The Sharon High boys’ basketball team did something many teams haven’t done against this year: stay even through the first 12 minutes of play.
But, with the score tied at 15 in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game in Stoughton, the Black Knights went on a 14-4 run to end the half, eventually running away with the game, winning 55-34.
Stoughton improves to 8-1, recording their seventh double-digit victory of the season. Sharon, meanwhile, falls to 3-5.
Stoughton head coach John Gallivan and the Black Knights focused the majority of their game plan on Sharon sophomore Brian Mukasa, who came into Tuesday night’s matchup second in the Hockomock League in scoring. The Black Knights used arguably the best defensive guard in the league, Marcus Middleton, to help limit Mukasa.
“Defensively our plan was to stop Mukasa because he’s such a good player,” Gallivan said. “To hold a player like that to six points, we were very pleased with that output.”
Despite hanging with the Black Knights for almost half of the game, the Eagles were done in by their cold shooting for the remainder of the game.
“Obviously we didn’t shoot the ball [well],” Sharon head coach Bruce Jackman said. “You can’t shoot the ball [like that]. We missed a bunch of layups.”
Middleton, who missed practice Monday due to a cold according to Gallivan, was all over Mukasa up and down the court, limiting the skillful sophomore to just 6 points.
“My mindset was to just play the best defense I can,” Middleton said. “I came into the game knowing he was the second highest scorer in the league. I took it as a competition. I wanted to prove to myself that I [could] play defense on a good [scorer]. He’s a good player.”
Stoughton junior Aaron Calixte had a game-high 18 points as well as 6 assists, bouncing back from a season-low 4-point game last Friday against North Attleboro.
“He was just a facilitator Friday night, there were so many options he set up a lot of guys,” Gallivan said. “He had a strong game tonight.”
Sharon senior captain Sam D’Arcy was solid on both sides of the ball for the Eagles, netting a team-high 10 points to go along with 8 blocks.
“He’s been great all year for us. He’s averaging 12 points a game for us,” Jackman said. “He’s been immense, he’s playing very well for us.”
The Black Knights have been categorized by many as a three-point shooting team. While Stoughton has found consistent success behind the arc this year, they only hit three three-pointers Tuesday on a season-low 10 attempts.
“It’s very important,” said Middleton of the team’s success without threes. “We don’t want to be one of those teams where we have to rely on one thing. We don’t want to be one of those teams that we have to rely on one person. We want to be able to work as a team and change things up at all times.”
“We always talk about running for layups,” Gallivan said. “We don’t always score them because we’re running for dunks or settling for three-pointers. If you can get the layups, we’re fine [with that].”
Sharon will look to bounce back Friday night when they host the winless North Attleboro Red Rocketeers. Stoughton meanwhile will travel to play the Davenport Division’s second place team, the Canton Bulldogs.
“Canton’s got a new coach, a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and they just beat Oliver Ames [69-66 on Tuesday], the arch-rival here,” Gallivan said. “We’ll have complete focus Wednesday and Thursday at practice and we’ll go over to Canton Friday and see the new look Canton Bulldogs.”