King Philip and Hopkinton are somewhat familiar with one another, having met last year in the Division 2 South Championship game at UMASS Lowell.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, their quarterfinal matchup with the Hillers this year ended up the same way. Hopkinton held on to beat King Philip 70-64 in Attleboro.
Although the final score was only decided by six points, this game was never really that close. Hopkinton, the six seed and visitor, held a double digit lead over KP throughout the majority of the contest.
While the Hillers came out very aggressively, the Warriors were having trouble getting into a flow and no matter what they put up nothing seemed to fall their way. In addition to not scoring, the Warriors were turning the ball over far more than they’ve done all year, including five traveling calls in the first quarter alone.
“That was our game plan against them, to be aggressive,” said Hopkinton head coach Tom Keane said. “Too aggressive at times that lead to bad fouls. I think that we had eight fouls very early in the game, but we settled down in the second quarter and took over from there.”
Entering the second quarter, Hopkinton held an 11-6 lead, but Barrett Hanlon exploded for 12 points that extended the Hillers lead (33-20) going into the
intermission. The senior guard scored the Hiller’s first six points of the quarter, before Ryan Hamilton hit from beyond the arc. Hanlon would then go on and net Hopkinton’s next six points, giving his squad a comfortable lead.
“Hopkinton really took us out of our rhythm tonight,” KP Coach Sean McInnis said. “Our hats off to them and Barrett Hanlon — that kid is a tremendous player.”
The Hillers continued to distance themselves from the Warriors with each quarter.
Hopkinton had a 16 point lead going into the final stanza thanks in large part
to Hanlon’s 20. Jason Dlugolecki knocked down 22 (11 in the fourth quarter), Tim Moberg had 14 and Rolly Muench added nine in the victory.
“KP is a special team, and we had a war against them at UMASS that could have gone either way last year,” the Hiller coach said. “I thought that our guys were
into it right from the get go and tonight our defense was very, very good.
That’s what we needed to do to win, especially against a team that was so much bigger and taller than us.”
As the smaller Hopkinton team continued to push the Warriors away, KP’s senior captain Jake Layman, who had 11 of the Warrior’s 20 first half points, was not about to go down without a fight. Layman would lead the Warriors to a 33-23 edge in the final stanza to cut into Hopkinton’s large lead. The senior, who would end the night with a game-high 30 points, would throw down 16 points, including a thunderous jam to the delight of the KP contingency in the fourth quarter.
The Warrior’s would also get three-point shots Sam McDonald, John Mullane, Mike Viola and two from Connor Smith during the final eight minutes.
“Jake had a great career, and a couple of guys gave us some big shots down the stretch, but we had dug ourselves into a hole too big to climb out of tonight,” McInnis said.
Mullane ended up with nine points, while Christian Fair, PJ Lydon and Smith contributed six each in the season-ending loss.