FRANKLIN, Mass. – Behind a blazing start and a strong finish, the Attleboro boys basketball team earned a crucial division win on the road in Franklin on Friday night.
Senior Bryant Ciccio ignited the Bombardiers from the start, scoring half of Attleboro’s 22 first quarter points, and the visitors connected on four three-pointers in the opening quarter to build a lead they would never relinquish.
And to finish, it was a 12-2 run that spanned the first six minutes of the fourth quarter that propelled the Bombardiers to a 63-51 decision on the road.
“I think the biggest thing about tonight was that we stuck to the game plan,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We weren’t just shooting on the first available shot, we really tried to get some paint shots. We didn’t get a lot but I think working the clock, making them work defensively, and looking to see where we had opportunities on skips and seals, I think that helped us.
“And Bryant coming out and really feeling it early was a spark for us. And defensively I thought we played pretty well.”
In the first, Ciccio (21 points, four rebounds, four assists) hit his first two shots, including one triple, and later in the frame hit a pair of three-pointers inside a 30-second span, the latter coming in transition that put the visitors ahead 17-8. Tim Callahan (nine points) added the other triple to give the Bombarders a 22-13 lead after eight minutes.
And in the fourth, holding a 48-41 advantage to start, the Bombardiers clamped down defensively to limit the hosts to just one made field goal over six minutes to push the lead to 60-43. Senior Qualeem Charles (10 points, 10 rebounds) got half of his points in the span and senior Jason Weir (career-high 17 points, seven rebounds) sank one of his four trifectas to give the Bombardiers breathing room.
“Jason played really well, he played within himself,” Houle said. “He’s the type of player that can play inside or outside and he’s definitely shooting the ball a lot better, he’s confident in himself. He didn’t play last year (injury) so it’s taken a little while but I’m really proud of his efforts because he’s stuck with it, he continues to battle. He’s such a competitor and it was a big night for him.
“I thought throughout the game, everyone at some point stepped up. I thought [Franklin] did a great job on Q, making him work for everything but he had a couple of key possessions in the fourth that were big for us. I don’t think it was one guy consistently but I thought different guys stepped up for us at different times and it was a really solid win against a very good team at Franklin.”
Charles started the late run off of a feed from Nick McMahon (six rebounds, four assists), who found Callahan for a bucket two plays later. Ciccio had a rare miss but Charles gobbled up the rebound and muscled through a foul to put it back in as the Bombardiers surged to a 54-43 lead with 5:15 to play.
After a bit of a lull from both sides, Attleboro got Charles the ball again and he was fouled, sinking one of two from the line. Callahan came up with a steal, Ciccio drove to the basket to collapse the defense and found Weir, who drained a three. Ciccio added two free throws with two minutes left to make it 60-43.
While Franklin entered the fourth having success from deep (6-for-18), the Panthers went ice cold from downtown for the majority of the final quarter. Jack Rudolph (14 points, four rebounds, five assists) had the Panthers’ lone bucket of the stretch with a nice take to the basket that made it 50-43 at the time.
After that, the Panthers missed on five straight three-pointers, had a turnover, and then missed two more from downtown.
“They came out hot in the first and that was a tough way to start the game, falling behind,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “Ciccio was lights out, he was doing everything out there, he’s an awesome player. And at the end, I think our offense got a little stagnant and we started to force it a little bit. We don’t have the luxury to go out there and play one-on-one basketball, that’s not what we’ve been about. When we’ve been successful, it’s been a team effort, it’s been extra passes, ball reveals, screening for each other, and taking pride in all of those little details.
“Tonight, I thought we got away from those details in those big moments. It felt like we tried to get it all back in one basket. We got it down to five in the third but I thought it was a lot of those little things. I didn’t think we executed our plan very well, I didn’t think we made them earn it as much tonight. I’m not taking anything away from [Attleboro], they played great but when you’re trying to get back into a game, you can’t have lapses on those little moments.”
Franklin surged in each the second and third quarters to close the gap, but could never quite get over the hump. The only time the Panthers led in the game was after Steven Karayan (13 points) opened the game with a three-pointer.
In the second, Declan Walmsley converted through the contact after a steal from Brayden Sullivan. Rudolph sank a three-pointer and Matt Lazarek had an open layup as the Panthers closed the gap to 25-20. After a free throw from Charles, Karayan hit another three to make it a three-point game.
But Ciccio and Justin Daniels each converted from deep to give Attleboro a 32-25 lead at halftime.
Franklin closed the gap to three early in the third on a steal from Lazarek and layup from Chris Edgehill. Weir and Edgehill traded three-pointers but a steal from Charles led to a fast break for Ciccio and layup from Callahan.
Sullivan got around his man to make it a three-point game again, but once more Attleboro answered with Ciccio connecting from downtown. Weir hit another three and Attleboro took advantage of two offensive rebounds from Weir and Callahan to push the lead to 48-41 after three.
“Both teams worked really hard,” Houle said. “They seemed to take more threes in the fourth than we did, and they are a good shooting team. It’s not like we were giving them the threes, but fortunately, they weren’t hitting them and we were getting some key box-outs and rebounds.”
Attleboro boys basketball (9-1 Hock, 11-2 overall) remains in a first-place tie with Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex with six games to go. The Bombardiers will host Davenport-leading Milford on Tuesday. Franklin (8-2, 11-2) will host Sharon on the same night.
Attleboro, 81 @ Sharon, 61 – Final – Seven Bombardiers scored en route to a 24-point first quarter and Attleboro never looked back, securing a win on the road at Sharon. Tim Callahan, Nick McMahon, and Bryant Ciccio each connected on a three-pointer while Justin Daniels, Jason Weir, Lorenzo Wilson, and Qualeem Charles each added to the total to help the Bombardiers build a double-digit lead after eight minutes. Attleboro led 36-17 at halftime and went on to score 23 points in the third and 22 points in the fourth to pull away with the win. Charles had eight of his team-high 20 points in the third, Ciccio netted seven of his 19 points in the same frame, and Callahan drained two more threes and had eight of his 11 points in the third. Sharon junior Matt Baskin caught fire in the second half, hitting six threes and scoring all of his team-high 22 points in the second half. Andrew Burton added 16 points for the Eagles.
Taunton, 55 @ Canton, 43 – Final – Taunton’s defense held the Bulldogs to single digits in each of the first two quarters, building a 30-8 halftime lead that resulted in a big win on the road. The Tigers held Canton to three field goals in the opening half and then pushed the lead to 46-20 heading into the final quarter. Junior Tyler Stewart scored 14 of his 16 points between the second and third quarters while Josh Lopes added 13 points. Danny MacDougall chipped in with a career-high 10 points for Taunton. Canton’s Colton Mirliani hit a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter to help close the deficit.
Franklin, 67 @ Foxboro, 61 – Final – Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan converted a key traditional three-point play in the fourth quarter and the Panthers took care of business from the free throw line in the fourth quarter (7-for-10) to grab a close win on the road over Foxboro. It was a consistent night on offense for Franklin, scoring 17 points in three quarters while netting 16 points in the third quarter. Franklin led 17-12 after one, 34-31 at halftime, and took a 50-45 advantage into the final frame. Chris Edgehill scored a team-high 16 points while Sullivan finished with 15 points for the Panthers, who were held to just two three-pointers. Foxboro’s Donald Rogers scored a team-high 14 points, Kevin Gallagher added 11 points, and both Brandon Borde and Will Morrison chipped in with 10 points apiece.
King Philip, 71 @ North Attleboro, 53 – Final – North Attleboro used a 10-0 surge to close the first half to tie the game at halftime but the second half belonged to King Philip as the Warriors scored over 20 points in each of the final two quarters to run away with a win. George Ladd scored six of his team-high 18 points, Ethan Friberg (16 points) sank a pair of threes, and Edan Kelley had five points in the second as the Rocketeers knotted the score at 28-28 through two quarters of play. In the third, KP’s Alex Fritz connected on a trio of three-pointers while Robert Jarest, Andrew McKinney, and Owen Conlin each hit one and the Warriors went off for 22 points to build a double-digit lead. After a successful first half (13 points), the Warriors went back to senior Tommy Donahue (career-high 28 points) and he helped ice the game with 13 points in the fourth quarter. McKinney finished with 15 points and Fritz added 14 points in the win.
Mansfield, 60 @ Stoughton, 38 – Final – A close game for three quarters, Mansfield scored the final 14 points of the game and dominated the fourth quarter to pick up a win on the road at Stoughton. The Hornets held a 40-33 lead going into the fourth quarter, and extended that to 46-38 at the midway point before embarking on its 14-0 run to close the game. Junior Matt Boen recorded a team-high 17 points to go along with seven assists, seven steals, and five rebounds to lead the way for the Hornets. Sam Stevens (six rebounds, six steals) added 12 points and freshman Chris Hill went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for nine points. Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell netted a team-high 13 points while Tahkwan Gates Brown added 11 points for Stoughton.
Sharon, 42 @ Attleboro, 53 – Final – Attleboro got contributions from the whole team to pull out its third straight win and move back to .500 on the season. Meghan Gordon continued her solid play with 13 points and Liv McCall joined her in double digits with 10. Ryan Johnson, Gabby Bosh, and Nyah Thomas all chipped in with eight points for the Bombardiers, who led by only two at halftime (19-17) but extended the advantage to seven after three. Kaitlyn Wallace was the game’s high scorer with 17 for the Eagles and Trinity Payne added 14.
Canton, 56 @ Taunton, 49 – Final – The Bulldogs managed to pull out a back-and-forth win on the road, their fifth win in the last six games. Kameron St. Pierre and Sonya Fernandez paced Taunton with 14 points apiece and eighth grader Sam Lincoln scored a career-high 13 points in the loss.
North Attleboro, 58 @ King Philip, 84 – Final – The Warriors clicked on the offensive end, scoring 40-plus points in each half, knocking down nine threes as a team, and recording assists on 24 of the 36 made shots. Caroline Aaron led the way for KP with 19 points and six boards. Faye Veilleux added 15 points and eight rebounds and Faith Roy had 12 points and six steals. Brianna James filled the stat sheet with eight points, six assists, five steals, and five rebounds. Amanda Kaiser scored 15 to lead the Rocketeers, Regan Fein scored 11, and Summer Doherty had nine, but North struggled with KP’s speed and press. North coach Nikki Correia said, “We came out slow and they absolutely wanted it more than we did. KP never stopped hustling and went after every loose ball.”
Stoughton, 41 @ Mansfield, 55 – Final – Mansfield turned on the defense in the second quarter to grab the lead and never let up to hold off the Black Knights. The Hornets trailed 18-12 after one, as Stoughton’s Shyanne Trinh scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the quarter, but held the Black Knights to only four points in the second and scored 17 to pull ahead. Leading 33-30 in the third quarter, Mansfield knocked down three shots from beyond the arc (two by Kelly Doherty and one at the buzzer by Becca Hottleman) to extend the lead out to 12 heading to the fourth. Ashley Santos and Kayla Vine led the Hornets with 14 points apiece. Hottleman added 10 and Doherty finished with eight. Aliyah Wright added to Trinh’s 19 by scoring 17 of her own for Stoughton.
Milford, 19 @ Oliver Ames, 66 – Final – The Tigers bounced back from their first league defeat of the season with a strong defensive effort against the visiting Hawks. OA allowed only nine points in the first half to jump out to a 25-point lead and continued that effort in the second half, holding Milford to just 10. Caroline Flynn nearly put up a triple-double for the Tigers, scoring 18 points, grabbing 11 boards, and dishing out eight assists. Kelsey Yelle chipped in with 12 points and Jess Erlich added 10 in the win.
Canton @ Milford, 4:00
Attleboro @ Newton North, 5:00
Attleboro vs. Braintree, 5:00 (@ Newton North)
Foxboro, 58 @ Attleboro, 62 – Final – Attleboro junior Justin Daniels hit a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-high 15 points to help the Bombardiers edge visiting Foxboro. The teams were knotted at 28 at halftime and again at 44 heading into the fourth quarter where Attleboro was able to make just enough plays to get the win. Qualeem Charles (10 rebounds) scored half of his 12 points in the fourth quarter while Bryant Ciccio (14 points), Nick McMahon, and Tim Callahan all scored in the final frame. Foxboro senior Ryan Hughes scored a career-high 20 points while Brandon Borde added 16 points, including nine in the final quarter to keep the Warriors in the game.
Canton, 44 @ Mansfield, 81 – Final – Mansfield’s TJ Guy, Matt Boen, and Sam Stevens each took a turn dominating a quarter as the Hornets cruised to a big win at home over visiting Canton. Guy scored nine of his 15 points in the opening quarter to help the hosts seize a 14-7 lead while Boen exploded for 12 of his 15 points in the second quarter to give Mansfield a 40-16 lead at the halftime break. Stevens took center stage in the third, netting 13 of his 14 points in the quarter as Mansfield extended its lead to 64-30. Canton junior Eric Mischler scored a team-high 21 points in the loss.
North Attleboro, 29 @ Franklin, 72 – Final – Franklin bounced back from its first loss in a big way, running away with a win against visiting North Attleboro. After a back-and-forth first quarter saw the Panthers take a 17-14 lead, Franklin’s defense clamped down and didn’t allow more than six points in a quarter the rest of the way. Franklin senior Brayden Sullivan scored a career-high 28 points, hitting on a three-pointer in each of the first three quarters while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Chris Edgehill added 16 points in the win for Franklin while sophomore Brody Rosenberg netted a team-high nine points for North Attleboro.
Milford, 58 @ Taunton, 59 – Final – Taunton junior Josh Lopes sank a pair of free throws with six seconds left in the game to push the Tigers’ lead to two possessions, securing a win over visiting Milford. The Tigers, who led 22-16 after a quarter, threatened to pull away in the second quarter when they pushed their lead to 10 but Milford’s Sean Murray came off the bench, took a pair of charges and scored six points to help the Hawks go into halftime down just one. Another even quarter had the teams tied at 44-44 heading into the fourth quarter. Taunton junior Tyler Stewart scored six of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter while sophomore Trent Santos hit a big three in the final quarter, finishing with 15 points. Limited to three points through three quarters, Lopes had a big bucket and the key free throws in the fourth to seal the win. Sophomore Tristan Herry added 11 points for the hosts. Milford junior Jordan Darling had a game-high 21 points while Ben Blanchard added 17 points for the Hawks.
Sharon, 46 @ Oliver Ames, 77 – Final – After jumping out to a 15-5 lead through a quarter of action, Oliver Ames scored 23 points in the second quarter to double its lead by halftime. Oliver Ames put the game away with a strong third, adding 21 more points to seize a 59-28 lead through 24 minutes of action. OA junior Amari Brown had a strong start, scoring seven of his team-high 18 points in the opening quarter and went 7-for-10 from the line to help the Tigers get the win. Senior Jay Spillane had nine points of his 13 points in the second quarter and Ryan Burkett finished with 10 points for OA, who had 10 players get in the scoring column. Aidan Kane recorded a team-high 12 points for Sharon.
Attleboro, 44 @ Foxboro, 65 – Final – Three players scored in double digits for the Warriors to pick up the win against Attleboro. Katelyn Mollica continued her strong season with a team-high 19 and Lizzy Davis added 13. Foxboro also got strong play in the paint from Shakirah Ketant, who scored 12 points in the win.
Mansfield, 56 @ Canton, 61 – Final – Canton led by six after the first quarter, eight at halftime, and by nine heading into the fourth quarter but was never able to pull away from the Hornets, who scored 20 points in the final eight minutes to keep within striking distance. Kiara Cerruti scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth, to help the Bulldogs hold on. Sydney Gallery also scored 16 for Canton, all in the first half. Fay Gallery added 10 and Lilah Milton had eight points. Point guard Carly Fitzgerald scored seven points and Canton coach Jim Choquette praised her for a great all-around game, including her defense, rebounding, and care with the ball. Kayla Vine was the top scorer for Mansfield with 16 points. Ashley Santos chipped in with 11 and Brooke Berube finished with 10 points.
Franklin, 53 @ North Attleboro, 33 – Final – Franklin remained unbeaten with a road win at North Attleboro. The Panthers scored 24 points in the first quarter to get off to a perfect start, led by 18 at the half, and then held North to only three points in the third to put the game away. Ali Brigham was the game’s top scorer with 26 points and Olivia Quinn put up 13 for the Panthers. Franklin also used its advantage in the paint to dominate on the glass. On a rough shooting night for the Rocketeers, Regan Fein led the way with nine points and Amanda Kaiser added eight.
King Philip, 69 @ Stoughton, 39 – Final – KP built a 14-point lead at halftime and continued to pull away throughout the second half. Emma Glaser and Faith Roy paced the KP offense, each scoring 12 points, while Faye Veilleux added 10. Aliyah Wright was Stoughton’s top scorer with a game-high 16 points.
Oliver Ames, 48 @ Sharon, 17 – Final – Oliver Ames shrugged off a slow start to build a 10-point lead at halftime and never looked back to earn a win on the road. The Tigers led just 5-4 after a quarter but pushed the advantage to 21-11 at halftime. OA’s defense continued to shine in the second half, holding the Eagles to just six points. Caroline Flynn led OA with 10 points while Tate Hadges added nine points.
Franklin, 4 vs. Westwood, 5 – Final – Franklin went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the state in Westwood but the Wolverines scored with less than a minute to go in the game to earn the win. The teams traded a pair of first period goals with Katelyn Brown and Libby Carter (from Lyndsey Atkinson and Amanda Lewandowski) but the Wolverines scored two straight in the second period to seize the lead. Carter scored in the final minute of the second to make it a one goal game and Lewandowski scored six minutes into the third period to bring the Panthers level. Westwood scored with 45 seconds to play to get the win.
Attleboro, 91 @ Oliver Ames, 74 – Final
Results: 200 Medley Relay: 1. Oliver Ames (Nick Farley, Ben Turner, Anthony Carraggi, Ryan Moore) – 1:57.72 | 2. Attleboro (Robert Winkler, Anthony Burns, Aaron Dumont, Zack Moore) – 2:24.61 | 3. Attleboro (Aiden Moore, Ninad Bartakke, Brady Dumont, Aidrinn Nottage) – 2:52.44 200 Free: 1. Colton Mangion, Att – 2:18.03 | 2. Dylan Nisbet, Att – 2:20.76 | 3. Cormac Ganshirt, OA – 2:21.21 200 IM: 1. Ben Turner, OA – 2:14.41 | 2. Damien Geltrade, Att – 2:41.66 | 3. Zack Dorrance, Att – 3:08.79 50 Free: 1. Anthony Carraggi, OA – 23.59 | 2. Brett Wortham, Att – 27.40 | 3. Nick Farley, OA – 27.72 100 Fly: 1. Ben Turner, OA – 58.75 | 2. Alex Harrop, Att – 1:05.13 | 3. Zack Dorrance, Att – 1:28.88 100 Free: 1. Anthony Carraggi, OA – 52.06 | 2. Matt Marcil, Att – 55.28 | 3. Evan Foltz, OA – 58.91 500 Free: 1. Colton Mangion, Att – 6:33.81 | 2. Cormac Ganshirt, OA – 6:40:38 | 3. Robert Winkler, Att – 7:22.76 200 Free Relay: 1. Attleboro (Matt Marcil, Zack Dorrance, Dylan Nisbet, Brett Wortham) – 1:44.30 | 2. Oliver Ames (Alex Priajinski, Evan Foltz, Nick Farley, Cormac Ganshirt) – 1:51.81 | 3. Attleboro (Colton Mangion, Brandon Sanford, Zack Moore, Alex Harrop) – 1:23.31 100 Back: 1. Matt Marcil, Att – 1:04.84 | 2. Naaman Wheeler, OA – 1:23.00 | 3. Andrew Greaves, Att – 1:23.31 100 Breast: 1. Evan Foltz, OA – 1:16.31 | 2. Anthony Burns, Att – 1:37.72 | 3. Ninad Burtakke, Att – 1:47.69 400 Free Relay: 1. Oliver Ames (Anthony Carraggi, Evan Foltz, Ryan Moore, Ben Turner) – 3:48.31 | 2. Attleboro (Alex Harrop, Zack Dorrance, Damien Geltrude, Colton Mangion) – 4:14.66 | 3. Attleboro (Dylan Nisbet, Andrew Greaves, Justin Wennerberg, Robert Winkler) – 4:36.24
Attleboro, 72 @ Oliver Ames, 90 – Final
Results: 200 Medley Relay: 3. Attleboro – 2:22.13 200 Free: 4. Ally Cronin, Att | 5. Olivia Mastandrea, Att 200 IM: 3. Shanis Tolliver, Att | 5. Lily Schuerger, Att 50 Free: 2. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att – 27:09 (sectional qualifier) | 4. Brenna O’Connell, Att 100 Fly: 3. Lily Schuerger, Att | 5. Victoria Greaves, Att 100 Free: 1. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 59.76 | 5. Brenna O’Connell, Att 500 Free: 3. Faith Morrison, Att | 5. Jenna Torres, Att 200 Free Relay: 2. Attleboro (Ella Lynch-Bartek, Brenna O’Connell, Rachel Priestley, Jackie Lynch-Bartek) 100 Back: 1. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:09.72 | 2. Olivia Mastandrea, Att | 3. Ally Cronin, Att 100 Breast: 1. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:13.03 | 2. Faith Morrison, Att | 3. Rachel Priestley, Att 400 Free: 1. Attleboro (Ella Lynch-Bartek, Brenna O’Connell, Faith Morrison, Jackie Lynch-Bartek) – 4:18.81 | 2. Attleboro (Ally Cronin, Shanise Tolliver, Jenna Torres, Rena Danho)
But just like that, the Bombardiers flexed their muscles on both ends of the court. Attleboro hit six of their next seven attempts from the floor with the lone miss hauled in for an offensive rebound that resulted in two free throws. And defensively, the Rocketeers missed three shots while committing four turnovers.
The result was an 18-0 run that turned the game on its head and a close contest into a comfortable 63-46 win for the Bombardiers.
“We made that run because we played defense,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “You can’t score 18 straight if you’re giving up baskets on the other end. We talk about being consistently good on defense and during that segment, we were very good.
“We went to a little different look on offense and we were able to spread them out a little bit. Obviously, when you make shots it changes everything. But we were stagnant on offense but it was because their defense kind of made us play like that.”
North Attleboro junior George Ladd (eight points, five assists) finished off a tough layup through contact to bring the hosts within 45-43 with 6:01 left on the clock.
Nick McMahon (nine points, seven assists) penetrated the North Attleboro zone and kicked it out to classmate Tim Callahan (17 points) for his fifth trifecta of the game, a shot that sparked the Attleboro offense.
Attleboro got a stop on the other end and senior Bryant Ciccio (15 points) sank a difficult baseline jumper before the Rocketeers had an empty trip. Ciccio took a pass from Jason Weir at the top of the key and sank another three for the Bombardiers, putting the visitors up 53-43 with just under four minutes to play.
North’s turnover woes (16 in total) factored in as Ciccio came up with a steal, the play resulting in two made free throws from Qualeem Charles (16 points, nine rebounds). It was near deja vu on the ensuing Rocketeer possession as Ciccio stripped the ball free and went in for an uncontested layup.
“We have to have more urgency at all times,” said North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins. “When the moment gets big, we can’t change our focus level or let the scoreboard dictate how we play. It’s a hard lesson for our guys to learn but that’s back-to-back games, five minutes to play against a quality team…we’re not about moral victories, we have to be better. We have to do a better job coaching too.
“Credit to their better players, Ciccio stepped up in that fourth quarter, McMahon had a nice play, they hurt us inside on the glass. But selfishly from my end, we can’t turn the ball over and then have a breakdown defensively, it’s a double whammy. And then look up at the scoreboard and feel bad for yourself and let that dictate how you play. It certainly snowballed. Ultimately we have to step up and have more urgency.”
A travel gave the visitors the ball back, and despite their first miss of the stretch, Charles hauled in the board and was fouled going back up. He hit two more free throws while North’s cold stretch continued with a missed corner three.
McMahon capped the run with back-to-back strong takes to the rim sandwiched around a Rocketeer turnover after a double team from Ciccio and Charles.
“I thought Nick started feeling more comfortable towards the end,” Houle said. “He’s been terrific for us this year and against a zone, you can’t just pass it around the whole time you have to slip and look to attack a little bit. And then he started hitting wide open guys. So it was a win-win when you knock them down, you get a paint touch on the dribble penetration then kick it out.
“And for us in the second half, every time Q touched it we wanted him to score it. He’s a very unselfish player, he’d rather pass to his teammates but for us to be successful, we need him scoring in there.”
While the Bombardiers finally pulled away in the fourth quarter, they were on the verge of doing so in each of the previous two quarters but the Rocketeers continually made timely shots and stops to stay in it.
Callahan (twice) and Ciccio both connected on early threes for the Bombardiers but Brody Rosenberg (eight points), Edan Kelley, and Ethan Friberg (11 points, eight rebounds) were equal to the task. A bucket from Lorenzo Wilson and two free throws from Ciccio had Attleboro up 15-13 at the end of one.
Another triple from Callahan opened the second quarter, Charles finished off a three-point play, and Callahan sank yet another three as Attleboro started the frame strong. But a triple from Rosenberg and another from Friberg kept the Rocketeers in the game.
After a Callahan putback, the Rocketeers closed the first half on a 7-0 run with Ladd scoring down low, Friberg connecting on his third trifecta of the half, and Tommy Whalen finishing off a nice pass from Josh Porter to make it 26-26 at the break.
“They shot very well tonight, they had nine threes,” Houle said. “When they hit them back-to-back, you can’t get over that hump to pull away. They started to miss some shots but I think our defense started forcing some different things. And then they started over-penetrating a little bit and we swallowed them up.”
Timmy carried us in the first half, he was terrific. And he needed that because he’s had some good looks throughout the season and he really stepped up tonight.
Attleboro created some room with a 9-4 run capped by a Ciccio three to start the second half but Whalen answered with a triple and Jared Vacher hit back-to-back threes as North Attleboro surged ahead for the first time, 39-37.
But North closed the quarter with a pair of misses and three straight turnovers, the latter turning into a bucket from Alvin Harrison that gave Attleboro a 40-39 lead heading into the fourth.
“I think it was a combination of them having a concerted effort on where to attack us,” Mulkerrins said of the fourth. “We were mixing up man and zone, I have to see it but my feeling is that we got a little tired and got stuck watching. You can’t be late against that quality of a team.”
Attleboro boys basketball (4-1 Hockomock, 5-2 overall) will host King Philip on Friday. North Attleboro (2-3, 3-5) will try to bounce back when it hosts Milford on Friday.
Attleboro, 61 @ Oliver Ames, 52 – Final – After a close first half, Attleboro created its separation between the third and fourth quarters before holding off a late surge from Oliver Ames. A three-point lead at halftime (30-27) ballooned to 45-34 as the Bombardiers held the hosts to seven points in the third quarter. The Tigers went on an 11-0 run late to cut into Attleboro’s 17-point lead but ran out of time as the visitors took care of business at the free throw line. Qualeem Charles got Attleboro off to a strong start with 11 of his 20 points coming in the first quarter, giving Attleboro a 20-15 lead after eight minutes. Senior Bryant Ciccio hit a pair of threes in the third, finishing with 10 of his game-high 25 points in that quarter to help create the needed cushion. Tim Callahan added a big three in the fourth quarter while Nick McMahon had a strong game defensively. Jay Spillane paced OA with 15 points while classmate Owen Friel added 13 points and Ryan Burkett finished with 12 points.
Canton, 42 @ Stoughton, 61 – Final – Stoughton built a double-digit advantage in the first quarter and never looked back to pick up a win over neighboring Canton. The Black Knights jumped ahead 15-5 after the first and were able to double the lead heading into the fourth quarter with a 46-26 lead. Stoughton senior Obinna Ugwuakazi (five steals) scored seven points in the opening quarter to help build the lead and added eight more in the third to help expand it, finishing with a game-high 25 points to pace the Black Knights. Tahkwan Gates Brown added 11 points and Myles Grigalunas-Powell chipped in with eight points. Eric Mischler had a team-high 11 points for Canton while senior Mike Dorcelus scored 10 points.
Foxboro, 37 @ Milford, 61 – Final – In what was a close contest for the majority of the game, Milford’s defense limited Foxboro to just five fourth-quarter points to pull away for a large margin of victory. “We did a good job defensively against a very good opponent,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver, noting the balanced offensive attack and timely shots on the offensive end of the court. Milford had five players score in each quarter, increasing its lead each frame. Milford expanded its 14-12 lead after one to a 28-20 advantage at halftime. A strong third quarter pushed the lead to 44-32 going into the fourth. The Hawks hit five of their six threes after the break with Ben Blanchard (eight points) and Tyler Wetherbee (12 points) each responsible for a pair. Colby Pires had a team-high 13 points while Ralph Franklin Jr. added 12 points. Jordan Darling added eight points and Dom Schofield, who also had a second half three, finished with six points. Senior Donald Rogers scored 14 points for Foxboro, who was limited to just one made three-pointer in the contest.
King Philip, 62 @ Taunton, 73 – Final – Taunton pushed its three-point halftime lead to a 55-47 lead through three quarters, and finished strong with 11 points in the final three minutes to secure a key division win over King Philip. The Tiger trailed by one after a quarter (16-15) but held a 37-34 lead at the halftime break. With just under three minutes to go, the Tigers led 62-56 and went on to close out the win. Junior Tyler Stewart scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the first half while sophomores Tristan Herry and Trent Santos along with junior Josh Lopes came up with key buckets in the second half to secure the win. Stewart and sophomore Faisal Mass (10 points) helped the hosts create the lead at the break. Herry added six of his 10 points in the second half, Santos scored 10 of his 15 points after the break, and Lopes added eight of his 15 in the second half for Taunton. Andrew McKinney scored a team-high 21 points for the Warriors while Alex Fritz added 19 points.
Sharon, 37 @ North Attleboro, 46 – Final – The Rocketeers buckled down defensively in the second half, limiting the visitors to 14 points over the final 16 minutes, while exploding for their best quarter of the game in the fourth to secure a win. North held an early 13-8 advantage after one period of play but Sharon took a 23-22 lead into the locker room and a 29-28 advantage into the fourth. Senior Ethan Friberg came up big on the offensive glass, scoring eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter to help the Big Red get the win. Junior George Ladd added 10 points while senior Josh Porter chipped in with nine points. Sharon senior Andrew Burton scored a game-high 15 points and junior Matt Baskin added eight points for the Eagles.
Oliver Ames, 44 @ Attleboro, 27 – Final – Tate Hadges scored 12 points and Caroline Flynn (eight rebounds) added 11 as the Tigers pulled out a tough win on the road with a strong defensive performance. Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall scored seven points apiece for the Bombardiers.
Stoughton, 43 @ Canton, 35 – Final – Stoughton’s Aliyah Wright recorded a double-double, Shyanne Trinh led the team in scoring, and Kyla Sheedy-Goff gave the Black Knights a big boost to deliver a key division win on the road at Canton. Wright had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Trinh recorded a team-high 14 points to go along with four steals, and Sheedy-Goff finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Milford, 14 @ Foxboro, 86 – Final – Katelyn Mollica bounced back from a tough shooting night against Canton on Thursday with a 26-point night against Milford on Friday. Shakirah Ketant added 15 points and Lizzy Davis chipped in with 12 for the league-leading Warriors. Ten players scored for Foxboro.
Franklin, 67 @ Mansfield, 39 – Final – Franklin controlled the paint to earn the big road win. Ali Brigham scored 20 points to lead the way and fellow forwards Olivia Quinn (16 points) and Meghan O’Connell (11 points) also had big nights. The Panthers jumped out to a 22-3 lead after one quarter and also held the Hornets to just four points in the third, as they built a 34-point advantage heading into the fourth. Mansfield was paced by Kayla Vine’s 17 points and freshman Abby Wager’s 11. Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “Their post players were just too much for us. They dominated the paint and got a bunch of second chance points.”
Taunton, 33 @ King Philip, 60 – Final – The Warriors got back into league play with a bounce back victory over Taunton. The game remained close until the third quarter when KP’s high-tempo style started to wear the Tigers down and allowed the Warriors to pull away. Faye Veilleux was the top scorer for KP, pouring in 17 points in the win. Claire Keswick and Emma Glaser each scored 10 points in the win. Sonya Fernandez led the Tigers with nine.
Attleboro, 75 @ King Philip, 92 – Final – Derek Whyte and Jake Hokanson each won a pair of individual races and made up half of the winning 200 medley relay team to help King Philip pick up a division win over Attleboro. Whyte touched first in both the 500 free (4:59.72) and 100 backstroke (1:01.15) while Hokanson earned first place in both the 100 breast (1:10.89) and 200 IM (2:14.58). Whyte and Hokanson were joined by Andrew Pham and Jackson Klein to win the 200 medley relay (1:53.95).
Results: 200 Medley Relay – 1. King Philip (Derek Whyte, Jake Hakanson, Andrew Pham, Jackson Klein) – 1:53.95 | 2. Attleboro (Matt Marcil, Alex Harrop, Brett Wortham, Colton Mangion) – 2:06.03 | 3. Attleboro (Robert Winkler, Damien Geltrude, Kyle Norman, Zack Moore) – 2:09.39 200 Yard Free – 1. Cam Stringfellow, KP – 2:04.30 | 2. Dylan Nisbet, Att – 2:22.51 | 3. Brett Wortham, Att – 2:39.33 200 Yard IM – 1. Jake Hokanson, KP – 2:14.58 | 2. John Donis, KP – 2:35.06 | 3. Alex Harrop, Att – 2:38.97 50 Free – 1. Matt Marcil, Att – 25.46 | 2. Jackson Klein, KP – 25.49 | 3. Andrew Pham, KP – 26.56 100 Yard Butterfly – 1. Andrew Pham, KP – 1:03.82 | 2. Alex Harrop, Att – 1:09.34 | 3. Kyle Norman, Att – 1:19.85 500 Yard Free – 1. Derek White, KP – 4:59.72 | 2. John Donis, KP – 6:32.20 | 3. Colton Mangion, Att – 6:50.13 200 Yard Free Relay – 1. King Philip (Morrsion, Donis, Hokanson, Klein) – 1:44.03 | 2. Attleboro (Matt Marcil, Alex Harrop, Dylan Nisbet, Brett Wortham) – 1:49.47 | 3. Attleboro (Zack Moore, Damien Geltrude, Kyle Norman, Zach Dorrance) – 1:56.33 100 Back – 1. Derek Whyte, KP – 1:01.15 | 2. Robert Winkler, Att – 1:24.02 | 3. Andrew Greaves, Att – 1:24.70 100 Breast – 1. Jake Hokanson, KP – 1:10.89 | 2. Matt Marcil, Att – 1:13.35 | 3. Damien Geltrude, Att – 1:17.53 400 Free Relay – 1. King Philip – 3:55.28 | 2. Attleboro (Colton Mangion, Zach Dorrance, Kyle Norman, Dylan Nisbet) – 4:24.77 | 3. Attleboro (Robert Winkler, JR Sarcione, Andrew Greaves, Brandon Sanford) – 5:09.89
Canton, 88 @ Oliver Ames, 71 – Final
Foxboro vs. Norton, 7:00
North Attleboro @ Stoughton, 3:00
Sharon, 68 @ Milford, 94 – Final
Attleboro, 77 @ King Philip, 87 – Final – King Philip’s Megan Campbell won a pair of individual races and helped a relay team win another as the Warriors took a win over Attleboro. Campbell was first in both the 100 yard butterfly (1:11.44) and the 200 yard free (2:07.17) and was part of the 200 medley relay team that won in 2:09.71 along with Abby Lyons, Morgan Sachleben, and Olivia Bailey.
Results: 200 Medley Relay – 1. King Philip (Lyons, Sachleben, Bailey, Campbell) – 2:09.71 | 2. King Philip (Lauren Klein, Lia Burns, Emily Campbell, Bri McMaster) – 2:11.13 | 3. Attleboro (Ella Lynch-Bartek, Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Faith Morrisson, Rachel Priestley) 2:11.52 200 Yard Free – 1. Megan Campbell, KP – 2:07.17 | 2. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att – 2:08.07 | 3. Abby Lyons, KP – 2:29.31; 200 Yard IM – 1. Morgan Sachleben, KP – 2:28.75 | 2. Lia Burns, KP 2:49.34 | 3. Shanise Tolliver, Att – 3:08.02 50 Yard Free – 1. Brenna O’Connell, Att – 28.88 | 2. Cate DiGiacomo, KP – 28.94 |3. Bri McMaster, KP – 28.91; 100 Yard Butterfly – 1. Megan Campbell, KP – 1:11.44 | 2. Emily Campbell, KP – 1:11.60 | 3. Lily Scheurger, Attleboro 1:30.75 100 Yard Free – 1. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:00.09 | 2. Lauren Klein, KP – 1:03.63 | 3. Cate DiGiacomo, KP -1:05.33 500 Yard Free – 1. Olivia Bailey, KP – 5:50.98 | 2. Faith Morrison, Att – 6:47.34 | 3. Bri McMaster, KP – 6:54.31 200 Yard Free Relay – 1. King Philip (DiGiacomo, Freese, McMaster, Klein) – 1:57.31 | 2. Attleboro (E. Lynch-Bartek, F. Morrsison, R. Priestley, J. Lynch-Bartek) – 1:58.83 | 3. King Philip (E. Campbell, B. Avignon, Burke, Foster) – 2:06.69 100 Yard Back – 1. Olivia Bailey, KP – 1:08.19 | 2. Ella Lynch-Bartek, Att – 1:08.38 | 3. Abby Lyons, KP – 1:17.44 100 Yard Breast 1. Jackie Lynch-Bartek, Att 1:15.52 | 2. Faith Morrison, Att – 1:26.52 | 3. Rachel Priestley, Att – 1:28.39 400 Yard Free Relay – 1. Attleboro (Brenna O’Conell, Tolliver, Cronin, Danho) – 5:05.34 | 2. Attleboro (Schuerger, Torres, Masandrea, Sutherland) – 5:23.78
Canton, 73 @ Oliver Ames, 95 – Final
Foxboro vs. Norton, 7:00
North Attleboro @ Stoughton, 3:00
Sharon, 92 @ Milford, 78 – Final
Attleboro vs. Norton, 4:30
King Philip, 127.70 @ Franklin, 136.50 – Final
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro, 7:30
MANSFIELD, Mass. – With under a minute to play and the game almost out of reach, Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio had his shot blocked but never gave up on the play and was the first to pounce on the loose ball, keeping possession by earning a jump ball.
The ensuing possession ended up in a three-point play by the Bombardiers, cutting Mansfield’s lead to just five points with 25.5 seconds to go. While the Hornets went on to sink all of their free throws to secure the win, it was that play by Ciccio and the no-quit attitude from the Bombardiers in which made it so tough for Mansfield to earn the 71-62 victory.
“They’re a good team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan on what the challenge was of pulling away. “Ciccio had over 30 points and kind of kept them in the game on key possessions and key times where we had them on the ropes. He’d come down and hit a shot when they needed it. I thought we got sloppy when we got up.
“We’re still trying to find our identity and there were a few times I thought we had them on the ropes and we’d come down and throw the ball out of bounds or fouling when we had no business fouling. Instead of a seven or nine-point lead, it goes to five. We’re getting better with our turnovers but we have still have to take care of the ball and be more efficient.”
Mansfield made small runs to create separation a handful of times throughout the game, but never orchestrated a run to pull away completely. Instead, the Bombardiers would come up with an answer of their own, and more often than not a basket or defensive play made by Ciccio, who had a career-high 32 points, was the catalyst in it.
Holding a two-point lead to start the fourth quarter, junior Matt Boen (nine points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals) scored his first basket, assisted on a pull up jumper from Sam Stevens (26 points), and came up with a steal that led to two free throws of his own to give the hosts a 53-46 lead three minutes into the fourth.
But Nick McMahon drove to the basket for two and Ciccio (five rebounds, three assists, three steals) earned two free throws late in the shot clock, sinking both to bring it right back to a one-possession game, 53-50, with four minutes to go.
Boen found Drew Rooney (five points, five rebounds, four assists) for a huge three-pointer, the Hornets got a stop that Boen brought down and quickly pushed up court for an easy two from junior TJ Guy (24 points, four assists), and back-to-back Bombardier turnovers led to baskets from Guy and Boen (traditional three-point play) for a 63-50 lead with two minutes to go.
“Even though we have a senior group, we’re still molding into the team we want to be,” Houle said. “We’re still trying to figure out roles on the team. You never like to lose but playing in a game like tonight, knowing that we fought back and did some good things, is encouraging.”
An easy two from Qualeem Charles (nine points, four rebounds) preceded a big three from Ciccio, who then came up with a steal and finished in at the rim for a quick 7-0 surge in a one-minute span to make it 63-57. Ciccio and Stevens traded free throws, Boen added two more, and the Hornets finished 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the quarter to secure the win.
“We have a team full of kids that have played a lot of basketball and they have a lot of heart,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “It’s a gritty group and we’re not going to lie down. Back to the wall, it was nice to see some kids step up to make some plays for us, get some big rebounds, and claw our way back into it. Ultimately that first quarter, you can’t spot a team like Mansfield 10 points like that in a game on their home court. We’re striving to play 32 minutes…and I thought we played better in the second, third, and fourth quarters.”
The 10-point spot that Houle referenced was Mansfield’s strong start to the game. Stevens sank a pair of threes in the first minute, Guy scored twice, and Rooney finished off a layoff as the Hornets jumped ahead 12-3 three and a half minutes into the game.
Jason Weir (eight points) hit two first quarter threes and Tim Callahan hit another to help the Bombardiers stem the tide the rest of the frame, trailing 20-12 after one. Charles picked up his second foul in the first quarter and did not play for large portions of the second and third quarters.
“That’s a credit to Lorenzo [Wilson], Adam Pearstein stepped in and gave us some good minutes, and I thought Jason probably had his best game,” Houle said of the Bombardiers sustaining without Charles. “We knew it’d take around a month for him to get his basketball legs under him and he had his best game tonight. We just need to guys to continue to find their roles and step up when we need them.”
An early three from Callahan and a jumper from Ciccio made it a one-possession game but Stevens sank another triple to keep the hosts ahead. Mansfield pushed the lead to 12 after a steal from Boen, an assist from Guy, and bucket from Stevens but Attleboro responded with a 9-1 surge to close the gap by the break. Ciccio scored all nine points to get Attleboro within 31-26 halfway through the game.
“When you talk about kids that compete, he’s definitely one of those kids you want on your team,” Houle said of Ciccio. “He competes hard on both ends of the court, and this means a lot to him.”
Threes from McMahon and Ciccio brought the visitors within two but Stevens had an answer from deep again and he scored through contact for a 44-37 lead late in the third. Attleboro countered with a three from Ciccio and Charles’ first basket in the final seconds of the third to make it 44-42 heading into the fourth.
“We never got that run,” Vaughan said. “Without watching the film, I’m not sure if it was those turnovers or if it was just the way they defended, I thought they did a good job of taking some things away. We never really got that run which is rare. I guess we got it a little at the start of the game but they seemed to answer.”
Mansfield boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Bridgewater-Raynham at 3:30. Attleboro (2-1 Hockomock, 3-2 overall) returns to action on Friday at Oliver Ames.
Attleboro, 54 @ Durfee, 46 – Final – Senior Tim Callahan sank the Bombardiers’ first three-pointer of the game with just over a minute left to push the visitor’s lead to four, helping Attleboro earn a non-league win on the road. Senior Qualeem Charles dominated the paint with 19 points and 14 rebounds, senior Bryant Ciccio added 10 points, and both Callahan and senior Jason Weir chipped in with nine points for Attleboro.
Foxboro, 67 @ Bishop Feehan, 60 – Final – Foxboro senior Brandon Borde scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and classamte Donald Rogers dropped a career-high 20 points to help the Warriors pick up a non-league win on the road at Bishop Feehan. After just one field goal in the opening half, Borde exploded for 10 points in the third and added eight more in the fourth to help the Warriors close the game. Rogers hit a three in each the first and second quarters as the visitors claimed a 30-27 lead by the break. The Warriors scored 18 points in the third, getting buckets from Ryan Hughes (11 points) and Kevin Gallagher (nine points), to extend the lead to 48-38 going into the fourth.
Franklin, 63 @ St. Peter Marian, 53 – Final – The Panthers used a strong first half to go on the road and secure a win over a potential playoff foe in St. Peter Marian on Monday evening. Franklin put up 16 points in the first quarter and then outscored the Guardians 19-8 in the second frame to take a 35-19 advantage into the halftime break. Eight different players scored in the opening half to help the visitors create the double-digit lead with Chris Edgehill (16 points) scored five in the first, Brayden Sullivan (eight points) added four in the first, and both senior Steven Karayan (11 points) and Declan Walmsey (six points) hit a pair of second quarter three-pointers to give Franklin the lead. Andrew Byfield scored eight of his 10 points in the opening half as well. Edgehill sank a pair of fourth quarter triples to help the Panthers keep the lead.
King Philip, 46 @ Plymouth North, 58 – Final – King Philip held Plymouth North to just 10 points in each the third and fourth quarters, owning a double-digit advantage in the second half but the Warriors were unable to overcome a 24-point second quarter by the hosts, falling on the road without leading scorer Alex Fritz. King Philip managed just 15 first half points with senior Andrew McKinney scoring six of his nine points in the opening 16 minutes. Senior Owen Conlin finished with a team-high 12 points while senior Tommy Donahue added 11 points.
Mansfield, 71 @ Lynn English, 79 – Final (OT) – Mansfield junior Matt Boen knocked down a three with 10 seconds left in regulation, and Lynn English missed a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left to send the game to overtime but the Bulldogs outscored the Hornets 12-4 in the extra period to get the win. The defending state champions led by as much as nine in the second half but Boen, who scored a career-high 32 points, scored eight straight at the end of the third to keep the visitors in the game. The Hornets committed 30 turnovers in the loss. Boen hit on five three-pointers and went 7-for-7 at the free throw line, hauling in eight rebounds. Junior Jason See added 15 points and five rebounds while junior TJ Guy chipped in with 11 points.
Oliver Ames, 75 vs. Barnstable, 22 – Final – The Tigers’ smothering defense didn’t allow the Red Raiders into double-figures in any quarter while the offense combined to score 51 points between the second and third quarters to blow the game open. Oliver Ames held an 11-6 lead after eight minutes before dominating the second, scoring 28 points while surrendering just one field goal and three points total to grab a 39-9 lead at halftime. OA poured in 23 points in the third quarter to take a 62-16 lead into the fourth. Junior Amari Brown scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the second quarter while Solomon Fife, Jay Spillane, Will Whiteside, Kevin Duggan, Owen Friel (10 points), and Evan Craig all added to the 28-point second quarter. Adam Cann drained a third quarter three while Ryan Burkett and Drew Nickla scored to highlight the big third quarter. The Tigers had 13 players score in the win.
Sharon, 69 @ Archbishop Williams, 80 – Final – Sharon erased an early nine-point deficit to get within two at halftime (37-35) and only trained 56-51 heading into the final quarter but the Bishops had their best offensive quarter (24 points) in the fourth to pull away for the win. Senior Andrew Burton scored six points in the second and seven more in the third to keep the Eagles in the game, finishing with a team-high 18 points. Senior Aidan Kane sank three three-pointers to added 16 points while Caleb Gayle had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Eagles.
Stoughton, 82 vs. Fenway, 55 – Final – Stoughton bounced back from a close loss on Friday to Attleboro with a big win at home against visiting Fenway. Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell paced the Black Knights with 19 points and six assists while classmate Obinna Ugwuakazi finished with 18 points in the win.
Attleboro, 78 vs. Durfee, 42 – Final – Nyah Thomas scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Bombardiers to their first win of the season. Liv McCall added 12 points and Jackie MacDonald had 10 as Attleboro dominated the visiting Hilltoppers.
Franklin, 44 @ Holy Name, 40 – Final – The Panthers trailed by as many as eight at several points but were able to rally in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. Erin Quaile came up with the big defensive play in the final 10 seconds, stealing the ball and making a pair of free throws to seal the win. Ali Brigham scored 24 points to lead Franklin, while Olivia Quinn added 11.
Foxboro, 1 @ Silver Lake, 2 – Final
Mansfield, 5 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final
Stoughton, 1 @ Bellingham, 3 – Final
Taunton, 5 vs. Durfee, 0 – Final – Five different Tigers found the back of the net as Taunton skated to a dominating 5-0 win over the Hilltoppers. Taunton held a 59-4 advantage in shots on goal while Michael Lucier, Noah Gravel, Colton Scheralis, Loran Corcoran, and Michael Albert each found the back of the net. Jack DeMoura added three assists in the win.
King Philip, 0 vs. Duxbury, 2 – Final
Franklin, 48 @ Ashland, 19 – Final
Applin Team Tournament (King Philip), 10:00 (@ Montachusett Tech)
Franklin, 136.75 @ Norton, 122.6 – Final – Franklin sophomore Kate Rudolph took All-Around honors for the second straight meet, helping the Panthers pick up a non-league win over Norton. Rudolph was the top Panther in each event, earning All-Around score of 35.4.
Results: Floor – Kate Rudolph 8.9, Caroline Woelfel 8.5, Ashley Hammann 8.3, Lexi Lupien 8.15; Beam – K. Rudolph 8.8, A. Hammann 8.4, L. Lupien 8.15, Elizabeth Schirduan 8.2; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.5, Emma Nelson 8.3, A. Hammann 8.3, E. Schirduan; Vault – K. Rudolph 9.2, L. Lupien 9.1, C. Woelfel 8.9, Maia Keohane 8.3.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro boys basketball team was at its best in the second quarter of Friday night’s contest against visiting Stoughton.
The Bombardiers were zipping passes all around the court, sharing the ball among all five players, hitting teammates in stride on cuts to the basket, and draining shots from three-point range. And Attleboro was good on the defensive end too, having a hand in eight Stoughton turnovers while holding the visitors to just three makes from the floor, none from three-point territory.
The result of that quarter, and a strong start to the second half, was an 18-point advantage for the hosts with just over a quarter and a half to play.
But with two minutes to play, that lead had dwindled to just six points behind a spirited defensive effort from Stoughton, a halftime switch from zone to man-to-man helping the Black Knights get back into the game.
A three from Stoughton senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (17 points, 3 rebounds) forced the Bombardiers into a timeout with 2:01 to go, the hosts having scored just four points over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.
In desperate need of a basket to halt Stoughton’s run, which was 12-4 across the entire quarter so far, the Bombardiers turned to their “Mr. Reliable” – senior Bryant Ciccio (23 points, four assists). Ciccio, who had scored Attleboro’s lone two buckets of the frame and was playing in his 65th varsity game, took it himself, getting a step on the defender to attack the basket before pulling up and sinking an elbow jumper with 1:22 to give Attleboro a 59-51 advantage.
Stoughton, which never developed a rhythm from downtown, missed on its next three shots including two from deep, and the Bombardiers held on for a 59-53 win.
“We worked really hard adjusting in the second quarter, and I think our defense in the second quarter was terrific too,” said longtime Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “We shot the ball well, and we were getting more paint touches too and that’s how we built the 18-point lead. We wanted to extend the lead in the second half but [Stoughton] came out and got right back into it. They switched to man, and they played terrific. They forced us into a lot of things that we weren’t comfortable doing.
“We weren’t comfortable against the zone in the first quarter, then after we got comfortable against it in the second, they went man and I don’t think we ever felt comfortable against it. They did a nice job, they have some terrific athletics and they defended really hard. But we didn’t lose our composure as a team and Bryant hit that big elbow jumper.”
Ciccio scored Attleboro’s first field goal of the fourth with 6:15 to go, and finished off a nice layup along the baseline for the Bombardiers’ only other points with 4:19 to play in the game.
“He’s been in a lot of games for us, and he made the right play and we trust him to do that,” Houle said of Ciccio. “He pulled up at the elbow, and that’s a shot he practices a lot and we have confidence he’s going to make those plays. If he wasn’t open, he’s the type of player who’s going to find someone who is. Stoughton’s defensive intensity in the second half was really good, we didn’t get any second-chance points, we didn’t get to the foul line. We didn’t execute well against the zone in the first quarter or against man in the second half.”
The Black Knights built a 9-2 lead early on but Attleboro slowly found success against the Stoughton zone and started to get hot from three-point range as both Ciccio and Tim Callahan (11 points, six assists) each connected from deep in the last two minutes to get the Bombardiers within one, 13-12, at the first break.
The momentum carried into the second as the Bombardiers exploded for 22 points in the frame. Callahan sank a three off a feed from Nick McMahon (eight assists), who followed up with a triple of his own off a feed from Ciccio.
Stoughton senior Tahkwan Gates Brown (nine points, seven rebounds) kept the Black Knights close with a bucket from down low but Ciccio sank another triple followed by a pair of free throws. Callahan found classmate Qualeem Charles (12 points on 6-for-7 shooting, 11 rebounds) on a cut to the basket for an easy two, and Ciccio sank yet another triple for a 32-19 advantage with just over a minute to go in the frame. Stoughton finished the first half 0-for-9 from three-point range.
“We lost this game in the second quarter,” said Stoughton coach John Gallivan. The Black Knights outscored the hosts 34-25 in the second half but couldn’t overcome the 22-6 second quarter. “We had three good quarters but we always talk about having four. There are so many ways that Attleboro can hurt you, and we were probably a little too focused on them hurting us inside which led to all the threes. Second half, they got some twos but twos are less than three. And it was a bad combination in the second quarter of them hitting those shots and us not hitting.”
Stoughton senior Ahmad Jahed (11 points, seven rebounds) sank a three and classmate Obinna Ugwuakazi (14 points, 10 rebounds) found Gates Brown for an easy two out in transition to help spark the Black Knights’ comeback.
Ciccio swished his fourth triple of the night to push the lead back to 18 at 46-28 but Stoughton closed the third with 11 points in the final 3:15 to stay in the game. Ugwuakazi scored six straight and Grigalunas-Powell buried a deep three just before the buzzer to make it 53-39.
“In the second half, the guys just started playing,” Gallivan said. “In the past, we’ve had some teams that have may have folded. That’s a great environment, its hostile, and it’s a lot of fun but it’s hard to play in. And these kids responded and kept it a game the entire way.
“There was nothing positive to say after last Friday and tonight, this was a building block game. There are no moral victories in this league but if you get something out of it, you can use it in your next game.”
Attleboro boys basketball (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it travels to Durfee. Stoughton (1-2, 1-2) hosts Fenway on the same night.
2018-2019 Record: 18-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Attleboro fulfilled high expectations last year with a terrific regular season but had its postseason run cut short in the opening round of the tournament. With an experienced, battle-tested, and deep group of seniors, the Bombardiers are hoping to take the next step during the 2019-2020 season.
The Bombardiers have seven seniors on the roster with six having plenty of valuable minutes at the varsity level. It all starts with a pair of four-year varsity players and captains Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles. Both have played over 60 games for head coach Mark Houle and earned HockomockSports.com First Team honors a year ago. Ciccio (14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is like a coach on the floor and Charles (13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is a matchup nightmare and one of the most dominant post players in recent years.
But there is much more to the Bombardiers, such as senior captain Tim Callahan. Callahan had a strong junior season with 7.7 points per game and can change a game with his outside shooting. He will also be relied upon to anchor the defense. Guard Nick McMahon and forward Lorenzo Wilson provided a spark off the bench last season and will be key pieces this season. And senior Jason Weir is back in the mix after missing last year due to injury. Weir showed flashes during his sophomore season, a versatile player that can play in the post or step outside and knock down a three.
Attleboro has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and that will make them difficult to defend. They have a couple of good weapons that can score down low and then a handful of shooters, so the inside-out game will be a big part of the game plan. Charles gives the Bombardiers protection around the rim while all five players are the court will have to contribute on the boards to eliminate second-chance points.
“We will rely on a battle-tested group of seniors, but we will need our underclassman to continue to develop and be ready to step in and play important roles on the team,” said head coach Mark Houle. “We have a hard-working group of players who compete and challenge each other every day in practice.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-10 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
After winning back-to-back Davenport division titles, the Bulldogs know it will be a grind to try and get a third with a big target on their backs.
Gone is the program’s all-time leading scorer and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devin Foster, who was one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league over the past two seasons. That means there is going to be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up for the Bulldogs. Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said this year’s team will be a “much more space and paced” orientated team. Gordy is expecting a more spread out opportunistic approach that will feature contributions from anyone who checks in.
While Foster graduated, the Bulldogs do have a handful of talented and experienced players back on the roster. Senior Kyle Fitzgerald is the top returning scorer from a year ago, netting double figures in six contests. He is also a workhorse on defense and will be one of the leaders on the court. Robbie Gallery, Matt Giglio, and Eric Mischler were all starters at some point during the 2018-2019 season so Gordy will have some veterans to lean on during the year. Gallery, Giglio, and Mischler all showed the ability to come up with a big shot at any time and will help space the floor.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking at their versatility and depth to give them flexibility. Gordy believes he has a strong mix of players that will allow him to switch things up and adjust each and every game. Sophomore Lanse Dorcelus earned minutes for the final month of last season and could be a key piece this season.
“We feel like our program is healthy and players have made a commitment to growth,” Gordy said. “This season we are going to focus on the process and maximizing the strengths of our players. Our culture and direction has been a bright spot as we focus on the player person and team development each practice and game. We’re excited to see where we are and where we can get too.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Gibbs
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Foxboro boys basketball team this season. The good news is that the Warriors expect to once again be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The bad news is for the rest of the Hockomock League as Foxboro boasts an improved offense, and combined with their traditional tough defense, has the Warriors in position for a Davenport division title.
With four of their five top scorers back this season, including senior Brandon Borde (team-high 15.3 ppg) and junior Kevin Gallagher (12.9 ppg), the Warriors are looking to ride a balanced approach on offense to improve their scoring after finishing 10th in scoring in the Hockomock League last season (54.4 points per game). Borde is one of the most experienced players back in the league and has the ability to create his own looks as well as lead the team as the floor general. Gallagher had a breakout sophomore season and can really fill up the scoring column, especially from deep.
Borde and Gallagher will also get help from senior Will Morrison, who can catch fire from deep, and senior Ryan Hughes, who can give opponents trouble in the paint. All four players are returning starters from a season ago, so that gives Foxboro an advantage, especially defensively. Head coach Jon Gibbs called the defense the “foundation” of the team. Foxboro has consistently been very fundamentally sound and disciplined on the defensive end.
Seniors Dylan Barreira, Michael Devlin, Liam Devlin, and Donald Rogers all played important minutes last season and will provide a lot of depth for Foxboro.
“We have been making progress each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been very competitive so far as guys work hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we stay hungry, humble, and unselfish, it has the potential to be a very successful season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Central Quarterfinal Coach: CJ Neely
Ever since the Hockomock League split into two divisions, Franklin has entered each season as one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex and that looks to be the case yet again this year.
As it does each and every season, defense comes first for the Panthers. Franklin was the best defensive team in the Hockomock League last year, allowing just 48.9 points per game. Not only did the Panthers lead the league in that category, they were the lone team to keep opponents under 50 points on average. It’s the second straight year they’ve had the best defense in the division and third straight year they are in the top three. There are a lot of talented individual defenders on the team but year in and year out, Franklin’s team defense gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Panthers boast the top returning scorer in the league in three-year starter Chris Edgehill. Edgehill, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last season, is an absolute handful to deal with on the offensive end of the court. He can score in a variety of ways, and on top of that, he is very good at getting teammates involved (four assists per game last year). Seniors Jack Rudolph and Steve Karayan are also back after playing valuable minutes last season and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
“We have a lot of guys who worked really hard in the offseason to improve and are excited to get on the court,” said head coach CJ Neely. “It’s a great group of people who have a lot of fun together. We need to stay aggressive and share the ball. We hope that strong team defense will continue to be something that defines our program.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
With a solid group of players returning from last season, second-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping to guide his Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
The Warriors showed flashes throughout last year, including an upset win of Kelley-Rex champions Mansfield on the road. But they were also on the wrong end of a handful of close games, losing five games by five or fewer points. With a year of experience in DeStefano’s system, and for a lot of players their first year of varsity under their belts, King Philip is hoping to turn those close games into wins.
KP boasts two returning starters in Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney, both standing at 6’3. Fritz had a breakout junior campaign and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Hockomock League with 15.5 points per game. He was able to score in a variety of ways, including through contact at the rim, and will be a vital piece this year. McKinney was fifth on the team in scoring last year, scoring in double-figures in five contests, including a career-high 19 points at Stoughton. Senior Tommy Donahue looks to give the Warriors a strong presence in the post while classmates Owen Conlin and Chris Roy look to be in the mix. Seniors Robbie Jarest and Tom Weir are back in the mix after a year away from the program.
Defensively, King Philip will be relying on its size and physicality. While Donahue (6’5) will be the main rim protector, having long guards and forwards will help KP make life difficult for opponents. The Warriors will need to improve on the defensive end after surrendering a division-high 63.7 points per game last year. DeStefano is looking to get some contributions from junior juniors Donte Barros, Cole Breen, Joe Cullen, Evan Stephens, Will Kinney, and Jake Silveria while sophomores Charlie Grant and Braeden Sottile will likely be in the mix too.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commitment on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2018-2019 Record: 22-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Mike Vaughan
The Hockomock League continues to run through Mansfield.
The Hornets have won the Kelley-Rex division title in eight of its nine years, and it looks like Mansfield will be the team to beat again this year. Three players that burst onto the scene last year – Sam Stevens, TJ Guy, Matt Boen – are now three of the top players in the Hock heading into this season. Mansfield certainly graduated a lot of talent in Tommy Dooling, Damani Scott, and Khristian Conner, but with those three starters back plus seniors Drew Rooney and Makhi Baskin, as well as a handful of newcomers ready to make an impact, Mansfield is poised for another deep tournament run.
Stevens (11.2 ppg) will be one of the toughest players to stop with his ability to finish around the rim as well as deadly three-point shooting, Guy (10.9 ppg) is very good in the post on both ends of the floor, and Boen (9.5 ppg) can score in a variety of ways. All three are capable of filling up the stat sheet on any given night. Baskin provides a lot of energy and can change the game with his effort while Rooney showed last year that he can matchup with some of the top players in the league on the defensive end.
Juniors Brian and Jason See are both strong shooters that work tirelessly on both ends of the floor and should be in the mix for the Hornets this year. Juniors Jack Colby and Brendan Foley will be looking to bring a spark off the bench while sophomore Matt Hyland and freshman Chris Hill are promising young players that could contribute right away.
“I think our depth and ability to play different styles will be a strength of this team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I’m excited to see where this team can get to as they continue to work hard in practice and mix their individual talents to form our team identity. Transition play, scoring inside and out will be strength on offense. Playing solid man to man and uptempo defense with our depth could create some issues for our opponents.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paul Seaver
After a season of ups and downs, the Milford Scarlet Hawks are hoping last year’s growing pains transition into a playoff berth this season.
With a large group of returnees, the Hawks will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title. While head coach Paul Seaver returns the majority of his team, he will need some of the those players to step up on the offensive end the fill the void left by graduation. The Hawks graduated its top three scorers, including the second-highest scorer in the league in Brendan White (18.2 ppg). That means there will be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up and contribute.
Junior Jordan Darling (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior Colby Pires (6.1 ppg) are the top two point producers back this year while junior Dom Schofield also returns after starting as a sophomore. Darling started 19 games this year and was selected to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team after a strong season on both ends of the court. Pires is a leader both on and off the court and plays well in all aspects of the game, and Schofield gives Milford a strong post presence on the defensive end, recording a team-high 38 charges taken last season.
Ralph Franklin Jr., Matty Varteresian, Tyler Whetherbee, and Ben Blanchard all saw time throughout last season and could all be in line for bigger roles this season.
“Our depth will matter, our balance will matter, our chemistry is this group’s most important attribute,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We were the youngest team in the league last season and this group has a lot of players back who are attacking this year with a chip on their shoulder. This group defines what Milford basketball is and that’s a testament to who these kids are hard workers and higher character individuals. I could not be any more excited to coach and work with these kids on a daily basis.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
There are going to be a lot of new faces dawning the Big Red uniform this winter. After losing nine seniors to graduation, head coach Sean Mulkerrins has just three players back from last year’s nine-win squad.
With a large amount of new players comes a large amount of opportunities. The Rocketeers graduated its two top scorers but bring back senior Ethan Friberg (7.0 ppg) and junior George Ladd (7.4 ppg) to lead the charge offensively this year. Friberg, standing at 6’5, can cause problems in the paint but also van step out and play along the perimeter. Ladd had a breakout sophomore season and was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team. He is a little of a throwback player that is very fundamentally sound on the offensive end. Senior Josh Porter, the third returner, saw an expanded role at the end of last season and played well.
Defensively, the Rocketeers will be focusing on limiting opponents to one shot per possession. With some size in the frontcourt, North will try to make it difficult to finish at the rim, and with all five players committed to rebounding, try and minimize second-chance points.
“There will be a lot of new faces with opportunities to make an impact on this year’s team,” Mulkerrins said. “There will definitely be some growing pains and the sooner the new faces adjust to the rigors of varsity basketball, the better we will be.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
Last season, Oliver Ames came up just one game shy of the state tournament. Goal number one for the 2019-2020 season is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
With a strong mix of experienced players and hungry new additions, Oliver Ames is ready for the grind that is the Kelley-Rex division and the Hockomock League.
“The expectation is to always get [to the tournament], that’s our first goal,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “We’re pretty optimistic but we know it’s going to be a grind, you have to show up every night, you can’t take a night off.”
Byron has been impressed with his guard play so far this preseason, and that will likely mean featuring three guards in the lineup for the majority of the time. Senior Jay Spillane is a returning starter while classmate Owen Friel and junior Amari Brown were top options off the bench a season ago. Spillane can score in bunches, especially from the outside, while Friel combines a solid shooting game with a hard-nosed defensive approach. Friel’s ability to guard a variety of position makes him a valuable piece in the lineup while Brown is a crafty player that does a nice job getting teammates involved.
Senior center Evan Craig (6’5) will be joined by classmate Ryan Burkett (6’2) in the frontcourt. Both picked up valuable minutes at the varsity level last year and Byron is hoping that will help with their expanded roles this year. Senior guard Adam Cann and junior forwards Trey Buggs and Drew Nickla will provide depth for the Tigers.
“It takes some time to get accustomed to the varsity speed and what we expect at this level,” Byron said. “All of these kids gained experience with us last year, and that year of experience is invaluable.”
2018-2019 Record: 3-17 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
After a couple of down seasons, the Eagles will be making a strong push to get back into the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Sharon boasts a number of players who gained varsity experience that will be looking to help the program bounce back. The first being senior Aidan Kane, the team’s leading scorer last season with 11.5 points per game. When he’s on from keep, Kane is one of the top three-point shooters in the league. He has the ability to change a game very quickly if he gets hot from deep. Senior Andrew Burton emerged as one of the Eagles’ top players last year and could be poised to have a breakout year. Sophomore John Baez will start at the point after joining the varsity team for the final month and a half last season.
The Eagles will be relying heavily on its frontcourt to step up on both ends of the court. Senior Caleb Gayle is a traditional post player that will compete hard on both ends of the court, senior Cam Baker is fundamentally sound and a reliable option and junior Hank Ward picked up valuable minutes as a sophomore and will be an important part of the rebound game as well as defensively. Senior Aaron Karten will be in the mix as well, giving the Eagles an athletic frontcourt.
Junior Jordan Barboza should give the Eagles a spark off the bench this year and head coach Andrew Ferguson will look for him as an important defensive piece. Kiran Chandrasekaran had flashes of the strong play off the bench last year and should see an expanded role this year, while junior transfer Matt Baskin could provide a needed scoring punch.
“This group has worked tremendously hard in the offseason and the preseason and is looking to translate that into success throughout the regular season,” Ferguson said. “Many of the players have gained valuable experience at the varsity level over the past two years and our senior class are tremendous leaders who provide a great example for our younger players.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-11 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Preliminary Round Coach: John Gallivan
Stoughton ended its playoff drought last season and with a good amount of those players back again this year, the Davenport division title and a deep playoff run could be in the forecast this season.
The Black Knights have their leading scorer back in 6’5 senior forward Obinna Ugwuakazi, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game with nine double-doubles last year. His athleticism and ability to finish through contact made him a tough matchup for opponents, and he will be at the forefront of the Stoughton offense again this year. Fellow senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, who also stands at 6’5, is also back and we could see the duo play together at times which will certainly make life tough for opponents.
Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell is back for his third year on varsity. After improving each of the past two seasons, the 2019-2020 season could be a breakout year for Grigalunas-Powell, who can score from three-point range but is also a crafty finisher attacking the rim. Ahmad Jahed had flashes of strong play last year and will be back in the mix again this year, and the same goes for Tommy Sanda. Juniors Brett Pendenza and Jake Queeney are also back after earning some minutes last year.
“We feel like we can score this year both from downtown and from down low,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “And with our size in the paint, we hope to make it difficult for opponents to score consistently.”
2018-2019 Record: 15-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Charlie Dacey
After a strong regular season, the Taunton boys basketball team flipped a switch in the tournament and made a run to the D1 South Semis, nearly knocking off powerhouse Mansfield. With a taste of postseason success, the Tigers are hoping to replicate that success this year with another impressive playoff stretch.
The Tigers boast speed, skill, and depth this season and will be in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. While Taunton lost a lot of production from last year (Lou Vendrell, Mike Quinn, John Martins, Wesner Charles), there are a handful of players battling to earn their chance at minutes in the Tigers’ lineup. One constant in that lineup over the past couple of years is senior Dante Law, who enters his fourth year with the varsity group. Law was Taunton’s leading scorer a year ago with 14.1 points per game but none of the other returners were over five points a game, meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up.
Seniors Fabio Goncalves (6’6) and Aiden Pelot, as well as junior Tyler Stewart (6’6) make up the frontcourt for the Tigers. All three played at the varsity level last year and will be key pieces at helping the Tigers defend and win the battle on the boards. Law will be joined by junior Josh Lopes, who showed flashes during his sophomore season, DaeDae Kenion, and sophomore transfer Tristan Herry as key pieces of the offense.
The Tigers are also excited about the depth on the team this year. Junior Danny MacDougall earned starting minutes last year and is a reliable option in a variety of roles while Trent Santos, Logan Lawrence, and Jonathan Torres will all be in the mix for Taunton.
“With this team, press and run should be ‘Plan A’ although there are skills available to play at a slower pace,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
BROCKTON, Mass. – Taunton junior Nic Notarangelo joined the Tigers’ starting lineup on his birthday on May 16th in the City Championship against rival Coyle & Cassidy.
After going a perfect 3-for-3 that day, Notarangelo stuck in the lineup and hasn’t stopped doing damage since.
Notarangelo, patrolling left field for the Tigers since that game, had two hits and drove in three runs on Saturday, including the game-winner in the second inning with a triple, to pace fourth-seeded Taunton to a 6-1 win over #11 Attleboro in the D1 South Sectional Final at Campanelli Stadium.
It’s the first sectional title in program history for the Tigers.
“This feels great, it’s all my team, my team is always there to back me up, I always hear them cheering,” Notarangelo said. “It gives me adrenaline, it gives me confidence at the plate. We were great in the field, our pitching was outstanding but we had some trouble getting the hitting going at the beginning of the year. But it’s all about practice, we all feed off each other. Every day, we’ve been in the cages whether we’ve had practice or not and now it’s all paid off.”
Notarangelo, who has hit safely in all but two games since joining the lineup (with eight multi-hit games), smoked a two-out triple to deep left centerfield to bring in Sean Quinlan (single) and Evan Melo (single) and put Taunton up 3-0, a lead it never relinquished.
One game that Notarangelo didn’t have a hit was the Tigers’ playoff win over Xaverian. But instead of a hit, he had arguably the biggest play of the game with a diving catch in the first inning, stranding two Hawks on base. Taunton went on to win 2-0.
“Nic had that diving catch against Xaverian that really changed the momentum even it was the first inning,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “And then he came up huge again this game. Those were huge runs for us to get. He’s a kid that is quiet, does the right things, works hard, stays after. I’m really proud of him, he’s come a long way this year. He started to get some at-bats later in the season and was doing some damage and hasn’t looked back since.”
Three runs was plenty for right-handed pitchers Logan Lawrence and Josh Lajoie. Lawrence, a junior, earned the win by allowing one unearned run in four innings of work, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six.
Lajoie, a senior, allowed just three bases runners (one hit, two walks) in three innings of work while recording four strikeouts. None of the three Bombardiers advanced past first against Lajoie.
“Logan was great, he came up big and executed pitches when he needed to, which was important,” Bourque said. “He was scrapping and thew the ball well, his location was a little off today that got him in some trouble. Then Josh did a phenomenal job coming in and shutting the door, making sure they didn’t get too many guys on.
“Last year we lost to Durfee in a playoff game after beating them twice in the regular season. We knew it’d be tough coming in today, especially the second game against Attleboro when we were able to hit the ball pretty good but they had played five games in five days so we kind of threw that game away. We knew they are a good team, they are here for a reason. We knew the challenge that was ahead of us and we met that challenge and I’m really proud of these guys.”
Taunton’s Jared Roderick, Andrew Gomes, Quinlan, and Melo all clubbed consecutive singles to lead off the second inning, with Melo’s hit bringing Gomes home (Roderick was picked off at second by Attleboro starter Ryan Morry [5IP, 8H, 2BB, 6ER, 2K). After Morry got a ground out, Notarangelo smacked his third triple of the season to bring in two more runs.
“I think early on, we might have been pressing, I’m not sure what it was exactly,” Bourque said the offensive turnaround this season. “But as the weather warmed up, so did our bats. I think there were some games we needed the offense when the pitching wasn’t there and it came through. It’s a team game and I think we’ve proven that.”
Attleboro had a chance to respond right away as they loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third. Both Troy Gamache and Nick McMahon singled and Tim Callahan reached on an error after a bunt. It looked like the Bombardiers would bring at least one run in on a bloop single to shallow left, but Taunton sophomore shortstop Ty Cali, who joined the starting lineup for the playoffs after the Tigers lost Danny MacDougall to injury, sprinted and made the catch on the run to hold the runners in place.
“That was the play of the day there,” Bourque said. “He played in the New Bedford game when Danny pitched so he had a couple of innings of varsity experience but not much. We were just asking for him to make the routine plays and he’s done a great job stepping in for us.”
After the first out, Lawrence came back with back-to-back strikeouts against the heart of the Bombardiers’ lineup to escape without any damage done.
Lawrence’s momentum carried to the plate as he clubbed a one-out triple in the bottom of the inning, and beat the throw on Roderick’s squeeze bunt to make it 4-0.
The Bombardiers had another chance to cut into the lead in the top of the fourth but only managed to put a dent into it. Troy Van Vliet reached on a one-out error, Gamache singled with two outs, and McMahon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Van Vliet to score but Lawrence induced a ground ball up the middle that Cali fielded and fired to first for the third out.
“They were definitely lacking,” Attleboro head coach Steve Dunlea said of timely hits. “Part of that is on us, part of it you tip your cap because they made some good pitches.
“That’s a talented pitching staff [Taunton] has, really talented. I was just saying to the kids how this is the farthest an Attleboro team has been in quite some time. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished this year, this senior group. None of them had played in a tournament game before and made it all the way to here, that takes leadership. We started 0-2, kind of a tough 0-2, but we pulled together as a family and that’s how they played the rest of the season.”
Taunton canceled that run with one of its own in the bottom half. Evan Melo drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a chopper to second, and Lucas Martins brought the run in, slicing a single to right field just fair to make it 5-1.
The Tigers tacked on another insurance run in the sixth inning as Gomes led off with a walk, ending Morry’s day. Eoin Kelleher, the Bombardiers’ ace, came on in relief on just two days rest. Kelleher got a fly out to left before Evan Melo’s single put two on. A fielder’s choice advanced Gomes to third and Notarangelo singled to bring in pinch runner Nolan Melo in to make it 6-1.
Cali erased a leadoff single in the top of the seventh by turning a double play and Lajoie got the last out on called strikes to send the Tigers into a big celebration.
“I don’t think its hit home yet but it’s something I’m really proud of the kids and what they’ve accomplished so far,” Bourque said. “You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys, of hard workers. The camaraderie they’ve had all season. The offseason weight room, the captain’s practices, you name it. They deserve everything they get.”
Attleboro finishes the season at 14-10, concluding a terrific postseason run that saw the Bombardiers knock off Barnstable on the road, Bridgewater-Raynham, and second-seeded Durfee.
“I think they are starting to figure what they’ve accomplished and obviously it hurts right now,” Dunlea said. “You want to continue on but for me, it was just a great experience with an unbelievable group of seniors. They really cared about the program, they had goals for this team, and it was just really fun to be a part of that.”
Taunton baseball (19-7) advances to the D1 State Semifinal and will take on North sectional champion Lincoln-Sudbury (21-2), the top seed in that bracket. The Tigers will take on the Warriors on Tuesday at Alumni Field in Lowell at 7:00.