The Stoughton High boys’ basketball team built a solid lead in their first quarter of play and never looked back, downing host Randolph High, 66-36, on their way to capturing the .
Despite having one of their less impressive shooting nights on the season, the Black Knights (5-0) limited Randolph to just three field goals in the first quarter.
“We tried to control the tempo early and it sort of backfired on us.” Stoughton head coach John Gallivan said. “Probably an example of over coaching. We made a lot of mistakes in transition defensively. We ended up missing assignments and guys got wide-open shots. When we went to the half court man it seemed like we did a better job being responsible for our guys.”
So far this season, the Black Knights have relied on their prolific offense. On Friday night, they used sound defense to get the win.
“Hard work,” Gallivan said of what made the victory possible. “The shots weren’t falling. It’s probably the worst shooting we’ve had all year, which is a testament to the Randolph defense. We felt like in the second quarter to the third quarter we buckled down on the half court defense and made life tougher for them.”
Junior Aaron Calixte had 21 points and 4 steals and earned the Blue Devil Holiday Classic MVP award. It’s Calixte’s . Despite not scoring as many points as some expected this season, Calixte has improved his game to become a better all-around player.
“He’s older, it’s another year.” Gallivan said. “Older, stronger, [and] faster. He’s more likely to be both a scorer and a playmaker. We don’t have to beg him to shoot the ball like we did when he was a freshman and a little bit last year. Him and Marcus, between them, it’s their team.”
Calixte was happy with the recognition but was quick to divert the attention back to the team’s collective effort.
“It’s a great award to win,” Calixte said. “I like winning it but it’s a team effort. I don’t shoot as much. I try to distribute the ball more and try to be more of a point guard, and be a better leader on the court.”
Senior Antonio Ferreira (8 points, 12 rebounds) and junior Marcus Middleton (14 points) were named to the Blue Devil Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
For Gallivan, , it was more than just the championship contest – he was coaching against his former longtime assistant, Kalon Jenkins.
“It was a special game for me because Kalon and I coached together for 7 or 8 years. We’re very good friends. We talk everyday. We talk about his team and my team. To have the two teams play is definitely different.”
After leading 18-7 after one, the Blue Devils hit back-to-back three pointers halfway through the second quarter to inch within 8. Gallivan chose to use a timeout.
“It was something to the effect of ‘we’ve got to stop missing the box outs and stop trying run for dunks and run for layups,’” Gallivan recalled. “I think we probably left 8 points on the court tonight when we could have gotten an easy layup and we didn’t.”
Stoughton regrouped and led 34-19 at the half. The Black Knights took a 53-31 lead into the final quarter.
There are now only two teams left in the entire Hockomock League that are undefeated. Stoughton (5-0) is one of them and their next opponent and longtime rival, Oliver Ames (5-0), is the other.
“It’s a game that every kid on our team has looked at the schedule [and circled it],” Gallivan added. “It’s a home game on a Friday night, which is always special at Stoughton High. To bring them in, we’re looking forward to it.”
Calixte, in , is also looking forward to the big match up.
“OA is probably our biggest rival,” said Calixte. “Every year we go at it and it’s always a great game.”
The Black Knights and Tigers will clash on Friday, January 6th at Stoughton High School at 6:30 p.m.