MANSFIELD, Mass. –- One of the greatest rivalries in the Hockomock League added another chapter on Saturday, with Mansfield getting the better of Franklin 57-48 in overtime in the MIAA Division 1 quarterfinals.
Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan and Franklin head coach Dean O’Connor have been on the same staff and both work at the Mass Premier Courts. The program’s familiarity with each other is apparent. They split the season series with each team winning at home and it’s the second straight year the teams have met in the playoffs.
Both sides had answers for one another throughout the game, but in overtime, Mansfield took over.
The Hornets outscored the Panthers 11-2 in the extra period, behind 5 points from point guard Rocky DeAndrade. With Mansfield up 51-48 in the overtime, DeAndrade took an inbounds pass and calmly drained a three to extend their lead to 6.
“He’s been so steady all year just making big plays,” Vaughan said. “The last two games, he’s carried this team just making big baskets. Probably a bigger basket than the three was the pull up he had when we were down 3.”
DeAndrade was key in keeping Mansfield alive in the fourth, chipping in six of his game-high 21 in the fourth quarter. After Franklin point guard Sam Bohmiller hit three foul shots to give the Panthers a 45-42 lead, DeAndrade responded with a pull up jumper to bring the Hornets within one with just over a minute remaining.
“That doesn’t go, they get the ball and now you’re done three with a minute and a half,” Vaughan said. “He makes it, now we’re down one and you live another possession defensively you can stay aggressive.”
It worked as Mansfield came up with a stop. DeAndrade took it to the hoop himself and used a Rajon Rondo-esq fake before laying it in for an easy two to give Mansfield a 46-45 lead with 50.6 seconds to go.
“Rocky was the MVP of that game,” O’Connor said. “He made every big shot and that was the difference.”
Franklin had a chance to end the game in regulation, but their shot from the field missed. Panther junior Pat O’Reilly came up with the offensive board and was fouled doing so. With 6.1 seconds left on the clock, O’Reilly missed the first attempt but banked home the second to tie the game at 46.
Mansfield gave the ball to Brendan Hill, but the sophomore’s jumper was short and the fourth quarter ended in deadlock.
“They defend as good as anyone we’ll ever play,” Vaughan said. “They’re one of the special defensive teams in our division. Every basket is a grind, they don’t give up a lot of second chance points. Our guys stayed with it and battled through it.”
Mansfield took an 11-9 lead after the first quarter after Hornet sophomore Michael Boen came up with an offensive rebound and put back before the buzzer. Franklin’s Chris Rodgers' drive and layup tied the game at 22 just before the halftime break. Mansfield regained the lead after three in similar style they did in the first. Kevin Conner came up with an offensive board and laid it back in before the buzzer to give Mansfield 36-34 edge after three.
But after another nail biter of a fourth quarter, Mansfield persevered in overtime and advanced to the next round.
“We felt like they haven’t been in a lot of close games so if we could be in it late, we could have a good chance,” O’Connor said. “We had a couple of chances to increase the lead to four with some open looks at three. We went cold.”
The Panthers didn’t score a field goal in the overtime and added just two free throws.
“I can’t be mad,” O’Connor added. “We played a hell of a game. I think they have a little more talent than us and we just wanted to out-will them.”
Mansfield will now advance to Tuesday's D1 South Semifinals, at UMass-Boston's Clark Athletic Center, where they will face Brookline.
BITTERSWEET END FOR A STAR
For four years, Sam Bohmiller has been an outstanding player for Franklin High School. The senior point guard comes up short of 1,000 career points and a state title, but his career has been nothing short of tremendous.
Bohmiller scored a team-high 19 points in the loss to Mansfield, despite constant defensive pressure and double-teams.
“We’ve had a lot of good players and Sam is right up there with any of them,” O’Connor said. “He’ just a great kid. I’m going to miss just having him around, never mind basketball. He played his heart out. He doesn’t come out and that was pretty much the whole season, he’s an iron man. He had a hell of a career.”
Opposing coaches won’t miss having to come up with defensive game plans to contain Bohmiller, but know just how important he was to this Franklin team.
“Talk about a special player for four years,” Vaughan said. “A unique player for this league, someone who was fun to watch. He did it without a lot of the game and a lot of the talk. He had to unfortunately follow in the shoes of Jake Layman and Aaron Calixte, but what an outstanding player he is.”