Freshman forward Molly Reagan hit two late free throws and sophomore guard Jenn Guen had seven points off the bench as second-seeded Braintree defeated top-seeded Franklin, 51-46, for the Division 1 South girls’ title at UMass-Boston Saturday.
‘‘This is unbelievable,’’ said Braintree coach Kristen McDonnell. ‘‘I have personally dreamt about [reaching TD Garden] for a long time, and I think these kids, they’re absolutely riding this crazy high that they’re on right now, and I’m so happy they get to experience it.’’
Braintree advances to the Division 1 Eastern Mass final where the Wamps will face Andover, the two-time defending state champion Tuesday.
Franklin jumped out to a 38-34 lead late in the third, but a 3-pointer and a late layup by Annie Kate Joycecq put the Wamps up, 39-38, entering the the final period.
With seven seconds remaining in the game, and Franklin down 47-44, Franklin’s Catie Phelan took a potential game-tying three from the left corner, but hit the side of the rim.
Franklin finished 4 of 13 from both 3-point range and the free throw line. Senior Alicia Wilde led the Panthers with 11 points.
‘‘Sometimes it comes down to who’s on and who’s off, and the ball fell for us when it needed to,’’ McDonnell said. ‘‘These kids really dug deep. I’m so proud of them.’’
After trailing 16-11 early in the first, Franklin went on a 13-2 run to start the second quarter. The Wamps came back a bit, late in the second quarter, but went to the locker room trailing, 29-28.
‘‘We came into the halftime really excited, really happy with where we were,’’ McDonnell said. ‘‘I thought we had a good battle in the first half. So to come out with it, our momentum, we hit a couple shots and I thought we would be OK.’’
The momentum seemed to sway in favor of the Wamps midway through the third quarter when Guen took a hard charge that sent her to the floor.
Following the charge, Guen received the ball at the top of the key and made an outlet pass to senior guard Paige Marshall (game-high 15 points) in the left corner, who drained the three to tie the game at 34.
‘‘We’re a really physical team, and we get energized when anybody either goes at us or we go at them,’’ McDonnell said. ‘‘I think we needed it to get to that level and to get a little emotion into us. We came out to the to start the second half a little flat to start, and I thought once that [charge] happened, we really picked it up.’’
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