TAUNTON — The Mansfield boys’ basketball team on Monday night showcased why it is the top seed in a deep Division 1 South field, and why it is now going to a second straight sectional final.
Senior John McCoy scored a game-high 25 points and junior Damani Scott added 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Hornets (23-2) defeated fourth-seed Newton North, 70-50, to earn a return trip to Taunton later in the week to face either Needham or Brockton for the Division 1 South title.
“There’s eight teams this year that if they won the South championship you would say, ‘Oh, I am not surprised by that,’ ” said Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan.
“We are playing good at the right time, and other teams are as well, so we are going to continue to do what we do, and hopefully try to find a way to get one more.”
The first two quarters belonged primarily to Scott. The 6-foot-4-inch forward forced his way into the paint at will — scoring 15 points and reeling in seven rebounds to get his team out to an early lead. Then, as Scott found foul trouble in the second half, McCoy came alive.
McCoy, the Hockomock League MVP, drove at will to the basket, and his 12-point third quarter put the Hornets ahead, 50-37.
Newton North (18-5) got as close as 9 points in the third quarter, but with star senior guard Ethan Wright being suffocated defensively by Mansfield senior Sam Hyland, the Tigers were unable to mount a comeback. Wright, a Princeton commit, finished with just 9 points.
“I wanted [Wright] to get the least amount of shots off as possible, and try to get his shots down,” said Hyland.
Senior Noah Neville and sophomore Tom Andreae led the Tigers with 10 points apiece.Karl Capen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Capen316.