FRANKLIN, Mass. – One of the strengths of Franklin this season has been different players stepping up at different times. The Panthers are a hard team to match up with because it is hard to pinpoint one player that needs to be shut down.
In Monday night’s Div. 1 Central opener, Franklin’s depth was on full display. Senior guard Brayden Sullivan led the way with a game-high 23 points, including 12 in the third quarter alone, but he had plenty of help. Three players scored in double figures, as the Panthers beat visiting Doherty 77-59 and advanced to the sectional quarterfinal.
“That’s been the strength of ours all season, not having one guy that you come in and shut down and say we’ll stop one guy and be fine,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely. “We have a lot of guys who put it in the hoop and we’ve got a lot of guys who do a lot of different things for us.”
Chris Edgehill (nine points) got the night going by scoring Franklin’s first five points, but then Sullivan started to heat up. He drilled a three-pointer to put the Panthers up 10-7 and then got a steal and a layup, plus the foul, to extend the lead to six. He scored eight points in the first quarter and Franklin grabbed a 17-10 lead after one.
Franklin pushed the lead into double digits in the second. Senior Jack Rudolph scored nine of his 14 points in the quarter, half of his team’s 18 in the period. He drilled a three to make it 24-14 and grabbed an offensive rebound for a basket that made it 30-21. Steve Karayan (seven points) followed with a three to make it a 12-point game.
Doherty came right back with four straight points from Noah Callery (12 points) to cut the lead down to eight and Zac Taylor (16 points) had a steal and breakaway to make it even closer. Sullivan chased down Taylor, rose up with the Doherty guard, and blocked his layup attempt.
With the home crowd at its loudest point of the night, Rudolph took the rebound and turned it into a break for the Panthers, finishing to put the hosts up 35-25 at the break.
“Defensively all year, if he’s not the best defensive player in the Hock then he’s definitely in the conversation,” Neely said of Sullivan. “It’s nice to have a guy every game you can say Brayden go guard the other team’s best player and they’re going to have a tough night. So much of what this team’s made of comes from Brayden Sullivan.”
The Panthers threatened to put the game away in the third quarter, as Sullivan caught fire again. He scored 12 of Franklin’s 17 in the third, helping them build the lead to as many as 19 points,
Leading 37-30, Sullivan went on a personal 12-1 run to break the game open. He cut through the lane and finished at the rim, then took advantage of Doherty sinking under a screen to drain a three. Another drive led to a layup and he got out onto the break as well. He finished the run with another steal and layup.
Neely noted that Sullivan just missed out on being selected as an all-star this year and admitted it may have been extra fuel for Monday’s performance. He said, “I think he had something to prove tonight when he wasn’t selected and we thought that was a little extra something for him tonight. A little extra boost.”
The game seemed to be in control, but the Highlanders made a 9-2 run to make things interesting heading to the fourth. Taylor nailed a pair of threes and then Billy Everson (team-high 20 points) grabbed a rebound and finished just before the horn sounded. It was 52-40 after three.
“We were letting them off the hook on some of our possessions,” Neely explained. “We were taking some quick ones and it’s hard because when we have guys open from three we want them to shoot it but sometimes early in the possession we can get that later on and if we grinded them down a little bit, make them fight through a few more screens, couple more cuts, we could’ve gotten even easier looks.
Everson kept the Highlanders hanging around in the fourth quarter, twice answering Franklin baskets with and-ones on the other end, but the Panthers proved to have too much firepower.
Declan Walmsley was the player to step up in the final stretch. He scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth. He got a layup off a Thomas Gasbarro assist, then a three when Rudolph swung it around the perimeter to him. After Rudolph made 1-of-3 at the line, Walmsley grabbed the offensive rebound and finished to make it 65-50.
Doherty whittled the lead back down to 10 but Gasbarro responded with a drive to the rim and Edgehill was left open for a corner three that proved to be the dagger.
Franklin (16-5), which won the Central crown in back-to-back seasons before being knocked out in the first round last year by a strong Algonquin team, will now face a trip to No. 3 seed Natick, which had a strong first season under former Franklin assistant Mike Masto.
“That was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of, unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it,” said Neely about last year’s playoff opener, “but it was nice to get into here and get that off your shoulders. Get yourself into the next round and now we have a huge challenge ahead of us with Natick.”
Attleboro, 63 @ Canton, 55 – Final – After trailing at the end of the first and second quarters, Attleboro limited the host Bulldogs to just seven points in the third to jump ahead and went on to pick up its first win of the season. Canton led 15-6 after eight minutes and took a 28-27 advantage into halftime as senior Robbie Gallery scored 13 of his career-high 22 points in the opening half. Senior Bryant Ciccio scored 13 of his team-best 22 points after the break while Justin Daniels dropped eight points in the second quarter to help the Bombardiers get back in the game. Qualeem Charles scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the Bombardiers.
Franklin, 56 @ Milford, 34 – Final – Franklin raced out to a 35-11 lead by halftime and never looked back in a win on the road over Milford. The Panthers’ held the Scarlet Hawks to eight points in the opening quarter and just one field goal in the second quarter to take a commanding lead. Senior Chris Edgehill scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead the way. Edgehill, Steve Karayan (two), and Brayden Sullivan each hit hit from downtown in the second to help Franklin pull away.
King Philip, 86 @ Sharon, 84 – Final – After letting a 21-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter, King Philip saved the win when senior Alex Fritz nailed a baseline jumper at the buzzer, capping an incredible 36-point effort. The Warriors held a 66-45 advantage after three quarters but the Eagles mounted a comeback, pouring in 39 points in the fourth quarter, even taking the lead inside the final minute. Sharon senior Andrew Burton scored 11 of his career-high 26 points in the final frame, connecting on a shot in the lane to put Sharon up 84-83 with under a minute to play. Fritz answered with a free throw to tie the game and the Warriors forced a turnover to get the ball back. With 5.2 seconds left, Fritz took the ball the length of the court and pulled up for the baseline shot, sinking it as time expired to give KP the win. Fritz scored 10 points in each of the first three quarters, finishing with 11 two-point field goals made. Senior Andrew McKinney added a career-high 22 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter while Sharon senior Aidan Kane scored a career-high 24 points.
Taunton, 55 @ North Attleboro, 57 – Final – North Attleboro junior Edan Kelley drained the go-ahead three with less than 30 seconds to play and the Rocketeers got a final defensive stop to complete a comeback win over visiting Taunton. After trailing for three quarters, North Attleboro battled back to take a fourth quarter lead but Taunton junior Tyler Stewart (career-high 20 points) scored with just under two minutes to play to go ahead 55-54. After the teams traded empty possessions, North junior George Ladd (team-high 14 points) hauled in a big defensive rebound with 27 seconds left to give the hosts possession. Sophomore Brady Rosenberg, who scored half of his career-best 10 points in the final quarter, found Kelley (13 points) open for a three with just under 10 seconds left to put North ahead 57-54. North’s strategic fouling in the final seconds helped prevent Taunton from getting a good look at the end to secure the win. Taunton junior Josh Lopes had a career-high 18 points.
Foxboro, 65 @ Mansfield, 34 – Final – Katelyn Mollica scored 25 points to lead the Warriors to a season-opening road win. Shakirah Ketant added 12 for Foxboro, which jumped out to an 18-point lead by halftime and led by 26 going into the fourth. Ashley Santos was the top scorer for the Hornets with eight and freshman Ally Wager scored six on her varsity debut.
Milford, 25 @ Franklin, 81 – Final – All 12 Panthers scored, as they started their title defense with a convincing win. Ali Brigham led the way with 25 points and Olivia Quinn added 17. Emma Lawrence paced the Hawks with eight.
Sharon, 33 @ King Philip, 62 – Final – KP hit 13 threes as a team, including eight from junior Courtney Keswick to earn a big win in head coach Dan Nagle’s debut. The Warriors were also tough on defense, forcing a number of turnovers to get the break started. Faye Veilleux added 15 points for KP. Telishya Herbert scored a dozen points in the loss and Leah Fandel added nine for the Eagles.
North Attleboro, 36 @ Taunton, 42 – Final – Freshman Kameron St. Pierre scored a team-high 12 points in her first varsity game to help Amy Siggens earn a win on her Taunton coaching debut. Kelsey White added 10 points, while Jaelyn Fernandez chipped in with eight and Sonya Fernandez added seven for the Tigers.
Stoughton, 23 @ Oliver Ames, 71 – Final – Oliver Ames scored 40 points in the opening half to build a big lead and never looked back to pick up a win at home. Sophomore Carline Peper poured in a game-high 24 points to lead the way for the Tigers. Tate Hadges and Caroline Flynn (15 rebounds) each added 11 points in the win. Stoughton’s Shyanne Trinh had a team-high nine points.
Canton, 75 @ Sharon, 92 – Final
Canton, 101 @ Sharon, 69 – Final
Boys Indoor Track
King Philip vs. Attleboro, 7:30
Canton, 47 vs. Sharon, 52 – Final – Sharon took first place in seven of the 12 events, and earned key points by taking first and second in the 55M hurdles to earn a close win over Canton. Senior Isaiah Stessman won the 55M hurdles in 8.31 and junior Patrick McManus took second for the Eagles in 8.40. The Eagles also picked up wins from Mark Starovoytov (600M, 1:30.64), Jordan Saks (1 Mile, 4:53.18), Ike Ogbonnanze (shot put, 41-00.50), McManus (high jump, 5-08.00) and its two relay teams. Canton’s Jonathan Chery won the 55M dash, setting a new school record in 6.68. Other winners for the Bulldogs included Zachary Goldstein (300M, 37.74), Elias Jabbour (1000M, 2:59.75 – a 15-second PR), Kyle Downing (2 Mile , 10:56.02), and Junior Sainvil (long jump, 20-07.00).
Milford, 55 vs. Foxboro, 44 – Final – Milford swept both relay races and won five more individual events to earn a win over Foxboro. The Hawks earned big points by taking first and second in the 55M dash, the 600M, and the 1 Mile race. Junior Keithley Sutton (6.93) and senior Anthony Ghalbouni (6.99) took the top two spots in the 55M dash, Ghalbouni (1:32.30) and senior Samuel Vilt (1:35.10) had the top two spots in the 600M, and senior Max Manor (4:59.30) and sophomore James Comisky (5:11.14) finished first and second in the 1 Mile. Milford senior Lucas Rosa added on a pair of wins, taking first in the shot put (36-10.00) and the long jump (18-07.50). Foxboro picked up first place finishes from junior Adam Connolly (300M, 39.12), senior Joe Cusack (1000M, 2:58.57), senior Ryan Proulx (2 Mile, 10:12.91), senior Ali Nasri (55M hurdles, 8.82), and senior Tyler Hagan (5-02.00).
Franklin vs. Taunton, 7:30
North Attleboro vs. Stoughton, 7:30
Mansfield, 63 vs. Oliver Ames, 37 – Final – Mansfield earned a sweep in the 600M race and took first and second in the high jump to pick up key points in a win over Oliver Ames. Junior Caden Riley crossed first in the 600M in 1:32.20 with classmate Jack Taylor (1:32.68) right behind for second. Senior Cam Eddy was third in 1:33.61. Senior Andrew Williams had a meet-best jump of 6-04.00 (PR) to take first in the high jump and Ethan Thevenot was second at 5-08.00. Williams also set a PR in the long jump (21’1) while Owen Mullahy added a meet-best time of 10:10.68 in the 2 Mile. Oliver Ames junior Kyle Sarney was the top runner in the entire meet in the 1 Mile at 4:37.22 while senior Rory McLaughlin was second overall in 4:37.27.
Girls Indoor Track
King Philip, 64.5 vs. Attleboro, 35.5 – Final – King Philip swept both the high jump and the 600M to earn a win over Attleboro in the season opener. Paige Berdos won the high jump at 4-10.00 while Grace Mattaliano (4-06.00) and Isabelle Watson (4-04.00) took second and third, respectively. Senior Brianna Quirke was the first to cross in the 600M at 1:52:00, junior Charlotte Majer was right behind at 1:52.08, and senior Liliana Rolfe took third overall in 1:53.53. In her first season doing winter track, Attleboro junior Cassondra Stuger won the 300M (44.73) and the long jump (13-10.25), and took second in the 55M dash (7.90). Other winners for the Bombardiers included junior Kelly Neuendorf (1 Mile, 5:45.22), junior Kimberly Esteban (2 Mile, 12:59.42), and junior Kamsi Igbobi (shot put, 31-04.00).
Canton, 35 vs. Sharon, 64 – Final – The Eagles opened the season in style, taking first place in 10 of the 12 events to knock off Canton. Senior Jada Johnson won a pair of individual events, taking first in the 55M hurdles in 8.89 and earning the top spot in the high jump in 5-04.00. Sharon sophomore Simone Dunbar also had a pair of wins, recording a first-place jump of 15-05.75 in the long jump and taking first in the 55M dash in 7.94. Canton’s Bronwyn Mahoney took first in the shot put, with a personal-best and a meet-best throw of 33-03.25. The Bulldogs’ 4×200 relay team of Rosana Cho, Leah Murphy, Gabby Herivaux, and Kiley Hanlon won in 2:01.63.
Milford, 66 vs. Foxboro, 33 – Final – Milford senior Sara Comisky and junior Kerry O’Connor each won a pair of individual events to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a big win. Comisky won both the 1 Mile (6:03.47) and the 2 Mile (13:31.51) while O’Connor took first in the 300M in 42.58 (meet-best) and recorded a jump of 15-08.00 in the long jump. The Hawks also swept the 55M hurdles with junior Catherine Madden (9.82), senior Bella Gonzalez (10.22), and junior Emma Kingkade (10.24) went 1-2-3 in the event. Foxboro junior Meaghan Christie won the shot put (25-03.25) and junior Emma Dahl crossed first in the 1000M (3:31.92).
2018-2019 Record: 18-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Attleboro fulfilled high expectations last year with a terrific regular season but had its postseason run cut short in the opening round of the tournament. With an experienced, battle-tested, and deep group of seniors, the Bombardiers are hoping to take the next step during the 2019-2020 season.
The Bombardiers have seven seniors on the roster with six having plenty of valuable minutes at the varsity level. It all starts with a pair of four-year varsity players and captains Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles. Both have played over 60 games for head coach Mark Houle and earned HockomockSports.com First Team honors a year ago. Ciccio (14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is like a coach on the floor and Charles (13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is a matchup nightmare and one of the most dominant post players in recent years.
But there is much more to the Bombardiers, such as senior captain Tim Callahan. Callahan had a strong junior season with 7.7 points per game and can change a game with his outside shooting. He will also be relied upon to anchor the defense. Guard Nick McMahon and forward Lorenzo Wilson provided a spark off the bench last season and will be key pieces this season. And senior Jason Weir is back in the mix after missing last year due to injury. Weir showed flashes during his sophomore season, a versatile player that can play in the post or step outside and knock down a three.
Attleboro has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and that will make them difficult to defend. They have a couple of good weapons that can score down low and then a handful of shooters, so the inside-out game will be a big part of the game plan. Charles gives the Bombardiers protection around the rim while all five players are the court will have to contribute on the boards to eliminate second-chance points.
“We will rely on a battle-tested group of seniors, but we will need our underclassman to continue to develop and be ready to step in and play important roles on the team,” said head coach Mark Houle. “We have a hard-working group of players who compete and challenge each other every day in practice.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-10 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
After winning back-to-back Davenport division titles, the Bulldogs know it will be a grind to try and get a third with a big target on their backs.
Gone is the program’s all-time leading scorer and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devin Foster, who was one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league over the past two seasons. That means there is going to be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up for the Bulldogs. Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said this year’s team will be a “much more space and paced” orientated team. Gordy is expecting a more spread out opportunistic approach that will feature contributions from anyone who checks in.
While Foster graduated, the Bulldogs do have a handful of talented and experienced players back on the roster. Senior Kyle Fitzgerald is the top returning scorer from a year ago, netting double figures in six contests. He is also a workhorse on defense and will be one of the leaders on the court. Robbie Gallery, Matt Giglio, and Eric Mischler were all starters at some point during the 2018-2019 season so Gordy will have some veterans to lean on during the year. Gallery, Giglio, and Mischler all showed the ability to come up with a big shot at any time and will help space the floor.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking at their versatility and depth to give them flexibility. Gordy believes he has a strong mix of players that will allow him to switch things up and adjust each and every game. Sophomore Lanse Dorcelus earned minutes for the final month of last season and could be a key piece this season.
“We feel like our program is healthy and players have made a commitment to growth,” Gordy said. “This season we are going to focus on the process and maximizing the strengths of our players. Our culture and direction has been a bright spot as we focus on the player person and team development each practice and game. We’re excited to see where we are and where we can get too.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Gibbs
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Foxboro boys basketball team this season. The good news is that the Warriors expect to once again be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The bad news is for the rest of the Hockomock League as Foxboro boasts an improved offense, and combined with their traditional tough defense, has the Warriors in position for a Davenport division title.
With four of their five top scorers back this season, including senior Brandon Borde (team-high 15.3 ppg) and junior Kevin Gallagher (12.9 ppg), the Warriors are looking to ride a balanced approach on offense to improve their scoring after finishing 10th in scoring in the Hockomock League last season (54.4 points per game). Borde is one of the most experienced players back in the league and has the ability to create his own looks as well as lead the team as the floor general. Gallagher had a breakout sophomore season and can really fill up the scoring column, especially from deep.
Borde and Gallagher will also get help from senior Will Morrison, who can catch fire from deep, and senior Ryan Hughes, who can give opponents trouble in the paint. All four players are returning starters from a season ago, so that gives Foxboro an advantage, especially defensively. Head coach Jon Gibbs called the defense the “foundation” of the team. Foxboro has consistently been very fundamentally sound and disciplined on the defensive end.
Seniors Dylan Barreira, Michael Devlin, Liam Devlin, and Donald Rogers all played important minutes last season and will provide a lot of depth for Foxboro.
“We have been making progress each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been very competitive so far as guys work hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we stay hungry, humble, and unselfish, it has the potential to be a very successful season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Central Quarterfinal Coach: CJ Neely
Ever since the Hockomock League split into two divisions, Franklin has entered each season as one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex and that looks to be the case yet again this year.
As it does each and every season, defense comes first for the Panthers. Franklin was the best defensive team in the Hockomock League last year, allowing just 48.9 points per game. Not only did the Panthers lead the league in that category, they were the lone team to keep opponents under 50 points on average. It’s the second straight year they’ve had the best defense in the division and third straight year they are in the top three. There are a lot of talented individual defenders on the team but year in and year out, Franklin’s team defense gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Panthers boast the top returning scorer in the league in three-year starter Chris Edgehill. Edgehill, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last season, is an absolute handful to deal with on the offensive end of the court. He can score in a variety of ways, and on top of that, he is very good at getting teammates involved (four assists per game last year). Seniors Jack Rudolph and Steve Karayan are also back after playing valuable minutes last season and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
“We have a lot of guys who worked really hard in the offseason to improve and are excited to get on the court,” said head coach CJ Neely. “It’s a great group of people who have a lot of fun together. We need to stay aggressive and share the ball. We hope that strong team defense will continue to be something that defines our program.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
With a solid group of players returning from last season, second-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping to guide his Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
The Warriors showed flashes throughout last year, including an upset win of Kelley-Rex champions Mansfield on the road. But they were also on the wrong end of a handful of close games, losing five games by five or fewer points. With a year of experience in DeStefano’s system, and for a lot of players their first year of varsity under their belts, King Philip is hoping to turn those close games into wins.
KP boasts two returning starters in Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney, both standing at 6’3. Fritz had a breakout junior campaign and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Hockomock League with 15.5 points per game. He was able to score in a variety of ways, including through contact at the rim, and will be a vital piece this year. McKinney was fifth on the team in scoring last year, scoring in double-figures in five contests, including a career-high 19 points at Stoughton. Senior Tommy Donahue looks to give the Warriors a strong presence in the post while classmates Owen Conlin and Chris Roy look to be in the mix. Seniors Robbie Jarest and Tom Weir are back in the mix after a year away from the program.
Defensively, King Philip will be relying on its size and physicality. While Donahue (6’5) will be the main rim protector, having long guards and forwards will help KP make life difficult for opponents. The Warriors will need to improve on the defensive end after surrendering a division-high 63.7 points per game last year. DeStefano is looking to get some contributions from junior juniors Donte Barros, Cole Breen, Joe Cullen, Evan Stephens, Will Kinney, and Jake Silveria while sophomores Charlie Grant and Braeden Sottile will likely be in the mix too.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commitment on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2018-2019 Record: 22-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Mike Vaughan
The Hockomock League continues to run through Mansfield.
The Hornets have won the Kelley-Rex division title in eight of its nine years, and it looks like Mansfield will be the team to beat again this year. Three players that burst onto the scene last year – Sam Stevens, TJ Guy, Matt Boen – are now three of the top players in the Hock heading into this season. Mansfield certainly graduated a lot of talent in Tommy Dooling, Damani Scott, and Khristian Conner, but with those three starters back plus seniors Drew Rooney and Makhi Baskin, as well as a handful of newcomers ready to make an impact, Mansfield is poised for another deep tournament run.
Stevens (11.2 ppg) will be one of the toughest players to stop with his ability to finish around the rim as well as deadly three-point shooting, Guy (10.9 ppg) is very good in the post on both ends of the floor, and Boen (9.5 ppg) can score in a variety of ways. All three are capable of filling up the stat sheet on any given night. Baskin provides a lot of energy and can change the game with his effort while Rooney showed last year that he can matchup with some of the top players in the league on the defensive end.
Juniors Brian and Jason See are both strong shooters that work tirelessly on both ends of the floor and should be in the mix for the Hornets this year. Juniors Jack Colby and Brendan Foley will be looking to bring a spark off the bench while sophomore Matt Hyland and freshman Chris Hill are promising young players that could contribute right away.
“I think our depth and ability to play different styles will be a strength of this team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I’m excited to see where this team can get to as they continue to work hard in practice and mix their individual talents to form our team identity. Transition play, scoring inside and out will be strength on offense. Playing solid man to man and uptempo defense with our depth could create some issues for our opponents.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paul Seaver
After a season of ups and downs, the Milford Scarlet Hawks are hoping last year’s growing pains transition into a playoff berth this season.
With a large group of returnees, the Hawks will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title. While head coach Paul Seaver returns the majority of his team, he will need some of the those players to step up on the offensive end the fill the void left by graduation. The Hawks graduated its top three scorers, including the second-highest scorer in the league in Brendan White (18.2 ppg). That means there will be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up and contribute.
Junior Jordan Darling (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior Colby Pires (6.1 ppg) are the top two point producers back this year while junior Dom Schofield also returns after starting as a sophomore. Darling started 19 games this year and was selected to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team after a strong season on both ends of the court. Pires is a leader both on and off the court and plays well in all aspects of the game, and Schofield gives Milford a strong post presence on the defensive end, recording a team-high 38 charges taken last season.
Ralph Franklin Jr., Matty Varteresian, Tyler Whetherbee, and Ben Blanchard all saw time throughout last season and could all be in line for bigger roles this season.
“Our depth will matter, our balance will matter, our chemistry is this group’s most important attribute,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We were the youngest team in the league last season and this group has a lot of players back who are attacking this year with a chip on their shoulder. This group defines what Milford basketball is and that’s a testament to who these kids are hard workers and higher character individuals. I could not be any more excited to coach and work with these kids on a daily basis.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
There are going to be a lot of new faces dawning the Big Red uniform this winter. After losing nine seniors to graduation, head coach Sean Mulkerrins has just three players back from last year’s nine-win squad.
With a large amount of new players comes a large amount of opportunities. The Rocketeers graduated its two top scorers but bring back senior Ethan Friberg (7.0 ppg) and junior George Ladd (7.4 ppg) to lead the charge offensively this year. Friberg, standing at 6’5, can cause problems in the paint but also van step out and play along the perimeter. Ladd had a breakout sophomore season and was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team. He is a little of a throwback player that is very fundamentally sound on the offensive end. Senior Josh Porter, the third returner, saw an expanded role at the end of last season and played well.
Defensively, the Rocketeers will be focusing on limiting opponents to one shot per possession. With some size in the frontcourt, North will try to make it difficult to finish at the rim, and with all five players committed to rebounding, try and minimize second-chance points.
“There will be a lot of new faces with opportunities to make an impact on this year’s team,” Mulkerrins said. “There will definitely be some growing pains and the sooner the new faces adjust to the rigors of varsity basketball, the better we will be.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
Last season, Oliver Ames came up just one game shy of the state tournament. Goal number one for the 2019-2020 season is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
With a strong mix of experienced players and hungry new additions, Oliver Ames is ready for the grind that is the Kelley-Rex division and the Hockomock League.
“The expectation is to always get [to the tournament], that’s our first goal,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “We’re pretty optimistic but we know it’s going to be a grind, you have to show up every night, you can’t take a night off.”
Byron has been impressed with his guard play so far this preseason, and that will likely mean featuring three guards in the lineup for the majority of the time. Senior Jay Spillane is a returning starter while classmate Owen Friel and junior Amari Brown were top options off the bench a season ago. Spillane can score in bunches, especially from the outside, while Friel combines a solid shooting game with a hard-nosed defensive approach. Friel’s ability to guard a variety of position makes him a valuable piece in the lineup while Brown is a crafty player that does a nice job getting teammates involved.
Senior center Evan Craig (6’5) will be joined by classmate Ryan Burkett (6’2) in the frontcourt. Both picked up valuable minutes at the varsity level last year and Byron is hoping that will help with their expanded roles this year. Senior guard Adam Cann and junior forwards Trey Buggs and Drew Nickla will provide depth for the Tigers.
“It takes some time to get accustomed to the varsity speed and what we expect at this level,” Byron said. “All of these kids gained experience with us last year, and that year of experience is invaluable.”
2018-2019 Record: 3-17 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
After a couple of down seasons, the Eagles will be making a strong push to get back into the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Sharon boasts a number of players who gained varsity experience that will be looking to help the program bounce back. The first being senior Aidan Kane, the team’s leading scorer last season with 11.5 points per game. When he’s on from keep, Kane is one of the top three-point shooters in the league. He has the ability to change a game very quickly if he gets hot from deep. Senior Andrew Burton emerged as one of the Eagles’ top players last year and could be poised to have a breakout year. Sophomore John Baez will start at the point after joining the varsity team for the final month and a half last season.
The Eagles will be relying heavily on its frontcourt to step up on both ends of the court. Senior Caleb Gayle is a traditional post player that will compete hard on both ends of the court, senior Cam Baker is fundamentally sound and a reliable option and junior Hank Ward picked up valuable minutes as a sophomore and will be an important part of the rebound game as well as defensively. Senior Aaron Karten will be in the mix as well, giving the Eagles an athletic frontcourt.
Junior Jordan Barboza should give the Eagles a spark off the bench this year and head coach Andrew Ferguson will look for him as an important defensive piece. Kiran Chandrasekaran had flashes of the strong play off the bench last year and should see an expanded role this year, while junior transfer Matt Baskin could provide a needed scoring punch.
“This group has worked tremendously hard in the offseason and the preseason and is looking to translate that into success throughout the regular season,” Ferguson said. “Many of the players have gained valuable experience at the varsity level over the past two years and our senior class are tremendous leaders who provide a great example for our younger players.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-11 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Preliminary Round Coach: John Gallivan
Stoughton ended its playoff drought last season and with a good amount of those players back again this year, the Davenport division title and a deep playoff run could be in the forecast this season.
The Black Knights have their leading scorer back in 6’5 senior forward Obinna Ugwuakazi, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game with nine double-doubles last year. His athleticism and ability to finish through contact made him a tough matchup for opponents, and he will be at the forefront of the Stoughton offense again this year. Fellow senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, who also stands at 6’5, is also back and we could see the duo play together at times which will certainly make life tough for opponents.
Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell is back for his third year on varsity. After improving each of the past two seasons, the 2019-2020 season could be a breakout year for Grigalunas-Powell, who can score from three-point range but is also a crafty finisher attacking the rim. Ahmad Jahed had flashes of strong play last year and will be back in the mix again this year, and the same goes for Tommy Sanda. Juniors Brett Pendenza and Jake Queeney are also back after earning some minutes last year.
“We feel like we can score this year both from downtown and from down low,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “And with our size in the paint, we hope to make it difficult for opponents to score consistently.”
2018-2019 Record: 15-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Charlie Dacey
After a strong regular season, the Taunton boys basketball team flipped a switch in the tournament and made a run to the D1 South Semis, nearly knocking off powerhouse Mansfield. With a taste of postseason success, the Tigers are hoping to replicate that success this year with another impressive playoff stretch.
The Tigers boast speed, skill, and depth this season and will be in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. While Taunton lost a lot of production from last year (Lou Vendrell, Mike Quinn, John Martins, Wesner Charles), there are a handful of players battling to earn their chance at minutes in the Tigers’ lineup. One constant in that lineup over the past couple of years is senior Dante Law, who enters his fourth year with the varsity group. Law was Taunton’s leading scorer a year ago with 14.1 points per game but none of the other returners were over five points a game, meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up.
Seniors Fabio Goncalves (6’6) and Aiden Pelot, as well as junior Tyler Stewart (6’6) make up the frontcourt for the Tigers. All three played at the varsity level last year and will be key pieces at helping the Tigers defend and win the battle on the boards. Law will be joined by junior Josh Lopes, who showed flashes during his sophomore season, DaeDae Kenion, and sophomore transfer Tristan Herry as key pieces of the offense.
The Tigers are also excited about the depth on the team this year. Junior Danny MacDougall earned starting minutes last year and is a reliable option in a variety of roles while Trent Santos, Logan Lawrence, and Jonathan Torres will all be in the mix for Taunton.
“With this team, press and run should be ‘Plan A’ although there are skills available to play at a slower pace,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
Attleboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 56 – Final – North Attleboro whittled an 18-point second half deficit down to seven midway through the fourth quarter but Attleboro slammed the door shut to secure the non-league victory. A free throw from Mason Houle (14 points, four rebounds) midway through the third put the Bombardiers up 46-28 midway through the third but the Rocketeers closed the third with an 8-0 run to stay within striking distance. Five points from North Attleboro’s Nate Gonsalves (12 points) and a free throw from Josh Porter made it 53-46 but Attleboro’s Nick McMahon answered with a traditional three-point play, and then Kevin Velazquez (nine points, five rebounds) and Bryant Ciccio (17 points, six assists) each hit a three to help the Bombarders pull away. Junior Tim Callahan added 11 points and classmate Qualeem Charles had 10 points, 16 rebounds. North Attleboro sophomore George Ladd finished with a career-high 13 points.
Foxboro, 70 vs. Randolph, 67 – Final – Foxboro junior Brandon Borde turn a turnaround, fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer to help the Warriors steal a win over the Blue Devils. The two teams traded turnovers in the final 10 seconds, the Warriors getting the last look off the hands of Borde. Borde (11 rebounds) dominated the game for Foxboro, scoring 13 of his career-high 28 points in the third quarter to keep the Warriors in the game. Sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 12 points Foxboro, which trailed after the first (17-12) and second quarters (31-27) but had a strong second half and headed into the fourth tied 51-51.
Franklin, 61 vs. North Andover, 58 – Final – Franklin junior Chris Edgehill scored on a drive to the basket in the second quarter for his 1,000th carer point, becoming the first male Panther player to reach the plateau since Kyle Gibson in 2011. Edgehill finished with 11 points while senior Will Harvey added seven of his career-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Jalen Samuels, who was named Harvey Nasuti tournament MVP, scored a team-high 15 points while Steve Karayan added five fourth-quarter points to help the Panthers secure the win.
King Philip @ Dartmouth (@ Somerset-Berkley) – Postponed to Tuesday at 5:00.
Mansfield, 57 vs. Lowell, 66 – Final – The Hornets stayed within striking distance throughout the game but couldn’t close the gap against Lowell (18-3). The Hornets trailed by five at half (26-21) but Lowell was able to increase that advantage to 41-32 heading into the final eight minutes. The Red Raiders made eight of their 11 free throws in a 25-point fourth quarter to ice the game. Senior Tommy Dooling, senior Damani Scott, and sophomore Matt Boen each had 12 points for the Hornets while sophomore TJ Guy finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Milford, 63 vs. Malden, 66 – Final (OT)
Oliver Ames, 53 vs. Scituate, 67 – Final – Scituate hit seven of its 15 three pointers in the first quarter, racing out to a 25-6 advantage after eight minutes and never looked back. The Sailors shot 50% from deep (7-for-14) to start the game, and finished 15-for-38 from deep to keep the Tigers at bay. After a slow first quarter, Oliver Ames won the final three quarters (47-42), including a strong second half. OA senior Sean O’Brien had a team-high 18 points with Amari Brown and Michael Greene each adding six points.
Sharon, 76 @ Norwood, 66 – Final – Sharon had one of its best offensive games to finish the season, scoring over 20 points in three of the four quarters. The Eagles jumped out to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter but saw its lead shrink to just a point, 33-32, by halftime. Norwood kept within striking distance, down 56-52 heading into the fourth but the Eagles put the game to bed with a strong final frame. Senior Sergio Ripley had a carer-high 14 points, senior Greg Persad, junior Aidan Kane, and freshman John Baez each scored 10 points, and junior Andrew Burton finished with nine points.
Foxboro, 46 vs. Old Rochester, 36 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Foxboro reaches the final of the Warrior Classic after winning a defensive struggle with the Bulldogs, who came into Monday’s game tied with the Warriors for the top seed in D2 South. Katelyn Mollica scored 14 points to lead the Warriors and Shakirah Ketant added nine points. Foxboro jumped out to a 25-9 lead at halftime, despite struggling from the field, but Old Rochester battled back in the second half and had the lead down to as few as five points in the fourth quarter but the Warriors hit free throws to seal the victory.
King Philip, 50 @ Westwood, 47 – Final – King Philip held off Westwood in the consolation game of the Riley Winter Classic. The Warriors took the lead by outscoring the Wolverines 14-9 in the third quarter and held that lead until the end of a game that went back and forth throughout. Shannon O’Connor scored 11 points to lead the Warriors, while Faye Veilleux and Brainna James each scored 10.
Lowell, 42 @ Mansfield, 51 – Final – Mansfield jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, built it up to 15 by the end of the third quarter, and held on to it in the fourth quarter to earn the non-league win. Sydney Mulkern caught fire from the three-point line, knocking down six from beyond the arc, and finished with 22 points. Maggie Danehy scored 13 points and nine rebounds and Alicia Hottleman added six, all in the first quarter as the Hornets scored 23 as a team.
Foxboro, 4 @ Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ LaSalle Academy (R.I.), 3 – Final
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Westwood, 6 – Final – OA senior Colin Bourne scored the lone goal for the Tigers, with Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello getting assists.
Taunton, 3 @ Middleboro, 2 – Final – Taunton senior Andrew Carter scored on a penalty shot halfway through the third period to lift the Tigers to a win. Taunton scored first but Middleboro seized a 2-1 advantage by the end of the first. Taunton was able to tie the game and then a covered puck in the crease in the third led to Carter’s game-winning goal, his second goal of the game. Ethan Ross also had a goal while Jack Patneaude, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira each finished with an assist. Sean Bunker made 17 saves to get the win.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Having to try and match up with Attleboro’s 6-foot-5, 295-pound center Qualeem Charles for 32 minutes is one of the toughest covers in the entire Hockomock League.
Having to try and stop him for four more minutes in overtime just might be impossible.
Franklin stormed back from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game in the final seconds and send the game to overtime but Charles scored half of Attleboro’s points in the overtime period to help the Bombardiers secure a 51-46 decision in overtime.
Charles scored 13 of his game-high 18 points after halftime and hauled of his 17 rebounds after the break as well.
“We always want to go inside, they did a nice job of challenging him early,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “He’s very unselfish so a lot of the times he got the ball he was kicking it out and we were getting great looks and we weren’t knocking them down. We told him in the second half when you touch the ball, you shoot the ball and he did that more consistently. If he didn’t score the field goal, he went to the line and he hit his foul shots which was key for us.”
After Mason Houle (nine points) and Will Harvey traded three-pointers to open the extra stanza, the Bombardiers got Charles going inside. Kevin Velazquez (six points, nine rebounds) found the big man in the post and Charles used a nice post move to go up two.
The teams traded misses before Attleboro came up short on a Tim Callahan three. But Callahan was quick to hustle back on defense and drew a charge to get the ball back with 1:32 to play and a 46-44 lead.
Attleboro went back inside and Charles was fouled, hitting one of two attempts to extend the lead to 47-44. Franklin missed a three and Charles came down with a big rebound. On the offensive end, the Panthers’ collapsed to try and cover Charles, allowing Velazquez to take it strong to the basket for two.
Franklin once again came up short on a layup attempt and Charles hauled in the rebound while being fouled. He hit two free throws to give Attleboro 51-46 lead with 28 seconds and that’s how the game finished.
After putting up just five shots in the first half total, Charles attempted five field goals in the third quarter and then went 2-for-2 in the fourth.
“I was definitely overlooking at times, I wanted to find teammates,” Charles said. “I know my teammates can make those big shots but they weren’t falling tonight so I had to try and close it out. Eventually my shot started falling. Their bigger players started getting in foul trouble, so I was getting more of a mismatch so I was able to convert.”
There wasn’t much happening for either side in the first half. The teams combined for just six made field goals in the opening eight minutes with Franklin senior Jalen Samuels (eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists) finding Thomas Gasbarro for a layup right before the buzzer to give Franklin a 9-7 edge.
But that would be the last field goal Franklin would make for the half. The Panthers were held scoreless for nearly the entire second quarter. Sean Leonard hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to get Franklin on the board.
Meanwhile while Attleboro’s offense didn’t exactly catch fire, it was able to use an 8-0 run over the first seven minutes. Bryant Ciccio and Nick McMahon made shots while Callahan and Houle sank two free throws apiece. A late bucket from Charles gave Attleboro a 17-11 lead at half.
“It’s a problem, he’s a big kid, and there’s not a lot of guys that can move him when he gets position where he wants to be,” Neely said of matching up with Charles. “We had a plan that was working early but late in the game, I think guys were a bit tired. I stuck with the same lineup for a long time. They get worn down banging around with him for a whole game and he was able to get some baskets, he’s a tough cover.”
The offenses for both sides came alive to start the second half. The Panthers matched their first half production in just over five minutes in the third quarter. Buckets from Chris Edgehill (12 points, eight rebounds), Jake Macchi, and Leonard brought the Panthers within two, 24-22, with 3:46 left in the third.
Attleboro answered with a 10-0 run to close the third quarter. Ciccio, Charles, and Houle hit back-to-back-to-back layups, and McMahon converted down low after a nice offensive rebound and pass from Velazquez to give the Bombardiers a 32-22 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“Coming into the game we talked about defensive stops and consecutive defensive stops and Franklin is terrific at it,” Houle said. “The last three games they’ve given up 40 points or less and they lead the league in defensive scoring average. So we knew we were going to have to execute. We wanted to take care of the ball, be strong with the ball, and attacking them when we can on ball reversals. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but neither did they, and I think that’s a credit to both defenses.”
It appeared the Bombardiers had the game in hand when they pushed the lead to 37-22 on a Callahan triple, a 15-point advantage with six minutes left.
But Attleboro’s offense stalled as the Panthers continued their pressure defensively. And over those six minutes, shots began to fall for the visitors. Steve Karayan drained a three after a steal from Will Harvey then Edgehill drained a transition three after an Attleboro turnover to make it 37-31 with three minutes to go.
Samuels hit a free throw and Harvey came up with another steal that led to two made free throws, cutting the deficit to 37-34 with two minutes left. After a five-second call on the inbounds, Harvey sank another free throw to make it 37-35.
Attleboro finally got some points on the board when Callahan hit Charles down low and the junior converted with a nice spin move. But Karayan drained another triple to make it a one-point game with just over a minute to go.
Velazquez missed but was fouled as he hustled for the offensive rebound and he sank two free throws with 42.6 to play.
Franklin came up short on the tying three, but the offensive rebound was batted out and corralled. Attleboro chose to foul with a three-point lead with 8.4 to go. The strategy worked as Franklin missed both free throws but the rebound was batted out to Edgehill, who alertly made an extra mass to Karayan for a straightaway three-pointer with 2.4 left, sending the game into overtime tied 41-41.
“We found something that was working down the stretch,” Neely said.”But in the end, we weren’t ourselves in the first half. We weren’t playing the way we needed to play if we wanted to win. You can get away with that sometimes but not on the road at Attleboro in a big game tonight. We played good defense in the first half but they opened it up in the second half. I’m proud of them, they stuck with it. They shared the ball and got back into the game. Free throws hurt us, and that’s cost us basically in every loss this year. It’s frustrating to have a good offensive possession and get to the line and come away with nothing.
“We had a 15 point lead and they whittled it down to go to overtime, that’s Franklin,” Houle said. “They are a very good, gritty team. We knew coming in it wouldn’t be an easy game. As they were coming back, it felt like we weren’t playing to win anymore, we were just trying to hold on. After one of the timeouts, we talked about playing to win. We started to play with a bit more energy and were able to make some plays.”
Attleboro boys basketball (9-1 Hockomock, 12-2 overall) is back in action on Tuesday on the road at Milford. Franklin (7-3, 9-4) is also on the road with a trip to Sharon on tap.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield sophomore Matty Boen has witnessed dozens of Mansfield and Franklin clashes from the stands, watching older brothers Michael and Max dawn the Hornet uniform against the rival Panthers.
Boen got a little closer to the action last season, watching all three meetings between the teams from the bench as a reserve.
Friday night was finally his turn to become part of the rivalry.
Boen came out on fire, scoring 11 of his career-high 19 points in the opening quarter, and then coming away with the game-sealing steal in the final seconds of the game to help the Hornets secure a 59-57 win over the Panthers.
“It’s crazy,” Boen said. “I kept saying to the guys in the locker room, ‘It’s so much better being out there and taking it all in.’ It’s great. I can’t be more happy than I am now.”
Boen (seven rebounds) sank a pair of free throws with 1:11 left to put the Hornets up 57-54, but Franklin junior Chris Edgehill (20 points, eight rebounds, four assists) answered with a strong take to cut the deficit to one.
Mansfield sophomore TJ Guy (15 points) went 2-for-2 at the line with 22.8 left to extend the Hornets’ advantage to 59-56. Franklin called timeout with 12 seconds to go but missed a three out of the break. Edgehill grabbed the offensive board but was immediately fouled with 6.7 to go.
Edgehill hit the first one but was just off on the second, but senior Jalen Samuels (eight points, night rebounds) soared in for the offensive rebound. The Panthers moved the ball and tried to it out to Edgehill at the three-point line, but Boen read the play and tipped the pass free to secure the victory.
“Talk about an all-star performance for a sophomore,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “He comes out in the first quarter, hits big shots, gets a couple of rebounds, blocks a shot…and then the steal at the end of the game capped off his performance of what he did tonight. When I saw the loose ball, and the reversal and I saw Edgehill standing out there, I thought ‘Oh boy, we could be in trouble.’ And sure enough, Matty comes out of nowhere and gets the deflection. I’m glad he’s on my team for another three years and hats off to him for his performance.”
If had it not been for Boen’s tip, the Panthers were looking at a possible three-pointer from Edgehill, one of the top shooters in the league.
“I thought it was a great offensive rebound by Jaylen,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “We had a couple of timeouts in our pocket, but with two seconds left, if that pass goes through, it’s going to Edgehill for an open three, and we’ll take that. If we call the timeout, they can set up their defense. If that pass gets through, I’ll take that look.”
The Hornets were without the services leading scorer Damani Scott (20.4 points per game), but the offense came out on fire in the first quarter, spearheaded by Boen. Guy, Khristian Conner, and Boen hit consecutive triples to help Mansfield jump out to an early 9-4 lead. Boen had a traditional three-point play followed by a putback and then a three-pointer to push Mansfield’s advantage to 17-12 with 3:23 left in the first. Boen’s 11 points in the opening quarter matched his career-high from earlier this season against Sharon.
“In warmups, I was kind of feeling it, so I wanted to get more shots in the game,” Boen said. “I haven’t been shooting that much so far this year. With Damani out, I knew I needed to step up. We all usually feed off of Damani, so we all had to step up tonight.”
Franklin kept pace throughout the first quarter with Steve Karayan (nine points) coming off the bench to score five straight points, but a late bucket from Guy had the hosts up 25-22 at the end of one.
“I thought their offensive output in the first quarter is what really did us in,” Neely said. “We were matching them, we were playing some of our best offense of the season, but allowing 25 points in a quarter isn’t going to get it done against a team like that. We played really well defensively for three quarters, letting up 10, 14, and 10, I’ll take that here every time. It just seemed like we couldn’t hit those big shots we’ve made. We had a couple of looks that just didn’t drop. Obviously, our free throws down the stretch weren’t great. We shot well from the line overall, but we didn’t hit the key ones down the stretch. “
An early triple from Boen in the second quarter pushed Mansfield’s lead to 28-22, but both defenses seemed to settle down over the final seven minutes of the half. The Panthers limited the hosts to just seven points the rest of the way.
Jack Rudolph’s three off a nice feed from Edgehill got the Panthers on the board in the quarter at the halfway mark. Edgehill scored five straight himself to cut the deficit to one, 31-30. Mansfield responded with a 5-0 run to take a 35-30 lead into the locker room.
“I didn’t think we were tough enough in the first half,” Neely said. “I thought they were beating us to loose balls. I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half that led to transition baskets. They wanted it more, especially in the first quarter. Sometimes when you’re down a guy, other guys really step up their performance, and they did that.”
The Panthers needed just two minutes in the third quarter to orchestrate a 9-0 run to take the lead. Samuels (who was limited because of foul trouble), Edgehill, and Will Harvey (nine points) each scored two and Jake Macchi drained a corner three to put the visitors ahead 39-35. Mansfield hit back with an 8-0 run, a three from Boen and five straight from Tommy Dooling (10 points, six assists).
“Talk about a huge performance by other guys that stepped up. I don’t know how many points Tommy had but he probably logged 28-29 minutes,” Vaughan said. “He had to handle the ball, play defense, getting kids in the right position and being a good leader. Hats off to him for the way he played, he may not be the headline story stat wise but deserves mention.”
After the teams traded baskets twice, Guy and Makhi Baskin (eight points) scored in the final minute for the Hornets to give Mansfield a 49-45 edge after three.
“We try to practice at this level so some of this energy comes from that, we put our kids in tough situations in practice so this hopefully seems easy.” Vaughan said. “But you put 800 people in the stands, I can’t imagine that it’s easy. But we have guys come in, ready to perform, and they are excited for the game. They stuck to the game plan, weathered their first punch, weathered a second punch, and then maintained the lead in the fourth quarter.”
Franklin had opportunities in the final frame but the Hornets did not surrender the lead. A free throw from Harvey closed the deficit to two with 5:21 to go but Dooling answered on the other to push the lead back to five.
Defense and free throws from Karayan and Edgehill cut the Mansfield to just one, 55-54, with 1:28 to go. The Panthers got a key steal but couldn’t convert from the free throw line to take the lead. Seconds later, Boen hit his free throws to extend Mansfield’s advantage heading into the final minute.
“Win or lose, we were going to fight, they were going to fight,” Vaughan said. “The atmosphere was great, the gym was packed, it was 150 degrees in here, you can’t beat it. The emotion of how much goes into this game, starting when these kids are little, it’s such a high energy. All the practices, all the two-minute drills, you do it for nights like tonight. To get this energy from both teams this early in the season is tremendous. And we know good and well, we’re going to go over to Franklin and be in the same situation, and we might end up in the same boat or the opposite boat. But it’s such a fun atmosphere.
“Kids stepped up and made plays for both teams and we were fortunate to make one more [play].”
Mansfield boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 5-1 overall) is back in action Tuesday night when it hosts Milford. Franklin (2-2, 4-3) will try and bounce back when it hosts Stoughton on the same night.
Franklin, 55 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 47 – Final – Franklin started and finished strong in the championship game of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament to beat the hosts. Franklin junior Steve Karayan connected on six three-pointers, including two in the first and two in the fourth quarters, for a career-high 18 points. The Panthers led 36-34 heading into the final quarter but outscored the Trojans 19-13 in the frame to pull away with the win. Senior Jalen Samuels added 14 points and was named tournament MVP while senior Jake Macchi added a career-high 12 points.
Oliver Ames, 51 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 45 – Final – Oliver Ames limited the Cardinals to four points in the second quarter to build a 25-14 advantage at the break, and took a 40-26 lead into the final frame but had to hold off a furious charge from Spellman to earn the win. Spellman cut the lead to 48-45 with 31 seconds to go but OA secured the win in the championship game of the Muscato Holiday Tournament. Senior Ethan Eckstrom scored 13 points and was named tournament MVP while junior Jay Spillane also scored 13 points for the Tigers.
Foxboro, 63 @ Hopkinton, 23 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Lizzy Davis led the Warriors with 16 points, while Katelyn Mollica had 15 and Yara Fawaz added 10. Shakirah Ketant came off the bench to add seven points, nine rebounds, and four blocks for Foxboro, which didn’t allow a made field goal during the second and third quarters.
Mansfield, 40 vs. Ridgefield (Conn.), 32 – Final – Mansfield led by just two points entering the fourth, but pulled away by holding Ridgefield to only five points in the final quarter. Defense was the key for the Hornets, who led 20-10 at halftime despite shooting 0-for-16 from the field in the second. Sydney Mulkern had 14 points and Maggie Danehy recorded a second double-double in as many days with 10 points and 14 boards.
North Attleboro, 49 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 55 – Final – Amanda Kaiser led the Rocketeers with 22 points in the consolation game of their holiday tournament.
Attleboro, 26 vs. Norwood, 39 – Final – The Bombardiers played even with unbeaten Norwood in the second half but couldn’t overcome a tough start on the offensive end after falling behind 21-8 at halftime. Liv McCall scored a team-high seven points and was named to the all-tournament team. Nyah Thomas added six points for Attleboro.
Attleboro, 2 vs. Dartmouth, 2 – Final – Attleboro rallied for a pair of third period goals to earn a tie with Dartmouth. Cam Littig scored twice in the final period to bring the Bombardiers level, with Ryan Morry assisting on both goals. Sam Larkin and Aidan Diggin also had an assist for Attleboro.
Canton, 4 vs. Westwood, 0 – Final – Canton’s Ryan Nolte and Johnny Hagan scored in the second period and Timmy Kelleher and Chris Lavoie tacked on goals in the third period as the Bulldogs claimed the Joe Donnelly Cup with a win over Westwood.
Foxboro, 8 vs. St. John Paul II/Sacred Heart, 2 – Final – Kirk Leach picked up five points and Ronnie MacLellan registered four points as the Warriors skated to a win in the championship game of the JP2 Hockey Classic. Leach scored twice and picked up three assists while MacLellan was responsible for one goal and three helpers.
King Philip 7, vs. Brockton, 4 – Final – King Philip scored four goals in the second period, turning a deficit into a lead, and tacked on two more in the final period to get the win over the Boxers. Senior Luke D’Amico put the Warriors on the board in the first but KP trailed 2-1 after one. Goals from Brendan Shandley, Rocco Bianculli, Aidan Boulger, and Garrett Maxwell helped the Warriors take a 5-4 lead into the final period. Jack Coulter and D’Amico scored insurance goals in the third period while James Lewis finished with 14 saves in net.
North Attleboro, 2 vs. Moses Brown (R.I.), 3 – Final
Canton, 1 vs. Westwood, 5 – Final – Lauren Fitzpatrick scored Canton’s only goal.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip scored early in the third period to go up 3-1 but Mansfield/Oliver Ames rallied for three straight goals, including the game-winner with just over a minute left to pick up a win over the Warriors. Sydney O’Shea and Morgan Cunningham scored first period goals to put KP up 2-0. Izzy Shanteler got MOA on the board in the second but Meghan Gorman made it 3-1 with an early third period goal. But Emma Pereira scored with 10:47 left, Shanteler got her second with 5:10 to go, and Pereira tallied her second with 1:04 to play for the game-winner. Skyler Sharfman had two assists for MOA while Jess Widdop made 18 saves in goal.
Stoughton, 2 @ St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia, 8 – Final
Wrestling Agawam Tournament – Franklin had eight wrestlers finish fifth or better and took fourth overall as a team with 145 points. Drew DiFilippo was the 106 champion, winning 13-8 in the finals over Moses Oquendo of Holyoke. Alex Facassa (126) and Liam Cogavin (182) each took second, Matt Leofanti (220) earned a third place finish, Luke Cashin (152), Nolan Sheridan (195), and Quinn Fila-Montgomery (113) each placed fourth, and Michael Hasenfus (132) took fifth overall.