Two young rival girls’ basketball teams from the Hockomock League’s small schools Davenport Division met on Friday night when Canton traveled to . Over the last two weeks, both teams have been heading in opposite directions, and continue to do so after a very strong defensive effort propelled Stoughton to a 36-23 victory over the Bulldogs.
Canton (3-7 overall, 2-5 league and 2-2 division) now has lost five consecutive games and continues to struggle without injured senior point guard Alana Pitts-Anaya.
Stoughton has now won three straight and four of the last five and has raised its overall record to 6-4 (5-3 in league play and 3-1 in division action). The Black Knights’ defense has been outstanding allowing only slightly more than 40 points per game.
“Our team defense was very active and everyone contributed,” Stoughton coach Janet Sullivan said. “Our defense leads to our offense improving and more people getting involved. We are now also limiting teams to one shot and that also improves our chances.”
Stoughton was again paced by its dynamic duo of junior center Nicole Daniels (8 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks) and senior tri-captain Chrystal Holland (7 points and 10 rebounds). Both dominated the paint, rebounding and the offense and defense. However, the Black Knights are now on the rise because of significant contributions from an improving supporting cast.
Junior point guard Emma Zuk had 4 points, but also had an incredible 9 steals and 5 assists. Senior tri-captain Katherine Chlus added 6 points and senior tri-captain Jackie Kuhn also had a solid defensive effort. Stoughton was able to play the entire roster.
The Stoughton defense didn’t allow a point until the final two minutes in each of the first three quarters. Canton senior All-Star forward Olivia Murphy was held scoreless for the first three quarters until she helped rally her team with ten fourth quarter points to give her a double-double with 11 rebounds.
“Stoughton deserves a lot of credit, but we also beat ourselves with 24 turnovers,” said Canton coach Caitlin Jamiel. “Our effort is there and players are trying to step it up, and we just have to keep playing hard.”
Stoughton jumped out to 12-0 advantage and Canton didn’t score until two minutes were left in the first quarter. Stoughton took a 14-5 lead into the second quarter and after a very low scoring quarter, the Black Knights led 19-9 at halftime.
The Black Knights dominated the third quarter, outscoring Canton, 12-3, taking a commanding 31-12 lead into the final eight minutes.
Canton junior guard Kyshani Dummott (five points, seven rebounds and three steals) helped rally Canton in the final quarter. The Bulldogs outscored Stoughton, 11-5, but it was too little, too late.
Stoughton will start the second half of its schedule on Tuesday when it hosts King Philip, while Canton will play Attleboro, the same night.