Hill, Peel Lead Mansfield Into Final of Roundball Classic

Mansfield girls basketball
Meg Hill (31) scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lift Mansfield past Marlboro and into the final of the Roundball Classic. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


MANSFIELD, Mass. – None of Mansfield’s opponents this season will be shocked as to who the Hornets will turn to on the offensive side of the ball. Everyone knows that senior guard Jen Peel is going to have the ball in her hands and will be looking for junior center Meg Hill.

Of course, having that knowledge does not make them any easier to stop.

Marlboro found that out on Monday evening in the third game of the Roundball Classic at the Albertini Gym, as Hill scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and Peel scored 18 points and dished out six assists (four of them on baskets by Hill) to lead Mansfield to a 54-38 victory that puts the Hornets in Wednesday’s final against Abington.

“Jen every now and then will do something crazy,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding, “but then the next two possessions it’s no-look for a layup. We’ll live with some of the mistakes with all the benefits that come along with Jen.”

He added, “Meg did a good job. I thought she dominated the boards when she was inside and she hit some big shots for us.”

The Hornets jumped out to a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with Hill (eight points) and Peel (five points) combining for 13. Hill scored eight of Mansfield’s first 10 points, including three jumpers from around 10 feet from the hoop. Peel added a deep three off a Kara Bendanillo assist to open the lead up.

In the second, Mansfield started to pull away and seemed to have the game in control. Hill scored six points in the quarter, twice scoring at the rim from Ann Maher assists, and Stephanie Kemp added her lone basket on the break as the Hornets built a 28-17 lead.

But the Panthers crept back into the game before halftime on what was an 8-2 run. Marlboro started to control the glass and use those second opportunities to score, including a rebound by Maddison Farrell and a kick out for a three by Halle McCabe that brought the lead back to eight.

Mansfield held a seven-point advantage at the start of the third quarter, which Maher turned to 10 with her lone three points of the game. Marlboro kept fighting and cut the lead to 36-30 before a 9-2 run put Mansfield back on top by double digits heading to the fourth. Peel made four free throws in the run and Mady Bendanillo showed off her speed to race past the defense and score in transition.

“We started okay and in the second quarter we were completely out of sync,” said Redding, “but we’re showing that we’re growing up and we took control of the game in the third and pulled away.”

Bendanillo started the fourth with an assist to Maggie Danehy for a layup on the break and Emily Vigeant added another transition basket. Peel drove to the basket for a hoop and the Hornets held Marlboro to only six points and one made basket in the fourth as the defense picked up.

Redding said about the Hornets holding the Panthers to only 17 points in the second half, “We ended up playing a little more man than zone, which helped with boxing out and getting rebounds and we executed a little bit better on offense.”

Mansfield will advance to the final of the Roundball Classic to face Abington, which beat Dartmouth in the opening game of the day. The Hornets, with just one loss in the regular season (their second was an exclusion game), are also trying to stay in the running for the top seed in Div. 1 South.

Redding explained, “We’ve just got to get one more and then worry about coin flips and all that.”

Mansfield (18-2, 15-1) will take on Abington on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Warriors Run Past North Attleboro, Clinch League Title

Foxboro girls basketball
Junior Grace Tamulionis (21) scored 18 points for Foxboro in a big win over North Attleboro in the final league game of the season to help clinch the division title for the Warriors. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FOXBORO, Mass. – For the past month, Foxboro and North Attleboro have been taking care of business on the court with half an eye on each other’s results. Since the two teams last met on Jan. 20, North went 5-2 (despite missing senior guard Ashley Ahern for all seven games) including a five-game win streak entering Friday night. Meanwhile, Foxboro rattled off nine straight wins, eight off those coming in the league.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.
Grace Tamulionis scored 11 points, knocking down a trio of three-pointers, and all four of her shots were assisted by Lily Sykes (seven assists). Kristen Bortolotti also got off to a strong start with six of her 12 points in the first.

“It’s what they’ve been doing,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “They’ve been hot for a while. Once they got that consistent third shooter then they present a matchup problem for anyone. I was hoping we could mix and match and keep them uncomfortable but unfortunately they came out and shot the ball very well.”

The lead stretched to as many as 18 in the second quarter, after a Lauren Flahive (six points) jumper, but North started to find the range on offense and slow down the Warriors. Samantha Taggart scored seven of her team-high 12 in the second and assisted on a Caroline Collard (seven points, seven rebounds) jumper that cut the lead to 28-21.

It was as close as the Rocketeers would get for the rest of the night. Hailey Maling drove and kicked out to Riley Collins for a three that regained a double digit lead for the hosts at the break.

“Obviously, we had a great first quarter and we were bound to have a little bit of an offensive letdown in the second, but to be up by 10 going into halftime I was pleased with that,” said Downs. “Just the way the came out and the amount of energy they showed, I knew we were in for a good game.”

Foxboro came out of halftime intent on putting the game away and that is what the Warriors did, using an 11-0 run to extend the lead to 21 points (46-25). Ashley Sampson (game-high 19 points) was the aggressor for the Warriors, scoring seven in the third including a corner three off a Sykes assist and then going coast-to-coast for a layup off a steal. Bortolotti and Tamulionis (18 points) each added four in the quarter.

“In the second quarter we were able to score and defend a little better and keep them disrupted. In the third quarter, we just couldn’t sustain it offensively,” said Herber, whose team trailed 50-32 entering the fourth.

On Monday night against Bridgewater-Raynham, Foxboro had only four players get on the score sheet, but on Friday eight Warriors scored at least two points. That balance made it difficult for North to send help for Emily Schromm on Sampson and the senior got into foul trouble in the third quarter. In the end, Schromm and Collard would both foul out.

“The problem is the third player,” Herber explained. “We can cover two, but the third player is a tough matchup for us. We need to keep our bigs in the game to score on offense but it puts them in a bind on defense.”

Foxboro also had a decisive edge on the glass, despite North’s advantage in height. The Warriors were plus-10 on the boards, which Downs credited to a total team effort.

She said, “That hasn’t been our story all season long…especially against a team that has some height on us…They were all contributing to keeping that ball and getting second and third opportunities.”

Julia Feid scored a traditional three-point play to cut the lead to 19 in the fourth, but Foxboro responded to seal the win and the title. Sampson hit a pair of free throws (two of her six points in the fourth and 13 in the second half) and then assisted on a Maling jumper. Maling then provided her second assist of the game on a kick-out to Tamulionis for a dagger three.

“You can’t win games with two or three girls scoring,” Downs said, “and we have scorers, so we have to make sure that we keep them in the offense and we’re rotating the ball to get different looks from different people so that we’re a hard matchup.”

After clinching its eighth league title and second in the past three seasons, Foxboro (16-2, 14-2) will try to sew up the top seed in Div. 2 South in its end-of-season Warrior Classic beginning with Whitman-Hanson on Monday. North Attleboro (15-5, 13-3) will also try to work on its seeding for Div. 2 South and get revenge for an earlier loss when it travels to Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Sampson Goes for 31, as Foxboro Continues to Roll

Foxboro girls basketball
Junior guard Ashley Sampson (5) scored 31 points to lead Foxboro to an eighth straight victory and a season sweep of Bridgewater-Raynham. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FOXBORO, Mass. – Despite school being canceled in Foxboro due to a storm that never materialized, the Warriors began a very important week by hosting a non-league game with Bridgewater-Raynham, a team that they beat by nearly 30 points the first time around.

Monday’s second meeting was considerably closer. Foxboro had only four players get on the score sheet (and one of those players had a single point), but one of those four was junior guard Ashley Sampson and she scored a game-high 31 to lead the Warriors to a 56-44 win, their eighth in a row, and a sweep of the Trojans.

It also kicked off a busy week that could end with Foxboro clinching its second league title in three seasons.

“We like to control the tempo of the game and push the ball when we want to push it and slow it down when we want to slow it down,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs, “and they started to control the tempo, which is a little unsettling, but the girls righted the ship when they needed.”

At the beginning of the game, the Warriors looked like a team that was still enjoying a restful snow day and B-R was able to jump out to a 12-7 lead behind 10 first quarter points from senior Kelly Page (team-high 19).

“We were a little sluggish,” Downs admitted. “I love everything the same; I love routine. So, to not have the same routine, I don’t like it and they’re teenage girls and they need it the same every time.”

Foxboro woke up and found a groove to close out the first half on a 19-4 run to take control of the game. Grace Tamulionis (nine points, six rebounds, five steals, and three blocks) got things started with a jumper in the lane from a Kristen Bortlotti assist. Sampson scored in transition to cut the lead to one and, after the Trojans scored on an offensive rebound, Lily Sykes drove to the basket for two of her 15.

Sampson ended the first with free throws to give the hosts a 15-14 lead and Foxboro clamped down in the second quarter, allowing only two points to go ahead by double digits at halftime. Sykes and Sampson each scored four and Tamulionis drilled a straightaway three off a Lauren Flahive assist to make it 26-16 at the break.

B-R started to find its offense in the third quarter and cut the lead to as few as three points at 34-31. Page added another five points and Nina Morrison had seven of her nine in the third, as the Trojans took control of the glass and had Foxboro on its heels.

Needing a spark, Foxboro turned to Sampson and the junior delivered. She went on a personal 9-2 run and the Warriors regained a double digit lead. She scored on the break and then, after Sykes had one of her eight steals, Sampson added another layup plus the foul. Another Sykes steal led to another easy basket and Sampson capped the quarter with a reverse for a 43-33 lead.

“When Lily and Ashley are on together,” said Downs, “there’s not many teams that can stop that combination. Grace was a little off tonight offensively…but we did what we needed to do and at this point in the season I’m happy with that kind of win.”

Again B-R tried to cut into the lead in the fourth, but a Sampson three-point play made the lead nine points, then Sykes scored on a drive to the basket, and Tamulionis got an open look for three off an assist by Flahive (seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks), who also fed Sampson for a layup that put Foxboro up by 14.

“I thought for the most part we did well but it got a little frantic at the end,” Downs said. “We just have to remain more composed going into the tournament when the games start to get tighter.”

Foxboro (14-2, 12-2) will get back into league play with Canton on Tuesday night then a showdown with fellow league leader North Attleboro on Friday in a game that will decide the winner of the Davenport division.

Player of the Week – Jen Peel, Mansfield Basketball

morsewebad575x150_v1-fw
 

Jen Peel

 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Mansfield senior Jen Peel has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for February 5th through February 11th. Peel is the 20th player selected for the 2016-2017 school year and the eighth selection during the winter season. She is the second girls’ basketball player to be selected this winter.

This week, against two of Mansfield’s biggest rivals (Attleboro and Franklin), Peel showed why she is considered one of the top guards in the Hockomock League and her performances helped clinch back-to-back league titles for the first time in program history.

On Monday night against the Bombardiers, Peel hit five three-pointers on her way to 21 points and also pulled down seven rebounds. She hit back-to-back clutch threes in the fourth quarter that helped the Hornets extend their lead to double digits and complete the season sweep of Attleboro. Peel followed that with an 18-point night against the Panthers on Friday and dished out seven assists to avenge Mansfield’s only league (and MIAA-recognized) loss of the season.

“Jen’s had a great career for us, but certainly this week she took her game to another level against Attleboro and Franklin,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “Between the long-range threes, her drives to the hoop and finding teammates with great passes, she put the team on her shoulders in two big games and led us to victory.”

Following his team’s loss on Monday, Attleboro coach Rick Patch said, “Jen Peel was just on fire when she needed to be…She hit big shots when she needed to and that’s why she’s an MVP-caliber player. She makes that team go.”

Although Peel has moved from the point to an off-guard position this year, but the Mansfield offense still runs through her and earlier this season she set a new program record by eclipsing the 400-assist mark. She had 83 assists through the opening 15 games, an average of 5.5 per game, while also leading the team with 15.0 points per game (as of Jan. 30). Mansfield is currently in line to be one of the top seeds in the Div. 1 South sectional.

The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.

morsewebad1000x125_v1-fw
 

KP Falls to Fontbonne on Tough Shooting Night

King Philip girls basketball
Shannon O’Connor (32) drives into the heart of the Fontbonne Academy defense and looks for an open teammate in Wednesday’s loss. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


WRENTHAM, Mass. – A good offense needs ball and player movement to keep the defense guessing and someone that can get the ball into the hands of open shooters. Even when all of that goes right and the offense creates a clean look, in the end someone needs to knock down the shots.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It was the last part that King Philip struggled with on Wednesday night in a non-league game at home against Fontbonne Academy (Milton). KP moved the ball around the perimeter, drove into the lane to draw defenders, and had its fair share of open shots, but unfortunately for the Warriors few found the bottom of the net.

Fontbonne went on a 32-13 run over the second and third quarters to break the game open and had three players reach double figures in points (two of whom also had double digit rebounds) to pull out a 59-38 victory.

“Our kids played hard from start to finish,” said KP coach Martin Crowley. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well tonight and that’s been our M.O. the last couple of games, but defensively I thought we did a pretty decent job most of the night and we just had that one quarter where we didn’t score many points.”

Offense was a struggle right from the opening tip, which Fontbonne won and turned into a lay-up for Arienne Sauvignon Howard (team-high 17 points). KP worked the ball around and found open players but shots just would not fall. The Warriors hung around with a tenacious full-court press and aggressive half-court defense in the first.

Shannon O’Connor (eight points) had a steal and layup to get KP on the board and then freshman Chloe Layne got to the basket for the first of her six points. Julia Leroux (six points) scored on a spinning drive and then freshman Faye Vellieux snagged an offensive rebound and assisted on a basket by Catherine Cummings before adding a basket of her own on another put-back just before the quarter ended.

KP went into the second leading 10-9, but Fontbonne would start to impose itself on the glass and find ways to break the KP press. Freshman Tasha Lima (11 rebounds) used her quickness to score seven of her nine points in the quarter and Annabelle Larnard (13 points, 15 rebounds) tallied a three-point play as the Ducks went into halftime leading 26-18.

Crowley said, “Sometimes we go small to combat our lack of offense and then we can’t rebound and if we can’t rebound then we can’t be as aggressive defensively as we like…it’s pick and choose what you want to do.”

Things did not get better for the Warriors in the third quarter. After an O’Connor pull-up jumper, Fontbonne went on another long run, this time 12-0, and pushed its lead to 41-20. Layne scored at the buzzer with a baseline scoop but the Warriors had been outscored 15-5 in the quarter and trailed by 18 points heading to the fourth.

“We move the ball, it’s just that we’re concentrating on knocking down some shots,” Crowley reflected. “We move the ball well, we’re unselfish, we play hard together and it’s not for any lack of effort on our part.”

The Warriors have only one senior on the roster, Courtney Kelleher, and start a freshman and two sophomores. Struggling like they were on Wednesday, they could have hung their heads but KP continued to compete throughout the fourth quarter. The Warriors just could not deal with the Ducks on the glass, continually giving up second and sometimes third chances.

“We weren’t knocking down shots and we weren’t getting many rebounds and if you’re not doing that then you’re not going to win too many games,” Crowley admitted.

Layne started the quarter with another drive to the rim and then Faith Roy (eight points) chipped in with an offensive rebound for a basket and knocked down KP’s only three of the night to cut the Fontbonne lead to 15. It was as close as the Warriors would get.

“We’re young and we’re much better about that now,” said Crowley about how his team did not let up in the fourth. “Every second on the floor for us will pay dividends down the road. We kept fighting and we battled and that’s all we can ask them to do.”

King Philip (5-10, 3-9) will get back into Hockomock League play on Friday when it hosts Taunton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Peel Powers Hornets Past Attleboro and to League Title

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield senior Jen Peel (14) scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Hornets to a season sweep of Attleboro and clinched at least a share of a second straight league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


MANSFIELD, Mass. – Last winter Mansfield edged Attleboro on the final night of the league campaign to earn the program’s second Hockomock title. Coming into this season, the Hornets were young with only two seniors on the roster and a host of talented, if inexperienced, underclassmen.

Hornets coach Mike Redding knew his team would still be good, and would get better over the course of the season, but he had no idea that with three games left to spare Mansfield would have the chance to win back-to-back titles for the first time in program history.

That is exactly what the Hornets accomplished on Monday night. Led by senior point guard Jen Peel, who scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds despite being the focal point of the Attleboro defense, Mansfield pulled out a 54-47 victory in the James Albertini Gym to sweep the season series against the Bombardiers and clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title.

“If you told me we’d clinch a share of the title with three to play, I’d say no way,” said Redding. “I think we were hoping we’d be hanging around at this point and the girls have played above and beyond all year. They played really high-level basketball beyond their years.”

Peel came out firing and buried a pair of threes, as the Hornets jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. She added seven points in the second to give Mansfield a halftime lead and in the fourth quarter Peel knocked down the final two of her five three-pointers on the night to extend the Hornets’ lead to as many as 11 and seal the victory.

“I think the bottom line is Jen Peel took over the game. She hit some big threes, was driving and creating, and played great,” said Redding. He added, “She’s just so good with the ball and her vision is great, she finds open people, and she’s the difference tonight.”

Mansfield got off to a quick start in the first, but Attleboro answered back with an 11-0 run take the lead for the first time. Julia Strachan found Sarah Deyo open in the corner for her second three-pointer of the quarter and a piece of program history.

With that basket, Deyo recorded her 1,222nd career point, which moved her past Becky Hardt (Class of 1994) on the school’s all-time scoring chart. Deyo, who finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds on the night, is now the highest scoring female player in Attleboro history.


“That’s a great testament to her hard work,” said Rick Patch of Deyo’s accomplishment. “She takes a beating, she does a lot of little things, and she’s worked hard for that since elementary school. It’s great for her to see her hard work pay off.”

After Deyo’s slice of history, Kara Bendanillo answered back with a three of her own to tie the game at 11-11. Following a pair of free throws by Sam Pierce (eight points), Bendanillo drove and kicked a pass to Meg Hill (eight points, eight rebounds) for a 15-foot jumper that tied the game at 13 apiece after one.

Despite being in the double bonus for the majority of the second quarter, Attleboro struggled to get consistent offense. Strachan was held scoreless for the entire first half and Deyo had no points in the second. The teams traded baskets with Kim White (eight points) knocking down a jumper and Mish Logie and Jordyn Lako scoring on drives that gave Attleboro its last lead of the game at 21-19.

Erin Daniel came off the bench to give Mansfield a spark, assisting on a Mady Bendanillo (eight points, nine rebounds) three and knocking down a long jumper to tie the game. After a Peel free throw, Ann Maher drove to the basket and Peel hit three from the line to close out the half with a six-point advantage.

Attleboro hung around in the third quarter. Grace Mayer banked in a long jumper from a tough angle, Deyo scored on an offensive rebound, and Strachan hit her only shot from the field to cut the lead to 34-32. Mansfield saw Hill head to the bench with her fourth foul with five minutes remaining in the third, but the Bombardiers struggled to take advantage.

Senior Olivia Broyles gave the Hornets a huge lift with a putback and, after Deyo got a three-point play, she scored on a layup off a Peel assist. Those were her only four points of the game, but Broyles also played an important role as a defensive substitute for Hill down the stretch.

“The hidden hero of the game was Olivia Broyles, just playing unbelievable defense and rebounding when Meg got into some foul trouble,” said Redding.

Patch said, “There was no offensive sync. It was like we were playing downhill; we were playing at a breakneck speed. I think we went like 1-for-8 in the next eight possessions. That would’ve been a point to regain momentum, take the lead, and…we didn’t.”

Maggie Danehy and Hill scored the opening four points of the fourth to give Mansfield a little cushion and then Peel put the game away for the Hornets with three-pointers on back-to-back possessions that extended the lead to 11 at 50-39.

“Jen Peel was just on fire when she needed to be,” said Patch. “She hit big shots when she needed to and that’s why she’s an MVP-caliber player. She makes that team go.”

Redding added, “These are two very, very good games and I’m just praying we don’t play again in D1 South, which could happen and if it does it will be another battle.”

Mansfield (14-2, 12-1) can clinch the outright title on Friday night and avenge its only league loss of the season against Franklin. Attleboro (13-4, 9-4) will also look to avenge an earlier defeat and take control of second place in the division with a trip to Oliver Ames.

Franklin Uses Balanced Attack to Win At Oliver Ames

Franklin girls basketball
Kate Morse (25) scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds, one of nine Franklin players with at least a point, to help the Panthers extend their win streak to five games. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Beginning the season with a relatively young and inexperienced lineup, Franklin opened with six straight losses. Given time to figure out the varsity level, the kids have turned out to be alright after all.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

All 11 of the players on the Franklin roster saw time on Friday night in the first game of a doubleheader at the William F. Nixon Gym and nine of those players got on the scoresheet, as the Panthers showed off their depth to beat Oliver Ames 59-48. It was the fifth straight win and sixth in the last eight games for Franklin, which is now .500 in the league and four wins from booking a playoff spot.

“It’s a tremendous difference,” said Franklin coach John Leighton about the team’s confidence over the past few weeks compared to the start of the season. “You start 0-6 with a young team then they’re going to doubt themselves. They’re going to question things. I’m so impressed by every member of the team picking each other up and that’s lifted the confidence.”

In the first meeting with the Tigers, Franklin allowed Oliver Ames to pull away late for a double digit win. On Friday, it was the Panthers that put together a strong final quarter to turn a five-point lead into an 11-point win.

Franklin scored 17 points in the fourth, 12 of those coming at the free throw line. The Panthers shot 12-of-16 from the charity stripe and all but three of its final 14 points came from the line.

Shannon Gray, who had only three points entering the final quarter, led the way by making 5-of-6 free throws, while freshman Ali Brigham (10 points, 10 rebounds) scored on a putback and senior Carli Koffinke (team-high 13 points) knocked down one of her four three-pointers to help seal the victory.

“In the fourth quarter, Shannon Gray, who had barely scored, was attacking the rim and drawing fouls and that’s what we needed,” said Leighton. “Early it was Ali dominating and Carli scoring…I love to have that balance.”

OA was shorthanded on Friday with sophomore guard Sadie Homer sidelined with a knee injury, but the Tigers came out strong and led 14-13 after one. Senior Hannah Carroll got off to a strong start with five of her 12 points in the quarter, both baskets off assists by Kayla Raymond, who added four of her team-high 15 in the first.

Koffinke kept the Panthers in it early, burying a pair of threes off assists from Bea Bondhus and Grace McDermott. Leighton said of Koffinke, “She’s worked so hard at her shot and her game. You can see that she’s worked and if she gets a couple inches then she’s going to take it and really it’s a weapon for us.”

The defense picked up in the second for Franklin, which held OA to just eight points and grabbed a six-point halftime edge. Gray (eight points) started the second with a three off the first of Izzy Faught’s three assists in the quarter. Grace Sameski knocked one down to extend the lead and then Kate Morse (10 points, five rebounds, four assists) hit another. Carroll hit a pair from beyond the arc to keep OA hanging around.

The Panthers extended the lead to as many as 10 points in the third with Morse again providing big plays. She buried an elbow jumper and then a big three that made it 40-30.

“Cool as a cucumber,” said Leighton about Morse. “Kate’s a great three-sport athlete, but she’s really come on as a basketball player this year and I’m thrilled to have her another season.”

Brigham chipped in with four in the quarter and Koffinke knocked down another three, but Franklin could not put away the Tigers. OA battled back behind senior point guard Abby Reardon, who scored seven of her nine points in the third and assisted on a Katie Flynn transition layup.

“We’ve lost several games in this scenario where we couldn’t close out,” said Leighton. “We talked about playing more of a full game. Good possessions, hold them to one shot, make your free throws, then you can play with the lead and it’s hard to beat.”

The Panthers followed that formula down the stretch and pulled out the win. It was a total team effort, which is what Leighton thinks defines this year’s team.

He explained, “One way we’ve improved over the course of the year is exactly that. We have 11 girls, they all play and the idea is to get the open girl to take the shot and really work to make sure it’s a good shot. We really worked to move the ball a lot better the last few games.”

Franklin (6-8, 6-6) will try to keep its win streak alive on Monday with a trip to Taunton. Oliver Ames (9-5, 8-4) will look to get back on track, and clinch a tournament spot, when the Tigers travel to King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.