Friday, December 22, 2017

Mansfield Pulls Away from Newton North Late

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

Ed. Note- Click here for photos of the Hornets and Tigers.

Mansfield, Mass. - A stiff early season challenge did little to slow down Mansfield’s Johnny McCoy.

McCoy scored 22 points and corralled nine rebounds to lead the Hornets to a key, 71-62, non-league win over Newton North in front of a packed house at Mansfield High School.

The Tigers (1-2) were paced by star Ethan Wright, who finished the contest with a game-high 32 points.

Mansfield (4-0) held just a two point lead, 42-40, entering the fourth quarter, but three-pointers by Sam Hyland, Ryan Otto, and Kevin Dooling highlighted a 12-5 spurt that pushed the Hornets' lead up to nine.

Newton North came charging back with a 7-0 run of its own, as a put back by Wright and a layup off the break from Noah Neville trimmed Mansfield’s edge to 54-52 with 3:30 to play.

But, in one of the state's toughest places to play, the Tigers were unable to come all the way back.

Hyland drove for a bucket and Damani Scott converted an old-fashioned three point play off a missed free throw to push the Hornets lead back up to eight.

The Tigers made one final push with Wright drilling a three at the top of the key to cut Mansfield’s lead down to 62-59 with less than a minute left.

McCoy, however, hit six free throws in the game's waning moments to seal the victory for Mansfield.

“This is huge,” said Hornets head coach Mike Vaughan. “We are starting five new guys and only three played meaningful minutes last year. Anytime you can play a game like this it helps you grow.”

A battle between two of Massachusetts’ Top 20 teams was plagued by foul trouble. The sides combined for over 45 fouls and four players combined to foul out.

Less than five minutes into the game the Hornets were in the bonus as the Tigers had picked up seven fouls including a pair of charges on Wright.

Free throws proved to play a pivotal role. Mansfield was 14-of-23 from the line in the second half while the Tigers were 11-of-14.

“It’s tough (to get into a rhythm),” said Vaughan. “In the first half I thought it went our way, in the second half it went their way. It evened out. Managing foul trouble and trying to keep the guys focused was a big challenge. I am proud of the guys though who stuck with it.”

The Hornets came out on fire in front of their home crowd, with nine first quarter points from McCoy putting the hosts up 20-12 after one.

In the second quarter Wright took over for Newton North, as consecutive dunks highlighted a 15-point first half for the Princeton commit.

With time winding down in the opening half, Tigers’ sophomore forward Aaron Cooley drained consecutive buckets to pull Newton North within 35-29 at the break.

As a whole, Newton North struggled to find pieces to complement Wright on the offensive end.

Mansfield’s defense held the Tigers to 4-of-21 from behind the three-point line and 2-for-8 in the second half.

Vaughan praised Hyland who spent most of the contest covering Wright.

“I thought Sam (Hyland) was outstanding,” said Vaughan. “Wright probably scored his fair share, but he had to earn everything. It was great to make him a volume shooter. It was a great team effort.”

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