Check out a video interview with Joe Bunce-Grenon and Marcus Middleton in the media gallery of this article.
Coming into Tuesday's home game with Davenport Division foe Foxborough, the Stoughton High boys' basketball team was 2-4, having lost back-to-back games. Adding to the frustration, three of the four losses came in the final minutes of play.
While it was only the seventh game of 20 regular season contests, the Black Knights were in need of a win in order to prevent the team from digging too deep of an early season hole.
Stoughton delivered, responding with its most convincing performance of the season, a 68-55 win over a Foxborough squad that was 6-2 heading into the game.
After shooting just 30 percent from the field in last Friday's loss to Franklin, a game in which both teams struggled to hit shots, Stoughton came out on fire Tuesday night, hitting 16 of 25 first-half shots (64-percent) en route to building a 45-22 lead after two quarters.
Stoughton improves to 3-4 with the win, while Foxborough falls to 6-3.
"We talked afterwards about playing with the lead as opposed to chasing a lead or playing in a tie game. You get a 20-point lead, you have the luxury of making a couple of mistakes and then you can regroup and catch your breath, make a stop and get a basket and all of a sudden the other team is back on its heels," Stoughton coach John Gallivan said.
Four 3-pointers helped Stoughton build a 20-11 lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter, Stoughton extended the lead to 23 points thanks to a combined 16 points from captains Marcus Middleton (9) and Joe Bunce-Grenon (7).
But more so than Stoughton's impressive offensive output - the 45 points was two short of Stoughton's four quarter total vs. Franklin - Gallivan said the focus was on limiting the three-point shooting of Foxborough's guards, namely Tim O'Halloran, Nolan Clagg and Josh Patkin.
And on a night when seemingly everything was clicking for the Black Knights, they held the Foxborough trio to a combined three scores from beyond the arc.
"We knew Foxborough had three unbelievable 3-point shooters and that was our focus tonight, to take those three kids away - and for the most part we did a good job. If they were going to beat us they were going to beat us with 2's and not 3's," Gallivan said.
"The kids did a nice job paying attention [and] Freshman coach Steve Woodruff did a great job with the scouting report. It's just nice when things go as they're supposed to according to your own plan."
Despite the 23-point halftime deficit, Foxborough limited Stoughton to 23 points in the second half and the Warriors were more competitive, but never really threatened to get back into the game.
"I was proud of my guys in the second half with their effort," Foxborough coach C.J. Neely said, "but they didn't show up really ready to play today and Stoughton definitely did and they kicked our butts."
Bunce-Grenon led Stoughton with 21 points. Gallivan said that beyond his scoring, Bunce-Grenon "played ferociously" and was aggressive rebounding, blocking shots and playing defense.
Middleton finished with 20 points.
"Marcus hit some very timely shots. Any time it seemed we were going into a little bit of a drought, he stepped up and hit a huge shot," Gallivan said. "And at the end of the game, he controlled the game by distributing the ball to people who were more open than himself."
Fellow captain Mauro Oliverira added 10 points, while Joey Wilder and Stanley Sajous had 6 points apiece. Mike Gallagher chipped in with 5 points.
Justin Zupanick led the Warriors with 14 points, while O'Halloran added 12. Cam Seeley had 9 points and Nick Ditullio chipped in with 7.
Stoughton travels to Canton on Friday, while Foxborough heads to Milford the same night.
Josh Brown contributed reporting.