Friday, February 9, 2018

Johnny McCoy, Mansfield Stings Franklin for Edge in Kelly-Rex

By: Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Mansfield, Mass. – Mansfield’s home-court advantage was evident from the opening tip.

Johnny McCoy scored 16 points while the Hornets’ defense held rival Franklin to just 23 points over the first three quarters as Mansfield defeated the Panthers, 59-47, in a Hockomock Kelly-Rex battle on Friday night at Mansfield High School.

The contest was a rematch of just less than a month ago where Franklin used the three-ball to down Mansfield, 67-52.
 On Friday night, the Hornets (16-2) turned the tide holding the Panthers to just 3-of-16 from beyond the arc.

Offensively, meanwhile, Damani Scott (13 points) and Justin Vine (11 points) both joined McCoy in double figures to lead the Hornets. Mansfield shot 48-percent from the field and 43-percent from the three.

“The first time they lit us up,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I thought that added extra motivation for us to do what we needed to do to win.”

Through the first three quarters the Hornets defense was nothing short of suffocating limiting the Panthers to just 1-of-13 from three en route to a 48-23 advantage heading into the final stanza.

Franklin, however, showed life over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

Switching to their full court pressure, the Panthers sped the game up forcing the Hornets into either open court turnovers or hurried shots.

The change in tempo helped engineer a 15-2 run that was highlighted by a there-point play from Paul Mahon and six points from Chris Edgehill to trim the deficit to 50-38 with 3:31 left.

Mansfield, however, was too disciplined to fall succumb to a miracle comeback.

Scott nailed one at the charity stripe, and then corralled his own miss and put it home to put the Hornets back up 15.

“I think since the last time we played them we have gotten significantly better,” said Vaughan. “We have made a better commitment both to how we practice and how we prepare. You are seeing it on the defensive side of the floor.”

In front of a packed house the Hornets quickly used the large-supporting fan section to its advantage as consecutive three-pointers from Ryan Otto and McCoy put Mansfield up 10-2 early.

The Hornets carried a 12-6 advantage into the second quarter but pulled away before the half.

Vine came off the screen to bury a top of the key three-pointer and McCoy connected at the rim to give Mansfield a 21-8 lead.

At the other end, meanwhile, Mansfield made every offensive possession a struggle for Franklin. Throughout the opening half, the Panthers were forced into tough, fall-away jumpers with the shot clock draining.

When the Panthers were able to find a driving lane, there was often a Hornet waiting for them on the low block as Mansfield took four charges in the opening 16 minutes.

Even when Franklin was able to generate some offense, it was met with a Mansfield response.

Edgehill swished a three-pointer from the wing, but Vine came right back with a corner triple of his own.

McCoy then put on the final touches of the frame hitting his fourth three-pointer of the half as time expired to give Mansfield a 29-13 advantage at the intermission.

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