Check out a video interview with SHS seniors Mauro Oliveira, Andrew Valle and Marcus Middleton in the media gallery of this article.
The Stoughton High boys' basketball team was in action Friday night coming away with a 64-59 win at Hockomock League Davenport Division rival Canton.
With the win, the Knights improve to 4-4 on the season, and are currently on a two game winning streak, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Stoughton jumped out to an 18-10 lead after the first quarter, but after being limited to just three points in the second, went into the half trailing 25-21. Canton maintained a four-point lead, 42-38, heading into the fourth, before opening up the lead.
But Stoughton didn't back down. The Knights had strong performances all around after battling back from being down by as many as nine in the second half.
It was not a "pretty" win, Stoughton coach John Gallivan said, but a game which shows "what kind of guys you have in the locker room" - Stoughton was simply able to outlast Canton.
"Two weeks from now nobody cares how you won, it just matters that it was a win," Gallivan said.
"And that was a hard game to win," he continued, "because we couldn't get out of our own way and Canton played great defense and we were settling for quick shots with no ball movement and lots of people standing around, but something clicked partway through the fourth quarter and we just started playing with a lot more passion and got the ball to go in and we stopped fouling and the kids were able to dig one out. It was hard, it was really hard."
Throughout the game Stoughton was able to play through several players in foul trouble with different players stepping up at different stages in the game.
One of the biggest role players Friday night was senior Andrew Valle. Valle came in with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter and in the beginning of the fourth quarter hit two huge three-point shots to help bring Stoughton back into the game. Valle's threes were the driving force for the fourth quarter in which the Knights were able to complete the comeback.
Gallivan said he was "waiting for an Andrew Valle moment," and he sure got what he was looking for, with those two key three-pointers.
"[Canton] had a matchup problem because their big guy was on [Valle] and Andrew certainly is a deadly three-point shooter and he had a great week of practice and left him in there for a long stretch of time and it paid off," Gallivan said.
Canton received strong performances by Sam Larson and Tristin Mullen who chipped in 14 and 10 points respectively.
For Stoughton, the Knights received solid performances across the board. The high scorer for Stoughton was senior captain Marcus Middleton who had 19 points, 5 assists and one steal. Fellow senior captain Mauro Oliveira had a double-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Junior Mike Gallagher had 5 points and 3 assists. Senior Eddie Grant dropped 8 points. Valle had 6 points.
The Knights hit the court again Tuesday night when they travel to Mansfield at 6:30 p.m. Then Stoughton travels to Oliver Ames for what is always a much-anticipated game, next Friday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Stoughton Patch editor Jeffrey Pickette contributed reporting.