Attleboro, 70 @ Taunton, 45 – Final – Attleboro’s offense was clicking on Friday night, shooting over 60% from the field in a win over the Tigers. With the win, Attleboro qualifies for the state tournament. The Bombardiers were 29-for-48 from the field, including eight three-pointers. Sophomore Bryant Ciccio had a career-high 24 points along with seven assists, Kevin Velazquez and senior Nate Douglas each added 13 points apiece and sophomore Qualeem Charles had six points and 13 rebounds.
Stoughton, 56 @ Canton, 65 – Final – Canton added to its lead after each of the first three quarters to beat Stoughton and clinch a share of the Davenport division title, the program’s first Hock title since 1992. The Bulldogs led 11-8 after one, 32-26 at halftime and 47-37 heading into the fourth. Senior Jake Verille scored a career-high 20 points while classmate Austin Maffie poured in 20 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to pace Canton. Colin Sanda had 15 points and four assists for the Black Knights.
North Attleboro, 38 @ Foxboro, 56 – Final
King Philip, 49 @ Franklin, 62 – Final – Franklin pulled away in the fourth quarter to hold off an upset attempt from King Philip. The Panthers led 36-35 going into the final period and scored 26 points to secure the win. Senior Paul Mahon paced Franklin with 21 points while junior Jalen Samuels added 17 points.
Mansfield, 59 @ Oliver Ames, 48 – Final
Milford, 72 @ Sharon, 55 – Final – Milford scored 45 points in the first half, running away with a win over a division foe on the road. Junior Brendan White scored a game-high 24 points, Andrew Fraioli (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Kayden Kelley (10 points, 12 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles and Zach Tammaro chipped in with 13 points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet scored a team-high 20 points for the Eagles.
Taunton, 42 @ Attleboro, 43 – Final – Jordyn Lako hit a go-ahead free throw with eight seconds left and Liv McCall sealed the win with a steal three seconds later. Sam Pierce scored 14 points to lead the Bombardiers, while Nyah Thomas added eight. Hannah Moniz was Taunton’s top scorer with 10 points.
Foxboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 41 – Final – Lily Sykes scored a team-high 23 points for the Warriors, who capped off the program’s first perfect season in the Hockomock League.
Franklin, 57 @ King Philip, 41 – Final
Oliver Ames, 49 @ Mansfield, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames pulled away late, breaking open a 34-34 game by going 5-for-5 from the line and scoring off its defense down the stretch to earn a split of the season series with the Hornets. Abby Reardon and Caroline Flynn each came up with key free throws during that stretch. Kayla Raymond led the way for the Tigers with 14 points and Erin Holmberg added 11. Maggie Danehy had 13 and Mady Bendanillo had 10 for Mansfield.
Sharon, 55 @ Milford, 62 – Final – Emily Piergustavo celebrated senior night with a career-high in points and a triple-double to help the Hawks close out the regular season with a win. Piergustavo scored 27 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Julie Rabinowitz scored 14 for Milford, knocking down four three-pointers. Emma Eberhardt was Sharon’s top scorer with 27 points, while Telishya Herbert had 15 and Kaitlyn Wallace has 11.
North Attleboro, 55 @ Attleboro, 52 – Final – Trailing by five in the fourth quarter, North Attleboro junior Nate Gonsalves drained a three to spark an 11-2 run for Big Red. Gonsalves then converted a layup with just over a minute to play, giving the Rocketeers a 51-50 lead. Ethan Friberg and Evan Rosenberg also scored in the run, and Josh Montague scored with just under a minute to play to make it 53-50. Attleboro’s Qualeem Charles and Montague traded two free throws apiece but the Bombardiers’ three-point attempt at the buzzer was just long. North Attleboro had nine players make the score sheet, led by Montague’s 16. Derek Shanks had a career-high 11 points while Gonsalves finished with eight. Dom Victor led Attleboro with 16 points, Charles added 10 points and sophomore Bryant Ciccio chipped in with nine points.
Canton, 46 @ Franklin, 74 – Final – Franklin raced out to a 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and built a 33-16 lead heading into the break in a big win over Canton. The Panthers extended the lead to 57-36 after three quarters. Junior Jalen Samuels and sophomore Chris Edgehill each scored 22 points in the win for the Panthers.
Foxboro, 45 @ Taunton, 55 – Final – The Tigers extended their lead in each of the first three quarters and held off Foxboro’s late push to finish a win. Taunton led 13-7 after one, and then by 11 following the second (28-17) and third quarters (44-33). Foxboro cut the deficit to five in the fourth quarter (50-45) but the Tigers slammed the door shut. Senior Lens Esquil had a team-high 18 points while classmate Malik Charles added 10 points for the Tigers. Senior Joe Morrison netted a game-high 20 points for Foxboro while sophomore Brandon Borde chipped in with 10 points.
Sharon, 53 @ Mansfield, 81 – Final – Sharon cut the deficit to seven early in the second quarter but Mansfield rattled off a 16-4 run to close the half, creating a double-digit lead it never surrendered. Mansfield senior John McCoy had a team-high 21 points while Sam Hyland had a terrific all-around game with a career-high 16 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet had a team-high 18 points and 14 rebounds while Jimmy Fitzhenry added 12 points.
Milford, 36 @ Oliver Ames, 55 – Final – Oliver Ames held Milford to eight points in the first, and nine in the second before building a double-digit advantage in the second half. OA senior Jack Spillane scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Tigers while Ethan Eckstrom and Matt Muir each chipped in with nine points. Milford senior Andrew Fraioli had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Scarlet Hawks.
Attleboro, 50 @ North Attleboro, 49 – Final – Sam Pierce knocked down the game-winning free throw with eight seconds remaining. The senior forward finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Nyah Thomas also had a double-double for the Bombardiers with 11 points, 11 boards, and five steals. North got 13 points from Julia Santos and 12 points from Julia Feid.
Franklin, 52 @ Canton, 26 – FinalFranklin had seven players score at least five points in the game and put in what head coach John Leighton called the “best defensive effort” of the season by holding Canton to four points in the first half. Megan O’Connell was the top scorer for the Panthers with 12 points, while Breanna Atwood added nine and Ali Brigham had eight.
King Philip @ Stoughton – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.
Mansfield, 55 @ Sharon, 27 – Final – Meg Hill scored 21 points to lead the Kelley-Rex leading Hornets to a road win. Ann Maher added nine for Mansfield. Evanjuline Elisma and Telishya Herbert each scored nine points for the Eagles.
Oliver Ames, 60 @ Milford, 45 – Final – Oliver Ames built a 19-point lead at halftime that was cut down to 11 heading into the final frame, and down to nine with under four minutes to play, but the Tigers finished with an 9-3 run to close the game. Kayla Raymond paced the Tigers with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Alex Sheldon notched a career-high 16 points. Senior Abby Reardon added 10 points and seven assists for the Tigers. Milford’s Kate Irwin had 16 points.
Stoughton @ Canton, 4:30
Oliver Ames, 108 @ Mansfield, 72 – Final
Taunton vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 4:00
Stoughton @ Canton, 4:30
Oliver Ames, 105 @ Mansfield, 65 – Final
Taunton vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 4:00
Taunton, 24 @ Josiah Quincy Upper School, 54 – Final – Taunton picked up wins from Josh Grasso (132), Guerard Theodore (145), Tyler Kennedy (160), Candido Santos, and Woudanly Danger (220).
SHARON, Mass. – With only seven seconds remaining in overtime, Holliston guard Grace Dzindolet went to the line to try and put the Panthers back in front. The senior hit the first, but her second bounced off the rim and was rebounded by Evanjuline Elisma. The Sharon junior took off like a flash, racing up court with an opportunity to win the game for the Eagles.
Elisma went straight at the basket. There was contact between Elisma and a Holliston defender but there was no whistle, only the final horn putting an end to a thriller that the Panthers pulled out 56-55 to sweep the season series by a combined four points.
“We had a chance at the end and was it a foul?” asked first-year Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi. “I don’t know. If the ref doesn’t blow his whistle then it’s not a foul.”
The Eagles seemed to be playing catch-up right from the opening quarter. Sophomore Allyson Brown (seven points) drilled a three to put Sharon ahead 10-8 in the first, but Holliston went on a 7-2 run to close out the quarter with the lead. Dzindolet scored seven of her team-high 14 points in the first.
Holliston extended the lead in the second, as Sharon was held to just one made field goal for the first six minutes of the quarter. Behind four points from Brooke Geoffroy (12 points and 16 rebounds), the Panthers led 25-16 and seemed on the verge of breaking the game open.
It could have been much closer, but for Sharon’s struggles at the free throw line. The Eagles shot just 6-of-14 at the line in the second and 10-for-24 for the game. Still, as the half was winding down, the Eagles were still in it. Miranda Cheung (seven points), the only senior on the Sharon roster, got a steal and a layup, which was followed by a traditional three-point play by Emma Eberhardt (15 points and 15 rebounds).
Sharon trailed by just one at halftime, but Holliston was able to push the lead to five at several points of the third quarter. Geoffroy had six in the quarter, but Eberhardt scored seven points and Kaitlyn Wallace drilled a three to keep it a two-point game with eight minutes left.
“We’re young, we’re inexperienced but they always play hard,” said Lombardi. “They always play aggressive. The other day we were down 17 at halftime and we came back to be down by one. They could have easily packed it in and gave up but they fought back.”
Wallace and Eberhardt went back-to-back on drives to the hoop to tie the game at 39-39 in the fourth quarter and then Elisma kicked out to Telishya Herbert to knock down a jumper from just inside the three-point line to give the Eagles their first lead since it was 10-8 in the first.
The lead was short-lived, as the Panthers proceeded to go an 8-0 run and seemed to have the game in control after Tess Powers completed a four-point play. Sharon answered. Brown picked up a steal and went the length of the court for a basket and then, off another Brown steal, Elisma got free in transition to make it 47-45.
Cheung battled for a loose ball underneath, grabbed an offensive rebound, and went right up to score and tie the game. Sharon got it back with 27 seconds left and the chance to win it with the final shot, but the Eagles turned it over. Dzindolet thought she had the game-winner on the break only for Wallace to block the shot and keep Sharon alive.
“In a game like this,” Lombardi explained, “it’s the team that makes the fewest mistakes that will come out on top. We missed too many layups. We missed too many foul shots and that’s been a thing all season long.”
Geoffroy put the Panthers in front to start overtime, but Herbert scored on a rebound to tie it. Threes by AbbyRae Wells and Kami Kozubal put the visitors up 55-51, but again the host came right back. Cheung had an offensive rebound to cut the lead to two and then Brown also scored with a putback to tie the game.
“They play hard,” said Lombardi of Chueng and Brown. “For little kids, they play hard, they’re physical, and that’s why they don’t come out of the game too often. I don’t think Ally came out of the game at all today.”
In the excitement after the tying basket, Sharon made a critical mistake. The Eagles fouled Dzindolet with 7.5 seconds remaining and sent her to the line for a pair of free throws.
“They played hard today,” Lombardi said of her team, “but in spurts we didn’t play smart and that was the difference in the game.”
Dzindolet made the first and Elisma had a chance off the missed free throw to get out and run. There was no call on the final attempt and the shot came up short.
“We’re trying,” said Lomnbardi. “We’re young…it’s a learning experience for some of these kids who haven’t played varsity basketball before. So, being in those situations and keeping the game close, hopefully next time we find a way to win.”
Sharon (2-8, 1-5) will try to bounce back on Tuesday when it hosts Stoughton.
Attleboro @ Oliver Ames – Ppd. to 1/14 at 5:00.
Canton, 56 @ Sharon, 42 – Final – Sharon built a double-digit lead in the first quarter but Canton rallied in the second to take a lead and never looked back. The Bulldogs trailed 20-9 in the first but took a 28-23 lead into the locker room at halftime. Canton closed the game with strong defense, allowing just seven points in the fourth quarter. Junior Devin Foster scored 18 points for the Bulldogs while senior Tony Harris had nine points and nine rebounds. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet scored a game-high 20 points and hauled in 15 rebounds.
King Philip, 70 @ Taunton, 72 – Final – King Philip rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or win late, but the Tigers survived. Senior Lens Esquil had a team-high 17 points while sophomore Dante Law added 12 points and senior Tyler Medeiros finished with 10 points. For King Philip, senior Pharoah Davis had 18 points while Bruce Santillus added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
North Attleboro, 68 @ Stoughton, 60 – Final – North Attleboro junior Jake Petersen poured in a career-high 26 points, hauled in 11 rebounds (six offensive) and had three blocks to lead the Rocketeers to a win. Stoughton took a lead in the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run (50-49), but North Attleboro outscored the Black Knights 19-10 the rest of the way, pulling away in the final minutes. Petersen scored 12 of his points in the second quarter and added eight more in the final frame. Junior Josh Montague added 17 points while classmate Matt Seavey added nine points and nine rebounds off the bench. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews poured in 29 points (four three-pointers) while Colin Sanda added 14 points (four three-pointers).
Oliver Ames, 67 @ Attleboro, 54 – Final – Kayla Raymond scored a career-high 38 points, her second straight game with at least 30 points, to pace the Tigers to a road win. Raymond also had 11 rebounds while Abby Reardon added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists and Alex Sheldon chipped in with nine points and six boards for OA. Sam Pierce had 18 for the Bombardiers and Liv McCall added 16 in the loss. Before the game, Attleboro honored Sarah Deyo, who became the program’s all-time leading scorer last year and is currently playing at Southern New Hampshire University.
Sharon, 44 @ Canton, 49 – Final – Maggie Connolly scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 5-2 start to the season. Erin Devine and Hannah Jerrier each had 10 points and Julia Hamilton had six in the win, which was hard-fought for Canton. The Bulldogs led 33-14 at the half, but the Eagles outscored them 30-16 to make it a close finish. Telishya Herbert was Sharon’s top scorer with 13 and Emma Eberhardt added 12.
Foxboro, 67 @ Milford, 47 – Final – Lily Sykes was the top scorer for Foxboro with 17 points, while Grace Tamulionis had 16 and Ashley Sampson had 15 points for the Warriors.
Franklin, 49 @ Holy Name, 42 – Final – Franklin went to Worcester and picked up a season sweep against Holy Name. After hitting two clutch free throws that forced overtime in the first meeting with the Naps, freshman Elizabeth Wilson scored 20 points to lead the Panthers.
Taunton, 64 @ King Philip, 62 – Final (OT) – The Tigers edged KP 10-8 in overtime after finishing regulation 54-54. Lily Patneaude led Taunton with 16 points and five rebounds and MacKenzie Handrahan chipped in with 15 points and nine boards. Kelsey White had a great overall night for the Tigers with 12 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, and Hannah Moniz had 11 in the win.
Mansfield, 64 @ Attleboro, 51 – Final – Mansfield opened the second half with a 12-2 surge, turning a deficit into an eight-point lead and never looked back. Attleboro held a 30-28 lead at the break but Mansfield took control of the game by outscoring the Bombardiers 22-8 in the frame. Mansfield senior John McCoy dropped a career-high 24 points, hauled in nine rebounds, had five assists and four steals to lead the Hornets, who totaled 10 steals as a team. Damani Scott tied a career-high with 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Ryan Otto chipped in with 10 points. Attleboro sophomore Bryant Ciccio tied a career-high with 17 points.
Milford, 51 @ Canton, 61 – Final – Canton connected on 14 three-pointers as a team, jumping out to a 19-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, and a 30-17 lead at the break. The Bulldogs furthered the lead with a 21-12 third quarter. Senior Tony Harris led the way with 18 points while classmate Austin Maffie netted 17 points for the Bulldogs. Milford junior Brendan White led the Hawks with 14 points.
Stoughton, 41 @ Foxboro, 54 – Final – Foxboro increased its lead after each of the first three quarters to beat the visiting Black Knights. The Warriors led 16-11 after one, 31-20 at the halftime break, and 43-29 heading into the final quarter. Sophomore Brandon Borde led the way offensively with a game-high 19 points while senior Bobby Harrison added 14 points and senior Joe Morrison chipped in with 13 points. Stoughton head coach John Gallivan noted that Alex Sjoquist played well defensively for the Black Knights.
King Philip, 53 @ Oliver Ames, 51 – Final – King Philip outscored Oliver Ames 21-14 in the third quarter to take a lead and held off a late comeback attempt from OA to earn the win. The Warriors had eight players get on the score sheet, led by Brendan King’s 11 points. Both Pharoah Davis and Tom Madden added nine points while Tim Nault chipped in with seven points. Jack Spillane led Oliver Ames with 23 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, while junior Ethan Eckstrom scored 11 points.
North Attleboro, 67 @ Sharon, 61 – Final – North Attleboro overcame an early 16-2 deficit with a strong second half to earn the win. Sharon led 16-7 after the first quarter and 27-20 at the halftime break. Big Red came out with a huge third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 18-7 to seize a lead, and then built a 62-47 lead with just under two minutes to play. North senior Chad Peterson came off the bench, hitting three triples in the second half on his way to a game-high 15 points. Josh Montague added 13 points, Ethan Friberg scored a career-high 11 points (10 in the second half) and junior Jake Petersen had eight points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet had a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds while Alex Kaufmann added 16 points and Jimmy Fitzhenry had 11 points and three steals.
Attleboro, 31 @ Mansfield, 52 – Final – Mansfield opened a one-game lead on Attleboro in the league standings with the win. Meg Hill scored 15 points, had 11 boards, and blocked three shots for the Hornets, who also got 11 points from Erin Daniel, eight points and six assists from Mady Bendanillo, and eight points and nine rebounds from Maggie Danehy. Attleboro got 10 points from Sam Pierce and eight points from Liv McCall in the loss.
Foxboro, 74 @ Stoughton, 46 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 23 points to lead the Warriors to a seventh straight win, six of which were by double digits. Lily Sykes added 15, Shannon Smally had 13, and Grace Tamulionis had 10 points for Foxboro. Stoughton sophomore Shyanne Trinh led the Black Knights with 10 points.
Franklin, 55 @ Taunton, 41 – Final – Sophomore center Ali Brigham recorded a triple-double to help the Panthers earn the road win and stay within a game of first place Mansfield. Brigham scored 15 points, recorded 13 rebounds, and had 10 blocks on the night.
Oliver Ames, 47 @ King Philip, 34 – Final – Leading 32-28 with four minutes to play, Oliver Ames closed the game with a 15-6 run to put the game away and earn the win. Senior Kayla Raymond had a monster night with 30 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to lead the way for the Tigers, who trailed KP 16-14 at the half. Alex Sheldon added 10 points and eight rebounds in the win for OA.
Sharon, 51 @ North Attleboro, 49 – Final – Telishya Herbert led the way with 17 points for the Eagles, who earned their first league win of the season. Emma Eberhardt added 13 points in the win.
Franklin, 126 @ Attleboro, 45 – Final
Franklin, 103 @ Attleboro, 67 – Final
Attleboro, 134 @ Sharon, 127.6 – Final
Franklin, 130.85 @ Oliver Ames, 136.6 – Final – Franklin junior Mia Lizotte won the all-around for the third straight meet with a 35.95, edging out Oliver Ames’ Hannah Moynihan (35.5). Lizotte earned an 8.85 on beam, an 8.7 on bars and a 9.2 on both vault and floor. Franklin senior Liz Traphagen was second for the Panthers on the vault (8.2) and the floor (9.0). Junior Sadie Rondeau was second for the Panthers on both the bars and the beam.
The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.
Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.
One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.
Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-14 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.
Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.
Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.
“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”
2016-2017 Record: 22-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal Coach: Lisa Downs
After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.
Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.
The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”
2016-2017 Record: 9-11 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.
The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.
Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.
“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.
King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.
Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.
Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”
2016-2017 Record: 20-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.
The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.
Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”
2016-2017 Record: 10-11 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.
The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.
Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.
Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”
Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.
The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.
The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.
North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 13-8 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.
The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.
In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.
“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.
Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.
Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.
Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”
The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.
Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.
Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-21 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.
The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.
Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.
Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”