Advertised as one of the must see games of the season, the Hornets’ game against the Brockton Boxers was expected to be a battle that could be decided in the final moments of the match. While the Hornets came out of the first half with a slight edge, it was the second half that the Hornets showed what they were capable of.
“They beat us on a lot of back door cuts. They rebounded the ball well and got some rebounding baskets,” Brockton coach Bob Boen said. “The second half they ran their offense, they embarrassed us.”
The Hornets picked up a big 66-41 win against the Boxers to improve to 13-1.
After Brockton jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, a three pointer by Gregory Romanko got the Hornets to within three but the Boxers responded with a two pointer from Israel Thorp to lead by three midway though the opening quarter.
Down by two with little time left on the clock, a three pointer from Ryan Boulter off the inbound pass under the Mansfield basket at the buzzer gave the Hornets a 13-12 lead after one quarter of play.
Behind six second quarter points from Brendan Hill, the Hornets were able to get a five point lead going into the break. Able to consistently dish the ball into the low post, the Brockton defense did not have an answer for the quick moving Hornets offense that slowly put separation between them and the Boxers.
“We try to score inside out and get some post touch and I thought we did a good job of executing our offense,” Mansfield coach Michael Vaughan said. “I thought we did a good job of maintaining the boards which gave us the ability to grind away the first half.”
The second half was all Hornets as Mansfield continued to work the ball down low and control the boards basket after basket. Outscoring the Boxers 19-11 in the third quarter, two free throws by Michael Boen gave the Hornets the first double digit lead of the game early in the quarter and more dynamic play from Hill stretched the lead to 13 by the end of the quarter.
With time winding down in the fourth quarter and the lead over 20, a pair of slam dunks from Hill and Kevin Conner wrapped up a win against one of the best teams in Division 1 and a potential tournament foe.
Hill led the way with a game high 23 points for the Hornets. Romanko and Boulter both had 12 points.
The Hornets will host King Philip on January 29 at 6:30 p.m.