The escaped a determined comeback by the Franklin Panthers, 69-63, to earn their third win of the season and their first at Franklin High since the 2004-2005 season.
“It was just one of those ‘it wasn’t easy’ [games],” Stoughton head coach John Gallivan said of Tuesday night’s road contest.
“Different guys pitched in in different ways. Nobody had a great night. Everybody just sucked it up and did just enough. We did enough just to almost lose and we did just enough to win.”
Stoughton, , is now 2-0 in the Hockomock League ( in the Davenport Division). Franklin is 0-2.
Stoughton’s largest lead was 14 after an 8-0 run to start the second quarter to put the Black Knights ahead 30-16. Franklin never led in the game and the closest they came was within 2 with under a minute to play.
“We made a nice run in the fourth quarter,” Franklin head coach Dean O’Connor said. “The box-and-one they got a couple open shots and their guys knocked down the shots.”
With the Panthers defense focused on Marcus Middleton and Aaron Calixte, it was junior Mauro Oliveira that led the way with career-high 20 points and 7 rebounds.
“You pick your poison letting guys get open shots,” O’Connor said.
“He had some huge three’s,” Gallivan said of Oliveira. “More importantly, he had some great defensive rebounds on the other end.”
Whenever the Black Knights were in need of a big momentum boost, it seemed as though Oliveira would hit a 3-pointer—he had 6 of them on the night.
“I kept finding open looks and I kept hitting my three’s,” Oliveira said. “I was feeling my shots.”
In just his third varsity game, Oliveira managed to net 8 of his points in the final quarter.
“My coaches keep telling me to keep shooting,” he added. “If it falls, I’m going to keep shooting.”
For Stoughton, it was almost déjà vu. On , Stoughton saw Franklin erase a five-point deficit in the final 10 seconds to steal a win. With just over 20 seconds to go in this game, the Panthers again threatened and had the ball down by two. This time, the Black Knights forced a turnover and on the ensuing possession, junior Marcus Middleton drove to the basket for two with 10 seconds to go.
“To hold on here, when things were going badly for us, it shows maturity and growth,” Gallivan said.
Stoughton led 37-29 at the half and 48-44 after three quarters, holding on down the stretch to preserve the win.
The Black Knights received another strong all-around performance from Calixte, who grabbed a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, in addition to his five assists. Franklin slowed Calixte down offensively with the box-and-one, but he chipped in on the boards, nabbing nine in the second half.
Antonio Ferreira and Steffan Jackson chipped in with 4 blocks apiece.
Sam Bohmiller led the way for Franklin with 22 points, 13 of which came in the final quarter.
“He’s a guy who can break you down off the dribble and create his own shot,” O’Connor said.
Stoughton will next play in the Randolph Holiday Tournament next Wednesday and Friday, but their ensuing league game will pit them against their rivals, , Jan. 6.
“Obviously there’s always a collision course with Stoughton and no matter what the records are, undefeated or winless, it’s going to be a titanic struggle,” Gallivan said.