By Eli Hearne (Op-Ed Editor).
The Sharon Eagles have struggled to defend big men in the Hockomock League all year, and it killed them on Tuesday night.
It was senior night for the Sharon Eagles Varsity Boys basketball team as they hosted the Big Red from North Attleboro.
“It was an emotional game. It was definitely a good final home game for us,” senior captain Ricardo Ripley told The Talon.
After being sidelined for a good amount of the game due to foul trouble, North Attleboro’s big man Jonny Friberg absolutely dominated Sharon in the paint in the fourth quarter and overtime. He finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds on the night, 17 and 7 in the final frame and overtime.
His dominance was what forced overtime in the first place, as Friberg hooked in a layup off a nifty post-move, tying the game at 68-68 with 5.9 seconds left.
Sharon’s Ben Stamm missed the final shot attempt short, ultimately forcing OT.
In overtime, Sharon could not stop Friberg. He scored nine straight points off of four layups and a free throw. No other Big Red players attempting a field goal.
“We tried like hell to get [Friberg] his fifth foul but he’s just so big, he finishes around the basket so well,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson told HockomockSports.com.
“He’s gotten so much better than a year ago. I’m looking at the fourth quarter and overtime stats and he just killed us. We did a good job on for three quarters, and it helped he was in foul trouble. But him and Brent, those are big time players and we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch,” he added.
The Eagles could not keep pace as their high-powered offensive night seemed to halt in overtime, ultimately getting outscored 13-7 in the extra period.
“We couldn’t get the rebounds we needed to in OT and they ended up getting those extra points, and we felt it,” said senior Tommy Modelevsky.
Prior to overtime, Sharon was hitting their shots all night. They hit 14 out of their 24 three-point attempts.
Junior Jimmy Fitzhenry (16 points) caught fire in the first half, with sophomore Alex Kaufman (15 points) performing steadily on offense throughout the game.
Sharon, per usual, also relied on Ricardo Ripley (17 points) and junior Malik Lorquet (8 points, 9 rebounds) throughout the game to balance their outside shooting with slashing drives to the hoop.
Following Sharon’s 12th three, the Eagles lead 64-55 with under four minutes to go. But North fought and chipped away at the Sharon lead.
It seemed that every time the Eagles went on a run, North had a response, and in the second half the response came from senior Brent Dougherty (17 points, 5 assists).
“It was huge to get Brent going. The second half by Brent was huge, a lot of contributions from guys in the second half,” North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins told Hock Sports.
North was able to keep the foot on the gas peddle throughout overtime, ultimately giving them the win.
“We played them hard and gave it all we got and I’m proud of my guys,” said senior Sammy Kirshenbaum.
Sharon (3-13) has a week off before traveling to Stoughton next Tuesday to take on the Knights.
Photo courtesy of HockomockSports.com