Fenway's girls' basketball team prevailed over Whitter, 50-46, in the Division 4 North final in Malden, earning a shot to repeat as state champions on Monday at TD Garden.
Fenway will defend its title against Greater New Bedford, the South champion.
It was a strong start for the Fenway Panthers, who led at the half 25-11.
But in the third quarter, Whittier went on an impressive 11-1 run, cutting the score to 34-28. But Whittier would never lead in the game.
With 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Cadejia Matthews hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game, sealing the victory.
Takora McIntyre (13 points) had a big game for the Panthers, playing strong defensively. Jalissa Ross chipped in 13 points and Jaqualah Holliman added 12.
Head coach John Rice was impressed with the competition.
“Whittier showed the classy team that they are, they came back and took it to us in the second half, got us back on our heels, we were surprised, they gave us a good fight,” Rice said.
“But our kids fought back, they found themselves, it was a great game.”
The TD Garden is a familiar place for Fenway, as the defending champions hope last year's experience will be beneficial to this year's squad.
“The experience is definitely going to help,” Rice said. “It’s going to be a little more familiar this year. We have a number of freshman and other younger kids that didn't play that much last year so they'll still have a bunch of jitters I’m sure.
“This is what its all about, I’m happy for the kids, myself too, and the school.”
About Boston Public Schools Sports BlogMore »
- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs -- A former captain of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School football team and a current second-year Ujima Scholar at Northeastern University, Kanno-Youngs is the color commentator of the mens basketball team and a writer for Northeastern's campus newspaper, the Huntington News. He joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at KannoYoungs.Globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @KannoYoungs.