Holliston Youth Basketball – Week 2
By: Derek Cordon – V.P. of Recap Development
We have thirty 4th graders in their first year of travel basketball for Holliston – 18 boys and 12 girls. Thank you to the coaches who are making the players first experience fun and educational. On the girls’ side, Jason Cooper is at the helm with Fran Smith and Sean Hanlon as assistant coaches. For the boys’ side, there are two teams – The Red team is headed up by Joe Sgarano with assistance from Scott McDonough, while the White team is led by Bryan Blackerby with Ryan Looney and Sean Jacquet alongside to assist. Thank you to all 3 head coaches and 5 assistant coaches for volunteering your time and creating an enjoyable introduction to Holliston travel basketball for the 4th graders.
Now let’s see how the Holliston squads faired this week.
Boys’ 4th Grade (Red)
The Holliston 4th Grade Boys (Red) team lost a tough game to Hopkinton on Sunday 40-20. Hopkinton got off to a hot start, making it challenging for Holliston to make a comeback. Ryan Baker led Holliston with 13 points, while Logan McDonough chipped in with 5. Cole Dennison had 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Will Finneran had a steal and played strong defense. The team looks to bounce back with two games this weekend: Saturday at the Adams Middle School against Northboro and Sunday down the road against Milford.
Boys’ 4th Grade (White)
The Holliston 4th grade boys (White) team hosted the Ashland team on a snowy Sunday afternoon at the Adams Middle School. Despite a well-played game by the Panthers, they came up short losing 26-20 to a gritty Clocker squad. Declan Aldredge led all scorers with 14 points while Ty Looney and Owen Jacquet each chipped in with buckets. Teddy Miller and Jacob Snow were all over the court on defense trying to stop the Clockers scoring surge while David Blackerby had a couple blocked shots and led the rebounding effort. Tommy Ogoreuc and Aryan Simhadri’s hustle off the bench sparked the Panthers but unfortunately it was not enough to hold off Ashland’s 12 points surge in the fourth quarter to take the lead. The boys will travel Sunday to hostile territory in Medfield to try and pick up the first W of the season.
Boys’ 5th Grade (Red)
The Holliston 5th grade boys (Red) team, short-handed again due to illnesses, fell just short of a full fourth quarter comeback against a talented Hopkinton team and lost 31-26. Holliston refused to give up and kept chipping away at what was at one time a double-digit deficit. The boys brought their best effort, registering 26 rebounds, with Gavin Bausch and Leo Wagner registering 6 apiece. While the loss stung, the boys took a huge step forward in terms of playing as a team, with each and every player contributing in one-way or another. Holliston looks to break into the win column this weekend with another away game, this time against Brookline.
Boys’ 5th Grade (White)
The Holliston 5th grade boys (White) team lost a tough 37-24 game against Hopkinton this past Sunday. Austin Mack led the team in rebounding, while Joseph Lawendi, Devon Doray, Nolan Burke, Brody Stanley, and Logan Kanavich contributed on offense. The Panthers return to the court this Saturday night at 7PM where they square off against the Norwood Mustangs in Norwood.
Boys’ 6th Grade (Red)
The Holliston 6th Grade Boys (Red) team continued their winning ways on Sunday with a 42-25 defeat over Blackstone-Millville. The game was a lot closer and more exciting than the score reveals. Entering the 4th quarter up 21-19, the boys turned on the full court press and outscored their opponents 21-6 in the quarter to seal the victory. Quinn McErlean (17) and William Hayes (10) led the offensive attack, but the fierce defense cannot go unmentioned. The team ripped down an astounding 39 rebounds, led by Andrew Ferguson with 9, Ben Furey with 7 and Jack Firmani with 5. Everyone chipped in, however, which was great to see. The boys learned about staying in it until the end, and they will take this into their matchup next week against Lexington at the Adams Middle School.
Boys’ 6th Grade (White)
The Holliston 6th grade boys (White) team continued their road trip and visited Milton on Sunday, losing 35-13. Against a larger team that employed constant full court pressure, the Panthers showed tremendous grit and poise, breaking the press regularly and playing against a zone defense. Tristan Snyder pulled down 4 crucial rebounds down the stretch against their big man, showing how he can take over in the paint. James Negri scored 4 points to lead the team in scoring, one of them a beautiful transition layup from Cameron Baker. Constant, unrelenting defense and scrappy play (which is the hallmark of this team) continued from Liam Forbes. Next Sunday, the boys have their first home game of the season at the Adams Middle School against Ashland.
Boys’ 7th Grade (Red)
The Holliston 7th grade boys (Red) game turned on a key defensive play to secure the lead and a 36-31 win over a tough Revere team. Revere forced a steal late in the game and had an easy breakaway layup when Nick Flannery chased him down from behind, timed his leap, and sent the shot sailing out of bounds on a spectacular block – one of three of his blocks in the game. Anthony Faletra pulled down a staggering 8 defensive rebounds from the point guard position. Colin Doherty and Connor McDonough did a little bit of everything to help the team win. Colin hit a key jumper from the left-hand side just a shade inside the 3-point line, and Connor was a beast on the boards, crashing with ferocity to earn himself a team-high 3 offensive rebounds. Next up for the 2-0 Holliston squad is a road game at Lincoln-Sudbury on Sunday at 4PM.
Boys’ 7th Grade (White)
The Holliston 7thgrade boys (White) team were undermanned but played hard and came up short against a big, aggressive, and athletic Framingham squad by a score of 29-20. The team was right there until the last 4 min when they ran out of steam and Framingham took advantage. The squad was once again led by Jesse Brodsky who played the entire game and notched 10 points. Max McFayden chipped in with a solid 4 points. Om Pachani found the bottom of the net with a smooth 3 pointer and Will Dietrich contributed 3 points in his 2022-2023 season debut. Excellent team defense kept Holliston in the game until those last 4-5 minutes. Holliston will look to bounce back next week when they take a ride to Dedham.
Boys’ 8th Grade
The Holliston 8th grade boys went to 2-0 on the season with a 44-38 win against a familiar opponent, Natick, who they played twice last year with Holliston winning both games. The previous game came down to the final shot with Holliston winning by 2 points. In this contest, Natick started fast jumping out to an 11-3 lead in the first quarter. Holliston focused on a swarming team defense in the second quarter and held Natick scoreless for the quarter ending the first half with a 15-11 lead. The offense picked up for the Panthers in the third quarter led by Cal Leverone who was lights out for the game connecting on five 3-pointers. Holliston then started driving to the basket with pick and rolls from Cal Leverone to Jonathan Casey then Luke McHugh to Henry Hayes as part of a 29-5 run between the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Natick cut the lead to 6 with under 1 minute remaining, but the Panthers held on for the win. Jack McDonald led Holliston in scoring with 16, Cal Leverone added 15, and Luke McHugh added 6 assists. Next up is a road game in Wayland on Sunday.
Girls’ 4th Grade
The Holliston 4th grade girls’ team had an early season bye week. They will be back in action on Sunday against Wellesley at the Adams Middle School.
Girls’ 5th Grade (Red)
The Holliston 5th grade girls (Red) team traveled to Hopkinton in a matchup of undefeated teams. Hopkinton came out on fire scoring right off the tip and didn’t look back. Holliston made a run at the end of the 1st half to score 7 straight points, but in the end couldn’t keep up with the Hillers. Hopkinton pulled away with a 31-12 victory. Holliston was led by Ella Bennett who scored 8 points and Addy McAdams added another 4. Chloe Roche played great defense for Holliston while shutting down her opponent. The Panthers look to shake off the rust this coming week vs the Red Rocketeers of North Attleboro.
Girls’ 5th Grade (White)
The Holliston 5th grade girls (White) team lost in a close game to Belmont 20-16. Once again Danika Do Rosario kept Holliston’s opponent on their toes with her fast breaks. Aahana Kulkarni displayed her point guard skills and lead the team in passing. Anna Walsh was fast to catch up to Belmont on breakaways to stop them from scoring. The team goes on to play two games next weekend – Saturday against Wayland on the road and Sunday at the Adams Middle School against Waltham.
Girls’ 6th Grade (Red)
This week the Holliston 6th grade girls (Red) team, hosted Millis and their defensive presence continued to shine allowing only 3 points in the first half. Their collective effort on the defensive end of the floor showed tremendous grit and hustle, which aligns with the work ethic these girls consistently display. Caroline Coughlin made her presence known under the boards with 5 rebounds, Sedona Cicciarella had 4 and Mackenzie McDonald and Chelsea Dufault had 3 each. On the offensive side, Mackenzie McDonald led the team with 8 points and Lila Cohen had 4, which was all Holliston needed for the 18-9 win. Next week the girls host Hopkinton, a highly anticipated matchup as they played in a preseason tournament and the game was decided by one point.
Girls’ 6th Grade (White)
The Holliston 6th grade girls (White) team faced a tough Ashland team playing a suffocating zone defense and lost 21-10. Ashland raced out to a lead in the first half before the Holliston girls came storming back with an intense defensive effort leading to transition buckets. The team was led by Maria Burke with 4 points at critical times in the game. Ashten Arsenault led the defensive effort with several key steals while also facilitating the offense from the point guard position. Violet Polny receives the hustle award for the day, her off the ball movement along the baseline constantly freed up opportunities on the offensive end of the floor. Shoutout to several members of the G6 (RED) team for coming out and showing their support for the girls! Next game is at 6PM on Sunday at Holliston Adams Middle School against Winchester.
Girls’ 7th Grade
Game 2 was a solid match-up for the Holliston 7th grade girls. Nearly every Holliston player grabbed a rebound from the boards and played hard until the final buzzer. Mia Faletra found herself at the foul line several times and came up with a positive average, netting 7 points as the game’s leading scorer. Lucy Mancuso led the team with steals. Holliston’s aggressive defense held Wellesley to only 26 points, but the offense came up just a bit short scoring 21 points. The team gets back at it this weekend and welcomes Medway for their home opener on Saturday at the Adams Middle School and then they host Newton on Sunday.
Girls’ 8th Grade (Red)
The Holliston 8th grade girls (Red) and their parents fought blizzard like conditions to cross the state to play the Medford Mustangs Sunday night. The treacherous conditions were not going to stop the Panthers from continuing their 3-game winning streak. The news of the Panthers recent 34-, 19- and 18-point victories must have scared off their opponent as the Mustangs were a no show to the game. First place will be on the line this weekend as Holliston will play two games over the weekend versus 2-0 Westboro on Saturday at the Adams Middle School and 1-1 North Quincy on the road on Sunday.
Girls’ 8th Grade (White)
The Holliston 8th grade girls (White) team welcomed Wayland to the Adams Middle School on Sunday. The game did not go the way Holliston would have hoped and they lost 28-2. The “win” taken out of the contest was that Wayland had 20 points at the half and the Holliston defense held them to 8 points in the second half. Holliston has a pair of games this coming weekend – first up is a visit from Watertown to the Adams Middle School on Saturday. Then on Sunday the team will make a trip to visit Waltham.