If not for the controversial Sullivan Rule that gives tournament births to teams with a record above .500, against teams in their division or lower despite their overall record, the Foxborough Warriors could of never snuck into the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional Tournament with only four wins.
One year later, the Warriors are looking to make a bigger impact with a stronger team and more experienced leadership.
The Warriors already have a game under their belt with an 82-18 win over Hampden Charter of Chicope. Normally a team would feel good about holding a team to 18 points, but the toughest challenges have yet to come for Foxborough.
“They’re feeling good about themselves, but they understand that Friday night is going to be a lot different than what that was,” said Foxborough head coach CJ Neely. “You like getting a win, but we didn’t learn a lot about our team.”
The Warriors will be right in the middle of one of the most competitive leagues in the state. The Warriors' first league game will be against a very strong Stoughton team with games against Mansfield, King Philip and Franklin down the road.
Jeff McPherson, Alex Pacitti and Nick Couroupacis all return as captains for a team that has grown up and matured a lot in the past year.
“Everyday at practice is about basketball. We try to improve on what we’re trying to do. There’s no effort questions. Guys are really working hard,” said Neely. “They came in, they’re excited about the team and their ready to have a good season.”
The battle for the guard position is well underway. With Pacitti already expected to get many minutes at point guard, the fight for court time comes down to other underclassmen such as Tim O'Halloran, Drew McGeary, Nolan Clagg, Josh Patkin and Justin Zupanic.
“It is good to have options. We’re going to have to narrow it down eventually and kinda get a little rotation,” said Neely.
The battle for game time means that very few spots are safe and its going to take a full effort every day to keep you’re minutes.
“The more you have the more competition hopefully at practice and that way guys will never feel save about that position and take it easy,“ said Neely.
The bottom line is that the Warriors have an uphill battle in the Hockomock League. All 10 teams from the league made the tournament last year and King Philip, Mansfield and Stoughton are all favored to have deep postseason runs. Combined with last year’s record, many are overlooking Foxborough which may work in their favor.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if most teams would underrate us. We didn’t deserve any respect after what we put in last year as far as our record go,” said Neely. “We’ll always be competitive. We’ll always play hard, but I think we can surprise some teams if they don’t take us seriously.”
The Warriors start league play and a lengthy road trip at Stoughton on Dec. 16 and will return home on Jan. 6 against Sharon.