STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton and Sharon had combined for 13 points through the opening 12 minutes of the second half and the Black Knights went into the closing stretch holding onto a slim six-point lead in Friday night’s season finale for both teams. Needing a spark to finish with a win, Stoughton turned to its senior and leading scorer.
Shyanne Trinh scored five of her team-high 11 points in a 30-second span to turn a close game into a double-digit lead and the Black Knights scored the game’s final 10 points to pull out a 37-22 victory that split the season series with the Eagles.
“It hasn’t been the easiest season for us because there’s been a lot of close games that they just didn’t finish off but tonight they fought and they’re a representation of what I hope for the future of this program with their heart and their hustle.”
Trinh hit a step-back, straightaway three for her first points of the second half and then Wright (10 points and 15 rebounds) grabbed a defensive board on the next Sharon possession and her quick look ahead found Trinh for a transition basket.
After not having scored for more than four minutes in the fourth, Stoughton found the spark it needed to put the game away. A couple of free throws and a runner off the glass by Jess Maddalena sealed the win.
Sharon (4-16) was held to only eight points after the break and the 15-point deficit at the final whistle could have been much narrower, but the Eagles shot only 8-for-27 from the line and made only two shots from the field in the second half.
“Especially against a team that’s playing a zone, you’re attacking the rim but you’ve got to finish or get to the line, which we did but just couldn’t hit our foul shots tonight,” said Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi.
The hosts got off to a strong start to the game, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Wright scored six in the first quarter, including a defensive rebound that she turned into a fastbreak layup. Mackenzie Manning also started well, scoring five of her seven points in the first. She buried a three that put Stoughton ahead 13-3.
Lombardi said. “I knew being their senior night that they were going to come out rip-roaring and ready to go and we beat them last time, so maybe a revenge night on senior night. They came out and were ready to play and I don’t think we were at the beginning of the game.”
Offense became a grind for both teams starting in the second, as they combined for three made field goals, Fandel (10 points and 11 rebounds) had both buckets for the Eagles and scored five points in the quarter, but Sharon only managed eight points in the second.
The positive for the Eagles was defense, as they held the Black Knights to only seven. Trinh scored four for Stoughton, including a tough runner, but it was the only made shot in the second.
“Our defense always keeps us in games,” said Lombardi. “I thought we played pretty good defense. We just sometimes struggle to score and that’s what happens tonight.”
It remained a struggle on offense heading out of halftime.
Sharon made only one shot in the third, a Fandel post move off an assist from Ally Brown, and knocked down three free throws (on eight attempts). Stoughton managed to hit two shots, one from Wright off a Trinh assist and another on a Manning drive to the rim, but those were the only points from the Black Knights, who led 27-19 heading to the fourth.
Steele Jordan said, “Every time we’ve got to play them, you just know it’s going to be a fight. We’re crosstown rivals and it’s a battle. Wallace is a tough player and No. 1 (Fandel), they were exposing us on the low block.”
Brown got the fourth quarter started well by knocking down a three that cut the lead to just five. Kyla Sheedy-Goff (five rebounds) got a free throw to push the lead to six, but both teams went scoreless for several minutes until Trinh turned the game on its head.
Stoughton (9-11) finished the season one win shy of a playoff berth, which includes a loss to Sharon in the first meeting. “You always want to finish the season on a win,” said Steele Jordan. “There are games that I can point to, there are a lot of games you look back on think, dang we were right there.”
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton head coach John Gallivan has seen a lot in his 16 years patrolling the sideline as the head coach of the Black Knights, and even he had trouble trying to put Tuesday night’s game into words.
A wild back-and-forth contest between Stoughton and Davenport foe Milford, a battle for first place in the division that saw a handful of momentum swings with the biggest one coming in the final seconds of overtime.
Trailing 74-73 with under a minute to go in overtime, Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, five steals) made a move to the basket before pulling up at the free-throw line.
The shot was off the mark but the senior forward alertly followed his shot, the rebound tipped right to him. He pulled the ball back to the corner, took a quick look around the court before pulling up and sinking a contested three-pointer for a 76-74 lead with 10 seconds left in the overtime period.
The Scarlet Hawks beat the buzzer in regulation to force the extra period but Stoughton’s full-court press prevented the visitors from getting a look at the tying or winning basket. A trap in the backcourt led to a turnover and an emphatic slam from senior Obinna Ugwuakazi (15 points, five rebounds) just before time expired to seal a 78-74 win for Stoughton.
“Everyone was crashing the boards on the left side, I followed my shot and it came back to me on the right side, I grabbed it and went to the corner,” Grigalunas-Powell said. “At first I hesitated to see if anyone else was open but then I just pulled it.”
With the win, Stoughton pulls into a first-place tie with Milford and Foxboro with one game to go. None of the three teams are playing each other, meaning there could be anywhere from one to three Davenport champions. It also marks Gallivan’s 175th career win.
“We’ve had a couple of games like that, we’ve had some comebacks like that,” Gallivan said, citing close losses to Franklin and Randolph. “The first half didn’t go our way. They smashed us so early that we kept saying we had time.”
Long before Stoughton’s mini-comeback in overtime, the Black Knights had to erase a much larger deficit.
Milford came out on fire, with five players hitting a three-pointer in the opening eight minutes of play. Ben Blanchard (13 points, four rebounds), Colby Pires (20 points, five rebounds), Matty Varteresian, Jordan Darling (14 points, six rebounds), and Tyler Wetherbee (eight points, seven assists, three steals) all connected from downtown as the Hawks seized a 23-11 lead.
The momentum carried into the second quarter as the Hawks’ offense continued to find success and its’ defense, using a full-court press, forced Stoughton into 12 first half turnovers.
Just beyond the halfway point of the quarter, Milford used a quick 9-4 surge to push their lead to its peak, a 19-point advantage, 41-22, following a triple from Pires with 1:45 left in the second quarter.
But Stoughton had arguably its most important stretch of the game to close the first half. Reserve Eddie St. Hilaire drove to the basket for two, Donte Tyler came off the bench to grab back-to-back steals, the latter resulting in two free throws. Ahmad Jahed (14 points, four rebounds) came up with a steal and went in for a dunk, and then got back on defense to get a steal that led to a three from Grigalunas-Powell that beat the buzzer, an 8-0 surge that gave Stoughton life.
“What Ahmad did in the last 30 seconds was unbelievable,” Gallivan said. “To steal it, go the length of the court and dunk it, and be the first guy back to steal the next one, that’s amazing. The kids needed something and that was huge right before halftime.
“And [Milford] kept coming each time. I wasn’t there the first time, video does not do them justice, they are really good. It’s a hard 32 minutes and tonight it was a hard 36 minutes.”
This time the momentum stayed with the hosts as Stoughton opened the third quarter on a 16-4 run with five straight from Jahed, a three from Tyler, two from Tahkwan Gates Brown (18 points, seven rebounds), and back-to-back threes from Grigalunas-Powell tied the game at 46-46 with four minutes left in the third.
Tyler sank his second triple of the game and Stoughton had its first lead of the contest.
“He was a spark for us,” Gallivan said. “He hasn’t had a ton of minutes for us this year but talk about seizing the opportunity. Both ends of the court, gave us something on defense and offense.”
Buckets from Darling and Pires helped Milford keep pace but a baseline jumper from Ugwuakazi gave Stoughton a 53-50 lead after three.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game but we’re confident in each other and we knew we could pull through,” Grigalunas-Powell said of the turnaround. “We’re all confident that anyone on the team can make a shot, can make a play.
“We just told each other it’s not over, we weren’t going to give up.”
Stoughton pushed its lead to seven early in the fourth but Pires buried a three, Dom Schofield (11 points) beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper and then crashed the boards for a tip in to bring the Hawks within two. Jahed converted off a steal for Stoughton but Pires scored off a nice feed from Wetherbee and Darling had a strong take to make it 61-61 with 2:50 to play.
Ugwuakazi responded for Stoughton with back-to-back buckets but Wetherbee hit a three from the corner to keep Milford close. After a pair of empty possessions from each side, Jahed hit one of two from the line with 12 seconds to go to make it 66-64 but Pires came down and sank a jumper from the free throw line to beat the buzzer and send the game to overtime.
“It’s a new game [to start] overtime,” is what Gallivan told his team before the extra period. “Just take a deep breath, whatever happened that was great, whatever happened that was bad…put it away. Let’s just play four minutes.”
Ugwuakazi and Wetherbee traded baskets before the Hawks got a stop and Blanchard converted in transition to give Milford its first lead since the third quarter. Grigalunas-Powell collapsed the defense when he started to the basket but dumped it off for an easy two from Gates Brown to tie it again.
Blanchard put Milford back up with a pair of free throws and Stoughton threw the inbounds play away, giving the Hawks the ball back. Ralph Franklin Jr. had a strong take through the heart of the defense and Milford took a 74-70 lead with a minute to go.
Milford even got a stop on Stoughton’s ensuing possession but the Black Knights forced a quick turnover to get the ball back and Grigalunas-Powell found Gates Brown for two, plus the foul. After hitting the free throw, Stoughton’s full-court press paid off as Milford was whistled for a backcourt violation, the Hawks’ 17th turnover of the second half/overtime, leading to Grigalunas-Powell’s go-ahead three.
“In the last two games, when we’ve needed [Grigalunas-Powell] at his best, he’s been almost perfect in terms of knowing when to pass, when to shoot,” Gallivan said. “And [Tahkwan] had a good game too, we talked about how he did well the first game against them. We tried to run stuff to Obinna’s side so it’d end up with Tahkwan at the end but [Milford] does such a good job mixing up their defenses that when you finally get the guys where you want then, they aren’t in the defense you wanted them in.”
Stoughton boys basketball (8-7 Hockomock, 11-8 overall) has a chance to clinch a share of the division title when it hosts Sharon on Friday night. Milford (8-7, 10-7) has the chance to do the same when it entertains Canton on the same night.
TAUNTON, Mass. – Each time the Taunton boys basketball team hits the court, the first option in the offensive game plan is to get junior Tyler Stewart the ball.
The Tigers didn’t need to look for a second or third option many times on Tuesday night as Stewart, a 6’5 center, delivered a career-high 34 points to lead the hosts to a 73-63 win over visiting Stoughton. With the win, Taunton punched its ticket for the postseason.
Stewart, who also hauled in 13 rebounds and had a pair of blocks, shot 16-of-24 from two-point range and came away with points after each of his nine offensive rebounds to lead the way for the Tigers.
“What a night,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey about Stewart’s performance. “When we’re practicing, there are all sorts of convolutions we expect people to do to him, and we were expecting doubles from all over the place and it just didn’t happen tonight. If you leave him alone down low, obviously he can do some business. He’s used to waiting for the double and he’s able to finish when he’s close to the rim like that.”
Taunton wasted little time getting Stewart the ball as he scored the first two buckets for the home team, including a three-point play on the first possession of the game.
Only five times in the game did a possession that included a shot from Stewart not result in points for Taunton. He had back-to-back misses early in the first quarter, and another one later that resulted in a missed putback from a teammate. He converted his only other miss of the first with a putback of his own.
He did the same with his lone miss of the second quarter and shot 5-for-7 in the third quarter, but one miss was a full-court heave to try and beat the buzzer. And in the fourth, he had just three shots but the one time he missed, he gathered the offensive rebound and scored himself.
“That’s always going to be the first look, getting Tyler a touch,” Dacey said. “If the double comes, we can kick it out but he’s our go-to guy. And the rest of the league has smartened up on Trent [Santos], Canton was denying him the ball and Mansfield is just Mansfield, they can deny anyone. But if they deny those guys, that leaves Tyler down low. And Danny [MacDougall] and Faisal [Mass] are doing a good job recognizing the double team.”
Stewart’s early success (14 points in the opening quarter) resulted in a big lead for the Tigers after eight minutes (18-6). Taunton added 19 more points in the second quarter, getting four apiece from sophomore Faisal Mass (14 points, seven rebounds) and junior Josh Lopes (eight points, four assists), and a pair of layups from sophomore Tristan Herry (nine points, six rebounds, four assists) and junior Nigel Choate.
But Stoughton’s offense showed signs of life as well, with senior guard Ahmad Jahed (eight rebounds, five assists) scoring half of his 16 points in the second quarter and Myles Grigalunas-Powell (16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists) and Donte Tyler hitting three-pointers to get the Black Knights within 11, down 37-26, at halftime.
Stewart scored eight points early in the third with Trent Santos (from Danny MacDougall), Mass, and Choate also chipping in as the Tigers stretched the lead to 17 points, up 49-32 with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.
Stoughton turned to the three-point line to get back into the game and found success, closing the third quarter on a 12-4 run. Grigalunas-Powell, Brett Pendenza, Jake Queeney, and Obinna Ugwuakazi (12 points, eight rebounds) all connected down downtown to cut the deficit to 53-44 entering the fourth.
Queeney and Ugwuakazi sandwiched three-pointers around a make from Stewart to open the fourth quarter and suddenly Stoughton was down just five with seven minutes to play. After Taunton missed on back-to-back three-point chances, they got the ball back down low to Stewart, who ended up grabbing his own miss and putting it off the glass.
Another stop preceded a free throw from Lopes to make it 58-50 with 5:26 to play and Mass drove the baseline with a strong take to push the advantage back to double figures, 60-50, with 4:39 left.
“He’s really improved over the course of the season,” Dacey said of Mass. “He was in football shape at the beginning of the year and now he’s got a little bit of quickness, he has the toughness…and he’s just a sophomore too. It was just important for us to get into a flow because we didn’t on Friday night.”
Mass scored twice more in crunch time with Herry and Lopes each adding buckets as Taunton increased its lead to 68-54. Queeney sank another three late to make it an 11-point game but Stoughton was unable to get the deficit within single digits again.
“We started to relax,” Dacey said. “And we’re not young anymore, that’s no longer an excuse. The sophomores have had a ton of experience now. There’s no such thing as relaxing in this league, especially against that team. They play on emotion and I didn’t want them to get going, because when they get going they are tough. They are so athletic, they can obviously hit the three, so they can get back into a game pretty quickly.”
Taunton boys basketball (7-4 Hockomock, 11-4 overall) will visit Oliver Ames on Friday. OA nipped Taunton with a three-pointer in the final seconds in the first meeting on December 18th. Stoughton (4-7 Hockomock, 7-8 overall) will travel to North Attleboro on the same night. The Black Knights handed Big Red a loss in the first meeting.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – At this stage of the season, every win is important, as teams are chasing tournament qualification. On Tuesday night, Stoughton and Taunton played with the urgency of two teams that could ill-afford another loss. It was physical, it was back-and-forth, and it was only decided in the closing minute.
The Black Knights were happy that they had senior guard Shyanne Trinh to turn to down the stretch. Trinh scored 18 of her team-high 20 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter and five of the game’s final eight points. Her runner broke a 60-60 tie and proved to be the game-winner.
Thanks in part to Trinh’s fourth quarter heroics, Stoughton pulled out a 68-60 victory over the visiting Tigers. The win leaves the Black Knights chasing three wins from their final five games to try and book a spot in the postseason.
“Our team persevered tonight,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “They fought hard. We’ve had a couple of losses that were really hard to swallow and I was proud of them that they worked hard. I told them, it’s not going to be handed to us. Yes you’re talented but you have to put in work.”
She added, “Taunton came back at us and we responded. Sometimes team come back at you and you start to hurry and get on your heels, but they stayed composed.”
Trinh managed only two points in the first half, but the team’s leading scorer got it going after the break. She scored six points in the third and showed signs of finding the range, as the hosts went into the fourth leading 46-44.
She drilled a pair of threes early in the fourth to help extend the lead to as many as six. After Sonya Fernandez (who scored 22 of her 23 points in the second half, including 12 of her own in the fourth) drilled a three to put Taunton ahead for the first time since the first quarter, Mackenzie Manning (12 points) answered with a triple of her own to make it 58-56.
A series of free throws left the game tied at 60, when Trinh beat her marker off the dribble, got into the lane, and knocked down a runner to put the Black Knights ahead for good. After a pair at the line from Jess Maddalena (seven points and seven rebounds), Aliyah Wright (17 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists) found Trinh behind the Taunton defense for a wide open layup that sealed the win.
“She was really long initially and I wanted to say to her, just step in, but you know a shooter, she’s just got to shoot the wrinkles off and second half she’ll start hitting,” Steele Jordan about Trinh’s fourth quarter.
The Tigers kept battling back in the fourth as well. Fernandez was immense in the second half, keeping her team in the game and showing off a full repertoire on offense, from scoring in the paint to stepping outside and knocking down threes.
“She’s a leader on this team,” Taunton coach Amy Siggens said about Fernandez. “We’ve worked on her inside-outside game and when she starts to feel it, you just sit back and say alright lets go and see where this takes us. She’s really, really stepped up her game.”
In the first quarter, Stoughton showed off some of its depth to grab the lead. Manning drilled a three and scored off the dribble, Maddalena grabbed an offensive board for two, and with Stoughton holding just a three-point lead Cate Downey came off the bench to knock down a pair from beyond the arc and extend the advantage to 20-11 after one.
“We’ve talked a lot about how we can’t rely just on Shy and Aliyah,” said Steele Jordan. “There’s other players on our team that can contribute on a regular basis, whether it’s rebounding or shooting. I’m like you guys wouldn’t be on my varsity team if I didn’t think you could play. They’re finally starting to get that confidence.”
Taunton would battled back with an 8-1 run to start the second quarter. Kameron St. Pierre (22 points and 10 rebounds) scored five points during that stretch and fellow freshman Maddy Michenzie (10 rebounds) grabbed an offensive board and putback to make it 21-19.
Jaelyn Fernandez (nine points and six assists) scored four in the second and assisted on St. Pierre’s third three of the half to tie the game at 27, but Stoughton again finished the quarter well. Maddalena hit two at the line and then blocked a shot at the other end. Downey grabbed the loose ball and threw an outlet to Wright for a transition basket and a four-point lead at the break.
The Stoughton lead never got larger than five in the third quarter, as the teams kept trading baskets. Sonya Fernandez heated up in the third with 10 points, but Stoughton always had an answer. After Fernandez nailed a three on one end, Trinh scored on the break. When St. Pierre drilled one, Wright responded with a three of her own. Taunton was able to trim two points off the lead but went into the fourth down 46-44.
Taunton would rue some missed opportunities in the final quarter, as they continued to crash the boards and give themselves multiple opportunities, but were unable to cash in on those chances.
“This was a very physical, tough game and I think that got into our head a little bit,” said Siggens. “We get it and we’re not always focused on the win. It’s about developing. You want to ease people into it but you can’t sometimes and you have to throw people to wolves and see how they react.”
She added, “The cuts we’re making, the passes we’re making, we’re doing the right things, now the the next step is finishing.”
Stoughton (7-8, 4-7) will host North Attleboro on Friday night, trying to split the season series with the Rocketeers and move another step closer to a playoff berth. Taunton (4-9, 3-8) will play host to Oliver Ames on Friday.