Milford, 30 @ Stoughton, 74 – Final – In its last Hockomock League game inside the current Stoughton High gym, the Black Knights girls basketball team picked up a a 74-30 win over visiting Milford. Sydnee Hyacinthe had a team-high 13 points while Shyanne Trinh and Hailey Egan each scored 12 points.
Attleboro, 55 @ Oliver Ames, 53 – Final – Attleboro overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 21-12 in the final quarter to get the win. The Bombardiers trailed 35-22 in the third before closing the gap to 41-34 entering the fourth quarter. The Bombarders opened the fourth with a 12-5 run, tying the game at 46 with four minutes to play. Attleboro had a three-point lead but OA’s Sean O’Brien hit one from deep to tie the game. Attleboro senior Mason Houle hit two free throws with 20 seconds left and the Bombardiers forced a turnover with seconds left to secure the win. Houle finished with a team-high 20 points while Qualeem Chares added 16 points and eight rebounds. Kevin Velazquez scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including nine in the fourth quarter. OA senior Ethan Eckstrom had a team-high 15 points.
Canton, 52 @ Stoughton, 58 – Final – Stoughton scored 34 points in the second half to pick up a key division win over rival Canton. Junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell was held scoreless in the first half but exploded for 14 points in the second half while Ahmad Jahed added a career-high 13 points to pace the Black Knights. Kevin Dixon and Tahkwan Gates Brown each finished with 11 points for the Black Knights, who trailed 26-24 at half but took a 42-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Devin Foster led Canton with 16 points.
Foxboro, 63 @ Milford, 66 – Final – Milford trailed by 14 at halftime but used a spirited second half to secure the win. Milford scored 19 points in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to single digits (51-42) but then exploded for 24 points in the final period to get the comeback win over the Warriors. Brendan White scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed 15 rebounds to pace the Hawks’ comeback. White put Milford ahead 62-61 after converting an offensive rebound, and Danny Corsini (11 points) came up with a steal and bucket to make it 64-61. Sophomore Jordan Darling added 15 points for Milford Foxboro had a look for the tying bucket at the buzzer but it was just off the mark. The Warriors, who were without leading scorer Brandon Borde, were led by sophomore Kevin Gallagher’s career-high 24 points while senior Anthony Mollica added 16 points.
King Philip, 52 @ Taunton, 59 – Final – King Philip used a 16-point third quarter to tie the score at 43-43 heading into the final frame, but the Tigers’ defense limited the Warriors to just nine points in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Senior Michael Quinn had a team-high 21 points while John Martins added 12 points and Naz Kenion finished with 11 points. Junior Alex Fritz led KP with a career-high 22 points while Bruce Saintilus added 18 points.
Sharon, 43 @ North Attleboro, 50 – Final – North Attleboro senior Nate Gonsalves (13 points) hit a pair of three pointers and junior Ethan Friberg added one as the Rocketeers were able to pull away from Sharon in the fourth quarter. Big Red held a 20-13 lead at halftime but the Eagles exploded for 17 points in the third, as junior Aidan Kane hit three triples and had 11 of his team-high 15 points in the quarter. North had connected on just two threes heading into the fourth but totaled 18 points in the fame to get the win. Senior Josh Montague and sophomore George Ladd each added 13 points for North.
Oliver Ames, 58 @ Attleboro, 28 – Final – Oliver Ames ramped up the defensive intensity in the second half, limiting the Bombardiers to just 11 points as the Tigers ran away with the win. Tate Hadges led OA, which led 33-17 at half, with 12 points while freshmen Caroline Peper and Hailey Bourne each added 10 points.
Stoughton, 34 @ Canton, 56 – Final – The Bulldogs clinched a playoff spot with the win. It is the quickest that Canton has clinched a playoff berth in about two decades. Head coach Jim Choquette credited his team’s defensive performance for earning the win and sealing a quick return to the state tournament. Sydnee Hyacinthe had 12 points and Shyanne Trinh had 10 for the Black Knights.
Milford, 13 @ Foxboro, 75 – Final – Katelyn Mollica scored 19 to lead the Warriors, who clinched at least a share of their third straight Davenport title. Shakirah Ketant had 13 ponints and 11 rebounds and Yara Fawaz added 12 points for Foxboro.
King Philip, 74 @ Taunton, 37 – Final – Faith Roy scored 21 points, including 16 in the first quarter, helping the Warriors jump out to a big lead right from the opening tip and they never looked back. KP coach Amy Siggens said that the team’s defensive intensity made the difference. Shannon O’Connor added 16 and Faye Veilleux had 12 points for the Warriors, who are one win away from booking a spot in the state tournament.
North Attleboro, 52 @ Sharon, 57 – Final (OT) – Ally Brown and Telishya Herbert each scored 13 points for the Eagles, who move within two wins of clinching a playoff spot. Emma Eberhardt and Evanjuline Elisma each scored eight points in the win.
Canton, 46 @ Foxboro, 54 – Final – After a back-and-forth first half, Foxboro was able to gradually pull away and iced the game with clutch free throws down the stretch. After an even (10-10) first quarter, Foxboro opened with an 11-3 run to gain the lead but Canton responded with a 14-2 run to go ahead 27-23 late in the second quarter. A brief 5-0 run, capped by sophomore Kevin Gallagher’s (16 points) three-pointer at the buzzer, gave Foxboro a 28-27 lead at half. Foxboro led 40-34 heading into the fourth quarter, and although Canton cut it to one possession late in the game, Warrior senior Anthony Mollica hit four free throws to seal it. Junior Brandon Borde added 15 points for Foxboro while Canton senior Devin Foster had a game-high 17 points.
Franklin, 76 @ King Philip, 60 – Final – Franklin junior Chris Edgehill poured in a career-high 35 points to pace the Panthers to a season sweep of the Warriors. The Panthers led by 13 at halftime (42-29) and entering the fourth quarter (56-43). Edgehill scored 15 of Franklin’s 20 points in the final frame to seal the win. Jalen Samuels added 17 points for the Panthers, who connected on 10 three-pointers. Tim Nault hit half of KP’s 10 three-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points.
Milford, 56 @ Sharon, 45 – Final – Milford overcame a slow start and gradually pulled away from Sharon. The Hawks trailed 11-9 at the end of one quarter but took a three-point (20-17) lead into the halftime break. The Hawks extended their lead to 34-27 at the end of three and then put the game to bed with a 22-point fourth quarter. Brendan White paced Milford with 24 points (17 in second half) and 18 rebounds and senior Brendon Sailer added 16 points. Kiran Chandrasekaran led Sharon with a team-high 11 points.
North Attleboro, 70 @ Stoughton, 65 – Final – North Attleboro erased an 18-point deficit with a monster second half to earn a win on the road. After being limited to 19 points in the first half (include a buzzer-beating three), the Rocketeers exploded for 51 second half points to earn the come-from-behind win. Trailing 32-19 at half, North Attleboro buried a barrage of three-pointers to begin the third, hitting four of their eight triples in the frame. North extended its advantage to a nine-point lead early in the fourth before Stoughton clawed its way back, getting with one at 66-65 with 11.6 seconds left but North secured the win with free throws and a steal. Junior Ethan Friberg had a career-high 18 points while senior Josh Montague added 17 points, and seniors Matt Seavey and Nate Gonsalves each chipped in with 12 points. Ajahn Rue led Stoughton with a career-high 23 points and Obinna Ugwuakazi added 14 points.
Oliver Ames, 37 @ Taunton, 39 – Final – A low-scoring tone was set early as the teams combined for just seven points (6-1 Taunton) in the opening quarter. Taunton extended its lead to 19-12 at half but Oliver Ames had a 16-point third quarter to take a 28-26 lead going into the fourth quarter. Lou Vendrell paced Taunton with a game-high 17 points while John Martins scored all of his seven points in the second half. Ethan Eckstrom led OA with 12 points while Michael Greene added 10 points, all in the second half.
Mansfield, 47 @ Attleboro, 36 – Final – The game was tied 20-20 at halftime but the Hornets broke the game open in the second half to remain just two games back of league-leading Franklin heading into Tuesday’s showdown. Maggie Danehy scored 15 points and Sydney Mulkern added 12 for Mansfield. Liv McCall paced the Bombardiers with 13.
Foxboro, 55 @ Canton, 37 – Final – Katelyn Mollica scored 22 points for the second time this week, helping the Warriors get back on track and move within one win of clinching a third straight league title. Chelsea Gibbons scored 13 in the win.
King Philip, 45 @ Franklin, 68 – Final – Ali Brigham scored 27 points and Meghan O’Connell added 10 for the Panthers, who remain unbeaten in league play this season and can clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title with a win against Mansfield on Tuesday. Shannon O’Connor was the top scorer for the Warriors with nine points.
Sharon, 53 @ Milford, 25 – Final – Telishya Herbert led all scorers with 10 points for the Eagles and Sara Fandel added nine. Ally Brown and Trinity Payne each scored eight points in the win. Sharon needs three more wins to book a spot in the state tournament.
Stoughton, 48 @ North Attleboro, 47 – Final – Stoughton kept its postseason hopes alive with a big road win. Shyanne Trinh paced the Black Knights with 21 points and added four blocks. Lindsay McDonald added 12 points and nine boards in the win.
Taunton, 34 @ Oliver Ames, 71 – Final – OA moved one win closer to sealing a spot in the state tournament with a big home win. Freshman Caroline Peper led the way with 20 points and Jess Erlich added 10 and five rebounds for the tigers, who held a 32-20 advantage at halftime.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – The game kept going back and forth in the closing seconds and Stoughton got the ball back with the game tied at 50-50 and the shot clock off. The Black Knights used only a few seconds before taking a deep three. The long rebound caromed out to Sharon freshman Trinity Payne and she snagged the loose ball for the Eagles with 20 seconds remaining.
Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi called a timeout and told her team to be patient and try to take the final shot of regulation. The Eagles did as they were instructed, moving the ball back and forth around the perimeter, before it got to Payne (10 points and 15 rebounds) at the free throw line. The freshman forward rose up and knocked down a jumper with only seconds on the clock.
Stoughton needed to go the length of the court and couldn’t get off a shot before the whistle, as the Eagles raced to the bench to celebrate a dramatic 52-50 road win.
“It’s not like she’s 6-foot-5 but she plays big and for a freshman to go in there and knock down that shot at that point in game,” Lombardi said. “The kids are excited, she’s excited, and it’s something to build on for the future too. She didn’t even hesitate, just caught it and shot it.”
The teams combined for five made field goals in the opening quarter. Kaitlyn Wallace (eight points and eight rebounds) buried a pair of corner threes and Emma Eberhardt (15 points and eight rebounds) had a drive to the basket. Hailey Egan drilled a three for Stoughton and Lindsay McDonald scored on an offensive rebound, but the Eagles led 10-7 after one.
After getting off to a decent start, the Eagles went cold in the second quarter. Stoughton’s zone contained the Sharon offense and didn’t allow the visitors to get to the basket. Aliyah Wright (19 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks) scored six points and Sydnee Hyacinthe (15 points) scored seven to turn things around and send the Black Knights into halftime up 24-18.
“Int he first quarter, we came out and had the lead but then we went cold and were standing around,” Lombardi explained. “That’s what happens when you play against zones, we tend to stand and stare, so we worked the last couple days in practice to move more.”
The Eagles bounced back in the third quarter to cut into the Stoughton lead. Eberhardt went 5-of-6 from the line in the quarter and Telishya Herbert scored six points. While Wright, Hyacinthe, and Shyanne Trinh (eight points) each knocked down a three, the Eagles made it a two-point game with eight minutes left.
Sharon grabbed the lead early in the fourth. Ally Brown hit a pair of free throws to tie the game and then after a pair of offensive rebounds she also hit a three to make it 38-35.
“We missed some rebounds that we need to come up with,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “That’s been kind of the story. We’ve got to rebound, that’s what we’ve been harping on. Games come down to that and we kind of learned it the hard way but we need to bounce back. All we can do is keep working hard.”
The lead didn’t last long. Wright drilled a three to tie the game again and then scored on a rebound to get Stoughton back in front. Herbert got to the basket off a Wallace assist, leveling the score at 40-40, but then Hyacinthe came down and drilled a pull-up three. Things flipped again when Eberhardt dropped in a runner in traffic and Wallace added two at the line for a 44-43 edge.
Every time that Sharon got in front, it seemed that Wright had the answer for the Black Knights. She hit another clutch three for the lead, but just as quickly Herbert (12 points and eight rebounds) scored in the paint to tie it. A Trinh offensive rebound and score gave Stoughton a 48-46 lead with 1:09 left.
“It was clutch but it just wasn’t enough tonight,” said Steele Jordan about her team knocking down big shots in the fourth. “A few more shots fall for us and then it could’ve been a different outcome.”
On the other end, Sharon was called for a controversial travel that gave Stoughton the chance to extend the lead to two possessions, only for Eberhardt to rip the inbounds pass away and then finish at the rim to keep the game even.
Wright knocked down a pair of free throws for another two-point lead, but that was matched by Herbert, who had gone 0-for-3 at the line prior to knocking down two shots with 30 seconds left to play.
The Black Knights could have held for the final shot, but the ball moved quickly and they took the open three when it was presented. It didn’t fall and Payne got the rebound. Seconds later, the freshman got the game-winner as well, keeping the .
“In the last timeout, I just told them we’re going to use clock, run our regular offense, and whatever happens, happens,” said Lombardi. “If we go into overtime then we go into overtime but we’re not going to let them get a rebound and go down the other end and score. They kept their composure, made simple passes, found an opening, and she hit the shot.”
Sharon (6-8, 4-6) will face a tough challenge on Tuesday when it face Kelley-Rex leader Franklin. Stoughton (3-10, 3-7) will travel to Taunton.
2017-2018 Record: 9-13 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
The Bombardiers were just two wins shy of a playoff spot last season under new head coach Marty Crowley and Attleboro brings back three starters and has added several new faces to the roster to try and make a postseason push this winter.
The graduation of leading scorer Sam Pierce (16 points per game) means that a number of players are going to need to step in and make up for production on offense and on the glass. Senior point guard Jordyn Lako will be back to run the Bombardiers offense and provide three-point shooting, while junior Nyah Thomas is a versatile weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Both are also aggressive defenders, who set the tone on that end of the floor. Senior forward Mackenzie Roberts can score in the post or from beyond the arc and junior Liv McCall is a dynamic guard who is capable of big scoring nights.
Defense has always been the focus of teams that Crowley coaches and the Bombardiers will be no different. To keep up that defensive intensity, the Bombardiers have added depth to the rotation. Seniors Abby Struminski and Dom Garnes (who was out last season with an injury) provide leadership, while sophomores Gabby Bosh and Sonny Stuger and freshmen Meghan Gordon and Lillian Froio are newcomers to keep an eye on.
“Hopefully we can generate scoring opportunities off our defense and use our athleticism to create baskets,” said Crowley. “We have a great mix of experience and youth. We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been spirited and the kids have been working hard.”
2017-2018 Record: 10-11 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round. Coach: Jim Choquette
Last winter, Canton got a taste of the postseason for the first time in seven seasons and now the program will try to build on that momentum while finding a way to replace the scoring and rebounding of Hannah Jerrier, who averaged a double-double for the Bulldogs last winter. An exciting crop of underclassmen has been added to the roster and now Canton will try to build experience with a schedule that puts them on the road for the majority of the first half of the year.
While Jerrier will obviously be missed, the Bulldogs bring back the other four starters and other players with plenty of experience to try and make it a much shorter wait to get back into the playoffs. Senior point guard Julia Hamilton is back to run the offense, senior Erin Devine gives Canton control on the glass and a rim protector on defense, senior Molly Ludwig gives balance to the offense, and senior Maggie Connolly is one of the league’s top defensive players on the perimeter. Senior Nicole Galvin will add depth to the backcourt.
Junior Lilah Milton came on strong at the tail of end of last season, including a huge game in the playoff-clinching win over Weymouth, and could take up some of Jerrier’s scoring from the power forward position. Sophomore Kayla Albert gained valuable experience last season as a freshman and current rookies Sydney and Fay Gallery, and Kiara Cerruti have the potential to step right into the rotation and contribute.
“Details are everything to us,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “If our group of young talent and veteran leadership/experience can continue to stay focused on the details during the good times and tough times of a season then we should continue to improve and have a very excited and successful season.”
2017-2018 Record: 26-2 2017-2018 Finish: Won Div. 2 state championship. Coach: Lisa Downs
Last season was one to remember for the Warriors, who rolled through the regular season in dominating fashion and lived up to the team’s immense potential by bringing home the Div. 2 state title. With the graduation of a very strong senior class, the expectations are much lower for the Warriors this season but there are several returning players and new faces that have Foxboro coach Lisa Downs confident that the program can continue its recent run of success in the Davenport division.
Losing players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally is a challenge for any team, but the Warriors will bring back a pair of starters from the playoff run in sophomore Katelyn Mollica and junior Abby Hassman. Mollica is the team’s top returning scorer and will be one of the top point guards in the Hock with her ability to shoot and score off the dribble. Hassman gives Foxboro a strong presence on the glass and showed increased confidence in her offensive game at the end of last season. Senior Chelsea Gibbons and junior Lizzy Davis should see increased minutes and bigger roles in the offense this year.
Juniors Shakirah Ketant and Yara Fawaz should give Foxboro more depth in the post and contribute on the glass and both saw limited minutes in the playoffs last winter. Sophomores Adrienne Dunn and Jordyn Collins will be newcomers to the backcourt and have impressed during the preseason, while junior forward Anita Busznyak is expected to see a lot more time this year and could be a player to watch.
Downs is hoping this year’s team will learn from the graduating class. She said, “The time they spent practicing with and playing against these girls has really paid off – they know what is expected of them on the court and what is required to be a winning team. We have established a winning culture at Foxboro and the players know that I expect nothing more than what they should expect from themselves.”
2017-2018 Record: 15-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central first round. Coach: John Leighton
The Panthers bring back 10 players from last year’s roster, which reached the state tournament but lost in the opening round to Natick, and there are high expectations on Oak St. as the new season gets underway. Franklin enters the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and its balanced lineup has the potential to make a run in the state tournament as well.
Much of the enthusiasm for Franklin’s chances this winter come from 6-foot-3 center Ali Brigham. The junior recently committed to George Washington (where her father once played) and is the lone returning player from last season HockomockSports.com First Team. While she (deservedly) garners much of the attention, the Panthers have a number of other weapons to give the opposition headaches. Senior guard Bea Bondhus, who committed to Springfield College, is one of the top three-point shooters in the Hock and sophomore guard Elizabeth Wilson is back from an injury that cut short the promising start to her varsity career.
The Panthers will also bring back versatile junior forwards Megan O’Connell and Breanna Atwood, who add size in the paint but can also take defenders off the dribble or knock down outside shots. Seniors Hailey Sanders and Calen Frongillo add depth to the frontcourt, while senior Shannon Gray and juniors Kelsey MacCallum and Sydney Garilli are capable of stepping in at either guard position.
“It is our goal to compete each night and to improve from last year,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “With 10 returning players, we feel our experience will help us to better prepare for the season and compete against the best in our league.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
King Philip had to battle injuries throughout head coach Amy Siggens’ first year in charge, including a late season injury to leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, but the Warriors are healthy coming into this season and with a year to get use to a new system, confidence is high that KP can make a push up the standings and fight for a postseason berth this winter.
O’Connor is the key piece returning for the Warriors. A four-year varsity player who has been recruited by Div. I college programs, O’Connor gives KP a consistent scorer and someone who will draw opposing defenses. Senior Julia Leroux will be back at the point and running the KP offense, while junior Faith Roy is the team’s best outside threat and has developed as a ball-handler who can score in a variety of ways. Sophomore Emma Glaser, who battled injuries throughout her freshman season, will add versatility to the lineup and can play multiple positions and her classmate Courtney Keswick is a newcomer to watch in the backcourt.
The Warriors will also have strength in the post with senior Catherine Cummings providing a solid presence on the glass and junior Faye Veilleux giving KP length and athleticism at the forward position. Newcomers like junior Taylor Butler and returning senior Kendall Mason will give added depth and strong play on the defensive end of the floor.
There is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding our team this year with our sights on continued growth and improvement upon our overall record from a year ago,” Siggens said. “Our practices have been very competitive and I’m encouraged by our team’s attitude and overall interest in getting better. I like this team a lot and I look forward to the challenge of helping each girl reach her maximum potential.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-6 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
After three straight league titles and four trips to the Div. 1 South semifinal in the past four seasons (including back-to-back finals), Mansfield has been one of the most consistent teams in the Hockomock League, but the Hornets enter this season trying to replace Meg Hill, who scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more than 1,000 points in her stellar career. With 10 seniors and loads of athleticism, this might be a very different looking Mansfield attack, but one that has the potential to keep the Hornets right back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and capable of making another deep tournament run.
The Hornets have been known for slowing the ball down and running intricate sets, but this team is suited for getting up and down the court as quickly as possible, highlighted by senior guard Mady Bendanillo, one of the quickest players in the Hock. Senior forward Maggie Danehy has emerged as a strong interior scorer and someone who can control the glass, but she is also someone who can run like a guard and get out on the break for easy baskets. Seniors Sydney Mulkern and Erin Daniel add wing scoring and are both solid shooters who can spread the floor and open lanes to the basket.
Athletic senior forwards Emily Vigeant and Steph Kemp can outrun many of the guards in the league and senior point guard Kara Bendanillo is another speedster who can push the ball off makes or misses. Sophomore Ashley Santos saw time last year as a rookie and adds to the frontcourt depth and versatility, while junior Becca Hottleman will be back to give Mansfield another option at guard.
It is a different feel to the lineup but one that Mansfield coach Mike Redding feels can be effective. He said, “We need to rebound as a team and must change our style to up-tempo with defensive pressure/fast breaks and play to our strengths (athleticism and depth).”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central quarterfinal. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford coach T.J. Dolliver brings back six players from the team that not only reached the state tournament last season but also went on the road and beat Burncoat handily, the program’s first playoff win since 2001. The problem for the Hawks is that almost the entire rotation from last year’s team has graduated, including 1,000-point scorer Kate Irwin.
While this may be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, Dolliver sees it as an opportunity for players to step into new roles and establish themselves as starters and as regular contributors. The lone senior back from last year is forward Grace Risio, who Dolliver said made a difference when she was given the opportunity last year, and sophomore guard Jillian Michelson saw some time in the backcourt as a rookie.
The Hawks will have eight sophomores on the roster this season, so it is clear that Milford is going to try and build with youth, similar to several teams from last year. Among the players from last year’s roster, forwards Katie Maietta, guard Emma Lawrence, and forward Carly Ferreira all got time as freshmen and could see those minutes increase significantly this winter.
Dolliver said, “With our entire rotation graduating last year, there are a lot of opportunities waiting for everyone in the program. It will be exciting to watch who emerges within the group and elevates their game to compete at the varsity level.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-16 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Derek Herber
Last year was a tough transition season for the Rocketeers, as North Attleboro moved on from a number of players who were starters for several years and incorporated a number of new, young faces into the lineup. North had a better second half to the season and will try to build on that this winter with a more experienced group of players.
Senior Julia Feid is back on the wing and is North’s top returning scorer, coming off a season in which she averaged more than nine points per game. Fellow seniors Liz Smahi and Emma Noreck will add leadership in the backcourt and try to set the direction for the team this year. Junior point guard Olivia Forbes, who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last season, will be back to get the offense going and provide strong defense on the perimeter. Junior Eliza Dion also returns to add rebounding and interior scoring for a team that can’t count on a lot of height in the paint.
The North offense improved over the course of last season with the addition of sophomore Amanda Kaiser (8.6 points per game) and junior Julia Kleczkowski (40 percent from three-point range), who can both fill it up from the outside and who are both willing to take any shot that presents itself. Several newcomers will fill out the roster with the potential of adding important minutes over the course of the season, including sophomore Lydia Santos and Siobhan Weir.
“We will rely on Julia Feid to be our first option on offense and the sooner we can develop a consistent second option will be a factor in the early part of the season,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “The inside scoring option will hopefully be Eliza Dion, while both Amanda Kaiser and Julia Kleczkowski showed an ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting in limited time last year.”
2017-2018 Record: 16-6 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames will be making a transition this year following the graduation of Kayla Raymond, who was a two-time HockomockSports.com First Team performer and last year’s league MVP (and is already a three-time Rookie of the Week at Stonehill College), but the Tigers have a number of returning players to try and make up for Raymond’s production on both ends of the floor and make another run at a league title.
Senior Alex Sheldon grew in confidence over the course of last season and became a double-double machine by the end of the year, dominating on the glass and improving her finishing around the rim. Junior Erin Holberg emerged last year as a strong scorer on the perimeter with her touch from the outside and ability to take defenders off the dribble. Junior Meg Holleran is in her third season on varsity and is a tough, physical defender who can knock down shots from the outside.
Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a strong freshman season, playing several positions (from point guard to small forward), crashing the boards, and showing off decent range. The return of senior Sadie Homer will add energy on both ends of the floor and give the Tigers another strong outside shooter to stretch the floor, while senior Ally Scolnick came off the bench last season to add another shooter to the OA offense.
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said of the experienced returning players, “They will lead the youngest team OA has put on the court in quite a long time. We are looking towards gaining valuable game experience and coming into to our own as the season progresses.”
2017-2018 Record: 2-18 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sanda Lombardi
It was a tough winter for new Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi, as the Eagles struggled to a two-win season, but five of their losses were by 10 points or fewer and they return all but one player from last season’s team. With a year to get acclimated to Lombardi’s system, an experienced roster of returning players, and several newcomers, Sharon has its sights set on getting into the postseason for the first time since its run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.
Sharon returns its leading scorer and playmaker in senior Emma Eberhardt, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team last season, and she will once again be the focal point of the offense, as well as one of the team’s leading defenders. Eberhardt’s versatility as a wing player should open things up for junior guards Kaitlyn Wallace and Ally Brown, who will both fill in as ball-handlers after the graduation of Miranda Cheung. Wallace will extend defenses with her shooting from the outside and Brown adds energy to the backcourt defense.
Senior guard Bridget McManus will add depth and junior forward Telishya Herbert provides a strong presence in the paint. Junior Olivia Langol-Leonard added frontcourt depth and was active on the glass in her time on the court, while senior forward Evanjuline Elisma can score in transition and adds another solid wing defender.
“We only lost one player due to graduation,” said Lombardi. “We have the entire team back and we added some height. I’m excited to see what the season brings. The girls are working hard and our goal is to qualify for the postseason.”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton started last season with five straight defeats and only one win in the opening eight games, but the Black Knights turned things around with a vengeance, winning 11 of its final 12 games of the regular season and winning its opening game of the state tournament. Stoughton’s only two losses in its final 14 games of the season were to state champion Foxboro. That is a lot of momentum for the Black Knights to carry into this year.
It may be a little different look for Stoughton this winter after the graduation of Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Instead of being a team that dominates the paint, there will be a host of guards and wing players who can still battle on the glass, but will bring energy and tenacity on the perimeter on both ends of the court. Junior Aliyah Wright is back as the team’s point guard and her length makes her a factor guarding multiple positions. Senior Lindsay McDonald adds versatility as a combo guard and sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe is a dynamic guard and stretches defenses with her ability to shoot from the outside.
While there are a lot of familiar faces returning for the Black Knights, there are several players who will have more responsibility this year and the potential to make big contributions. Junior Lexi Baptista defends well at the forward position and gives a different look on the post, while seniors Hailey Egan and Heather Maddalena will add extra toughness to the backcourt. Junior Shyanne Trinh is still battling an injury at the beginning of the season, but she will give Stoughton a big scoring boost when she returns.
“This season will be all about our effort, energy and enthusiasm on defense,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The Black Knights will be most successful when we put in work on the defensive end and finish each play with a Black Knights rebound.”
2017-2018 Record: 7-15 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton started last winter well and had the potential for making a return to the state tournament, but injuries slowed things down for the Tigers and they missed out on the postseason. While the year didn’t end the way they would have hoped, a number of younger players were given valuable varsity experience and there are a number of returning players ready to make an impact.
Senior Lily Patneaude will be the player to watch for the Tigers, as the team’s leading scorer from last year. After battling an injury down the stretch, her return gives Taunton a consistent primary offensive weapon and takes some of the scoring pressure off her teammates. Senior point guard Alexa White is also back to provide leadership, energy, and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor. Sophomore Kelsey White showed flashes as a rookie of being the secondary scorer that Taunton needs, with her ability to knock down shots from the outside and take defenders off the dribble.
Even with a year of experience, Taunton is still a relatively young team. Sophomores Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will provide athleticism from the forward positions and give Taunton effort in the paint, while sophomore Tori DaRose, and freshmen Abby Souza (who saw brief minutes as an eighth-grader last season) and Braeley MacDonald give the Tigers depth off the bench.
“We have great group of enthusiast student athletes consisting of senior leadership, youth, athleticism, and talent,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “This team is looking forward to a fun and exciting season.”
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming into Friday night’s game at the Pickering Gym, Stoughton had lost four games by seven or less points, struggling to find ways down the stretch to pull out wins. When North Attleboro climbed back to within five points in the fourth quarter, it looked like that may happen again for the Black Knights.
Instead of letting the game slip away, senior forward Val Whalen took over down the stretch. She scored 10 points, made 8-of-10 from the free throw line, and dominated the paint to help Stoughton close with a 17-6 run that sealed a 59-43 victory over North and ended the Black Knights’ winless start in the league.
“This is the best game of Val’s senior year so far and I know she’s going to continue to do great things,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “It was clutch. She stepped up to the line and knocked them down. Obviously, her offensive rebounds were important, but it was nice to see her do well from the free throw line.”
Whalen finished the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds, while also adding four assists and two blocks. North struggled to find an answer for the senior on either end of the floor.
“She’s a nightmare and causes a lot of problems,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “She can shoot a little bit and it drags you out and then you’ve got [Jordan] Motley to grab all the backside rebounds. So, you’ve really got to have two posts and if you don’t have two posts you’re always playing a matchup game.”
Stoughton took over on the boards right from the opening tap. Whalen pulled down nine rebounds in the first quarter and scored seven points, with both of her baskets coming on putbacks at the rim. Sophomore guard Aliyah Wright (13 points, nine rebounds) also chipped in with six in the first.
North tried to stay close with its perimeter game. Julia Feid (team-high 12 points) and Emily Haskell (eight points) each knocked down threes to keep North within seven (17-10) after one quarter.
The Rocketeers made only one shot from the floor in the second, but were managing to stay close thanks to 9-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. Stoughton’s aggressive defense was giving North free points, but sophomores Shyanne Trinh (14 points) and Mariah Harris (seven points) each hit threes to keep the Black Knights ahead.
With North hanging around, down just eight inside the final few seconds of the half, Trinh took off on a coast-to-coast run that ended with a layup and a 30-20 halftime lead, which left North’s bench frustrated.
“We did okay with our game plan, but they’re a good team, they’re battle-tested, and they’ve got some kids who’ve been on varsity for two or three years now,” said Herber.
Fouls continued to rack up for Stoughton in the second half. North shot 12 free throws in the third and reached the bonus before the end of the quarter. Feid scored on an offensive rebound to cut the lead back to 10 and Julia Santos (eight points, 11 rebounds) added a putback as well.
Heading to the fourth quarter, Stoughton’s lead, which had been as many as 13 was down to just seven.
“We were in foul trouble and that really hurt us,” said Steele Jordan, “but we’ve had several close ones that we needed just a little bit more and I think those games helped us in this instance.”
North continued to battle early in the fourth. Sophomore Eliza Dion (seven points) drove through the Stoughton defense for a layup that made it 40-35 and, after a pair of Whalen free throws, Haskell drove on the other side for a bucket that again got the Rocketeers within five points. It was as close as North would get.
Herber said, “They fight, they fight and that’s why I feel so bad for them because they do fight. We’ve been in the last couple of games but we just couldn’t get that big shot.”
Wright scored on a runner in the lane and found Whalen leaking out in transition for an easy basket to push the lead back to nine. Whalen grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Trinh for an open three that put Stoughton up by double digits and then Whalen sealed the win with six free throws in the closing minutes.
“They can do some things in the post that we didn’t have any answers for,” Herber admitted. “Whalen and Motley (14 rebounds) down the stretch really gave us problems and we tried to get them in foul trouble but couldn’t at the end.”
Steele Jordan said, “It’s tough. You have a few tough losses back-to-back, but I have a fantastic team and they work hard for me every day. They dug down, played solid ‘D’, and took their time on offense and it showed today.”
After earning its first win in the league, Steele Jordan is hoping that the team can build off this performance. She said, “They’re young, but they’re coming into their own, which is nice because you always worry about peaking too soon. I’m glad my team is starting to turn the wheels now and really get going.”
Stoughton (2-7, 1-5) will travel to Sharon on Tuesday night trying to make it two in a row in the Hock. North Attleboro (1-7, 0-6) will try to get its first win in the league on Tuesday at Milford.
Mansfield, 64 @ Attleboro, 51 – Final – Mansfield opened the second half with a 12-2 surge, turning a deficit into an eight-point lead and never looked back. Attleboro held a 30-28 lead at the break but Mansfield took control of the game by outscoring the Bombardiers 22-8 in the frame. Mansfield senior John McCoy dropped a career-high 24 points, hauled in nine rebounds, had five assists and four steals to lead the Hornets, who totaled 10 steals as a team. Damani Scott tied a career-high with 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Ryan Otto chipped in with 10 points. Attleboro sophomore Bryant Ciccio tied a career-high with 17 points.
Milford, 51 @ Canton, 61 – Final – Canton connected on 14 three-pointers as a team, jumping out to a 19-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, and a 30-17 lead at the break. The Bulldogs furthered the lead with a 21-12 third quarter. Senior Tony Harris led the way with 18 points while classmate Austin Maffie netted 17 points for the Bulldogs. Milford junior Brendan White led the Hawks with 14 points.
Stoughton, 41 @ Foxboro, 54 – Final – Foxboro increased its lead after each of the first three quarters to beat the visiting Black Knights. The Warriors led 16-11 after one, 31-20 at the halftime break, and 43-29 heading into the final quarter. Sophomore Brandon Borde led the way offensively with a game-high 19 points while senior Bobby Harrison added 14 points and senior Joe Morrison chipped in with 13 points. Stoughton head coach John Gallivan noted that Alex Sjoquist played well defensively for the Black Knights.
King Philip, 53 @ Oliver Ames, 51 – Final – King Philip outscored Oliver Ames 21-14 in the third quarter to take a lead and held off a late comeback attempt from OA to earn the win. The Warriors had eight players get on the score sheet, led by Brendan King’s 11 points. Both Pharoah Davis and Tom Madden added nine points while Tim Nault chipped in with seven points. Jack Spillane led Oliver Ames with 23 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, while junior Ethan Eckstrom scored 11 points.
North Attleboro, 67 @ Sharon, 61 – Final – North Attleboro overcame an early 16-2 deficit with a strong second half to earn the win. Sharon led 16-7 after the first quarter and 27-20 at the halftime break. Big Red came out with a huge third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 18-7 to seize a lead, and then built a 62-47 lead with just under two minutes to play. North senior Chad Peterson came off the bench, hitting three triples in the second half on his way to a game-high 15 points. Josh Montague added 13 points, Ethan Friberg scored a career-high 11 points (10 in the second half) and junior Jake Petersen had eight points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet had a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds while Alex Kaufmann added 16 points and Jimmy Fitzhenry had 11 points and three steals.
Attleboro, 31 @ Mansfield, 52 – Final – Mansfield opened a one-game lead on Attleboro in the league standings with the win. Meg Hill scored 15 points, had 11 boards, and blocked three shots for the Hornets, who also got 11 points from Erin Daniel, eight points and six assists from Mady Bendanillo, and eight points and nine rebounds from Maggie Danehy. Attleboro got 10 points from Sam Pierce and eight points from Liv McCall in the loss.
Foxboro, 74 @ Stoughton, 46 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 23 points to lead the Warriors to a seventh straight win, six of which were by double digits. Lily Sykes added 15, Shannon Smally had 13, and Grace Tamulionis had 10 points for Foxboro. Stoughton sophomore Shyanne Trinh led the Black Knights with 10 points.
Franklin, 55 @ Taunton, 41 – Final – Sophomore center Ali Brigham recorded a triple-double to help the Panthers earn the road win and stay within a game of first place Mansfield. Brigham scored 15 points, recorded 13 rebounds, and had 10 blocks on the night.
Oliver Ames, 47 @ King Philip, 34 – Final – Leading 32-28 with four minutes to play, Oliver Ames closed the game with a 15-6 run to put the game away and earn the win. Senior Kayla Raymond had a monster night with 30 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to lead the way for the Tigers, who trailed KP 16-14 at the half. Alex Sheldon added 10 points and eight rebounds in the win for OA.
Sharon, 51 @ North Attleboro, 49 – Final – Telishya Herbert led the way with 17 points for the Eagles, who earned their first league win of the season. Emma Eberhardt added 13 points in the win.
Franklin, 126 @ Attleboro, 45 – Final
Franklin, 103 @ Attleboro, 67 – Final
Attleboro, 134 @ Sharon, 127.6 – Final
Franklin, 130.85 @ Oliver Ames, 136.6 – Final – Franklin junior Mia Lizotte won the all-around for the third straight meet with a 35.95, edging out Oliver Ames’ Hannah Moynihan (35.5). Lizotte earned an 8.85 on beam, an 8.7 on bars and a 9.2 on both vault and floor. Franklin senior Liz Traphagen was second for the Panthers on the vault (8.2) and the floor (9.0). Junior Sadie Rondeau was second for the Panthers on both the bars and the beam.
Today’s games are listed below. Don’t forget, Player of the Week nominations are due by Saturday night. You can email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your pick or send it to us on social media. Make sure to include a reason why.
Milford, 48 vs. Bishop Stang, 60 – Final – Senior Andrew Fraioli scored a team-high 12 points but the Scarlet Hawks fell to unbeaten Bishop Stang in an exclusion game. Senior Kayden Kelley added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Milford.
Sharon, 47 @ Westwood, 59 – Final – Sharon senior Malik Lorquet led the Eagles with 16 points and was named to the Westwood Holiday All-Tournament team.
Stoughton, 54 vs. Natick, 74 – Final – Stoughton junior David Bell scored a team-high 18 points for the Black Knights, who fell in the championship game of the Randolph Blue Devils Holiday Classic. Seniors Cam Andrews and Colin Sanda were named to the all-tournament team.
Foxboro, 42 @ Coyle & Cassidy, 41 – Final – Lily Sykes knocked down a three-pointer inside the final 10 seconds to earn Foxboro the victory and a split of the season series with Coyle. Ashley Sampson was held scoreless in the first half but finished with a team-high 11 points and Shannon Smally added eight points in the win.
Stoughton, 49 @ Norwood, 32 – Final – Stoughton gathered a season-high 17 steals as a team and earned its first win of the season. Sophomores Shyanne Trinh and Aliyah Wright each scored 13 points for the Knights while senior Val Whalen had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Canton, 5 vs. Pembroke, 2 – Final
Foxboro, 3 vs. Christian Brothers Academy, 7 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Plymouth South, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames erased three one-goal deficits during the game but Plymouth South broke the 3-3 tie with a late goal. Junior Brett Williams scored twice for the Tigers while sophomore Jake Gottwald scored his first career goal.
Stoughton, 1 @ Taunton, 8 – Final – Taunton’s Will Walsh was involved in seven of the Tigers’ eight goals, scoring a hat trick and adding four assists in a non-league win. Trevor Pietrzyk also netted a hat trick along with three assists, Jake Roberts and Owen Ross each scored once and Brady Nichols had two helpers. Sean Bunker made 16 saves to earn the win in net.
Canton, 3 vs. Milton, 2 (OT) – Final – Canton erased a pair of one-goal deficits, tying the game 2-2 late in the third period. The game will go down as a tie for MIAA purposes, but to determine a tournament champion, the game went into overtime. Junior Maggie Malloy scored the game-winner to lift the Bulldogs to the title.
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 – Final
King Philip, 1 vs. Walpole, 8 – Final
Stoughton, 5 @ St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia, 2 – Final
King Philip @ Montachusett Tech, 10:00AM
Norton Quad (Mansfield, Taunton) – Mansfield picked up a pair of wins at the quad, including a big victory over the hosts. The Hornets’ Ethan Nirenberg (195) fought off his back for a minute to avoid being pinned, helping seal the win for Mansfield, 39-36, against the Lancers. Mansfield also beat Nauset, 34-10. Taunton dropped both of its matches, falling to Norton (51-6) and Nauset (34-30). Woudanly Danger (220) went 2-0 on the day for the Tigers while Eric Dacey (120), Austin MacArthur (126), Josh Grasso (138) and Mason Franklin (285) all picked up a win for Taunton.
Sharon Quad (Sharon) – Sharon split the day, picking up a win over Norwood (60-16) but falling to Mt. Hope (RI) (47-34).
Attleboro, 85 @ Sharon, 65 – Final – Attleboro hit 10 three-pointers as a team and had six players reach double figures in a big win over Sharon. The Bombardiers held a 39-35 lead at halftime but opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to create separation. Attleboro outscored Sharon 23-9 in the third quarter. Attleboro senior Elvin Sam scored a career-high 17 points while sophomore Bryant Ciccio (seven assists) tied a career-high with 16 points for Attleboro. Dom Victor added 15 points while Qualeem Charles (seven rebounds), Nate Douglas, and Mason Houle each scored 10 points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet led all scorers with 20 points.
Franklin, 52 @ Foxboro, 54 – Final – Foxboro led by six at halftime (31-25) and extended that lead to as much as 15 in the second half but had to survive a furious late rally by the Panthers. Foxboro led 42-32 going into the fourth quarter but a 7-0 run from the Panthers cut the deficit to just four, 51-47, with 47 seconds left. Bobby Harrison hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Matt Rongione scored a career-high 15 points for the Warriors while Joe Morrison added 12 points and sophomore Brandon Borde had nine points. Franklin sophomore Chris Edgehill had a game-high 17 points while junior Jalen Samuels added 15 points.
Mansfield, 85 @ Stoughton, 60 – Final – After a close first quarter, Mansfield exploded for 30 points in the second quarter to take a 51-28 lead at halftime. The Hornets had their best defensive quarter of the game in the third, limiting the Black Knights to eight points to pull away completely. Senior John McCoy (9-for-11) scored a team-high 23 points, hauled in 10 rebounds and had three blocks, Khristian Conner notched a career-high 17 points (on 8-for-13 shooting) with seven rebounds and Justin Vine added 16 points. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews scored a game-high 24 points for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 54 @ Milford, 56 – Final (OT) – Milford overcame a 12-point deficit in the final three minutes of the game to send the game to overtime, and then twice erased deficits in the extra period to earn the win. Milford junior Cam Falcon drained a three – his first career field goal – to give the Hawks the early lead in overtime. Taunton rattled off four straight to get the lead back, but two free throws from Milford put the Hawks up 53-52. Taunton scored again to take the but Milford once again sank two free throws to take the lead for good. Brendan White scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Hawks. Steve Sutherland added 12 points in the win for Milford. Taunton sophomore Dante Law scored a game-high 18 points while Lou Vendrell had 10 points for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 44 @ North Attleboro, 59 – Final – North Attleboro raced out to a 12-1 lead after one quarter and never looked back. Big Red took a 27-16 lead into halftime and a 36-28 lead into the fourth quarter. Chad Peterson finished with a team-high 13 points, including three triples in the third quarter. Matt Seavey added 10 points and Evan Rosenberg, Josh Montague, and Jake Peterson all had nine points for the Rocketeers. North head coach Sean Mulkerrins praised the defensive work of Derek Shanks. Jack Spillane led the Tigers with 17 points.
Sharon, 32 @ Attleboro, 48 – Final – Attleboro outscored the Eagles 14-3 in the third quarter to break the game open and earn its second straight victory. The Bombardiers were led by Sam Pierce’s 14 points and nine rebounds. Nyah Thomas added 12 points and nine boards and Jordyn Lake scored seven points, pulled down 10 boards, and dished out five assists in the win. Sharon was led by Emma Eberhardt and Evanjuline Elisma, who each scored 10 points.
Canton, 59 @ King Philip, 54 – Final – The Bulldogs scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to rally for a road win at KP, only taking their first lead in the final minute of the game. Hannah Jerrier had a double-double for Canton, scoring 21 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Erin Devine added 11 points and Maggie Connolly had 10 for the Bulldogs, who shot 15-of-19 from the line as a team.
Stoughton, 30 @ Mansfield, 61 – Final – The Hornets jumped out to an 18-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back to win a second straight game in the league. Meg Hill scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while blocking four shots. Ann Maher added nine points and Maggie Danehy had eight for Mansfield. Val Whalen scored 10 points and Shyanne Trinh had nine in the loss.
Milford, 59 @ Taunton, 44 – Final
North Attleboro, 31 @ Oliver Ames, 58 – Final – Oliver Ames’ defense limited North Attleboro to just 13 points in the first half, taking a 28-13 lead into the break and never looking back. Kayla Raymond led the Tigers with 24 points while Alex Sheldon scored 11 points and Ally Scolnick had eight points. Julia Feid scored a team-high 12 points for North Attleboro.
The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.
Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.
One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.
Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-14 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.
Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.
Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.
“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”
2016-2017 Record: 22-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal Coach: Lisa Downs
After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.
Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.
The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”
2016-2017 Record: 9-11 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.
The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.
Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.
“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.
King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.
Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.
Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”
2016-2017 Record: 20-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.
The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.
Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”
2016-2017 Record: 10-11 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.
The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.
Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.
Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”
Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.
The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.
The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.
North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 13-8 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.
The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.
In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.
“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.
Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.
Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.
Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”
The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.
Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.
Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-21 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.
The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.
Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.
Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”