It only took one game for Foxboro Warriors boys’ basketball team to find themselves with a difficult challenge. On the first day of the season, it was against the other Warriors of the Hockomock League.
No matter how many runs or large leads Foxboro could build against the King Philip Warriors, a comeback by KP was always in the books but Foxboro had just enough to get a 47-46 win Friday night at Foxboro High School.
“They (KP) were tough on us defensively. They’re so long they get in the lanes and make deflections. Tough test but I think for us when they closed the gap, tied it up, they answered, we had to answer,” Foxboro head coach CJ Neely said.
Foxboro starts the season at 1-0.
After a KP started the game on a 5-0 run, it took Foxboro nearly half of the first quarter to get on the board, scoring their opening bucket off a steal and layup from Tim O’Halloran (13 points).
Foxboro did get an early burst of energy from an unlikely source in freshman Mark Clagg (9 points). With 2:25 to play in the first quarter, a three pointer from the guard made it an 8-5 game going into the the second quarter.
The start of the quarters became a streaky time for Foxboro with runs to start the remaining three quarters of the game but KP rallies to follow.
Down by a point early in the second, Foxboro took their first lead of the evening after Clagg made the first of two free throws to tie the game. Cam Seeley’s (8 points) put-back off the second free throw gave Foxboro a 10-8 lead.
Clagg continued to show confidence and a nearly fearless attitude in the first half, extending the lead to five on a long three-pointer with 5:23 to go in the second quarter.
“Normally you don’t want a freshman on varsity unless he’s an exceptional person and Mark is an exceptional person. He’s not afraid of the moment, he’s composed with himself. We threw him at point guard and maybe he ran the offense better than Timmy (O'Halloran) in the first half,” Neely said.
King Philip would claw back behind five points from Jimmy Layman (12 points) and a basket from Erich Ryan to cut the lead to 18-17 at halftime.
Like the previous quarter, Foxboro would go on an 7-0 run to take an eight point lead early in the third quarter.
After early struggles down low, O’Halloran began to find his shot including a fast break layup to keep the lead at eight.
King Philip however, would come back by driving to the basket and using Layman on the outside.
"We had to answer every time (KP) put their foot on the gas,” Neely said. “They were getting by us on the dribble a little bit. When they made their runs they were getting in the paint a little too easy on us and that killed us.”
Back-to-back threes from Layman and Noel Kean cut the lead to one with a little more than three minutes to play in the quarter but an O’Halloran drive down the baseline push the gap back up to three with 2:40 to play in the third.
Less than 90 seconds into the final quarter Foxboro went on one more run behind a Nolan Rogers three-pointer and an O’Halloran put-back off the missed shot by Seeley. But the long arms of Ryan began to pay off with a put-back to cut the lead to four with 5:45 and a second low-post basket to get King Philip within two.
King Philip regained the lead on a James O’Brien two-point shot with a little more than three minutes to play but Rogers would tie the game on a drive to the basket with only 53 seconds remaining.
After Tim Smith put KP up 46-44 with two free throws late in the game, senior captain Justin Zupanick gave Foxboro the lead for good with a top of the key three-pointer off a pass from O’Halloran with eight seconds left.
King Philip had two chances to get the ball into play but both times Seeley would disrupt the pass. After Seeley was called for traveling while recovering the first tipped inbounds pass, KP was awarded the ball under the basket with 6.6 seconds left.
Going for Ryan under the basket, a block and a recovery by Seeley ended the game and gave Foxboro their first win in as many tries.
Foxboro is back in action when they travel to Oliver Ames on Dec. 17.