Saturday, March 17, 2018

Foxboro Saves its Most Memorable Comeback for Last, defeats Hopkinton for Girls Division 2 Title

 By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Springfield, Mass. – In a string of sensational comebacks, Foxboro saved its most memorable for last.

Ashley Sampson scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Warriors defeated Hopkinton, 49-41, to claim the Girls’ Division 2 State Championship at the Mass Mutual Center.

The state championship is Foxboro’s first since 1995, and first in school history at the Division 2 level.

In the state semi-finals on Wednesday against Pentucket, the Warriors erased a 20-point second half deficit behind 22 points from Sampson before winning in overtime.

On Saturday, Sampson was the catalyst once again as she scored 9 of her 15 points to help turn a five-point Hillers lead into a state championship Foxboro.

“I would be lying if If I did say to myself 'can they really do it again?' said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. "We had just done a couple of hours ago. Because they did that the other day I knew it was in them, and just really had to focus on one possession at a time one stop a time. Once we hit a shot, and then got a stop on defense it was like ok 'we got this.'"

Hopkinton held a slim, 35-29 lead early in the final stanza, but Foxboro came roaring back.

Grace Tamulionis splashed a trey before Sampson went coast-to-coast to pull the Warriors within one.

Moments later, Lily Sykes pushed Foxboro in front taking the dribble handoff and going to straight to the basket to give the Warriors a 38-37 lead with 3:44 left.

Defensively, meanwhile, Foxboro was flawless. Over the final four minutes the Warriors held Hopkinton to just 2-of-8 from the field with four turnovers.

Katelyn Mollica increased Foxboro leads up to three with a layup. Hopkinton had a trio of chances to tie the score, but all three trey attempts failed to fall.

Sampson hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

“They did it again," said Downs. "We were attacking them a little bit more (in the second half). They were double teaming Ashley wherever she was so we realized if we rotated the ball a little bit more we would have some open looks we just had to look opposite from where she was. Once we did that and we were able to start running they weren't able to keep up every possession."

The Hillers showcased an ability to score in a multitude of ways in the first half, knocking down treys in the first quarter before asserting their presence inside in the second.

Regan Keavany connected on two three-pointers as part of a 4-of-5 effort from long distance for Hopkinton that put them up 12-4 after one.

Hopkinton increased its lead to begin the second quarter behind senior forward Ivy Gogolion.

Gogolin scored 10 straight points highlighted a conventional three point play to give Hopkinton its largest advantage of the day, 23-9.

Sampson connected at the rim to pull the Warriors within single digits, but Gogolin continued to dominate in the paint finishing with the reverse to give the Hillers a 27-17 lead at the break.

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