Foxboro Falls In Close Battle With Hanover

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Joe Morrison goes up for a contested layup against Hanover. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – If there was one play that summed up how Foxboro’s game against Hanover went, look no further than what turned out to be the game-winning bucket for the Indians.

With Foxboro holding a 57-56 lead, the Warriors looked like they got the stop they needed. Hanover’s leading scorer JP Landry (25 points, seven rebounds) drove baseline and went up for his shot, only for Foxboro senior Teddy Maher to make a great play from behind to block the ball.

But the offensive rebound fell into the hands of Hanover’s Matt Delahunt – one of the Indian’s 15 offensive rebounds – and he quickly put it back up and in with a one-handed floater from the middle of the paint.

That bucket — and those offensive rebounds — proved to be the difference as #5 Hanover edged #4 Foxboro, 58-57.

“That summed it up,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “It just wasn’t our night. It seemed like they made some tough shots all night long and the ball just wouldn’t bounce our way. Sometimes that’s how it goes. The game was everything we expected it to be, it was a great high school basketball game down to the wire. Unfortunately, they made one more play than we did.”

Though that basket proved to be the difference, there was plenty of drama over the final 28 seconds. Foxboro had a chance to retake the lead, using the majority of the shot clock before senior Joe Morrison (13 points, four rebounds) found sophomore Brandon Borde (11 points, six rebounds) in the post.

The sophomore made a nice move to create some space, turning into the paint and firing a turnaround jumper. The shot looked good, but was just inches off, hitting the back of the rim and staying out on the bounce. Foxboro immediately fouled, sending Hanover to the line with 4.3 seconds to go.

Hanover missed the first shot, but once again, the Indians made their mark on the offensive glass, hauling in another offensive board. After another foul, Hanover once again missed the front of the bonus and Foxboro called timeout with 2.6 seconds left.

But Foxboro’s last second effort fell short as the inbounds pass was tipped away at midcourt, securing the win for the Indians, the defending MIAA D3 State Champions.

“Hanover is a terrific offensive rebounding team, we knew that coming in,” Gibbs said. Hanover had a 15-2 advantage on offensive rebounds and won the rebounding battle 38-24. “We certainly made rebounding a major point of emphasis but give credit to Hanover, they were relentless on the offensive boards. It just felt like all the biggest plays of the game were Hanover offensive rebounds.

“It seemed like every big momentum swing…we were able to stop them on the first stop but they would get the putback. Those are winning plays, Hanover is obviously a championship type team.”

Foxboro had a strong start to the fourth quarter with a 6-0 spurt over the first two minutes. Borde converted a nice take to the rim, Matt Rongione (14 points) hit a three off of an assist from Devin Hassett, and Anthony Mollica hit one of his free throws to give the Warriors their largest lead, 54-45, with 5:48 to go.

But the Indians refused to fold. The visitor’s battled back with Landry leading the way. He scored four points while the Indians added three from two separate trips from the free throw line to get within two.

The Warriors snapped the run when Borde hit a free throw with 2:20 to go but Hanover came right back down and scored off the hands of Andrew Carroll off a nice feed from Landry to make it a one-point game.

Rongione responded with a strong take to the basket, fighting through contact for two. That gave Foxboro a 57-54 lead with 93 seconds to play, but again the Indians had an answer when Landry hit a tough floater in the lane.

Foxboro came up empty on its trip up the court, and it looked like Hanover did too. Delahunt saw his jumper hit off the side of the rim, and it looked like Foxboro had come down with the rebound. But a nice hustle play from Hanover resulted in a jump ball, giving the Indians possession back. That led to Delahunt’s floater after Maher’s block.

“They’ve been in so many big games and won so many big games together,” Gibbs said. “I’d like to think our team did the same this year. It was a back and forth battle, neither team wanted to go away. They made one more play and we ran out of time.”

Foxboro’s offense got off to a strong start, hitting four three’s in the opening quarter to create a 19-15 lead. Landry came up with a steal in the last second and hit a desperation three while falling to keep Hanover close.

The offense continued to play well with 17 points in the second quarter. Senior Bobby Harrison emerged as a key part of the offense, scoring nine of his 11 points in the frame to put the Warriors up 36-31 lead at half.

Hanover got within three early in the third quarter but Borde responded to push the lead back to five. When Delahunt hit to get the Indians within two, 43-41, Morrison came back the other way and converted to keep the lead. A three point play from Mollica late in the third kept the Warriors up, 48-45, heading into the fourth.

“I felt like we had a couple of chances over the court of the second half to maybe pop it to double figures and we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Gibbs said. “Every time we looked like we were close to blowing the game open, they came back and made a big play.”

Foxboro boys basketball finishes the season 19-5.

Foxboro Finds Offensive Rhythm To Beat New Mission

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Anthony Mollica drives past a New Mission player in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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FOXBORO, Mass. – Heading into halftime deadlocked in a low scoring affair, Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs didn’t need to make many tactical adjustments.

The simple truth was the Warriors just needed to convert their opportunities on the offensive end of the floor.

Foxboro’s stout defense got the job done over the first 16 minutes of play, holding #13 New Mission to just 19 points on 36% shooting. But the Warriors’ offense was struggling to establish a rhythm.

The Warriors shot just 24% (6-for-25) from the field in the first half and went over five minutes without any points at one point during the first quarter. And despite open layup chances and open looks from beyond the three-point line, Foxboro didn’t convert back-to-back chances once.

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“We just needed to relax,” Gibbs said. “We were getting all the looks we wanted to get, and I knew we were going to make them at home in the second half. We talked about going strong to the basket, don’t worry about getting your shot blocked. And if you’re open on the perimeter, step into it and knock it down like you do in practice. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like there were a lot of tactical adjustments to be made at half, felt it was more about just getting [the jitters] out of our system and we’d settled into the game.”

With the defense continuing its strong work in the second half, the offense finally settled in. The Warriors scored 41 points in the second half en route to a comfortable 60-43 win over the Titans.

“The first one is always the toughest,” Gibbs said. “We haven’t played in eight days and there’s just a whole different vibe in the state tournament. You have to get used it even if you’re a veteran team like we are. Hopefully, we got it out of our system in the first half and now can go on a run.”

Foxboro didn’t miss many of their open looks in the second or many of their shots at all. The hosts hit 16-of-25 attempts (64%) from the field in the second half, scoring as many points in the third quarter as they did the entire first half (19).

Bobby Harrison (eight points) scored on a nice cut to the basket on the opening play of the quarter, Joe Morrison (20 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals) drained a three on the next trip up, hit one of two free throws after that to take a 25-21 lead.

New Mission stayed within two thanks to freshman Abukar Aden (eight points) but Foxboro finished the third quarter with an 11-5 run. Morrison scored on one end, drew an offensive charge call on the other, and came back down to hit a three to spark the run.

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Senior Teddy Maher got around his man for an easy layup, Matt Rongione came away with a steal and passed to Morrison for a layup, and junior Anthony Mollica (15 points) scored on a strong take to the basket in the final seconds.

Holding a 38-29 lead going into the fourth quarter, Mollica helped the Warriors put the game to bed. The junior scored half of Foxboro’s 22 fourth quarter points.

“It all starts with our defense,” Mollica said. “Once we got a couple of good looks to go down, we started to click. I had a few easy hoops to start the second half and I was just able to build off of that.”

He connected on Foxboro’s first shot of the quarter — a three off a feed from Morrison — and then scored off the dribble to make it 43-33. Mollica dropped back-to-back baskets and sophomore Brandon Borde (13 points) drove right up the middle for two to put Foxboro up 50-35 with just under four minutes to play.

“Anyone that’s seen us practice over the last month would not be surprised at what Anthony Mollica did tonight,” Gibbs said. “He’s been unbelievable at practice, he’s worked really hard and I’m really happy for him. He’s worked really hard and he’s behind a lot of senior guards but when he gets out there, we have a lot of confidence in him and he’s capable of doing that at any moment. He was huge for us tonight when we needed to get that offense going.”

Foxboro continued its run, rattling off 10 straight points to complete a 16-0 spurt. Morrison and Borde each added four points in the stretch while Mollica had two more.

“As the season has gone on, we’ve seen more and more guys outside of Joe and Brandon step up and produce, which has been great to see that balance come around,” Gibbs said. “We’ve always been an unselfish team but now seeing some of those other guys be more confident and looking for their own offense is great to see and it’s been huge for us, you’re starting to see our offensive production go up.”

Foxboro boys basketball (19-4) advances to the D2 South Quarterfinals and will host #5 Hanover (18-4). The game is currently scheduled for Monday, March 5th at 6:30 but is subject to change.

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Foxboro Beats North To Clinch Share of Davenport Title

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Teddy Maher (middle) attempts to get past North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (left) and Chad Peterson (24) in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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FOXBORO, Mass. – After falling on the road to Milford last Friday night, the Foxboro boys basketball team fell a game behind in the race for the league’s Davenport division title.

But the Warriors entered this week with control over their destiny, and they didn’t let the opportunity slip away.

Following a big win over Canton on Tuesday evening, Foxboro used a big third quarter surge to create separation and earn a 56-38 win over North Attleboro, clinching a share of the program’s second Davenport title in the past three years.

Foxboro held a five-point lead (13-8) after eight minutes of play and stretched the advantage to seven (30-23) at the halftime break.

North Attleboro’s Josh Montague (10 points) scored at the midway point of the third quarter to keep the deficit at seven, but that’s when Foxboro blew the game open.

The Warriors rattled off a 13-1 run over the final four minutes of the third quarter. Senior Matt Rongione (six points, five rebounds, three assists) started the run with a three in the corner off a feed from senior Teddy Maher, sophomore Brandon Borde (16 points, five rebounds) converted a strong take to the basket and Anthony Mollicaa hit a free throw for a 6-1 run.

Over the final 60 seconds, Foxboro added seven more points. Joe Morrison (19 points, three assists) scored and then set up Borde for another basket. And then just before the buzzer sounded, Borde returned the favor, finding Morrison for a triple at the end of the period.

“I felt like the run was coming all along,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I felt our defense had been pretty good. At times North made some tough shots and we missed some easy ones. I felt like it was just a matter of time until we made the run and we started finishing pays in transition.

“We have an unbelievable group of seniors, it’s the biggest senior class I’ve had. They have so much character, grit, and toughness. Their leadership has been unbelievable. Both games this week they came with incredible focus, effort and energy and they weren’t going to be denied. I’m really happy for them.”

The run gave the hosts a 51-32 advantage heading into the final period.

“The trademark of this team has been to win with defense,” Gibbs said. “I think that’s what you saw tonight. Our offense was somewhat inconsistent early in the game but we kept defending and getting stops. And eventually, we put enough baskets in the hoop to get the separation.”

Despite limiting Foxboro to just five points in the final frame, North Attleboro was unable to mount a comeback attempt as the Rocketeers scored just six points in the final eight minutes.

“I thought we worked hard, that’s been true most of the year,” said North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins, “We had a couple of breakdowns, we let Morrison get way more touches than we wanted. Give them a lot of credit, their back cuts hurt us in the first half and we weren’t able to react or adjust enough. 

“On the offensive side it’s frustrating but I give our kids a lot of credit because we started to get the shots we like and as a coach that’s what you want. You just have to make more than we did tonight.”

Foxboro’s defense helped build the lead early on. Despite North shooting 50% from the field in the opening quarter, the Rocketeers had eight turnovers in eight minutes. The Warriors capitalized with senior Bobby Harrison (11 points) accounting for nearly half of the first quarter points with six.

Both offenses came alive in the second quarter. Foxboro led by seven twice early on in the quarter, while the Rocketeers cut it down to three two times. Morrison’s traditional three-point play made it 19-12 but a three from Nate Gonsalves and back-to-back baskets from Jake Petersen (10 points, five rebounds) and Montague brought the visitors within three.

Chad Peterson kept it a three-point game with a nice pull-up but consecutive triples from Harrison and Morrison gave Foxboro a 30-21 lead with just over a minute left.

“They are well coached, they make good reads,” Mulkerrins said of Foxboro. “That’s the toughest thing to defend because it’s not a set thing. Our kids were working hard but we aren’t as experienced as they are and that showed tonight. When teams make runs we need someone to step up and tonight, I appreciate the guys trying, we just didn’t make the shot or get the stop or get the call.

“Hats off to Foxboro for the league title. That’s a team that’s really good defensively and [coming into the season] had some questions about offense but Jon and his staff did a fantastic job, they should be proud of themselves.”

Foxboro boys basketball (12-4 Hockomock, 16-4 overall) will close out the regular season with a pair of non-league games starting on Monday with a visit from Bishop Feehan. anorth Attkbopp(6-10, 8-10) needs to win both of its remaining games to earn a playoff berth. The Rocketeers will host rival Attleboro on Monday at 6:30.

Foxboro Grinds Out Win Over Canton To Pull Even

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Joe Morrison rises up for a shot in the first half against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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FOXBORO, Mass. – For nearly nine minutes in the second half, Foxboro’s offense was stifled by Canton’s 1-3-1 zone defense.

It was just the latest move in a chess game between the Warriors and the Bulldogs.

During that span, Canton cut the 10-point deficit down to just three, 29-26, with five minutes to play. Out of a timeout, Foxboro responded with its move, adjusting its offense to get the ball into the post.

The adjustment resulted in a 6-0 spurt over a two-minute span, helping the Warriors hold on for a 39-34 win over the Bulldogs, putting the teams into a first-place tie atop the Davenport division with just one game left.

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“What you saw tonight was two evenly matched teams and two teams that were very well prepared for each other,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “Once you get to this point in the season, teams know each other so well and they’re going to take away what teams want to do. I thought you saw two teams tonight that played really well on defense and took away some of the top options on both sides. I’m just really proud of our guys the way we came out defensively with such energy.

“Obviously Canton is a team that can put up a lot of points, [Devin] Foster and [Tony] Harris are both phenomenal offensive players that are really difficult to stop. I thought Joe [Morrison] and Brandon [Borde] were outstanding with their effort.”

Over its scoreless span, the Warriors tried to shoot out of the zone but went 0-for-9 from three-point range, 0-for-1 from two-point range and had one turnover. But out of the timeout with five minutes to go, Gibbs had the offense focus on getting the ball inside.

Matt Rongione (eight rebounds, five assists) executed the game plan, finding Borde (seven points, four rebounds) on the baseline with a bounce pass for an easy two. On the next trip up, Rongione hooked up with Borde once again down low for another two. Canton came out of the zone and Borde was able to track down a miss, leading to two free throws from Anthony Mollica, giving Foxboro a 35-26 lead.

“We definitely knew the 1-3-1 was a possibility so we spent some time over the past two days and had a couple of different packages,” Gibbs said. “Early on we were taking a lot of jumpers, and I thought they were good looks, but unfortunately none of them were going in. So at some point, you have to make an adjustment so we went with another look that got us some more paint touches and we were able to get free down low for a couple of layups and that forced them to come out of it.

“Canton’s 1-3-1 is really difficult to simulate in practice because they do it so well so I was really proud of our execution with some of that stuff.”

Canton made one more push as Foster (13 points) drilled a three with two minutes to go and Austin Maffie converted a putback with 1:25 to go, bringing the deficit to four at 35-31.

But Borde hit a free throw on the other end, Canton had a three rim out, and Rongione came down with the defensive board. Bobby Harrison (eight points) hit three of four free throw attempts in the final minute to ice the game.

“I feel like both teams know each other so well, each team knew what the other team was running, we all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “I just thought it came down to a couple possessions here and there where there was a tip or a deflection, all of those little things add up. I thought the first game when we beat them we made more of those plays and this game I thought Foxboro made more of those, so hats off to Foxboro.”

Foxboro created its largest lead between the end of the second and early in the third. Harrison drove to the basket for two, Morrison (14 points) drained a three on a feed from Rongione, and Rongione converted at the rim himself to give Foxboro a 22-15 lead.

To start the third, Rongione hit a free throw, Borde hulled in an offensive rebound for put it back in for two, Morrison scored after a steal from Teddy Maher, and then Maher scored again after another steal of his own to make it 29-19.

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“We talked a lot about winning plays and hustle plays because the first time I thought Canton made all those plays down the stretch,” Gibbs said. “There were so many times where they won the 50/50 plays, they got the offensive rebounds, the loose balls, all that stuff. I challenged our guys to be that team tonight and I thought we were. Some of the biggest plays we had were either offensive rebounds or diving on loose balls. We got two over the back calls because we boxed out so well.”

Canton then made the switch to the zone, which afforded its offense some time to get back into the game. Foster scored on a feed from Verille off an inbounds play and Foster hit two free-throws to get within five (29-24) at the end of three. Harris (nine points, eight rebounds) scored in transition on a pass from Foster to make it a one-possession game with 6:25 to play.

It took over three minutes for the teams to open the scoring in the first quarter. Foxboro led by as much as five on a Maher three, but Canton outscored the hosts 7-2 over the final two minutes, including a coast-to-coast layup by Harris at the buzzer to put the Dogs ahead, 11-10.

Foxboro boys basketball (11-4 Hockomock, 15-4 overall) pulls into a tie atop the Davenport alongside Canton with the win. The Warriors have a chance to win at least a share of the division title if they can beat North Attleboro on Friday. Canton (11-4, 15-4) is in the same boat and will have another shot at winning the division when it hosts Stoughton on the same day.

Foxboro Holds Off Late Surge To Beat Attleboro

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro’s Brandon Borde goes up for a layup in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro used its defense to get back into the game, but Foxboro used its defense to slam the door shut on the Bombardiers’ comeback.

Trailing 58-52 with just over two minutes left in the game, Attleboro applied a full court pressure. The result was back-to-back steals from senior Nathan Douglas (12 points), the first Douglas scored on himself, the second turning into a layup from Elvin Sam.

After Foxboro called timeout, Attleboro’s defense once again came up with a big play. Sam and junior Mason Houle jumped onto a loose ball, forcing a jump ball and giving possession to the hosts, down two, with a minute to go.

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But before Attleboro could set its play in motion, Foxboro senior Teddy Maher came up with a huge steal in a one-on-one situation. The Warriors used nearly the entire play clock before sophomore Brandon Borde (10 points, four rebounds) drove through traffic converted at the rim for a 60-56 lead with 22 seconds to play.

The Bombardiers called timeout and executed right away as sophomore Qualeem Charles (career-high 28 points, 12 rebounds) quickly scored down low to get the deficit back to two with 12 seconds to go.

Foxboro senior Joe Morrison (19 points) got the inbounds, was fouled, and iced the game with a pair of free throws, giving the Warriors a hard-fought 62-58 win over Attleboro in a very entertaining contest.

“I thought we showed incredible poise,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “They threw that press on us and we weren’t really ready for it, and they got two quick steals. The momentum was completely in Attleboro’s favor…we’re on the road, the crowd is getting louder. It would have been really easy for us to fold but Teddy made a senior play. Teddy’s a phenomenal defender, he gives us a lot of intangibles, he gives a lot of things that don’t really show up in the box score but that’s what seniors do this time of year. They make winning plays.

“I thought it showed a lot of character and a lot of poise, instead of us folding mentally, we showed some true toughness and came up with a big stop when things weren’t going our way.”

“It was a good fight by us to get back in it, to get it within two,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We didn’t execute towards the end, we wanted to go inside but you never know what could have happened. Foxboro does a nice job and makes you work for everything you get.”

It was the second time Attleboro rallied in the second half, only for Foxboro to regain its footing late. The Warriors led by 10 (36-26) at halftime, but the Bombardiers executed their game plan nearly flawlessly early in the third to get back into it.

Houle (four points, six assists) drove to the basket for two, Dom Victor hit back-to-back shots in the paint, Charles converted a pair of putbacks and then completed a traditional three-point play after a feed from Houle, giving Attleboro a 39-38 lead on the back of a 13-2 run over the first four minutes of the third.

Foxboro regained the lead when senior Matt Rongione (14 points) knocked down his fourth three-pointer of the game and Maher converted a layup after an Attleboro turnover. But the Bombardiers went to work down low again, with Charles hitting two free throws after being fouled in the paint, and Victor again converting close to the basket.

“In the third quarter we came out and we did a nice job of really going high low with our bigs,” Mark Houle said. “We got a lot of paint touches and got Dom going down low. When they started overplaying our guards we had some good layup opportunities. I think we got back in it going inside, which is our strength, but Foxboro’s defense is obviously good. The outside looks we got were contested and we didn’t hit the outside shots that you’d like to be able to knock down.”

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Morrison took over for the final 90 seconds of the third. He came up with a steal and went the distance for a layup. After a steal fromDevin Hassett, Morrison drained a three-pointer to put the Warriors up five. And then the senior hit a technical free throw with 7.8 seconds left to give Foxboro a 49-43 lead entering the fourth.

Morrison also had five points in the fourth quarter, including an early three that put Foxboro up nine, an assist on Borde’s alley-layup at the midway point that kept Foxboro ahead by seven, and his game-clinching free throws.

“That’s Joe…it seems like its that way in every game that in the second half, in the fourth quarter, coming down the stretch when we need big plays, Joe is the one who is right there to make it, whether its on the offensive end or the defensive end,” Gibbs said. “He’s incredible, he’s without a doubt the best pure winner and pure competitor I’ve ever coached. He just has the knack for the big play, whatever we need. We’re so lucky to have him, he’s a once in a lifetime player for me as a coach. He’s the ultimate winner and you saw it tonight.”

The first half was highlighted by mismatches on both sides of the court. Charles was Attleboro’s focus early on, scoring eight points and hauling in five rebounds in the first quarter. Douglas hit both of the Bombardiers’ three-pointers of the game in the opening frame, helping Big Blue take a 16-14 lead after one.

While Charles gave Attleboro an advantage down low on the offensive end, Foxboro’s ability to spread the floor and shoot from distance gave the Warriors a leg up, especially in the second quarter.

Foxboro hit five three-pointers in the second quarter to surge past Attleboro. Senior Bobby Harrison (career-high 15 points) was responsible for four of those triples, taking advantage of his matchup. With Charles defending the hoop in the paint, Harrison was left open and converted his chances. Rongione also hit a three in the period, helping the Warriors seize a 36-26 lead at the break.

“Obviously [Charles] presents a huge mismatch for us when they are on offense because we don’t have anyone to match his size inside,” Gibbs said. “But we were also hoping we could do the same when we had the ball and use our perimeter to cause some mismatches for them. We talked to Bobby a lot about setting ball screens on the perimeter and pulling out to either shoot or drive.

“Bobby was able to get some open looks and to his credit, he stepped up and knocked them down. He caused Attleboro some problems, I assume they don’t want [Charles] out on the perimeter chasing guys around, and he was forced to come out because Bobby made some threes.”

Foxboro finished 10-for-19 from three-point and 23-for-47 from the field overall.

“Foxboro is a talented team, and Borde and Morrison are very good off the dribble,” Houle said. “We really wanted to use Qualeem as much as we could inside to sag the middle. I think the first quarter we were able to get away with it but once Harrison hit one, we had more of a soft close out, then he hit two, then hit the third one which was a dagger. Then we had to open up more and get out and cover him. That was big because we were hoping to be able to sag more inside and not allow that ball penetration.”

Foxboro boys basketball (8-3 Hockomock, 12-3 overall) begins its second go through of the Davenport schedule on Friday when it hosts Sharon at 6:30. Attleboro (6-5, 9-6) will try to bounce back when it travels to take on King Philip on Friday at 7:00.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton Pulls Away From Foxboro In Fourth Quarter

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Devin Foster drives to the basket in the first half against Foxboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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CANTON, Mass. – In a game when points are at a premium, even the smallest of runs can make the biggest difference.

After six lead changes in the third quarter alone, Canton rattled off an 8-0 burst over a two-minute span to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game. The hosts never looked back from there, earning a key 61-48 win over Foxboro to give the Bulldogs sole possession of first place in the Davenport.

“That was just a great basketball game,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “The score says it was a 13 point game but it really wasn’t, free throws extended it at the end, it really could have gone either way. Two teams that play really hard-nosed basketball, I thought the stars were stars…[Devin] Foster and [Tony] Harris for us, [Brandon] Borde and [Joe] Morrison for them. Both teams have really solid role players…just a really awesome high school basketball game. And my hat’s off to Foxboro, they do a really good job with their guys, they’re always well coached and well prepared.”

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Canton junior Devin Foster (24 points, five rebounds) banked in a step-back three-pointer at the buzzer of the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 44-43 lead, and arguably, more importantly, the momentum heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs led by one (10-9) at the end of the first and a late three from Foxboro senior Teddy Maher sent the teams into the locker rooms tied 26-26. Neither side led by more than six points through three-quarters of play.

After Foxboro scored the first basket of the fourth to retake the lead, 45-44, the Warriors’ offense went quiet. Canton’s Tony Harris (23 points, six rebounds) started the run with a pair of free throws, Foster drained a deep three from straight away, and after a steal from Ryan Lentol, Harris hit a trey of his own to give the Dogs its largest lead at 52-45 with 3:32 to play.

The Warriors couldn’t answer as they had a turnover on the ensuing possession and then three straight misses. With just over a minute left and the shot clock winding down, Foster took his man baseline and finished at the rim for a 54-45 lead.

Foxboro finally broke its scoreless streak (spanning 6:20) when sophomore Brandon Borde (17 points, seven rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to seven, but Canton hit seven of nine free throw attempts in the final minute while the Warriors went without a field goal.

Canton outscored Foxboro 17-5 in the final frame.

“Foster’s three at the end of the third quarter I think really changed the momentum of the game,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “I think it gave Canton a big boost and kind of sucked away some of our energy, unfortunately. Canton was obviously very well prepared and they were prepared to take away some of the things we like to do offensively and they were able to make things really difficult on us. Give Canton credit for their defense. I think it had to do with their defense more than anything else.

“Foster and Harris were tremendous, it seemed every time we started to build momentum, one of those two hit a big shot. They hit huge shots time and again, and they were really clutch. They did what big-time players do and really carried Canton. We’ll have to figure out how to do a better job next time around.”

Canton built a 10-4 lead through the first seven minutes of the first quarter, holding the Warriors to just 1-for-11 shooting. But after hauling in an offensive rebound, Joe Morrison (17 points, seven rebounds) drained a three and Borde scored on a layup on the next possession to bring Foxboro within one after eight minutes.

The Bulldogs never trailed in the second period either, but couldn’t pull away thanks to Foxboro’s work on the offensive glass. Harris had a three erased when Borde answered off of Morrison’s offensive rebound.

Jake Verille gave Canton its largest lead of the first half with a layup (19-13) but Borde converted at the rim, later hit a free throw and Morrison hit a pair of free throws to get Foxboro within one. Harris finished a traditional three-point play only for Borde to keep Foxboro close with a triple. Foster and Bobby Harrison traded baskets, Austin Maffie then put Canton up three, but Maher’s triple tied the game.

“A game that tight, every possession is so valuable that they really stick out…an offensive rebound really sticks out cause its an extra possession,” Gordy said. “That game came down to who was able to execute and grind out stops. Any offensive board or tip we got or they got, it just seemed huge.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the third quarter, Morrison hit a three to put Foxboro up 29-28, only for Foster to convert to give Canton the lead back. Morrison drained another triple but four straight from Foster put Canton ahead again. Matt Rongione went on a personal 5-0 run and two free throws from Borde gave Foxboro its biggest lead (40-35) with 2:30 in the third.

“Devin was just feeling it in that quarter,” Gordy said. “He had 11 in the quarter and it felt like he got hot at the right time, he put us on his back for a quarter and we were able to come out and play better team basketball in the fourth to put it away.”

Kyle Fitzgerald and Lentol scored back-to-back but a three from Anthony Mollica kept Foxboro up four. Harris brought Canton within two before Fitzgerald’s offensive rebound set Foster up for his buzzer beater.

“Kyle Fitzgerald, all that kid does it make toughness plays,” Gordy said. “He’s undersized but he plays big. He’s our catalyst, he does so much for us. He’s a spark plug off the bench and his contributions tonight should absolutely be noted.”

“I thought in the second half they started to get more of those 50-50 balls, more of the loose balls, more of the rebounds in the paint on both ends,” Gibbs said. “Those plays add up and can make a huge difference over the course of a game. Especially these grind-it-out Davenport games, every possession matters. If you can get your team an extra shot or extra possession, it’s huge. I thought Canton was really hungry in the second half…that huge three by Foster at the end of the third was off an offensive rebound. And we weren’t able to get enough of those for us in the second half.”

Canton boys basketball (6-1 Hockomock, 8-1 overall) moves into sole possession of first place of the Davenport and will be in action again on Friday at Stoughton. Foxboro (5-2, 9-2) will look to bounce back the same night when it travels to North Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Morrison, Harrison Help Foxboro Seal Comeback Win

Foxboro’s Devin Hassett goes up for a shot in the second half. (Danny Emerman/HockomockSports.com)

By Danny Emerman, HockomockSports.com Contributor

FOXBORO, Mass. – Foul shots had plagued Foxboro all night. As a team, the Warriors hit just 18-of-30 (60%) freebies.

But when senior Bobby Harrison stepped to the line with his team up three points with 20 seconds left, he delivered. Twelve seconds later, after a wild step-back three from Milford’s Cam Falcon brought the visitors within two, he iced the game with two more to give Foxboro a 55-51 win over Milford.

“Over the course of the season, you have games like that where there’s a lid on the hoop and you’re missing shots you normally make, including free throws,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “You have to be able to win ugly sometimes and I’m really proud we were able to grind through with our ‘D.’”

Harrison had the opportunity to ice the game thanks to senior captain Joe Morrison’s fourth-quarter takeover. Morrison scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth, including a deep, stare-down trey after a jab step to give the Warriors a 48-41 lead.
“Joe Morrison stepped up and hit a couple huge threes for us. He does it all for us, he’s incredibly clutch, he’s an unbelievable winner,” Gibbs said.

Although he recorded a game-high 22 points, Morrison went scoreless in the first and third quarters.

“Even though he struggled offensively at times, he made big shots,” Gibbs said.

In those same quarters, Foxboro scored just seven and nine points respectively. They went over two minutes without a point to start the second half.

Milford led for most of the game, but couldn’t extend the advantage more than six points. Neither team could find the offense to pull away, as there were five lead changes in the last two and half minutes of the first half.

Milford received 28 of its 51 points from the starting frontcourt of Kayden Kelley (16 points) and Andrew Fraioli (12 points). Defensively, the duo protected the rim throughout the game and made it tough for Foxboro in the paint.

“We really struggled to finish,” Gibbs said. “We missed a lot of layups and shots in the paint we usually make. Sometimes that happens on any given night, but I thought their length had a lot to do with it.”

Kelley especially dominated on both ends, altering shots at the rim and showing impressive inside-out skill on offense, controlling the glass as well.

“We were driving the ball to the lane, and they have a lot of big, long guys rotating over and changing some of those shots, making those shots difficult,” Gibbs said. “I think their length affected us on both ends,”

Milford’s team defense locked in especially in the second half. They held the Warriors to six points in the third quarter before Morrison exploded in the fourth. By rotating over on the weak side on Foxboro slashes, Milford took four charges in the second half, three from guard Joey DeMarco.

Milford carried a lead into the fourth quarter and appeared to be in position to upset the Warriors, who entered the game at 8-1.
Momentum shifted after the Scarlet Hawks were hit with a pair of technical fouls. Morrison drilled all four technical free throws and then a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to cap a seven-point possession, swinging a two-point deficit into a five-point lead. Foxboro held on from there.

To negate Milford’s size, Foxboro played full-court, man-to-man defense throughout the whole game. Senior Teddy Maher harassed the ball-handler and forced several turnovers. His “disruptive” play from 90 feet away from the basket wore down opposing guards, Gibbs said.

“A big part of our game plan tonight was to put pressure on their guards at the point of attack and try to disrupt their offensive flow. We didn’t want them to just come down and be comfortable running their offense and be comfortable throwing it into the post against us. So we really wanted to put a lot of pressure on the ball.”

By staving off Milford’s effort, Foxboro improves to 5-1 in the Hockomock, 9-1 overall. The Warriors will entertain Canton on Tuesday in a battle for first place in the Davenport division. Milford (2-4, 3-4) will look to bounce back when it travels to North Attleboro on the same day.

Borde Leads Foxboro Past Sharon In Davenport Clash

Foxboro boys basketball
Foxboro sophomore Brandon Borde converts a layup in the first half against Sharon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – With 29 career starts already under his belt, it’s easy to forget that Foxboro’s Brandon Borde is just a sophomore.

And you’d never know it based on his performance on Saturday night. Borde poured in a career-high 25 points in a dominant effort, helping Foxboro pick up a 73-46 win over the Eagles in the first Davenport division game of the season.

After starting all but one game during his rookie year (senior night), Borde wasted little time getting going during his seventh start of this season. He scored 11 points in the first quarter, helping Foxboro build a double-digit lead it never surrendered.

By halftime, Borde had already surpassed his career-high mark with 19 points and then added six points in the third quarter before resting for the majority of the final frame.

“We’ve been really begging him to be more aggressive in terms of looking for his own shot and attacking the basket,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “He’s such an unselfish kid and such a good passer that a lot of times he defers and he doesn’t realize how good he is.

“Obviously he got going tonight and I think he started to realize he could score almost at will and his confidence really got going. You can see what he’s capable of when he’s that aggressive. Hopefully, that aggressive mindset will become the norm.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Warriors and Eagles matched one another through the first five and a half minutes, but Foxboro seized control of the game by closing with an 11-0 run. A free throw from Bobby Harrison and three free throws from Joe Morrison after the buzzer sandwiched a 7-0 run from Borde himself.

Up 10-8, Borde hauled in a defensive rebound before converting at the rim on the other end. After Sharon came up with a block, Borde drained a three on a feed from Anthony Mollica, Sharon missed a three and Borde pulled up in the lane for another two to make it 17-10 with under a minute to play in the first.

The sophomore kept it going in the second quarter. When Sharon’s Malik Lorquet opened the frame with a traditional three-point play to give the home side some momentum, Borde answered with a strong take to the rim himself, converting while being fouled; he also converted the free throw.

After sophomore Will Morrison hit a pair of free throws, Borde read a cross-court pass, picking it off and laying it in for an easy two. Sharon’s Jayvon Monteiro responded with a layup of his own but Borde drained his second triple of the half on a pass from Joe Morrison, giving Foxboro a commanding 30-13 lead.

Foxboro took a 39-18 lead into halftime.

“We were right there with them for the first six and a half minutes but that last minute and a half really killed us in the first quarter,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We knew how good they were defensively, Jon does such a great job with them. Joe Morrison did a great job, Brandon Borde did a great job. Our offense just got stagnant, we didn’t move the ball enough. We went a little one-on-one too much, and that’s a credit to [Foxboro]. They were able to take us out of what we wanted to do by executing what they wanted to do.”

Foxboro put to bed any hopes of a comeback with its best offensive quarter of the game, pouring in 21 points in the frame on 53% shooting. Both Joe Morrison (two three’s) and Borde scored six points in the quarter while Teddy Maher and Ryan Hughes each contributed.

Mollica capped the quarter with his first field goal fo the game, a three-pointer after Joe Morrison forced a turnover on the defensive end.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With both teams playing their starters, Foxboro held the Eagles to 38 points on 35% shooting from the field while forcing 17 turnovers. It marked the sixth time in eight games an opponent has scored fewer than 5 points with Mansfield (50 points) and Franklin (52 points) the lone teams to reach the half-century mark.

“Defense is where it all starts for us, and it’s a huge point of pride for us,” Gibbs said. “I think that’s definitely our calling card as a team. We have a lot of quick, tough, physical guards that are really good at containing dribble penetration. I think we make it tough for teams to get into the paint and break us down off the dribble. We just have some tough-minded kids, they really work at it, they’re really coachable. It’s definitely something we take a lot of pride in.”

Lorquet led Sharon with 11 points and six rebounds while Lester High and Jimmy Fitzhenry each scored 10 points for the Eagles.

Foxboro boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 7-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Stoughton. Sharon (0-4, 1-6) will try to get back on track on Tuesday when it hosts North Attleboro at 6:30.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield Holds Off Late Foxboro Surge To Earn Win

Mansfield boys basketball
Foxboro’s Bobby Harrison attempts to drive past Mansfield’s Justin Vine in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – Mansfield saw its 13-point fourth quarter shrink to just three inside the final minute, but senior Ryan Otto made a huge bucket to help the Hornets hold on for a 50-43 win over Foxboro.

Mansfield senior John McCoy drained a contested three with 6:39 to play to put the Hornets comfortably ahead 44-31, but then Foxboro orchestrated an impressive comeback.

Foxboro sophomore Brandon Borde played a vital role in the run, scoring six of his career-high 14 points and assisting on a bucket to Matt Rongione as Foxboro rattled off eight straight points.

Mansfield junior Damani Scott ended the Hornets’ drought with 1:53 to play, driving to the basket for two and a 46-39 lead. But a bucket from Teddy Maher, and then a steal and two free throws from Joe Morrison (14 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals) suddenly made it a one-possession game with 55 seconds to play.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But on the ensuing possession, Mansfield had its biggest answer of the game. With the shot clock about to tick into single digits, Otto dished the ball to junior Tommy Dooling in the corner, but he quickly returned the ball to Otto who drained the three — his first made field goal of the game — to make it 49-43 with 35 seconds to play.

The Hornets came up with a defensive stop, Scott hit a free throw to extend the lead to seven and Mansfield picked up its first win of the season.

“I think we’re trying to find our identity,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I don’t think its a lack of ability as much as its a lack of identity. We had a lot of empty possessions because of not doing things the way we do it. To Foxboro’s credit, they did a tremendous job defensively at taking away some things, and they got some opportunities they capitalized on. Obviously, Morrison and Borde offensively kept them relatively close. I thought Foxboro did a nice job.

“I thought we were better defensively in the second half, and we rebounded the ball much better. I think going forward we’ll be okay, we just to clean up some things and use this as a learning experience. It’s always good to get out one with a win when you didn’t play as well as you liked – and that’s not to take anything away from Foxboro.”

It was the second big lead that Foxboro erased. Mansfield got off to a strong start, racing out to a 10-2 lead over the first four minutes of play. But over the final four minutes of the opening stanza, Foxboro rallied with an 11-3 run to tie the game.

“I thought our guys showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart, in both halves,” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “We got down 13-4 and we could have gone into a shell and we didn’t. We stayed together and got back into and the same thing in the fourth quarter. We could have quit both times and both times we stayed together and got back into it, so that was encouraging.

“We made a couple of defensive adjustments in the first quarter to get back into it. And then in the second half comeback, it was more offensive adjustments. We were having a hard time getting shots around the rim so we tried to open the court up a little bit more to give Brandon some room to attack and he was able to get downhill and make some good things happen, he had some baskets, got fouled, and was able to create for some of the other guys.”

Foxboro took its first lead of the game on a three-pointer from Devin Hassett, up 18-15, with 5:05 to play in the first half, but Mansfield close the half with a 13-5 run. John McCoy sandwiched a bucket and a three-point play around a bucket down low from Sam Hyland. Dooling hit his third three of the game and Hyland completed a traditional three-point play in the final seconds to take a 28-23 lead into halftime.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

McCoy tied a career-high with 17 points to lead the way for the Hornets, also pulling down six boards.

“He’s trying to get his legs back under him,” Vaughan said of McCoy. “He missed a week of practice. He probably logged more minutes than I thought we would play. We were happy with his production, I think that’s something he’s going to be doing all year, scoring inside out. Hopefully, as the year goes on the physical play plays more to our advantage. I thought there were a few times when he went to the rim there was some contact. If he gets those calls then he’s a much different player because he becomes almost undefendable.”

Mansfield’s first double-digit lead came midway through the third quarter when McCoy got to the rim for two and a 35-25 lead. Foxboro quickly cut it back to single digits on a bucket from Borde on an assist from Morrison down low but Khristian Conner drove hard to the basket to restore the 10-point lead on Mansfield’s ensuing possession.

“Foxboro isn’t going to come in undercoached, they are going to have some sort of identity and play hard,” Vaughan said. “They have two players on the floor that can score. I knew they probably wouldn’t get into the 50’s or 60’s so I knew we had to get there. I knew it’d be a rock fight. Jon does a great job getting his guys ready. But we’re glad to get out of here with a win.”

The Hornets kept that lead until the final seconds of the quarter when Foxboro sophomore Ryan Hughes converted a traditional three-point play off an offensive rebound to make it 39-31.

“Give credit to Mansfield,” Gibbs said. “Everyone knows about Mansfield’s offensive ability and their shooting ability but I don’t think they get enough credit for their defense. They are always one of the best defensive teams around. They made it really difficult for us to score, especially coming out of the locker room in the second half.”

Scott (five rebounds, two assists) and Dooling each finished with nine points for the Hornets while Hyland added six points and seven boards.

Foxboro hits the road for the first time, traveling to take on King Philip (1-0, 1-0) at the same time.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

2017-2018 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

2017-2018 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2016-2017 Record: 13-10
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Mark Houle

Attleboro will be looking to its youth to try and get back to the state tournament this season. With just two seniors and four juniors, half of the Bombardiers’ roster is made up of underclassman.

But just because the Bombardiers are young, doesn’t mean they aren’t experienced. Senior Nate Douglas, a returning starter, has been getting minutes on varsity since his freshman year, and classmate Elvin Sam emerged as a reliable shooter off the bench last season. Sophomores Qualeem Charles and Bryant Ciccio made big impacts during their rookie campaigns last season. Charles (6’5) will be a big presence in the post while Ciccio will be one of the primary ball handlers.

Charles will be joined by sophomore Jason Weir (6’2) in the post while junior forward Dom Victor will be a game-changer on both ends of the floor. At 6’4, his athleticism will cause a lot of matchup problems for opposing defenses. Douglas and Ciccio will be joined by Mason Houle, Kevin Velazquez and Tim Callahan in the backcourt.

“We will need to have our younger players step up this year,” said AHS head coach Mark Houle. “We expect to be a well-rounded team who can play a fast pace game or well in a half court set.”

Canton

2016-2017 Record: 9-11
2016-2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ryan Gordy

The goal is pretty clear for Canton this season. Not only do the Bulldogs want to reach the postseason for the first time since 2014, they want to compete for the Davenport division title.

With two of the top players back in the lineup, both goals are reasonable. Senior Tony Harris and junior Devin Foster, both HockomockSports.com Third Team selections a year ago, return to anchor a Bulldogs’ team that just missed out on the playoffs last year. They’ll be joined by Austin Maffie and Jake Verille, both returning starters, as well as Paul Corcoran, Kyle Fitzgerald and Ryan Lentol, who all have varsity experience.

Harris and Foster give Canton an immediate edge on offense with two talented scorers, but it will be important for others to step up and make plays all season long. On defense, the Bulldogs will rely on their quickness to try and bother teams.

“This is a fun group who have played a lot of basketball together, they like each other which helps with team chemistry,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “Hopefully that will translate into a good product on the court.”

Foxboro

2016-2017 Record: 12-10
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Jon Gibbs

The mantra “Defense Wins Championships” has been proven in many different sports, at many different levels. The 2017-2018 Foxboro Warriors are hoping that will be the case this season.

Head coach Jon Gibbs says that this team has the potential to be the best defensive team that he’s coached. “We have a lot of quick, tough, physical guards that move their feet well on the perimeter and are committed to the defensive end of the court,” he said. “I think this should be a major strength of our team.”

It helps that Foxboro returns the reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year in senior Joe Morrison. As a junior, Morrison routinely limited opponents’ best offensive player, and was a big reason why the Warriors allowed just 55.9 points per game.

Sophomore Brandon Borde returns to the starting lineup alongside Morrison. Borde had a strong freshman season and will likely see his role increase this year, especially on the offensive end of the court. Seniors Teddy Maher and Matt Rognione, both with plenty of varsity experience will both see plenty of time this year and will be relied upon to make plays.

“We have a very good mix of experience and youth,” Gibbs said. “Our seniors have shown excellent leadership thus far, practices have been competitive, and everyone is working hard to earn their spot and get better. We hope to keep building and improving each day so that we are peaking and playing our best basketball at the end of the season.”

Franklin

2016-2017 Record: 22-5
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D1 State Final
Coach: CJ Neely

After making it to the Division 1 State Final a year ago, the Panthers are hoping to be just as competitive this season. With three starters back, and a handful of experienced and talented bench players, the expectations for Franklin are certainly high.

Losing Josh Macchi to graduation will hurt, but the Panthers return their best player in senior Paul Mahon, along with two terrific young talents in junior Jalen Samuels and sophomore Chris Edgehill. When playing at his best, Samuels’ athleticism and offensive skills make him one of the toughest marks in the league. Edgehill really turned it on in the tournament and if he can sustain that level of play throughout the regular season, the Panthers will be a favorite for the league title.

Seniors Alex Klowan, Matt Elias, Jack Rodgers and Gavin Farnan all picked up valuable minutes a season ago and will be key pieces for the Panthers, whether its apart of the starting line up for coming off the bench. Having so many experienced players ready to come off the bench should give Franklin the upper hand on a lot of teams.

“Our strength on the offensive end will be in our balance and willingness to share the ball and create great scoring opportunities for the team,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “On defense, we hope to make our opponents uncomfortable at all times and really focus on getting stops as a unit.”

King Philip

2016-2017 Record: 8-13
2016-2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Champagne

After losing just three seniors that played valuable minutes last season, and a full season complete under head coach Mark Champagne, King Philip is looking to take the next step this year and get back to the postseason.

The biggest shoes to fill are those left by Seth Sullivan and Will Weir, but the Warriors have five players back that either started or saw significant varsity minutes a season ago for a team that was just a couple games away from making the playoffs. Not only were they just a couple of games off, they were competitive in almost every game, including a three-point loss to Attleboro, a one-point loss to Taunton, and a three-point loss to Mansfield in a four-game span.

Seniors Tom Madden, Pharoah Davis, and Nolan Bradley are all back this season, along with juniors Kyle Layman and Bruce Santillus. Layman and Madden (both 6’4) will give the Warriors size in the frontcourt while Davis, one of the most experienced players in the league, will be the premier ball handler. Bradley provides King Philip with a threat from beyond the three-point line and Santillus showed this offseason the ability to fill the scoresheet up.

“With more familiarity comes trust, and a more comfortable time spent in the gym this season,” Champagne said. “Guys have worked hard in the offseason and we expect it to pay dividends as we get into our schedule. We have good depth and good leadership.”

Mansfield

2016-2017 Record: 23-3
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Final
Coach: Mike Vaughan

This might be the most turnover we’ve seen the Hornets have in quite some time, but just because there will be a lot of new faces doesn’t meet much will change for the Hornets.

Expectations are still sky high, as Mansfield will be looking to compete for another Kelley-Rex title (Mansfield has won five straight division titles). And when it comes to the postseason, the Hornets are aiming to get back to at least the spot they got to last year – the D1 South Final – with aspirations to go further.

All six seniors that graduated all played important roles over the past couple of years for the Hornets, including last year’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Sam Goldberg. However, Mansfield does bring back experience in Tyler Boulter, John McCoy, Ryan Otto and Sam Hyland. Senior Nick Ferraz will give Mansfield some depth in the frontcourt after missing last year to injury, and senior transfer Justin Vine gives the Hornets another shooting option.

Junior Damani Scott showed glimpses at the end of last when he was called up while Khristian Conner and Tommy Dooling should see increased roles this season.

“I think our strength will be controlling the tempo on offense and having a bend don’t break defensive mindset,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I think we have lots of options with going small ball, playing with a taller lineup, or a good shooting line up. That creates lots of tough matchups over the course of the game.”

Milford

2016-2017 Record: 11-12
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central Quarterfinal
Coach: Paul Seaver

Although the Hawks graduated three of their top scorers from last year, expectations are still high in Milford. It will be tough to replace the offensive output of Zack Tamagni, Anthony Arcudi, and Nate Davila, but the Hawks will be relying on their size this season to get the offense going.

Senior Kayden Kelley is back for his third year starting on varsity and will be an important piece on both ends for Milford. Standing at 6’4, Kelley is a tough matchup and is one of the best rebounders in the league. He averaged 14.3 boards per game a year ago and led the league in double-doubles. Senior Shane Cosquete will start at point guard again this year, and will be relied upon on to set the offense in motion. He will likely be relied upon for more scoring this season.

Junior Brendan White will join the starting lineup after coming off the bench in 23 years ago. A physical presence, White brings energy and defensive toughness to the lineup. Transfers Andew Fraioli (6’5) and Joey Everett (6’3) give the Hawks depth in the frontcourt.

“We’ve improved statistically offensively and defensively over each of the past three seasons and that’s a trend that we will be hoping to continue here in 2017-2018,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver.

North Attleboro

2016-2017 Record: 15-8
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Sean Mulkerrins

It’s no surprise that after graduating four starters, and the team’s sixth man that it will be a youth revolution in Big Red Country. Starters Brent Doherty, Johnny Friberg, Kyle McCarthy and Tommy Reynolds are gone, as well as Moni Cuevas, who played plenty of minutes off the bench.

The one returning starter is senior Chad Peterson, a familiar face in the Rocketeers’ lineup since his freshman year. And all four of the other returning players – senior Derek Shanks and juniors Matt Seavey, Josh Montague and Nate Gonsalves – all saw plenty of minutes last season.

While Peterson will likely take on a leadership role and see increased point production, expect Montague to emerge as a leading scorer for the Rocketeers. Shanks can stretch the floor some and hit mid-range jumpers, Seavey is a solid option in the post, and Gonsalves is a capable ball handler.

Offensive, North will rely on its size. On top of Seavey and Shanks, the Rocketeers have a pair of 6’6 forwards in Jacob Petersen and Owen Nassaney to add depth and size to the frontcourt. Junior Jonathan James, recovering from a football injury, will likely factor in as well.

“We are really looking forward to seeing how this new group gels,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “With a lot of new faces, its really been a preseason spent trying to find our identity. We know we need to grow up really fast as the Hock won’t give us any nights off. We’re really pleased with how this group has responded to the coaching and is accepting the challenges that lay ahead. We are excited to see what this team can accomplish together.”

Oliver Ames

2016-2017 Record: 13-11
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Don Byron

Oliver Ames surpassed most expectations in its first year in the Kelley-Rex division, coming in third and opening the playoffs with a road win at Milton.

But the toughest part about the Kelley-Rex is that the challenge gets harder and harder every year. And with Oliver Ames losing three starters – Carter Evin, Nick Welch, and Dylan Mahoney – to graduation, the Tigers will be facing an uphill battle. The good news is that the Tigers have seniors Jack Spillane and Matt Muir back this year. Both were starters a year ago, and Spillane showed the ability to really fill up the stat sheet, scoring 25 points or more on three occasions.

Junior Ethan Eckstrom, a center, will see more minutes this season and his size will be key to helping defend opposing teams. Senior Noah Fitzgerald showed last year how much of a pest he can be on the defensive side of the ball, and the Tigers will rely on him to do so again this year.

Junior Jake Erlich earned his way into the lineup and picked up valuable experience last season. He will likely see an increased role this season and his strength help the Tigers in the post.

Sharon

2016-2017 Record: 7-13
2016-2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrew Ferguson

It will be tough to replace Ricardo Ripley at point guard, but the good news for Sharon is that the majority of the Eagles that played valuable minutes last year as returning this season.

Senior Malik Lorquet broke out of his shell last year and showed that he can take over a game. Now a senior, Lorquet will be a focal point on both sides of the court for the Eagles. Senior Jimmy Fitzhenry can catch fire at any moment, and when he does, he is one of the most dangerous shooters in the league.

Alex Kaufmann also showed glimpses last year as a sophomore, both as a ball handler and a scorer. Between him, Lorquet and Fitzhenry, the Eagles have a solid offensive core to rely on. Jayvon Monteiro is one of the most passionate players in the league and will see an increased role at guard and be key to Sharon’s defense. Aidan Kane, Ben Kaplan, and Aaron Strong will all be important players off the bench for Sharon.

“Our goal is to improve upon last year, the end of the year was a confidence boost for our returning players and we’re hoping to carry over that momentum to this year,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We have an experienced group of starters, but will be looking for our less experienced players to make a jump and help us at the varsity level.”

Stoughton

2016-2017 Record: 5-15
2016-2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: John Gallivan

Stoughton will be looking to improve on last year’s season, and the best way to do that will be to improve on the defensive end of the court.

The Black Knights haven’t had too much trouble on the offensive end, and with leading scoring Cam Andrews back for his senior year, it likely won’t be a big issue this year either. But the Knights have allowed a league-high in points each of the last two seasons.

Andrews led the Hockomock League in scoring last year with 17.8 points per game and will demand the attention of opposing defenses. Senior Colin Sanda can also hit from the outside and will be a solid second option for the Black Knights, who graduated eight players including reliable scoring options Cam Gomes and Matthew Valle.

In the frontcourt, junior David Bell (6’2) showed some potential at the end of last year and should factor in more in 2017-2018.

“Offensively we may create problems for some teams but our defense has to be better than it has been in the recent past,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan.

taunton

2016-2017 Record: 13-9
2016-2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Charlie Dacey

When it comes to pace, Taunton is hoping to be among the fastest teams in the league this season. The Tigers will still be young this year, but not as much as last year with plenty of young players returning after gaining experience last season.

Seniors Lens Esquil and Malik Charles both played last year and have shown improvement in their skills; they’ll be relied upon to be team leaders this season. Sophomore Dante Law had a tremendous freshman season, and hurt a lot of teams in a lot of ways. Whether it was from deep, like his six three pointers against Foxboro, or his ability to attack the basket, he’s one of the most dangerous young players in the league. Junior Lou Vendrell also emerged as a top scorer last season and could be one of the top shooters in the league this year.

Junior John Martins is another experienced player that is capable of scoring while Diamond Blakely and Prince Brown will share point guard duties. Naz Kenian, Tyler Medeiros, and Wesner Charles are all going to be options for head coach Charlie Dacey as well.

“We have much depth with tremendous team speed,” Dacey said. “If we can learn to harness this speed and use it productively we could be interesting.”