ACTON — The last time the Concord-Carlisle girls’ basketball team faced Acton-Boxborough this season, standout senior Kori Barach and her sister, Rachel, had to sit out due to a COVID-19 issue.
Concord-Carlisle lost that game on Jan. 22, 53-42, for a split of the regular-season series. Barach desperately wanted to be out there for the third meeting, in Thursday’s Dual League Large championship game. She sat in the parking lot and waited for the callback, and once she found out she and Rachel tested negative, she was both relieved and ecstatic.
Barach made her presence felt, posting 21 points and six steals and guiding the Patriots to a 58-47 win.
Junior Emma McCollum added 13 for Concord-Carlisle (12-3), which used a 17-5 third quarter to pull away in an otherwise-even game. Freshman Grace O’Sullivan paced Acton-Boxborough with 11 points.
C-C led, 13-10, through one quarter before A-B (3-4) tied it at 26 at halftime, then the Patriots ratcheted up the intensity on defense and created some much-needed separation to help clinch the title.
“It means a lot,” Barach said. “I like going out with a win. The DCL championship is something I’ve always dreamed of getting.”
The sweet-shooting Barach, who will play at Amherst College next season, hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and added a key layup late in the half. A-B proved to be pesky, as Eliza Straayer banked in a shot, then Morgan Rupley tied the score at 26 in the final minute of the half.
In the pivotal third quarter, Arielle Charles chipped in a steal and a layup, Barach finished inside, and Haley Newcomb added a buzzer-beater. Acton-Boxborough cut it to 8, 52-44, with 3:22 remaining in the fourth, but C-C finished strong.
Amy Davagian, who took over as interim coach for the third game of the season, praised Barach and her teammates for rising to the occasion in such a crucial moment.
“We have wonderful, fantastic leadership by the captains,” Davagian said. “In big games, they all step it up. I’m very fortunate to coach them.”