Boston High School: Brian Hershman

Div. 1 Boys: Franklin 67, Mansfield 61

March, 3, 2012

FRANKLIN, Mass. -- In a battle for the last shot at a packed Franklin High Field House Saturday, the Panthers' junior point guard Sam Bohmiller had the audacity and the talent to take it.

After trading leads the entire afternoon with their Hockomock division rivals, Bohmiller rolled off a pick and nailed an in-motion trey with 26 seconds left to push the sixth-seeded Panthers ahead by two, 63-61 and on way to a defeat of No. 14 seed Mansfield.

A steal from the junior on the next drive proved the final piece in a 67-61 victory for Franklin as the Panthers (19-3) advanced to the semifinals of the Division 1 South bracket to face second-seeded Madison Park (18-2) on Wednesday.

“I do not really feel pressure,” said Bohmiller. “I have been playing basketball my whole life and have been in this situation a lot. We set a high-ball screen and the center went under it so I was open.”

The winning tally came seconds after senior Brian Hershman had put the defending D1 South champion Hornets (15-8) up 61-60 off a foul line jumper. Working the clock, the Hornets found Hershman side-stepping up to the line where he faded away to hit only net.

Mansfield attacked the basket on its next drive, but turned the ball over for a pair of game-sealing free throws by Franklin senior Matt Pellegri.

“I said 'Lets get an easy basket and don't panic or rush',” said Hornets coach Mike Vaughan. “The gameplan coming in was to neutralize their pressure by extending possessions and making sure we got the best shot available.”

The teams traded runs most of the night as the two sides switch leads ten times in the final half.

A pair of top-line treys by senior Terence O'Mara helped give the Hornets a 42-35 margin midway through the third. However, a steal and five down low baskets by senior Jason Mckie pushed the Panthers back up 45-42 late in the third.

The lead would not spread beyond two scores for the remainder.

“There were not many easy shots,” said Franklin coach Dean O'Connor. “It was good they went to a zone because we got a lot of open shots. They played a box-and-one at times to take (Bohmiller) out of the game so other guys had to step up.”

McKie lead the Panthers in scoring with 20 points in the Franklins third victory over Mansfield, while Bohmiller tallied 18.

After dropping down 15-9 early off a 3-pointer from O'Mara, the Hockomock Kelley-Rex division champ Panthers scored 13 straight to jump ahead 21-15 midway through the second. Seven consecutive points from Hershman, including a behind-the-arc notch, helped the Panthers pull ahead 21-15.

“This is the third time we played them so we knew they were going to come in hungry,” said Bohmiller. “We had to match their intensity and top it.”

As the Panthers found short open shots against the Mansfield's 2-3 zone the lead spread to eight late in the half.

A top-line trey by O'Mara combined with three blocks prompted a nine-score run by Mansfield to send the Hornets into breaks up 29-28. With a team that was missing three starters from its championship run, the senior dominated both on and off the boards with a game-high 27 points and four 3-pointers.

“His name is not in the paper every game, but he is giving you a steady 25 minutes every night,” said Vaughan. “For a while we were not moving so we got him some touches inside and he finished. In (this) type of game it is just who hits a shot late.”

Franklin head coach Dean O'Connor passes along this year's boys basketball All-Stars for the Hockomock League.

Any all-star lists can be sent to either Brendan Hall ( or Scott Barboza (

MVP - Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
J.J. Jolaoso, Sr., Attleboro
Joe McCabe, Sr., Canton
Sam Bohmiller, Jr., Franklin
Joe Palazini, Sr., Franklin
John Mullane, Sr., King Philip
Brian Hershman, Sr., Mansfield
Michael Hershman, Soph., Mansfield
Nick Bruha, Sr., Oliver Ames
Andrew Reardon, Jr., Oliver Ames
Brian Mukasa, Soph., Sharon
Aaron Calixte, Jr., Stoughton
Marcus Middleton, Jr., Stoughton

Recap: No. 11 Mansfield 73, No. 2 Stoughton 66

January, 10, 2012

STOUGHTON, Mass. -- During the preseason, much of the talk within the Hockomock League circles surrounded two teams boasting talented individuals players -- King Philip and Maryland-bound stretch forward Jake Layman, along with Stoughton and their electric junior point guard Aaron Calixte.

All this, in spite of Mansfield's resume -- a Division 1 South title last March, some of the state's best coaching, and overall supremacy over the league the last few seasons.

Suffice it to say, after tonight there are no questions about who still reigns supreme in one of the MIAA's most competitive conferences. The Hornets dispatched KP to start the season; tonight, they knocked off recently-anointed No. 2 Stoughton, 73-66, after trailing by 13 headed into the final frame.

With the win, the Hornets run their league winning streak to 26 games, dating back to a loss to North Attleborough on Jan. 15, 2010.

"I told my guys, we're not going down without a fight," Hornets head coach Mike Vaughan said. "That's a great team. We had to play a lot of outstanding basketball for a lot of time, just to get ourselves back in the game.

"I like that team a lot. They compete, they play hard. We had to make some big plays down the stretch, and we weren't going down without a fight."

Down 58-45 headed into the final frame, the Hornets (5-3) strung together a series of big plays for an impressive 21-0 run that put the clamps on any Stoughton comeback, after the Black Knights (6-1) led for the first 24 minutes.

It started with some terrific play around the glass from freshman forward Brendan Hill (16 points, six rebounds, two blocks), and stiff defense on the perimeter from Ryan DeAndrade and Michael Hershman. The Hornets seized the lead with some heady play by senior captain Brian Hershman (15 points). First, the guard stole a loose ball near midcourt that had Calixte (28 points, eight assists) initially lost control of, driving in for an easy layup to tie it at 58 apiece.

The next trip down, Mansfield took the lead for good with a perfectly-executed backdoor play right through the heart of Stoughton's 3-2 zone. A high entry pass was dumped into the elbow to Hill, who took one touch and immediately slapped it back out to the three-point line on the right wing. From there, Brian immediately fired a diagonal pass to the opposite post, where Greg Romanko cut down the baseline for a wide-open layup and 60-58 score.

The Hornets never trailed again.

"Every day in practice, we go through a zone," Brian said. "We run a certain play, we swing it, then look for back cuts, anything that's open, take a layup."

Interestingly enough, Brian threw the same pass two possessions earlier, only to have it stolen by Calixte.

"I'd throw that pass 10 times, make it nine times," Brian said.

From there, the Hornets were able to make all their requisite late free throws to ice this one. In all, they made 13 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter; and in total, they outscored the Black Knights 28-8 in the final frame.

"It's kind of an age-old story of we gave in, in a lot of different ways, to pressure, mentally and physically," Stoughton head coach John Gallivan said. "We just had an internal collapse across the board. We didn't want to do the things we normally do. We had guys hiding from the ball, just dying to get rid of it, and we missed some shots we didn't hit, and all of a sudden we haven't scored in five minutes. You can't do that against a Mansfield team."

Hill 'the real deal': Coaches and players both within the Hornets program and around the Hockomock are already speaking highly of the freshman Hill, who came off the bench and provided the needed spark in the fourth quarter. When they speak of his potential, they're talking about plays like the one he made early in the fourth quarter, a block of the physical Calixte as he crossed up his defender and drove to his right towards the basket -- a clean block but one that nonetheless planted the Division 1 guard prospect square on his behind on the floor.

"He's gonna be a special player," Vaughan said. "He's still learning varsity basketball, and what it takes to play at this level. He got beat up pretty early for a couple of quarter there, and I called him out at halftime. To start the fourth, he showed what kind of a special player he's going to be the next four years and the type of plays he can make for this team."

Brian Hershman takes the praise just a tad further.

"He's gonna be the deal," Brian said. "Give him another two years, he's gonna be one of the best players in the state. He's already showing it right now. He's dominating.

"He sees the floor tremendous. You see his passes, no-look passes, he finishes down low, [he can] do it all."

Chess match: Vaughan showered praise upon Calixte, calling the electric junior "fun to watch", even admitting that sometimes, "I get caught up watching on the sidelines."

Asked about devising a game plan to slow him -- the junior sizzled slightly in the second half, finishing 10 of 23 from the field -- Vaughan chuckled.

"Throw the house at him?" he asked rhetorically, with a laugh. "The house, the garage, the cars, everything. I mean, we did everything we could to neutralize him, and he's...just special. He made big play after big play, and that's the way he'll do it all year, and that's how he's done it up to this point."

Lately, Gallivan has been adding a new ripple to the Black Knights' offense when opponents key on Calixte. Last Friday night against Oliver Ames, a 63-44 win, Calixte went to the blocks and posted up whenever the Tigers came out in a box-and-one defense. Tonight, a similar strategy played out, with Calixte drawing fouls on the floor against DeAndrade when he went to the blocks.

On the other end, Gallivan has been experimenting with putting Antonio Ferreira at the top when in zone defenses. The sparky Ferreira -- whose one-handed slam lifted the crowd to end the third quarter -- could be a nuisance in this look, with his long arms able to disrupt the passing lanes while hustling back quick enough to crash the boards.

When we last checked in with the tattooed one (nicknamed "Nuke", and equipped with his own special chant from the student section) during the preseason, Gallivan told, "He’s playing with unbelievable passion and confidence...He’s about 6-2, but he plays like he’s 6-6."

"We'll throw stuff against the wall and see [what sticks]," Gallivan said of the strategies with Calixte and Ferreira. "In a game like this -- especially with Mike Vaughan coaching the other team -- if you stay in anything too long, they're eventually going to rip you to pieces. You've got to mix things up."

Recap: No. 14 Mansfield 59, No. 6 KP 50

December, 20, 2011

WRENTHAM, Mass. -- Mansfield entered last night's showdown against Hockomock League Kelley-Rex Division rival King Philip with a clear focus -- control the boards, or else.

The Hornets did precisely that, executing coach Mike Vaughan's gameplan to near perfection. The margin wasn't huge but eight offensive boards helped a ton as No. 14 Mansfield held off the sixth-ranked Warriors for a 59-50 victory Tuesday night.

"We came into the game and said the one focus point was rebounding," said Vaughan. "If we didn’t rebound we were going to lose the game. I thought early on we set a huge tone that we were going to rebound the basketball."

That rebounding played a major role in the first half. Mansfield (2-0, 2-0 Hockomock Kelley-Rex) struggled to an 0-for-8 shooting start and watched the Warriors (1-1, 1-1) build a quick 6-0 lead before Greg Romanko knocked down a 3-pointer to get the Hornets on the board.

KP would extend its lead to 12-6 before the Hornets' board work sparked a 12-0 run, highlighted by three-pointers from senior captains Terence O'Mara (12 points, nine rebounds) and Brian Hershman (12 points, seven boards). The Warriors fought back, retaking the lead at 21-20 on a triple by Maryland-bound senior Jake Layman (game high 28 points, 10 rebounds). But sophomore Michael Hershman (nine points) answered with a three of his own, and Mansfield scored the final eight points of the half to go into the break with a 28-21 advantage.

With a talented player such as the 6-foot-8 Layman on the floor, Mansfield figured they were going to have to withstand a run at some point; and the future Terrapin found his stroke in the third. He scored all 14 of the Warriors' points in the frame, on a pair of three's, three more buckets and two free throws. The last foul shot cut the gap to one point (36-35) and the Hornets appeared to be in trouble.

"We just have to keep playing hard and sticking with our game," O'Mara said when asked about weathering the storm. "If that's what gets us in the lead then thats whats going to keep us there."

About dealing with Layman when he's in a rhythm, O'Mara added, "You just have to try and do the best you can. He's going to win some of the battles so you have to try to win the ones you can, instead of outplaying him."

Mansfield indeed held firm against what Vaughan referred to as "The Layman Show," regained its composure, and closed out the third with hoops by Brendan Hill and O'Mara sandwiched around a big 3-pointer from Brian Hershman.

"I thought in the third quarter when we got a little tired and a little foul trouble, I thought that they might get over the hump and we were going to have to fight from behind a little bit just because at that point it was the Layman show," admitted Vaughan. "We stuck with the gameplan and got a few defensive stops and that was the difference.

KP got no closer than four points from that point on as the Hornets hit most of their free throws and forced several bad possessions to walk away victorious.

"I think they outworked us. I think it's plain and simple," surmised KP coach Sean McInnis. "They just play good hardnosed basketball and they outworked us. Some of our bigs took a beating from little guards tonight. They did a nice job We had a little bit of a problem matching up here and there with them but I just think, give Mansfield all the credit on this one."

No. 9 Mansfield stays perfect in the Hock

February, 16, 2011
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Franklin boys basketball coach Dean O’Connor, livid over a non-call under the basket on a blocked shot by Mansfield’s Michael Lofton Tuesday night, turned his attention away from the officials and he and Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan exchanged a loud, bitter shouting match from their respective coaching boxes.

After the handshake line, O’Connor, still upset over the officiating, told Vaughan, “The free throws must have been 30 to 10 (in Mansfield’s favor).”

Replied Vaughan: “Oh, yeah?”

Translation: “Neat stat. I like the one on the scoreboard better though.” That one read Mansfield 64, Franklin 57, as the Hornets (16-2) remained perfect in the Hockomock League with a 13-0 mark and Franklin dropped to 12-7 overall and 7-6 in the league.

In O’Connor’s defense, his estimates weren’t far off, as Mansfield shot 24 free throws to Franklin’s 10, and he absolutely had a case on the non-call in question that set off the argument around the scorer’s table.

But on a night when Franklin senior Kyle Gibson became the school’s 11th 1,000-point scorer and just the fifth boy to do so -- on Senior Night, no less -- it was the unselfish play of the Hornets’ upperclassmen that staved off a Panther run to start the fourth quarter and finish off a dogged effort by the hosts.

“You come over here, it’s a great atmosphere,” Vaughan said. “It’s a good crowd; it’s Senior Night. You’ve got to kind of battle through a lot of tough possessions. They’re well-coached and they play hard. And this is the hardest place to play in the league I think.”

Leading the way for Mansfield was Lofton, a senior captain who poured in 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Also reaching double-figures in scoring were senior Christopher Johnson (11 points, seven rebounds, two assists) and junior Brian Hershman (15 points), while senior Joseph Gracia had nine points on a trio of 3-pointers.

Perhaps the player most indicative of the Hornets’ play was co-captain Jeff Hill, who only had four points, but made five assists and four blocks, including two big ones down the stretch that helped secure the win. Mansfield routinely made the extra pass to get open looks and assisted on 14 of their 20 made field goals.

“That’s the way we’ve been able to play the last couple of years,” Vaughan said. “We’ve got a lot of different guys that can score, a lot of different guys that can play. Tonight’s no different: different guys making different plays on different nights. And that’s why we like to throw extra passes and get extra guys (involved). We feel an unchallenged shot from a little less shooter is better than a challenged shot from our best scorer.”

“We like to have everyone get touches and get everyone involved in the game early so we can have a good start and finish the game out with a win,” Lofton said.

With his team trailing by 10 points, Gibson (22 points, 15 rebounds) laid in a baby hook and was fouled, leaving him at 999 points with a chance to hit the milestone on the charity stripe. He swished it, and the game was stopped for a moment to acknowledge the accomplishment, and it seemed to give life to the Panthers, who were able to slice the deficit down to three points going into the fourth quarter.

“It’s a great opportunity for me. I’m very lucky to play with these teammates,” Gibson said, although noting that losing the game was a “buzz-kill” to surpassing the mark. “They’ve been great all three years I’ve been on the team. It was great. So it was very deserving to get it on Senior Night.”

The momentum carried into the fourth quarter, where sophomore point guard Sam Bohmiller (10 points) had six points in an 8-2 run that had the Panthers ahead, 47-44.

But the Hornets quickly wrested the lead right back on a Gracia triple off a Johnson assist, who then made a steal and layup to push the lead to 50-47. Gracia then found Lofton inside, who laid it in and cashed in on the foul on the shot.

The Panthers were able to slice the deficit down to two and three points but never tied or led the rest of the way, as Mansfield made 9-of-11 from the line in the fourth quarter and Lofton flushed a one-handed jam off an inbounds pass to punctuate the win.

“We just had to gut this one out,” Lofton said. “It was a good win.”

No. 11 Mansfield stays hot, cools No. 19 Franklin

January, 30, 2011
MANSFIELD, Mass. -- The highly-anticipated matchup between two top-20 teams in this week’s poll went No. 11 Mansfield High’s way, as the Hornets remained red hot with a 71-66 win over No. 19 Franklin Sunday evening at James Albertini Memorial Gym.

The victory was the eighth straight for the Hornets, who had already secured a spot in the MIAA Division I South Sectional Tournament after a 62-34 win over Sharon Friday night.

“Our defense has been the best since I got here,” said Mansfield head coach Michael Vaughn, whose team has yielded an average of just 44 points per game during the win streak. “Early on [this season] you couldn’t have said that. But the team has worked hard and gets rebounds and gets blocked shots when they need to.”

The effort was almost for naught, as the Hornets (12-2, 9-0) had to hold off a rally by the Panthers in the closing minutes, mainly because of some dismal foul shooting. With a chance to put the game away, Mansfield (who shot 19-for-34 from the foul line for the game) instead allowed Franklin to hang around because of a 3-for-10 effort at the line down the stretch.

“I thought we played to not lose instead of to win,” said Vaughn. “You can’t go up by 14 points and then shoot like that at the line down the stretch. I don’t know if we froze there at the end and let them hit a couple of 3’s, but we knew Franklin wouldn’t go away.”

Mansfield was paced by Chris Johnson’s 16 points, but it was senior Michael Lofton who controlled the game, posting a triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Terrence O’Mara (11 points), Brian Hershman (10) and Joe Gracia (9) rounded out a balanced scoring attack that saw eight players score at least six points.

“They were mentally exhausted at the end,” Vaughn said. “They executed the game plan and competed out there. Some things didn’t go the way we wanted at the end, and it almost came back to cost us.”

Franklin (11-3, 7-2) lost for the third time in five games. The Panthers did break a two-game losing streak with a pair of wins over Sharon (76-49) and Canton (71-51) earlier this week, but couldn’t crack the Mansfield defense. Kyle Gibson led the way with 21 points, Tyler Kessler added 11 and Tim Garvey contributed 10. The team will have little time to think about the loss, as they face King Philip Tuesday, followed by a rematch with Stoughton Friday night. The Panthers won the first contest in overtime, 79-78, on Dec. 21.

The Hornets remained undefeated in league play with the win, and they haven’t lost since a 53-51 setback to Brockton Jan. 4. But the schedule down the stretch is tough as the team looks to complete an undefeated season in league play, including three road games and contests remaining against the big four – North Attleboro (Tuesday), at King Philip (Friday), Attleboro (Feb. 11) and at Franklin (Feb. 15).

“We have to stay focused at the job at hand and the kids can’t settle,” said Vaughn. “The league title is still on the line, and we have those big four games left. We need to take care of what is in front of us, compete every night and put ourselves in a position to win every night. The job is to get into the tournament, get a home game and see what we can do when we are playing at a high level.”

BABC: No. 6 New Bedford cranks up the 'D'

December, 28, 2010
CHELSEA, Mass. -- In preparation for No. 6 New Bedford's game, Whalers head coach Tom Tarpey stressed the need for his team to have the ability to overcome adversity, as they hadn’t had to show much against the three teams they had already faced this season.

At the ever-competitive BABC Holiday Classic though, Mansfield would show to be a worthy adversary. Still, New Bedford pulled off a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to come back and defeat Hornets, 66-62.

“We’ve been talking the past few days about handling adversity,” said Tarpey. “We were down; the kids did a great job, turned it up defensively. They hung in there, kept battling. I think we might have run them down a little bit in the fourth quarter.”

Although New Bedford was undefeated coming into today’s matchup (now 4-0), the team had yet to see the kind of talent they saw tonight according to players and coaches, so they had to adjust to the skill level. But their defensive prowess (9 steals on the day, 6 in the second half) helped them down the stretch to pull together a comprehensive comeback and stave off a last-minute comeback.

“Fast break points kept us in the game,” said Jonathan Fortes, who scored four of his 11 points on that 15-0 run, including a breakaway dunk. “We went hard on the defensive end of the floor and it paid off. We focused on the defense and the offense took care of itself.”

Trailing by four at the half, New Bedford was able to stay in the game by tying up the score at 47-all to begin the fourth quarter. The score was 55-49 with 6:10 left after Mansfield’s Brian Hershman (17 points, 5 assists) hit a pair of technical fouls shots and then a 3-pointer on the next possession.

Tarpey called a timeout and that's when it became clear to junior Cameron Walker (13 points, 3 assists, 2 steals) that his team could win. After analyzing a matchup between the two teams, Walker saw the potential for the Whalers to capitalize on it.

“We could tell they were really tired and we weren’t, so we decided that we’d work together and play great defense,” said Walker. “But it definitely started with our stamina. We reached into ourselves and decided that we were going to work hard enough to get the win, and that’s exactly what we did.”

After scoring 15 unanswered points following the aforementioned timeout, including four apiece from junior Fortes and senior Ray Guillotte (9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists), Mansfield had shots, but those shots were contested on every possession.

New Bedford was simply more aggressive, insistently pursuing a win, and it became difficult for the Hornets (2-1) to score.

“I don’t think we made any adjustments defensively,” added Walker. “We just dug into ourselves and decided that we were going to step it up. We had that defense in all along; we just didn’t play it in the first half.”

NOTE: The broadcast of New Bedford's battle with No. 1 St. John's Prep at the BABC on Wednesday will streamed live by New Bedford High School's WIMC-TV online here.