FRANKLIN, Mass. – An early turnover gave Franklin the ball in Mansfield territory and the Panthers gained a couple of first downs before kicking a field goal to grab the lead. Then the Hornets took control with their defense, not allowing the Panthers another first down until inside five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Using a three down linemen look, Mansfield consistently got into the backfield without needing to blitz and, with a little assist from Mother Nature, disrupted Franklin’s typically potent passing attack on Friday night at Pisini Stadium. The Hornets scored 26 straight points to take control and rolled to a 39-9 victory that keeps them unbeaten in league play and alone atop the division standings.
“We’ve got a very, very good defense,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “They’re as athletic a team as we’re going to play but fortunately we’re pretty loaded in the secondary, but it’s a combination of us playing great ‘D’ and terrible weather conditions for them.
“We can run to the ball, we can cover, we can pressure, you throw in the conditions on top of that and it’s going to be hard for anyone to move the ball against us.”
The Panthers came in knowing that they still had a chance at possibly sharing the league title and the energy on the sideline was palpable. It got even louder when Jack Nally picked off Jack Moussette’s third-down pass on the opening series of the game and gave Franklin the ball at the Mansfield 37.
A 15-yard run by Owen Palmieri got the offense going and then a pair of completions from Thomas Gasbarro (18-30, 125 yards) to Jake Davis (seven catches, 92 yards) got Franklin down to the seven-yard-line. After going nowhere on three plays, Franklin got on the board with a 24-yard Parker Cheuvront kick.
It would be Franklin’s only possession of the half with the wind at its back.
Mansfield’s running attack was better suited for the blustery conditions and the Hornets used Michael DeBolt, Vinnie Holmes, Cincere Gill, and Anthony Comer on the opening drive to get into Franklin territory. A personal foul against the Panthers got the ball as far as the 18, but the Hornets went backwards and had to settle for a 41-yard kick by DeBolt to tie the game early in the second quarter.
The teams traded punts and Mansfield made its field position advantage pay off. Starting at its own 49, Mansfield would use five plays to grab the lead for good. Nick Marciano lined up at quarterback on the drive to give a different look and, on third and 12, he took a direct snap and found a seam on the left side of the line, racing 35 yards for the go-ahead score.
Marciano would also contribute to the game’s turning point. He hustled to down a Gill punt, pinning Franklin back at its own one. The snap flew over the head of Gasbarro and out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 12-3 Mansfield lead.
After the kick-off, the Hornets started again in great position, at the Franklin 36. Moussette had a pair of completions to Danny Rapoza and one to Joe Cappalletti to get down to the 23. DeBolt took a sweep 10 more yards and, after a spike to stop the clock, Moussette hit Gill in the front corner of the end zone for a 13-yard strike.
Redding said, “It went to a two-score game and then the throw to Cincere when we weren’t even supposed to throw to, Jack saw the one-on-one and took advantage of it. We did a lot of good things keeping them at a healthy distance to keep the lead.”
Mansfield added to its lead in the third quarter, again making good starting field position pay off. The Hornets needed only four plays to score from the Franklin 29, with Holmes (nine carries, 55 yards) finding a hole on the left side and bursting through for a 21-yard touchdown run.
The Franklin passing attack was finding it hard to get going, mostly due to the pressure put on Gasbarro by TJ Guy, Chris Graham, and the Hornets’ defensive line. Mansfield was getting into the backfield and not giving the Panthers time to look downfield, while being able to keep plenty back in coverage in case the ball did get out.
“I don’t think he ever felt comfortable,” Redding explained. “Even when we didn’t bring people, our three guys were getting enough pressure to make him throw a little early. We funneled in six guys in those three spots to stay fresh.”
Franklin coach Eian Bain said, “We had planned to try and get the ball out quick, but it was kind of a tough spot going into the wind. We tried to run the football. I think we only had the first possession and didn’t have the ball with the wind until the fourth quarter.”
A glimmer of hope came with three minutes left in the third. Gasbarro hooked up with Davis on a 41-yard completion, the receiver juggling it before hauling it in and getting to the Mansfield 35. The same combo connected again a few plays later for a 20-yard touchdown.
Momentum was fleeting. Holmes burst through the line to block the extra point and then Gill took the ensuing kick-off 84 yards right up the middle of the field for a back-breaking touchdown.
“We still had our chances,” Bain said, “but we just couldn’t get out of our end of the field tonight and I think that was what was pretty frustrating.”
Ethan Thevenot tacked on a late touchdown for the Hornets with a 65-yard run to extend the final margin.
The Hornets were coming off a big win against King Philip last week, but Redding wasn’t afraid of a letdown from his team. He said, “There was no way we could have a letdown. Our guys knew how good Franklin was, so I think it was maybe best game we could’ve had after KP because we knew they were next in line and we had to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Mansfield (4-1, 3-0) will look to solidify its position atop the Kelley-Rex division and clinch at least a share of back-to-back league crowns when it hosts Oliver Ames on Friday. Franklin (3-2, 1-2) will try to solidify its position in the Div. 1 South bracket when it travels to Attleboro next Saturday.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – With four of the last five meetings between King Philip and Mansfield football being decided by three or less points, it’s no surprise the teams were locked in another tight battle on Friday night.
And in games so tightly contested, it’s often a small play here or there that can make the biggest difference.
Mansfield senior Nick Marciano blocked an extra point attempt and later converted a two-point conversion rush to help the Hornets secure a 15-13 win on Macktaz Field over the host Warriors.
“It’s a great win, but its Mansfield-KP, it’s gotta go to the wire,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “Both teams are going to find a way to get points and it’s always great defensively. It’s business as usual between these two.
“They really battled, this is just such a great rivalry, there’s so much pride on both sides.”
The Hornets held a 15-6 advantage and took over on offense after Mahki Baskin hauled in an interception in the end zone with just 5:30 left. But Mansfield was unable to kill much of the clock, and in true fashion this rivalry, King Philip made a game of it.
Just two minutes after turning it over, the Warriors were in the end zone. Senior quarterback Robert Jarest (14/26, 194 yards) orchestrated a four-play, 64-yard drive that took little time off the clock. Jarest hit Alex Behling for a 16-yard touchdown, and suddenly the Warriors were down just 15-13 with 3:18 to go after Dylan Conti‘s extra point.
But KP’s onside kick attempt failed to travel 10 yards, and the Hornets took over in Warrior territory. Senior Vinnie Holmes (13 carries, 106 yards) did the rest, sealing the deal with a 23-yard first down rush that allowed Mansfield to kill the rest of the clock.
“It was circled on our calendar from the beginning of the season,” Holmes said. “We knew this was going to be our biggest game so far that counts. La Salle didn’t really count. This one counts for us and it was great to get this win.
“We always know that they can always inch back. They did it last year versus us, almost got that two-point conversion to win. We knew they could do it. We knew we had to put the pedal to the metal. Stop them. Get that first down at the end that was big and then eventually run out the clock.”
Mansfield got off to a perfect start, needing just four plays to cover 52 yards in 2:22 to take the lead. After three run plays, the Hornets went play action and senior quarterback Jack Moussette (6/10, 72 yards) found Danny Rapoza open down the right sideline. Michael DeBolt split the uprights for the extra point to make it 7-0.
That would be all of the scoring in the opening half. King Philip’s first drive went for 12 plays but only 35 yards, stalling around midfield. The Warriors’ two other possessions were three-and-outs with a total of four yards.
Mansfield had solid field position throughout but couldn’t solve the KP defense. The Hornets had to punt on their second and third drives of the game and failed to convert a fourth down as time expired in the first half.
King Philip lost star running back and linebacker Ryan Halliday (eight carries, 25 yards) to an injury early in the second quarter but the Warriors’ offense was able to overcome, putting together its best series out of the break. The Warriors marched 80 yards on 14 plays, converting four third downs on the drive. Jarest hit Brian Wassersug for 24 yards on one third down to move into Hornet territory, and two plays later, the senior quarterback connected with Drew Danson for 38 yards to get down to the one-yard line.
It took four tries from there, but sophomore Crawford Cantave was able to punch it across to get the Warriors on the board.
But Marciano came up with one of the biggest plays of the game, flying across to get just enough on the ball to block it and keep it low.
Mansfield failed to convert on fourth down on back-to-back possessions but the Hornet defense held the Warriors to a combined -11 yards on its next two series. DeBolt and TJ Guy (sack) had key stops to help Mansfield get the ball back.
This time the Hornets did cash in on the good field position. After converting a first down, Cincere Gill took the handoff to the left before cutting back to the right, getting around the defense and sprinting his way to a 20-yard touchdown.
After an injury timeout, the Warriors were whistled for too many men on the conversion attempt. Mansfield pulled its kicking unit off the field, and after a timeout, went with the wildcat offense. Marciano took the snap himself, ran forward and jumped over the pile and into the end zone to make it 15-6 with 7:18 left.
“We thought about it from the three [yard line] but they are so good defensively,” Redding said. “When they got the penalty, we felt we had to go for it then from the one-yard line. That was obviously big because it became a two-score game, that makes a big difference.
Andrew McKinney (five catches, 55 yards) grabbed a 19-yard catch, and Wassersug made a terrific catch on the ensuing drive, hauling in a 36-yard completion to set the Warriors up in the red zone before Baskin came away with an interception in the end zone.
“We’ve been more impressed with Robert with what he’s been able to do,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “He’s a senior, he’s been around. He brought us down there at the end.”
“I’ll tell ya, Jarest was unbelievable in the second half,” Redding said. “They lose Halliday and they just found a way to make completions, he can run and throw. They did a great job of getting the offense going without one for the best running backs in the state in the lineup. They made a game of it, their defense played tough.
“We blew some opportunities to extend the lead, and this is what [KP] does, they hang around and manufacture a drive. All of a sudden you’re an onside kick away from them having the ball again with the chance to win.”
This was Mansfield’s second win in the rivalry since 2013, earning their second straight regular season contest. The two teams have also played in the playoffs in two straight seasons.
“Our defense really battled in there,” Lee said. “Ryan is as good of a player and means just as much on defense as he does on offense. So everyone was stepping up for us. The overall takeaway…we made a ton of mistakes, a lot of new guys out there but we hung in there and battled as hard as we could. I think going forward if we can play well, and we’re fortunate enough to see them again, we know we’re not out-classed by them.”
Both teams are likely to make the playoffs again this year and could be on a collision course for a third straight postseason meeting.
“It’s great football, great defense, and I’m sure part two is coming in November,” Redding said.
“We have the utmost respect for KP, they are a great football team,” Holmes said. “They produce great players like Halliday, and we’ll probably see them again.”
Mansfield football (2-0 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) is on the road again next week at Pisani Field to visit Franklin for another key division showdown. King Philip (1-1, 3-1) will host Attleboro on Friday.
Attleboro got off to a strong start to the 2018 season, jumping out to a 4-1 record with its only loss coming against eventual D2 South champ King Philip, and allowing only five points per game. But a last-minute loss in a shootout against Mansfield and a fourth quarter comeback by Franklin the following week sparked a six-game losing streak to close out the season. The Bombardiers come into 2019 looking to turn that around and use its experience to make a run at the Kelley-Rex title.
Offensively, the Bombardiers will be led by senior quarterback Jason Weir. At a bruising 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Weir is a punishing runner and has a big arm to make plays downfield in the passing game. Junior Justin Daniels will be the starting tailback with senior Isaac Guidel and a big offensive line trying to open holes for the running game, led by senior Qualeem Charles (6-foot-5 and 325 pounds), who has a host of colleges recruiting him. Senior Ethan Cameron will provide a weapon on the outside, while junior Michael Strachan offers another threat over the middle from his tight end position.
Charles will dominate the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball as well, but the strength of the Attleboro defense will be its experienced linebacker corps. Strachan, a three-year starter who is getting looks from some Div. I colleges, will be joined by Guidel and senior Nolan Jaeger. Weir will play strong safety, after two seasons at defensive end, and will be counted on to step in to help stop the run. Cameron will be at free safety and giving the cornerbacks help over the middle. Attleboro has a large contingent of sophomores who could step in to contribute right away, including Alvin Harrison, Chris Leonardo, Adam Pearlstein, and Freddy Wheaton.
Attleboro coach Mike Strachan said, “We are looking forward to the season getting underway and with the leadership of our four captains we are looking to be explosive on offense and very physical defensively. The Hockomock League is one of the best leagues in the state with some great teams. We will have to play our very best each week if we are going to compete at a high level.”
Franklin nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the 2018 season when the Panthers forced perennial power Xaverian to double overtime in the Div. 1 South semifinal. It was a big step forward for the program and head coach Eian Bain hopes it will be a building block for even more success in 2019.
Offensively, the graduation of quarterback Nick Gordon will be a big loss for the Panthers but senior Thomas Gasbarro saw a lot of time under center last year and he will step in and take the starting job. Gasbarro will have plenty of weapons to choose from, as the Panthers have plenty of speedy, athletic players in the skill positions. Senior Jack Nally is a threat out of the backfield or split out wide and his classmate Jake Davis is a solid receiver over the middle or downfield. Senior Matt Lazarek is a potential target from the tight end position and Owen Palmieri is another dangerous ball carrier. Junior Parker Cheuvront emerged last season as one of the top kickers in the Hock and is another weapon that the Panthers can count on if a drive does stall.
The defense is an experienced group. Senior Evan Wertz has been one of the league’s tackle leaders for the past two seasons and he is the team’s top playmaker from his linebacker position. Nally, Davis, Palmieri, and senior Ben Greco give Franklin a tough secondary to throw against and all are capable of coming up with the big turnover to get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Luke Cunningham and Dom Natale will give the Panthers strength at the line of scrimmage.
“The challenge for this group is to continue to improve and build the program,” said Bain. “They need to add their own chapter and their own stamp on the program. We have the right people in the room. We need to play with the swagger and confidence of a contender, but be humble in our preparation. If we stay true to the process, we have great potential.”
Despite not winning the league title last year, the target on King Philip’s back continues to grow.
The Warriors might have missed out on the Kelley-Rex crown, but they won their third straight sectional title and made their this straight appearance in the state final, this time falling to North Andover (6-0). While this year’s senior class knows other than Super Bowl appearances, head coach Brian Lee says this group is focused on taking it one game, starting with the opener against North Attleboro. KP has a strong core of players back on the offensive side of the ball, including quarterback Robbie Jarest and running back Ryan Halliday. Both players had really strong junior seasons and should be the leaders of the group this year. The offensive line includes returners Nolan Gunning (left tackle), Sean Piller (center), and Pat Zarba (right guard) while Wyatt Manzi, Jack Collentro, and Griffin MacKay are in the mix to fill the remaining spots. Having an experienced line bodes well for the KP run game that will heavily feature Ryan Halliday plus fullback Shawn Conniff and halfbacks Sam Callanan and Crawford Cantave.
The Warriors’ defense has been one of the best units in the state in recent years, and while the expectations remain high for the group, there will be a lot of new faces. KP graduated its entire secondary so the Warriors are turning to senior Brian Wasserug and Cantave, a sophomore, to take on starting spots. Halliday and Callanan, both captains, will handle outside linebacker duties with Mike Malatesta in the mix for the middle spot. Gunning and Manzi will also see action on the defensive line alongside Conniff. Dillon Conti takes over kicking duties for the departed Cole Baker.
“These kids know how much work, how much effort it takes to get where we want to be,” Lee said. “But it’s all about going game by game, starting this week with a team [North Attleboro] that we have a ton of respect for.”
Looking at the long list of returning players, it is no surprise that expectations around Alumni Field are sky high this fall. Mansfield enters the season with experience at just about every position and with the bitter taste of last year’s South final loss to rival King Philip still stinging. Despite a rash of injuries that forced running back Aidan Sacco to play as an emergency quarterback for most of the season, Mansfield still won a league title and this year’s team may be even more talented, which has ramped up the hype and put the target squarely on the Hornets’ backs.
The line of scrimmage will be a strength for the Hornets on the offensive side of the ball, as they return four of five starters from last year’s unit that allowed the team to rush for more than 2,600 yards. Senior Jason Comeau and reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year TJ Guy will be two key cogs in the line, while senior Noah Jellenik and junior Jake McCoy are also back. Senior Andrew Cowles will step into the fifth spot. They will seek to protect senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who had a cameo under center last year before an injury forced him to miss the bulk of the season. The skill positions will be loaded with athletes. Cincere Gill had a breakout sophomore season at running back and senior Nick Marciano is back after an injury cut short his junior season. Senior Michael DeBolt was one of the top kickers in the league but also gives Mansfield another weapon on the edges, while senior Vinnie Holmes adds a bruising presence coming out of the backfield.
Holmes is the headliner on the defensive side of the ball. Along with fellow linebackers Marciano, DeBolt, and senior Joe Plath, Holmes will be expected to make big plays all over the field. The defensive line will be strong with three returning players: senior Chris Graham, McCoy, and Guy. Junior Nico Holmes will step in as the fourth man on the line. Much like on offense, speed will be a strength and the secondary is loaded with playmakers, including Gill, junior Matt Boen, and senior Makhi Baskin.
“We have a bunch of experience all over the field, but we really have to develop depth with the second team to handle a tough schedule and challenges every week,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “This is one of the fastest group of skill guys we’ve ever had and we could be explosive on offense. We lack a little size up front on defense, but we should be able to overcome that by flying around with pursuit to the ball with our speed.”
There was no question that 2018 was a tough season for the Tigers. Oliver Ames lost by a point in the season opener to Concord-Carlisle and didn’t earn its only win until the penultimate game against Durfee. The Tigers will hope to turn things around quickly with an infusion of young talent under new head coach Ed DeWitt.
On offense, the players will be learning a new system, but there is experience in the backfield to try and implement different schemes. Senior running back Nathan Cabral figures to see plenty of the ball again this year after his breakout junior season in which he ran for more than 1,100 yards. He will be joined by senior quarterback Cam Perron and senior running back Sam Stevens to give the Tigers a strong core. Seniors Harrison Webster and Adam Cann (who is coming off an injury) will give Perron weapons to utilize on the outside.
There will be a lot of new faces on the defensive side, as DeWitt can call on three or four returning starters and will need a number of players to provide contributions on both sides of the ball. The linebacking corps was particularly hit by graduations, although senior Tyler Campbell can provide some experience and leadership in that position and Cabral brings athleticism to the role. Max Anderson and Anthony DeCosta will be important at the line of scrimmage, while Stevens will step into the secondary along with senior corner Nick Gillis and junior corner Jadon Ricci.
“The competition in camp has been great,” DeWitt said. “The players have committed to the program and bought into the day to day work that we need to do. We are focusing on making sure we treat every day as an opportunity to improve and string together some positive momentum.”
The Tigers started last season with three straight wins and then finished with three wins in their final four games to end 2018 with a winning record. Taunton enters this fall with a relatively inexperienced roster, but one that is looking to continue the momentum in the program and try to push forward so it can challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division.
One of the biggest changes for the Tigers will be under center. Noah Leonard was the starter for three seasons, but junior Danny MacDougall will take over this year. MacDougall will also see time at receiver to try and take advantage of his athleticism. He will be joined in the backfield by classmates Bretton Heggs and Josh Lopes, who both got time at running back as sophomores. Juniors Kedrick Santos and Devante McPhail will be the primary weapons at receiver. Up front, the Tigers have decent size. Senior Mike Murray will be at center, senior Hussein Kassab at one tackle, junior Marquis Dalomba at the other tackle, and junior Jordan Manning at guard.
Similar to the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers lack experience on defense and are still learning the schemes, but physical scrimmages have helped prepare them for the season. Senior Woudanly Danger is a force at the line of scrimmage and will require attention from opponents and senior Jackson Wellman has been one of the team’s top tacklers from linebacker. Junior defensive end Deandre McPhail adds to the strength of the line. Senior Curt Marshall and MacDougall will be the safeties and senior Cam Carroca will be at corner.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and trying to get better and to be competitive in the league,” said Taunton coach Brad Sidwell. “We’re definitely inexperienced, but physically we have guys who can do it and we need to coach them up so they’ll be ready to go once the season gets started.”
King Philip senior Sam Callanan could be poised for a breakout season as a vital piece of the Warriors’ defense. The bar has been set for the three-time defending South Sectional champs but King Philip did graduate a good amount of its top players from last year’s defensive unit. Callanan will bring experience to the King Philip defensive group and, as a captain, will be relied upon for his leadership both on and off the field. Last year, Callanan had a lot of success coming off the edge, using his speed to get past the offensive line and be disruptive in the backfield. He does a nice job of reading the play and using his speed to track down the play. He’s a versatile player that does a nice job in coverage as well, giving the Warriors some flexibility on defense.
Taunton senior defensive lineman Woudanly Danger lives up to his name, giving the Tigers a force at the line of scrimmage that opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers need to watch out for on every play. Danger had 30 tackles and three sacks from his tackle position, despite regularly facing double teams and blocking schemes designed to try and contain him. He also had 9-1/2 tackles for loss, helping the Tigers finish 2018 with a winning record and build momentum for a run at a playoff spot this fall. Strong and quick, Danger brings his wrestling background to the gridiron, finding ways to gain leverage, clog holes, and get into the backfield. With Danger back in the middle of the line, Taunton’s defense has a solid foundation and could be the strength of the team this season.
Canton senior Kyle Fitzgerald could easily have been on the Players to Watch list for offense as well because the running back and defensive back had a breakout season on both sides of the ball to help the Bulldogs secure a share of the league title for the first time in nearly three decades. Fitzgerald’s speed and his versatility made him a weapon on offense (16 touchdowns), but also made him a tenacious member of the Canton secondary. He recorded 41 tackles, had two interceptions, and recovered a pair of fumbles. A ballhawk, who gives the Bulldogs a solid cover guy on the corner but who can also step up and stop the run, Fitzgerald will be a key to Canton’s defense this season and one of the reasons that the Bulldogs have confidence that they can win back-to-back titles for the first time since winning a fifth straight in 1981.
Foxboro’s Anton George seemed to play better and better throughout the 2018 campaign and will be looking to carry that into 2019 for the Warriors. A HockomockSports.com Hock 5 selection for defensive line, George is a disrupter and we mean that in a good way. He had 62 tackles last season, including five sacks and 11 quarterback hurries — simply put, he was a handful to deal with. He forced a pair of fumbles and deflected a pair of passes as well. A captain this year, George will be looking to anchor Foxboro back to the playoffs. The combination of speed and size helps set him apart from others and makes him a tough matchup for opposing tackles.
The term playmaker is often used when talking about players on the offensive side of the ball, but Stoughton junior Christian Georges does it on the defensive end. Georges made a big splash as a sophomore, playing mostly as a defensive end but also a little time at outside linebacker. He has the strength to power his way past opponents but is also a very quick player and can use his speed to get around. That combination made him a tough match-up last season as he recorded 58 tackles (including 20 for a loss), six sacks, eight pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He will likely line up at linebacker this season so the Black Knights will rely on him heavily to continue to make plays. He does a great job of tracking the play and then coming up to make the play. Stoughton is typically known for its defense and Georges could be one of the top players in that group.
Mansfield junior lineman TJ Guy, the 2018 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, returns on the edge of the Hornets defensive line after a dominant first season on varsity. Guy, who was also in the running for Underclassman of the Year in basketball, had 30 tackles, including 10 solo stops, and was second on the team with seven tackles for loss. His quickness and athleticism at defensive end allowed him to set the edge, take up blockers, and open spaces for Mansfield’s talented linebacking corps. He was also part of an offensive line that opened up holes for the Mansfield ground game, which amassed more than 2,600 yards last season. With expectations sky-high at Alumni Field this fall, Guy is one of the main reasons that this Hornets defensive unit is drawing rave reviews.
One of the premier linebackers in the state, Mansfield senior Vinnie Holmes will close out his record-breaking career with the Hornets as one of the leading candidates for MVP in the Kelley-Rex division this season. Holmes has already eclipsed the 200-tackle mark for his two-year varsity career, was named the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, and has developed into a sideline-to-sideline presence for the Hornets defense. He is one of those players who seems to be in the middle of every play, no matter where on the field it ends up. Holmes had 92 tackles as a junior, including 41 solo, and led Mansfield with 10 tackles for loss. He added three sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries, not to mention eight touchdowns as a running back. Opposing offenses know that they have to account for Holmes, one of the top defensive playmakers in the league, on every single play, and his tenacity drives one of the league’s most complete defensive units.
If you go to a Milford football game this year, one name you’re probably going to hear a lot from the announcer is Luke Rosa. A two-way starter, Rosa was one of the Hawks’ top players last season and earned captain this year. On the defensive side, Rosa lines up at linebacker and is at his best when he’s attacking the ball carrier. He reads the offense really well and does a nice job of finding the gap and is among the top tacklers in the league. Even if it looks like there’s someone to block for the back, Rosa has shown the ability to fight through the first line and get to either the back or quarterback. Offensively, he’s one of the more versatile backs in the league and does everything well. He has great vision with the ball in his hands and can also sneak out and catch a pass in the screen game. Look for Rosa to have a big year on both sides of the ball this year.
Attleboro junior linebacker Michael Strachan is the rare football player who has been on varsity since his freshman season. He enters his second year as a starter in the Bombardiers defense as a highly-recruited prospect and as the team’s leading tackler from 2018. Strachan led Attleboro with more than 80 stops last season and is poised for an even bigger year in the middle of an experienced corps of linebackers. He is also a dangerous weapon at tight end for the Attleboro offense, taking advantage of his size and athleticism to create matchup challenges for opponents. The Bombardiers didn’t finish 2018 the way that they would have hoped, but with Strachan back in the middle behind a big defensive line, Attleboro will be hoping to replicate the 4-1 start they had last year and the meager five points per game that they allowed during that dominant stretch.
Franklin senior linebacker Evan Wertz has been a dominant presence in the heart of the Panthers defense, having already set program records by racking up huge tackle totals every week. Wertz had 122 tackles in 11 games last season (a remarkable 11 per game), including 45 solo stops and 10 tackles for loss. He can also drop into coverage, recording three pass breakups and an interception. Just like Mansfield’s Vinnie Holmes, wherever the ball goes Wertz is there, ranging from sideline to sideline and covering as much ground as any linebacker in the Hock. The Panthers nearly stunned powerhouse Xaverian in the playoffs last season and that has ramped up the momentum and expectations coming into this year. With Wertz leading the defense, Franklin will hope that they can push for the Kelley-Rex title and another long tournament run.
TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton Tigers were on the verge of a big upset.
With just over two minutes to go in a tied game, Taunton senior Wesner Charles found an open lane for an easy layup to give the 14th-seeded Tigers a 58-56 lead. And on Mansfield’s ensuing trip up, Charles came up with a block that gave the Tigers the ball back and all of the momentum in front of a packed crowd inside the Rabouin Field House.
But the Tigers couldn’t slam the door shut on the second-seeded Hornets, as a potential dagger three rimmed out. And there aren’t many teams better at making you pay than the Hornets.
Senior Tommy Dooling (19 points) launched a corner three that bounced twice off the rim before falling, putting the Hornets up by one with 1:34 to go. Taunton couldn’t answer as a three-point shot was off the mark, and Mansfield sophomore TJ Guy (career-high 19 points, eight rebounds) concerted off his own miss with 44.5 seconds left to put Mansfield up 61-58.
“We started the second half pretty well but [Taunton] came back and the crowd got pretty loud,” Dooling said. “We kept telling each other it was going to be okay, we stuck with what we do well. Sam Stevens had a nice screen and Damani [Scott] had a nice pass and I shot the three, it hit every part of the rim then finally went in, that felt great.”
The Hornets got the stop they needed, Guy broke free for another layup and Mansfield came out with a hard-fought 65-59 win over a gritty Tigers team.
With the win, the Hornets advance to their third straight Division 1 South Sectional Final, and seventh appearance in the last 10 years in the game.
“When the wheels started falling off, with this atmosphere, I was a little nervous with how some of our young guys, guys that haven’t been here before, were going to respond,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We looked panicked there for a little bit. But I reminded them ‘Don’t get too high, don’t get too low, come out and do what we do’ and we needed a couple of possessions of basket, stop, basket, stop, and we were able to do that.
“Taunton is playing really good right now, they were not going to go down easy. They were ready for the big moment, and a couple of bounces things might go the other way. Taunton did some good things in that second half.”
It was a close game throughout as the Hornets had a brief eight-point advantage in the first half, and led by only seven at one point early in the second half. Taunton had an early 11-8 advantage but didn’t take another lead until midway through the fourth quarter.
A three-pointer from Sam Stevens that came off an offensive rebound had the Hornets up 51-48 entering the fourth quarter. Free throws from Taunton senior John Martins (14 points) got the Tigers within two but Damani Scott answered with a strong take for the Hornets. A free throw from Lou Vendrell followed by a steal and bucket from Naz Kenion (career-high 20 points) knotted the score at 53-53.
Kenion continued his stellar play with a nice move baseline to give the Tigers a 55-54 lead, their first advantage of the second half. Kenion came up with a steal to get Taunton the ball back, but the Tigers missed a three. A free throw from Kenion extended the lead to 56-54, and Charles knocked away a pass to get the Tigers another chance to extend the lead, but Taunton’s layup was off the mark. Mansfield tied the game on the other end as sophomore Matt Boen had a layup off a feed from Drew Rooney.
“I thought we played great defense. It felt like we took them off the three-point line for the most part, which is a lot of their offense, But as usual, they adjust and they didn’t panic. If you’re not composed for 32 minutes, you make a mistake, they take advantage of it, that’s Mansfield.
“A game of inches, I think it came down to three plays in the end. Two offensive possessions on our end that we didn’t do well with, and one blown defensive possession. All of a sudden, it’s six points, and that feels like an insurmountable lead against them.”
The two teams battled back-and-forth in the opening quarter with Taunton jumping ahead 11-8 behind a three-pointer from Dante Law (nine point, seven rebounds) but Dooling had a pair of triples and Guy added six points to help the Hornets take a 17-14 lead after one.
Mansfield extended its lead to 22-14 — the largest lead of the game by either side — but Taunton clawed back into it. Sophomore Tyler Stewart came off the bench and scored four points, Law added four more, and Kenion scored his first seven points of the game, including a late three-point play to bring the Tigers within two, down 31-29 at half.
Martins sank two free throws to open the second half to tie the game but the Hornets grabbed momentum back with a 10-3 spurt. Stevens converted a putback, Boen and Dooling hit consecutive threes, and Guy scored down low for a 41-34 advantage.
Taunton ramped up its defensive pressure to get back into the game. Martins scored off a steal, and minutes later, Kenion and sophomore Danny MacDougall had back-to-back takeaways that led to layups to tie it at 46-46 with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
“They were a lot more disciplined. Sometimes you can get them on back cuts or dribble handoff action, and we didn’t get any of those,” Vaughan said of Taunton’s defense. “We really had to score the old fashion way and gut through some possessions. Even on offense too, this was probably the most disciplined Taunton team I’ve seen on both ends of the floor, they really bought in to what [Coach Dacey] was selling. It made it brutal. When guys do that, you can’t go on runs, you can’t create separation, it makes it tough.
“All the threes we got were either contested, or we got them off half broken plays.”
For Taunton (15-9), it was an end to a playoff run that saw upsets over league rival Attleboro and former league rival Bridgewater-Raynham.
“We discovered something, I don’t know exactly what it was,” Dacey said. “We work, work, work a lot on defense in practice. It clicked against Attleboro, then again against B-R, it’s something we’ve been looking for all year long.
“It hurts, it should hurt, and hopefully it’s a lesson for the underclassman. We have to get kids to want to be in the gym in the offseason. This was fun, so I hope the guys coming back realize it and say we can be here [again], but you have to put the work in.”
Mansfield boys basketball returns to Taunton High on Friday to take on #5 Newton North (20-5). Newton North defeated the Hornets in the regular season on February 10th. The D1 South Final is set to tipoff at 7:30.
#10 Xaverian, 62 @ #2 Mansfield, 77 – Final – The Hornets hit on all cylinders to begin the game, pouring in 29 first quarter points to take a commanding lead that they never relinquished. Mansfield hit five three-pointers in the first with Damani Scott (15 points) and Tommy Dooling (20 points) each hitting a pair and sophomore Matt Boen (11 points) adding another. TJ Guy (11 points) and Khristian Conner (eight points) each added five points in the opening quarter while junior Sam Stevens added nine points in the game. The Hornets led 49-25 at halftime and took a 61-46 lead into the final quarter.
Girls Basketball D2 South
#16 Notre Dame Academy, 56 @ #1 Foxboro, 58 – Final – Shakirah Ketant scored 16 points and Katelyn Mollica added 15 for the Warriors, who held off the Cougars to reach the D2 South quarterfinal.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – The game seemed over in the third quarter. Mansfield had found another gear defensively and used an 18-0 run either side of halftime to take control against BC High in Tuesday night’s Div. 1 South first round game in the Albertini Gym.
It is not often that the Hornets let what grew to as much as a 18-point lead slip, but the Eagles are not a typical No.15 seed and they came storming back. The lead was down to single digits by the end of the third quarter and only four points early in the fourth.
Each time, Mansfield found a response to keep the Eagles at bay, but with only a 1:34 left the lead was just five, and with 34.8 on the clock it was down to just two. While the Hornets are the defending state champions and come into the tournament as the No. 2 seed, there is still a learning curve for a number of players who are seeing their first significant tournament action.
As it turned out, the Hornets had just enough to get the win. Tommy Dooling got into the lane and dropped a pass off to T.J. Guy for the layup with just seconds left that put Mansfield back up four and that was how it would finish, a 57-53 win that could also serve a message about having to finish off an opponent when on top.
“They’re more like a 14-6, second round, opponent,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan. “Hopefully this game will help us and make these guys understand the value of, in the state tournament a 12-point lead can be gone in under a minute and you need to stay committed to doing the right thing. When we do the right thing, we’re tough to beat.”
When these two teams met back in December, Mansfield won by 22 points, but the Eagles were without 6-foot-8 junior center Ozzy Trapilo. The Eagles were without him for large portions of the first half on Tuesday as well because the Hornets went right at the big man from the start and got him into early foul trouble (three fouls in the opening five minutes).
“We didn’t really have a game plan to go at him,” said Vaughan, who admitted that Mansfield may have benefited from some calls early. “We really wanted to neutralize him in terms of giving Sam [Stevens] the opportunity to get shots because he had to come out and play him and then get T.J. screening and moving.”
Guy (14 points) took the ball into the body of the BC High center and earned a three-point play for Mansfield’s first basket. Sam Stevens (11 points) added a three-point play on an offensive rebound and Dooling (13 points) twice got to the rim, but the Hornets allowed eight points to Noah Rothhaar and were tied 12-12 after one.
The game stayed tight in the second and the Eagles took a 20-19 lead following a jumper by Kevin Keenan. BC High wouldn’t score again until midway through the third quarter. Mansfield closed the half on an 8-0 run. Stevens put the Hornets back in front with layup off a Damani Scott assist, Dooling drilled a three off a Matty Boen assist, and then Scott got to the rim on a drive to make it 27-20 at the break.
Mansfield kept its foot on the gas in the third quarter. Scott (game-high 15 points) got the crowd fired up with a steal and two-hand slam and that was followed by Guy picking off a pass and finishing with the first dunk of his career. After a pull-up three by Boen, it was suddenly 40-22 and the game was on the verge of getting out of hand.
It was on the verge but the Eagles made sure that it never fully got away. BC High answered Mansfield’s 21-2 run with a 14-3 run of its own, capped by Mike Loughnane’s third three of the night, and the Eagles got the lead back down to just seven.
“I thought the biggest momentum swing for and against us was T.J.’s dunk,” Vaughan explained, “because it excited the crowd, the place was rocking, it was awesome. We come down three straight possessions and it was like, let me do that now. Stay focused on what we do.”
He added, “It’s just a commitment to playing the team game. When we play the team game, we’re very difficult to defend because we have five guys who can play. When we start trying to go one-on-one, then we’re easy to defend.”
The lead was nine heading to the fourth, but a floater by Gavin Larnard and then a three-point play by Keenan had the Eagles down just four points and the visiting bench fired up. Stevens, who had been quiet for most of the game, sprung into action and drilled back-to-back threes to extend the advantage back to 10.
Larnard came right back with a three of his own, but Scott got an open look at a jumper off a Guy feed. A pair of free throws and a layup for Loughnane, off a steal by Korey Reynolds, got the Eagles to within five at 53-48. The home crowd was starting to get a little antsy.
Dooling drained a pull-up jumper to calm the nerves temporarily, but Keenan hit a turn-around baby hook from the left block and then Reynolds got free on the left wing for a clean look at a three and with only 34.8 remaining Mansfield got the ball over half and called timeout.
BC High elected to play the defensive possession out rather than foul and Dooling managed to get into the lane as the shot clock was winding down, drew the defense, and laid off a pass to Guy, who was able to get the ball up over the rim for the basket that sealed the win.
Mansfield (19-4) will host 10th seed Xaverian, which beat Needham, in the D1 South quarterfinal on Friday night.
Attleboro, 68 vs. Durfee, 55 – Final – Attleboro senior Kevin Velazquez caught fire in the fourth quarter, hitting three three-pointers and scoring 13 of his career-high 24 points to help the Bombardiers pull away and end the regular season with a win. Attleboro led by one after eight minutes, and took a 31-28 advantage over the Hilltoppers into the locker room at half. Junior Qualeem Charles (14 rebounds) dominated the third quarter, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the frame as the Bombardiers created a double digit lead (49-38) going into the fourth. Junior Bryant Ciccio had another strong game for Attleboro with 18 points.
King Philip, 49 vs. Falmouth, 54 – Final – King Philip had a bright start but went cold in the final eight minutes, suffering a setback to Falmouth in its season finale. The Warriors led 26-21 at halftime but allowed 20 points in the third quarter and trailed by one (41-40) entering the final frame. KP was held to just nine points in the final quarter. Senior Bruce Saintilus had a team-high 20 points and junior Alex Fritz added 17 points, both players connecting on three three-pointers.
Mansfield, 64 vs. Brockton, 57 – Final – Mansfield had a successful day from three-point range, connecting on 14 triples – one shy of the program record – to pick up a win over visiting Brockton. Junior Sam Stevens hit four threes in the third quarter along, the Hornets totaling eight triples in that frame alone, to create the necessary separation. The game was tied at 26-26 at halftime but Mansfield’s red-hot shooting in the third helped the Hornets take a 49-39 lead into the final eight minutes. Stevens finished with five threes total and a team-high 17 points, Tommy Dooling connecting on five threes for 15 points, and sophomore TJ Guy finished with 11 points, including one three-pointer. Damani Scott (seven points) and Matt Boen (seven points, 11 rebounds) also hit threes for Mansfield.
Milford, 68 vs. Tantasqua, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Milford’s three seniors finished their careers in style, leading the Scarlet Hawks to an upset win over Tantasqua (15-5). Brendan White, Danny Corsini, and Brendon Sailer each scored 20 points, combining to score 60 of Milford’s 68 points in the win. White added 16 rebounds, five steals, and five assists, Corsini scored eight of his points in the opening quarter to give the Hawks an early lead, and Sailor shot 50% from the field along with six rebounds and four assists. The Scarlet Hawks built a 35-20 lead at halftime, and the advantage ballooned to 24 (50-26) late in the third before Tantasqua made a comeback bid in the fourth. The Warriors cut it to eight on two occasions, including with two minutes to go, but Corsini answered with a traditional three point play to thwart the comeback. “I just want thank Brendan, Brendon and Danny for all their hard work and commitment to this program,” Milford head coach Paul Seaver said. “I’m very proud that they were able to end their careers with a victory tonight and that they all found success in their final games of their careers.”
North Attleboro, 59 @ Framingham, 54 – Final – Framingham’s Victor Carrillo scored 17 points in the first quarter and had 22 by halftime but the Rocketeers clamped down defensively on the Flyers’ leading scorer, allowing him just four points in each the third and fourth quarters to get a comeback win. Behind Carillo, Framingham led 19-11 after one and took a 33-25 advantage into halftime. North scored 16 points in the third quarter, sparked by eight from senior Nate Gonsalves (14 points) to cut the deficit to 47-41 going into the fourth. In the final frame, senior Josh Montague scored nine of his team-high 19 points, Gonsalves went 4-for-4 from the line, and sophomore George Ladd (11 points) sank a key three to help North pull ahead for the win.
Oliver Ames, 70 @ Barnstable, 34 – Final – After an even start, Oliver Ames dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Raiders 32-9 to build a sizable halftime lead that it ever relinquished. The Tigers led by just one, 12-11, after eight minutes but then kicked it into gear, limiting Barnstable to single digits in each of the remaining three quarters. Harry DeChellis scored six of his team-high 13 points in the second quarter, Sean O’Brien (11 points) and Michael Greene (nine points) each hit a three in the second, while Amari Brown (eight points), Jay Spillane, Jake Erlich, and Evan Craig each scored as well.
Taunton, 68 @ New Bedford, 56 – Final – Taunton sophomore Danny MacDougall scored seven of his career-high 13 points in the second quarter, helping the Tigers outscore the Whalers 22-8 in the frame to create enough separation for the rest of the way. Tied 14-14 after eight minutes, Wesner Charles (12 points) added six points in the second, Mike Quinn scored five and sophomore Josh Lopes had four to help Taunton build a 36-22 lead by halftime. New Bedford was able to close the gap to nine (44-35) heading into the final quarter but Taunton closed the door with 24 points in the finale frame, including nine from Quinn.
Attleboro, 57 @ Durfee, 40 – Final – Attleboro won for the third time in its last four games to end the season on a high. Nyah Thomas was the top scorer for the Bombardiers with 13 points, 11 in the second half, and Jordyn Lako added 11. Hailey Perry chipped in with eight points off the bench in the second half for Attleboro, igniting its comeback on the road.
Franklin, 33 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 43 – Final
King Philip, 46 vs. Dartmouth, 34 – Final – Emma Glaser led the Warriors with 16 points and Faye Veilleux scored 11 as KP closed out the regular season with back-to-back wins.
Mansfield, 43 vs. Bishop Feehan, 22 – Final – The Hornets won the Roundball Classic with a strong second half, earning head coach Mike Redding his 300th career victory. Maggie Danehy scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and was named the tournament MVP. Sydney Mulkern had a team-high 13 points and Mady Bendanillo scored five points, pulled in six assists, and had four steals. Mansfield led 13-10 at halftime and by eight after three quarters. The Hornets sealed the win by outscoring the Shamrocks 17-4 in the fourth quarter.
Milford, 51 vs. Burncoat, 29 – Final – Milford picked up a win in its season finale, knocking off visiting Burncoat. Katie Maietta had a team-high 17 points while Jill Michaelson added 11 points for the Scarlet Hawks.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Norwell, 63 – Final – Oliver Ames and Norwell were tied at halftime (24-24), and the Tigers trailed by just two (42-40) entering the final frame, but the Clippers put together their best quarter in the final eight minutes to outscore OA 21-11. Freshman Caroline Peper had a team-high 15 points while sophomore Caroline Flynn added 12 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds.
Attleboro, 10 @ Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk, 3 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – – Attleboro scored five goals in the second period to get a win in the regular season finale over Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk. Senior Sam Larkin scored a hat trick, Aidan Diggan and Cam Littig each scored twice, and Kyle McCabe finished with five points, including four assists. Freshman Nick Piazza earned the win in net for the Bombardiers.
Foxboro, 3 vs. Blue Hills, 0 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – – Foxboro scored once in each period and Espen Reager made 13 saves for the shutout as the Warriors claimed the Dan Jordan Invitational championship. Kirk Leach put the Warriors ahead less than four minutes into the contest, but Blue Hills goalie Brendan Todd (44 saves) made it tough for the Warriors to add to its lead. Sebastian Ricketts fired a wrist shot in with 5:11 left in the second period, and then Ronnie MacLellan (from Leach) iced the game with a power play goal late in the third.
Franklin, 2 vs. Marshfield, 1 – Final – Just over a minute after surrendering a shorthanded goal that tied the game, Franklin scored what turned out to be the game-winner with four minutes left in the second period. Just 1:18 after the Rams knotted the score at 1-1, Franklin’s Kyle Hedvig found Tom Tasker, and the junior defenseman buried his chance to put the Panthers ahead 2-1. Junior goalie Ray Ivers had a strong third period to help Franklin secure the win. Junior Shane McCaffrey put Franklin up midway through the first off an assist from Zac Falvey.
King Philip, 8 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 1 – Final
North Attleboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final
Taunton, 2 vs. Middleboro/Hull, 4 – Final
Franklin, 2 vs. Norwood, 3 – Final – Cassi Ronan and Amanda Lewandowski each scored a goal and had an assist for the Panthers against a Norwood team that needed a point to make the playoffs. Libby Carter also had an assist while Gabby Colace made 18 saves in net.
King Philip, 2 vs. Dedham, 3 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 0 – Final – Jessica Widdop made 26 saves to record the shutout and the Warriors wasted no time, scoring three goals in the first period to sweep the season series against WHSL and qualify for the state tournament. Three different players scored in the first for the Warriors, with Kenzi Fraser, Ella Waryas, and Skyler Sharfman lighting the lamp in the opening period. Lily O’Brien scored in the second on an assist from Emma Pereira.
Attleboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 56 – Final – North Attleboro whittled an 18-point second half deficit down to seven midway through the fourth quarter but Attleboro slammed the door shut to secure the non-league victory. A free throw from Mason Houle (14 points, four rebounds) midway through the third put the Bombardiers up 46-28 midway through the third but the Rocketeers closed the third with an 8-0 run to stay within striking distance. Five points from North Attleboro’s Nate Gonsalves (12 points) and a free throw from Josh Porter made it 53-46 but Attleboro’s Nick McMahon answered with a traditional three-point play, and then Kevin Velazquez (nine points, five rebounds) and Bryant Ciccio (17 points, six assists) each hit a three to help the Bombarders pull away. Junior Tim Callahan added 11 points and classmate Qualeem Charles had 10 points, 16 rebounds. North Attleboro sophomore George Ladd finished with a career-high 13 points.
Foxboro, 70 vs. Randolph, 67 – Final – Foxboro junior Brandon Borde turn a turnaround, fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer to help the Warriors steal a win over the Blue Devils. The two teams traded turnovers in the final 10 seconds, the Warriors getting the last look off the hands of Borde. Borde (11 rebounds) dominated the game for Foxboro, scoring 13 of his career-high 28 points in the third quarter to keep the Warriors in the game. Sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 12 points Foxboro, which trailed after the first (17-12) and second quarters (31-27) but had a strong second half and headed into the fourth tied 51-51.
Franklin, 61 vs. North Andover, 58 – Final – Franklin junior Chris Edgehill scored on a drive to the basket in the second quarter for his 1,000th carer point, becoming the first male Panther player to reach the plateau since Kyle Gibson in 2011. Edgehill finished with 11 points while senior Will Harvey added seven of his career-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Jalen Samuels, who was named Harvey Nasuti tournament MVP, scored a team-high 15 points while Steve Karayan added five fourth-quarter points to help the Panthers secure the win.
King Philip @ Dartmouth (@ Somerset-Berkley) – Postponed to Tuesday at 5:00.
Mansfield, 57 vs. Lowell, 66 – Final – The Hornets stayed within striking distance throughout the game but couldn’t close the gap against Lowell (18-3). The Hornets trailed by five at half (26-21) but Lowell was able to increase that advantage to 41-32 heading into the final eight minutes. The Red Raiders made eight of their 11 free throws in a 25-point fourth quarter to ice the game. Senior Tommy Dooling, senior Damani Scott, and sophomore Matt Boen each had 12 points for the Hornets while sophomore TJ Guy finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Milford, 63 vs. Malden, 66 – Final (OT)
Oliver Ames, 53 vs. Scituate, 67 – Final – Scituate hit seven of its 15 three pointers in the first quarter, racing out to a 25-6 advantage after eight minutes and never looked back. The Sailors shot 50% from deep (7-for-14) to start the game, and finished 15-for-38 from deep to keep the Tigers at bay. After a slow first quarter, Oliver Ames won the final three quarters (47-42), including a strong second half. OA senior Sean O’Brien had a team-high 18 points with Amari Brown and Michael Greene each adding six points.
Sharon, 76 @ Norwood, 66 – Final – Sharon had one of its best offensive games to finish the season, scoring over 20 points in three of the four quarters. The Eagles jumped out to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter but saw its lead shrink to just a point, 33-32, by halftime. Norwood kept within striking distance, down 56-52 heading into the fourth but the Eagles put the game to bed with a strong final frame. Senior Sergio Ripley had a carer-high 14 points, senior Greg Persad, junior Aidan Kane, and freshman John LaraBaez each scored 10 points, and junior Andrew Burton finished with nine points.
Foxboro, 46 vs. Old Rochester, 36 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Foxboro reaches the final of the Warrior Classic after winning a defensive struggle with the Bulldogs, who came into Monday’s game tied with the Warriors for the top seed in D2 South. Katelyn Mollica scored 14 points to lead the Warriors and Shakirah Ketant added nine points. Foxboro jumped out to a 25-9 lead at halftime, despite struggling from the field, but Old Rochester battled back in the second half and had the lead down to as few as five points in the fourth quarter but the Warriors hit free throws to seal the victory.
King Philip, 50 @ Westwood, 47 – Final – King Philip held off Westwood in the consolation game of the Riley Winter Classic. The Warriors took the lead by outscoring the Wolverines 14-9 in the third quarter and held that lead until the end of a game that went back and forth throughout. Shannon O’Connor scored 11 points to lead the Warriors, while Faye Veilleux and Brainna James each scored 10.
Lowell, 42 @ Mansfield, 51 – Final – Mansfield jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, built it up to 15 by the end of the third quarter, and held on to it in the fourth quarter to earn the non-league win. Sydney Mulkern caught fire from the three-point line, knocking down six from beyond the arc, and finished with 22 points. Maggie Danehy scored 13 points and nine rebounds and Alicia Hottleman added six, all in the first quarter as the Hornets scored 23 as a team.
Foxboro, 4 @ Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ LaSalle Academy (R.I.), 3 – Final
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Westwood, 6 – Final – OA senior Colin Bourne scored the lone goal for the Tigers, with Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello getting assists.
Taunton, 3 @ Middleboro, 2 – Final – Taunton senior Andrew Carter scored on a penalty shot halfway through the third period to lift the Tigers to a win. Taunton scored first but Middleboro seized a 2-1 advantage by the end of the first. Taunton was able to tie the game and then a covered puck in the crease in the third led to Carter’s game-winning goal, his second goal of the game. Ethan Ross also had a goal while Jack Patneaude, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira each finished with an assist. Sean Bunker made 17 saves to get the win.