BOSTON -- Mansfield basketball outscored BC High 21-6 in the third quarter Sunday afternoon and weathered the Eagles’ comeback attempt on their way to a 69-57 win.
No. 3 BC High outscored the No. 6 Hornets 25-19 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to close the Hornets’ 18-point lead inside of McNeice Pavillion.
“We started to move the ball with more efficiency and getting it to the right guys,” Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said. “That’s an extremely quick team. It took us a little while to get used to that. You don’t have to play at the same speed they are. I think we ended up getting the ball in the right places and the right people. Clearly, when you can knock down threes the way we did tonight, it helps.”
Senior Greg Romanko had 18 points and 11 rebounds (4 offensive) and sophomore Ryan Boulter added 18 points on six 3-pointers.
Mansfield, as a team, converted 12 threes on 29 attempts from behind the arc. They spread out four players around the perimeter and parked another at the high post. Their ability to move the ball and successful shooting were key offensively.
“We just tried to spread the floor,” Vaughan added. “It’s just guys making the proper pass.”
The Eagles’ fourth-quarter comeback attempt was led by junior guard Tom Galanek, who notched all seven of his points in the final frame, and assisted on two other 3-pointers. Senior captain Pete Timmins finished with 10 points and senior Brian Robinson also added 10 along with seven rebounds.
The Hornets (4-0) were able to keep BC High (2-1) backcourt tandem of Jameilen James (4 points) and Charles Collins (4 points) in check behind strong defense from Rocky DeAndrade and Michael Boen.
Mansfield sophomore Brendan Hill helped spark the Hornets’ big third quarter. After sitting for the majority of the first half after picking up two early fouls, Hill filled the role on the high post and kept BC High’s defense honest and his crisp distribution allowed for open threes.
“He’s a unique player that’s a tough match up because he’s a bigger kid that can pass the ball so well,” Vaughan said. “He’s played in four games and he’s been in foul trouble in all four. Hopefully I can get his defensive mind in the same set as his offensive mind.”
The Eagles opened the game with the lead at 2-0 and again took the lead at 4-2, but never led in the game again. A Romanko three, moments before the halftime buzzer, gave Mansfield a 29-26 lead at the break.
As BC High cut the lead to single digits, it looked as though that had forced a turnover, but a tipped pass high into the air landed in the hands of Mansfield Kyle Wisnieski, who found a wide open Hill for a two-handed slam that extended the Hornet’s lead back to 10.
Vaughan thought Romanko struggled through the first three games of the season because of the pressure he was putting upon himself.
So before Sunday’s game with BC High, Vaughan had a simple message for the 6-foot-4 senior captain: Just play.
Romanko went back to basics and it worked, as he scored a season-high 18 points, including a flashy put-back layup late in the third quarter that gave the Hornets a 17-point lead.
“He played great,” Vaughan said. “He’s leading our team in rebounds and in blocked shots. Defensively, he’s playing tremendous so he’s doing everything we’re asking him, too. He’s struggling because of his shot but he doesn’t realize he’s helping us on the other end. Tonight, he finally got a little bit of rhythm scoring and it made a big difference.”
As for sophomore Ryan Boulter, letting loose and shooting hasn’t been a problem so far this young season. It’s the third time in four games that Boulter has led the team in scoring.
Boulter was 6 of 13 from beyond the arc, accounting for half of Mansfield’s threes -- more attempts than BC High took as a team.
“He’s an unbelievable shooter,” Vaughan said. “He’s an exciting player because he changes the way your team can play and the way other teams have to defend him.”