Mansfield, 89 @ King Philip, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game – Mansfield’s active defensive pressured King Philip into double-digit turnovers in each of the first two quarters, building a large lead by halftime that it never surrendered. The win marked the 300th career victory for Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. The Hornets outscored the Warriors 20-4 in the first and poured in 31 points in the second quarter alone. Senior Matt Boen tied a career-high with 32 points to go along with seven rebounds, six steals, and five assists. TJ Guy added 20 points and 12 rebounds, Jack Colby chipped in with 10 points, and junior Matt Hyland had nine points, six assists, and five rebounds. KP junior Danny Clancy scored a career-high 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Mansfield, 51 @ King Philip, 58 – Final – KP got off to a great start in its home opener, jumping out to a double-digit lead in the first half, and held on to split the series with Mansfield. After a tough shooting performance in game one, the Warriors made 11 threes as a team on Sunday. Courtney Keswick scored 14 points to pace the Warriors and sophomore Jackie Bonner added a career-high 12 points. Emma Glaser scored nine points and had seven steals in the win, as the KP defense forced more than 30 turnovers. Kayla Vine was the top scorer for the Hornets with 15 points and Sarah Dooling scored 12 for the second consecutive game.
Canton @ Attleboro, 10:00AM
Attleboro @ Sharon, 7:00
King Philip, 130.35 @ Mansfield, 136.5 – Final – Mansfield won all four events and senior Erin Hurley took first in the All Around as the Hornets opened the season with a victory over King Philip. Hurley won the All Around with a score of 38.05 while freshman Maddie Morris took third with a 35.15; King Philip’s Lauren Fusco was second (35.8) and Missy Canning (32.6) was fourth. Hurley was first in all four events, winning the vault (9.5), the bars (9.6), the beam (9.5), and the floor (9.45).
Top 3 Scores: Vault: 1. Erin Hurley (M) – 9.5 | 2. Lauren Fusco (KP) – 9.2 3. Maddie Morris (M) – 8.95 || Bars: 1. E. Hurley (M) – 9.6 | 2. L. Fusco (KP) – 9.3 | 3. M. Morris (9.1) || Beam: 1. E. Hurley (M) – 9.5 | 2. Missy Cannon (KP) – 8.8 | 3. M. Morris (8.6) || Floor: 1. E. Hurley (M) – 9.45 | 2. L. Fusco (KP) – 8.5 | 3. M. Norris (M) 8.5.
North Attleboro, 131.95 @ Franklin, 138.60 – Final – Junior Emma White impressed on Sunday afternoon, taking the top spot for the Panthers in every event and won the All Around. White had Franklin’s top scores in the vault (9.6), the bars (8.7), the beam (9.4) and the floor (9.2). It marked Franklin’s first win over North since rebooting the gymnastics program in 2016.
Top 3 Scores (Franklin only): Vault: Emma White (F) – 9.6 | Kate Rudolph (F) – 9.2 | Caroline Woelfel (F) 9.0 || Bars: E. White (F) – 8.7 | Elizabeth Schirduan (F) – 8.3 | K. Rudolph (F) – 8.2 || Beam: E. White (F) – 9.4 | K. Rudolph (F) – 8.6 | E. Schirduan (F) – 8.6 || Floor: E. White (F) – 9.2 | K. Rudolph (F) – 8.6 | C. Woelfel (F) – 8.5
King Philip, 56 @ Mansfield, 75 – Final – Mansfield senior Matt Boen poured in 30 points to lead the Hornets to a season-opening win over King Philip. The Hornets raced out to a 22-13 lead after one quarter, extended it to 40-24 by halftime, and put the game away with 26 points in the third quarter. Boen added six assists, five rebounds, five steals, and two blocks in a stellar all-around performance. Freshman Trevor Foley added 10 points and five rebounds in his debut and senior TJ Guy finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. King Philip sophomore Will Laplante impressed in his debut, hitting five three-pointers for 18 points.
Canton, 48 @ North Attleboro, 32 – Final – Fay Gallery and Kiara Cerruti combined for 40 of Canton’s 48 points, as the Bulldogs rolled to a big road win in the season opener for both teams. Gallery got things going for Canton with 10 points in the first and the Bulldogs built a 14-6 lead. The visitors broke the game open in the second and took a 19-point edge into halftime. Gallery scored nine more before the break and had 19 of her game-high 22 in the first half. Cerruti scored seven in the second, added four in a low-scoring third quarter, and closed out the game with seven more in the fourth, finishing with 18 total. Summer Doherty led North with nine points, including seven in the third, Amanda Kaiser added six, and Taylor McMath had five.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – North Attleboro exploded for four goals in the middle period to earn a season-opening win on the road over Oliver Ames at Asiaf Arena. Jake Gruber redirected a shot from Sean Mahoney to put the Rocketeers on the board and goalie Jimmy Burtch denied a Tiger penalty shot in the first. In the second, Nik Kojoian, Brady Sarro, Mark Ayvazyan, and Charlie Connolly each found the back of the net. Ross Carroll scored for OA in the second period. Sophomore Brandon Burke made 41 saves for the Tigers.
Franklin, 4 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Franklin scored three straight goals between the first and second periods to seize the lead, and tacked on an empty net goal with just four seconds to go to earn a hard-fought win over Foxboro. Thomas Marcucella scored midway through the opening period to put Foxboro ahead 1-0 but Franklin’s Dylan Marchand tied it up with under two minutes to go in the period. Justin Abely scored to put the Panthers up 2-1 with 5:42 left in the second and Sean Connelly scored two minutes later to make it 3-1. Foxboro’s Brady Daly cut into the deficit and the Warriors had a power play chance that followed but couldn’t find the tying goal. Marchand iced it with the empty net goal. Will Sheehan had two assists for Franklin while JT Dwyer and Ben Jarosz each had one. Jack Paterson (27 saves) earned the win in net.
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 7 – Final – Canton scored three goals in the opening period and added four more in the third to pick up a win over Attleboro in the first game of the season for both teams. Eamon Kelly scored twice while AJ Thomas, Jeff Chaput, Dylan Coyne, Tommy Phaneuf, and James Delello each scored once in the win.
Sharon is looking to make some noise in the Davenport division this season and three-year player John Baez will be a key piece to the puzzle for the Eagles. A strong two-way player, Baez runs the Eagles’ offense from the point guard position and anchors the defense with his aggressive on-ball perimeter defense. We’ve seen flashes over the past two seasons of what Baez can do on the offensive end and this could be the year it all comes together. With a couple of good shooters surrounding him, Baez should have some space to work with and his decision making will be key on offense. His instincts on defense can help turn into points on the offensive end for the Eagles.
Milford is one of the hardest teams to stop when they have momentum on their side, feeding off the energy both on and off the court. Senior Ben Blanchard is a perfect fit for that type of offense, an instant boost on the offensive end when the Hawks need it. Blanchard can score in a variety of ways, including slicing through defenses with confidence to finish at the rim. But he really sets himself apart with his shooting touch from deep. In his first year as a starter, Blanchard averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game, hitting a career-high 28 points twice. With a very senior-heavy team that includes a lot of weapons, defenses are going to have to find a way to give extra attention to covering Blanchard.
Simply put, Mansfield senior Matt Boen is one of the most versatile players to play in the Hockomock League over the past decade. A HockomockSports.com First Team selection a season ago, Boen is a true “stat stuffer.” He shot nearly 50% from the field last season and averaged 14.6 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists. And when it comes to the defensive end, he has great instincts reading plays and passes, averaging over three steals a game last year while collecting 6.9 boards. Each of the past two seasons we’ve seen him really improve on the offensive end, becoming a crafty finisher at the rim with both his right or favored left hand. And just about any given time during the game, Boen is a threat to catch fire from downtown. He will certainly be in the Kelley-Rex division MVP discussion.
Oliver Ames graduated five of its six top scorers from last year’s squad so head coach Don Byron will certainly need some new names to step up. But the good news for the Tigers is that Amari Brown, who led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game, is back to run the offense. Brown enters his third year on varsity and that familiarity will be key as new faces integrate themselves into the lineup. Brown is a solid shooter but his strength is in his ability to attack the basket successfully. Not only does his quickness and savvy ball handling allow him to get past defenders, Brown is really good at finishing through contact. Brown scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games and will likely be one of the top scorers in the Davenport this year. On top of all his offensive prowess, Brown is a strong defender, earning HockomockSports.com All-Defensive Team honors last year with 32 steals.
Milford senior Jordan Darling makes the list for the second straight year, and for good reason. The Hawks have a very talented roster this season and were probably primed for a run at the sectional title. But winning the Kelley-Rex division this season would be a pretty impressive accomplishment in its own right. Darling is a big reason why the Hawks are being mentioned at the top of the division race. The combination of size and skill he provides down low makes him a really tough matchup for opponents. He can step out and take on defenders while attacking the basket or he can post up down in the paint and go to work with his back to the rim. He was second on the Hawks last year with 13.5 points, doubling his production from sophomore year to junior year. Look for that production to continue to rise this season for Darling (9.7 rebounds).
Mansfield’s TJ Guy is one of the toughest matchups in the league and is poised for a big senior season as the Hornets push for a ninth-straight division title. Guy can score from all over the court, improving his three-point shot last year, but really excels at attacking the basket. Usually matched up with someone with size, Guy uses a quick first step and his speed to his advantage and can score through contact, a crafty finisher down low. He shot an impressive 53% from the field last season, always a reliable option to clash the glass. Not only is Guy a force on the boards, he has great vision for a big man as seen by his 2.5 assists last season.
A three-year starter, North Attleboro senior George Ladd enters this shortened season as one of the top players in the Davenport division. Often tabbed as an “old-school” type player by opposing coaches, Ladd is a true throwback that mostly plays inside the three-point line. We saw during his sophomore year his ability to finish down in the post, and that continued last season. But he really improved with his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. We’re expecting another big step this season for his senior year. He averaged a team-high 14.9 points per game last season with a relatively inexperienced group around him. Now, he’ll have a strong group of weapons around him that will give him some more space. Ladd is also one of the best rebounders in the league (10.1 last year), especially on the offensive end that gives the Rocketeers second and third chances.
Canton missed out on the postseason last year, battling through growing pains with nearly an entirely new lineup. One bright spot that emerged from last season was Eric Mischler, who enters his season as one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. He’s a tough matchup for defenders, constantly working off-ball to find space to work with. He’s a dangerous catch and shoot scorer but can also be successful with the ball in his hands. He’s a good finisher around the rim, using his length to convert at the rim. He was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer a season ago with 13.2 points per game, hitting over 20 points five times including a career-high 36 point showing on the road at OA. The Davenport is wide open and Canton has a strong core of players led by Mischler on the offensive end.
There’s a lot of ways to sum up Tyler Stewart’s junior season but the best way we can describe it is “dominant.” Stewart had a breakout season for the Tigers, really emerging as a threat on both ends of the court. Stewart was a walking double-double, cleaning up the glass on both ends while doing a great job finding ways to score down low. His patience down low was key, often using fakes to get open looks or get to the free throw line. He averaged a team-high 17.8 points per game (61.5% from 2-pt range), 12.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists along with a handful of blocks. Stewart is surrounded by a bevy of weapons (Josh Lopes, Trent Santos, Tristan Herry, etc.) so it’s tough to double him but that’s what opposing defenses will have to do to try and slow him down. Now, fingers crossed that Taunton can get on the court this year.
Franklin had a very strong senior class last season so a lot of the spotlight went there but one player that really improved and impressed by the end of the season was Declan Walmsley. Through the first 13 games of last year, Walmsley only reached double-digits in scoring once but then finished the season by reaching that point in six of the last 11 games. With an even more expanded role this season look for the senior guard to really emerge as one of the top offensive threats in the league. He showed off his touch from three-point range last year but can cause a lot of damage in and around the rim. At 6’2, he can really be a tough matchup for opposing guards. Walmsley could be the breakout player of the season.
Team: Mansfield Football
2019 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2019 Division 2 State Champions
Even though the Mansfield football team walked off the field at Lancer Stadium in Ohio with a loss to La Salle in Week 2, longtime head coach Mike Redding still had a good feeling about his Hornets.
“I was talking to some of our coaches after that game and I said ‘this team can win a state championship,'” Redding said. “Here we are, just lost by 22, but the way we competed out there against a high-level team. It was probably one of the more talented teams we’ve played in 32 years and we came up short on the scoreboard, but if you look at the film play by play, we stood up pretty equally to them.
“The feeling walking off that field…when we go back home and get everybody back on board, we could have a pretty special group that can play against anyone in Massachusetts.”
And that’s exactly what happened. The Hornets bulldozed through their league schedule, grinding out a tough win at KP while outscoring the other four Kelley-Rex opponents 152-28. The playoffs were more of the same as the Hornets limited tournament foes to a total of 15 points through four games played, including a 41-0 rout in the D2 State Championship over Lincoln-Sudbury.
The Mansfield football team opened the season with a convincing win over BC High before hitting the road for a trip to Ohio against La Salle. The Lancers featured at least a dozen Division I commits at the time of the game, including Northwestern bound running back Cameron Porter. While the scoreboard favored the hosts, Mansfield walked away with plenty of positives, including an edge in yardage on offense, and its swarming defense limited Porter to 30 yards on the ground.
The dominance back in Massachusetts wasn’t a gigantic shock as the Hornets entered the season as one of the favorites in both the Hockomock League and in the state. It felt like three years in the making as Mansfield football returned a boatload of returning players with either one or two years experience. Two seasons prior, the Hornets were swept by rival King Philip, who went on to win the state championship. A year prior, Mansfield won the regular season matchup and took home the division title but the Warriors got the last laugh in the playoffs. This season, Mansfield won both meetings, the latter earning a spot in the south final.
“I think it was back in January before the season, we were pretty honest with them and told them they had a chance to compete for the league title, which is challenging enough, but when you get in the playoffs, this is a team that can make a run towards a state title,” Redding said. “The last couple of years, we’ve lost a couple of high-level kids due to injuries.
“I think it was a big motivation for a lot of guys in this group because they had come so close before but couldn’t finish on the field because of injuries so they were a pretty hungry group. As coaches, we just hold our breath hoping they stay healthy because they have worked so hard and they deserve a chance to compete, win or lose, and you just don’t want them sitting on the sidelines watching.”
The offense started with senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who was like a coach on the field for the Hornets with his ability to manage the game. It was a pick-your-poison backfield that featured seniors Vinnie Holmes (895 yards, 8 TD), Michael DeBolt (402 yards, 6 TD), and Nick Marciano (334 yards, 6 TD) along with star junior Cincere Gill (979 yards, 10 TD). With the help of a strong, talented offensive line featuring Andrew Cowles, TJ Guy, Jake McCoy, Noah Jellenik, and Jason Comeau, the Hornets could break out a big run on any given play. Moussette (914 yards, 11 TD) connected with receiver Danny Rapoza (4 TD) for a team-high 20 receptions. On top of that, DeBolt was one of the best kickers in the area with nine field goals and 38 successful PATs.
“From the first practice we all knew we had the opportunity to be a special team,” Holmes said. “I think that the first two games prepared us for how we need to play for the rest of the season, fast and physical. We all knew we were going to be faster and more physical than whoever lined up across from us, and the La Salle game sparked that intensity. Bringing that intensity into the league paid off as we were able to get another league title.
“Going into the playoffs we knew we had a great shot at winning a state title if we can keep up our level of play. I think we soared over our original expectations by a long shot outscoring our opponents 121-15 in a four-game span on our way to a state championship season. One thing that stood out to me that I think clicked in the playoff run is that everyone knew their roles and did exactly what they were supposed to and we executed extremely well.”
As dominant as the Hornets were on offense (29.8 points per game), Mansfield’s defense was equally as powerful as they allowed under 10 points per game against some of the best competition in the state. Massachusetts foes averaged just over seven points per game with Mansfield holding opponents to seven points or less in seven contests. Similar to the offense, it all started up front with the line play, including Guy, Chris Graham, Mark DeGirolamo, and Nico Holmes. To complement that group, Mansfield football had a loaded group of linebackers (Holmes, Joe Plath, Paden Palanza) and a very talented secondary (Makhi Baskin, Nick Bertolino).
“I think it was definitely one of the more talented teams I’ve had in the three decades plus that I’ve coached,” Redding said. “It was one of those teams that had the rare combination of being really good up front on the o-line and the d-line, which is usually enough to be competitive, but then you throw in a very, very talented group of skill players on both sides. We had the running backs and receivers, and the linebackers and secondary on defense.
“Top to bottom, it was really hard to find a weakness. So many of them had contributed the previous year or two so they came in with a pretty high level of experience. In high school, if you can put that package of skill, physical and tough kids up front, and a group that’s battle tested and confident, that’s usually a recipe for a championship run.”
Below are the official 20020 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Bryant Ciccio, Attleboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Bryant Ciccio, Attleboro
Qualeem Charles, Attleboro
Eric Mischler, Canton
Brandon Borde, Foxboro
Donald Rogers, Foxboro
Chris Edgehill, Franklin
Alex Fritz, King Philip
Matthew Boen, Mansfield
Sam Stevens, Mansfield
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Ben Blanchard, Milford
Jordan Darling, Milford
George Ladd, North Attleboro
Amari Brown, Oliver Ames
Obinna Ugwuakazi, Stoughton
Myles Grigalunas-Powell, Stoughton
Tyler Stewart, Taunton
Nick McMahon, Attleboro
Nick Cushman, Canton
Ryan Hughes, Foxboro
Brayden Sullivan, Franklin
Tommy Donahue, King Philip
Andrew Rooney, Mansfield
Colby Pires, Milford
Edan Kelley, North Attleboro
Ryan Burkett, Oliver Ames
Andrew Burton, Sharon
Ahmad Jahed, Stoughton
Josh Lopes, Taunton
BOSTON, Mass. – It’s the patented fourth-quarter run that the Mansfield boys basketball team has put so many opponents away with.
Junior TJ Guy converted a putback and scored down low, sandwiching buckets around a three-pointer from Cincere Gill. After a steal, senior Sam Stevens drained a three off a feed from Drew Rooney, and then hit another from deep off a feed from Matt Boen to cap a 14-4 run in the final minutes of the game.
But this time, things were different. This run only cut into a large deficit created by Lynn English that proved to be too big of a hole for the Hornets.
The Bulldogs, winners of the North sectional and defending D1 State champions, shined on both ends of the court from start to finish to earn a 74-58 win and a return trip to the state final.
“I thought defensively we did a good job following what we were trying to do, it’s just they are so talented at so many positions,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan.
The Bulldogs had their best offensive quarter in the opening eight minutes, scoring 22 points to build a five-point lead. By halftime, Lynn English led by 12, and the advantage balloon to as much as 23 in the fourth quarter before the Hornets finally found a consistent rhythm on offense, closing the gap over the final minutes.
The combination of 6’8” center Jean-Baptiste Mukeba (20 points) and 6’6” forward Ademide Badmus (eight points) was a matchup problem for Mansfield, which threw a handful of looks defensively in the post both before and after the entry pass.
And when the Hornets came with a double or fronted to deny the pass, the speed and playmaking ability of English’s guards — Jarnel Guzman (19 points) and Jack Rodriguez (20 points) — gave the Bulldogs second and third options.
Even when the Hornets slowed the guards, denied the entry passes, and played good defense, the Bulldogs got points out of eight of their 10 offensive rebounds.
“A lot of teams you play, maybe they have one good rebounder and they get an offensive rebound but they miss the putback…[Lynn English] didn’t miss the putbacks,” Vaughan said. “You over-rotate, you double the post, they throw out of it and you get the exact play you want but it doesn’t matter if its Guzman or the other two perimeter players, they are knocking down the three. And then their ability to get you off of the bounce, so at any point we have Sammy, TJ, and Chris [Hill] in at the same time, we have a big on a guard and they can expose that.”
For all the problems that the Bulldogs presented on the offensive end, there were equal issues on the defensive end. Mukeba and Badmus defended the post, turning easy looks into difficult takes. After hitting a trio of threes in the first quarter, Mansfield didn’t get many clean looks the rest of the way and had just one make on nine attempts between the second and third quarters.
After junior Matt Boen tormented the Bulldogs for 32 points in the regular-season matchup, the Bulldogs assigned Mason Jean-Baptiste to shadow Boen’s every move, almost attached at the hip to try and prevent a repeat performance.
“Teams don’t sustain that intensity [on defense] typically, you see it in the first quarter and you think you’ve weathered the storm, down by five,” Vaughan said. “And then all of a sudden you think you can make an adjustment or two in the second quarter but we just never got to that point, except maybe the last couple of minutes, we just never got comfortable and looked like a normal Mansfield team on offense. Some of that is execution, some of that is we were pressing because we got down so much, and some of it was just their defensive ability.”
Mukeba was the beneficiary of some handoffs down low, racing out to 10 points in the first half. Guzman was equally as dangerous, finding space to attack the rim or pull up for mid-range for nine points in the opening quarter.
Freshman Chris Hill hit on a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter, the second one giving Mansfield a brief 8-7 lead — its last edge on the scoreboard. Boen scored his only points of the first half on a circus-like layup to start the second to make it 22-19 but an 8-0 burst from the Bulldogs pushed the lead to double-digits.
Gill (career-high 17 points), who was a huge boost off the bench all night for the Hornets, drained a three and Guy (16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists) attacked for two more to make it 30-24 but Louis Rivera came off the bench and delivered Lynn English’s lone three of the half and sparked an 8-2 run to close the half with the Bulldogs ahead 38-26.
“We kind of prepared more for them trapping in the backcourt and their pressure and it kind of left us susceptible to the half court stuff,” Vaughan said. “I thought when we got good position, we kind of forced action which causes you to have bad possessions and it’s a bit of a snowball effect. They were locked in, ready to go to take stuff away. Every possession we had was not easy and that has a lot to do with their game plan and their execution.
“It’s tough because you can’t punish them. Everything you do, they have a guy that’s going to alter the shot. When normally you might get something as a layup, now it’s an altered shot so it’s that much more difficult to score.”
Mansfield went right to the heart of the Bulldog defense, with both Stevens (11 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and Guy finding success attacking the rim. The Bulldogs called a timeout just 1:19 into the second half, and it paid off, resulting in a 10-4 boost over the next four minutes.
Lynn English took a 57-39 lead into the final quarter, and had its largest lead after a three from Guzman, a putback from Mukeba, and back-to-back drives from Rodriguez before the Hornets went on their run to make it 70-57 with two minutes to play.
“I thought their game plan was excellent in terms of denying Matty the ball, and when he did have it try to take away his left hand and make him work for everything he had,” Vaughan said. “They have three guards that can do it. Most teams have one or two defensive specialists, they’ve got three that can do it. And from a scheme standpoint, you overcome that and find a way to almost punish them, then you have to shoot over a 6’8 or 6’6 kid. It’s just a double whammy. You think you have great offense and then a shot gets blocked or altered.
“I think it starts with their game plan and scheme that their coach came up with and then it goes to their guard play with their speed and athleticism, and their commitment to defending, and then third you have the bigs altering shots once you finally break them down. I thought they played at a good pace where they didn’t over force it, they picked their spots to be effective. I think the combination of their patience and execution was a big difference.”
Mansfield boys basketball wraps up its season at 23-4, half of its losses coming to the Bulldogs, one to rival and Central finalist Franklin, and one to Whitman-Hanson, who is competing in the D2 State Semifinal on Wednesday.
The Hornets also secured the program’s eighth straight Kelley-Rex division title. Mansfield graduates three seniors: Makhi Baskin, Rooney, and Stevens.
“It’s been great,” Stevens said of his two years as a starter for the Hornets. He finished with 782 career points. “It’s always disappointing when you don’t come out on top. Winning the South isn’t something to bat your eyes at so I’m proud of everything this team accomplished.”
TAUNTON, Mass. – In the middle of the D1 South Sectional championship game, the Mansfield boys basketball team put on a clinic in front of a jammed pack crowd inside the Rabouin Field House at Taunton High.
For over eight minutes, the Hornets dominated on both ends of the court. It started with terrific defense, and more often than not, ended with an extra pass and an open look. The result was a runaway win for the top-seeded Hornets, a 78-65 decision over #2 Brockton.
It’s Mansfield’s second D1 South Sectional title in the past three seasons.
“The guys seemed locked in,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “Anything they threw at us, we seemed to have an answer for it. I thought the ball movement was tremendous. Our ball movement is really good and when we move the basketball, I think a lot of different guys can contribute and that definitely happened in the second quarter.
“We start working on [the ball movement] in December, and around mid-January, I thought we were a kind of lackadaisical and guys were trying to get their own instead of running the offense. We just have to grind through those possessions to try and get to a point where it all seems to click. We always talk about playing our best in March and so far we are doing that.”
The momentum started with a 9-1 surge to end the opening quarter. After Brockton’s Isaac Lane drained a three-pointer to make it a two-point game at 13-11, the Hornets created a double-digit advantage with its late run.
Junior TJ Guy (six points, six rebounds) dished out one of his eight assists, finding classmate Brendan Foley wide open cutting to the basket for two. Junior Cincere Gill was fouled driving to the basket and hit two from the line, and junior Matt Boen (19 points, eight rebounds, six assists) scored five straight points for a 22-12 advantage through eight minutes.
“A lot of times you see a team with that size, with that length, and that athleticism and guys seem to back up,” Vaughan said. “We want to go at them and find opportunities to score. Use the ball as your friend to move and get going in the offensive end.”
After finding success cutting to the basket, Mansfield found some space on the perimeter as both senior Sam Stevens (29 points, seven rebounds) and Boen drained early threes. That afforded Drew Rooney (10 points, six rebounds) space up the middle for a strong take and Guy turned an offensive board into a traditional three-point play, capping an 11-4 run for a 33-16 lead.
The Boxers converted a steal into points but Mansfield answered in the form of an 11-0 surge. Stevens started it with two free throws, Gill joined the three party with a triple of his own, and then Stevens splashed two more triples for a 44-18 lead.
Boen took a feed from Jack Colby and drained a three before Stevens added another one from deep as the Hornets took a 50-27 lead into halftime. In total, Mansfield hit nine first half three-pointers, including four apiece from Boen and Stevens.
“For us, we just have to trust the process,” Vaughan said. “If we do that, allow the game to come, we’ll settle into what we need to do and I think that makes a big difference for our comfort level. Then kids can go out there and make plays. It felt like we could score on every possession in the first half.
“They wanted to take away the perimeter, take away Matty and deny Sammy the ball. That let Drew get some easy baskets early, TJ could have had a couple more. That allowed more of our guys to get comfortable. Once they get comfortable, Sammy and Matty can get going.”
Brockton played better in the third quarter, hitting six field goals from the floor including three from deep. But Mansfield was quick to match the Boxers, as Stevens accounted for 10 of the Hornets’ 16 points in the quarter.
Freshman Chris Hill had a pair of finishes at the end of the press break and Rooney added a putback for the Hornets, Stevens had a three, hit five free throws, and drained a contested elbow jumper at the buzzer as Mansfield carried a 66-44 lead into the fourth.
“Sam has had a great second half of the year and a lot of that is from settling in and trusting his teammates,” Vaughan said. “It’s about understanding that he can pass up on an early shot to get one going. Once he starts doing that and feeling good, you trust him to take that early shot. And when he’s making them, you can play off of him a little bit and that makes a big difference.”
Mansfield’s lead hovered around 20 for the opening four minutes of the fourth quarter, a bucket from Hill on a feed from Boen giving the Hornets a 70-51 lead.
But Brockton kept it interesting with a bit of a late run. An 8-1 run made it 71-59 with just over two minutes to play, and the Boxers in possession. Brockton hit just one of two from the line and Boen came down the other end and converted through contact, completing a three-point play to essentially ice the win.
Mansfield boys basketball (advances to the D1 State Semifinal and will take on the D1 North champion on Tuesday at the TD Garden at 7:15. Lowell (22-0) and Lynn English (21-2) meet on Saturday night in the D1 North Sectional final.
TAUNTON, Mass. – Needham got the benefit of a layup right at (or just after) the halftime horn and went into the locker room with a little bit of momentum. The Rockets added a layup early in the third quarter and trailed by just two points in Sunday afternoon’s Div. 1 South semifinal at Taunton’s Rabouin Field House.
It felt like a game that would go down to the wire. At least it did, until Mansfield clicked into gear and put in arguably its best quarter of the season.
The Hornets went on a 16-0 run to take control and won the third quarter 24-4, dominating on both ends of the floor. Thanks to that big run after halftime, Mansfield rolled to a comfortable 73-52 victory and a fourth straight sectional final.
“Based on the margin and what we did defensively and offensively that it’s got to be up there with one of the better quarters we’ve had,” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan. “We just did everything right. There were very few mistakes in that quarter.”
He added, “My biggest critique at the half is that we didn’t want to move the basketball and anytime we moved the basketball in the first half we got whatever we wanted. Once we did that in the third quarter, we looked like an all-star team.”
Chris Hill got the first basket of the third, which was matched by a layup from Jacob Hammermesh. Hill then assisted on a three by Matt Boen (15 points and 12 rebounds). TJ Guy (17 points and five assists) grabbed a defensive rebound and turned into a layup on the other end and then followed that with a drive to the rim plus a foul to put Mansfield up 10.
After Boen swerved his way through traffic for a tough layup, Sam Stevens (game-high 20 points) took over. He buried a three in the corner in front of the Mansfield bench and added a second one from the opposite corner in front of the Mansfield student section. After a Will Dorion free throw, Stevens answered with a drive to the basket and a 51-32 lead.
Dorion (16 points) added another free throw, but then Drew Rooney, who was tasked with matching up against Needham’s star on the defensive side, drove baseline for a layup.
It was a complete performance by the Hornets in the third and put them on the brink of the final.
“I think we just committed a lot more on the defensive end, make sure we’re talking a lot more,” Stevens explained. “A couple of the guys that aren’t used to being in this environment and are on the quieter side had to speak up and that helped us out. In transition, we did a good job getting back and calling out our guys.”
To secure the win, Mansfield needed to make sure and not let a 22-point lead slip over the final eight minutes, but that looked precarious a couple minutes into the fourth when Needham used a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 15 and forced Vaughan to take a timeout.
“I thought at the start of the fourth we went into a mode of like just trying to hang on,” he said. “After that timeout, I thought we came out and had three good possessions, both ends of the floor, that kind of knocked them in the face a little bit.”
Boen got free for a three-pointer late in the shot clock that restored the lead to 18. Stevens set up Hill for a layup and Guy added back-to-back finishes at the rim. Stevens added six more in the fourth and, despite Dorion scoring nine points in the quarter, the Hornets were able to see out the victory in style.
“I thought everything we wanted to do defensively, for the most part, worked,” said Vaughan. “Obviously, it starts with Drew containing Dorion and keeping him kind of in check and once you get to the second level I thought the other guys stepped up. We closed out possessions by rebounding the ball well.”
Mansfield’s offense got into high gear right from the opening tip, as the Hornets scored 22 points in the first to grab a six-point lead. Stevens got things started with a pair from beyond the arc, Guy scored six points in the paint (while dishing out three assists) and Boen added five. Brendan Foley also came off the bench and hit a big three.
Needham hung around thanks in part to seven points from Johar Singh, but the senior wouldn’t score again until he added a fourth quarter free throw.
The fluidity of Mansfield’s offense ground to a halt in the second, as Needham held the Hornets to just nine points. Tim Reidy had a pair of steals that turned into layups on the other end, but a Guy offensive rebound put the Hornets back up 28-27 and then Foley drilled a three off a Rooney assist.
Dorion attempted a long three at the buzzer that fell short and Matt Fernandez grabbed the rebound and scored. It appeared that the layup was after the buzzer and the Mansfield bench was furious, but the score was 31-29 at the break.
Eight minutes of game time later, the Hornets were up by 22 and heading to another South final.
“I think we’re a tough matchup,” said Vaughan. “Who do you put on TJ? Who do you put on Sammy or Matty, who’s been playing great, who do you put on him now that he’s bringing the ball over?”
Stevens and the Hornets have plenty of experience on this stage and this particular court and that comfort level was obvious on Sunday. He said, “If someone’s dribbling too much or trying to take it to the rim too much, he makes sure to get us back and work the ball around, make sure everyone touches the ball.”
Mansfield (21-3) will face the No. 2 seed Brockton on Friday night at Taunton in a rematch of the 2018 South final that the Hornets won on their way to a state title.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Just minutes after a thrilling high school game between Hockomock League rivals Mansfield and Attleboro, Hornet head coach Mike Vaughan summed it up perfectly.
“You could have charged double and people still would have gotten their money’s worth.”
In front of a packed standing-room-only crowd inside James Albertini Gymnasium, the third meeting between the Hornets and Bombardiers proved to the best of the series. And in the end, it had the same result as the first two with top-seeded Mansfield clawing out a 54-52 win over Attleboro in a D1 South Quarterfinal clash.
How it played out, however, was far different from the two regular season meetings between Kelley-Rex foes. This go-around, Mansfield had to dig itself out of a 12-point hole in the second half, and after struggling from the free-throw line all game (11-for-26), sank clutch shots from the charity stripe in the final seconds and held their breath as a near full-court heave from the Bombarders just missed at the buzzer.
“Just play harder, play with a sense of urgency,” Vaughan said of the turnaround. “I talked with the two seniors Sammy [Stevens] and Drew [Rooney], told them they weren’t going to go out this way and to put it all on the line, leave it on the table and see what happens.”
What happened was a new aggressive approach from junior TJ Guy (11 points, seven rebounds), attacking the basket with a purpose. And while that set the table for the comeback, the space it created allowed junior Matt Boen (22 points, four rebounds, four assists) to carry the Hornets over the hump and into the lead.
Attleboro’s Nick McMahon (13 points, seven rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to give the visitors a 37-25 edge with 4:49 left in the third quarter, the first time the Bombarders pushed the advantage to 12 points. Guy sliced through the defense for two, was fouled after collecting his own rebound after getting to the basket again, and once again attacked the basket for a traditional three-point play.
“I thought TJ did a good job coming out in the third and being aggressive to the basket and that opened things up and guys had to make shots,” Vaughan said. “We needed multiple people in the room to fight and he took it to heart. And what I was proud of TJ about is when they started to adjust to what he was doing, he came down three straight possessions and distributed the ball, so we didn’t end up just watching him every time.”
Nonetheless, McMahon answered with a triple on the other end and Attleboro once again had a 12-point advantage, this time at 42-30 with 3:23 left to play.
After four straight takes from Guy, the Hornets found space on the perimeter and Boen sank a triple to get the run going. An Attleboro turnover resulted in another triple from Boen after a feed from Guy. A handful of empty possessions from both sides preceded yet another three from Boen with just 12 seconds left in the third and the Hornets cut the deficit to just 42-39 entering the fourth quarter.
“TJ is a special player for them and he’s got quick feet, he got to the rim a couple times in the third quarter,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “And that matchup favored them when TJ had the ball in those situations and he kind of took the game over. He’s a very good player, and once he gets his, we started to collapse a bit and then they start kicking it out and Boen went off. They have some terrific players and when they needed it, those guys stepped up.
“That kind of changed the flow of the game and it coincided with their defensive pressure too.”
Attleboro senior Bryant Ciccio (11 points, three assists) pushed the Bombarders’ lead to 44-39 to open the quarter but a 5-0 spurt from the Hornets — a free throw from Boen, two from Stevens at the line, and a steal from Brendan Foley that led to a bucket from Boen — tied things up with 5:52 to play. Both Foley and junior Jack Colby gave the Hornets strong minutes defensively in the fourth quarter.
“I thought Matty was awesome in the third quarter and we needed someone to step up and start playing,” Vaughan said. “I think Matty was kind of holding back [in the first half] for some reason, whether it was the atmosphere or the first playoff game where he’s ‘the man.’ It’s our first tournament game, some guys have more experience. I think he just needed a half to figure out how he could be effective and once the first one falls, he started to play with confidence.
The Bombarders missed on a pair of three-point chances before Rooney went up and under for two, only for Attleboro senior Qualeem Charles (10 points, nine rebounds) to answer on the other end.
“They forced some turnovers in the second half,” Houle said, the Bombardiers with eight turnovers after the halftime break. “I thought our rhythm on offense was pretty good early but they got us to turn the ball over and really pressured us. You get energy off of the defense and that’s what they did.
“We like to be in these grind it out games, I had a lot of confidence we would find a way to tie it up and get the win, but [Mansfield] has some terrific players too.
Stevens came up with a big block in the lane and Boen hit his sixth triple of the game to put the Hornets ahead with 3:29 to go. Attleboro once again was off the mark from three, and then had a possession in which they missed two more. Stevens deflected a pass that led to a steal from Boen, but Attleboro got the stop and McMahon hit a little runner in the lane to make it 49-48 with 1:16 to go.
Attleboro got the turnover it needed but came up just short on a baseline layup take. Stevens hit both from the line with 23.3 left for a 51-48 lead and Guy added another for a 52-48 advantage.
McMahon made two at the line to get within two before Stevens hit another for a 53-50 lead. McMahon kept the Bombarders in it with two more from the line before Boen pushed the lead to 54-52 with 3.7 seconds left. Attleboro’s heave at the buzzer was off the back of the rim.
“I’m certainly very proud of our guys and the effort we had tonight and throughout the season, especially our seniors and the amazing crowd we had tonight,” Houle said, with at least half of the crowd at Mansfield clad in Attleboro blue. “You see that many kids and that many fans there before a game, it really shows how much like this group and that made me proud. This has been a terrific group.”
Mansfield built a 15-13 edge after one quarter due to some strong shooting from the perimeter. Boen, Rooney, and freshman Chris Hill all hit from deep while Guy and Stevens had success down low. Attleboro kept pace by going to the hoop, as both Charles and Lorenzo Wilson had four points each.
The second quarter belonged to the Bombardiers, outscoring the hosts 14-2 in the frame to build a double-digit lead by halftime. The Hornets had four turnovers against a strong Attleboro defense and went 0-for-8 from the floor. Mansfield’s only points came at the line, although they missed six straight at one point.
On the flip side, Jason Weir hit his first of three made three-pointers and Ciccio went off his nine points in the quarter, including an impressive bucket to beat the buzzer where he split a pair of defenders and nailed a pull up jumper.
“I thought in the first quarter we were okay,” Vaughan said. “I think we were ahead as many as five and then we get to the second quarter and we scored two points. When’s the last time we scored just two points in a quarter? I think we just had to find our rhythm.”
Mansfield boys basketball (21-3) advances to the D1 South Semifinal against #4 Needham, who took down #5 Newton North 59-46. The Hornets and Rockets will tipoff at 3:30 on Sunday at Taunton High. Attleboro finishes the season at 17-7.