After being limited to 18 points in the first half, the Bombardiers made the necessary adjustments to get the offense in gear and picked up a 60-38 win over Big Red. It marked Big Blue’s first victory over their neighbor since January 2014.

“Anytime it’s Attleboro against North Attleboro, we want to play our best,” said longtime AHS coach Mark Houle. “We had an opportunity to go out and cement a victory against a good team. I think our kids did a nice job executing in the second half and I was really proud of them.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Bombardiers relied upon improved rebounding (a 22-11 advantage in the second half), transition offense, and improved three-point shooting (six triples in the second compared to one in the first half) to turn a two-point deficit at halftime into an eight-point lead entering the fourth and a 22-point win.

And the biggest reason for a lot of that was Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles (17 points). The 6’5” sophomore hauled in 10 of his 14 rebounds in the second half, which help set up the transition game. And on offense, Charles demanded the attention of North’s defense, which helped open things up on the perimeter.

“I think Mark [Houle] did a great job at half, they adjusted to our fronting and double teaming of Charles,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “To his kids’ credit, [Kevin] Velazquez and a couple other guys hit some open threes in the weak side corner. It was a little frustrating because we know its the read and we know its the counter to our counter, so maybe we just need to recognize it a step sooner on the skip pass.

“Hats off to Attleboro, they out-executed us in the second half. I feel for our two seniors, tough to go out this way. But Attleboro is a well-coached team and they have a lot of kids that can put the ball in the hoop.”

A triple from sophomore Bryant Ciccio (nine points, four rebounds) helped tie the game, 23-23, with under five minutes left in the third quarter. From there, the Bombardiers rattled off a 12-2 run to seize control of the game.

Nate Douglas (10 points, eight rebounds) went baseline for two, Ciccio hit a pair of free throws, Charles converted a putback and Mason Houle and Tim Callahan each hit a three-pointer to stretch Attleboro’s lead to two.

A putback at the buzzer from North’s Matt Seavey (eight points, three rebounds) cut the deficit to single digits heading into the fourth quarter, 35-27.

That’s when things clicked for Attleboro.

Charles scored down low on a feed from Ciccio, and then Attleboro took advantage of North bringing weak side help on the big man. Douglas found Velazquez (14 points, three assists) on skip passes into the weak side corner for back-to-back three-pointers.

Then the Bombardiers got out in transition with Velazquez threading the needle with a long bounce pass for an easy two for Jason Weir.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We were just going too fast so we just slowed it down on offense,” Houle said. “We were trying to attack the rim and everything was clogged. They were switching on defense so our motion offense really wasn’t doing anything. So we went to some of our quick hitter stuff.

“They really looked to front Q and bring help from the weak side. If we couldn’t get it into Q, we could skip it and get some good looks and Kevin was able to hit them. And then after that, we finally got Q inside on the seal. Those were the adjustments we worked on and it was good to see them execute in the second half.”

North’s Derek Shanks (nine points, six rebounds) had six consecutive points for the hosts but Attleboro had an answer each time. Ciccio sandwiched a pair of buckets around another triple from Velazquez in the weak side corner to give the Bombardiers a 52-36 lead with 3:40 to play.

Charles scored down low on two consecutive possessions while Douglas put an exclamation point on the win with a breakaway dunk.

“When he’s inside like that, he’s a mismatch,” Houle said of Charles. “North is big and long but he’s still a mismatch because he’s so good with his hands and his feet. They have to put another body in there, and when we can hit the shots, it works well. Fortunately for us, we hit the shots. If we don’t hit the shots then they are winning those possessions.”

North Attleboro raced out to a 6-0 lead after hitting its first three shots of the game but Attleboro closed the game with a 6-2 run over the final six minutes.

Shanks tied the game, 12-12, in the second quarter with a pair of free throws, Josh Montague (eight points) hit a triple, Jake Petersen (eight points, four rebounds) converted a putback and Nate Gonsalves hit a three late to give North a 20-18 lead at halftime.

“I thought we defended fairly well in the first half. We knew where they wanted to go and with the exception of one set play they ran, we didn’t feel like they ever got their first option. Second half, they made a couple of extra buckets and we had some empty possessions, and I think we started losing a little bit of confidence we had in the first half.”

Attleboro boys basketball (12-9 overall) will close out its regular season when it hosts Durfee on Wednesday night at 6:30. Attleboro (8-11) concludes its season when it travels to rival Bishop Feehan on the same night at the same time.

“It’s North Attleboro and Feehan so I shouldn’t have to say much to motivate our guys,” Mulkerrins said. “It’s the last game for our two seniors and our manager so there’s motivation to play for those three games. When they know it’s their last game, I’m sure the kids will have a little extra motivation.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foxboro Beats North To Clinch Share of Davenport Title

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Teddy Maher (middle) attempts to get past North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (left) and Chad Peterson (24) in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – After falling on the road to Milford last Friday night, the Foxboro boys basketball team fell a game behind in the race for the league’s Davenport division title.

But the Warriors entered this week with control over their destiny, and they didn’t let the opportunity slip away.

Following a big win over Canton on Tuesday evening, Foxboro used a big third quarter surge to create separation and earn a 56-38 win over North Attleboro, clinching a share of the program’s second Davenport title in the past three years.

Foxboro held a five-point lead (13-8) after eight minutes of play and stretched the advantage to seven (30-23) at the halftime break.

North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (10 points) scored at the midway point of the third quarter to keep the deficit at seven, but that’s when Foxboro blew the game open.

The Warriors rattled off a 13-1 run over the final four minutes of the third quarter. Senior Matt Rongione (six points, five rebounds, three assists) started the run with a three in the corner off a feed from senior Teddy Maher, sophomore Brandon Borde (16 points, five rebounds) converted a strong take to the basket and Anthony Mollicaa hit a free throw for a 6-1 run.

Over the final 60 seconds, Foxboro added seven more points. Joe Morrison (19 points, three assists) scored and then set up Borde for another basket. And then just before the buzzer sounded, Borde returned the favor, finding Morrison for a triple at the end of the period.

“I felt like the run was coming all along,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I felt our defense had been pretty good. At times North made some tough shots and we missed some easy ones. I felt like it was just a matter of time until we made the run and we started finishing pays in transition.

“We have an unbelievable group of seniors, it’s the biggest senior class I’ve had. They have so much character, grit, and toughness. Their leadership has been unbelievable. Both games this week they came with incredible focus, effort and energy and they weren’t going to be denied. I’m really happy for them.”

The run gave the hosts a 51-32 advantage heading into the final period.

“The trademark of this team has been to win with defense,” Gibbs said. “I think that’s what you saw tonight. Our offense was somewhat inconsistent early in the game but we kept defending and getting stops. And eventually, we put enough baskets in the hoop to get the separation.”

Despite limiting Foxboro to just five points in the final frame, North Attleboro was unable to mount a comeback attempt as the Rocketeers scored just six points in the final eight minutes.

“I thought we worked hard, that’s been true most of the year,” said North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins, “We had a couple of breakdowns, we let Morrison get way more touches than we wanted. Give them a lot of credit, their back cuts hurt us in the first half and we weren’t able to react or adjust enough. 

“On the offensive side it’s frustrating but I give our kids a lot of credit because we started to get the shots we like and as a coach that’s what you want. You just have to make more than we did tonight.”

Foxboro’s defense helped build the lead early on. Despite North shooting 50% from the field in the opening quarter, the Rocketeers had eight turnovers in eight minutes. The Warriors capitalized with senior Bobby Harrison (11 points) accounting for nearly half of the first quarter points with six.

Both offenses came alive in the second quarter. Foxboro led by seven twice early on in the quarter, while the Rocketeers cut it down to three two times. Morrison’s traditional three-point play made it 19-12 but a three from Nate Gonsalves and back-to-back baskets from Jake Petersen (10 points, five rebounds) and Montague brought the visitors within three.

Chad Peterson kept it a three-point game with a nice pull-up but consecutive triples from Harrison and Morrison gave Foxboro a 30-21 lead with just over a minute left.

“They are well coached, they make good reads,” Mulkerrins said of Foxboro. “That’s the toughest thing to defend because it’s not a set thing. Our kids were working hard but we aren’t as experienced as they are and that showed tonight. When teams make runs we need someone to step up and tonight, I appreciate the guys trying, we just didn’t make the shot or get the stop or get the call.

“Hats off to Foxboro for the league title. That’s a team that’s really good defensively and [coming into the season] had some questions about offense but Jon and his staff did a fantastic job, they should be proud of themselves.”

Foxboro boys basketball (12-4 Hockomock, 16-4 overall) will close out the regular season with a pair of non-league games starting on Monday with a visit from Bishop Feehan. anorth Attkbopp(6-10, 8-10) needs to win both of its remaining games to earn a playoff berth. The Rocketeers will host rival Attleboro on Monday at 6:30.

North Attleboro Edges King Philip With Late Surge

North Attleboro boys basketball
North Attleboro’s Josh Montague drives to the basket in the second half at King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – In a back and forth battle between King Philip and North Attleboro, it was the visiting Rocketeers that landed the biggest blow of the game, rallying over the final five minutes to earn a 55-51 decision over the Warriors.

While the first half was a see-saw type game, featuring four lead changes and four ties, King Philip was in control for the majority of the second half.

The Warriors led by as much as 10 points early in the third quarter only for North to get within four heading into the final frame. The hosts extended their lead to seven with five minutes to go in the game, but KP’s offense went cold from there.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

North finished the game on a 12-1 run, rattling off eight straight to take its first lead of the second half with two minutes to go. Big Red tacked on a big three and a key free throw to go up by four in the final minute.

“I thought our kids worked really, really hard,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “In the first half, [King Philip’s] screens were bothering us, which they shouldn’t have. Some guys had some miscommunications, some breakdowns. And then at times, it was giving up open shots. You give KP a lot of credit because they put us in a lot of tough spots but give our kids a lot of credit to finish the game the way they finished and make just enough plays to get out of here with a win.

Rocketeers junior Josh Montague (25 points, four assists) scored on back-to-back drives to open the final quarter, tying the game at 43-43. King Philip responded with a 7-0 run with a bucket from Kyle Layman (14 points, eight rebounds, three assists) down low, a three from Tim Nault (career-high 13 points) and a pair of free throws from Bruce Santillus. King Philip led 50-43 with just over five minutes to play.

That’s when North went on its run. Junior Matt Seavey (six points, five rebounds) converted a putback, junior Jake Petersen scored an easy bucket after a strong drive and dish from Montague, Nate Gonsalves (seven points) came up with a huge steal that led to two points from Montague, and then Gonsalves beat the shot clock buzzer with a deep two, giving the Rocketeers a 51-50 lead with two minutes to play.

King Philip looked to answer but Gonsalves came up with yet another big defensive play, blocking a shot at the free throw line. The Warriors had another chance on the play but couldn’t get their three-point to fall.

Meanwhile, on the other end, Gonsalves wasn’t lacking any confidence when he launched a deep three from straight away, sinking the shot with a minute to go to put North up 54-50.

“Nate’s got a knack for scoring, he’s got pretty good instincts,” Mulkerrins said. “Defensively, he’s like a lot of our guys – a work in progress – but in the fourth he had that steal, that block…so for a kid like him who isn’t naturally gifted on the defensive side of the ball to make defensive plays down the stretch is so important. We know he can make threes, he’s becoming a pretty good consistent big game shooter for us.”

The Warriors missed on the other end but got the ball back with a North turnover. Pharoah Davis (15 points) sank one free throw to get within three. Montague sank a free throw of his own with 13 seconds to play, icing the win for the Rocketeers.

King Philip led 28-24 at the half-time break and came up with a quick 8-2 burst to take its largest lead of the game. A strong move from Davis, a jumper from Nault, a nice post move from Layman and a layup from Davis helped the Warriors build a 36-26 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But Montague spearheaded an 11-3 run from the visitors, hitting a pair of threes in the stretch while both Ethan Friberg and Seavey scored down low to bring North within two at 39-37.

“We’ve been trying to add a little bit of ball screen to our offense and I thought, on short notice, the guys did a pretty good job of getting pretty good looks,” Mulkerrins said. “[Josh] has that ability to get by most defenders in one-on-one, but its a matter of his ability to make the right read. Tonight I thought he did a better job of getting into that second level and finishing so a lot of credit to him.”

North Attleboro built an early 9-5 lead but five straight from Davis put the hosts in front. Junior Owen Nassaney (seven points) came off the bench and scored four straight of his own to give the Rocketeers the 13-10 edge after one.

Nassaney started the second quarter with a bang. Gonsalves came up with a steal, tossing it ahead to Nassaney for a two-handed dunk while being fouled. He made the free throw for a 16-10 lead.

“Owen’s someone I have to give a lot of credit to tonight He’s had a lot of good practices over the past week, week and a half,” Mulkerrins said. “And it’d be really easy for a kid in his situation, not playing a lot and watching his junior classmates play a lot, to just mail it in. To his credit, he’s stayed hungry. We’ve talked a lot as a team about being ready, being in the moment and he’s a great example of a kid caring about the team more than himself. He had a fantastic two days of practice and then it carried it over to tonight.”

King Philip responded with an 8-2 run of its own with two from Layman, a free throw from Tom Madden, a bucket from Davis, a triple from Nault and another layup from Davis for a 20-18 lead.

Montague tied the game at 20-20 but King Philip won the final tow minutes 8-4, including threes from Nault and Nolan Bradley.

The Warriors won the rebounding battle (30-27) but had 14 turnovers and shot 38% from the field.

“We seemed to play scared, we seemed to tighten up a little bit,” said KP head coach Mark Champagne. “It’s a little bit of a broken record a bit. Tim [Nault] played well for us, that was the best game he’s played. It was more minutes than he’s played, and he was solid for us. But overall, it’s just been frustrating.”

North Attleboro boys basketball (5-6 Hockomock, 7-6 overall) is back in action on Friday when it resumes play against division foes with a road trip to Canton at 5:00. King Philip (2-9, 2-11) will try to snap its current skip when it hosts Attleboro on Friday at 7:00.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton Turns Defense Into Offense Against North

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Jake Verille (right) tries to get past North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (left) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With North Attleboro’s half-court defense giving Canton’s offense fits, the Bulldogs needed to find other ways to get its offense in gear.

The offensive jumpstart that Canton needed started on the defensive end, as the Bulldogs’ defense came up with continuous stops that allowed the team to cash in in transition. And on top of that, five of the Bulldogs’ six offensive rebounds resulted in second-chance points.

That combination gave Canton’s offense the boost it needed and the defense did the result, earning a 53-35 win over the Rocketeers.

“It all started with our defense,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “[North] has a lot of size and we were concerned about post entries so we worked really hard on defending it. I felt like we did a good executing our defensive gameplan.

“I thought North did a really good job in the half court against us defensively, we struggled. They did a good job containing our guards. We talked about it during a timeout in the quarter. We said tonight our best offense is going to be getting stops and then pushing the ball in transition. That’s a credit to North, they did a nice job taking away some things.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton got off to a strong start, limiting Big Red to just a pair of field goals in the first quarter. The Bulldogs hauled in nine defensive rebounds and got out running, leading to a 14-5 lead after eight minutes.

North Attleboro’s offense got back on track in the second, which also helped slow Canton’s offense down. After a transition bucket from Devin Foster (13 points) put Canton up 21-8 early in the quarter, North’s offense rattled off an 11-4 run to end the half.

North junior Josh Montague (12 points, eight rebounds, three assists) was the catalyst of the run. Matt Seavey’s two free throws started the surge but Montague scored the Rocketeers’ next nine points, including a putback, a drive the length of the court after hauling in a defensive rebound, and one at the free throw line.

But as quickly as North got back into the game at the end of the half, Canton recreated its lead with a surge to open the third quarter. Austin Maffie (10 points, six rebounds) converted a putback to open the scoring, senior Tony Harris cut across the paint and took a feed from Jake Verille (nine points, seven rebounds, four assists) for an easy two, and then Foster capped the run with a triple, followed by a strong take to the rim.

“I thought our defense was bad pretty much throughout,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “I didn’t think we had any passion, I didn’t think we tried to do what we wanted to do. They dictated the pace and had a good game plan against us. We didn’t make shots but that doesn’t excuse the lack of effort. They killed us on 50/50 balls, seemed like they got everyone. Then we’d finally defend for 25 seconds, their shot goes up and we’d get beat to the rebound. We have to defend better than that to be competitive”

Big Red rattled off four straight points to get within 11 again but a bucket from Kyle Fitzgerald in transition was followed by a putback from Matt Warburton to swing momentum back in favor of the visitors.

“North did a good job mucking it up so we needed to find other ways to score,” Gordy said. “If you can get some offensive rebound putbacks or offensive rebounds that turn into points, and then also score in transition, those are the extra little things that make the difference in the game.”

Canton’s defense limited North Attleboro 10 points or less in three of the four quarters, 26% shooting from the field overall, and just four three’s on 19 attempts.

“The defense set the tone for us tonight,” Gordy said. “If we can defend like that and push the ball like that…that’s when we’re at our best. Especially since we sometimes play two or three point guards who can handle it and get it going in transition.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton had an answer for every push North made in the final quarter. Junior Jake Petersen (eight points, nine rebounds) scored down low off a feed from Montague but Verille answered with a three-pointer. Peterson scored off an offensive rebound and Montague hit a step back triple for a quick 5-0 spurt but Maffie hit back-to-back baskets in response.

“Those second chance points kill any momentum you might have,” Mulkerrins said. “Points were at a premium, they didn’t exactly light it up with 53 points, but for us…I just kept yelling ‘wake up’ because I didn’t think at any point during the game we played to our ability level. It starts with us being aggressive, being passionate…being excited to be there. I just kind of felt we were a bit lethargic today and Canton does such a good job of getting Foster and Harris the ball and their other guys fill their roles great for them. Hats off to Canton, they showed up today and we didn’t.”

Canton boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 5-1 overall) will be back in action on Tuesday night when it hosts Milford. North Attleboro (1-3, 3-3) will try to bounce back when the same night when it takes a trip to Sharon. Both games are scheduled to tipoff at 6:30.

Franklin Gets Past North Attleboro In Defensive Battle

Franklin boys basketball
Franklin’s Matt Elias (right) pulls up for a shot against North Attleboro’s Jake Petersen. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In a game when points are at such a premium, even the smallest of runs can be game-changers.

Franklin used a pair of those short spurts to create enough separation and delivered a signature tough defensive effort in a 45-28 win over North Attleboro.

With both squads playing their best on the defensive end, points were especially hard to come by early on.

Franklin’s first field goal came with 6:31 left in the first quarter, and North tied it with 3:41 to play as the teams combined for just four points over the opening six minutes.

But in the last two minutes of the opening frame, Franklin’s offense came to life with an 8-0 run. Sophomore Chris Edgehill (eight points) drained a step back three and hit one of two free throws to start the run. Paul Rudolph scored in transition and Matt Elias converted an offensive rebound shortly before the buzzer to give the Panthers a 10-2 lead after one.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin kept that lead for the majority of the second quarter, leading 19-10 entering the final two minutes of the half. Edgehill got the run started again with a strong take to the rim, Jalen Samuels (nine points, nine rebounds) hit the first of two free throws and Elias drained a pair of threes inside the final minute, giving the Panthers a 28-10 lead at the break.

“It feels like a 16-0 run in a game like this,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Those runs are enormous. Seeing the ball go in the hoops is huge. It’s good to see Matt Elias come out and bury some shots. We know he’s capable of doing that. That’s his game, he’s a great catch and shoot player. He wasn’t himself the first couple of games so it was nice to see him out there tonight leading us in scoring.”

“That’s where I think you see experience factor in,” said North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins. “I thought those two threes at the end of the second quarter really stung our guys mentally. If you take those two shots away, you’re going into halftime holding Franklin to 22 points. Those shots were just back breakers. And when you’re not putting the ball in the hoop, and give Franklin a lot of credit for that, it puts so much pressure on your defense to be perfect. And our defense was good, so those shots hurt even more.”

While Franklin’s offense was able to create separation with those runs, North Attleboro never got into a groove. Big Red turned it over 10 times, partly due to the pressure of Franklin guard Paul Mahon, playing in his first game of the season. While North’s defense forced nine turnovers of its own, the offense shot just 24% from the field in the first half, including just a pair of two-point field goals.

North Attleboro’s defense was just as strong in the second half, limiting the Panthers to under 10 points in each the third (nine points) and fourth (eight points) quarters. The Rocketeers held Franklin to 25% shooting from the field in the second half.

“[North Attleboro] did a great job defensively,” Neely said. “We’ve been struggling to score so far this season, and they were giving us some fits for a while. We were able to figure a couple things out and get some looks. But it was just one of those ugly games of basketball. We kind of like it, we’re not against it. But we wanted to be tougher after the Foxboro game.

“We really wanted to grind out stops, get on the loose balls, fight for rebounds. Looking at the scoreboard, we probably should have done some more offensive work in practice but the guys competed and I thought that was important.”

While North’s offense struggled, especially in the first half, the Rocketeers are hoping that it can build upon its strong defensive performance. North is just the fourth team since the beginning of last season to hold the Panthers to 45 or fewer points (Mansfield, Canton, Cambridge).

“I just told our guys that we have to look at this as a glass half full situation,” Mulkerrins said. “I thought our defense was good. I think there is another level though, and I think Franklin was an example of it tonight. The way they rotate, the way they move the ball….our guys were in the right places, and maybe its a lack of experience or technique, we just have to be a bit better on rotating. It was a great effort from our guys but we just have to put the ball in the hoop more.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin’s defense got a big boost on the defensive end with Mahon making his season debut. After missing the first two games of the season with an injury, the senior captain was back and made an immediate impact. While he will certainly have better offensive showings during the season, his presence on defense was felt immediately.

“Whoever he’s guarding is going to have a tough light,” Neely said. “Even if they get their points, they’re going to be annoyed, he’s going to bother them. He picks everyone up. When the rest of the team sees how he gets after a ball handler, it inspires everyone else behind him. He brings the toughness level up. He might tell you had a bad night, but he was very valuable for us tonight. He had a big night without having to score.”

North Attleboro junior Nate Gonsalves netted a career-high with 11 points to led the Rocketeers while classmate Josh Montague had six points and six rebounds.

Franklin boys basketball (2-1 Hockomock, 2-1 overall) is back in action on Thursday when it heads to Somerville High for a tournament, starting off against Malden Catholic. North Attleboro (1-2, 1-2) will look to bounce back the same day at Lincoln-Sudbury’s tournament when it takes on Reading at 5:00.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.