Franklin Drops Heartbreaker To St. John’s In D1C Final

Franklin boys basetball
Franklin’s Thomas Gasbarro takes a shot in front of his bench in the D1 Central Final. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Contributor

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Franklin and St. John’s Shrewsbury boys basketball teams are no stranger to each other, squaring off in the state tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years.

And just like the times before it, it came down to the wire.

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Behind a pair of free throws from sophomore TJ Power with 4.9 seconds left, top-seeded St. John’s squeaked out a 56-55 win over the sixth-seeded Panthers in the D1 Central Final.

“Franklin’s got a heck of a team, they’re well-coached, but we’re not bad either,” St John’s coach Bob Foley said after the Pioneers win.

With St John’s leading 52-51 with just over two minutes left to play, Franklin senior Chris Edgehill sunk a free throw to tie the game up, but Power hit a turnaround jumper on the other end to give St. John’s a 54-52 edge.

On Franklin’s ensuing possession, junior Declan Walmsley (eight points, three rebounds) found senior Brayden Sullivan in the corner and the senior knocked down a three to put the Panthers up 55-54. Sullivan then made an outstanding defensive play on the other end to force a backcourt violation by St. John’s.

Franklin couldn’t get a basket on their next possession, but they forced a St. John’s miss to get the ball back with under 30 seconds left. Franklin got to the line with 24.9 seconds left but missed the front end of a one-and-one.

With 4.9 seconds left, Power got fouled shooting from the corner on what at first looked like a three-point attempt, but after some initial discussion from the officials, it was ruled he was inside the three-point line. He made both free throws to put St. John’s up 56-55, and Franklin was unable to score despite having two looks at the basket in the final four seconds.

Both teams got off to a cold start, with neither team in double digits as Franklin led 9-8 after the first quarter on the strength of seven points from Edgehill (game-high 20 points), including a three right before the first-quarter buzzer.

The offenses got going in the second, as Franklin hit five threes in the frame to take a 29-25 lead into the half. St John’s came out hot to start the second half, as Charles Daniels (eight points, 11 rebounds) scored four quick points to tie the game.

Power went 1-2 at the stripe to cap a 5-0 St. John’s run, but Edgehill scored down the other end to put Franklin back on top. After a Malakhi Knight bucket, Edgehill once again found the bottom of the net to put Franklin up 33-32.

A 9-2 St John’s run gave them a 41-35 lead, but Edgehill found Thomas Gasbarro (seven points, five rebounds) and then Walmsley hit a triple to g get Franklin within a point at 41-40.

A Power bucket with just over a minute left in the quarter would be the last basket of the third quarter, with the Pioneers holding onto a 43-40 lead.

The fourth quarter was tight throughout, with the largest lead being at 50-46 for St. John’s with over four minutes to go. Down four, Edgehill sparked Franklin with a three-pointer and then matched a Charles Daniel basket with one of his own before tying the game up at the stripe.

“He’s our all-time leading scorer, he’s been a captain for two years, he’s a guy that always shows up in moments like this, there’s never been a tournament game I don’t think Edgehill hasn’t shown up and not been ready to go and really led us along the way and made all kinds of tough shots,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely. “We’ve had such an unbelievable four years together, it’s gonna be weird going to a Franklin practice or game and not see Chris Edgehill running around out there, it’s been quite a run.”

Along with Edgehill, Franklin graduates Andrew Cunningham, Thomas Gasbarro, Steven Karayan, Matt Lazarek, Brayden Sullivan, and Jack Rudolph from this year’s team.

“This senior class is one of the best senior classes I’ve had since being at Franklin, if not the best,” Neely said. “Basketball players aside, the people that go through practices every day, the type of attitude they brought to practices every day, there was a never that time where you look at it and you say, hey somebody’s being whatever or you have to deal with an attitude problem or not, there’s none of that going on, there’s always just positive people looking to get better for Franklin and nobody looking for themselves…love those guys.”

With the loss, Franklin finishes the season at 18-6. St. John’s will play Springfield Central in the state semi-finals.

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Panthers Claw Past Colonials In Central Semis

Franklin boys basketball Brayden Sullivan
Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan goes up for a layup against Worcester South in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Franklin boys basketball team has proven to be a serious threat from behind the three-point season throughout the course of the season.

The Panthers have a handful of capable shooters that can get hot any given quarter of any given game.

But on Sunday evening, Franklin couldn’t find its rhythm. Only senior Chris Edgehill connected from deep, once in the first quarter, and once each in the third and fourth quarters. The rest of the Panthers, despite some good looks, just couldn’t find the range, missing on nearly two dozen attempts from deep as a team.

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So when push came to shove, Franklin turned to what the program has hung its hat on year in and year out: defense.

The sixth-seeded Panthers got five straight stops to close its D1 Central Semifinal matchup with Worcester South, including a pair of three-pointers that could have tied the game, to earn a hard-fought 45-42 win over the second-seeded Colonials.

“We were getting the looks we wanted early, I thought it was nerves and we would start to settle in but we never really did,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “We turned to our defense. We can always control the defense, the offense will come and go. Some nights you’ll make a ton, some nights you’ll struggle. So we had to rely on our defense and we were able to get the stops.”

Seconds after Thomas Gasbarro put the Panthers ahead with a free throw, South’s Octavio Alexander sprinted past Franklin’s defense for two and a 42-41 advantage with just 1:39 to play.

Franklin had a turnover out of a timeout but came up with a big stop and a big defensive rebound from Gasbarro. Edgehill (20 points, nine rebounds, six assists) drained an elbow jumper to put the Panthers ahead with just over a minute to go.

South’s leading scorer Damien Joseph (12 points) was off the mark but Wilton Causey hauled in the offensive board, fouled in the process. However, Causey missed the front end of a one-and-one and Edgehill raced to track down the rebound.

South had to give the foul with 24.5 seconds to go and senior Brayden Sullivan gave the Panthers enough breathing room, sinking both for a 45-42 lead.

Joseph was off the mark on a three-point attempt and Edgehill once again fought for the rebound. Although he missed the front end of his one-and-one change, junior Andrew Byfield won the fight for the offensive board. He tossed it to Jack Rudolph, who made a terrific play while falling out of bounds to pick out Sullivan and keep possession.

South still had a chance as Sullivan missed the free throw, and the Colonials got a look at the buzzer for the tying three but it was off the mark.










“The way we’ve been rebounding the ball, you can’t really go with the foul strategy,” Neely said. “They had such length, they were getting rebounds on their free throws so I just felt like we couldn’t [foul]. We had to rely on the fact that we can get a stop, that’s been our strength all year. Holding [South] to 42 is a nice number for us. We’re happy with that…that’s two games in a row where basically one stop gets it done, and that’s what we did.

“They had a lot of size, multiple bodies they can throw in there. We did a good job for most of the game on the interior but late in the game, they made it an emphasis and made a lot of baskets.”

Matt Lazarek scored twice and Gasbarro added another bucket to help Franklin’s offense get going early, and Edgehill added a late three but the Panthers trailed 11-9 after one.

Offense was hard to come by in the second, the team’s combing for 19 points total. Junior Declan Walmsley finished off an alley-oop with a slam to get the quarter started, Edgehill added two from the field and two from the line and both Rudolph and Gasbarro scored while cutting to the basket but South maintained a lead by half, taking a 20-19 advantage into the locker room.

Franklin had a bright start to the second half, using a 9-0 run over the first two and a half minutes. Edgehill splashed in an early three and then found Rudolph underneath for a creative finish off the glass. Lazarek sank two from the line before Edgehill and Rudolph hooked up again for a 28-20 lead.

South battled back, closing the half on an 11-6 burst that made it a three-point game after three. Steven Karayan finished off an offensive rebound after another missed three from the Panthers, ending a short drought to give Franklin a 34-31 lead heading into the fourth.

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The Colonials knotted the score at 35-35 following a pair of free throws from Joseph before Edgehill connected on his — and Franklin’s — third three of the game. South’s Joseph Cabrera scored in the post to make it 39-39, setting up the frantic finish over the final couple of minutes.

“It’s always great, it never gets old being here,” Neely said of the WPI experience. “It’s not guaranteed you’ll make it back here so it’s awesome. We’re excited [to get to the final], you never know how many opportunities you’ll have. So we’re going to try and get the most out of it, hopefully we’ll be up for the challenge one more time.”

Franklin boys basketball (18-5) advances to its fifth D1 Central Final appearance in the past seven seasons. And for the fourth time, the Panthers will meet up with St. John’s Shrewsbury, the top-seed in the bracket this year, on Friday at 6:00 at Worcester State University.

Sullivan Sparks Franklin in Opener Against Doherty

Franklin boys basketball
Brayden Sullivan (25) scored a game-high 23 points and sparked the Panthers with a typically strong defensive effort as Franklin opened the playoffs with a big win against Doherty. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – One of the strengths of Franklin this season has been different players stepping up at different times. The Panthers are a hard team to match up with because it is hard to pinpoint one player that needs to be shut down.

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In Monday night’s Div. 1 Central opener, Franklin’s depth was on full display. Senior guard Brayden Sullivan led the way with a game-high 23 points, including 12 in the third quarter alone, but he had plenty of help. Three players scored in double figures, as the Panthers beat visiting Doherty 77-59 and advanced to the sectional quarterfinal.

“That’s been the strength of ours all season, not having one guy that you come in and shut down and say we’ll stop one guy and be fine,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely. “We have a lot of guys who put it in the hoop and we’ve got a lot of guys who do a lot of different things for us.”

Chris Edgehill (nine points) got the night going by scoring Franklin’s first five points, but then Sullivan started to heat up. He drilled a three-pointer to put the Panthers up 10-7 and then got a steal and a layup, plus the foul, to extend the lead to six. He scored eight points in the first quarter and Franklin grabbed a 17-10 lead after one.

Franklin pushed the lead into double digits in the second. Senior Jack Rudolph scored nine of his 14 points in the quarter, half of his team’s 18 in the period. He drilled a three to make it 24-14 and grabbed an offensive rebound for a basket that made it 30-21. Steve Karayan (seven points) followed with a three to make it a 12-point game.

Doherty came right back with four straight points from Noah Callery (12 points) to cut the lead down to eight and Zac Taylor (16 points) had a steal and breakaway to make it even closer. Sullivan chased down Taylor, rose up with the Doherty guard, and blocked his layup attempt.

With the home crowd at its loudest point of the night, Rudolph took the rebound and turned it into a break for the Panthers, finishing to put the hosts up 35-25 at the break.

“Defensively all year, if he’s not the best defensive player in the Hock then he’s definitely in the conversation,” Neely said of Sullivan. “It’s nice to have a guy every game you can say Brayden go guard the other team’s best player and they’re going to have a tough night. So much of what this team’s made of comes from Brayden Sullivan.”

The Panthers threatened to put the game away in the third quarter, as Sullivan caught fire again. He scored 12 of Franklin’s 17 in the third, helping them build the lead to as many as 19 points,

Leading 37-30, Sullivan went on a personal 12-1 run to break the game open. He cut through the lane and finished at the rim, then took advantage of Doherty sinking under a screen to drain a three. Another drive led to a layup and he got out onto the break as well. He finished the run with another steal and layup.

Neely noted that Sullivan just missed out on being selected as an all-star this year and admitted it may have been extra fuel for Monday’s performance. He said, “I think he had something to prove tonight when he wasn’t selected and we thought that was a little extra something for him tonight. A little extra boost.”

The game seemed to be in control, but the Highlanders made a 9-2 run to make things interesting heading to the fourth. Taylor nailed a pair of threes and then Billy Everson (team-high 20 points) grabbed a rebound and finished just before the horn sounded. It was 52-40 after three.

“We were letting them off the hook on some of our possessions,” Neely explained. “We were taking some quick ones and it’s hard because when we have guys open from three we want them to shoot it but sometimes early in the possession we can get that later on and if we grinded them down a little bit, make them fight through a few more screens, couple more cuts, we could’ve gotten even easier looks.

Everson kept the Highlanders hanging around in the fourth quarter, twice answering Franklin baskets with and-ones on the other end, but the Panthers proved to have too much firepower.

Declan Walmsley was the player to step up in the final stretch. He scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth. He got a layup off a Thomas Gasbarro assist, then a three when Rudolph swung it around the perimeter to him. After Rudolph made 1-of-3 at the line, Walmsley grabbed the offensive rebound and finished to make it 65-50.

Doherty whittled the lead back down to 10 but Gasbarro responded with a drive to the rim and Edgehill was left open for a corner three that proved to be the dagger.

Franklin (16-5), which won the Central crown in back-to-back seasons before being knocked out in the first round last year by a strong Algonquin team, will now face a trip to No. 3 seed Natick, which had a strong first season under former Franklin assistant Mike Masto.

“That was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of, unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it,” said Neely about last year’s playoff opener, “but it was nice to get into here and get that off your shoulders. Get yourself into the next round and now we have a huge challenge ahead of us with Natick.”

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Hornets Hang On To Split Season Series With Panthers

Mansfield boys basketball Matt Boen
Mansfield junior Matt Boen goes up for a layup in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – After reviewing film of the first meeting between the Franklin and Mansfield boys basketball teams, Hornet head coach Mike Vaughan came away with two main focus points for the second installment.

“Our whole game plan was to run them off the three-point line and no easy layups, and offensively, pound the ball into the post and play out of it,” Vaughan said.

It turned out to be the recipe for success for the Hornets, using the size of forwards TJ Guy (6’5) and Sam Stevens (6’4) to their advantage in the paint while halving the Panthers’ success rate from three-point range, resulting in a 56-48 win to split the season series.

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The first time out, a meeting at Franklin High in early January, the Panthers shot 47% from three-point range and its defense held the Hornets under 50 points, the lone time that’s happened this season.

This time around, Mansfield’s strong closeouts saw the Panthers shoot 27% from the three-point line. And a heavy emphasis in paint touches resulted in a 50% success rate from two-point range plus more free throw attempts, where the Hornets went 13-for-17.

“Once every 15 years we throw the ball in the post.,” Vaughan joked of how rare it is the Hornets make that the focus of their offense. “Our style of play can sometimes hold a player back and I thought throughout the year there’s been times we’ve held TJ back in terms of what he can be good at. Watching film, I saw an opportunity with his size against whoever is going to play him. And in the first game, [Jack] Rudolph did such a good job covering Sammy the first time on the perimeter, so if we got that again, we got [Stevens] inside the post and make them defend inside and out. That created some opportunities for us.

“They are so good defensively, you have to do something to break them down a little bit and I thought that was our best chance.”

The Panthers had the most success from three-point range in the opening quarter of the game with Steven Karayan, Chris Edgehill, and Thomas Gasbarro connecting from downtown, but the Hornets stuck with the game plan and the visitors made just four more threes the rest of the way.

One of those threes came on the first possession of the second quarter when Andrew Byfield (seven points, six rebounds) hit from deep and followed with an easy layup for a 20-15 lead. But the Hornets hit on a 10-0 run over the final 4:30 of the half, a surge the put the hosts ahead for good.

Guy (13 points, 11 rebounds) converted an offensive rebound, Jason See knocked down a three off an offensive board from Guy, who then scored with a nice move in the post for a 22-20 lead.

“They know what we do, we know what they do, what they’re trying to do,” Guy said of the familiarity. “They try to get a lot of shots up, we were trying to get in the post but we both defend each other really well. We felt like we had mismatches inside, and these are the games I like, physical type games. They really shut us down the first game so we knew we had to come in, lock in and get this ‘W.’”

The Panthers took a three before the buzzer and the Hornets cashed in as junior Matt Boen (15 points, five steals, four rebounds) hauled in the defensive rebound with five seconds left, sprinted to half court and unleashed a buzzer-beater that put the Hornets ahead 25-20 at the break.

“After we played them last time where it felt like they bombed threes and everything went in, our focus was to run them off the three-point line and don’t let them blow by for uncontested layups,” Vaughan said. “Make them make plays in the intermediate part of the game and I thought we did a really good job of doing that.

“We kind of settled in, they missed a couple [after making their first couple of shots], I thought we did a really good job of minimizing their opportunities over the final 28 minutes of the game and I thought that was the difference. I thought we did a good job switching everything, keeping everyone in check. We didn’t let them get into a rhythm and everything was contested and difficult.”

Mansfield put Stevens (17 points, seven rebounds) on the block on its first possession of the second half and he scored on a feed from Boen. After Declan Walmsley (17 points) answered with a triple for the Panthers, the Hornets went on a 13-3 surge.

Boen had a steal and layup, Brendan Foley drained a three off the bench, Boen converted a traditional three-point play, Guy scored from the block, and Drew Rooney picked up a steal and went in for a layup to put the hosts ahead 40-26.

“Having a different look, and I really think getting the ball into the post was definitely a different look,” Vaughan said. “And we even had a zone ready, we just didn’t feel there was a time to use it. I know those two things would have thrown a wrinkle because those are two things we don’t typically do that we had prepared, that we thought could give us an advantage from the first time we played them.

“We practiced it for two days, we practice it in individual drills so it’s not foreign throwing the ball in the post but we really stressed it the last couple of days. We haven’t really had them sit down there before but if we were going to gain an advantage today, we felt like it was there. And I even think we had some opportunities to get out of it but we weren’t completely used to being in it.”










Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan finished through contact, Gasbarro hit a free throw, and Walmsley drained a late three for a late surge that put the Panthers in striking distance down 40-32 after three quarters.

“We talked about being something they’d probably do, and for the most part, I didn’t think we did a terrible job, I don’t know what they shot in there,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely on Mansfield’s emphasis on the post game. “They have some big bodies, [Guy] is a Division 1 football player and we don’t have that kind of guy to match up. We did our best, I thought at times we did a good job. Just a couple plays down the stretch here and there, we just didn’t close the deal on some of the defensive possessions and they’ll make you play.”

Stevens hit his lone three of the game and one of Mansfield’s five total triples to open the final quarter and Cincere Gill cut to the basket hard, taking a pass from Stevens as he posted up, for an easy two. Two possessions later, Guy once again put his back to the basket and converted on a feed from Boen for a 47-34 lead with 6:25 to play.

But Franklin refused to go away with Edgehill finding Walmsley on the break for two, Byfield making a nice extra pass for a three from Walmsley, and then four straight free throws from Rudolph made it 49-43.

Rudolph made a nice play for a steal after a Hornet entry pass to the post and sprinted down the court before dishing it off for Byfield for an easy two. Stevens answered with a tough take through traffic but Sullivan scored quickly down the other end as the Panthers got within four, 51-47.

Franklin got three straight stops and Edgehill hit a free throw to make it a one-possession game with two minutes to go. Mansfield missed a three and came up empty on the offensive rebound before the teams traded quick turnovers, and Franklin had the tying three go just long.

Boen hit two free throws with a minute to go to extend the lead back to 53-48 and the Hornets went on to get stops and hit their free throws to earn the 56-48 win.

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“They were doing a good job switching a lot of screens and gave us trouble for a significant portion of that second quarter and some of the second half,” Neely said. “I thought when we moved the ball, did what we talked about doing, and got some cutters, I thought we opened them up a little bit. Unfortunately, I didn’t think we had enough patience on the offensive end, we started forcing some stuff early.

“I’m proud of the guys, no question. They aren’t going to give up, they are a great group of kids that have worked hard all season. They aren’t going to roll over and get blown out so I’m proud of them.”

Mansfield boys basketball (12-1 Hockomock, 16-2 overall) holds a one-game lead over Attleboro in the division race with three games to go, starting with a visit from Oliver Ames on Friday. Franklin (10-3, 13-3) falls two games back and will host Taunton on Friday.

Taunton Shines On Both Ends To Knock Off Franklin

Taunton boys basketball Tyler Stewart
Taunton boys basketball junior Tyler Stewart blocks a shot in the first half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton boys basketball team delivered a message to the rest of the Hockomock League on Friday night.

At the expense of visiting Franklin, that message was sent loud and clear.

The Tigers, locked in at both ends of the floor from start to finish, had one of their best all-around games since joining the league nearly a decade ago, earning a dominating 83-52 win over the previously unbeaten Panthers.

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“That was one of the best games we’ve played on both ends of the floor,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.

Not that it was a hard decision for Dacey to make following a first half in which the Tigers were terrific on the defensive end of the court and a second half in which Taunton was nearly unstoppable on the offensive end.

“The underdog mentality the kids have…they are willing to work hard, they are great in practice,” Dacey said. “They’ve responded really well this year.”

Taunton set the tone with its active defense the featured steals from sophomore Tristan Herry (eight points, eight assists, five rebounds) and junior Danny MacDougall in the opening four minutes. The Tigers also stepped in to take a pair of charges (sophomore Trent Santos and MacDougall) in the opening minutes; Franklin finished with nine first half turnovers.

The energy on the defensive end translated to the offensive side for the Tigers, who raced out to a 10-4 lead in the game and took a 15-10 lead after one. Santos (21 points) had five points in the opening quarter while junior Tyler Stewart (21 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, two blocks) and Josh Lopes (23 points) had four points apiece in the first quarter.

“We worked on fighting through screens so we just had to stay focused, and we had to work on our close outs with their three-point shooting,” Dacey said. “It’s all fundamental stuff but these guys are willing to execute it come game time. It’s hard for 32 minutes to go through the Franklin grind. If you’re going to beat the best, you have to match what they do out there.”

Stewart, a 6’6 forward, remained a focal point of the Tigers’ offense, adding six more in the second quarter. The offense was contagious with Herry (four points), sophomore Faisal Mass, and MacDougall joining the scoring sheet in the second.

The Tigers held the Panthers to just 10 points in each the first and second quarters. Franklin senior Chris Edgehill (18 points, four rebounds) hit a pair of threes inside the final three minutes of the half to keep the visitors in the game, down 31-20 at halftime.

“We got beat in every aspect of the game of basketball tonight,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Taunton had a group that played with a chip on their shoulder with a lot of to prove…that was a group of hungry kids that came out right from the start ready to play, ready to compete. They had a great gameplan, and defensively they really tightened up early and we struggled to score.

“Once we started to get a little something going, we came out for the second half feeling alright and scored on the first possession but they just had an answer for pretty much everything. The floodgates really opened up after that. We’re not really in the business of trying to manage the scoreboard so we got into some defenses that weren’t our style but we had to try something to get back into it, we got up and pressed a little.”

True to form, Franklin emerged from the locker room with renewed energy as Santos fouled Panther senior Brayden Sullivan (10 points). Not only did Sullivan make the two free throws, Santos — arguably the Tigers’ top shooter — went to the bench with his third foul.

Franklin couldn’t capitalize on a Taunton turnover and the Tigers made them pay as Lopes ignited a three-point parade with his (and Taunton’s) first trifecta of the game.

Thomas Gasbarro sank a pair from the line to make it a 10-point game at 34-24 but Stewart answered down low on a feed from Herry, who set up Lopes for another three on Taunton’s next possession.

“That’s our gameplan, we have to get Tyler touches early,” Dacey said. “[Franklin] was throwing guys at him tonight, a couple times he had three guys on him but he’s pretty good at kicking it out. Six assists doesn’t surprise me tonight. Josh is a shooter and he hits his first couple he’s going to have a good night and Trent is a shooter, he doesn’t lack confidence putting them up.”

Jack Rudolph kept the Panthers in it finishing off a layup after a nice cut but once against Stewart answered off a nice feed from Nigel Choate and then Stewart scored on his own miss. Gasbarro set Sullivan up after a steal but Lopes came back down and sank a three for a 46-28 lead with three minutes left in the third.

‘You have to be able to respond,” Dacey said. “That’s the mark of a mature team, and even though we aren’t a mature team on paper (two seniors), we matured tonight. To be able to respond to their energy…we figured the first four minutes they would press and try and make it a full court game. We were able to respond to it.”




Edgehill finished through contact and the Panthers got a stop but a pair of offensive rebounds, the second hauled in by Stewart and put back up for two. Edgehill sank a three to try and keep the Panthers close but Lopes answered with his fourth three of the third quarter.

Herry added Taunton’s fifth three of the quarter in the final minute and Choate drove the baseline for a nice finish to cap a strong offensive quarter, putting the hosts up 57-35.

If there was any hope for a comeback, Taunton’s hot start to the fourth quickly put it to rest. Santos, back after missing the third in foul trouble, drained a three on the first play of the fourth. Mass was money on a 12-foot pull up, Stewart converted a traditional three-point play, and Santos pulled up for a long two as the Tigers pulled off a 12-3 run over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We had to adjust with Stewart killing us inside, so we started to sink down on him a little more and that opened the three a little more and credit to them, they shot great from three, it felt like they were 8-for-8,” Neely said. “We’ve kind of developed an identity of being a defensive team and I didn’t see it tonight. When you start pressing a little bit, sometimes you forget what makes you good in the first place.”

Taunton finished the second half going 8-for-11 from three-point range and 20-for-28 (71%) from the field overall.

Taunton boys basketball (4-2 Hockomock, 8-2 overall) earned its eighth straight win and will be back in action on Tuesday when it welcomes Milford to town. Franklin (5-1, 8-1) entertains North Attleboro on the same day.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/27/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 60 @ Bishop Feehan, 61 – Final

Canton, 39 @ Foxboro, 58 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Franklin, 68 vs. Charlestown, 59 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Franklin used a 14-6 run over the final 3:34 of the third quarter to create a double-digit lead and made enough plays down the stretch to earn the win in the first round of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament held at Bridgewater-Raynham. Senior Steven Karayan scored eight of his team-high 18 points during that run, hitting a pair of three-pointers. Senior Brayden Sullivan also drained a pair of threes in that stretch, finishing with a career-high 11 points. Senior Chris Edgehill helped the Panthers take a lead after one quarter (21-14) and kept his side in the game by halftime (down 36-35) by scoring 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Jack Rudolph (nine points) had a key three in the fourth quarter and Thomas Gasbarro scored five of his seven points in the final frame. Franklin will play host B-R in the final of the tournament on Sunday at 7:00.

Mansfield, 75 vs. BC High, 52 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Mansfield hit 10 three-point field goals and shot over 50% from the floor while playing strong defense to secure a convincing win over visiting BC High. The Hornets scored 20 points in each of the first two quarters to build a 40-28 lead at halftime. Despite not hitting a three-pointer in the third, Mansfield added six points to its lead by holding the Eagles to just 10 points in the third quarter. Mansfield sank five threes in the final quarter, including two in a row from Jason See early on, to run away with the win. Senior Sam Stevens shined on the offensive end, pouring in 28 points on 67% shooting from the field, while hauling in eight rebounds. Juniors TJ Guy (six rebounds, three assists) and Matt Boen (eight rebounds, six assists, three steals) each had 13 points for Mansfield and junior Cincere Gill (eight points) played well off the bench in the win.

Oliver Ames, 76 vs. Classical (R.I.), 71 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Oliver Ames and Classical High (RI) went back and forth, battling in what was mostly a one-possession game for the entire second half before the Tigers made just enough plays down the stretch to get the win. Beyond OA’s early five-point lead in the first minute of the third, and it’s four-point lead in the final minute of the game, the team’s weren’t more than three points apart for 14 of the 16 second half minutes. The Tigers made their run in the final four minutes of the game with Ryan Burkett (16 points, 10 rebounds) coming up with a handful of plays that changed the game. His bucket on a feed from Owen Friel gave OA a 62-61 lead, and he scored again to push the advantage to 64-61. Classical cut it to one but junior Amari Brown (career-high 24 points, five assists) sliced through the lane for two then sank a three with 2:24 left to put OA up 69-63. Classical answered with five straight and got a stop on another OA shot but Burkett flew in and converted a putback with a minute to go to keep OA up, 71-68. Burkett intercepted a pass on the defensive end, leading to a free throw from Drew Nickla to make it a four-point game. OA senior Jay Spillane (career-high 25 points) iced the game with a pair of free throws while Burkett added two more off an inbounds play after Classical hit a late three.

Taunton, 69 vs. Brighton, 47 – FinalTaunton junior Tyler Stewart and sophomore Trent Santos each scored nine points in the second quarter, helping the Tigers turn a six-point lead after eight minutes into a 39-21 advantage by halftime. Stewart finished with a career-high 23 points, scoring eight more in the second half, while Santos had 14 total points in the win. Sophomore Tristan Herry got Taunton off to a good start with eight points in the opening quarter, including one of the Tigers’ two three-pointers in the game. Junior Josh Lopes added 13 points in the win for Taunton, who will take on host Durfee in the Skip Karam Final on Saturday at 6:30.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 37 @ Bishop Feehan, 67 – FinalThe Bombardiers trailed by just six at the end of the first quarter but the Shamrocks pulled away in the second, building a 19-point advantage by halftime. Nyah Thomas scored 18 points in the exclusion game loss.

King Philip, 65 @ North Attleboro, 56 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Mansfield, 52 vs. Newtown (Conn.), 65 – FinalMansfield fell behind 20-4 in the opening quarter against the visitors from Connecticut and were never able to recover. Ashley Santos was the top scorer for the Hornets with 13, while Kayla Vine added nine and Abby Wager had seven. Mansfield will face Fontbonne in the consolation round of the holiday tournament.

Oliver Ames, 44 vs. Walpole, 48 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Stoughton, 25 vs. @ Rockland, 55 – FinalJunior Mackenzie Manning was the leading scorer for the Black Knights with eight points. The Black Knights will take on Hanover on Monday at 1:00 in the consolation game of the Rockland Holiday Tournament.

Taunton, 68 vs. Durfee, 43 – FinalThe Tigers bounced back with a big win against Durfee. Kameron St. Pierre continued her strong rookie season with a game-high 20 points and Sonya Fernandez added 12 for Taunton.

Boys Hockey
Franklin, 3 vs. LaSalle Academy (PA), 2 – Final (OT)Franklin junior Joey LeBlanc deposited the game-winner in overtime to help the Panthers upend LaSalla Academy. For MIAA purposes, the game goes down as a 2-2 tie but for the Mount St. Charles Holiday Faceoff, the game went into overtime. LeBlanc’s winner means Franklin will take on host Mount Saint Charles at 8:00 on Saturday night. Franklin took the lead in the first on a goal from Shea Hurley on an assist from Dylan Marchand but LaSalle scored twice in the second to take the lead. Tommy Tasker brought the Panthers level on a goal midway through the third on an assist from Sean Connolly.

North Attleboro, 2 vs. Moses Brown (RI), 1 – Final

Foxboro, 3 vs. Barrington (RI), 2 – Final (SO)

Girls Hockey
Canton, 4 vs. Medfield/Norton, 1 – FinalCanton exploded for three goals in the opening period, adding a fourth in the second to skate away with a win over Medfield. Maria Femia (assist), Ellie Bohane, and Tess Khoury (assist) each scored in the first to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 advantage. Freshman Olivia Maffeo netted one in the fourth to give the hosts a 4-0 lead.

Wrestling
Lowell Tournament (Canton, Franklin, Stoughton, Taunton), 9:00
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Sharon), 10:00
Framingham Tournament (King Philip, Milford), 10:00

Girls Gymnastics
Franklin, 132.7 @ Taunton, 128.65 – FinalSophomores Kate Rudolph (34.2) and Caroline Woelfel (32.25) took first and second, respectively, in the All Around as the Panthers picked up a win over Taunton. Rudolph was first for Franklin in the vault, bars, and floor while Lexi Lupien earned a first place finish in the beam. Woelfel took second in both the vault and floor while taking third in the bars.

Results: Vault – Kate Rudolph 9.0, Caroline Woelfel 8.75, Maddie McGuire 8.65, Lexi Lupien 8.4; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.3, Emma Nelson 8.1, C. Woelfel 7.3, M. McGuire 7.1; Beam – L. Lupien 8.5, E. Nelson 8.4, Olivia Reagan 8.2, K. Rudolph 8.1; Floor – K. Rudolph 8.8, C. Woelfel 8.6, L. Lupien 8.3, E. Nelson 8.2.

Oliver Ames @ Taunton, 7:00

Panthers Pull Away From KP Behind Strong Defense

Franklin boys basketball Chris Edgehill
Franklin senior Chris Edgehill goes up for a shot in the second half against King Philip’s Alex Fritz. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – After struggling against a tough Franklin defense for the first two quarters, the King Philip offense found its rhythm early in the second half.

The Warriors hit three of their first five shots from the floor after being limited to just five total field goals in the first half. And the visiting Panthers had three empty trips and a fourth end in a turnover. Suddenly, Franklin’s double-digit lead was down to just six at 29-23.

Panthers’ coach CJ Neely, who earned his 100th win with Franklin, quickly called a timeout and had a simple message for his squad.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Just relax,” Neely said of the message. “We just went back to the basics [out of the timeout] and we wanted to get them on their heels.”

And just like that, the Panthers’ defense from the first half was back. Senior Ryan Sullivan (13 points, three rebounds) came up with the steal on one end and senior Matt Lazarek finished off an easy layup after a nice pass from classmate Thomas Gasbarro.

Franklin used an 11-2 over the next three and a half minutes to regain its double-digit lead and never looked back to secure a 63-45 win over King Philip.

“We talked a lot about our defense at halftime and how proud we were with the number we had them at half,” Neely said. “We wanted to continue that obviously but we had some turnovers and they had a quick 7-0 run and all of a sudden they are right back in it. I didn’t think we were sharing the ball like we did during the preseason and I thought tonight all of our biggest baskets were on extra passes. Once the ball started moving, the offense started to click.”

KP senior Robert Jarest was the catalyst of the Warriors’ run, finishing off a layup and then sneaking in for a putback off of an offensive rebound. A three-pointer from senior Owen Conlin made it 29-23.

Franklin’s response featured an alert layup from Rudolph, a strong take from senior Chris Edgehill (21 points, five rebounds, three assists), a three from senior Steven Karayan (11 points), and another finish at the rim from Edgehill to make it 40-25 with 1:32 to play in the third.

“Franklin’s defensive intensity just stayed high and we couldn’t respond and keep up with it,” said second-year KP head coach Dave DeStefano. “We had a couple of turnovers and we lost the momentum that we had. Their defense is on another level, it’s really tough to match. The only time we were comfortably was right out of halftime, we started to play hard and do the things we are good at but we couldn’t maintain it.”

KP senior Andrew McKinney (six points, six rebounds) sank a pull up elbow jumper and junior Donte Barros came off the bench and finished off a layup through traffic plus the harm to get the Warriors within 10.

Edgehill and KP’s Chris Roy traded threes but another layup from Karayan and two technical foul free throws from Rudolph gave the Panthers a 47-33 edge after three.

Declan Walmsley and Brayden Sullivan each hit early fourth quarter three-pointers while KP countered with five points from Alex Fritz (11 points). But yet another three, this one from Karayan off a feed from Gasbarro, helped seal the deal. A three-point play from Rudolph and two each from Edgehill and junior Andrew Byfield helped push the lead to 20.

“I think shooting is one of our strengths this year, which is different from last year,” Neely said. Franklin shot 9-for-27 from three-point range. “We can really spread the floor out, and that’s something we talked about at halftime because we felt we had good shooters passing on open looks. That hurt the flow of our offense. We have a ton of confidence in our guys that can shoot, they just have to be ready to shoot.”

Early threes from Edgehill and Sullivan helped Franklin race out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, holding the Warriors off the scoreboard for over four minutes of action until Roy sank a triple. KP got within two on a three from Fritz but that was the only field goal for the KP senior as the Panthers made sure to give him plenty of attention defensively. Fritz also missed over five minutes in the second quarter due to foul trouble.

Fritz scored a career-high 36 points in KP’s season-opener. Sullivan was tasked with man-to-man defense on him, while Rudolph, Gasbarro, and senior Andrew Cunningham all saw him playing defense on him.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“With a guy like that, it’s not a one-man operation defensively,” Neely said. “Brayden’s been pesky on a lot of guys to start the year but we knew it was going to have to be a team effort. I thought we made his shots difficult. He’s going to make some baskets, and some of the shots he makes are some of the highest level shots I’ve seen in the past couple of years so you just have to make it hard. I thought we did a good job of doing that.”

Franklin lead 14-9 after the first quarter but there wasn’t much rhythm in the second eight-minute frame. The Panthers went to the free throw line 18 times in the second quarter while KP made five trips. Edgehill and Byfield converted from down low early but the Panthers had just one more field goal over the final 6:40, hitting 9-of-18 free throws. Franklin led 29-16 at half.

Franklin boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Friday night in its home opener against Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) is also home, hosting Milford.

2019 HockomockSports Football Awards

2019 Hockomock League Football All Stars

Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Kelley-Rex

Vinnie Holmes, Mansfield

Davenport

Kyle Fitzgerald, Canton

Hockomock League All Stars

Kelley-Rex Division

Qualeem Charles, Attleboro
Michael Strachan, Attleboro
Jason Weir, Attleboro
Austin Jordan, Franklin
Thomas Gasbarro, Franklin
Evan Wertz, Franklin
Jack Nally, Franklin
Jake Davis, Franklin
Sean Piller, King Philip
Ryan Halliday, King Philip
Robert Jarest, King Philip
Terence Guy, Mansfield
Vincent Holmes, Mansfield
Michael Debolt, Mansfield
Nicholas Marciano, Mansfield
Cincere Gill, Mansfield
Jason Comeau, Mansfield
Nathan Cabral, Oliver Ames
Daniel MacDougall, Taunton

Davenport Division

Jack Connolly, Canton
Kyle Fitzgerald, Canton
John Hagan, Canton
James Murphy, Canton
Robert Gallery, Canton
Aidan Dow, Foxboro
Shayne Kerrigan, Foxboro
Anton George, Foxboro
Michael Sheehan, Foxboro
Luke Rosa, Milford
Colby Pires, Milford
John Kummer, North Attleboro
Ethan Mottinger, North Attleboro
Ethan Friberg, North Attleboro
John Saab, Sharon
Carlvin Laguerre, Stoughton
Anthony Pizzano, Stoughton
Chris Ais, Stoughton
Christin Ais, Stoughton

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 11/08/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Football
D1 South

#2 Franklin, 28 vs. #3 Brockton, 14 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (B) Devonte Medley 10-yard pass to Ahmik Watterson, XP good; (F) Thomas Gasbarro 6-yard pass to Jack Nally, Parker Cheuvront XP good; (F) T. Gasbarro 4-yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good; (F) Owen Palmieri 32-yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good.
3rd Quarter: (B) Isaiah Laguerre 68-yard touchdown, XP good; (F) T. Gasbarro 62-yard pass to Cole Lakatos, P. Cheuvront XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

D2 South
#3 King Philip, 6 @ #2 Mansfield, 34 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 9-yard pass to Cincere Gill, Michael DeBolt XP good; (M) J. Moussette 46-yard pass to C. Gill, M. DeBolt XP good; (M) J. Moussette 18-yard pass to Everett Knowlton, M. DeBolt XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) C. Gill 11-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good; (KP) Robert Jarest 19-yard pass to Andrew McKinney, XP failed; (M) J. Moussette 24-yard pass to C. Gill, 2pt rush failed.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

D3 South
#3 Stoughton, 12 @ #2 Duxbury, 38 – Final
1st Quarter: (S) Clayton Rahaman 72-yard pass to Jordan Emile, XP failed; (D) Will Prouty 5-yard rush, Brett Souza XP good.
2nd Quarter: (S) Oluwole Fabikun 23-yard fumble return, 2pt pass failed.
3rd Quarter: (D) B. Souza 24-yard field goal; (D) W. Prouty 1-yard rush, B. Souza XP good.
4th Quarter: (D) Tim Landolfi 1-yard rush, B. Souza XP good; (D) W. Prouty 25-yard pass to Brady Madigan, B. Souza XP good; (D) T. Landolfi 6-yard rush, B. Souza XP good.

D5 South
#4 Foxboro, 0 @ #1 Canton, 15 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (C) Safety; (C) Owen Lehane 22-yard field goal.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: O. Lehane 31-yard field goal.
4th Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 15-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.

Non-playoffs
Milford, 7 @ Hopkinton, 20 – Final

Taunton, 15 @ Weymouth, 14 – FinalTaunton scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to erase a 14-point deficit, winning on the final play of the game with a two-point conversion. Josh Lopes scored on a five-yard run and Collin Knorr drilled the extra point the half the Wildcats’ lead. After a penalty on Weymouth, the Tigers had one untimed play and Lopes plunged in from one-yard out to make it 14-13. The Tigers went for the two-point conversion and the win. Danny MacDougall took a jet sweep, escaped a swarm of tackles, and fired a pass back across the field to quarterback Trent Santos for the two-point conversion and the win.

Boys Soccer
D2 South

#12 North Attleboro, 1 @ #4 Oliver Ames, 1 – Final (OA wins, 5-4 on PKs)Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game.Not much could separate the Tigers and the Rocketeers on the pitch in a D2 South quarterfinal matchup. The teams were tied 1-1 after 80 minutes of play, and then played a pair of scoreless 10-minute overtime periods to send the game to penalty kicks.

“North was outstanding today on the defensive side of the ball,” said OA head coach John Barata. “Their goalie [Kyle Briere] was simply amazing. He must have saved close to 20 shots and some were from three to six yards out. No doubt that is one of the best performances by a goalie I’ve ever seen.”

Junior Kevin Louhis finished off a cross from sophomore Mathias Taylor in the 15th minute to put Oliver Ames ahead. North Attleboro leveled the match with five minutes to go when Andrew Tolfa buried a free kick chance.

“Our boys played well and with lots of poise and control today,” Barata said. “We maintained possession of the ball on all three thirds very well and broke the lines often. However, we did not capitalize on all our opportunities. We need to find the back of the net on a few of those close range opportunities.”

In the penalty kicks, both sides converted on their first three chances. North Attleboro missed on its fourth chance but Briere came up with a save to keep it tied, and both teams scored on their fifth chance to send the game to the sudden death round of pens. Barata inserted Brendan Cross in goal for the sixth chance and North was off the mark. Junior Anthony DaCosta buried his shot into the top right corner to clinch the win. Colin Milliken, Taylor, Dillon Cupples, and Louhis converted PKs for OA.

“We are very happy,” Barata said. “Before the season started our goal was to get into the state tournament, win the Hockomock Kelley Rex and win at least one game in the tourney. At this point everything is just a bonus. We have to prepare now for the top team in the state and one of the top teams in the country. We look forward to moving on.”