Hornets Drop Heartbreaker In Double Overtime

Mansfield girls soccer
Mansfield’s Sydney Mulkern fights for a loose ball against Newton South in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
PLYMOUTH, Mass. – Time after time, the Mansfield defense thwarted long throws and corners kicks from top-seeded Newton South.

In the first overtime period alone, the Hornets fended off five long throws from the Lions’ throw-in specialist Larissa Williams.

While the Hornets limited Newton South’s restarts in the offensive third in the second overtime, the Lions finally got a throw-in in the final minute and cashed in. Williams’ long throw-in was cleared back to her on the sideline, and she delivered a service into the area that Audrey Lavey headed into the net, giving Newton South a 3-2 win over Mansfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We kept bending, bending, never breaking but the last one they finally find the free header,” said Mansfield head coach Kevin Smith. “Hats off to [Newton South], they are a fantastic team. The corners, the long throws….they were very dangerous and put us under pressure. We just couldn’t find that release pass. We had opportunities, we had a couple open nets we just couldn’t put it away.”

Mansfield had a pair of leads in the game, but the Lions had an answer each time, the second strike coming just seconds after the Hornets had regained the lead.

In the first overtime, the Lions applied the majority of the pressure with five long throw-ins, but the back line of Emily Vigeant, Mikaela Maughn, Erin Daniel, and Kerina Geminiani did an admirable job of handling it in front of keeper Caty DeMassi.

Newton South also had a pair of corner kicks in the first 10-minute span of golden goal, which is how the Lions tied the game in the second half, but Mansfield’s defense did its job.

While playing compact in the back, Mansfield’s best chances came on the counter attack. In the 86th minute, Sydney Mulkern nearly played Steph Kemp in behind but a nice play by the Newton South keeper cleared it away.

In the second overtime, Kemp made a nice run to the outside, got a touch around her defender and delivered a tempting ball into the area but there weren’t any Hornets in the vicinity.

“That’s the only thing you can do,” Smith said of the counter attack. “We couldn’t find a way to release the pressure in the midfield. When we got the ball up front, we were trying to make the pass too quickly and we weren’t there because it’s a 60 yard run with tired legs.”

The Lions nearly had the game-winner in the 94th minute when Cassie Lee snuck in behind the defense but DeMassi was quick off her line to thwart the opportunity.

Mansfield had a bright start to the match, having the majority of possession and keeping the ball in its attacking half. In the 12th minute, Daniel nearly opened the scoring with a well-taken one-timer from 30 yards out but the ball smacked off the cross bar, and Katie Garvin’s header on the rebound was saved.

The pressure paid off in the 28th minute as the Hornets Tok the lead. Cassidy McMahon delivered a corner kick to the far post and Melissa Reef rose up and headed the ball back across the goal inside the post for a 1-0 lead.

But the lead only lasted four minutes, as the Lions took advantage of a Mansfield miscue. In the defensive third, a miscommunication allowed Lee to get in between the defender and the keeper, blocking the clearance. The loose ball popped back to Lee’s foot and she buried her chance, sending the teams into half tied 1-1.

Mansfield regained the lead just over 10 minutes into the second half. Bryn Anderson settled a throw from Geminiani and gained just enough space to launch a high cross to the far post. McMahon skied into air and headed the service under the bar and into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.

Similar to the first lead, it didn’t last long. Newton South quickly marched up field and earned a corner kick, and Lucy Jenks nodded in a cross from Maia Madison to make it 2-2 in the 52nd minute.

In the 67th minute, DeMassi made a terrific play off her line to deny the Lions of a partial breakaway.

In the 70th minute, Mansfield nearly went ahead again. Kemp played McMahon wide, and she centered her pass but Anderson couldn’t get her foot on the cross in front and Mulkern saw her chance for over the bar at the far post.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And in the 75th minute, the Hornets had a free kick from straight away from 20 yards out but couldn’t get the shot on frame.

“After their first goal, you could tell we were deflated and they had some momentum going for them,” Smith said. “We just couldn’t find our energy. We got it back at halftime and scored the goal to go up. I didn’t think we dropped after their second goal, I thought we still had opportunities, we just couldn’t find it. Their keeper made some nice plays, their defense was smothering. Our defense played great too. But they found that last one.”

Mansfield girls soccer (15-3-4) graduates 19 seniors from this year’s team, a group that made its mark on the program. The Hornets won three straight Kelley-Rex division titles, the first three in program history. In their four years, the varsity team went 54-12-12.

“It’s a special group, I’ve known most since they were 5 or 6 years old, since they were little kids,” Smith said. “They are like my daughters.”

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/24/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Soccer
Mansfield, 9 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalMansfield senior Steph Kemp was involved in over half of the Hornets’ goals, helping her side clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex division title. It marks the third straight division title for Mansfield, who can win it outright with a draw or win against Taunton. Kemp scored a hat trick and had two assists, Cassidy McMahon added a goal and two assists, and Kerina Geminiani finished with a pair of goals. Melissa Reef, Sarah Sacco, and Kerrin Sears also scored for Mansfield.

Milford, 2 @ Sharon, 0 – Final

Taunton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Anna Tempestoso (on her birthday), Erin Holmberg, and Brianna Gibson each scored a pair of goals as Oliver Ames recorded a big win at home, giving head coach Britt Sellmayer his 400th career win. Tempestoso scored the first two goals of the game, Holmberg found the back of the net twice in a row, and Gibson scored two straight as OA led 6-0 at half.

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 7 – FinalAttleboro scored early in the second half to cut Franklin’s lead in half but the Panthers responded with five goals in a 15-minute span to earn a big win. Cassi Ronan and Regan Paterson (from Amanda Lewandowski) scored in the first half to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead at the break. Alex Compton scored for Attleboro to make it 2-1 just two minutes into the second half. Franklin responded with goals from Victoria Quinn (from Paterson) in the 41st minute, Ashley Reutinger (from Lewandowski) in the 45th minute, Paterson just 17 seconds later, Lewandowski in the 50th minute, and Ronan in the 55th minute. Christina Luccini and Anna Jardine each had three saves in net.

Milford, 0 @ Canton, 3 – FinalCanton’s Maggie Malloy paced the Bulldogs to a shutout win over Milford. After a scoreless first half, Malloy scored a natural hat trick in the second half to help Canton earn the win.

North Attleboro, 3 @ Foxboro, 7 – Final

Oliver Ames, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – FinalKing Philip took the lead just over a minute into the game but didn’t add to its total until the final five minutes of the game. Claire Lawler scored an unassisted goal 1:19 into the contest but neither side found the back of the net over the next 50 minutes. Nicole Connor added the insurance goal on an assist from Meghan MacDonald with 4:59 to play.

Sharon, 0 @ Stoughton, 6 – FinalStoughton’s Morgan Lessa scored her first career goal as the Black Knights rolled to a win at home. Haley Nelson led the Stoughton offense with three goals while Allie Howe found the back of the net twice.

Taunton, 4 @ Mansfield, 2 – FinalTaunton built a 2-1 lead by halftime and never relinquished that advantage on its way to a 4-2 decision over Mansfield. The Tigers had four different goal scorers as Alana Tavares (assist), Jillian Pagliuca, Hannah Blackwell, and Cierra Bartel each found the back of the net. Lauren Torres had two assists and Emma Sheehan made five saves in net.

Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – FinalFranklin completed its undefeated regular season (17-0) with a 3-0 win over visiting Attleboro (25-9, 25-14, 25-11). Ellie Wisniewski (three aces) had a team-high eight kills while Peyton Arone (two aces), Hailey Sanders, and Lily Galluccio had six kills apiece. Lauren McGrath finished with 26 assists while Emma Clifford ended the game with an ace for the Panthers.

Milford, 0 @ Canton, 3 – FinalCanton clinched the Davenport division outright, its 10th title in the last 11 years, with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-10, 25-10) win over Milford. Nyah Claiborne played great with 14 service points, including three aces and six digs, Rose Hazam added four kills and had a strong game at the net, and Nicole Brown continued her stellar senior year with 21 assists and three kills.

North Attleboro, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final

Oliver Ames, 3 @ King Philip, 1 – FinalKing Philip got back into the game with a close third set win but Oliver Ames closed the match out with a big win in the fourth set (25-13, 25-14, 25-27, 25-11). Allie Kemp had a strong game for OA with 40 assists and three aces. Sadie Homer added 38 digs and four aces, Jordan Bosse had 17 kills and six aces, and Grace McCallum finished 12 digs and seven aces for the Tigers. For King Philip, Nicole Coughlan and Catherine Waldeck each had seven kills.

Taunton, 2 @ Mansfield, 3 – FinalAfter going up 1-0, Taunton rallied for a 2-1 lead but the Hornets won the final two sets to prevail 3-2 (25-16, 11-25, 20-25, 25-14, 15-5). “All of our seniors played a great game,” said Mansfield head coach Melissa Heeden. Abby Sullivan had eight of her 17 service points in the last game to help the Hornets get the win. Greenly Kelly had eight kills and eight service points, Katie Dardinski added five digs and six service points, and Meg Haradon finished with 10 service points.

Sharon, 1 @ Stoughton, 3 – FinalStoughton overcame a 1-0 deficit to earn a win over visiting Sharon. Delaney Nagel led the Black Knights with 14 kills and 10 blocks, Molly Turner had 10 aces and 16 digs, and Mia Bennett was strong on defense with 26 digs.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/12/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Game of the Week – Football
Attleboro, 35 @ Mansfield, 42 – Final
1st Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 7-yard rush, Michael DeBolt XP good; (A) Jason Weir 5-yard pass to Jacob Weatherford, Colby Briggs XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Aidan Sacco 26-yard pass to Khristian Connor, M. DeBolt XP good; (A) J. Weir 24-yard pass to Justin Daniels, C. Briggs XP good; (M) C. Gill 31-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) A. Sacco 11-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good; (A) J. Weir 1-yard rush, C. Briggs XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) C. Gill 21-yard rush, XP blocked; (A) J. Weir 45-yard pass to Kevin Velazquez-Rivera, C. Briggs XP good; (A) Justin Cote 12-yard rush, C. Briggs XP good. (M) K. Connor 11-yard rush, A. Sacco 2-point pass to Vinnie Holmes.

Football
Sharon, 0 @ Canton, 39 – Final
1st Quarter: (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 17-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) K. Fitzgerald 3-yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (C) K. Fitzgerald 64-yard punt return, XP failed; (C) Johnny Hagan 27-yard pass to Gersom Rivera, XP failed; (C) G. Rivera 10-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) Cam Sanchez 20-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

Milford, 42 @ Foxboro, 28 – Final

Franklin, 42 @ Taunton, 7 – Final
1st Quarter: (F) Nick Gordon 32-yard pass to Ryan Driscoll, Parker Chevrant XP good; (F) N. Gordon 56-yard pass to R. Driscoll, P. Chevrant XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Owen Palmieri 1-yard rush, P. Chevrant XP good; (F) N. Gordon 45-yard pass to Jake Davis, P. Chevrant XP good.
3rd Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 1-yard rush, Coby Adams XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) N. Gordon 15-yard pass to Jack Nally, P. Chevrant XP good; (F) Sean Hofferty 4-yard rush, P. Chevrant XP good.

King Philip, 34 @ Oliver Ames, 15 – Final
1st Quarter: (OA) Nathan Cabral 5-yard rush, Remi Creighton XP good; (KP) Robbie Jarest 19-yard past to Sam Sessay, Cole Baker XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 6-yard rush, C. Baker XP good; (KP) R. Jarest 2-yard pass to David Morganelli, C. Baker XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) R. Halliday 8-yard rush, C. Baker XP good; (OA) Darnele Ryan 1-yard rush, Dean Pacini 2pt rush good.
4th Quarter: (KP) R. Halliday 1-yard rush, 2pt failed.

Stoughton, 21 @ North Attleboro, 10 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (S) John Burke 1-yard rush, Josh Cocchi XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 27-yard field goal.
4th Quarter: (NA) Nick Raneri 7-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good; (S) J. Burke 29-yard pass to Ajahn Rue, J. Cocchi XP good; (S) Christopher Ais 11-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.

Boys Soccer
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalAttleboro controlled the first half and took a 1-0 lead but Mansfield took over in the second half and found the equalizer. Colin Levis gave the visitors the lead in the 31st minute but Mansfield freshman Dylan Buchanan was crediting for the tying goal, with the Bombardiers have an own goal.

Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – FinalKing Philip scored inside the first and last five minutes of the match to earn two points at home and keep its postseason hopes alive. Senior captain Ian Zimmerman gave the hosts the lead in the third minute, finishing off a cross from classmate John Cullen. Cam Lawrence added the insurance tally in the 75th minute, scoring on a volley on an assist from Gavon Fox. Aidan Lindmark made four saves to record the shutout.

Milford @ Sharon – Postponed to Saturday, 10/20 at 6:00.

North Attleboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to Monday, 10/15 at 3:45.

Girls Soccer
Mansfield, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalMansfield’s Steph Kemp found the back of the net twice while Sydney Mulkern capped the scoring, leading the Hornets to a shutout win on the road. Bryn Anderson had two assists while Katy Garvin added one helper for the Hornets.

Foxboro, 1 @ Walpole, 0 – FinalFoxboro used an early second half goal and solid play from its defense and goalies to pick up a win on the road at Walpole and stay unbeaten on the season. Lizzy Davis had the lone goal, scoring an unassisted tally early in the second half.

King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 1 – FinalAfter a scoreless first half, Ally Stanton broke the deadlock midway through the second half off an Avery Snead assist. Erin Quaile equalized for Franklin just four minutes later off a Carly Alston assist. Breanna Atwood made nine saves and Taylor Butler made five saves for the Warriors, as both teams earned a point.

Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 8 – FinalAshlyn Gaulin scored four times to help the Rocketeers clinch a spot in the state tournament. Kayla Pasquel had a pair of goals and an assist and Abi Slaney scored the first two goals of her career. Lily Cameron had a pair of assists, while Haley Ferrin, Emma Gaulin and Lydia Santos each had one assist in the win. Stoughton sophomore Ashley Camilo scored on an assist from Hannah Papagno.

Sharon, 0 @ Milford, 2 – FinalCassie Probert and Juliana France each scored their third goals of the season for the Hawks to help the team earn its third win of the season. Olivia Marshall had the clean sheet for Milford, her third this fall, making seven saves in the win.

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalIn her third varsity game, freshman Emelia Westwater scored her first varsity goal, and then scored another as the Bombardiers netted a win on the road. Anna Beck and Emma Briggs also scored for Attleboro in the victory.

Canton, 0 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalTaunton goalie Emma Sheehan made seven saves in net to help the host Tigers earn a draw.

Volleyball
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final Oliver Ames went on the road and picked up a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-18, 25-11) over Bridgewater-Raynham to qualify for the state tournament. Sadie Homer had 29 digs for the Tigers, Jordan Bosse added 14 kills and three aces, and sophomore Sarah Morley had a balanced defensive game for the Tigers.

King Philip, 0 @ Walpole, 3 – FinalKing Philip went on the road and fell to Walpole. Catherine Waldeck had five kills and two blocks and Shayla Weitzman added nine digs for the Warriors.

Golf
Sharon, 153 @ Attleboro, 179 – Final
King Philip, 172 @ Foxboro, 173 – Final
Franklin @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.

Mansfield Hands KP First Loss In Convincing Fashion

Mansfield girls soccer
King Philip’s Chloe Layne (left) pressures Mansfield’s Mikaela Maughn in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – The fireworks are typically saved for the end, but King Philip and Mansfield girls soccer wasted little game in getting things going in a highly anticipated matchup between two teams coming in undefeated.

Both teams scored inside the first five minutes of the game, and by the time 15 minutes elapsed, each side had another bid hit off the post. But in the end, it was a relentless attack from the visiting Hornets that was the story, resulting in a convincing 4-1 decision over the host Warriors.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield seized a 1-0 advantage in the fourth minute only for KP to tie the game just seconds later. However, the Hornets took the lead back in the 37th minute and cashed in twice in a second half that featured numerous chances to earn the two points.

“Avery [Snead] and Chloe [Layne] are fantastic, you have to give them all the credit, you have to respect them but you can’t over-respect them and just play defense, defense, defense,” said Mansfield head coach Kevin Smith. “That just feeds them more. You have to make [King Philip] play defense. With our speed on the wings, we wanted to make sure we could run onto the through balls. And that opened the space for our midfielders to do their job and they were fantastic at it.”

The pressure paid off early for Mansfield. Steph Kemp charged in on a through ball behind the defense, forcing KP keeper Taylor Butler off her line. Kemp was able to apply enough pressure and deflected the ball in behind. Freshman Maria Sevastos calmly tracked the loose ball down and tucked it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

But the advantage lasted merely seconds. A punt from Mansfield keeper Lauren Whitman was brought down by Snead with a terrific first touch, and the junior didn’t hesitate before firing a shot from just over 35 yards out, catching the keeper off the line for a 1-1 scoreline.

Back on the other end, Kemp drew in the defense and then switched the ball over to Cassidy McMahon on the left side. The senior hit a one-time shot that looked destined for the back of the net but the bid clanked off the post and stayed out.

Snead found Ally Stanton in the area in the 14th minute, but a nice sliding stop from Whitman forced a corner. On that corner, Layne found Snead at the back post, but her header hit the post and stayed out. KP nearly cashed in on another corner in the 25th minute, but Snead’s header was blocked on the line by Mansfield defender Kerina Geminiani.

In the 28th minute, Layne drilled a 30-yard free kick off the crossbar.

For Mansfield, it was a big boost to not let the Warrior offense gain momentum after an opening strike. KP had scored at least three goals in its last five games.

“It starts with 19 seniors, five captains, five girls who have been varsity players for four years,” Smith said of not letting the early equalizer change the game. “You can’t feed on emotion, you have to just play. You have to do the right things, and the results will take care of themselves.”

Before the stroke of halftime, the Hornets were able to jump in front again. Bryn Anderson took possession and very intelligently switched fields in a quick manner. She found McMahon out on the left flank, and the senior centered for Kemp. Kemp calmly took a touch to control the cross and then deposited it in the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.

Holding a 2-1 lead, the second half continued to belong to the visiting Hornets.

King Philip’s best chances came in the 45th minute (Stanton’s chance at an open net blocked again by Geminiani) and in the 69th minute when Snead’s cross found Layne at the near post, but pressure from Mansfield keeper Caty DeMassi forced the one-timer high.

Other than that, it was constant pressure from the Hornets attacking group. Mansfield continued to find space between the defense and used its speed to run onto the through balls.

In the 51st minute, a simple lay off from Katie Garvin put Anderson in behind and she one-timed it past an oncoming Butler for a 3-1 lead.

“We’re getting better every game,” Smith said. “And now we’re finally scoring. It’s been one goal, one goal, one goal and then all of a sudden we get four today.

“They had the goal, the post, and the crossbar and other than that, not many chances. But our defense starts in the front. Our forwards have to pressure, that lets the mids do their job, and makes it easier on the defense.”

Kemp nearly made it 4-1 just two minutes later, chipping the keeper but KP defender Olivia Barry made a terrific hustle play, beating the ball to the line and keeping it out.

With just under five minutes to play, the Hornets put the game on ice. On the right flank, Mansfield senior Erin Daniel found Anderson with a central pass. Anderson took one touch and unleashed a low shot to make it 4-1, putting a cherry on top of what was an impressive showing from Mansfield.

“I thought we’d be able to come from the outside in against their defense, but that didn’t happen,” said KP head coach Gary Pichel. “Their defense shut everything down, and the opposite happened with our defense. They were much quicker than us and their through balls had much better touch than ours. They were able run through and connect with their speed, and they took us down. Our midfield play was not nearly as good as I had hoped for. That formation they had, it really did a good job against us, it broke us down in every aspect.

“But we’ve learned from our mistakes, and hopefully this makes us a better team. I give [Mansfield] all the credit in the world, they were outstanding today. They came to play. We’ve had some easy games so now this will open their eyes, and we’ll have to do something different now.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

On top of a great offensive performance, the Hornet back line of Daniel, Geminiani, and center backs Mikaela Maughn and Emily Vigeant was outstanding. Snead and Layne, two of the top players in the entire state, were virtually shadowed everywhere they went by the center backs. And Daniel and Geminiani provided the help when needed.

“We’re blessed to have those two in the middle,” Smith said. “And then Kerina and Erin pinched in the middle to help take away the gaps. So when either one of them got the ball, Emily or Mikaela was right there, and then we’d have a mid back to double team. We wanted to force them to play backward.”

Mansfield girls soccer (7-0-1 Hockomock, 8-0-1 overall) will attempt to keep its undefeated streak alive when it travels to Stoughton on Monday. King Philip (7-1-0, 7-1-1) will try to bounce back when it travels to North Attleboro on the same day.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/08/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Canton, 0 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final

Girls Soccer
Mansfield, 1 @ Danvers, 0 – FinalSteph Kemp scored the game’s only goal in the 75th minute on an assist from Bryn Anderson, as the Hornets went on the road to beat the defending Div. 2 state champions. Lauren Whitman and Caty DeMassi combined on the clean sheet.

Field Hockey
Sharon, 0 @ Norwell, 3 – Final

Hornets Stumble in Semi Against South Power Braintree

Mansfield girls basketball
Meg Hill goes up for two of her game-high 19 points against Braintree in the Div. 1 South semifinal at Taunton High. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


TAUNTON, Mass. – In the quarterfinal round against Wellesley, Mansfield (20-6) went on a quick four-point run at the end of the first half that cut the deficit to single digits and gave the Hornets, who have been a standout second half team all season, a little extra confidence heading into halftime.

On Thursday evening at Taunton High, the Hornets got off to a tough start to their Div. 1 South semifinal against Braintree. Plagued by turnovers and struggling to knock down shots in the first half, Mansfield was still able to cut the Wamps lead to 10 points and head coach Mike Redding implored the Hornets to win the final three minutes of the half.

Instead, it was the Wamps that went on a run that essentially won the game.

Braintree went on a 12-1 run in the final three minutes of the second quarter to push the lead to 21 and kept the pressure on throughout the second half, pulling out a 68-40 victory that advanced the Wamps to their seventh straight South final.

“It was kind of what they did last year, they put runs on us and we can’t answer the runs,” said Redding. He added, “The first half we were just so uncharacteristic, throwing the ball away, and we lost so many possessions and when we did turn it over it led to transition points.”

In last year’s South final, Braintree caught fire and rained down threes to beat Mansfield, but on Thursday the Wamps were struggling from the floor in the opening quarter. Braintree was able to build a lead thanks to its defense, which forced a number of turnovers in the opening half and put pressure on the Hornets ball-handlers to deny the entry pass into Meg Hill in the post.

“I thought they played great defensively,” said Redding about the Wamps. “Everyone on the floor is athletic and they’re getting in passing lanes, nothing’s easy. Trying to get it into Meg, but they’re doubling, we didn’t hit many threes, just not many answers. They were simply the better team tonight.”

After Hill scored from a lobbed Ann Maher pass to make it 4-2, Braintree went on a 7-0 run before Hill scored again, this time on Steph Kemp assist. Jeniyah Jones beat the Hornets defense on the baseline and the Wamps led 13-6 after one.

In the second, Hill (19 points and five blocks) continued to be the lone Hornet to find any success on the offensive end. She scored four of the team’s seven points and had all four of Mansfield’s made field goals in the opening half.

Mackenzie Moore scored five points for the Wamps and Jones continued to fill up the scoresheet with eight of her team-high 15 points, including the final six points of the half. She also finished with 10 steals, eight rebounds and five assists. Braintree turned a 22-12 lead into 34-13 by the end of the half and completely took control of the game.

“We know [Jenna] Roche and [Adriana] Timberlake and Mackenzie Moore,” said Redding, “but then kids like Jones come off the bench and get some layups, gets to the line and buries every free throw. I said pregame, they make you pay for every mistake and every turnover led to points.”

It may have been a little too late to save the semifinal, the Hornets did find their offense in the second half. Hill completed a three-point play, Kemp knocked down a jumper off a Sydney Mulkern assist, Maher grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a jumper for her only two points of the game, and Emily Vigeant chipped in with all six of her point in the third.

Mansfield scored 15 points in the third quarter, two more than it scored in the entire first half, but the Wamps were able to score 19 and continued building the lead. Timberlake (14 points) drilled a three, Jones added three points and assisted on back-to-back baskets for Alyssa Tenaglia. Braintree led 53-28 after three.

Maggie Danehy, who was coming off a career-high 20-point game against Wellesley, scored four of her five points in the fourth, but Hill was the focal point for the Hornets down the stretch, scoring eight points to close out her standout career, which Redding said was definitely worthy of the school’s Hall of Fame.

During her four varsity seasons, Hill went to four Div. 1 South semifinals and won three straight league titles, while playing in a remarkable 100 games for the Hornets.

“She’s been a workhorse,” Redding said of Hill. “She hasn’t missed a game due to illness or injury and to average a double-double for 100 games is ridiculous. It’s just a great senior class. I mean, four Final Fours in Div. 1 South, thee championships in a row…it’s tough to end in a game like this where you don’t feel like you competed but when you look at the whole big picture it’s been an amazing run for this senior group.”

The Hornets have been one of the most consistent programs in Div. 1 in recent years, but talented Braintree teams have always stood in the way. Redding is expecting that Mansfield will be right back in the mix again next winter.

He said, “We’ve got a slew of juniors coming back and we’ll compete next year. Braintree’s got a great program; I’m glad some of those seniors are gone so they may come back down to everyone else’s level.”