MANSFIELD, Mass. -- For those keeping track at home, the scorecard now reads:
Mansfield forward Michael Boen -- 3
Brockton head coach Bob Boen -- 1
For the third straight year, Michael and his Hornets (11-2) were able to take down uncle Bob and his Brockton Boxers, this time Mansfield coming away with a 69-61 win. Coach Boen’s only win over Michael came in 2012, when Michael was a freshman.
Mansfield (12-2) jumped out to a 14-0 lead but had to hang on as the Boxers fought to within one point with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Brockton’s Amare Appleberry (12 points, 13 rebounds) converted at the rim off an assist from Garrison Duvivier to cut Mansfield’s lead to 59-58.
That’s where Michael came in to finish the game. The 6-foot-4 senior scored six of Mansfield’s final 10 points, including a back-breaking three-point play with just under a minute to play that made it 66-58 in favor of Mansfield.
Despite never trailing, it was anything but a sure thing for the Hornets.
“There was a lot of doubt,” Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan said. “But it was good to get out of here with a win. We needed to get a win against that type of team after the Brighton loss. We jumped on them early, sustained it and I wouldn’t say never look back, but we never were down.”
Michael finished with a game-high 23 points and 10 boards to finish the regular season series against his uncle 3-1. The teams have a chance of meeting in the MIAA D1 South playoffs. Ryan Boulter added 19 points and seven rebounds in the win for the Hornets.
“We did everything we could to stop them,” Bob Boen said. “We had two guys chase them all over rand everyone else keep an eye on them to help out. They’re a good solid pair and they both do great things. Coach Vaughan runs a very nice offense and they make a lot of nice back cuts. They don’t just stand there when they’re not open, they keep working to get open.”
All season, the Hornets have tried to establish players around their big two of Boulter and Boen. On Sunday, it was sophomore Sam Goldberg’s turn. Goldberg scored half of his 12 points and grabbed half of his eight rebounds in the final quarter and was on the end of a Brockton charge in the fourth quarter that kept the momentum with Mansfield.
“They’re always very good at that,” Bob Boen said of Mansfield’s ability to take chargers. “They’re good at getting in position and taking the charge. We need to make one or two more passes before we take it to the basket.
“It seemed like anytime we cut it to one, even the third quarter we cut it to four, something would go wrong, we’d make a mistake. I thought we were in a hurry to get ahead. We never sat down on defense and just stopped them three or four times in a row.”
For Mansfield, Vaughan admitted it was more of a focal point to try to pack the defense in and draw the charges, which worked as the Hornets drew nearly a half a dozen.
“The whole thing was to try and pack it in and make them take contested shots and I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that,” Vaughan said.
Even more, Goldberg was the one who created Mansfield’s separation at first when the Boxers cut it to one. With 2:25 left, Goldberg decided to take the ball to the basket himself for a key layup that made it 61-58.
“I thought Sam Goldberg played tremendous on both sides,” Vaughan said. “He had a huge basket [in the fourth]. If he can continue to get back, Matt Ehrlich is continuing to get better and if we can get a little more out of Nick [Baskin], this team is improving each week. We needed a win like this to put us back in the conversation of being a quality team.”
Mansfield had a 22-10 lead after one quarter but were outscored 37-32 over the middle quarters. The Hornets were able to edge the Boxers 15-14 in the final quarter.
The Hornets are schedule to be back in action on Tuesday with a trip to Stoughton. Brockton will look to bounce back from just its second loss when they host Big 3 rival Durfee on Friday.