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Braintree High’s Bridget Herlihy shows good form in her defensive posture during a recent basketball practice.
Braintree High’s Bridget Herlihy shows good form in her defensive posture during a recent basketball practice.Robert E. Klein for The Boston Globe

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As a seventh-grader on the girls’ soccer team at Thayer Academy, Brianna Herlihy was beginning to wonder if a few of her teammates were shrinking. It was not her imagination: she grew 4 inches that year.

At the time, soccer was her sport, with basketball a second priority. But with her growth spurt?

“I was like ‘all right, I like basketball a lot better than soccer now,’ ” recalled Herlihy, now a 6-foot sophomore forward at Braintree High.

She and her older sister Bridget, a 6-1 junior guard who also made the move from Thayer to Braintree High after eighth grade, are the key returnees from a 24-3 squad that reached the EMass Division 1 final last season despite the absence of four players who had suffered anterior cruciate ligament tears.

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