Many of the players on the current Franklin girls’ basketball roster were in middle school in 2019 when the Panthers last dropped a game.
This year’s team, which moved to 15-0 Friday night following a 65-34 Hockomock League road triumph over Mansfield, is a part of history but chooses to collectively not focus on what has now ballooned into a 51-game winning streak.
“We try not to talk about it a lot,” said Franklin junior Katie Peterson, who led all scorers with 17 points. “We don’t want it in the back of our minds, or to think, ‘What if we lose?’ because we don’t want to play safe.”
Peterson said reporters have mentioned the streak to the Panthers all season, but they haven’t mentioned it to one another. Friday’s game was simply the latest example of a cohesive, balanced, fundamentally-sound team outplaying and wearing down its opponent.
The Hornets (9-7) — a scrappy bunch that will have a chance to make some noise in the Division 1 tournament — kept it close for a while. Sophomore Kara Santos (12 points) finished inside with a series of post moves, and Mansfield sliced a 19-12 Franklin lead after one to 24-21 midway through the second quarter.
Peterson took over late in the half, showing her versatility by handling the ball, finding her teammates, and finishing inside. Franklin extended its lead to 31-21 at halftime, then Stefany Padula hit pivotal back-to-back threes to help the Panthers push the margin to 51-29 through three quarters and cruise from there.
“First half, we played their style and did what they wanted to do,” Franklin coach John Leighton said. “In the second half, we communicated way better. Then you start getting those live-ball turnovers, and we can get out and run.”
Mansfield coach Heather McPherson was pleased with her team’s grittiness and ability to create 50/50 balls, and she believes the next step is consistency. Of course against a formidable foe such as Hockomock Kelley-Rex juggernaut Franklin, that’s much easier said than done.
“Playing a team of that caliber before the playoffs is a great thing,” McPherson said. “We wanted to compete in the second half a little better than we did, but that’s the type of competition we’re going to see in the playoffs, so it’s better to prepare for it now.”
The Panthers, who will likely enter as Division 1 favorites, are simply grateful to be playing. After a lengthy hiatus without any games from Dec. 20 to Jan. 14, they’ve gotten back into a rhythm of late.
Regardless of the opponent or location, they’re always ready to hoop. Streak or no streak, they feel rejuvenated.
Said Leighton: “After a year of 10 games, the fact that we’re playing a full season is just tremendous.”
Natick 48, Brookline 47 — Junior captain Madi Forman (14 points, 9 rebounds) willed her team back from a 13-point deficit at the half, and hit the go-ahead jumper with 5.9 seconds to go, as the Redhawks (10-5) stunned the 20th-ranked Warriors (13-4) for the Bay State Conference win. Junior guard Madeline David (11 points, 5 rebounds) and senior captain Alana Ciccarelli (13 points, 3 steals) were instrumental in the comeback as well.
Brookline junior guard Margo Mattes had a monster game with 29 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Redhawks defense moved to a zone in the second half and kept Mattes to just 3 points in the third and most of the fourth.
“The team just did a good job,” Natick coach Dan Hinnenkamp said. “They stayed in front of [Mattes], tried to not let her drive. I think it was a team effort that made the big difference.”
Mattes fought back when the Warriors were down by 3, scoring the next 5 points in the game, but Forman’s jumper at the end was the winner.
“It was a great feeling, it was maybe the most perfect feeling in the whole game,” Forman said. “I knew when I turned I was wide open, I was like ‘This shot’s going in.’”
Andover 68, Lawrence 33 — Anna Foley’s 17 points powered the second-ranked Warriors (14-0) to a commanding Merrimack Valley Conference road win.
Archbishop Williams 42, Cardinal Spellman 34 — The Bishops (5-8) were led in the Catholic Central League home win by 17 points from Elise Carter.
Arlington Catholic 50, Austin Prep 22 — Senior captain Ali O’Keefe compiled 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks as the Cougars (3-13) earned a Catholic Central League road win. Eighth-grader Nora Simpson scored 14 points and senior captain Nicole Mann added 10 points.
Attleboro 81, Taunton 47 — Meg Gordon (30 points, 14 rebounds) and Vanessa Ellis (12 points, 14 rebounds) both dropped double-doubles as the visiting Blue Bombardiers (12-6) cruised to the Hockomock League win.
Bishop Feehan 57, Bishop Stang 27 — Lydia Mordarski’s 16 points helped the Shamrocks (15-2) roll to a Catholic Central League win on the road.
Canton 71, North Attleborough 41 — Kiara Cerruti scored 23 points and became the all-time leading scorer for the Bulldogs (11-5) with 1,068 career points, surpassing Eileen Morneau’s previous record of 1,057 points. Fay Gallery added 13 points in the Hockomock League road win.
Cohasset 64, Hull 37 — Sarah Chenette (18 points) and Sara Cullinan (15 points) propelled the host Skippers (8-7) to a South Shore League win.
Dracut 78, Billerica 42 — Behind strong performances from Ashlee Talbot (24 points), Tatiannah Fevry (17 points) and Brodie Gannon (10 points), the 15th-ranked Middies improved to 17-2 with a Merrimack Valley Conference win.
East Bridgewater 47, Middleborough 26 — Juniors Sophie Bradbury (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Phoebe Katilus (12 points, 15 rebounds) powered the Vikings (16-1) in the South Shore League victory.
Falmouth 56, Sandwich 43 — Sophomore Teagan Lind (18 points) and senior Rachelle Andrade (17 points) boosted the visiting Clippers (11-5) to a Cape & Islands win.
Foxborough 72, Sharon 52 — Kailey Sullivan (26 points) and Cam Collins (24 points) powered the visiting Warriors (10-5) to the Hockomock League win.
Greater Lowell 45, Mystic Valley 25 — Kaelynn Tanner scored 15 points and Mariah Lorenzo tallied 11 points for the visiting Gryphons (10-4). Aliza Som chipped in with 9 points for Greater Lowell in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference victory.
Hanover 64, Plymouth South 45 — Dani Tilden (20 points) and Mary Kate Flynn (11 points, 14 Rebounds) powered the visiting Hawks (8-9) to the Patriot League win.
Hopkinton 57, Ashland 52 — Kiki Fossbender amassed 29 points and Lauren Cho added 13 points as the Hillers (6-8) picked up a Tri-Valley League home victory.
Latin Academy 53, New Mission 26 — Senior Ruth Norton tallied 16 points in the Boston City League win for the Dragons (8-2).
Malden Catholic 53, Fontbonne 51 — Senior Kylia Reynoso (14 points) hit two free throws with one second left, and senior Lily Mineo (14 points, 16 rebounds) dominated the boards to secure the Lancers (13-1) a close Catholic Conference win.
North Andover 55, Methuen 48 — Hannah Martin scored a team-high 18 points and Katie Robie contributed 16 points in the Merrimack Valley Conference win for the Scarlet Knights (8-7).
North Quincy 64, Pembroke 41 — Orlagh Gormley (23 points), Molly Toland (13 points) and Bridget Capone (12 points) were the catalysts as the No. 7 Raiders stayed perfect at 16-0 with the Patriot League win.
North Reading 50, Triton 43 — Senior Riley Cullen (15 points, 10 rebounds) led the host Hornets (8-8) to the Cape Ann League victory.
Norton 59, Dedham 56 — Dedham senior Avery O’Connor dropped 46 points, one shy of the program record, but it wasn’t enough as the Lancers (8-9) prevailed for the Tri-Valley League win.
Old Rochester 48, Somerset Berkley 25 — Maggie Brogioli (12 points) and Logan Fernandes (10 points) propelled the host Bulldogs (14-1) to a South Coast Conference win.
Oliver Ames 70, Stoughton 27 — In a game that benefitted breast cancer awareness, senior Caroline Peper and sophomore Jasmyn Cooper each scored 15 points as the fifth-ranked Tigers (14-1) clinched the Hockomock Davenport Division title with the win.
Peabody 47, Marblehead 24 — Taylor Bettencourt (12 points) and Lauryn Mendonca (9 points, 9 rebounds) powered the Tanners (15-2) to the Northeastern Conference road win.
Randolph 56, Avon 49 — Senior guard Zharyah Moore notched a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals in the nonleague win for the Blue Devils (3-14).
Reading 62, Winchester 37 — The host Rockets (12-4) were led in the Middlesex League win by 24 points from Jackie Malley and 15 points from Ella Abreu.
Rising Tide Charter 51, Falmouth Academy 43 — Freshman Edie Picard tallied 21 points to lead the Herons (11-4) in a Cape & Islands win at home.
Rockland 55, Mashpee 34 — Senior Julia Elie (13 points) and junior Charlie Kelliher (9 points) led the host Bulldogs (14-3) in South Shore League action.
St. Mary’s 66, Bishop Fenwick 61 — The fourth-ranked Spartans (18-2) finished unbeaten in Catholic Central League play for the first time in team history with the home win. Niya Morgen (22 points), Yirsy Queliz (17 points), Kellyn Preira (14 points) and Bella Owumi (12 points) all contributed.
Walpole 34, Needham 31 — The Timberwolves (13-3) clinched a Bay State Conference title for the first time since 2015 with help from junior Chloe Bindon, who scored 11 points off the bench.
Westport 66, Holbrook 35 — Leah Sylvain (16 points, 5 steals, 1 assist) and Jenna Egbe (8 points, 10 rebounds) led the Wildcats (9-7) to a Mayflower Athletic Conference win.
Westwood 39, Holliston 28 — Senior captain Katie Kissell led the way with 12 points as the Wolverines (10-5) clinched a tournament berth with the Tri-Valley League road win.
Whitman-Hanson 59, Marshfield 56 — Senior Meg Stone had a team-high 16 points, Abby Martin had 14 points and Lauren Dunn and Caitlin Leahy each scored 13 points for the visiting Panthers (16-1) in the Patriot League win.
Woburn 54, Arlington 37 — The sixth-ranked Tanners (17-0) finished 16-0 in Middlesex League play en route to a league title. Cyndea Labissiere led the team with 12 points in the road win.
Correspondent AJ Traub reported from Natick. Colin Bannen, Sarah Barber, Ethan Fuller, Vitoria Poejo, and Steven Sousa contributed to this story. To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email email@example.com. Tweet scores @GlobeSchools.
Trevor Hass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.