David Stewart (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Dakim Murray (23 points, 11 rebounds) helped Madison Park advance to the Division 1 South finals with a 63-60 win over Franklin Wednesday at UMass-Boston.
The Panthers (19-4) rallied from being down, 35-19, to start the third period to give the Cardinals (19-2) a real scare at the end.
Trailing by 3 with 1.3 seconds to play, the Panthers' Russ Haddad threw an inbounds pass from under his basket to a streaking Brendan Skidmore just outside the 3-point line. Skidmore turned and launched a shot that looked to be on target before catching the front of the rim and bouncing away.
“Oh man it hit the rim,” said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson, “You know me, after that city championship loss [when East Boston hit a three at the buzzer to send the game into overtime], my heart was pumping ... and I’m looking, and I said, ‘No, you’ve got to be kidding me,’ then boom, off the front rim. Wow.''
Sam Bohmiller led the Panthers with 19 points and five assists, while Matt Pellegri added 15 points.
“All credit to Franklin,” said Wilson. “They weren’t as big as us, but they were tough, they were scrappy, and they’re well-coached.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” said Franklin coach Dean O’Connor. “We lost our first three games then we won 19 out of our last 20, with a team that only had three guys that played varsity last year.
“Nobody thought we were going to be anything, but these seniors came together and they played with heart and chemistry. This team gets it the most out of any team I’ve ever coached. I think once the hurt goes away they’re going to be proud of the way they fought, how couldn’t they.”
The Cardinals will take on Brockton, which knocked off Newton North earlier Wednesday, in the South finals Saturday at UMass-Boston.
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