Sharon, 47 @ Taunton, 71 – Final – Taunton came out of the gates flying with 26 points in the first quarter and then really pulled away in the second half, limiting the visitors to 15 points in the final two quarters. Junior Trent Santos scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the opening quarter and recorded six rebounds and five assists. Junior Tristan Herry added 14 points and four rebounds, senior Tyler finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Josh Lopes had 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Will Hippler led Sharon with 11 points while sophomore Matt Baur added nine points.
King Philip, 7 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – King Philip exploded for first goals in the first period and tacked on two more in the second to inch closer to clinching a share of the Kelley-Rex division title. Conor Cooke recorded a hat trick for the Warriors while Justin Yatsuhashi found the back of the net twice. Rocco Bianculli and Shaun Fitzpatrick each scored once in the win.
TAUNTON, Mass. – It’s been a most challenging season for everyone, but with a delayed start and a one-week hiatus smack in the middle of its schedule, it’s been a bit tougher on the Taunton boys basketball team.
So it’s only fitting that the Tigers made clinching their first-ever Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division title a bit more difficult than it needed to be.
A near-perfect start from visiting Attleboro coupled with a sluggish first eight minutes from the Tigers put the hosts in a double-digit deficit.
But as these Tigers have done all season, they responded. Despite starting their season two weeks after everyone else, Taunton opened the season with five straight wins. And when they were forced to the sideline for a week, the Tigers came right back and beat one of the best teams in the state in Mansfield with just one day of practice.
And on Thursday afternoon, in their fourth game in the five-day span, the Tigers dominated the final three quarters of play, not only digging out of the hole they were in but burying it and covering it with a mound of dirt in the form of a 76-57 win over the Bombardiers.
The Tigers’ game with King Philip will not be made up and the Hockomock League is expected to award Taunton with a win via forfeit for that game multiple sources told HockomockSports.com.
It marks Taunton’s first league title since 2008 when it won the Old Colony League.
“Everyone has gone through issues this year but this is an extraordinary group, I’ve said it many times,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “Across the board, not just the first five either, you go right down the roster. We’ve had no issues at all this year. There’s usually something but this group has been great, they really like each other too.
“When we got into our offense, we got the lead into double figures and that force them to pressure a little bit. Then we really started to figure out that if we can our offense, things were working. Once we’re relaxed, like any team, they get into a comfort zone and we really pulled away.”
Attleboro got whatever it wanted to start the game, hitting mid-range jumpers and getting to the rim on open layups. The Bombardiers shot 9-for-16 from the field for 20 points while their defense was on point too, the Tigers were forced to settle for contested looks inside and out. The result was a 20-9 lead, seemingly stunning Taunton.
“We had confidence from yesterday’s game and that carried over to today,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Houle. “I thought the first quarter we played as well as we could have…defensively, offensively, transition baskets, we controlled the boards. They started rebounding better and we couldn’t stop them. We had them for 26 possessions in the second and third quarters and they scored on 22 of them. We tried to change it up as much as we could but they made plays consistently and we couldn’t stop them.
“Overall between yesterday and today we really battled but [Taunton] is a really good team.
The comeback didn’t come quickly, but it was steady. Attleboro scored to push its lead to 22-9 to start the frame and Taunton had three chances to get back on the board but went empty on two shots from the field and two from the line. The next play, however, might have been the spark that lit a fire for the Tigers.
Junior Tristan Herry, who scored a season-high 20 points, poked the ball free and won a foot race to the loose ball on the other end of the court. From there, Taunton went on to score on 12 straight possessions to erase the deficit and take a lead by halftime.
“Tristan was bustin’ on defense, he was trying to do all the right things on offense. I think that sunk into the other four, if he’s going to do it then we should do it. He was the catalyst in that turnaround for us. Tyler [Stewart] changes the flow of the offense because he demands attention, even if he’s not scoring. But Tristan got us going.”
Senior Josh Lopes (nine points, five rebounds) scored the first three points on a jumper and a free throw and Herry stepped up on the offensive end with his first three-pointer. A steal by Nigel Choate gave Taunton the ball back and an offensive rebound resulted in two points from senior Tyler Stewart (10 points, five rebounds).
Attleboro’s Justin Daniels (17 points) answered for the Bombardiers but junior Trent Santos (18 points, four assists) attacked the basket for two for the hosts. Herry sank his second three of the period to make it a four-point game but junior Evan Houle (nine points, four rebounds) answered with a triple of his own out of an Attleboro timeout.
The Tigers’ relentless offensive attack continued as an offensive board from Choate turned into a free throw from junior Faisal Mass (12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists). Joe Francois-Annevil took a feed from Alvin Harrison and scored down low but Herry drained another triple and a steal from Choate resulted in two after a putback from Mass.
Stewart had a big block and then found Choate for two down low, and after another Attleboro turnover, Mass finished through contact to put the hosts ahead for the first time, 32-31. Stewart then sank an elbow jumper and the Tiger took a 34-32 lead into halftime.
“I think we were a little fatigued from yesterday but going into the second, we talked with each other about how we felt we were the better team,” said Stewart, who is committed to play at Wentworth. “Tristan hit some big shots that really changed the momentum for us. Once he hit those shots, it got the rest of us going.
“Just a chance to play [this season] was really exciting for us. I think we’ve shown that this group plays really well under adversity. The amount of things we’ve had to go through to get to this point is insane, all the way back to the start of last year through this year, shows a lot about this group.”
Taunton’s offense wasn’t as effective in the third quarter, but it was pretty close. The Tigers picked up points on 10 of their first 11 possessions of the quarter to build a double-digit advantage.
Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos Tyler Stewart Josh Lopes Tristan Herry Faisal Mass
Lopes and Daniels traded buckets to start and the Tigers finally had an empty possession on their second trip up court. Mass found Santos for a three and then Santos returned the favor to Lopes for two more. Attleboro cashed on its third shot of its next possession when Chris Holcomb sank a three to keep the deficit at four.
Santos and Mass each connected from downtown in a one-minute span and layups from Santos and Stewart pushed Taunton’s lead to 55-45 going into the final quarter.
“Herry kept them in it early and then after that, it was all of them, I think every single one of them played well today,” Houle said of the Tigers. “It was pretty spread out, and it felt like any time we did get a stop in the second or third they got an offensive rebound and got an extra opportunity.”
Attleboro cut into the lead early in the fourth as a strong take from Francois-Annevil make it 60-51 but Mass answered with two after a nice fake, Santos dropped in a floater, Herry hit on a pull-up, and Lopes scored after a turnover and the lead ballooned to 68-51 with just under four minutes.
After scoring just nine points in the first, Taunton scored 20 or more points in each of the second, third, and fourth quarters.
Taunton becomes just the third team to win the Kelley-Rex division in boys basketball since the Hockomock League split in two. Mansfield has won it 10 times, including a share this year, while Franklin won it outright in 2012 and earned a share in 2016.
Taunton boys basketball (8-1 Kelley-Rex, 8-1 overall) will host Sharon on Saturday at noon for its final game of the season. Attleboro (5-5, 10-5) will host rival North Attleboro on Sunday at 1:30.
Taunton boys basketball Trent Santos Tyler Stewart Josh Lopes Tristan Herry Faisal Mass
Sharon, 50 @ Milford, 62 – Final – Six players in a game-changing second quarter as Milford turned a close game into a comfortable lead that it never relinquished. The Hawks had a 10-6 lead after eight minutes before exploding for 24 points in the second quarter with Ben Blanchard scoring seven of his 13 points and Jordan Darling netting seven of his 16 points to help Milford get the win. Wes Solomon and Max Martin each connected from three-point range while Ralph Franklin Jr. and Brady Olson each scored in the second to give the Hawks a 34-15 lead at halftime. Blanchard added two more threes and Darling connected from three in the third as Milford carried a 48-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Sharon had 10 players get into the scoring column as Rohan Prakash came off the bench to tie for a team-high eight points.
Stoughton, 53 @ Oliver Ames, 62 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Oliver Ames overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to pick up a win over Stoughton, clinching sole possession of the Davenport division title. The Black Knights had a great start, putting up 17 points in the first quarter and 19 more in the second to build a 36-26 lead at halftime. But OA’s defense limited the visitors to 13 points in the third and just four in the fourth, and on the offensive end the Tigers cashed in on 23 offensive rebounds to get the win. OA exploded for 26 points in the third to take a 52-49 lead into the fourth. With points hard to come by in the fourth, Stoughton got possession back down 56-53 with 1:35 to play but an issue with the official book resulted in a technical foul on the Black Knights. OA sank both free throws, snapping a 3:30 scoreless drought. OA got a big stop and Amari Brown (23 points) scored in transition to ice the win. Drew Nickla (16 points, 11 rebounds) was the catalyst behind the offensive rebounding surge while Drew Baxter added nine points and six rebounds and Will Whiteside had seven points and 14 rebounds. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi had 16 points and eight rebounds while senior Waseem Sablon added 13 points.
Taunton, 59 @ Attleboro, 56 – Final – Taunton got just enough stops down the stretch, including a go-ahead three-point attempt from Attleboro with five seconds to go, to earn the win on the road and keep its division title hopes alive. Senior Tyler Stewart scored six of his 20 points in the final frame and junior Tristan Herry hit a huge three with just over four minutes to go to put the visitors up 56-54. Attleboro tied the game off a Taunton turnover with senior Justin Daniels, who scored a career-high 29 points, converted a layup with three minutes to go. Stewart put Taunton ahead with a free throw and the Tigers blanked the Bombardiers the rest of the way. Junior Trent Santos added 13 points and junior Faisal Mass had 11 points in the win for the Tigers. Evan Houle and Alec Eaton chipped in with nine points apiece for Attleboro.
Mansfield, 74 vs. Lowell Catholic, 57 – Final – Holding a six-point lead at halftime, Mansfield dropped 21 points in the third quarter to turn its advantage into 57-42 going into the final quarter. Brendan Foley, Jack Colby, and Matt Hyland all hit from three-point range and had five points apiece in the third to help the Hornets pull away for the win. Senior Matt Boen led the offensive charge with 20 points along with nine assists and six rebounds. Hyland finished with a career-high 17 points an eight assists while Foley had 12 points and Colby chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Oliver Ames, 63 @ Stoughton, 15 – Final – Oliver Ames completed a perfect 10-0 season with a win on the road over Stoughton. Caroline Peper led the balanced scoring attack for the Tigers with 12 points while Kelsey Yelle added 10 points and Caroline Flynn chipped in wit nine points. Freshman Jasmyn Cooper finished with eight boards in the win.
The win marked Taunton’s first win over Mansfield since January 2016, snapping a 10-game skid.
“I was really afraid of the rust factor, I was exactly afraid of a slow start,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
But Dacey’s fears were quickly erased as the Tigers opened the game with their best offensive quarter of the game (21 points) to establish a lead that they only relinquished once, and briefly, in the third quarter.
“Shaking [any rust] right away was huge, they didn’t lose any confidence,” Dacey said after his side his half of their 16 shots from the field in the first eight minutes. “Having an experienced group helps with that. We’re running some stuff but [Mansfield] knows it, they’re taking away what we have so we’re adjusting on the fly. The kids did some self-adjusting on the floor which is real important.”
Taunton extended its lead to 38-29 by halftime but Mansfield came out with a renewed energy to start the second half and slowly chipped away at the lead. A big three from sophomore Chris Hill (13 points, 5 rebounds) finally made a real dent in Taunton’s lead, and then Matt Boen (31 points) and Hill scored back-to-back to make it a three-point game, down 47-44.
“I think a lot of it when there were some 50-50 balls, Taunton wanted it a little bit more,” offered Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I bet when the stats come out, they probably won more 50-50 balls by a two-to-one margin. We talked at halftime if you don’t win those battles against a good quality basketball team, 90% of the time you lose and this was 90% of the time. Game for game, the stat lines look good. We did some good things, they did some good things, we both hit shots. It was really two high-quality teams that were well prepared.
“We thought in the third quarter and early in the fourth, they might be running out of gas a little bit but they found extra energy and made some plays down the stretch and took care of business.”
Hill had a strong take to his left for two with just under two minutes to go in the third and the Hornets grabbed their first lead of the game when Boen hit one of his four threes for a 49-47 lead. It was a momentum swing that has forced many Hockomock foes to fold in the past, but Taunton was able to recover before the end of the quarter.
The Tigers broke the press and junior Trent Santos (22 points, seven assists, six rebounds) found Nigel Choate wide open with a nice pass underneath for two to tie it back up. Tyler Stewart (12 points, 22 rebounds, 5 blocks) converted down low and Josh Lopes (13 points, 4 assists) added two more as Taunton took a 53-52 lead into the final quarter.
“They maintain their confidence in those moments and they have a good chemistry together,” Dacey said. “They believe in each other and trust each other and that’s really important in high school basketball.
The teams took turns landing jabs in the final quarter, each time Taunton scored to extend its lead, the Hornets had an answer to keep it close. Stewart added two from the line and junior Tristan Herry (eight points, six assists, two steals) hit a three late in the shot clock only for Mansfield senior Brendan Foley to answer with back-to-back strong takes to the rim.
“Stewart has a major impact inside, whether it’s a post touch, an offensive rebound, keeping a ball alive, or just the amount of energy we have to focus on him leaves some other guys open,” Vaughan said. “I’ve said it in the past about our teams, when you get a fourth or fifth guy stepping up making some critical play in a huge game, that sometimes separates you.
“[Herry] hitting the three at the top…we doubled the post, we did everything we wanted, we rotated off what we mark as not their top shooter and he hits a three. When you get stuff like that…Taunton is a very talented deep team with a lot of pieces that can cause matchup problems all over the place.”
Santos took advantage of a steal and scored in transition, and after a Mansfield miss, Herry linked up with Santos for a big three. Herry then found Faisal Mass (13 points, eight rebounds) in good position down low for two and the Tigers had a 65-57 lead at the halfway point of the final quarter.
Jack Colby (11 points, five rebounds) answered with two from the line for the Hornets and Foley came up with a steal and assist, finding Boen for two in transition to cut it back to for. After a Taunton miss, Boen sank a pull up jumper and it was back to a two-point game.
Santos floated a perfectly weighted entry pass to Stewart down low for an easy two. With time ticking away, the Hornets elected to foul Mass to send him to the line for one-and-one. Mass hit the first to push the lead to 68-63 with 1:16 to play.
Unsurprisingly, the Hornets once again had an answer as Boen took a handoff from Colby and drained an off-balance three to make it 68-66. Mansfield continued to press but the hosts passed through it, Herry finding Santos at half court who skipped a pass to Mass for a layup.
Taunton got a stop on a missed three but Mansfield appeared to have the offensive rebound. Instead of getting a second look, Herry came swooping in and knocked the ball free to get Taunton the ball back. Three passes later, Santos had an open layup to make it 72-66 with 20 seconds to go.
The teams won’t have to wait long to renew acquaintances as Taunton boys basketball (6-0 Kelley-Rex, 6-0 overall) travels to Mansfield (8-1, 12-1) on Monday at 6:15.
“It was what you’d expect for a Saturday morning game, it didn’t feel like either team was there defensively,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “We were out of it defensively all day. It was a close game in the second half and we were acting like we were down 20. We have to get over our mistakes quicker, we have kids that dwell on them too long.”
The Tigers carried a 55-51 advantage into the fourth quarter but the lead didn’t last long as the Panthers came out strong to start the final period. Jake O’Brien (13 points) finished through contact and Declan Walmsley (20 points, six rebounds, four assists) hit two from the line then drained a straightaway triple to put Franklin ahead 58-55, just its second lead after a brief one-point edge in the second quarter.
But there was no quit in the Tigers, orchestrating a run that would put them ahead for good. Senior Josh Lopes, who had been held scoreless through three quarters, hit one from the line and then finished off a traditional three-point play following a Franklin turnover.
Taunton got a stop and junior Trent Santos (nine points) dropped a pass down low for senior big man Tyler Stewart (15 points, 15 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass, four assists) to finish. Franklin senior Zach Harvey (12 points, six rebounds, nine assists, three steals), who had a terrific all-around game for the Panthers, made a diving save out of bounds that resulted in a layup for Andrew Byfield to keep it a one-point game at 61-60.
“We spent a lot of time on the offense at practice after Thursday’s game, we knew we had to get better and take care of the ball better and have more effective movement,” said Franklin coach CJ Neely. “I thought the guys did a really good job, I was really happy with how we moved the ball and our patience. You could see what we’re capable of on offense when we moved the ball so hopefully, the guys learned their lesson.
“But we gave them too many opportunities on the defensive end, we didn’t secure enough rebounds or finish off defensive possessions like we usually do and that crushed us. You can’t let a really good team like that have second or third chances like that.”
Taunton boys basketball
Stewart, who drew double teams all game, showed off his passing skills with a nice feed to Faisal Mass (five points, six rebounds), who was cutting baseline for an easy two. Mass then blocked a putback attempt and two plays later, junior Tristan Herry (14 points, four rebounds) found Lopes for a big three and a 66-60 lead with under three minutes to go.
Walmsley answered for the Panthers with another three to make it a one-possession game but Santos confidently sliced through the defense and dropped in a floater as the clock ticked under two minutes to go. Franklin was off the mark on a three and Stewart pushed the lead to six on a free throw.
O’Brien found space and converted at the rim for two to make it 69-65, and the Panthers got an important stop but Herry was the first to the floor to pounce on the loose ball for the offensive rebound (Taunton’s 18th offensive rebound) and got a timeout to keep possession with 29.2 seconds to go. Santos hit two from the line to ice the win.
“[Tristan] is the energizer bunny for us, he really is,” Dacey said of Herry, who not only grabbed the key offensive rebound but also shined defensively and stepped in to take charges. “And the other kids feed off of it too, and they feed off of Danny [MacDougall] too. We have some guys that are laid back, and that was one issue today where we had too many guys too laid back simultaneously. So getting the energy from those two guys really helped.”
While MacDougall didn’t factor into the fourth quarter scoring, he played a huge role through the first three quarters for the hosts. He came off the bench and hit two shots in the first quarter and grabbed two boards, helping the Tigers to a 22-19 lead after eight minutes.
Taunton boys basketball
He added two more field goals in the second quarter with nice takes to the rim and dished out three assists, while Isiah Seldon also came off the bench for a pair of field goals in the second as Taunton staked a 41-35 halftime lead.
Franklin made it a two-point game early in the third before Santos pushed it back to five with a three. Then MacDougall came up with a steal and found Lopes streaking up the court. Lopes’ feet were accidentally tripped up by a defender and he tossed the ball up as he was falling out of bounds, and MacDougall alertly sprinted the floor and grabbed possession, and laid it in for two and a 51-44 lead. MacDougall finished with a career-high 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
“Danny’s unbelievable…he did a good job today,” Dacey said. “We felt like we weren’t losing anything, there wasn’t a drop off when we put Danny in today. He really helped out.”
While Herry and MacDougall provided a big energy boost for the home team, Harvey did the same for the visitors. The senior guard was a menace on both ends of the court, locking up one of the Tigers’ top guards while running the offense.
On top of his career-high 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting), he dished out a career-high nine assists with only two turnovers, grabbing three steals on defense. His ability to penetrate the defense led to easy layups and open looks from three-point range for the likes of Walmsley, Alex Newman, and freshman Henry Digiorgio (13 points, 3-of-8 three point).
“Zach’s a captain for us for those types of reasons,” Neely said. “He doesn’t do many of the fanfare things that everyone sees, but it’s nice to see he get some assist numbers. But his contributions go far beyond the stat book. He was spraying it around and getting guys good looks, he takes on tough defensive matchups. He had Lopes today and held him scoreless until the fourth. I’m really happy for him because he had a great game, I just wish it could have been a ‘W.’”
Taunton (2-0) returns to action next week on Tuesday when it travels to take on Kelley-Rex newcomer Milford. Franklin (4-2) will try to snap its current two-game skid when it makes the trip to take on rival Mansfield on the same day.
“I thought our defense was pretty good,” Dacey said. “That’s a lot of motion, you can’t duplicate what they do in practice. If they were hitting their shots we would have been in trouble because they had some decent looks.
“We were hitting the threes [early] which certainly helps. Then we kind of insisted on shooting them as the game went on, which drives me crazy.”
Dacey coached at the sub-varsity level for over a decade, including seven years at Taunton, before taking over for the 1989-1990 season.
“It’s always a matter of longevity,” Dacey said of his milestone win. “We’ve got a little bit of a culture here in Taunton and there’s an expectation here. But it’s the kids, it’s true, it’s all about the kids. You don’t get this many wins without having some good, coachable kids and this is the most coachable group I’ve had in a while.”
The Tigers didn’t show much rust at the start of the game, shooting just under 50% from the floor and connecting from three-point range four times. The pace was frantic from the start, with the teams combining for over 50 possessions in the first eight minutes.
Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball
Junior Faisal Mass (13 points, six rebounds) converted a pass from Trent Santos (10 points, four rebounds) on the opening possession and the Tigers were off and running. Tyler Stewart (11 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks) scored down low, Josh Lopes (11 points, four rebounds) scored five straight surrounded by a pair of Franklin turnovers, and Santos sank a three as Taunton jumped out to a 12-5 lead just over three minutes in.
Santos hit his second trifecta of the period, Stewart hit two from the line after being fouled, and Lopes capped the quarter with his second three-pointer to give Taunton a 20-11 lead after one.
That momentum continued into the second as senior Danny MacDougall came off the bench to give the Tigers an early boost. After a free throw and a Franklin turnover, MacDougall knocked down a corner three. Taunton’s defense kept the hosts off the board for almost three minutes to start the second.
After a little lull, Mass sank a corner three and Nigel Choate came up with a steal, the Tigers eventually getting a three-pointer from Tristan Herry to make it 30-15 just past the midway point of the second. Lopes scored at the rim, Stewart cleaned up a miss with a putback, and Herry made a late layup for a 36-20 halftime lead.
“I think the start of the game was, unfortunately, the difference right off the bat,” said Franklin head coach CJ Neely. “It felt like they got all 20 points in the first five minutes. It’s a big hole to dig against a really good team. It was a game we could have easily lost by 30 but credit to our guys for sticking with it. I thought defensively we did a really good job but scoring 46 points isn’t going to get it done.
“Just too many turnovers throughout the game really hurt us. Credit them for their defensive pressure, they had some blocked shots early so we were a little tentative taking it to the rim at times.”
To no one’s surprise, Franklin didn’t lay down and slowly crawled its way back into the contest. Even though Mass hit a three to open the second half to give the Tigers a 19-point lead, it would be the last triple for the visitors. And the Panthers held Taunton to just six points the rest of the third.
Charlie Dacey Taunton boys basketball
Freshman Henry Digiorgio connected from downtown early in the frame andAndrew Byfield (from Zach Harvey) added another triple as the Panthers stayed within striking distance. Despite limiting Taunton to just nine points in the quarter, Franklin entered the fourth quarter staring at a 45-30 deficit.
Taunton’s offense continued to sputter against Franklin’s aggressive defense. Not only were the Panthers doing a good job taking away open looks on the three-point line, Franklin put plenty of attention on Stewart, who dominated the paint all of last season.
Missed free throws and turnovers plagued both teams for the first four minutes of the final period, so when Santos finished off a fast break transition basket to make it 49-35 with 4:33 to go, Taunton’s lead looked safe.
But Byfield (nine points, six rebounds, two blocks) crashed the offensive boards for two, Jake O’Brien (17 points) drove the lane and hit a floater, and Declan Walmsley (nine points, eight rebounds) went coast-to-coast for two and suddenly it was just 49-41 with 2:27 to play.
“I don’t think fatigue was the issue but it was like, what’s going on?…we just lost our mojo [in the second half],” Dacey said. “The difference in games played matters. This is the first time we’ve been at game speed, and it certainly showed in places.”
Taunton turned it over coming out of a timeout and Walmsley found Byfield for two. The Tigers had three chances at stopping the run but couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Franklin’s three-point attempt was off with under a minute to go and Stewart hit one free throw after grabbing the defensive rebound.
Two more from Mass pushed it to 52-43 but a corner three from Alex Newman brought it back to a six-point game. Taunton made enough from the line down the stretch to hold on.
“They have three or four guys that can easily be a league all star so it’s kind of like pick your poison, trying to figure out which guy you want to stop,” Neely said. “We saw it last year, you stop one and another one gets going. They are a great team, I feel bad they don’t have a state tournament to play in because that’s one of the best teams around.”
Taunton (1-0) will host Franklin (4-1) in a rematch on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM.
But junior Tyler Stewart (23 points, 20 rebounds) cleaned up an offensive rebound for two and sophomore Trent Santos (11 points, five rebounds) drained a three, and just like that, all was right with Taunton.
Those buckets sparked a 10-0 spurt in the first quarter and Taunton dominated the third quarter to the tune of 21-4 to help the Tigers pin down a 64-44 upset of the Rams.
“We had tournament jitters for sure, I get that and kind of expected that,” Dacey said. “Defensively, [the third quarter] was excellent. Josh [Lopes] was leading the charge for us. He was on [Mike] Walsh, he’s their player, and josh did a nice job disrupting him all night long. That was the key because he’s there go-to guy and Josh did a nice job on him.”
Santos sank a second three and Stewart added another putback as Taunton quickly put the nerves in the backseat, taking a 10-4 lead just past the halfway mark of the first.
And then it was a three from junior Nigel Choate (seven points) off the bench, a triple from Lopes (13 points, four rebounds, three assists), and a spot up, contested three from straightaway from sophomore Faisal Mass (seven points) to beat the buzzer capped a 10-3 over the final 1:28 of the first to put Taunton ahead 20-8 after a quarter.
The Rams cut the deficit to seven when Trey O’Connor hit from deep and Evan Mallios converted an offensive rebound but Lopes answered for Taunton and Stewart went to work down low with four straight points. Mass added four more and the Tigers had a 31-22 lead at halftime.
Lopes opened the third with a three and Stewart converted off a feed from Danny MacDougall (five rebounds, three assists) to give the Tigers a good start on the offensive end. But the story was the Tigers’ defense, holding the hosts without a point for nearly four minutes.
The Rams went 0-for-2 from three-point – both contested well – and had a harder time attacking the basket with Stewart in the way. Both Lopes and Santos had steals in that span as well.
When Walsh, the Rams’ top offensive option, finally got his first shot off of the first half, MacDougall got a piece of it from behind. It wasn’t until O’Connor capitalized on a Tiger turnover that the Rams got on the board with 4:25 left in the third.
“It all started with the defense for us,” Stewart said, who also had three blocks. “We really tried to limit their three-point shots, close out hard, and make someone other than Walsh beat us. We focused a lot on him, we wanted to keep the ball out of his hands.
“We talked in the locker room and really emphasized our defense, we talked a lot about closing out on their shots and getting the rebounds. And then that defense led to offense for us.”
Taunton finished the quarter strong, closing on a 16-2 run after the Rams got on the board. Stewart cleaned up his own miss, Santos drilled a shot after a steal, and then Stewart showed some range with an elbow jumper.
Stewart hit two at the line then fought for an offensive rebound, feeding Choate for an easy two plus the foul. MacDougall had another block and linked up with Stewart again, and then Lopes pickpocketed a Ram and went in for a layup while being fouled, completing the three-point play in the final seconds of the quarter to seize a 52-26 lead.
Through three quarters, Lopes and the Tigers limited Walsh to 1-for-10 shooting, the lone make being a three in the final minute of the first.
“Tyler should be getting a touch every time down the floor, no matter what they are doing defensively, no matter how we are shooting good or bad…he can make things happen,” Dacey said. “He had the size [advantage] and he’s got some athleticism, he’s not a stiff down there. He can create once he gets the ball in the right place, and if they send a double at him he knows what to do and it’s helped discourage teams from doubling.
“Josh stepped up [on the offensive end] too, and Trent made some threes for us. Nigel had a big three for us too. When we settle down, we’re fine but a typical young team, we have our moments.”
The Tigers spent the majority of the fourth running the shot clock down before getting a look. Stewart added four more, Santos had three, Lopes and MacDougall two each, and sophomore Tristan Herry, who battled foul trouble in the first half, had a free throw.
Taunton boys basketball (15-5) will take a ride up Route 24 on Friday to take on #2 Brockton (16-4) at 6:30.
North Attleboro, 50 @ Attleboro, 62 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The game remained tight until the closing minutes, as North stayed within three at the half and trailed by only six heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bombardiers scored 22 points in the final eight minutes to earn their 16th win of the season. Bryant Ciccio scored 11 of his game-high 21 in the fourth, including three shots from beyond the arc, to lift Attleboro to the win. Qualeem Charles added 14 points and 12 rebounds and Tim Callahan had 11 points in the win. George Ladd matched Ciccio with 21 points, 15 of them in the first half, to lead North. Edan Kelley added 12 on four three-pointers and Ethan Friberg had nine on a trio of shots from deep.
King Philip, 59 vs. Hanover, 51 – Final – King Philip outscored Hanover in three of the four quarters, and were even in the other, building an early lead and riding that to a win in the Blue Raider Classic final at Somerset Berkley. KP took a 12-9 lead at the end of the first and kept a three-point lead (28-25) going into halftime. The Warriors extended the lead by two (40-35) going into the fourth and finished strong to get the win. Senior Alex Fritz scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the second half, classmate Tommy Donahue added 15 points, and Andrew McKinney chipped in with 12 points in the win. Held to just one three-pointer through three quarters, both Fritz and Chris Roy connected from deep in the fourth to help ice the win.
Oliver Ames, 81 vs. Southeastern, 27 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Oliver Ames’ offense poured in 23 points in the first quarter and 25 more points in the second, seizing a 48-14 lead at halftime and never looked back, rolling to a win that qualified the Tigers for the state tournament. Senior Jay Spillane connected on eight three-pointers and went for a career-high 32 points along with five assists, four rebounds, and four steals. Adam Cann hit four three-pointers and finished with a career-high 16 points and senior Amari Brown had 13 points and four assists in the win.
Mansfield, 59 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 72 – Final – After falling behind by 20 points through three quarters of play, the Hornets rallied to get within eight points late but ran out of time in a loss to Whitman-Hanson in the Roundball Classic finals. Mansfield had a 10-9 lead but the Panthers had a strong second and took a 27-23 lead into the halftime break. That momentum carried into the second as Whitman-Hanson used a 13-4 surge to start to pull away. Senior Sam Stevens scored a team-high 24 points while TJ Guy added nine points for Mansfield.
Milford, 49 vs. Wellesley, 45 – Final – With the game tied 45-45, Milford senior Colby Pires connected on a turn around jumper with 3.5 seconds left to give the Scarlet Hawks the lead for good. The Raiders missed on the front end of a one-and-one on the other end and Tyler Wetherbee sank two free throws to ice the win, denying Wellesley a spot in the state tournament. Pires scored six of his 11 points in the final quarter for the Hawks while junior Jordan Darling had a team-high 15 points.
Taunton, 66 vs. New Bedford, 44 – Final – Taunton finished the regular season on a high-note, running away with a big win over New Bedford. The Tigers built a 33-19 lead at halftime before pushing the advantage to 60-32 at the end of the third quarter. Sophomore Trent Santos scored 19 of his team-high 21 points after the break to help the Tigers pull away with the win. Junior Tyler Stewart added 15 points, junior Josh Lopes added 11 points, and sophomore Tristan Herry sank a pair of threes, finishing with eight points.
Mansfield, 37 vs. Natick, 68 – Final – Natick won the Roundball Classic title with a strong defensive performance. Ashley Santos scored seven points and Becca Hottleman scored six points, dished out five assists, and had three steals for Mansfield. Santos and Hottleman were both named to the all-tournament team.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Norwell, 63 – Final – Oliver Ames took a 44-42 lead into the final quarter but the Clippers clamped down defensively, holding the Tigers to just seven fourth quarter points, pulling away to get the win. The teams were tied 15-15 after one, and Norwell had a 28-23 lead at halftime before the Tigers surged ahead with a 21-point third quarter. Caroline Peper led OA with 16 points, Caroline Flynn added 10 points, and Tori Harney chipped in with nine points.
Franklin, 4 vs. Weymouth, 0 – Final – Franklin scored twice in the first period and then once in each of the next two to skate to a 4-0 win over Weymouth in the first round of the Coach Melchiono Showdown. Tom Tasker got the Panthers on the board with a power play goal (assisted by Kyle Hedvig and Declan Lovett), while Kyle Hedvig (from Colin Hedvig and Joe LeBlanc) doubled the lead in the first. LeBlanc picked up his second assist, setting up Justin Abely in the second to make it 3-0. Ben Jarosz scored his first career goal, unassisted, in the third period to cap the scoring. “[Ben] made the most of [his opportunity],” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno, noting Jarosz’s hard work to earn a varsity spot after starting the year on JV. “Perfect example of a JV player never giving up and working hard no matter what.” Franklin will take on Marshfield in the tournament final on Thursday at 5:00.
Mansfield, 6 vs. Barrington (R.I.), 2 – Final
Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 2 – Final – Senior Cam Perron scored twice and classmate Brad Powers registered three assisted to help Oliver Ames skate to a win over Stoughton/Brockton in a battle of teams that call Asiaf Arena home. Senior Matt Nosalek scored his first career goal in the win while classmates Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello each scored once. Sophomore Wes Towers recorded his first varsity assist in the win for OA. Senior Owen Connor posted a first period shutout while freshman Brandon Burke took over for the second and third to earn his first career win. Joe McNulty and Colin Alessi each lit the lamp once for Stoughton/Brockton.
Taunton, 3 @ Somerset-Berkley, 1 – Final – Taunton picked up a win in the final game of the regular season to earn a trip to the state tournament, marking their fourth postseason appearance in the past five years. Nathan Fernandes scored a pair of goals while Michael Albert scored once to lead the offensive charge for the Tigers. Jack DeMoura and Brady Nichols each had two helpers while Cam Faria, Loran Corcoran, and Ethan Ross each finished with one assist. Sean Bunker made 19 saves in net to get the win.
Canton, 4 @ Walpole, 0 – Final – Olivia Maffeo scored a hat trick and Meg Aldrich added one, as the Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season. Carolyn Durand made 23 saves to earn her 13th shutout of the season. Canton heads into the playoffs with just one loss.
Franklin, 7 vs. Leominster, 2 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ LaSalle Academy, 4 – Final – A day after taking down one of the top teams in Massachusetts in Westwood, the MOA Warriors came up just short against LaSalle Academy, the top team in Rhode Island. MOA got within one goal, down 3-2, in the third period but the Rams scored less than a minute later to regain a two-goal lead, one it held until the final buzzer. Lily O’Brien (from Emma Pereira and Reese Pereira) put the Warriors up 1-0 in the first period but LaSalle Academy tied the game before the end of the period, and scored twice in the second to seize a 3-1 lead. Melissa Shanteler (from Kylie O’Keefe and Emma Pereira) fired a wrist shot in to make it 3-2. MOA needs one point from its final game against Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake on Thursday.
Attleboro, 63 @ Taunton, 71 – Final – Taunton sophomore Tristan Herry poured in a career-high 26 points and sophomore Trent Santos added 18 points as the Tigers outlasted Attleboro to get the win. The Tigers held a 50-49 lead after three quarters before finishing strong to close out the win. Herry accounted for half of Taunton’s 10 three-pointers, hitting four in the first half as he netted 18 points in the opening two quarters. Santos (four three-pointers) did most of his damage after the break with 13 points in the second half. Junior Tyler Stewart scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half for Taunton. Attleboro’s Bryant Ciccio scored a team-high 26 points, hitting on 10 two-point field goals, while senior Qualeem Charles added 18 points for the Bombardiers.
North Attleboro, 60 @ Canton, 46 – Final – North Attleboro sophomore Brody Rosenberg connected on three of his four three-pointers in the final quarter to help the Rocketeers pull away with the win. The visitors led after each the first three quarters (13-9 after one, 27-19 at at half), taking a 39-32 advantage into the fourth before putting together its best offensive quarter (21 points). Junior Edan Kelley joined in on the three party, connecting from downtown five times to finish with a career-high 19 points, including four trifectas in the second half. Junior George Ladd was a consistent on the offensive end for the Rocketeers with 15 points. Canton’s Eric Mischler sank three triples and finished with a team-high 13 points while Lanse Dorcelus added 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Sharon, 58 @ Foxboro, 74 – Final – Foxboro created separation with a big second quarter offensively and extended the lead with a big defensive quarter in the third, rolling to a win over Sharon. The win, coupled with Stoughton’s win over Milford, pulls the Warriors into a three-way tie with the Black Knights and Scarlet Hawks for first in the Davenport with one game to go. Foxboro had five players reach double figures for the first time this season with senior Brandon Borde leading the way with a team-high 21 points. Ryan Hughes, Kevin Gallagher, and Will Morrison each added 11 points for the Warriors while Donald Rogers finished with 10 points. Sharon’s Andrew Burton scored a team-high 15 points while Kiran Chandrasekaran added nine points for the Eagles.
Franklin, 59 @ Oliver Ames, 52 – Final – Franklin senior Chris Edgehill scored a team-high 16 points and in the process became the program’s all-time leading scorer. Edgehill tied Matt Palazini’s record of 1,306 with seven points in the first half and then broke the record in the third. Jack Rudolph hit four first half three-pointers, finishng wiht 12 points while both Steven Karayan and Brayden Sullivan chipped in 11 points for the Panthers, who totaled 10 three-pointers as a team. It was close throughout as Franklin held a five point lead after the first (17-12) and second quarters (30-25), and a four-point advantage (45-41) heading into the fourth. The Tigers cut the deficit to two (49-47) with 3:37 left but Franklin pulled away in the end for the win.
King Philip, 44 @ Mansfield, 62 – Final – Mansfield trailed by three after a quarter of play but surged ahead with a 21-point second quarter and never looked back in a win over King Philip. The Warriors had a 13-10 edge after eight minutes but the Hornets had six players score in the second to race in front, leading 31-23 at half and pushing the lead to 10 (46-36) going into the fourth. The Hornets limited to KP to 13 or fewer points in each quarter. In the second, junior TJ Guy scored eight of his team-high 20 points, Matt Boen added five of his 13 points, Drew Rooney and Chris Hill both scored from the floor, and Brendan Foley and Sam Stevens (10 points) each chipped in from the free throw line. Hill added five more in the third while Boen, Rooney, and Stevens each hit fourth quarter three-pointers to pull away. KP senior Tommy Donahue had a team-high 15 points while classmate Alex Fritz added 12 points.
Taunton, 51 @ Attleboro, 65 – Final – The Bombardiers celebrated senior night with a big win that moves them back to .500 on the season and one win from booking a return to the state tournament. Nyah Thomas was Attleboro’s top scorer with 18 points and also added five assists. Meghan Gordon scored 16 and Ryan Johnson added 10, as the Bombardiers had a balanced attack. Attleboro led by 13 at halftime and pushed the lead to 17 heading to the fourth quarter. Bombardiers coach Marty Crowley praised the effort of senior Jackie MacDonald and added, “It was a great way to send our Seniors off in their last home game.” Attleboro closes the season with trips to Franklin and North Attleboro to try and get the tournament-clinching win. Freshman Kameron St. Pierre led all scorers with 21 points and the Tigers also got nine points from eighth grader Sam Lincoln.
Foxboro, 51 @ Sharon, 28 – Final – The Warriors had four players scored in double digits, as they picked up another win to build their seed for the upcoming playoffs. Katelyn Mollica, fresh of getting to 1,000 career points last week, scored 16 to pace Foxboro. Shakirah Ketant, Abby Hassman, and Lizzy Davis all scored 10 points in the win. Leah Fandel scored a team-high 15 points and Ally Brown chipped in with nine for the Eagles.
Oliver Ames, 36 @ Franklin, 70 – Final – The Panthers swept the season series with the Tigers, clinched the outright Kelley-Rex division title, and will have the chance to run the table in league play when they host Attleboro on Thursday. Ali Brigham dominated in the middle, leading all scorers with 22 points and Olivia Quinn scored 13. Meghan O’Connell also had a big night, scoring 13 for the Panthers. OA had a tough time breaking down the Franklin defense. Jess Erlich had seven points to lead the Tigers and Hailey Bourne added five.
Mansfield, 37 @ King Philip, 61 – Final – KP got hot from deep to split the season series with the Hornets and book its spot in the state tournament. The Warriors made 10 threes as a team. Faye Veilleux scored 18 points in the win, Brianna James scored 13, and Faith Roy added 12.
Stoughton, 50 @ Milford, 47 – Final – In a close game from start to finish, Stoughton picked up a key victory on the road over the Scarlet Hawks. Stoughton led by seven after a quarter (15-8) and by six at halftime (30-24) before Milford cut into the deficit and made it a four-point game (41-47) heading into the fourth. Shyanne Trinh paced Stoughton with 20 points, Aliyah Wright added 18 points, and Jess Maddalena added six points and 11 rebounds for the Black Knights.