TAUNTON — As the Needham defense collapsed into the paint, Fiona Kelly shifted two steps to her left. The Bridgewater-Raynham sophomore had her hands ready for a pass, but junior Kenzie Matulonis looked toward the paint. Suddenly, Matulonis opted to deliver Kelly an opportunity for one of the biggest shots in the Bridgewater-Raynham girls’ basketball program’s history.
Kelly caught it in stride and delivered a 3-pointer with two seconds to play, sealing the third-ranked Trojans’ 44-43 victory in the Division 1 South final Saturday at Taunton High School.
“I mean honestly, I don’t even remember it,” Kelly said. “I just knew we needed to hit a shot.
“It’s awesome. It’s such a good feeling.”
Kelly finished with 11 points for the top-seeded Trojans (21-2), who face Andover in Tuesday’s Division 1 state semifinal (5:30 p.m.) at TD Garden. Sophomore Shay Bollin led B-R with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Matulonis had 9 points and the biggest assist of her high school career. Senior guard Kiara McIntyre led the second-seeded Rockets (21-3) with a game-high 18 points.
After McIntyre missed the front end of a one-and-one, B-R secured the rebound and coach Cheryl Seavey called a timeout with 10 seconds left. Kelly may not have been the top option for the play she designed, but she was the one who lifted B-R to the famed Celtics parquet floor.
“It takes tremendous courage to take that shot, and that’s what she has, tremendous courage,” Seavey said. “She was able to recognize an opportunity, and she took it.”
When Seavey considered what to draw up, she noticed her team’s calm demeanor.
“You’re trying to think of, ‘If I do this then they’re going to do that,’” Seavey said. “You’re trying to do move, counter move. Kelly nailed it.”
Needham controlled the first half, building a 24-18 lead while holding the Trojans scoreless for a five-minute stretch spanning the first and second quarters. McIntyre engineered the Needham offense with nine first-half points.
Out of halftime, B-R committed to shutting down McIntyre’s driving lanes, stagnating Needham’s offense. B-R chipped away, and the game was tied at 30 going into the final frame.
McIntyre scored nine more points in the fourth, but Matulonis took over late. She hit a 3-pointer to tie it and a runner to put B-R ahead, 38-36 with 3:33 left. Amber Silva hit a triple on the next possession, and suddenly, B-R had its largest lead of the game.
McIntyre did not want her career to end. She followed with an and-1, and two layups for a 43-41 lead with a minute left as Needham stopped B-R on three straight possessions. McIntyre missed the free throw, B-R called timeout, and Kelly came through with her fifth 3-pointer of the season.
Foxborough 57, Hingham 50 — Trailing Hingham by 10 points midway through the third quarter, Foxborough remained calm. The Warriors locked in defensively, closed the quarter on a 15-1 run, and yielded just 10 points in the game’s final 13 minutes for the school’s third South championship in four seasons.
“I have a whole bunch of seniors that a year ago would’ve absolutely crumbled, would’ve folded at that point,” Foxborough coach Lisa Downs said. “They were resilient and just focused on the next basket, one basket at a time so it didn’t become too overwhelming for them.”
Foxborough (22-2) will play the North Reading in a state semifinal at TD Garden on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.)
Junior guard Katelyn Mollica (game-high 19 points) scored the go-ahead bucket on a runner with three minutes left. In the final 25 seconds, she was 4 for 4 at the free throw line to clinch the Warriors’ trip to the Garden.
“Offense wins games, defense wins championships,” Mollica said. “That’s something our coach really enforces.”
Sophomore Perry Blasetti paced the Harborwomen with 14 points. Seniors Shakirah Kent (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Yara Fawaz (11 points) made key contributions. Fawaz helped limit Hingham’s leading scorer, Grace Bennis, to 4 points.
Two years ago, Mollica started as a freshman on Foxborough’s state championship team. This season, the Foxborough roster lists seven seniors and five juniors.
“A lot of our team is older, so we’ve all kinda been there in this position,” Mollica said. “It’s really helpful having that past experience.”
Cathedral 86, Carver 61 — Mackenzie Daleba did not participate in warm-ups for the Division 4 South final. Limited by a knee injury, the three-time Globe All-Scholastic had taken a seat on the bench in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ semifinal victory over Westport Wednesday night.
But Daleba emerged on the Cathedral bench just before the tip Saturday morning and the 6-foot-1-inch senior forward delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds in limited minutes, powering the Panthers to their fourth straight South title.
Unlike past Cathedral teams which had depth of talent, this year’s squad needs a healthy Daleba. Her sheer size and tenacity inside complement the four starting guards. On Saturday, all five starters scored in double figures as Cathedral (20-4) captured its fifth sectional title in six seasons.
The Panthers will continue their bid for back-to-back MIAA championships in a state semifinal against North champion Matignon at TD Garden on Tuesday (2 p.m.).
“Mackenzie with no legs is better than some girls with two,” Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter said. “Her at 50 percent is better than a lot of girls that are 100 percent, and we need her.”
Sophomore Ciana Gibson scored a team-high 20 points for Cathedral. Sophomore Tayla Barros (18 points) and seniors Ariana Vanderhoop (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Kiara Ansley (10 points) contributed as Daleba controlled the paint.
“Ball movement is key, team work is key as well,” Daleba said. “We don’t do no selfish types of basketball.”
Senior Emma Simmons led Carver (18-6) with a game-high 27 points. In a rematch of last season’s sectional final, Cathedral led by double digits for the final three quarters.
“We’re going to rest up, eat good, and we’ll see you guys Tuesday at the Garden,” Daleba said.