Boston High School: Franklin
Here are some of the highlights from the first-ever Hock Media Day:
Attleboro captains (L-R) Kyle Murphy and Brendan Massey building potential D1 interest pic.twitter.com/BIBhPrAtcV— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) August 13, 2014
Returning All-State TE Brendan Hill of Mansfield (L) says he has been cleared for contact pic.twitter.com/2YXazCN2Z6— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) August 13, 2014
3. Check out the detail on these sweet new Oliver Ames' units ... pic.twitter.com/d2oie9cIlG— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) August 12, 2014
Stoughton should be one of the favorites in the Davenport pic.twitter.com/p30mtLrPoX— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) August 13, 2014
The Red Rocketeers (18-3) advanced to their first Division 1 South sectional final in program history with a 5-1 win over the Panthers in an all-Hockomock semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Jack Tripp Field.
“We didn’t strikeout many times. She’s the strikeout queen, Gatorade Player of the Year and we only struck out twice so we’ll take the good points,” said Franklin coach Kate Fallon. “We put the ball in play. It just stunk that we gave them three runs in the first inning.”
Against a team willing to swing at the first pitch, Colleran threw her fewest pitches in a game this season (60) and had her fewest strikeouts (two). The Panthers approach did cause the UMass-bound senior to come up with a different mentality.
“We were just trying to get outs any way that we can,” said Colleran. “They were swinging at the first pitch, so I think me and [catcher Mycala Moody’s] strategy was just put it somewhere where we’re going to get easy groundball outs, easy fly ball outs so we could get back in and hit.”
The strategy was aided by the Rocketeers putting up three runs in the first inning.
Marissa Gifford led-off with a walk against Franklin senior starter Lily Criscione, which was followed by an infield single by Moody (3-for-4). Colleran lined a single to right that scored one run and she advanced into scoring position on the throw. MacKenzie Sherman and Danielle Gorman each followed with RBI-groundouts to give North a solid lead.
“All three of our tournament games, we’ve scored in the first inning,” said North Attleborough coach Bill Wallace. “That lead is huge because late in the game, if they want to bunt or do something, we’re getting outs versus trying to cut down lead runners.”
Of the first inning, Fallon said, “It was a tough start; you can’t spot them three and try to comeback. We weren’t ready to go in the first inning and then we settled in and I thought we played great innings two through five.”
She admitted that the Panthers plan at the plate was to attack early in the count. She said, “Just be aggressive -- you’re the 18th seed and you ‘don’t belong here’ and just get in there and swing.”
The Panthers (14-10) were able to put the ball in play a lot against the Hockomock’s leader in strikeouts. In fact, the Rocketeers had to make 19 outs in the field (with no errors) and several were of highlight reel-caliber. Julianna Johnson made a diving grab in the second to rob Olivia DiGiacomo of extra bases and third baseman Lindsey Paquin snared a grounder Sabrina LoMonaco in the seventh that seemed destined for left.
“It’s a testament to our coaching staff being loyal to the kids and not panicking,” said Wallace. “[The players] stepped up this year. This is the farthest this program has ever gone.”
Colleran added, “They’ve put in the work all year long and some games they don’t get as much action maybe, but today they had all but two outs and they did a really, really good job. If you don’t have confidence in your defense then they’re not going to have confidence in you.”
Franklin got its lone run in the top of the sixth. With one out, leadoff hitter Erin Hanley was hit by a pitch then promptly stole second. She advanced to third on a deep line drive to center and was able to come home on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.
The momentum did not last long as North tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. Gorman smacked a single to left and Rachel Murphy followed with a bunt single. After a strikeout, Emily Knobel bunted and it was thrown away to load the bases.
Gifford grounded to second but the ball was bobbled and then thrown into left and two runs came home to score. Moody got her third infield single of the game by beating out a bunt to reload the bases, but Criscione limited the damage by striking out Colleran (who was also one of the league’s leading hitters).
Criscione also came up in the seventh and blasted a one-out double to straightaway center, but was doubled off on a hard liner back to Colleran by DiGiacomo to end the game.
There was some disappointment from Fallon that the Panthers could not get past the semifinal stage for the second straight year, but she recognized what a great achievement it was to make it to this stage as the No. 18 seed.
She said, “There’s no quit. There’s no quit. Even Lily, ended her career with a double over the centerfielder’s head. I can’t ask for anything more from them. I’m proud of them.”
Jack Tripp Field has not been a favorite venue for the Rocketeers in recent years with several playoff runs ending in the semifinal stage, as well as a first round loss to Taunton last year. But earlier this season, North beat the Tigers and Colleran admitted that it may have given the team a little more confidence going into Saturday.
“Being able to get a win at this field probably helped us out,” she said. “We’ve been wanting to do this for a while and it feels really good to finally be here.”
North Attleborough will face top seed Bridgewater-Raynham in the sectional final on Monday at 5 p.m. in Taunton.
With the North and South girls deadlocked with less than a minute remaining. South, which waited until the final period for its offense to finally erupt, saw that trend continue when it needed to most. Franklin's Alex Mitchell was on the receiving end of a perfect down ice feed from Hingham's Tori Messina. The senior forward broke in alone behind the defense on North goaltender Courtney Davis of Woburn and flipped a shot above the catching glove to give South a thrilling 4-3 triumph at DCU Center.
During the first 30 minutes, North took command, grabbing a 2-0 before South re-discovered its offense at a most opportune time after scoring four times in the final frame.
"I got a really nice pass from the defense and I just went off," said Mitchell. "I saw the top right corner open so I just went for it. We wanted to get this win and prove that South teams can actually play hockey. We all knew we needed to go out there in the third and play as hard as we could because it was the last period for all of us and we didn't want to lose."
South's comeback began at 1:13 of the third. Forward Maggie Layo (Sandwich) got it all started after poking in a rebound from the short side to make it a 2-1 contest. Three minutes later, Falmouth's Alexa Scribner re-directed a Messina blast from the left circle that eluded Davis tying matters at 2-2.
South's offensive rejuvenation continued less than a minute later. Layo netted her second with a hard wrist shot from inside the left circle to put her team on top 3-2. Albeit a bit frazzled having surrendered its lead, the North squad was able to answer back a mere 21 seconds following Layo's tally. Woburn's Emily Lissner, taking a nice feed from Brittani Lanzilli of Medford, broke in behind the defense and beat South netminder Maddie Scavotto to pull her team even at 3-3 at 5:55.
Things quieted down a degree over the next eight minutes. Both teams had chances to move their respective teams in front but failed to convert. That would set the stage for the dramatic finish with Mitchell scoring the game-winner coming at 14:29.
"We went into the locker room after the second period and all the coaches told the girls that the worst lead in hockey is a two-goal lead," said South and Hingham head coach John Findley. "We told them to stop cycling the puck and go to the dirty parts of the rink and to start putting up shots on net. We know anything can happen in this game. We had a lot of scoring chances over the first period and a half but just couldn't put the puck in. We knew our girls could do it so we are happy that plan worked out for us.”
Findley added, “Momentum is huge in hockey and every line takes after the other line's momentum and that's what happened today. I was especially proud of our two Barnstable defensemen [Kylie Hallam and Haley Payne] because both played more-aggressive in the third and both were involved in a couple of nice plays in the end to help keep the puck out of the net for us."
Arlington Catholic's Danielle Kelly gave North the early lead at 2:36 of the first period when the forward put back a rebound off an initial shot by Bridget Kelly. Things remained that way until the 7:10 mark of the middle frame. Ursurline Academy forward Meghan Lawlor, on the power play, positioned herself 20 feet in front of the net and ripped a shot just underneath the crossbar extending North's lead to a pair. Seemingly in control, North lost its grip in the third as South managed to control the tempo for much of the period which led to its highlight-reel finish.
"Things got really wide open in the third," said North and Acton-Boxborough coach Brian Fontas. "That was easily the South's best period. They have some very good players over there. Overall this was a fun experience. It was a good way for a game to end. I just wish we were on the other side of it. This game is great for girls high school hockey and I was honored to be the coach of this team."
South finished with 30 shots while North closed out with 24.
WORCESTER, Mass. –- In their first year participating in the Central Mass. Division 1 tournament after years of playing in Division 1 South, the Franklin Panthers (18-6) are returning to a district final for the first time in eight years. They'll play for the Division 1 Central championship after knocking off Inter-High power Worcester South (12-10) on Sunday night, 59-50.
Franklin senior Chris Rodgers scored nearly half of his team’s points, finishing with 29 in all. An outstanding free throw shooter, Rodgers went 12-for-14 from the charity stripe.
“You win a couple games, you play some really good teams, and it gets tough," Franklin coach Dean O'Connor said. "You have to have one special guy who can carry you through the tough games, I think we have that this year. I think we’re more balanced than we were this time last year, Chris is the main [scorer] obviously but we’ve got a good inside-outside."
The Colonels had three players in double-figures -- seniors Kasheen Cunningham and Nate Mensah (6 rebounds), as well as junior forward John Maday (7 rebounds).
South was able to keep the deficit manageable by halftime, trailing 33-24 to the Panthers midway through. After appearing nervous and timid offensively in the first half, Mensah and Maday led South out of the break and got the lead down to two points after three quarters. Ultimately though, the Colonels’ early-game turnovers proved to be costly.
“I just thought we did a lot of standing around tonight instead of playing, it was what it was," South coach Pat Williams said. "I thought our offense was kind of stale, then we kind of got hot in the fourth quarter, but you can’t keep digging yourselves holes and trying to get out of it just doesn’t work after awhile.
"I’m very proud of them, we were a complete mess and we started to get hot early in the year, we won the holiday tournament and went on a seven game winning streak. Then there was a stretch where we played all the top teams in Central Mass.”
Slowing down Cunningham: A main point of emphasis for Franklin coming into the game was figuring out how to slow down Cunningham, South’s leading scorer at just over 17 points per game. A quick point guard with a lethal outside shot, Cunningham emerged this season as one of the most dangerous scorers in Central Mass.
“You look at the box scores, we’d seen them a couple times and we knew he was the guy who makes it happens for them,” O’Connor said of Cunningham. “Quenten Harrell is the guy...We throw him at the other team’s best player. But a lot of emphasis, we couldn’t let him go off. He was still able to create, he got in the paint and made some dishes to guys to make some easy baskets.”
Harrell (12 points), the Panthers’ starting point guard and go-to defensive stopper, picked up on some of Cunningham’s tendencies early on in the game.
“We know that he didn’t want to go to left. He has that left to right crossover, I saw that a couple times and tried to jump it," Harrell said. "I just wanted to make him work for everything, I saw he was playing the whole game just like I was -– so one of us was going to get tired."
Cunningham scored seven points in the first half, but managed just one basket from then on out – a putback shot with a minute left in the game.
“That’s remarkable,” Rodgers said of Harrell’s defensive effort. “Q always covers the best player on the other team, no matter how big or how quick. [Cunningham] is a great player. Overall I think we did pretty well, he split the D a couple times and made us look pretty bad, but overall we did pretty well.”
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Familiar foes will meet up in the Division 1 South semifinals after today’s action at Gallo Ice Arena. Top-seeded Braintree advanced to the next round with a methodical takedown of No. 8 Falmouth, 4-1, in the second game of the day.
In day’s opener, the region’s Cinderella, No. 13 Framingham, took down No. 4 Franklin, also by a 4-1 count.
The Wamps (14-5-3) showed no ill effects from their disappointing loss in the Super 8 play-in round. Braintree bounced back by taking apart the Clippers, as they dominated every facet of the game. The Wamps outshot Falmouth by a 35-7 margin and played hard through all three periods.
“If we were worried about a hangover, we took care of that … I couldn’t keep bringing back up Monday night, but in their heads, I know it was there,” Braintree Head Coach Dave Fasano said.
The Wamps swamped the Clippers early, scoring twice in the first nine minutes of the game. Kyle Weslie got the first one, on a pretty snipe from down low, and then at 8:32 Chris Googins connected from a tough angle, snapping one just under the crossbar. Had Falmouth goalie Jake Beaton not come up with a few big stops, and the pipe not helped him on another, things might have gotten out of hand early.
“That set the tone on our bench. I told the kids that the first five minutes were crucial. It’s always interesting to see how you respond from a tough loss, and they responded. They put 15 shots on net in the first period,” Fasano said.
Braintree got two more in the second to put it away, both by Dylan Casserly. The first was a pretty tip-in on the doorstep that saw Casserly change the puck’s direction after a shot from up high at 4:05. A few moments later Casserly got another, thanks to some adept passing by Googins. The set-up man took the puck deep against Beaton, and the goalie kept coming with him. Googins had Beaton way out of position and fed the puck out front for Casserly, who had the hockey equivalent of a lay-up to make it a 4-0 game.
The Clippers’ lone goal followed at 12:39 on a great individual effort by Robbie Souza, who chased down a clear out by Andrew Parkinson and won the race along the boards at the red line. With a burst of speed, the second leading goal-scorer in Division 1 picked the far post with a rocket of a wrister.
There would be no more highlight for Falmouth, though, thanks to the suffocating Braintree defense.
The Wamps did not allow Falmouth to get a single shot on goalie Nick Anson until the final minute of play with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
FRAMINGHAM 4, FRANKLIN 1
In the earlier game, the Jolly Roger flew high as the Flyers left the ice and should serve as a warning to teams that will be sharing the ice with them going forward. The 13th seeded team has embraced the Pirate theme this season, and on Saturday afternoon they made fifth-seeded Franklin walk the plank. The Flyers scored twice in the first period and never looked back, skating to a 4-1 win at Gallo Ice Arena.
Framingham broke out to an early 2-0 lead and never looked back as the top-scoring Flyer, Cory Gorowitz, got his team on the board with his first of two at 10:48 on a breakaway goal up the right side. With just 47 seconds left in the first Ryder Lessing popped in a power play rebound that doubled the lower-seeded team’s lead.
“When we score first, we’re pretty hard to play against because we have such good defensemen and our goaltender [Al Lynch] is so good,” Framingham Head Coach Paul Spear said.
Franklin’s Randy Gilbert shaved a goal off the lead for the Panthers early in the second period, which briefly had the Panthers back in the game. A shot by Kyle Powers from the left circle chipped high where Gilbert used his stick more like a bat to nudge it under the crossbar and behind Al Lynch. That would be the only one of the 21 shots that the Panthers put on the net that bested Lynch, who made the saves he had to and benefitted from a stifling effort in front of him by the Flyers’ staunch defense.
Framingham didn’t allow Franklin’s hope to float, though. The Flyers sunk it quickly with a third goal just six minutes later to go up 3-1 as Gorowitz – who forgot his road sweater at home and had to borrow the jersey of backup goalie Jason McCarthy – once again found separation from the Panthers’ defense and beat Devin Maloof with a pretty crossover move at 8:41.
Neither team did much in the third period, as most of the play was in neutral ice. Framingham assured themselves of a spot in the south with an empty-netter with 43 seconds to go. Despite drawing a penalty with five minutes to go, the Panthers were unable to generate a single shot on net at crunch time. In the last minute, Drew McKinnon blocked a shot in the defensive, raced down the ice and stole it away from the Panthers, tucking it in the vacated cage to assure that the Flyers will be breaking out the skull and crossbones at least one more time.
Spear, who captains a fishing charter during the summer, said that the pirate theme has been something that his team has rallied around this year. “I told them that during the summer I captain a fishing boat, but during the winter sometimes I feel like I run up a pirate boat,” Spear said. “I had them embrace the spirit of fighting to the death and playing for each other and being brothers out there. We were trying to find an identity for our team, and they’ve kind of rallied around that.
And now Cinderella wears an eye patch, and hopes to take down the top-seeded Wamps in the next round. The foes know one another well. Framingham won the first meeting, 4-0, and Braintree took the rematch, 4-2, to wrap up the Bay State Carey title.
“They beat us once, and we beat them once, so it’ll be a battle,” Fasano said.
But that was okay for Franklin, which ditched its slow starts it had seen in the regular season for a very strong one, jumping out to an 11-2 early lead and never looking back on their way to a 56-38 win over Wachusett.
"My assistants were saying yesterday in practice how its been a while since we got out to a good lead early," said Franklin head coach Dean O'Connor. "We came out and shot the ball well early. We knew they'd be in a zone and its important to hit some early so they start coming out on you so you can start getting the ball inside. Getting off to a good start was huge, especially on the road."
Wachusett's zone was no match for Chris Rodgers, who drained 3-pointers in the opening quarter and Dylan Reno and Quenten Harrell each added one apiece. The Panthers jumped out to a commanding 21-8 lead after one.
"We saw them against Brookline and you have to pick your poison with them," said Wachusett head coach Tom Gibbons. "We needed to get off to a good start I thought so them making those shots early, it forced our hand a little bit and we had to change the game plan."
It looked as though Wachusett was going to close the gap, as they twice got the game within two possessions early in the second quarter, but Franklin rattled off 10 straight points to turn a 23-17 lead into a 33-17 lead and Franklin took a 35-20 lead into halftime.
The Panthers really put the game out of reach in the third quarter even though they scored just 12 points. It was their defense that dominated the game from start to finish, limiting Wachusett to just six points in the third quarter, on their way to a 47-26 lead going into the final frame.
"We knew they were good defensively," said Gibbons. "We were not getting any rhythm to say the least. We really struggled in all areas but you have to give them credit. They really get after it defensively and they have nice pieces. They beat us to every loose ball, they beat us on the glass. They're a dangerous team, they could go far."
Though the hot start wasn't something they carried in from the regular season, their strong defense was after giving up just over 55 points a game in the regular season.
"We played well," O'Connor said. "We really pride ourselves on playing good defense. I was really worried about rebounding with their size but I thought we did a good job on that and holding them to one shot. We tried to make it tough to score on us. We played a solid game so I'm happy."
Franklin was held to just nine points in the final quarter (allowing 12 to Wachusett), but all of their points game at crucial times that killed any Wachusett momentum. Tim Prunier hit consecutive three-pointers, beating the shot clock buzzer and the other off an offensive board. Rodgers was able to bury another three too, this one also late in the shot clock.
Rodgers finished with a game-high 16 points but Franklin finished with four players in double figures as Harrell, Prunier and junior Marcus Giese all added 10 points.
"The other guys really stepped for [Franklin]," Gibbons added. "We knew Rodgers was good, we knew he gets the ball to the rim so we tried to provide good help and stop him early, but the other guys stepped up to their credit."
Sophomore Tyler Dion led Wachusett with 11 points while Brad Durkin added nine points and Justin Bowker finished with eight points.
Franklin will now play Worcester South in the D1 Central Semifinals on Sunday at 6:30 at WPI. South upset top-seeded Fitchburg 64-51.
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – During the last several seasons, Framingham goaltender Al Lynch has been among the state’s very best. But, at times, Lynch and his Flyers teammates have struggled to find consistency.
“We’re always shifting back and forth and we were hoping to hit our stride at the end of the year,” Lynch said. “We started off good. We knew we had the talent and we had some really nice wins, but we had some really bad losses. It’s just that when we don’t show up, it shows.”
And so, Lynch and Framingham’s seniors faced down what potentially could have been their final period of high school hockey. Tied, 2-2, against reigning Division 1 South champion Marshfield, Lynch knew they needed to come up with something special.
“We’ve been looking for this win, nothing was going to stop us tonight.”
Lynch continually slammed the door shut, making 42 saves. Meanwhile, junior forward Ryder Lessing chipped in a 2-goal game as the Flyers skated away with a 5-2 win over the Rams in Wednesday’s Division 1 South first-round game at Gallo Arena.
“Here we are against the defending Division 1 South champions and we’re tied 2-2 going on the third period,” Framingham head coach Paul Spear said. “[Lynch] made some absolutely amazing saves against some really talented and skilled players. He’s proven time and again he’s one of the best goaltenders in the state and he stole this one tonight.”
The Rams (15-8-0) got on the board first on Hunter McCauley’s one-timer set up on a pass across the top of the crease from Nevin Connors at 9:24 of the first.
Framingham (12-10-1) countered on the power play at 12:09, when Lessing played the puck between the pads of Rams netminder Connor Lemieux from below the goal line.
The Flyers claimed the lead before the period was out as defenseman Tim Tierney’s point shot through a screen, with Lemieux unable to see the rising half-slap.
Marshfield swung momentum in the second, outshooting the Flyers, 12-5, while tallying the lone goal of the period. Senior forward David Cataldo evened the score going bar-down with a power-play goal with less than a minute remaining in the second, beating Lynch to the high glove side.
“I thought we were focused and ready to get right back on the ice,” Rams head coach Dan Connolly said of his team’s effort in the second. “But credit to Lynch, the kid played phenomenal in net. They played hard, Paul [Spear] ran a great system, Lynch was amazing and they capitalized on their chances.”
Framingham regained the lead for good on Christian Seariac’s wrister from the slot with 7:24 remaining.
Lessing added an insurance goal with his second of the game – also on the power play – at 11:28.
Cory Gorovitz added an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play.
The Flyers advance to play No. 5 seed Franklin in the sectional quarterfinals on Saturday (time TBD), after the Panthers routed Weymouth, 7-2, on Wednesday.
Falmouth 2, Walpole 1 (2 OT)
A pair of freshmen led the way as the Clippers (13-8-2) walked away with a 2-1 victory in double overtime.
Patrick Coyne scored the game-winner on the power play, following a Rebels’ too-many-men penalty with 2:32 to play in the second overtime. It was Coyne’s second point of the game (1 G, 1 A).
Freshman defenseman Cam Tobey opened scoring for the No. 8 seed Clippers in the first period. Walpole (12-9-2) tied the game in the second period on a goal from junior defenseman Kevin Ivatts.
Falmouth advances to play Braintree, which returns to the South sectional tournament as the No. 1 seed, following the Wamps Super 8 play-in game loss, in a quarterfinal Saturday at Gallo.
The senior guard spent the game causing fits for Newton North star Tommy Mobley, limiting the explosive scorer to just 14 points.
“That’s not an easy thing to do because Mobley’s a tough cover,” said Brookline point guard Elijah Rogers. “He can shoot it and he can get to the line well. When we have Miles playing like that on defense, that’s when we’re at our best because everyone feeds off his energy.”
Added Brookline coach Luke Day: “We haven’t really changed the game plan against Tommy in three games. We basically put Miles on him, and we have a few other guys we sub occasionally. We just told him to keep hounding him. We’ve changed a few things we do on screens and we made one adjustment from the last game but nothing major.
"The other night, Mobley hit two or three 3’s right in Miles’ face, and tonight he didn’t make those. It’s a really slim difference in the game.”
Throughout the night, Brookline’s defenders limited the open looks for the high-powered Tigers. A team that traditionally piles up points from beyond the 3-point line, North connected on just four 3’s in the loss.
“It starts with Miles, but it really was a complete team effort,” said Day. “It wasn’t our best offensive night, but the defense was great tonight.”
With Morris handling Mobley and the impressive defensive effort they faced all over the floor, the Tigers weren’t able to mount much of an attack on the offensive end. Jack Boucher (10 points) was the only other North player with more than four points in the loss.
“We played a little bit tentative,” said North coach Paul Connolly. “I wasn’t happy with our effort happy in terms of our energy and in terms of how we played today. We held them to 50 points, I can live with that. We can be a pretty good defensive team. Teams try to take away Tommy, and they did it, and that was pretty much the game.”
Brookline’s offense was bottled up most of the game, but Elijah Rogers finally got into rhythm in the fourth, scoring eight of his game-high 17 points to put the game away in the rubber match for these two Bay State rivals.
The Warriors also got seven points, eight rebounds and six blocks from big man Obi Obiora and eight points and five rebounds from forward Tyler Patterson.
Foul play slows pace as Franklin claws past Belmont: As the clock clicked under seven minutes remaining in the other boys game, Belmont center Adam Kleckner fouled out of the game, and Franklin took advantage. With Kleckner out, the Panthers went on an 11-0 run and earned a 61-50 win to advance to the championship game.
That wasn’t the first instance in which a foul changed how things were played on the court, as 48 fouls were called in all during the contest. Both teams reached the double bonus in both halves, and 53 free throws were taken before the final horn sounded.
“Both offensively and defensively, it can be kind of hard to get into a flow with that many fouls,” said Franklin coach Dean O’Connor. “I’m not complaining, both teams just had to adjust. The thing is, you have to be able to play to however the game is being officiated. It didn’t have any impact on winning and losing, it just affected how we both had to play though. There wasn’t a lot of flow to this game, but we committed some very dumb fouls away from the basket that contributed to it.”
One of the only players seemingly not affected by the slow pace of play was Panthers senior captain Chris Rodgers. He poured in a game-high 21 points to go with six rebounds and four steals.
“He’s our best player and that’s kind of what he does,” said O’Connor. He’s great in the open floor and very tough to guard. He’s long for his height, so on the boards and getting to the rim, he can elevate over people.”
The Panthers (15-5) also got 11 points and eight rebounds from Pat O’Reilly and 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks from Marcus Giese in the win.
Matt Kerans paced the Marauders with 16 points and five rebounds, Kleckner finished with 11 points and Cole Bartels chipped in with nine points for Belmont, which takes on Newton North in the consolation game to kick off action on Monday.
Here's a look at this year's competition:
Sunday, Feb. 16
1:30 p.m. – Belmont HS vs. Franklin HS boys
3:00 p.m. – Newton North HS vs. Brookline HS boys
4:30 p.m. – Archbishop Williams HS vs. Medfield HS girls
6:00 p.m. – Braintree HS vs. Westford Academy girls
Monday, Feb. 17
1:30 p.m. –Boys’ Consolation
3:00 p.m. – Boys Championship
4:30 p.m. – Girls Consolation
6:00 p.m. – Girls championship
A player from each team will receive a scholarship. Since starting the tournament in 1990, IAABO Board 27 has awarded over $80,000 in scholarships and Gifts to the many different high schools throughout Eastern Massachusetts.
“He had a huge save at the end,” said Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos about Maloof. “That kick-out save…that was a goal from where we were.”
The save helped Franklin (7-4-1, 5-0-1) hold on for a 3-2 victory over the Hornets (9-2-1, 6-1-1) on Wednesday night in front of a packed house at the Foxboro Sports Center.
The win propels the Panthers to the top of the Kelley-Rex division and a step closer to another Hockomock League title.
Franklin head coach Chris Spillane reflected, “That’s what we expected for it to be -- a rough, physical game that’s back-and-forth. I’m glad to get this one behind us. It’s Mansfield-Franklin, that’s a typical game.”
He added, “You hate to say that it’s the one that you mark at the beginning of the season but we’ve been looking at it for a while and we’re glad to have it behind us and that it ended up in our favor.
The Panthers looked shaky in the opening couple of shifts, but Mansfield penalties allowed Franklin to settle down on the power play and led to dominating first period in which Franklin outshot the Hornets 15-4.
Senior Vince Geromini opened the scoring for Franklin with 7:28 remaining in the first period. He was on hand to follow up after Troy Donahue drove to the net and had his shot saved by Mansfield goalie Dan Moyer. Nearly two minutes later, Franklin scored again and this time on the power play (Mansfield took four first period penalties). Junior Alec Borkowski buried the shot that doubled the lead.
“The first couple of shifts were pretty shaky, but the rest of the first period we pretty much dominated and I think it was our speed causing them to take penalties,” said Spillane.
Anastos could only shake his head at the penalties that allowed Franklin to gain momentum in the first period.
“Penalties kill us,” he insisted. “You can’t give them power plays; you can’t give a good team the opportunity to score. They only scored one power play goal, but you can’t give them that many chances.”
In the second period, Anastos got the reaction that he was looking for from his team. The Hornets bounced back and started hitting in the second and gained the momentum. Junior defenseman Evan Kershaw made it a game again with a blast from the point that eluded Maloof and made it 2-1. Sophomore Pat Graham tied it with 2:59 left in the period on a low shot to the near post on a two on one.
“I think we got a little comfortable with a two-goal lead coming out in the second period and they jumped on it,” explained Spillane. “They were aggressive, they had a two-man forecheck, and they were throwing pucks at the net and they went in.”
The Hornets were not level for long though as a minute after Graham’s goal, Franklin broke for a three-on-one, odd-man rush. Geromini turned provider with a perfectly placed pass across the crease for Donahue to tap in for what turned out to be the game-winner.
Anastos noted, “We let up a three on one just a minute after tying the game and that killed us. It was a sinker. They won the first period, we won the second period, and it was a tie in the third period -- they just got one more goal.”
Spillane praised his senior leadership for coming up big in a huge rivalry game, especially after Mansfield seemed on the verge of taking control.
“[Mansfield was] building on it and they had all the momentum so it was good,” he said. “Our seniors stepped up today. Vince Geromini had a goal and an assist and then Troy [Donahue] had a nice goal. We need those guys.”
The second and third periods were evenly matched and both goalies came up with big saves. Moyer stuffed Franklin’s leading scorer Ryan Spillane from point-blank range and then just a minute later Maloof did the same to Billy Grant. Then with a minute to go, Maloof pulled off his kick save and set off celebrations on the Franklin bench.
Unfortunately, the celebrations turned into more with both teams coming together against the far boards after the final whistle and having to be separated by coaches and officials. The referees pushed both teams off the ice and scrapped the traditional postgame handshake to avoid further trouble.
The Hornets were held without a field goal in the entire fourth quarter but Franklin's buzzer-beating three pointer at the end of the game rimmed out and Mansfield held on for a 53-50 win.
Mansfield led by as much as 18 in the third quarter after opening the second half on an 8-0 run, but once the lead reached as much, Franklin turned up their defensive pressure and made it a six point game, 46-40, heading into the final quarter.
"When we went on that run, they had one of two choices to either roll over and let the game end or come out in fight and in typical Franklin fashion they were going to fight to the last second and they did so," said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. "I thought our guys were resilient and battled through a few missed free throws and taking care of the ball and getting a few key possessions."
With both teams trading misses in the fourth quarter, Franklin senior Chris Rodgers hit a three to make it a two-point game at 50-48. Rocky DeAndrade (17 points) hit two free throws to extend the lead to four, but Rodgers darted up the court and his layup brought Franklin within two at 52-50 with 5.5 seconds left.
The Hornets then sent Michael Boen (seven points) to the line, who hit the second of his two chances to give Mansfield a 53-50 lead with 4.5 seconds left. On the final play, Franklin senior Pat O'Reilly tossed a pinpoint pass three-quarters of the court to 6-foot-7 Marcus Giese, who turned and laid it off to Rodgers. Rodgers' shot looked destined to go down but just rimmed out.
"Defense, guys started digging in," said Franklin head coach Dean O'Connor of what brought his team back into the game. "Someone just told me [Mansfield] only had four baskets in the second half. They missed a couple free throws and kept us in it but we just really dug in defensively. We were down 16 or something in the third and it looked like it was going to be a tough night. These guys just kept battling and we started making some shots and we were in the game."
Mansfield shot just 7-for-13 from the charity strike in the fourth quarter but it proved to be enough to sweep the season series against their rival.
"Whenever you play Franklin and you get out of the game with a victory, you're fortunate," said Vaughan. "They're a very good team, well coached and execute great. You throw in the factor for three and a half quarters we played very good basketball and then kind of went cold. We experienced that the other night with Attleboro when we weren't making shots it kind of came back."
The Hornets jumped out to a 9-2 led at the start of the game behind a strong start from Kyle Wisnieski (8 points in the first quarter, 12 total), but Franklin finished the opening frame on a 7-3 run to trail 12-9 after one. The second quarter is when Mansfield was able to being their separation, doubling up on the Panthers 22-11 in the quarter, sparking by nine points from Rocky DeAndrade and back to back three's from freshmen Matt Elrich and Max Boen.
"I think Rocky making some consistent plays throughout the game on both ends of the floor, including some tough drives in the first half, was a big difference," Vaughan said.
One of the Hornets' top scoring threats, Ryan Boutler, was held to just five points in the game after getting full attention of the Panther defense. But Vaughan said it was important they were able to pull out a win without his scoring.
"I think it shows we have other players that can step up and make big plays," he said. "We had the two freshmen hit two big threes that were kind of backbreakers for them, they had defensive possessions yet we were able to get points out of it."
The Panthers received offensive contributions from multiple players in their third quarter comeback. Giese scored five of his 13 points, O'Reilly netted four of his 10, and Rodgers, Tim Prunier and Danny McDermott all scored to close the gap.
"I'm proud of the way the guys battled the whole way," said O'Connor. "It would have been nice to pull it out but going forward its going to help us out a lot as a team to be able to play that kind of defense and stop a team like Mansfield."
Mansfield (13-1) will be back in action on Tuesday when they look to make it two wins in a row with a trip to King Philip. Franklin (8-5) will look to bounce back when they look to avenge an early season loss to Taunton.
But in the Hornets' last-ever trip to the hallowed court, the Hornets made sure it was a memorable one, downing the Panthers, 68-47, behind a balanced scoring attack.
Mansfield had a big effort offensively from different players in different quarters and turned an eight point halftime lead into a 15-point lead after three and then increased it more so in the fourth on their way to a 21-point margin of victory.
"I thought the first half, we had to adjust," Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said. "This was the first team we were going to see that applied that much defensive pressure. You could see early on it bothered us, but the second half we rebounded the ball much, much better and I think that was difference from making this a dog fight at the end or us being able to close it out."
Franklin picked up nine offensive rebounds in the first half and trailed 32-24, but Mansfield limited the Panthers to just three offensive boards in the second. After not picking up a rebound in the first quarter, junior Michael Boen -- who was in foul trouble throughout the first half -- picked up at least five rebounds in each of the last three quarters to finish with 19 boards. He also chipped in with 14 points.
"I pushed for all of the guys to get on the boards, but obviously Boen is a kid that takes a lot of things to heart," Vaughan said. "He got that second foul, and he was sitting on the bench and a lot of the first half was going to be shot for him. He gets emotional and you like that. He's that type of kid, we've talked about it before. He's stepped in and taken the role of a rebounder and he's rebounding in different ways -- he goes and gets it off the rim, he's battling and he doesn't turn it over when he does get it."
Kyle Wisnieski was a huge spark for Mansfield in the first quarter, picking up two steals on Franklin's first two possessions and turning them into points. He finished with nine of his 14 points in the first quarter. It was a balanced scoring second quarter but it was two others that stepped up in the third and fourth quarter. Boen scored 11 of his 14 points in the third quarter.
"I thought that the third quarter was the key for the entire game because we had to weather the storm and weather their run and handle anything they were going to do to put themselves back in the game," Vaughan said. "I thought they had some good important possessions, but we were still able to outscore them in the quarter or it was fairly close. That eight point lead didn't turn into a four-point lead and when you do that against any good team, obviously that fourth quarter becomes different."
Rocky DeAndrade became the Hornet that took control in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 of his game-high 20 points in the final frame.
"I didn't think he played outstanding for three quarters, I thought he played just good enough, but in the fourth quarter he had a couple of key drives and he makes a good play and it makes a big difference," said Vaughan. "He just makes that big play after big play as the game unwinds. He knows he didn't play that well through three quarters but when we needed a few big possessions and baskets, he went and did it."
Franklin finished 18-of-61 from the field and just 7-of-32 (22 percent) in the second half, something Franklin coach Dean O'Connor knows his team can't do if they want to beat a team like Mansfield.
"I think the story for me was that we played really hard and we did a lot of good things, but when you miss 17 point blank shots around the hoop -- and they were contested and Mansfield played good defense -- but they come down and hit a three, it's a backbreaker," said O'Connor. "Our guys kept fighting and coming back, but you're not going to beat them scoring 47 points."
Senior Chris Rodgers had a team-high 16 points for Franklin, and junior Marcus Giese added 13 points.
"We cranked up our effort level tonight and going forward, whoever we're playing is Mansfield," O'Connor said. "We just have to play that hard and we'll beat a lot of teams if we do that. We're going to keep getting better. We have some guys that are improving and I like the pieces that we have and we'll keeping getting better."
As for the Field House, Vaughan made it clear whether or not he's going to miss having to play there.
"No, not at all," Vaughan said with a laugh. "I just went in and chanted tear down the field house. I mean it's a great place, I coached here for three years so I understand the advantage you get here. They come out with a great student body and it's a fun place to play. The new place isn't going to be any different in terms of the atmosphere but you're not going to be playing where they should be pulling airplanes into."
The two teams will meet again, and the venue will be one of the few places that are bigger than the Field House -- the TD Garden. The two rivals will conclude their 2013-2014 series on January 25th at 5:30.
Franklin coach Dean O’Connor could have conceded and emptied his bench, but his players fought back and slowly closed the gap. It was to little too late, however. The lead never got into single digits and Christian Brothers Academy left with a 60-48 victory.
“I’m very encouraged but he way we finished,” said Franklin (2-3) coach Dean O’Connor. “It looked like they might blow it open and we kept fighting. It would’ve been easy to quit, and we didn’t. We talked at halftime about just getting better. I think we did that in the second half. I’m not surprised that the kids kept fighting. We finished really strong, so that is something to build off moving forward.”
CBA made it a point to attack the interior of the Franklin defense early, matching up 6-foot-7 sophomore Pat Andree against 6-foot-6 Marcus Giese in the post. Andree got the better of that matchup, finishing with 16 points and 8 rebounds. The big man has range that can extend out to the three-point line, hitting two Saturday afternoon. Those kinds of skilled big men was something Franklin was not used to seeing and had to adjust to on the fly. CBA junior Jack Laffey added 19 points from the guard position
“The difficult thing with them is they have size at all positions and we’re not very big,” said O’Connor. “I really have two or three big guys, so they had us outsized at all positions. You try to work in front and then get help side but they make it tough because they have guys that can shoot too, so you do the best you can to try to work the ball in front and stop the ball from getting in there.”
With 5:30 to go in the game, CBA had a 20-point lead, but Franklin did not pack it in. It chipped away at the lead, and at one point switched to a full-court press that initially gave CBA fits.
“I think it was a lot faster, the pace of the gam up until that point was kind of slow,” said Franklin senior Dan McDermott. “It really sped everything up and I don’t know if they were ready for that so late in the game. After we were down by so much and came back, it kind of caught them off-guard.”
Staying to the end: O’Connor flirted with the idea of emptying his bench and getting more players playing time, but the game never got to a point where he felt it was necessary. Saturday was going to be a learning experience and an opportunity for his team to get better, and the only way to do that was to keep the team playing until the very end.
“It’s about focusing on getting better, and you have to play hard in order to do that,” he said. “There was a point there when it was getting close and both teams were looking to get some other guys in there that don’t play as much, but we tried to combine and mix some guys in there. Once we got the thing under 15 points, we said okay let’s press them and try to win. You can’t ever quit. The kids have too much pride.”
Tough two-game swing: It was the second game in as many days for Franklin. Coming into the weekend, it had suffered back-to-back losses, including a 32-point loss to Catholic Memorial. While it won only one its games, the team still felt like it learned a lot about itself.
“We learned we have a lot of guys that just want to work hard,” said senior captain Chris Rodgers (20 points, 5 rebounds). “You could see at the end, when we did our run and jump stuff with our press, everyone was playing hard and things were working for us. We learned that we can get up and defend a little bit, especially with our pressure defense.”
While it will go down as a loss in the record book, this could be remembered as one of those losses a team builds off and helps set it up for the rest of the season.
“This is definitely a positive weekend for us,” said Rodgers. “We split our games, but as a team we got better. That’s all that really matters. We might’ve found a little bit of an identity.”
Both of its games at the Shooting Touch were non-league games, so the loss does not hurt its standings in the Hockomock Kelly-Rex division.
It was just the kind of physical, back-and-forth win Franklin (3-2) needed coming off a 32-point loss to Catholic Memorial earlier in the week.
Franklin took a 27-23 lead into halftime, but it was not without its own self-inflicted issues. It regularly turned the ball over and seemed to be fighting the traveling bug in the first half. Six of its 17 turnovers came from traveling violations.
“That’s kind of been an issue the whole season,” said senior Chris Rodgers (20 points, 13 rebounds). “We’re still working on it. It should be something we can avoid, so we’ll just keep working on it in practice. That’s all we can do.”
Rodgers was a big reason why Spellman’s lead never got above six at any point in the game. His effectiveness on the boards prevented any Spellman second-chance opportunities and helped kick-start his team’s transition game.
“He was our second leading rebounder last year,” said O’Connor of Rodgers. “He’s gotten a lot better. His second jump is more explosive. At times he’s playing the four for us, even though he’s a two-guard. We can go with a small lineup, and we can do that because he can rebound.”
Offensively, he was a perfect 8-of-8 on free throws.
Franklin outscored Spellman 15-6 in the fourth quarter to walk away with the victory.
Spellman’s Joe Crane lead all scorers with 27 points. He was 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Breaking Spellman's zone: Spellman spent the majority of the game in a form of a zone defense. To start the game, it extended its zone out to half court to try and pressure the Franklin guards.
“They were really extending out from all the guard spots,” said Rodgers. “What really helped us out was trusting our big men in the middle. Once they started making plays, we figured everything out and everything came together.”
Later, it slide back into a more traditional 2-3 zone to force Franklin to play its game on the perimeter.
“We did a good job of skipping the ball and then either taking the open shot or getting the defense to run out at us and playing from there,” said O’Connor. “If you keep it on one side against the zone, you’re in trouble. That was the key to getting some open looks. Most of our points were off rebounds or transition because they do such a good job in their matchup zone. We solved it a little bit, but I’m glad we don’t have to play it again.”
Hedge clippers: In the first quarter, Spellman attempted to set up its ball screen offense and get free cutters rolling to the basket. Franklin initially struggled to defend it, sometimes with both defenders committed to defend the ball handler and forgetting about the player cutting to the basket.
“Their big guys are good and they screen well,” said O’Connor. “You’re worried about Ryan Roach (3 points) and Austin Joseph (8 points) shooting the ball. We just weren’t rotating. They either got their guy to turn the corner (and go to the basket) or they were hitting the guy on the roll because we weren’t in the correct defensive position. In the second half, we got a little better at it. They didn’t get as many easy hoops off it.”
To get the ball handler to commit and make a decision with the ball, the defender guarding the screener jumped out and hedged to cut off the lane to the basket and to try and force the defender to pick up his dribble. That was when the screener would slide his way to the weak side post for an easy layup.
“We weren’t hedging very hard, so that was something we needed to work on, but once we started going that, they started getting those rolls” said Rodgers. “It really came together when we had the help side guys really helping out more.”
Up next: Franklin is back in action on Saturday for Day 2 of the Shooting Touch Shootout. It will take on Christian Brother’s Academy from Lincroft, New Jersey. The team knows next to nothing about its opponent.
“We don’t know much,” said Rodgers. “I know they have someone committed to play at Navy next year (Louie Pillari). We don’t know anything about them but we’ll just come out and play hard. That’s all we can do.”
But as Franklin was shutout, 1-0, after a 29-save performance from Rams junior goaltender Taylor Walsh at Adelard Arena, the Panthers were left kicking themselves again.
“He won the game, he flat out stole the game from the other team,” Rams head coach Mike Gaffney said. “Many, many of his saves were the kind preventing a certain goal. Sometimes goaltenders, the shot hits them, they’re in the right position. That’s hard enough to do. But he stole it away from them.”
This time, the Panthers (1-3-0) had more than plenty chances of their own on the power play, including a pair of sandwiched 5-on-3 chances to end the second period, but LaSalle (2-2-0) withstood it all.
The Rams tallied the lone goal of the game at 9:08 of the first, as junior forward Joe Manown tapped home a loose puck from the goalmouth, amidst a logjam of traffic in front of senior goaltender Mike Donadio (21 saves).
Still, with eight power-play opportunities to their credit, the Panthers had no one to blame but themselves.
“We have some really nice set-ups, getting into the zone and setting up what we wanted to, but the passes were in the skates, and on the power play, if you want to get a shot, you can’t do that,” Franklin head coach Chris Spillane said. “When we did put it on guys’ sticks, we weren’t ready or we didn’t handle it well.”
The Panthers were advantaged with a string of five straight power plays, elapsing over the final 10-and-a-half minutes of the second. During that span, Franklin was given a 5-on-3 opportunity for 38 seconds, which would carry over into the third. To make matters worse for LaSalle, a cross-checking call was also assessed as time ran out in the second, meaning Franklin would start the third period with piggy-backing power plays.
“That’s scary because they get to set up the opportunity exactly as they want it to out of the break,” Gaffney said.
Yet, the Panthers were able to muster just two shots in more than two minutes of 5-on-3 play.
“We’ve been at it a good month now, but I confessed to our team that we haven’t really done a lot of work on [the penalty kill],” Gaffney said. “But we have the right guys out there, the four defensemen, [Ben] Aldrich, [Nick] Altieri, [Ryan] Kelly and [Matt] Manown. I thought [forward Ryan] Tracy did a terrific job, too, when it was 5-on-3, up top.”
Yet, the Panthers seemed to find their stride midway through the third, as part of a 10-shot assault on Walsh in the period.
But Franklin was subject to a little more self-sabotage, as the Panthers got themselves into penalty trouble and a 5-on-3 situation, which LaSalle held in the latter stretches of the third.
“We finally had some serious momentum and then we give up the 5-on-3 and it gets taken away,” Spillane said. “It was all mental mistakes. They were all behind the play, not one of them needed to happen.”
Franklin must bounce back quickly as it prepares to face reigning Connecticut state champion Fairfield Prep tomorrow (2 p.m.) in the second round, while LaSalle hopes to keep the momentum rolling against RIIL rival Bishop Hendricken (6 p.m.)