WORCESTER — With 37.5 seconds left and the game all but decided, Cathedral senior guard Amani Boston checked back in for the final time of her high school career.
The Panthers cruised to a 65-36 win over Hopkins in the Division 4 state championship Saturday at WPI, but Boston’s final time touching the court was even more meaningful because she got to share it with junior Ariana Vanderhoop.
Vanderhoop missed the entire season with an ACL injury, but entered the game in the waning moments with Boston by her side. The duo has played together since they were 9 years old. Boston fed Vanderhoop one final time, and although the shot missed, Boston’s near-assist capped a stellar career for the Southern Connecticut University-bound point guard.
“This is the last hurrah with each other,” Boston said. “It meant a lot for me to give her that pass.”
“They’re like best friends,” Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter said. “[Boston] played lights out today, so whatever she says goes.”
After falling in the South sectional final last year, the Panthers (22-2) got back to their winning ways with their third state title in four years.
“Even though we lost last year, I wanted to make the statement we’re not new to this,” said Boston, who delivered a game-high 17 points. “This is where we were meant to be. . . . It’s memorable that this is the way I ended my senior year and my high school years.”
Cathedral never trailed. Up 11-8 after the first quarter, the Panthers started the second with 11 straight points. Ahead, 32-13, by halftime, it was clear the Panthers rule Division 4.
Cathedral only truly lost one game, but an overscheduling issue added a second loss to its MIAA seeding record. Their lone defeat came at the hands of Division 1 state champion Braintree, 73-68, on Feb. 18.
Since then, the Panthers closed the season with six straight wins, all by at least 15 points. Along with Boston, Dejah Jenkins and Kaiya Duverna graduate.
“That senior group is amazing,” Lassiter said. “The team chemistry and camaraderie is such a great thing.”