Two years ago, Apponequet’s Andy Johnson and Adam Seablom watched in anguish as their hopes for a sectional title slipped away in the Division 3 South final. On Monday evening in Taunton, the senior star guards put their team on their backs to get a chance at redemption.
The 6-foot-2-inch Johnson netted a game-high 28 points and reeled in 11 rebounds, and Seablom added 18 points as the top-seeded Lakers cruised to a 71-44 victory over 12th-seeded Norwell in the Division 3 South semifinals.
Apponequet (22-0) will play the winner of Tuesday night’s semifinal between Burke and Bishop Stang.
“I think with seniors it is just a sense of urgency, and I think you are seeing it with this group right now that next time they lose it will never be the same for them, and they won’t be together again,” said Apponequet coach Jim Cabucio.
“It is our senior year and we don’t have another chance next year,” Seablom said. “The harder we play, the longer we keep our season going.”
Johnson and Seablom were vital to the Lakers getting out to a double-digit advantage early. The duo combined for 23 of the team’s 36 first-half points, and Apponequet led by 19 at halftime.
Norwell (14-9) trailed, 17-9, at the end of the first quarter as sophomore Nick Fantom’s jumper found the bottom of the net at the horn. But the Clippers didn’t get within single digits the rest of the night.
Division 1 South
Mansfield 70, Newton North 50 — Mansfield 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 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 in the first half. But 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.
Division 2 South
TechBoston 76, Scituate 46 — TechBoston coach Johnny Williams had his Bears buzzing with style from the opening tip, the blinding unit tallying nine steals and five blocks in a jaw-dropping 27-4 first quarter against Scituate.
TechBoston’s defense set the tone as the top-seeded Bears rolled past No. 8 Scituate in a sectional quarterfinal at Boston Latin Academy. TechBoston (21-1) will next face fifth-seeded Hanover at Taunton.
Senior guard Lyron Bennett’s impressive stat line — 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists — didn’t fully capture his imprint on the contest. Bennett was active in every facet of the game, his one-handed bounce passes a weapon in the Bears’ transition-heavy attack, his spry legs ready for liftoff any time the ball was up for grabs.
“He’s probably the most underrated point guard out here,” said Williams. “He sees the floor, he makes the extra pass, he sees the play two passes ahead.”
TechBoston senior Walter Dew-Hollis was instrumental, racking up 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 steals.
Sophomore Shamar Moore (16 points, seven rebounds) was a force driving to the paint, and Maurice Works (7 points, 5 assists, 4 blocks) nearly brought the house down with a thunderous swat midway through the third quarter.
Division 4 South
Cohasset 91, Cathedral 87 — Junior Thatcher Stone (27 points) and senior Sam Lelio (16 points) helped the fifth-seeded Skippers (16-6) survive in double overtime. Cathedral used a 13-1 run in the final 1:50 of regulation to take the lead, but Stone hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to force overtime. Cohasset freshman Liam Cunnie buried a corner 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to tie the game at 78 and force double overtime. Nate Duncan scored 27 points to lead the 13th-seeded Panthers (12-9) in the loss.
Mashpee 78, Old Colony 60 — Devaun Ford poured in 28 points to carry the third-seeded Falcons (17-4) over the sixth-seeded Cougars (15-7) in the quarterfinals. Mike Fraser added in 17 points while Anthony Gonsalves contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jake Jason had a game-high 31 points in the loss for Old Colony.
Division 4 North
Austin Prep 52, Mystic Valley 48 — Stephen Reddy tallied 16 points to surpass 1,000 for his career and the Cougars (18-4) advanced to the D4 North final for the first time in program history. Denis Taylor (13 points) and Ryan Andrews (14 points, three 3-pointers) also were key contributors for Austin Prep.Globe correspondent Owen Pence contributed from Boston. For more highlights, go to bostonglobe.com/schools.