CANTON, Mass. – Stoughton used a pair of small runs to open and close the fourth quarter to pick up a 59-52 road win over Canton on Tuesday night.
The Black Knights used a 7-0 run over the first minute and a half of the final period to gain some separation and after the Bulldogs closed the gap to the game, Stoughton finished the game on an identical run to shut the door.
“We’ve had two games before this and now tonight where it came down to making some plays in the fourth quarter,” Stoughton head coach John Gallivan said. “We talked for a couple days how it could have gone differently, what you need to do to gut it out when you don’t have your A game. There’s a lot of nights where we don’t have it but it was there tonight.”
A steal from Stoughton junior Xavier Rashid led to a layup to open the fourth and break the tie. Junior Matt Valle hit a pair of free throws on the next trip down and sophomore Cam Andrews, who scored a game-high 23 points, put an exclamation point on the run with a three to put the Black Knights up 50-43 with 6:26 to go.
The Bulldogs valiantly battled back starting with a Tony Harris bucket off an assist from Ben O’Neill. Canton got a stop on the defensive end and freshman Devin Foster (11 points, nine rebounds) drained a three. Harris then cleaned up his own miss to tie the game with 4:34 to play.
The teams traded baskets over the next two minutes with Stoughton junior Cam Gomes (12 points, seven rebounds) getting one in close only to have Woanyen Mahn connect on a pair free throws to tie it back at 52 with 2:34 left.
With just seconds left on the shot clock on Stoughton’s next possession, junior Matt Valle (10 points) drained a corner three to give the Black Knights the momentum. A missed free throw on the front of a one and one gave Stoughton the ball back and Andrews sliced through the lane for a bucket to go up five. Canton had a three rim out and a shot in the line hit the iron while Stoughton missed the front end of a pair of one and one chances. Valle ended two free throws in the final seconds to secure the win.
“Valle made some plays, Elson [Lopes] and X had some big steals,” Gallivan said. “Cam Gomes had some terrific post moves. Brandon [Teixeira] didn’t score a lot tonight but he had rebounds, deflections and did a lot of the little things right.”
It was a fast and furious opening quarter, the teams trading the lead back and forth with almost every return trip up court. Jared Costa-Haywood found Jared Maher for a corner three to tie the game 8-8 and Gomes finished the quarter off with four straight points.
Stoughton stretched its lead to start the second quarter with four straight points from Andrews, a free throw from Gomes and two more from Andrews to push the lead to 19-8. Canton replied with a run of its own with five from Foster, a free throw from Harris (22 points, seven rebounds), a layup from Jake Verille and then tied the game on a three point play from Mahn. Harris followed up a miss to beat the buzzer and give Canton a 26-24 lead at halftime.
Andrews took over in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his 23 points in the frame. An early steal led to a layup, he then broke a tie game with a layup plus the harm, sinking his free throw. Canton held a three point led with a minute to go in the third before Andrews hit a pair of free throws and then hit nothing but net on a three to give Stoughton a 43-41 lead.
“It almost seemed like more, when the game is so low scoring and a kid gets half of your points,” Gallivan said of Andrews. “It’s nice when teams have to choose their poison and have to try and take away Brandon [Teixeira] or Cam and it’s hard to take two guys away.”
Teixeira got the focus of Canton’s defense for the majority of the game with his lone points coming early in the second half on a three point play. But Teixeira led the game in rebounds (12) and assists (7) to leave his mark on the game.
“He almost got a double-double without the scoring,” Gallivan said. “He’s the kind of kid who doesn’t care if he scores or someone else does, he just wants to win the game. I thought it was a typical Canton-Stoughton game, it was hard game to win.”
Despite just two turnovers in the final quarter. Canton shot 3/13 from the field while Stoughton was 5/10.
“Execution down the stretch, we talked about it at practice and we talked about it tonight,” Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said. “We had some opportunities to execute on some important possessions that we didn’t execute on. We had a young lineup out there so part of that is youth so I’m hoping we can learn from it and continue to progress and grow.”
Stoughton boys basketball (7-12) will close out its 2016 season by hosting rival Oliver Ames on Monday at 6:30. Canton (2-16) is back in action on Wednesday against Archbishop Williams before closing the season with a trip to Milford on Monday.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.