Oliver Ames and the Stoughton High boys' basketball team met three times last year, with two of the games resulting in blowout wins for the Black Knights, including a Division 2 South Sectional semifinal state tournament playoff game.
On Friday evening, both squads squared off for the first time in roughly 10 months, and this time the Tigers managed to construct a lead, which they never relinquished, and went onto defeat the Black Knights, 74-62.
Stoughton drops a key Hockomock League Davenport Division contest, falling to 4-6 on the season, while OA improves to 6-4.
Nick Cidado paced the Tigers with 14 points; Andrew Reardon tallied 13 points, while St. Clair Ryan and Ryan Carney each recorded 12 points.
“This was a good win for us,” said Oliver Ames coach Don Bryon.
“It’s a good rivalry game, two teams that have been pretty good over the last few years, we’ve had some real good games that have been a lot of overtime things and controversial endings and all the things that make up a good rivalry, and it was a great one for us to get.”
Oliver Ames wasted little time securing the lead, as Reardon, Carney, Cidado and Brendan Welch each recorded one bucket following the opening tap, which provided the Tigers with an 11-2 advantage late in the opening frame.
Stoughton coach John Gallivan called a timeout with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter attempting to stop the Tigers run, but the short breather didn’t help, as layups by Reardon and Welch, along with a pair from the free throw line by Evan Coose provided the host’s with a 33-24 lead at the break.
“We didn’t pay enough attention to detail, and we couldn’t shoot and that’s a bad combination,” said Gallivan.
“When you look up and it’s halfway through the first quarter and you’re down, 4-0, you say, ‘alright, we’re in this,’ but when you’re [9 of 33 from the field] at the half, it’s just makeable shots and that’s a problem that we’re going to address in practice because you can’t play at full speed if you don’t practice at full speed, and maybe that’s a wakeup call.”
Oliver Ames and Stoughton swapped layups once the second half commenced, but numerous missed shots by the Black Knights allowed the Tigers to extend their advantage to 49-38 after three stanzas.
Chris Duggan recorded three consecutive transition layups once the fourth quarter started, but Stoughton answered with a three-pointer from Mike Gallagher, which brought the Black Knights within 14 with 5:27 remaining. The three, though, didn’t spark any comeback for the visitors, as Duggan and Ryan recorded more layups to push the Tigers ahead for good.
“We did a real good defensive job on a couple of guys that we felt were the keys to it all,” said Bryon. “We did a nice job [defending Stoughton’s] Marcus Middleton, and that’s our guy, St. Clair Ryan, who every night we send out to play the toughest opponent that we face, so he did a real nice job keeping relatively quiet early, and our other guys did a nice job as well.”
Middleton led all scorers with 20 points, while teammate Eddie Grant registered 16.
Oliver Ames finished 28 of 55 from the field (50.9%), while Stoughton went 23 of 75 (30.7%).
“Every time we made a run at them they had an answer, so more credit to them,” Gallivan said.
Both teams will return to the hardwood on Tuesday, as Oliver Ames will host King Phillip, while Stoughton will host North Attleboro. Both games are slated for 6:30 p.m. starts.