Boston High School: Jake Layman

KP's Layman wins gold with Team USA

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
12:45
PM ET
The United States Men's National Team's U18 squad took the gold medal last night at the FIBA Americas Championship in Sao Sebastiao do Paraiso, Brazil and Wrentham's own Jake Layman was part of the action.

Layman, a Maryland signee who starred at King Philip this year and was award ESPN Boston's Mr. Basketball in March, made the final cut of 12 at tryouts last week in Colorado Springs, Colo. While he only played five minutes in last night's 81-56 championship win over Brazil, Layman had a significant contribution in the team's 107-72 win over Argentina. In 15 minutes of action in that game, he had 10 points (including 2-4 on three-pointers), four rebounds, two assists, and a block and steal each.

The full quote sheet from the championship game can be found on USA Basketball's HERE. Below is what Layman said about winning the gold:



How does it feel to win the gold?
Oh it’s an unbelievable feeling, we got what we came here for. We worked hard coming into it and that hard work paid off.

It was a tight game for over a half. Did that make it mean more, the fact that you had to preserver for this win?
Yeah, definitely. They pushed us to play even better in the second half and we did and we won.


KP's Jake Layman makes final cut for Team USA

June, 10, 2012
6/10/12
11:51
AM ET
King Philip star and 2012 ESPN Boston Mr. Basketball Jake Layman has made the final cut of 12 for USA Basketball's U18 squad that will participate in next week's FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Sao SebastiŠo do Paraiso, Brazil.

Layman made the initial cut of 14 on Thursday. The U.S. team will continue to train through June 11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will depart June 12 for Brazil. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.

The 6-foot-8, Maryland-bound Layman was named ESPN Boston's Mr. Basketball following a decorated career at KP that will go down as the greatest in program history. He is also a two-time Super Teamer on ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team. As a senior this year, he led the Warriors to their most single-season wins (18) in school history, and was named the Hockomock League's MVP for the second straight year after averaging 26.5 points, 15 rebounds and 5.8 blocks. For his career, he finished with 1,752 points, 1,098 rebounds and 391 blocks.

“I think we’ve got some balance, we’ve got some versatility, we can move guys to some different positions. This has been a group that has picked up things pretty well so far so I’m excited about it,” Team USA head coach Billy Donovan said in a statement. “The thing I’ve been most impressed with since we started is just their attitudes. It seems like we’ve got really good chemistry, they get along real well, they seem to be a cohesive group.

“I think we have to play up tempo; we have to offensive rebound; and I think the other thing for our team that we have to get better at is taking care of the basketball. I think when you’ve got a lot of players that are thrown together and are now starting to play, they don’t really know each other. But I definitely think rebounding and transition are going to be important keys, and I also think defensively how well we can guard the 3-point line.”

For the full final roster, CLICK HERE.

KP's Layman makes first Team USA U18 cut

June, 8, 2012
6/08/12
1:26
AM ET
King Philip senior forward Jake Layman was announced tonight as one of 14 finalists for USA Basketball's U18 team that will compete at the FIBA Americas Championship later this month..

The 14 finalists will continue to train through June 11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The official 12-man 2012 USA Men’s U18 National Team will be selected prior to the team’s June 12 departure for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao SebastiŠo do Paraiso, Brazil. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.

The 6-foot-8, Maryland-bound Layman was named ESPN Boston's Mr. Basketball following a decorated career at KP that will go down as the greatest in program history. He is also a two-time Super Teamer on ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team. As a senior this year, he led the Warriors to their most single-season wins (18) in school history, and was named the Hockomock League's MVP for the second straight year after averaging 26.5 points, 15 rebounds and 5.8 blocks. For his career, he finished with 1,752 points, 1,098 rebounds and 391 blocks.

"This trials has been very difficult," said USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee Chair Jim Boeheim in a statement. "You had 23 guys who all are really good players, there wasn’t a bad player here. To get down to 12 is going to be difficult but I think we’re going to end up with a really good athletic team that is going to be very well coached.

"I think we’ve got an unbelievable coaching staff. I think we’ve got guys that have won, been winners, won state championships, and I think they’ll represent USA Basketball extremely well in this tournament."

New London (Conn.) point guard Kris Dunn, a Providence commit and McDonald's All-American, was also in camp but did not make the first cut of 14.

For the updated roster as it stands tonight, CLICK HERE.

Dunn, Layman invited to USA U18 camp

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
2:37
PM ET
New London (Conn.) point guard Kris Dunn and King Philip forward Jake Layman were among the 24 players who have accepted invitations to the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team Training camp, to take place June 5-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Following the first three or four days of training camp, finalists for the team will be selected by the USA Men’s Junior National Team Committee and will continue to train at the USOTC. The official, 12-member 2012 USA Men’s U18 National Team will be selected prior to the team’s departure for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao SebastiŠo do Paraiso, Brazil. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.

The complete roster of training camp invitees can be found by clicking here.

ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State Boys Basketball Team

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
4:59
PM ET
THE SUPER TEAM

All-StateGuard – Aaron Calixte, Jr., Stoughton
An exceptional athlete gifted with a tenacious motor, and one of the state's most dynamic scorers, the 5-foot-11 Calixte was the driving force behind the Black Knight's run to the Division 2 Eastern Mass. final, and asserted himself as the state's premier point guard. For his junior season, he averaged 19 points and six assists, and was named a Hockomock League All-Star. Calixte also stands out on the gridiron for the Black Knights' football squad.

All-StateGuard – Tyrese Hoxter, Jr., Charlestown
After playing in the shadows of former All-Stater Akosa Maduegbunam a year ago, the 6-foot-3 Hoxter thoroughly burst onto the scene and had a monster campaign for the Townies, leading them to the TD Garden floor for the first time since 2005 before bowing out to Brockton in the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Final. This season he averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

All-StateGuard – Tyrell Springer, Sr., Springfield Central
After falling short of a state title two seasons ago with New Leadership, the 6-foot-2 Springer led Central to the DCU Center floor this season where the Golden Eagles captured their first Division 1 state title since 1991. The centerpiece of one of the state's most athletic lineups, Springer averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, seven assists and 7.3 steals. He is undecided on college plans.

All-StateForward – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
The 6-foot-8 Layman was one of the most dominant players in Massachusetts this season, with the ability to score both inside and out, as the Warriors set a school single-season record for wins (18) before suffering a surprise upset in the Division 2 South quarterfinals. In 21 games, he averaged 26.5 points, 16 rebounds, 5.8 blocks, 3.2 assists and three steals. He closes his career with with 1,752 points, 1,098 rebounds and 391 blocks, giving him career averages of 20.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.6 blocks, 2.8 steals and 2.6 assists. This is his second appearance on the Super Team; he also captured the Hockomock League's MVP for the second straight season. Layman, who was named ESPN Boston's "Mr. Basketball" earlier this week, is ranked the nation's No. 62 overall senior by ESPN, and will continue his career next season at the University of Maryland.

All-StateCenter – Sayvonn Houston, Sr., Brockton
A nightly double-double machine, Houston established himself as one of the state's most dominant true centers, making life difficult down low as the Boxers went 23-3 and made their first Division 1 state final appearance since 1985. He saved his biggest performances for the biggest stages, such as his 20-20 night in the Division 1 South semifinals, or his 22-point, 13-rebound effort in Brockton's overtime win over Charlestown in the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Final at TD Garden. Houston is undecided on college plans.

BEST OF THE REST

All-StateJalen Adams, Soph. G, Melrose
Quickly rising as one of the Bay State's most complete scoring guards, the 6-foot-1 Adams took home Middlesex League MVP honors after averaging 21 points per game. He led the Red Raiders to an 18-2 regular season record, before they fell to state runner-up Brighton in the Division 2 North semifinals. Adams has already declared that he will be transferring to Wilbraham & Monson Academy next season, where he will reclassify to the Class of 2015.

All-StateJaylen Blakely, Jr. G, Brockton
Like Houston, the 5-foot-11 Blakely saved some of his best performances for the crunch time in the playoffs, such as his eight-assist performance in the Boxers' win over Catholic Memorial. Blakely distributed evenly to Brockton's talented shooters and post players, as they went 23-3 and reached their first state final appearance since 1985.

All-StateMatt Droney, Sr. F, Catholic Memorial
A terrific shooter, the 6-foot-4 Droney was named the Catholic Conference's MVP after a season of averaging 20.7 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. He also became the eighth player in school history to surpass 1,000 points earlier this season. The Canton resident will be doing a post-graduate season next year at the Taft School in Connecticut.

All-StateDarien Fernandez, Jr. G, Wareham
The 5-foot-7 waterbug demonstrated a tenacious motor in leading the Vikings to their second Division 3 Eastern Mass. Final appearance in three seasons. Wareham was the state's last unbeaten before losing to state champion Danvers. For the season, Fernandez averaged 24 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and five steals, and recorded three triple-doubles. He needs just 45 points next season to reach 1,000 for his career.

All-StateRony Fernandez, Sr. G, Charlestown
Fernandez was one of the most outstanding point guards of the MIAA tournament, leading the Townies to a thrilling win over Lexington in the Division 1 North final before bowing out to state runner-up Brockton in the Eastern Mass. Finals. For the season he averaged 16 points and seven assists. He is undecided on college plans, but is currently fielding interest from Division 1 programs such as Maine, Northeastern and Hartford.

All-StateJoey Glynn, Sr. F, Cardinal Spellman
The 6-foot-5 Abington resident did it all this season for the Cardinals, averaging a double-double (18.5 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, 2.2 blocks) as they lost to Eastern Mass. runner-up Wareham in the Division 3 South semifinals. For his career, Glynn scored 1,425 points. He will continue his career next season at Bentley University.

All-StateSteve Haladyna, Sr. G/F, St. John’s Prep
One of two repeat All-Staters, the 6-foot-3 Haladyna was unable to lead the Eagles deep in their Division 1 state title defense, but he still leaves the Danvers campus as one of its most decorated basketball stars. He averaged 22.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, both team highs, and for his career he finishes with 1,392 points -- second all-time on Prep's scoring list. The South Hamilton resident will continue his career next season at Tufts University.

All-StateMalik James, Soph. G, Brighton
The 6-foot-1 James elevated his game when the Bengals needed it most, as they made their first state final appearance in school history, falling to Mahar in the Division 2 title game. For the season, James averaged 18.1 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds as the Bengals won their first-ever Eastern Mass. title.

All-StateJameilen Jones, Jr. G, BC High
BC High's season came to an unexpected halt as the Eagles loss in the first round of the Division 1 South tournament, but the 6-foot-2 Jones has established himself as one of Eastern Mass.'s premier two-way players. For the season, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds as the Eagles went 15-6.

All-StateZach Karalis, Sr. G, North Andover
The 6-foot-1 Karalis was one of the driving forces for the Scarlet Knights, who went 21-2 and reached the playoffs an unprecedented 47th straight time. For the season he averaged 15.9 points and shot 46 percent from the field, to go along with 6.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals. Karalis will continue his career next season at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

All-StateKevin LaFrancis, Sr. C, Acton-Boxborough
After a stellar season in leading the 21-2 Colonials to a Division 1 North semifinal appearance, the 6-foot-6 LaFrancis was named the Dual County League's MVP. He averaged 19.5 points and eight rebounds this season, and finishes his career at A-B with 1,012 career points. He is undecided on college plans.

All-StateAlex Lopez, Sr. G, Springfield Commerce
The 5-foot-10 Lopez led the Valley League in scoring for the second straight season, averaging 22.3 points as the Red Raiders went to the Division 1 Western Mass. Finals and took state champion Springfield Central to the wire. He led Western Mass. in field goals made (185) and total points (512). Lopez is currently undecided on college plans.

All-StateDamian Lugay, Sr. G, Weymouth
The 6-foot-2 Lugay led the Wildcats to a second straight 17-win season, before they were bounced in the first round of the Division 1 South tournament. For the season he averaged 18.1 points and just under four assists, and leaves Weymouth as a two-time First Team All-Bay State Conference. Lugay is undecided on college plans.

All-StateGeorge Merry, Sr. C, Danvers
At 6-foot-7, Merry was a force at both ends of the floor for the Falcons, known for his ability to redirect shots as much as his scoring touch. He averaged 16.1 points, eight rebounds and 6.6 blocks as Danvers captured its first Division 3 state championship in school history. Merry is currently undecided on college plans, but showing interest from several schools in Divisions 2 and 3.

All-StateMarcus Middleton, Jr. G, Stoughton
Tasked nightly with locking down the opposition's top scorer, Middleton established himself as one of the state's premier on-ball defenders. Middleton averaged 16 points per game for the Black Knights, who won the Division 2 South title before bowing out to state runner-up Brighton in the Eastern Mass. championship at TD Garden. Middleton also stars on Stoughton's football squad.

All-StateMatt Mobley, Sr. G/F, St. Peter-Marian
One of state's most pleasant late-blooming surprises, the 6-foot-3 Mobley was one of the leading scorers in Central Mass. as the Guardians made it all the way to the Division 1 Central Final. For the season, he averaged 23.2 points in leading SPM to its most successful season under head coach Marcus Watson. Mobley finished his career at SPM with 1,175 points, and will do a post-graduate season next year at Worcester Academy.

All-StateTyler Nelson, Soph. G, Central Catholic
The 5-foot-11 Nelson established himself as one of the state's premier shooters, as the Raiders made it to the Division 1 North semifinals before bowing out to champion Charlestown. He averaged 15.5 points and four assists this season, shot 42 percent from three-point range, and 91 percent from the free throw line.

All-StateColin Richey, Jr. G, Whitinsville Christian
After winning a Division 3 state title a year ago, the 6-foot Richey nearly led them back, as the Crusaders lost in the final seconds to state runner-up St. Joseph Central in the state semifinals. For the seaosn, Richey averaged 16.8 points, 6.7 assist and 6.3 rebounds for the Dual Valley League champions.

All-StateKamari Robinson, Jr. F, Springfield Central
The 6-foot-5 Robinson was a rock underneath for the Golden Eagles, who captured their first Division 1 state title since 1991 and third overall. He was a nightly double-double threat this season, averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists, as Central went undefeated in Massachusetts.

All-StateMichael Thorpe, Sr. G, Newton North
The Tigers went run-and-gun this season, and the 5-foot-11 Thorpe kept them thoroughly going. One year after reaching the Division 1 South finals, he nearly led them back, before losing to state runner-up Brockton in the semifinals. He was named the Bay State Conference's MVP, with averages of 15 points and four assists. Thorpe will continue his career next season at Emerson College.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
All-StateMARCUS MIDDLETON, STOUGHTON

The kind of on-ball pressure Middleton provided nightly to some of the state's premier scorers can take its toll physically, but he was routinely up to the task. As teammate Aaron Calixte saw a barrage of double-teams and box-and-one's, Middleton did his part at the other end, hedging off screens and staying one one's hip, chasing them all over the floor. As much praise as Calixte will get in this unprecedented season for the Knights, an equal amount must be thrown Middleton's way.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
G – Marcus Middleton, Jr., Stoughton
G – Anthony Hodges, Sr., Holy Name
G – Darien Fernandez, Jr., Wareham
F – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
C – George Merry, Sr., Danvers

COACH OF THE YEAR
All-StateHUGH COLEMAN, BRIGHTON

The Bengals lost their best player before the start of the tournament, and backpedaled into the playoffs with uninspiring losses to Acton-Boxborough and Madison Park. Yet in the end, they were one step away from the school's first-ever state title. Coleman is an unabashed disciple of the legendary Jack O'Brien, and staples of those historic Charlestown squads are sprinkled all over the program. Not only has Coleman done a remarkable job bringing the team to heights never before reached in his three seasons at the helm, but this is a program that will be dangerous for the next few years.

RUNNERS-UP:
Paul Connolly, Newton North
Dean O'Connor, Franklin

FINALISTS:
Kevin Brogioli, Wareham
John Gallivan, Stoughton
Reggie Hobbs, Lexington
Malcolm Smith, East Boston
Chad Softic, Mahar
John Walsh, Danvers
Dennis Wilson, Madison Park

KP's Layman is ESPN Boston Mr. Basketball

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
1:49
PM ET
ESPNBoston.com and its High School section today announced that Jake Layman, senior forward for the King Philip Warriors, is the recipient of its second annual "Mr. Basketball" award, which is presented annually to the top high school basketball player in Massachusetts.

[+] EnlargeJake Layman
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comKing Philip star Jake Layman (No. 23) will be headed to the University of Maryland to play basketball.
The Mr. Basketball award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of ESPNBoston.com staff and correspondents, as well as analysts from Scouts Inc. Layman will be presented with the award at a later date.

“We are honored to present our second annual Mr. Basketball Award to Jake Layman," said ESPN Boston High Schools co-editor Brendan Hall, who coordinates the site’s basketball coverage. "Once again, this was a clear-cut choice. Jake elevated the Warriors to unprecedented heights a year ago, and followed up with a more dominant senior season. He should be proud that he will go down as one of the best individuals to come through MIAA basketball in the last decade."

As a junior in 2010-11, the 6-foot-8 Layman led the Warriors to their first MIAA tournament appearance in 15 seasons, as they made a surprise (and first-ever) run to the Division 2 South Finals and set a school single-season record for wins (17). Layman was named to the “Super Team” of ESPN Boston’s inaugural MIAA All-State Team for his efforts.

After a summer in which he saw his stock explode with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, which included an AAU National Championship, Layman returned to King Philip and put in an even more dominant senior season. In 21 games he averaged 26.5 points, 16 rebounds, 5.8 blocks, 3.2 assists and three steals, as the Warriors set a new school record for wins (18) before suffering a surprise upset in the quarterfinal round of the Division 2 South tournament. He was also named the Hockomock League’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight season.

Off the court, Layman helped established King Philip’s anti-bullying program, which includes the school district’s three elementary schools. He also assists with the Norfolk Youth Basketball Program during the weekends, and has helped establish KP’s “Points Against Cancer” program, which provides financial support for families who have been affected by cancer within the three towns in the school district.

“Jake’s work ethic and drive has never been in question,” Hall said. “He’s a player that many in the region are going to remember for a long time. There were stretches where he single-handedly took games over, and when he gets going with a full head of steam it’s special. He obviously makes a lot of things happen on the glass and defensive end with his length, but he could really shoot the ball, too.”

Layman leaves King Philip as the school’s all-time leading scorer, male or female, with 1,752 points. He also finishes with 1,098 rebounds and 391 blocks, giving him career averages of 20.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.6 blocks, 2.8 steals and 2.6 assists.

Last September, Layman verbally committed to the University of Maryland over scholarship offers from top programs such as Florida, Syracuse, Louisville, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Missouri, Boston College, Brigham Young and Gonzaga. He signed with the Terrapins last November, and is part of one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for 2012. He is currently ranked as the No. 62 overall player in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.

Castro, Chrabascz leading Gatorade contenders

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
11:05
AM ET
ESPNHS' Eric Snyder breaks down the leading candidates for Massachusetts' boys basketball Gatorade Player of the Year honors, today on ESPNHS' Player of the Year blog.

Among the clubhouse leaders are two juniors from the prep school ranks, Worcester Academy guard Rene Castro and Cushing Academy forward Andrew Chrabascz.

Snyder has more:



Rene Castro
Junior guard, Worcester Academy (Worcester, Mass.)

2011-12 Team record: 15-11
2011-12 Team standing: Lost in New England Prep School Athletic Council Class AA quarterfinals

2011-12 Points per game: 23.4
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 3.4
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.1
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.6

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: HS junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: BCD Holiday Hoops Tournament MVP; National Prep Showcase All-Tournament Team

Andrew Chrabascz
Junior forward, Cushing Academy (Ashburnham, Mass.)

2011-12 Team record: 20-7
2011-12 Team standing: Lost in New England Prep School Athletic Council Class B quarterfinals

2011-12 Points per game: 17.0
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.0
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.2
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.6
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.4

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: HS junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Team MVP; 20-plus Division I scholarship offers

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Jaylen Brantley: Junior guard, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.)
Aaron Calixte: Junior guard, Stoughton (Mass.)
Jake Layman: Senior forward, King Philip (Wrentham, Mass.)


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 (bhall@espnboston.com) or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)



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. 12 KP 46, No. 10 Mansfield 35

February, 3, 2012
2/03/12
11:51
PM ET
MANSFIELD, Mass. -- The Hockomock League just got very interesting..

No. 12 King Philip held No. 10 Mansfield to just 4 points in the fourth quarter to come away with a 46-35 victory. The win marks its eighth in the league, which is the same as Franklin and Mansfield atop the league's Kelley-Rex division.

Right from the start, it was evident that Mansfield (10-5) wanted to execute its offense from the outside-in. It had little interest trying to move the ball inside against the likes of Jake Layman and John Mullane.

Initially it worked, as the Hornets got out to an early first-quarter lead. Then, over the final two minutes of the quarter, the team’s shooting touch went cold, which allowed KP (12-3) to get back in the game. Mansfield was still able to end the first up 12-9.

“I think we were pressing in the first half, pressing to get some shots up,” said KP coach Sean McInnis. “We really missed some inside shots. We came out a little nervous. We wanted to bounce back so hard from that Franklin game (a 79-66 Tuesday loss) that we were all focused.”

Mansfield stuck to its gameplan though. It continued to maneuver the ball around the perimeter trying to get that open 3-pointer. When it felt it had the KP defense sufficiently committed, it would shoot. Often Layman (17 rebounds), Mullane (13 rebounds), or Christian Fair (8 rebounds) were there to secure the misses.

“They really did shoot a lot from the outside,” said Layman. “We really buckled down on D and that’s what worked for us.”

The Maryland signee made his mark offensively as well, with 23 points to go along with his 17 boards. He put the exclamation point on his night with under two minutes left in the game when he threw down an uncontested dunk. The Mansfield defense was chasing the ball in an attempt to foul and stop the clock, and his teammates found him under the basket alone for the dunk.

“For the most part, you have to assume he’s going to get his,” said Mansfield coach Michael Vaughan. “He’s special. He’s a great player. You do everything you can to make him work hard. At times you sit there in awe of the things he does, because some of the plays he makes are just at a different level. We try to make it as hard as possible on him. His teammates rallied around him and we didn’t get many easy baskets because of it.”

The teams battled in the third quarter, with KP taking a 33-31 lead into the final frame. It was there that the combination of cold shooting and increased defensive intensity kept Mansfield at bay. KP kept them off the board for 8 minutes of gameplay while it stretched its lead.

“We came out and missed some shots early, and they had a real good gameplan,” said Vaughan. “They took away the three and they were more aggressive. They definitely didn’t let us win the rebound battle. When we’re not missing shots and not rebounding the ball, it made for a long night for us.”

Aside from the bump up in the league standings, the win had extra meaning for Layman and the other seniors.

“It’s been four long years since we beat them, so this win means a lot,” he said.

In the zone: In the second quarter, KP went to a 1-3-1 zone defense to try and control the perimeter. Layman was in the center of the defense, flanked by teammates determined to stop the likes of Michael Hershman, who had 11 points, including two 3-pointers, as well as 7 rebounds.

“Shooting from the outside is really Mansfield’s M.O.,” said McInnis. “We really studied that. We really wanted to make sure that we bounced back from that Franklin game. We regrouped, and without Tykei (Hallman) tonight, we really wanted to do some different things, like get back to our basic-type defense. When you hold a team like that to 14 second-half points, and only 4 in the fourth quarter, that’s tremendous.”

“This game needed to be below 50 points for us to win,” he added. “We wrote on our board if it was a 50-point game, we stood a good chance. But under 40? With our defense we wanted to show them different looks so they couldn’t get into a flow.”

Hockomock shuffle: With three teams now sitting atop the Kelley-Rex division of the Hockomock with eight wins, the league is still very much up for grabs. Stoughton leads the Davenport division with nine wins. That fact was not lost on either teams’ coach after the game.

“We have Brockton next, a non-league game, so we want to go over there and make a statement because that’s an important Division 1 game,” said Vaughan. “It’s an away game over there, so it’s going to be a battle. Then we go back to league games with Attleboro and Franklin in the league where we will hopefully close this out.”

“There’s nothing better than it being in your own hands,” he added. “We’re not looking for anyone else to lose, we don’t need help from anyone. If we win two, we win the league. If we don’t win two, we don’t. Hopefully we can take care of Brockton, and then Attleboro. Then it’s the big one on a Tuesday night (against Franklin). But Attleboro can beat us. If we play like we did tonight, Attleboro can give us a run for our money.

McInnis isn’t concerned with the factors he can’t control or looking too far in the future as the regular season comes to a close.

“We have to worry about ourselves,” he said. “We have to worry about improving on defense, and we just have to make sure we do a better job of getting into a flow offensively.”

Layman, Niang among top performances

January, 27, 2012
1/27/12
12:04
PM ET
Each week during the high school basketball season, ESPNU highlights the top performances around the country from players ranked in the ESPNU 100 (Class of 2012), Super 60 (2013) and Terrific 25 (2014). Making the list this week are King Philip's Jake Layman, Tilton (N.H.) stars Georges Niang and Nerlens Noel, and Brewster Academy (N.H.)'s duo of Mitch McGary and T.J. Warren.

The entire list of top performances can be viewed here. Below are how the locals did:



CLASS OF 2012

No. 21 Mitch McGary, PF
The future Michigan man had 15 points and 14 rebounds in Brewster’s 88-44 demolition of Proctor on Wednesday.

No. 28 T.J. Warren, SF
Warren led the way for Brewster with 21 points in a 98-57 rout of Winchendon School on Friday night. On Monday, he scored 23 as the Bobcats moved to 17-0 following a 125-68 romp over Maine Central Institute.

No. 61 Jake Layman, SF
Layman led King Philip with 27 points in an 84-69 win over Attleboro on Friday night. He had 30 points and 13 rebounds on Tuesday but the Warriors fell to Stoughton, 73-69.

No. 68 Georges Niang, PF
Niang led all scorers with 27 points in leading Tilton past Villa Angela-St. Joseph, 65-49, on Friday at the Mountaineer Showcase. On Saturday, the senior scored the 2,000th point of his career and finished with 29 in a win over Arlington Country Day (Fla.).

CLASS OF 2013

No. 2 Nerlens Noel, C
Noel posted 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in a win over Arlington Country Day (Fla.) on Saturday.


Recap: No. 6 Stoughton 73, No. 9 KP 69

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
11:47
PM ET
WRENTHAM, Mass. -- John Gallivan remembers the first time his star point guard was in a situation like this.

The Stoughton head coach recalled two years ago when a young Aaron Calixte, at the time a freshman, went to the line needing to make one crucial free throw. Calixte promptly clanked the shot, and the Black Knights went on to lose a close one.

"I think he basically said to himself, 'That's never going to happen again'," Gallivan said.

And it hasn't. The electric 5-foot-11 junior point guard put on an offensive clinic in the first half, but was attacked for shooting fouls repeatedly by the fourth quarter. But in going 8-of-12 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, he kept the No. 6 Black Knights just enough ahead to hold off No. 9 King Philip, 73-69, in a thrilling atmosphere at the Warriors' gymnasium.

"It feels good, really good," said Calixte, who finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. "We came to their home court, they had a crazy home crowd and we shut them up. We just did good, we played well."

Between KP's prized 6-foot-8 Maryland signee Jake Layman, and Calixte -- who has started to garner interest from Division 1 schools, including an offer from Towson -- this game had some considerable hype coming into it. And the billing did not disappoint, with both stars carrying their teams for stretches of this one. Calixte had 19 points by the half and several swift dishes, while Layman finished the night with 30 points and 13 rebounds.

KP (9-2) cut the Stoughton (10-1) lead to 60-56 with under three minutes to go in the contest, but the Black Knights seized control with some heads-up play on the break. First, Marcus Middleton (20 points) drew a shooting foul and sank both free throws; the next trip down, Steffan Jackson (seven points, seven rebounds) cut backdoor for a quick layup.

On the ensuing KP possession, Stoughton's Antonio Ferreira came up with a steal near midcourt, drove to the lane and delivered a behind-the-back pass to Calixte, who was taken down hard but nailed both free throws to make it a 66-58 game.

Stoughton increased its lead to 10 with under a minute to go, but the Warriors got off two quick three-pointers from Sam McDonald to make it 71-66. But Calixte hit two more free throws to ice it.

The Knights led 44-36 at the half, but just 53-52 after three quarters.

"Middleton and Calixte were tremendous tonight," said KP coach Sean McInnis. "I think they went 27 of 33 from the free throw line. Tough to beat a team like that."

Marking Layman: The key matchup tonight was how the Black Knights, who don't dress a player over 6-foot-2, were going to defend against the 6-foot-8 Layman, a returning ESPN Boston Super Teamer who has single-handedly toyed with teams at times so far this season.

The task was given first to Middleton, the team's best on-ball defender, who at 5-foot-10 gives up nearly a foot to the nation's No. 61 overall player. Reminded of this, Gallivan cracked, "It's only a foot."

Yes, Layman got his buckets, leading all scorers on the night. But Middleton covered him from end line to end line, digging his chest into the big man's midsection, keeping his hands and hips active, and generally making him labor on any movement into the painted areas.

When it wasn't Middleton pressing on Layman, Gallivan left the duties to Jackson, with Calixte rotating in with some help defense.

"Marcus is just an animal defensively," Gallivan said. "He covers everybody's best player, so why should we switch it? And the other guys helped Marcus. You can't chin Layman and expect to box him out at the same time, so the other kids helped him, kept him off the boards a few times."

McInnis conceded that Layman "worked for every point that he had."

"He's such a tremendous defender," McInnis said of Middleton. "John does such a great job with them on defense, he preaches defense, and that's exactly what we saw tonight. Middleton was tremendous on Jake, took away some of his inside game on Jake, and what happened to us is that it too Jake out of the flow of the game, where it was tough to get Jake inside because he was fighting so hard to get down there. He exhausted a lot of energy to do that."

Switch to zone hushes Warriors: In the second half, Stoughton switched to a unique 2-3 zone defense that gave the Warriors some trouble. Gallivan would surmise later that "You throw it all against the wall and you see what sticks," but this was certainly a package he'll keep in his binder.

Installed just two days prior to tonight's game, the Black Knights' zone was tight for the most part, cutting off diagonal lanes through the zone, forcing ball reversals around the perimeter and long lobs over the top to the opposite sidelines. Against the zone, the Warriors went through stretches where they settled for circumventing rather than penetrating, and it showed on the stat sheet -- KP was just 11 for 32 from the field in the second half, with seven of the baskets coming from three-point range.

Layman's buzzer-beating three to end the third quarter fired up the home crowd, as he flexed to the student section. But against the zone, those moments were too few in between.

"I think we started to feel comfortable taking those shots," McInnis said. "We felt as though the zone was open in the middle, but I think our guys saw that first look at the three and took that shot...I think some came in the flow, and some were shots that we're gonna work on in our shot selection. I think that we forced a couple up -- we took some on the first pass that we could have had two or three passes later."

ESPNU 100 rankings updated

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
2:47
PM ET
ESPN's basketball recruiting section has updated the ESPNU 100 rankings for the Class of 2012 today, and there is some significant shakeup involving local players.

Most significant of them all might be Brewster Academy (N.H.) big man Mitch McGary, who fell from No. 2 overall in the country down to No. 21. The Chesterton, Ind. native signed with Michigan last November.

ESPN's Dave Telep explains the drop:


Michigan signee Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy (N.H.)) dipped from No. 2 to No. 21 overall. Why? When a player is ranked that high, it's entirely up to him to stay there. Our vision with his ranking is to reset expectations so that they are reasonable once he arrives at Michigan. We loved his energy and motor in the past, but it's up to McGary to find his comfort zone and return to the level he played at last spring.




In other movement, St. Mark's big man Kaleb Tarczewski cracks the top five, moving up to No. 4, while Notre Dame Prep's New Zealand-bred big man Steven Adams enters the list at No. 5 overall after making his American debut two weekends ago.

New London (Conn.) point guard and Providence signee Kris Dunn moves up to No. 23 overall, six spots better than his previous ranking.

King Philip's Maryland-bound star Jake Layman falls eight spots to No. 61, while Tilton (N.H.) big man and Iowa State signee Georges Niang makes the biggest leap, up 15 spots to No. 68.

St. Mark's Canadian import Nik Stauskas rounds out the locals at No. 78, up five spots.

You can view the entire list here. The locals on the list are copied below:



4. Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0 C, Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's (Mass.)
5. Steven Adams, 6-10 PF, New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep (Mass.)
18. Ricardo Ledo, 6-6 SG, Providence, R.I./South Kent (Conn.)
21. Mitch McGary, 6-10 PF, Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy (N.H.)
23. Kris Dunn, 6-3 PG, New London, Conn./New London HS
28. T.J. Warren, 6-7 SF, Durham, N.C./Brewster Academy (N.H.)
61. Jake Layman, 6-8 SF, Wrentham, Mass./King Philip HS
68. Georges Niang, 6-7 PF, Methuen, Mass./Tilton (N.H.)
78. Nik Stauskas, 6-6 SF, Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark's (Mass.)


Bright future looms ahead for Sharon's Mukasa

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
6:00
AM ET



SHARON, Mass. -- Last February, as most schools do, Stoughton High honored its seniors in a game against Hockomock rival Sharon High. But when the final buzzer sounded, it was a visiting freshman in his first start that had people buzzing.

Brian Mukasa, now a sophomore, limited Stoughton’s 1,000-point scorer Kris Joyce to just seven points in that contest, and the face of Sharon basketball for the near future was born.

The 5-foot-10 point guard is off to a great start in his first full season on the varsity squad, averaging 17.1 points a game, good for fourth overall in the Hockomock, behind the league's most prolific players: Stoughton's Aaron Calixte, Oliver Ames' Nick Bruha, and King Philip's Maryland-bound forward Jake Layman.

“The ball is in his hands constantly in the offense,” Sharon head coach Bruce Jackman said. “He’s basically fearless, which you really don’t find sometimes in a sophomore. He was under fire last year as a freshman. It’s not like he’s not used to being in that situation.”

The 3-6 Eagles have relied heavily on Mukasa on both sides of the ball this year. He scored a career-high 32 points earlier this season to rally Sharon past Falmouth.

“When I try to score, I really try to pick my spots carefully,” said Mukasa. “I try to see where the weakness in the defense is, see where I can attack [and] expose the defense for myself but also for my teammates as well.”

Mukasa said he trusts his mid-range game and his quickness allows him get to the basket. On top of that, Mukasa is shooting an impressive 40 percent from three-point range, which Mukasa said helps stretch the defense out.

But he isn’t just a scorer. Jackman said Mukasa was originally brought up last year because the varsity squad needed help defensively.

“He’s really taken it upon himself this season to be a defensive stopper, and he’s really tried to shut down all of the other teams’ best players,” senior captain Caleb Piltch-Loeb said. “He doesn’t just focus on offense, he works extremely hard on defense.”

In the offseason, the left-handed floor general plays for the New England Playaz AAU Club, which Calixte also plays for. After scrimmaging together in addition to playing each other twice a year as Hockomock rivals, Calixte has seen Mukasa mature in the past 18 months.

“He has a great understanding of the game,” Calixte said. “He creates opportunities for himself and is a great competitor.”

The Hockomock is full of top players at the guard position, including Calixte, Bruha, Stoughton’s Marcus Middleton, Attleboro’s J.J. Jolaoso, and Franklin’s Sam Bohmiller. Mukasa is hoping his all-around game will help him stand apart.

“There are guards who can score or get their teammates involved or defend at an exceptionally high level,” said the 15-year-old guard. “I’ve really focused on having a well rounded game so there’s no one weakness teams can take advantage of.”

Sharon has had an up-and-down season so far and is in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season. However, Mukasa’s maturity shows, as his confidence remains high and he tries to learn from each game.

“We try to be even-keeled around here,” said Mukasa. “We’ve lost a couple tough games, but we know we have to be ready for the next game.”

The good news for the Eagles is that they are a young team. Mukasa has played well with fellow guards and sophomores James Fritzon and Ade Bright this season. Beyond them, there are five other juniors who still have another year to prove themselves.

“We’re a very young team,” Jackman added. “I think with Brian’s leadership, along with a couple other sophomores who are plying right now, I think it bodes well for us. We’re just going to get better and better and Brian is going to be the leader of that group.”

With time, Mukasa’s skills will only continue to evolve and aid Sharon’s mission to get back to the top of the Hockomock.

Local McDonald's All-American Nominees

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
1:13
PM ET
Nominees for the McDonald's All-American Game were announced this morning. The Final Teams announcement for the prestigious high school basketball all-star game will be announced on Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., on ESPNU.

The boys and girls games will take place on March 28 at the United Center in Chicago, with the girls game at 7 p.m. and broadcast on ESPNU. The boys game will take place immediately after, at 9:30, and will be on ESPN.

One interesting omission to note is Andover senior guard Nicole Boudreau, a Boston College signee who is the state's defending Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPN Boston Miss Basketball. Boudreau has also been ranked in the ESPNU 100 for the Class of 2012.

Below are the nominees from the New England states:

MASSACHUSETTS
Lexi Sells, Bishop Feehan
Jake Layman, King Philip
Ricardo Ledo, Notre Dame Prep
Kaleb Tarczewski, St. Mark's
Nik Stauskas, St. Mark's

CONNECTICUT
Kris Dunn, New London
Ben Freeland, Suffied Academy
Timajh Parker-Rivera, St. Joseph
Erik Sanders, Suffield Academy
Mike Tobey, Hotchkiss
Bria Holmes, Hillhouse

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Zach Auguste, New Hampton
Mitch McGary, Brewster Academy
T.J. Warren, Brewster Academy
Georges Niang, Tilton

RHODE ISLAND
Amber Holgate, St. Andrew's
Thomas Garrick, St. Andrew's
Cedric Kuakumensah, St. Andrew's
Kalusha Ndoubme Ngollo, St. Andrew's
Tyler Sabino, St. Andrew's
Austin Van Bemmelin, North Providence
Rob Hazard, North Providence

MAINE
Darrick Wood, Bridgton Academy

VERMONT
Chad Copeland, Twinfield Union
Jaskin Melendez, Mount St. Joseph
Avery Whitcomb, Twinfield Union
Sara Illingworth, Hartford
Alexandra Jones, Poultney

Mid-season Boys Hoop Superlatives

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
2:57
PM ET
With many teams across the state reaching the midway point of their schedule this week, here are my mid-season picks for our annual MIAA All-State, All-Defensive, and Coach of the Year awards.

THE SUPER TEAM
G – Aaron Calixte, Jr., Stoughton
G – Steve Haladyna, Sr., St. John’s Prep
G – Tyrese Hoxter, Jr., Charlestown
F – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
F – Isshiah Coleman, Jr., New Mission

BEST OF THE REST
Yadoris Arias, Sr. G, Lawrence
Tyler Delorey, Sr. G, Holy Name
Matt Droney, Sr. G/F, Catholic Memorial
Joey Glynn, Sr. F, Cardinal Spellman
Leroy Hamilton, Sr. F, New Mission
Jameilen Jones, Jr. G, BC High
Kevin LaFrancis, Sr. C, Acton-Boxborough
Alex Lopez, Sr. G, Springfield Commerce
Damian Lugay, Sr. G, Weymouth
George Merry, Sr. C, Danvers
Marcus Middleton, Jr. G, Stoughton
Matt Mobley, Sr. G/F, St. Peter-Marian
Brian Mukasa, Soph. G, Sharon
Tyler Nelson, Soph. G, Central Catholic
Quinton Perkins, Sr. G, Fitchburg
Luis Puello, Sr. G, Central Catholic
Colin Richey, Jr. G, Whitinsville Christian
Kamari Robinson, Jr. F, Springfield Central
Tyrell Springer, Sr. G, Springfield Central
Michael Thorpe, Sr. G, Newton North

ALL-DEFENSIVE
G – Luis Puello, Sr., Central Catholic
G – Anthony Hodges, Sr., Holy Name
F – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
F – Antonio Ferreira, Sr., Stoughton
C – George Merry, Sr., Danvers

COACH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Scott Boyle, Lowell
Hugh Coleman, Brighton
Paul Connolly, Newton North
Paul DiGeronimo, Fitchburg
John Gallivan, Stoughton
Paul Neal, Lawrence
Brendan Smith, Boston Latin
Malcolm Smith, East Boston
Mike Vaughan, Mansfield
John Walsh, Danvers

SPONSORED HEADLINES