Thursday featured some close games and impressive performances on the hardcourt. Here are five of the best -- not including the Central Catholic-Andover thriller that ran as our lead -- Take your pick as to which deserves the title of game of the day.
Boys basketball - Mansfield over Stoughton, 75-59
Six-foot junior guard Brian Hershman set a school record with nine 3-pointers en route to a career-high 28 points as the No. 8 Hornets (18-2) rolled over Stoughton.
Mansfield jumped out to a 41-20 lead at the half, at which point, Hershman had six three-pointers, already tying his previous career high.
Six-foot-four-inch senior point guard Michael Lofton tallied 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, while senior guard Joey Gracia netted 12 points of his own.
As a team the Hornets drained 16 threes (also a team high for the season).
Hornet coach Michael Vaughn had nothing but praise for Hershman, who is shooting 40 percent from three on the year. "[He's] a tremendous player for us and a great leader, as well as a good defender. Tonight he played with extra power because he was wrongfully kept off the all-league team."
Girls basketball - Wellesley over Natick, 66-62 (OT)
The fourth-ranked Raiders (16-1) were led by senior captain Blake Dietrick who finished with 21 points. Ashley Slaboden and Shannon Matpiong each drained clutch foul shots in overtime to help ice the game.
Lexi Gifford led the Red & Blue (14-4), who really put a scare into the Raiders, with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Sarah Marcinklewicz did her best to keep Natick in the game late, scoring five of her seven points in overtime.
"Natick has a lot of good players," said Raider coach Kristen Cierci. "Lexi Gifford had a great game against us tonight […] They have nine kids who can score, [they're] very deep, athletic and quick. We were lucky to escape."
Five-foot-eleven-inch senior forward Tierra Allen contributed 17 points for the Raiders, whose size was just too great for the Red & Blue in the end.
Boys basketball - Manchester Essex over Rockport, 72-57
Senior guard Joe Mussachia simply owned the paint in this one, grabbing an impressive 32 rebounds to go along with 30 points and 7 assists for Manchester Essex, posting a Kevin Love-esque stat line, as the Minnesota Timber Wolves power forward leads the NBA in 30-30s (points and rebounds) this season.
Boys basketball - Weymouth over Braintree, 63-61
Trailing by five with 30 seconds remaining the Wildcats stormed back behind senior captain Jon Perez, who knocked down a jumper at the buzzer to secure No. 11 Weymouth's first league championship since 1990. Sophomore guard Jared Terrell led scoring with 19 points.
Girls basketball - Trinity Catholic over Maimonities, 54-52 (OT)
Senior center Taiana Malary recorded her third triple-double this year, scoring a career high 25 points, while tallying 10 steals and 16 rebounds. In 61 career games, Malary -- who's 5-foot-9 -- has 1,234 rebounds. The Falcons finished the season at 11-9 and are tournament bound for the second consecutive season after a six year drought prior.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.