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)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“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

Foxboro Closes Out Canton To Earn First Win

Foxboro boys basketball Sam Golub
Foxboro sophomore Sam Golub dribbles past Canton senior Ryan Connerney in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 FOXBORO, Mass. – It was a situation the Foxboro boys basketball team had been in before this season. But the young Warriors were more than happy to come away with a different outcome

The Warriors have been in plenty of tight games this season but whether it was overtime, an untimely turnover, or an unlikely offensive outburst from their opponent, Foxboro couldn’t find its way into the win column — until Thursday night.

Foxboro made all of the plays it needed to down the stretch, including a huge three-pointer from sophomore Ryan LeClair, to earn its first win of the season, 46-39, over visiting Canton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I think we were just more consistent on the small controllable things,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “Offensively, down the stretch, we were able to take care of the ball and keep our composure against pressure and we executed and got good shots. Earlier in the season, in late-game situations, we were having some untimely turnovers, and not only that, the other team would break out for a big momentum basket. We didn’t do that tonight, we were able to get quality shots and guys stepped up to make the big shots.”

Locked into another close game in the fourth quarter, the Warriors withstood pressure from a talented Canton team. Even after its four-point lead evaporated and momentum seemed to swing in favor of the Bulldogs, Foxboro didn’t panic.

The game was knotted at 29-29 after three quarters, setting up a winner-take-all fourth period. And for six minutes, it was a back-and-forth battle with each team matching the other, basket for basket, and stop for stop.

Foxboro boys basketball

Junior Dylan Gordon, who scored a career-high 22 points, put the hosts ahead with a strong take to the rim, LeClair hit one from the line with just over three minutes to go, and sophomore Alex Penders scored his first basket of the game to give Foxboro a 37-33 lead with just under three minutes to go.










Canton took its turn to answer as senior Ryan Connerney (10 points) sliced through the defense to the rim for two and then found Steven Burbank (13 points) on a nice backdoor cut to tie the game as the clock ticked under two minutes to go.

But the Warriors refused to wilt under pressure and came back with an answer of their own. Halfway through the shot clock, LeClair found some separation after setting a screen and drained a deep straightaway three to make it 40-37 with 1:35 to play.

“He’s always been a really confident kid, and that’s one of his best attributes and that’s really important for a point guard,” Gibbs said. “Each passing game, we’ve really seen that confidence grow and with that, he’s improved more and more and grown into his role. He just continues to get better. We want him to take that shot in that moment, we all believe in him and I’m really happy for him that he stepped up and knocked it down.

Foxboro got a stop after Canton’s attempt at a tying three was just off the mark. This time, LeClair drove left past his defender which forced a pair of Bulldogs to help. The sophomore guard dumped a pass off to Sean O’Leary, who finished off a tough layup for a 42-37 advantage with less than a minute to go.

The Bulldogs kept it close when junior Lanse Dorcelus drove from the right wing into the paint and finished through contact. Down three, Canton elected to foul Gordon, who drained a pair from the line to ice the win for the Warriors.

“It’s a classic Canton-Foxboro game where every single basket is hard to come by,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “At the end of the game, it was tied late, they had kids that made more plays when it mattered. They made plays in winning time and we’re still learning how to do that.




“When we get hot, we get real hot and when we get cold, we get real cold. Tonight was one of the cold nights and credit to Foxboro, they played great defense. That’s a team that’s been working hard all season. I’m disappointed for us but congrats to them for getting their first win, they deserved to win tonight, we didn’t.”

LeClair might not have been in position for his big three and assist in the final minutes if it wasn’t for a big shot from junior Cam Barreira earlier in the game. Sophomore Sam Golub (six points, six rebounds) drained a three for Foxboro with 4:10 to go in the second quarter but the Warriors would go on a long drought before scoring again.

Canton rattled off a 10-0 run over the course of the next 8:41 of game time. Steven Burbank scored the last four points of the first half to give the Bulldogs an 18-17 lead at halftime. Connerney converted a traditional three-point play and Eric Mischler (11 points, five rebounds) drained a corner three off a nice feed from Connerney and the Bulldogs held a 24-17 lead with 3:44 left in the third.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Out of a timeout, Barreira came up with a huge shot. The inbounds found Penders, who was immediately double-teamed. The sophomore center alertly turned and dished to Barreira in the corner and the junior didn’t hesitate, sinking a three-pointer that lit a fire under the Warriors.

Barreira’s bucket sparked a 12-5 run that brought the hosts back into the game. Gordon scored six straight, sandwiching a pair of field goals around two from the line. And Golub hit his second three of the game to put Foxboro ahead 29-26. Canton’s Will Keefe answered with a triple in the final seconds to make it 29-29 going into the fourth.

Foxboro (1-6 Davenport, 1-6 overall) will travel to Canton (3-3, 3-6) for a rematch on Wednesday at 7:00.

Foxboro boys basketball