WORCESTER — When the Millis girls’ basketball team entered the postseason it was .500, seeded 15th and last in the Division 4 Central bracket.
But the Mohawks swept through their sectional, winning four games and taking down the second and third seeds along the way to punch a ticket to a state semifinal showdown with West champion Quaboag.
Millis continued its magical run Tuesday night at Clark University with a 50-32 win over the Cougars. Millis (15-10) will play New Mission in the Division 4 state final.
“This is a special moment for sure,” said Millis coach Dave Fallon. “We were 10-10, but the league [Tri-Valley] we play in is the best preparation we have for the playoffs, the competition we face. Even if we’re not winning we can see growth and I think it all pays off at this moment.”
The Mohawks were led by senior center and captain Camden Morrison, who scored a game-high 17 points — 13 in the first half — to go along with eight rebounds.
“Camden was great,” said Fallon. “She plays much bigger than her [5-foot-7-inch] size. She shot the ball well from the outside and she made some big shots for us. She just battled hard.”
Morrison, along with sophomore forward Katy Golden (16 points), led Millis offensively in the opening half, but smothering defense allowed them to open a 31-8 halftime lead.
Quaboag didn’t score until the final minute of the first quarter and made only four field goals before the break.
“We always vary our defenses, try not to let teams get in rhythms,” said Fallon. “We forced some turnovers and were able to get out in the break. We made everything tough for them. It was perfect in terms of execution.”
Led by freshman forward Alexia Paquette (11 points), the Cougars cut the Millis lead to 42-25 early in the fourth and outscored the Mohawks, 24-19, after halftime.
“They’re a great program, they’ve been here many times,” said Fallon. “I knew we were going to get their best shot. They came out with more energy than us in the third quarter, but we made baskets when we needed to.”
Morrison made two jumpers after Quaboag closed the gap, quieting the Cougars’ momentum.
“Everyone has to step up at some point,” said Morrison. “We all have to be ready for that moment and tonight it was my turn to step up. I love my jumpshot, so getting an opportunity to do what I love makes it all the better.”
Fallon knows his team will face a tall task in the state final, but he looks forward to the challenge.
“[New Mission’s] good, they’re quick,” said Fallon. “We’re going to have to play faster than we did today. But I love the opportunity that my kids have.”