Canton, 62 @ Oliver Ames, 50 – Final – Canton turned a five-point lead after one quarter (14-9) into a 34-17 lead at halftime. The Bulldogs kept that lead through three quarters before OA made a late charge, cutting the deficit to single digits (54-45) with 1:36 to play. Canton closed the door though, picking up its 12th win. Canton junior Devin Foster poured in a game-high 27 points while seniors Jake Verille and Tony Harris each had 10 points for the Bulldogs. OA senior Jack Spillane finished with a game-high 22 points while Jake Erlich added 10 points.
Sharon, 48 @ Franklin, 78 – Final – Franklin scored 39 points in each half, building a double-digit lead by halftime and never looking back. Franklin sophomore Chris Edgehill scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Panthers while senior Paul Mahon added 14 points. Malik Lorquet had 13 points to lead the Eagles while Aaron Strong added 10 points.
North Attleboro @ King Philip – Postponed to Wednesday, 1/31 at 6:30.
Milford, 41 @ Mansfield, 72 – Final – After a close first quarter, Mansfield outscored the visiting Hawks 17-5 in the second quarter to take a 37-19 lead into the halftime break. Milford outscored Mansfield 17-13 in the third quarter but the Hornets dominated the fourth quarter (23-5) to earn the win. Mansfield hit 13 three-pointers, including five by senior Tyler Boulter (19 points), three from Tommy Dooling (nine points) and two from John McCoy (19 points). Sam Hyland added nine rebounds and six assists for the Hornets. Brendan White had a team-high 10 points for the Hawks.
Stoughton, 74 @ Taunton, 85 – Final – Taunton poured in 31 points in the third quarter, turning a two-point lead at halftime (39-37) into a 70-49 lead heading into the final quarter. Despite Stoughton dropping 25 points in the final frame, the Tigers hung on for the win. The Tigers had a balanced scoring attack with senior Lens Esquil scoring a team-high 18 points, sophomores Dante Law and Naz Kenion each netting 14 points and senior Malik Charles finishing with 12 points. Stoughton senior Colin Sanda scored a career-high 20 points for the Black Knights.
Attleboro, 37 @ Foxboro, 67 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 18 points and Lily Sykes added 15 as the Warriors rolled to another big win and stayed unbeaten in the league this season. Abby Hassman chipped in with a big game on the glass for Foxboro, pulling down 18 rebounds.
Oliver Ames, 62 @ Canton, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames pulled away in the second half to beat Canton on the road. The Tigers led 31-25 at half. Kayla Raymond finished with a game-high 15 points and hauled in eight rebounds to lead the Tigers while Alex Sheldon added 11 points, including going 7-for-8 from the free throw line, and pulled down eight boards.
Franklin, 63 @ Sharon, 40 – Final – The Panthers clinched a postseason berth with a win at Sharon. Ali Brigham led the way with 18 points, while Bea Bondhus added 12 and Megan O’Connell had 10 for the Panthers. Franklin coach John Leighton said it was a “great team effort.”
King Philip @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Wednesday, 1/31 at 6:30.
Taunton, 41 @ Stoughton, 60 – Final – The Black Knights made it five wins in a row thanks to a 16-0 run to start the second half. Val Whalen paced Stoughton with 16 points and 19 rebounds while junior Lindsay McDonald added a spark with eight points and 11 rebounds. Aliyah Wright added 13 and five assists and Jordan Motley chipped in with 10 points, as the Black Knights closed within a game of .500.
Mansfield, 1 @ Norwood, 1 – Final – Jake Lund scored early in the second period to help the Hornets earn a point on the road against Norwood.
Franklin, 2 @ Ursuline, 1 – Final – Regan Paterson scored a pair of goals to lead the Panthers to a road win.
Canton, 66 @ Stoughton, 40 – Final – Canton turned a four-point lead at halftime into a big win with a huge second half. The Bulldogs led 30-26 at half, and then 51-38 after three quarters. Canton slammed the door shut with a 15-2 final quarter. Austin Maffie led the Dogs with 20 points while Devin Foster added 19 points in the win. Cam Andrews led the Black Knights with 20 points.
Foxboro, 50 @ North Attleboro, 48 – Final – North Attleboro had a lead at the end of each the first, second and third quarters but Foxboro’s offense came to life with 21 points in the final frame, edging Big Red in the final minute. Joe Morrison scored eight of his game-high 15 points in the final frame, including a pair of threes, to help the Warriors earn the win. In the final minute, Devin Hassett scored on a broken play just before the shot clock to put Foxboro up 50-48. Sophomore Brandon Borde added 10 points while Hassett had all nine of his points in the second half. Josh Montague led North with nine points while Nate Goncalves and Chad Peterson each had eight points.
Franklin, 61 @ King Philip, 44 – Final – Franklin turned a six-point lead at halftime into a 19-point lead (49-30) heading into the final quarter and never looked back. Sophomore Chris Edgehill led the Panthers with 22 points while junior Jalen Samuels added 14 points.
Oliver Ames, 39 @ Mansfield, 72 – Final – Mansfield limited Oliver Ames to five points in the first quarter, and then six in the second to build a 39-11 lead at the break. Junior Tommy Dooling connected on five three-pointers for a career-high 15 points to lead the Hornets. Tyler Boulter added 11 points and John McCoy had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Sharon, 59 @ Milford, 77 – Final – Milford poured in 49 points in the first half, building a 30-point lead that it never surrendered. Sharon got within 12 in the second half but the Scarlet Hawks never allowed it to get to single digits. Brendan White led Milford with 20 points while senior Kayden Kelley had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Brendon Sailer added 11 points and Andrew Fraioli finished with eight points and five rebounds. Sharon’s Malik Lorquet and Lester High each scored 13 points.
Attleboro, 40 @ Taunton, 51 – Final – The Tigers went on a 14-3 run to close the game after the teams entered the fourth quarter tied 37-37. MacKenzie Handrahan paced Taunton with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Alexa and Kelsey White each added 12 points. Lily Patneaude had a solid all-around game with six points, six assists, and six steals. Sam Pierce was Attleboro’s top scorer with 15 points.
Stoughton, 56 @ Canton, 40 – Final – The Knights were led by sophomore guard Aliyah Wright, who led the team in scoring with 22 points. Senior forward Val Whalen chipped in with 12 points for Stoughton.
North Attleboro, 26 @ Foxboro, 75 – Final – Ashley Sampson had another big night for the Warriors with 26 points, while Lily Sykes added 17 and Katelyn Mollica had 16.
King Philip, 47 @ Franklin, 56 – Final – Ali Brigham led the way for the Panthers with her second 20-point game of the week. The sophomore center scored 23 points and recorded her second triple-double of the season.
Burlington Quad (Oliver Ames) – A shorthanded Oliver Ames squad picked up a pair of wins on the day. The Tigers were narrowly edged by Arlington (34-32) but had impressive showings against Burlington (45-31) and Mascononmet (42-39), Cobey Williamson, Anthony Berksza and Dean Pacini all went 3-0 while Darnele Ryan (220) went 2-1.
Canton @ Westwood, 3:30
Foxboro @ North Attleboro, 7:30
Taunton @ Franklin, 7:00
Canton @ Westwood, 3:30
Foxboro @ North Attleboro, 7:30
Taunton, 71 @ Franklin, 90 – Final
North Attleboro, 138.75 @ Franklin, 131.15 – Final
Franklin, 76 @ Attleboro, 72 – Final (OT) – Franklin erased a five-point deficit over the final 90 seconds to send the game into overtime and then outscored the Bombardiers 8-4 in the final period to earn the win. Paul Mahon hit the tying three with less than a minute to play and then hit another triple early in overtime to put Franklin up 73-68. Jalen Samuels poured in a career-high 28 points along with 17 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Samuels scored eight of his points between the fourth and overtime. Sophomore Chris Edgehill added 20 points for Franklin. For Attleboro, sophomore Bryant Ciccio had a career-high 19 points, including 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bombardiers build a lead. Kevin Velazquez added a career-best 14 points while sophomore Qualeem Charles had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Mansfield, 73 @ King Philip, 54 – Final – After leading by just three at the half (34-31), Mansfield outscored the Warriors by eight in the third and then dropped 21 points in the final quarter to pick up a division win. Senior John McCoy paced the Hornets with 20 points and seven rebounds while Khristian Conner dropped 16 points. Sam Hyland added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Hornets. KP’s Bruce Santillus scored a career-high 17 points.
Milford, 49 @ North Attleboro, 36 – Final – North Attleboro limited Milford to just 14 points at halftime, but could only score 16 of its own. The Scarlet Hawks offense came alive in the second half, outscoring North 35-20. Junior Brendan White scored nine of his game-high 16 points in the third quarter while Kayden Kelley had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Andrew Fraioli finished with nine points and nine rebounds. North Attleboro junior Josh Montague led the Rocketeers with 12 points.
Oliver Ames, 60 @ Taunton, 61 – Final – Taunton sophomore Dante Law hit a deep, contested three with just three seconds left to help Taunton earn a 61-60 decision over Oliver Ames. OA took the lead on a bucket from junior Ethan Eckstrom with 20 seconds left before Law hit the game-winner. OA held a 57-51 lead with five minutes to play but Taunton used a 7-1 run to tie the game. Taunton senior Lens Esquil had a game-high 19 points while junior John Martins had a career-high 13 points, including a trio of three-pointers in the second half. Law and Malik Charles each had 10 points. Jack Spillane led OA with 20 points while Matt Muir scored a career-high 16 points for the visitors.
Sharon, 65 @ Stoughton, 91 – Final – Stoughton connected on 16 three-pointers en route to its best offensive performance of the season. Senior Cam Andrews scored 26 points (five three-pointers) while classmate Colin Sanda (five three-pointers) added a career-high 17 points and sophomore Ajahn Rue (four three-pointers) had a career-high 18 points, seven assists, and seven steals. Malik Loruqet led the Eagles with 20 points.
Canton, 34 @ Foxboro, 79 – Final – Ashley Sampson poured in 28 points as Foxboro continued its unbeaten start in the league. Lily Sykes added 15 points and Katelyn Mollica had 11 for the Warriors.
King Philip, 28 @ Mansfield, 53 – Final – Meg Hill recorded another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds and also had four blocks. Ann Maher scored nine points and Maggie Danehy and Emily Vigeant each had seven for Mansfield. KP was led by Catherine Cummings with 11 points, while Faith Roy chipped in with five.
North Attleboro, 41 @ Milford, 51 – Final – Kate Irwin scored 19 points for the Hawks, who move back into a second-place tie in the Davenport. Emily Piergustavo added 13 points for Milford.
Taunton, 22 @ Oliver Ames, 66 – Final – Oliver Ames jumped out to a 32-18 lead at halftime and put on a dominant second-half performance to earn the win. OA senior Kayla Raymond continued her strong play with 28 points, five rebounds, and five steals while Ally Scolnick added 11 points in the win. OA head coach Laney Holbrook noted sophomore Erin Holmberg played great defense for the host Tigers.
Stoughton, 45 @ Sharon, 36 – Final – Stoughton junior Hailey Egan dropped a career-best 14 points to lead the Black Knights to a division win on the road at Sharon. Senior Val Whalen added a team-high 13 rebounds while freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe had a game-high five steals for the Black Knights.
Oliver Ames, 94.5 @ Attleboro, 72.5 – Final
Oliver Ames, 92.5 @ Attleboro, 70.5 – Final
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming into Friday night’s game at the Pickering Gym, Stoughton had lost four games by seven or less points, struggling to find ways down the stretch to pull out wins. When North Attleboro climbed back to within five points in the fourth quarter, it looked like that may happen again for the Black Knights.
Instead of letting the game slip away, senior forward Val Whalen took over down the stretch. She scored 10 points, made 8-of-10 from the free throw line, and dominated the paint to help Stoughton close with a 17-6 run that sealed a 59-43 victory over North and ended the Black Knights’ winless start in the league.
“This is the best game of Val’s senior year so far and I know she’s going to continue to do great things,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “It was clutch. She stepped up to the line and knocked them down. Obviously, her offensive rebounds were important, but it was nice to see her do well from the free throw line.”
Whalen finished the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds, while also adding four assists and two blocks. North struggled to find an answer for the senior on either end of the floor.
“She’s a nightmare and causes a lot of problems,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “She can shoot a little bit and it drags you out and then you’ve got [Jordan] Motley to grab all the backside rebounds. So, you’ve really got to have two posts and if you don’t have two posts you’re always playing a matchup game.”
Stoughton took over on the boards right from the opening tap. Whalen pulled down nine rebounds in the first quarter and scored seven points, with both of her baskets coming on putbacks at the rim. Sophomore guard Aliyah Wright (13 points, nine rebounds) also chipped in with six in the first.
North tried to stay close with its perimeter game. Julia Feid (team-high 12 points) and Emily Haskell (eight points) each knocked down threes to keep North within seven (17-10) after one quarter.
The Rocketeers made only one shot from the floor in the second, but were managing to stay close thanks to 9-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. Stoughton’s aggressive defense was giving North free points, but sophomores Shyanne Trinh (14 points) and Mariah Harris (seven points) each hit threes to keep the Black Knights ahead.
With North hanging around, down just eight inside the final few seconds of the half, Trinh took off on a coast-to-coast run that ended with a layup and a 30-20 halftime lead, which left North’s bench frustrated.
“We did okay with our game plan, but they’re a good team, they’re battle-tested, and they’ve got some kids who’ve been on varsity for two or three years now,” said Herber.
Fouls continued to rack up for Stoughton in the second half. North shot 12 free throws in the third and reached the bonus before the end of the quarter. Feid scored on an offensive rebound to cut the lead back to 10 and Julia Santos (eight points, 11 rebounds) added a putback as well.
Heading to the fourth quarter, Stoughton’s lead, which had been as many as 13 was down to just seven.
“We were in foul trouble and that really hurt us,” said Steele Jordan, “but we’ve had several close ones that we needed just a little bit more and I think those games helped us in this instance.”
North continued to battle early in the fourth. Sophomore Eliza Dion (seven points) drove through the Stoughton defense for a layup that made it 40-35 and, after a pair of Whalen free throws, Haskell drove on the other side for a bucket that again got the Rocketeers within five points. It was as close as North would get.
Herber said, “They fight, they fight and that’s why I feel so bad for them because they do fight. We’ve been in the last couple of games but we just couldn’t get that big shot.”
Wright scored on a runner in the lane and found Whalen leaking out in transition for an easy basket to push the lead back to nine. Whalen grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Trinh for an open three that put Stoughton up by double digits and then Whalen sealed the win with six free throws in the closing minutes.
“They can do some things in the post that we didn’t have any answers for,” Herber admitted. “Whalen and Motley (14 rebounds) down the stretch really gave us problems and we tried to get them in foul trouble but couldn’t at the end.”
Steele Jordan said, “It’s tough. You have a few tough losses back-to-back, but I have a fantastic team and they work hard for me every day. They dug down, played solid ‘D’, and took their time on offense and it showed today.”
After earning its first win in the league, Steele Jordan is hoping that the team can build off this performance. She said, “They’re young, but they’re coming into their own, which is nice because you always worry about peaking too soon. I’m glad my team is starting to turn the wheels now and really get going.”
Stoughton (2-7, 1-5) will travel to Sharon on Tuesday night trying to make it two in a row in the Hock. North Attleboro (1-7, 0-6) will try to get its first win in the league on Tuesday at Milford.
Today’s games are listed below. Don’t forget, Player of the Week nominations are due by Saturday night. You can email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your pick or send it to us on social media. Make sure to include a reason why.
Milford, 48 vs. Bishop Stang, 60 – Final – Senior Andrew Fraioli scored a team-high 12 points but the Scarlet Hawks fell to unbeaten Bishop Stang in an exclusion game. Senior Kayden Kelley added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Milford.
Sharon, 47 @ Westwood, 59 – Final – Sharon senior Malik Lorquet led the Eagles with 16 points and was named to the Westwood Holiday All-Tournament team.
Stoughton, 54 vs. Natick, 74 – Final – Stoughton junior David Bell scored a team-high 18 points for the Black Knights, who fell in the championship game of the Randolph Blue Devils Holiday Classic. Seniors Cam Andrews and Colin Sanda were named to the all-tournament team.
Foxboro, 42 @ Coyle & Cassidy, 41 – Final – Lily Sykes knocked down a three-pointer inside the final 10 seconds to earn Foxboro the victory and a split of the season series with Coyle. Ashley Sampson was held scoreless in the first half but finished with a team-high 11 points and Shannon Smally added eight points in the win.
Stoughton, 49 @ Norwood, 32 – Final – Stoughton gathered a season-high 17 steals as a team and earned its first win of the season. Sophomores Shyanne Trinh and Aliyah Wright each scored 13 points for the Knights while senior Val Whalen had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Canton, 5 vs. Pembroke, 2 – Final
Foxboro, 3 vs. Christian Brothers Academy, 7 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Plymouth South, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames erased three one-goal deficits during the game but Plymouth South broke the 3-3 tie with a late goal. Junior Brett Williams scored twice for the Tigers while sophomore Jake Gottwald scored his first career goal.
Stoughton, 1 @ Taunton, 8 – Final – Taunton’s Will Walsh was involved in seven of the Tigers’ eight goals, scoring a hat trick and adding four assists in a non-league win. Trevor Pietrzyk also netted a hat trick along with three assists, Jake Roberts and Owen Ross each scored once and Brady Nichols had two helpers. Sean Bunker made 16 saves to earn the win in net.
Canton, 3 vs. Milton, 2 (OT) – Final – Canton erased a pair of one-goal deficits, tying the game 2-2 late in the third period. The game will go down as a tie for MIAA purposes, but to determine a tournament champion, the game went into overtime. Junior Maggie Malloy scored the game-winner to lift the Bulldogs to the title.
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 – Final
King Philip, 1 vs. Walpole, 8 – Final
Stoughton, 5 @ St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia, 2 – Final
King Philip @ Montachusett Tech, 10:00AM
Norton Quad (Mansfield, Taunton) – Mansfield picked up a pair of wins at the quad, including a big victory over the hosts. The Hornets’ Ethan Nirenberg (195) fought off his back for a minute to avoid being pinned, helping seal the win for Mansfield, 39-36, against the Lancers. Mansfield also beat Nauset, 34-10. Taunton dropped both of its matches, falling to Norton (51-6) and Nauset (34-30). Woudanly Danger (220) went 2-0 on the day for the Tigers while Eric Dacey (120), Austin MacArthur (126), Josh Grasso (138) and Mason Franklin (285) all picked up a win for Taunton.
Sharon Quad (Sharon) – Sharon split the day, picking up a win over Norwood (60-16) but falling to Mt. Hope (RI) (47-34).
Canton, 71 vs. Boston Latin, 56 – Final – Canton’s offense poured in 25 points in the first quarter, building a 15-point lead and never looking back against visiting Boston Latin. Senior Tony Harris scored a team-high 17 points and hauled in nine rebounds, setting a new program record for career rebounds. Senior Jake Verille added 14 points, junior Devin Foster had 13 points and senior Austin Maffie added 11 points.
Foxboro, 49 vs. Bethel Park, 37 – Final – Holding a two-point lead at halftime, Foxboro outscored Bethel Park 14-5 in the third quarter to create the necessary separation to get the win. Sophomore Brandon Borde scored nine of his 14 points in the crucial third quarter while senior Joe Morrison had five of his team-high 15 points. Bobby Harrison helped seal the win with nine of his 14 points in the final quarter. Foxboro will play Shaler Area High School (PA) in the championship round of its bracket at 12:30 on Friday at Disney.
Franklin, 48 vs. Arlington, 46 – Final – Franklin kept Arlington without a final point over the final two minutes and rattled off five straight points to turn a late deficit into a win. Senior Matt Elias (nine points) hit his first three of the game to tie it 46-46 and sophomore Chris Edgehill scored seven of his 14 points in the final quarter, including a pull-up up jumper late to give the Panthers the lead. Senior Paul Mahon (14 points) was named MVP of the tournament while Edgehill and junior Jalen Samuels were named to the all-tournament team.
Mansfield, 64 vs. BC High, 73 – Final – BC High outscored Mansfield 17-9 in the third quarter, including an 11-0 run to start the second half. Senior John McCoy scored a team-high 21 points while classmate Justin Vine added 12 points for the Hornets.
North Attleboro 53 vs. Reading, 32 – Final – Big Red set the defensive tone early, limiting Reading to just four points in the opening quarter and building a double-digit lead (27-16) by halftime. Junior Josh Montague netted 10 of his team-high 15 points in the first half to help create the lead. Junior Jake Petersen added a career-best 13 points, senior Chad Peterson hit three triples for nine points, and Derek Shanks scored seven points to go along with a strong defensive performance. North will play host Lincoln-Sudbury in the championship of the Warrior Slam on Friday night at 7:00.
Taunton, 79 @ Durfee, 70 – Final – Taunton overcame a woeful start (down 12-1) and a 26-point second quarter from Durfee with a strong second half to earn the win in the championship of the Skip Karam Tournament. Junior Lou Vendrell poured in a career-high 26 points, including 14 in the third quarter, to help the Tigers turn the game around. Sophomore Dante Law added a career-high 25 points while senior Lens Esquil, who was named tournament MVP, scored five of his 10 points in the final quarter to help seal the win.
Franklin, 40 @ Mansfield, 50 – Final – The Hornets took the lead with a 22-11 second quarter and held on for a double-digit win over their Kelley-Rex rival. Ann Maher finished with a team-high 14 points for Mansfield on four three-pointers. Maggie Danehy added nine points and eight rebounds in the win. Bea Bondhus was Franklin’s top scorer with 14 points and Breanna Atwood added seven.
Oliver Ames, 61 vs. Brockton, 47 – Final
Sharon, 59 @ Holliston, 62 – Final – Emma Eberhardt scored 24 points for the Eagles in the loss.
Stoughton, 36 @ Newton North, 40 – Final – Stoughton, which trailed by as much as nine, cut the deficit to just one late in the fourth quarter but Newton North held on for the win. Senior Val Whalen had 17 points and 13 rebounds while sophomore Aliyah Wright chipped in with 13 points.
Taunton, 46 vs. Durfee, 57 – Final – Lily Patneaude and Hannah Moniz each scored 14 points in the loss, while Kelsey White added eight points for the Tigers.
Franklin, 4 vs. LaSalle College, 2 – Final – Luke Downie scored a pair of goals to help the Panthers win their opener of the annual Mount St. Charles tournament. Joey Lizzotte and Zac Falvey also scored for Franklin.
North Attleboro, 8 vs. Cranston West, 4 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Ursuline, 0 – Final – Isabelle Shanteler scored a pair of goals and Catherine Luciano added one for the Warriors. Cate Gallagher earned the shutout in goal.
Lowell Holiday Tournament (Foxboro, Franklin, Stoughton), 9:00AM
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Sharon) – North Attleboro and Mansfield both had top-five finishes in the team standings while Oliver Ames had its best showing in program history at the tournament. North was fourth with 183 points while Mansfield took fifth overall with 180 points. OA scored 96.5 points, the most in program history at the Marshfield Tournament (now in its 31st year) to take 14th overall while Sharon took 16th with 65.5 points. The Rocketeers had nine grapplers place inside the top seven, led by Danny Cooper (120, 3-1 with one pin) and Jake Direnzo (126, 4-1) who each finished second. John Kummer (285) took third overall, Adam Eberle (160) and Brad White (195) each placed fourth, Ethan Smith (106), Zack Gould (145) and Reid Wills (160) all placed sixth and Mike Burns (132) was seventh in his bracket.
Mansfield had a strong day with three individual champions, just one of two schools to accomplish the feat. Antonios Sevastos earned up upset over the top seed, 5-4, to win the 113 bracket, Jayden Curley also took down the top-seed, 4-2, to earn the 160 title and Vinnie Holmes won 8-6 for the 182 championship. CJ Glaropoulos finished third at 138 and George Glaropoulos (152) and Will Stratton (132) each had fourth-place finishes for the Hornets.
Oliver Ames’ memorable day was sparked by a second place finish from Dean Pacini (195), who was edged out 4-2 in the final, and junior Anthony Berksza’s fourth-place finish at 145. Freshman Remy Creighton was seventh overall at 106 and Nick McGovern took eighth at 113. For Sharon, Sam Mandelbraut (132) was sixth, Tyler Cashton (152) took seventh and Matt Callan (145) finished eighth.
Attleboro, 85 @ Sharon, 65 – Final – Attleboro hit 10 three-pointers as a team and had six players reach double figures in a big win over Sharon. The Bombardiers held a 39-35 lead at halftime but opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to create separation. Attleboro outscored Sharon 23-9 in the third quarter. Attleboro senior Elvin Sam scored a career-high 17 points while sophomore Bryant Ciccio (seven assists) tied a career-high with 16 points for Attleboro. Dom Victor added 15 points while Qualeem Charles (seven rebounds), Nate Douglas, and Mason Houle each scored 10 points. Sharon senior Malik Lorquet led all scorers with 20 points.
Franklin, 52 @ Foxboro, 54 – Final – Foxboro led by six at halftime (31-25) and extended that lead to as much as 15 in the second half but had to survive a furious late rally by the Panthers. Foxboro led 42-32 going into the fourth quarter but a 7-0 run from the Panthers cut the deficit to just four, 51-47, with 47 seconds left. Bobby Harrison hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Matt Rongione scored a career-high 15 points for the Warriors while Joe Morrison added 12 points and sophomore Brandon Borde had nine points. Franklin sophomore Chris Edgehill had a game-high 17 points while junior Jalen Samuels added 15 points.
Mansfield, 85 @ Stoughton, 60 – Final – After a close first quarter, Mansfield exploded for 30 points in the second quarter to take a 51-28 lead at halftime. The Hornets had their best defensive quarter of the game in the third, limiting the Black Knights to eight points to pull away completely. Senior John McCoy (9-for-11) scored a team-high 23 points, hauled in 10 rebounds and had three blocks, Khristian Conner notched a career-high 17 points (on 8-for-13 shooting) with seven rebounds and Justin Vine added 16 points. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews scored a game-high 24 points for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 54 @ Milford, 56 – Final (OT) – Milford overcame a 12-point deficit in the final three minutes of the game to send the game to overtime, and then twice erased deficits in the extra period to earn the win. Milford junior Cam Falcon drained a three – his first career field goal – to give the Hawks the early lead in overtime. Taunton rattled off four straight to get the lead back, but two free throws from Milford put the Hawks up 53-52. Taunton scored again to take the but Milford once again sank two free throws to take the lead for good. Brendan White scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Hawks. Steve Sutherland added 12 points in the win for Milford. Taunton sophomore Dante Law scored a game-high 18 points while Lou Vendrell had 10 points for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 44 @ North Attleboro, 59 – Final – North Attleboro raced out to a 12-1 lead after one quarter and never looked back. Big Red took a 27-16 lead into halftime and a 36-28 lead into the fourth quarter. Chad Peterson finished with a team-high 13 points, including three triples in the third quarter. Matt Seavey added 10 points and Evan Rosenberg, Josh Montague, and Jake Peterson all had nine points for the Rocketeers. North head coach Sean Mulkerrins praised the defensive work of Derek Shanks. Jack Spillane led the Tigers with 17 points.
Sharon, 32 @ Attleboro, 48 – Final – Attleboro outscored the Eagles 14-3 in the third quarter to break the game open and earn its second straight victory. The Bombardiers were led by Sam Pierce’s 14 points and nine rebounds. Nyah Thomas added 12 points and nine boards and Jordyn Lake scored seven points, pulled down 10 boards, and dished out five assists in the win. Sharon was led by Emma Eberhardt and Evanjuline Elisma, who each scored 10 points.
Canton, 59 @ King Philip, 54 – Final – The Bulldogs scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to rally for a road win at KP, only taking their first lead in the final minute of the game. Hannah Jerrier had a double-double for Canton, scoring 21 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Erin Devine added 11 points and Maggie Connolly had 10 for the Bulldogs, who shot 15-of-19 from the line as a team.
Stoughton, 30 @ Mansfield, 61 – Final – The Hornets jumped out to an 18-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back to win a second straight game in the league. Meg Hill scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while blocking four shots. Ann Maher added nine points and Maggie Danehy had eight for Mansfield. Val Whalen scored 10 points and Shyanne Trinh had nine in the loss.
Milford, 59 @ Taunton, 44 – Final
North Attleboro, 31 @ Oliver Ames, 58 – Final – Oliver Ames’ defense limited North Attleboro to just 13 points in the first half, taking a 28-13 lead into the break and never looking back. Kayla Raymond led the Tigers with 24 points while Alex Sheldon scored 11 points and Ally Scolnick had eight points. Julia Feid scored a team-high 12 points for North Attleboro.
The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.
Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.
One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.
Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-14 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.
Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.
Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.
“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”
2016-2017 Record: 22-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal Coach: Lisa Downs
After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.
Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.
The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”
2016-2017 Record: 9-11 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.
The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.
Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.
“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.
King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.
Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.
Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”
2016-2017 Record: 20-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.
The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.
Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”
2016-2017 Record: 10-11 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.
The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.
Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.
Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”
Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.
The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.
The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.
North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 13-8 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.
The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.
In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.
“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.
Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.
Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.
Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”
The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.
Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.
Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-21 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.
The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.
Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.
Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”
With a relatively inexperienced roster, Franklin got off to a tough, 0-6 start during the 2016-2017 season, but the Panthers started to gel, went on a run to close out the year, and narrowly missed out on a playoff spot. One of the keys to that turnaround was the play of then-freshman center Ali Brigham, who displayed a range of moves in the post that belied her inexperience at the varsity level. She finished with 236 points as a freshman. Brigham was also a standout defender, blocking 56 shots as a rookie, and an imposing rebounder, pulling down 237 last year. The reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year is listed at 6-foot-3 this winter and has already been receiving Div. I college offers. She has the potential to be a dominant force in the paint for the Panthers, who are looking to challenge defending champ Mansfield for the Kelley-Rex title this season.
Sharon has a new coach and a new-look roster this winter, but the one mainstay for the Eagles is Emma Eberhardt. The junior wing was the team’s leading scorer in 2016-17, averaging more than 14 points per game, despite regularly facing the opposition’s best defender and constant double teams. Eberhardt was also one of Sharon’s top rebounders, using her size to make plays in the paint while having the range to step out and stretch the floor for first-year coach Sandra Lombardi’s offense. Eberhardt got off to an impressive start to this season, scoring 16 in a big win at Nipmuc to give her coach a winning start, and there is the potential for last year’s All-Underclassman Team performer to take another leap this season and become one of the league’s most consistent wing scorers.
The loss of point guard Jen Peel will be a tough one to overcome for Mansfield because of her ability to get the Hornets into their offensive sets and her ability to get the ball to senior center Meg Hill in good scoring positions. Hill, listed at 6-foot-3, can dominate the paint for Mansfield but will be counting on her teammates to get her touches in the post, so that she can show off her growing array of moves, including her improved range out to 8-10 feet. Hill, a HockomockSports.com First Team selection last year, is already second on Mansfield’s all-time list for rebounds and the all-time leader in blocks (with 293). The Stonehill University-commit added to those totals against Medfield in the season opener pulling down 10 boards and blocking three shots. If Hill can continue to improve and stay aggressive on offense, it could be the difference that earns Mansfield a third straight league title and possibly a return to the Div. 1 South final.
Milford reached the playoffs last winter for the first time since 2012 and nearly pulled off a first round upset at Marlboro. One of the keys to the resurgence for the Hawks has been point guard Kate Irwin, who has been a dynamic scorer and playmaker for Milford since she jumped onto varsity four years ago. The lefty has the quickness and the handle to get wherever she wants on the floor and combines strong finishing at the rim with the range to knock down shots from deep. This makes her a very tough cover and also opens space for her teammates. Milford has some experience on the roster, as many of the Hawks have been on varsity for several seasons, and a mix of shooters and versatile forwards that play to Irwin’s strengths. If Irwin can continue to develop into one of the league’s elite perimeter scorers (she averaged 16 points per game last year), then it could be a quick return to the postseason for Milford this winter.
One of the reasons for optimism for Canton this winter is the return of senior forward Hannah Jerrier, who was one of the league’s most consistent post scorers in 2016-2017, and was a potential double-double every night. Jerrier averaged 16.5 points per game last year and pulled down more than nine rebounds per night. Nine times last year, Jerrier scored more than 20 points in a game, despite being the main focus of every opponent’s defensive plan. With a quick first step, good size to shoot over defenders, and the tenacity to get the ball to the rim, Jerrier has become a standout on the offensive side of the floor and has also developed into a strong rim protector and elite rebounder for the Bulldogs. Her growth as a presence in the paint will be a key for Canton this winter as they seek a postseason berth.
King Philip will have a new coach this season, as Amy Siggens steps in for Martin Crowley, and the new coach will inherit a standout scorer on the perimeter in junior Shannon O’Connor, who has already committed to play for Boston University. O’Connor is coming off a HockomockSports.com Third Team and All-Underclassman Team season, averaging more than 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals per game for a very young Warriors team. A guard who can shoot off the dribble and who is fearless taking the ball to the basket, O’Connor also showed good vision to find open teammates. As the Warriors continue to gain experience, O’Connor’s playmaking ability will be a key to the offense clicking and after a strong AAU campaign, expectations are high that O’Connor will become one of the league’s most consistent perimeter scorers this year.
As she enters her fourth year on the varsity, senior forward Samantha Pierce will finally have the opportunity to the be the focal point of the Attleboro offense. Sharing shots with the likes of Emily Houle, Sarah Deyo, and Julia Strachan over the last few seasons, Pierce enters the winter as the top returning scorer for the Bombardiers and as a versatile piece of new coach Martin Crowley’s offense. While playing as a power forward, Pierce has the range to stretch defenses beyond the three-point line and can take bigger players off the dribble. She has also developed into a strong presence on the glass and will be a contender for a double-double every night. In addition to being the top offensive weapon for Attleboro, Pierce will also have to step into the leadership void for a team that is relatively inexperienced with a number of new faces throughout the roster. This could be a breakout season for the forward, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team as a sophomore.
For the past three seasons, since she broke out as a freshman for the Tigers, senior forward Kayla Raymond has made this site’s list of players to watch and has come into each of those seasons as a potential MVP or player of the year candidate. The Stonehill University-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with range out to the three-point line, the handle to take defenders off the dribble, and the size and length to finish at the rim. Raymond is arguably the best leaper in the league as well, making her not only a threat on offense but one of the league’s top rebounders and one of its best rim protectors. This winter, Raymond is listed as a forward/center for head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook and there is the potential for Raymond to spend more time in the paint than in years past. This could be a boost to her scoring, as she is tough to guard when close to the basket, but expect OA to try and move her around and get her the ball as often as possible. If Raymond can put together a season like she is capable of, then OA could be in the running for the Kelley-Rex title.
Reigning Hockomock League MVP and two-time HockomockSports.com First Team selection Ashley Sampson is hoping to lead Foxboro even further than last season’s trip to the TD Garden. With Sampson in the backcourt, the Warriors are among the team’s being talked about for a Div. 2 title. Sampson is a do-everything guard, who seems unstoppable when taking the ball to the basket. She finishes at the rim as well as anyone in the Hock and manages to get the ball to the hoop despite contact. Sampson, an Adelphi University-commit, is also an elite shooter with range beyond the arc and has been one of the team’s leading rebounders despite playing on the perimeter. Last year, she averaged 19 points and seven rebounds per game and was one of Foxboro’s top on-the-ball defenders, who has the size and speed to guard multiple positions. Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career and continuing to improve every season, Sampson has the potential to be one of the all-time greats for the Warriors and push Foxboro to even greater heights this winter.
Stoughton likes to grind teams down with pressure defense, aggressive play on the glass, and by getting out on the break and few players embody the style implemented by head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan than senior forward Val Whalen. The team’s leading scorer and rebounder from last season, Whalen was a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection by leading a very young Black Knights squad to within one win of the postseason. She averaged 13 points and nine rebounds per game last winter and every night had the potential to pull down a double-double. An athletic forward with long reach and the tenacity to go after every loose ball, Whalen will be counted on again to provide leadership for the still pretty young team. As her jump shot and finishing continue to improve, Whalen could become one of the league’s top post players this season and could be the key to helping Stoughton get back into the playoffs.