Foxborough Boys’ Hoop Team Finishes Year as Neely’s Best
Foxborough boys’ basketball head coach C.J. Neely called his 2012-13 team “the best group” he’s had in six years at helm of the Warriors.
Each season, Foxborough High School boys’ basketball head coach C.J. Neely sets a team goal to win at least 10 games and qualify for the state tournament without using the Sullivan Rule, which allows for teams that play against higher division opponents during the regular season to only count games against the same division when determining postseason eligibility.
The Warriors accomplished that goal in 2007-08 - Neely’s first season as coach of FHS – finishing the year with a 10-10 record. Since then, Foxborough had finished below .500 the past four seasons heading into this winter.
And despite a quick exit from the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional State Tournament last week, Foxborough enjoyed its most successful season under Neely’s six-year tenure leading the program.
“This is the best group I’ve coached since I’ve been here,” said Neely of his 2012-13 squad. “They all played for the team … these guys did anything they could for each other.”
The 2012-13 Warriors were the first in Neely’s tenure to finish the season with a winning record (11-9).
“Most of our wins this year were team wins,” Neely said.
Neely credited the Warriors’ six seniors - Alfred Henriquez, Nick DiTullio, Nolan Clagg, Josh Patkin, Brian Ellard and Alex Pacitti - for the program’s rise above .500 this season.
- Patkin, a 2012-13 captain and three-year varsity player, became one of the most deadly shooters Foxborough has seen in many years. His shooting ability was on full display as a junior when Patkin scored 22 points on seven 3-pointers against a state ranked Stoughton team and in a 29-point outburst earlier this season against Bridgewater Raynham. While his shooting has brought much attention, it has been his hard work and leadership that made him special to the program. Patkin was named the most improved player and worked tirelessly in the offseason to improve his skills and strength as a team leader in the weight room.
- Ellard, a 2012-13 captain and three-year varsity letter winner, defined commitment and unselfishness for the Warriors’ basketball program. He has served as a tremendous leader from the point guard position, leading both vocally and by example. Ellard’s relentless ball pressure set the tone for the team’s defensive intensity night in and night out, while bringing a positive and enjoyable attitude to the court each day and always finding a way to help his teammates be more successful. Whether he was setting up his teammates for shots, supporting the development of younger players or finding himself in the role of assistant coach on the court, Ellard always found a way to get an assist and has never shied away from his leadership role.
- Pacitti, a two-year basketball captain and three-sport captain at FHS, was a three-year starter for the Warriors. Pacitti has been the very definition of hard work and leadership. As the team’s defensive specialist, Pacitti was assigned the toughest defensive assignment each night and welcomed the challenge with open arms, consistently holding opposing team’s leading scorers below season averages while still playing all guard positions offensively. Truly an old-school-type of kid, Pacitti will best be remembered for always maximizing his potential and giving his heart and soul to his teammates on his way to becoming one of the most complete and dedicated athletes Foxborough High School has ever seen.
- Henriquez, a four-year member of the FHS basketball program, has always been a player who plays with pride and toughness each game. Henriquez will best be remembered for his physical defensive presence in the paint and his tenacious rebounding ability. Entering his senior season, Henriquez suffered a knee injury that kept him from playing most of the season. Despite the injury, Henriquez remained positive at practice at each day as a supportive teammate and senior leader.
- DiTullio, a three-year member of the varsity basketball team, always played with a lot of emotion and left his heart on the court. DiTullio will be remembered for his defensive intensity as well as his rebounding ability and exceptional offseason commitment. DiTullio has had many big moments for the Warriors this season, highlighted by a 10-point performance against Taunton and two clutch buckets in the team’s win over Attleboro.
- Clagg, a three-year member of the varsity program, was an inspirational leader and will be remembered for his exceptional shooting ability but more importantly, for his positive energy as a teammate. Clagg’s excitement during practice was infectious and raised the level of his teammates. This season, Clagg was a major factor in all of the team’s big wins, including tremendous rebounding and scoring performances vs. Sharon and highlighted by a career high 17 points in a win at Attleboro followed by a 15-point performance in the tournament-qualifying win vs. Canton.
The team’s 11 wins earned the Warriors the 17th seed in the preliminary round of the MIAA D3 South Sectional tournament against Norwell.
In the state tournament, Foxborough fell, 41-38, in a dramatic – and low scoring – contest in Norwell on Feb. 25, dropping the Warriors’ tournament record to 2-6 under Neely.
“I think both teams played really hard,” said Neely of the Warriors season-ending loss to Norwell. “Shots were there for us and we just didn’t knock them down. They made some tough shots and good for them. They made it happen.”
Neely said the goal for next year – in addition to winning at least 10 games – is hosting a state tournament game; something Foxborough hasn’t done since Neely took over in 2007.
BY THE NUMBERS
FOXBOROUGH SEASON RECORDS UNDER NEELY:
- 2012-13: 11-9
- 2011-12: 8-13
- 2010-11: 4-16
- 2009-10: 9-11
- 2008-09: 8-12
- 2007-08: 10-10
FOXBOROUGH STATE TOURNAMENT RECORD UNDER NEELY:
- 2-6 (never advanced past first round of state tournament)
FOXBOROUGH STATE TOURNAMENT WINS UNDER NEELY:
- Beat Rockland, 70-58 in 2008
- Beat Dighton-Rehoboth, 59-52 in 2009