SHARON, Mass. -- Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said it best when describing junior Ryan Boulter.
"For him, every look he gets at the basket is a good look, whether he's covered or not."
After Sharon made it a five point game after being down as much as 14 in the second half, Boulter stepped up and nailed a three with a hand right in his face to put Mansfield up 71-63 and the Hornets never looked back, taking down Sharon 80-68 in a New Year's Eve matinee game.
Boulter scored 21 of his game-high 28 points in the second half and after attempting just three three-pointers in the fist half, Boulter went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in the second half.
"He's an animal," Mansfield point guard Rocky DeAndrade said.
Boulter was 7-of-9 from the field in the second half and when DeAndrade was asked whether there is any doubt that Boulter should have taken the contested shot, he was quick to answer.
"No doubt at all," he said. "I have full trust in Ryan. When he gets the ball and he's going to make a move and shoot, I know theres a good chance its going to go in. We trust in Ryan's ability to create for himself. We run plays for him but if he's gotta do it himself, he can do it."
The Hornets got off to a very hot start, shooting over 70 percent from the floor and took a 29-17 lead after the first quarter, but Sharon responded in the second quarter, outscoring the Hornets 18-13 to go into halftime down 42-35.
"In the first quarter, I was actually shocked how efficient we were on offense," Vaughan said. "We scored in different ways -- foul shots, three's, got to the rim -- but we were kind of doing a little bit of everything we wanted. They came back and delivery a second punch and I think we absorbed it through the first half and I think the second half was similar to that -- we absorbed their punch and did what we needed to do defensively."
Mansfield extended their lead to 56-42 midway through the third quarter, but Sharon took their turn on offense, closing out the quarter 13-7 in their favor.
The Eagles opened the fourth quarter on an 8-3 run, and a Jordan Mello-Klein three-pointer made it a four point game at 67-63.
"I can't say I was surprised knowing that Jimmy [Fritzson] and Brian [Mukasa] can put up points quick, but obviously it came quick," DeAndrade said of their lead evaporating.
Mansfield was able to respond with free throw from Boulter and then his dagger three deflated Sharon.
"We withstood a run in the fist half from them, we withstood a run in the second half from them," said Sharon head coach Bruce Jackman. "I think the turning point was in the fourth quarter when we had five possessions and never got a shot off. We turned it over a couple of times -- we just got nothing out of it and then they came down and just buried a three. It went from like four to seven and it was just awful after that. We just really ran out of gas."
Beyond Boulter's 28 points, junior Michael Boen added 18 points and nine rebounds, and DeAndrade -- who was celebrating his birthday -- added 15 points.
For Sharon, Fritzson had a team-high 19 points while Earl Dessesaure had 15 points and eight rebounds, Mello-Klein added 14 points and Mukasa finished with 13 points.
Mansfield improves to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Hockomock play and will host Oliver Ames on Friday. Sharon's first loss drops them to 4-1 and 2-1 in league play and will travel to North Attleboro on Friday.