The top-ranked Franklin girls’ basketball team got the matchup it yearned for with third-ranked Bridgewater-Raynham on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers handled the task in a game that could be revisited at the DCU Center in mid-March and pulled away for a 58-41 victory in the Division 1 semifinals of the IAABO 27 Comcast Classic at Woburn High.
The Panthers (19-0), who have won all but two of their games this season by at least 20 points, will play fourth-ranked Cathedral (16-3) in the championship game Monday (3:30 p.m.).
“I think it validated that we’re here to play,” said Franklin senior Ali Brigham, who produced a game-high 19 points and 16 rebounds.
“It says a lot about our program and how good we’re playing together.”
The Trojans (17-2) have had a similar year, securing all but one of their wins by a double-digit margin.
The game also featured two of the state’s most highly-regarded players, Brigham, a 6-foot-4 center who will play at George Washington, and B-R sophomore Shay Bollin (21 points, 7 rebounds).
Bollin guarded Brigham, but Franklin sophomore Olivia Quinn (14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) marked Bollin. The 5-foot-11 Quinn likely saved Brigham energy and from foul trouble.
Franklin senior Megan O’Connell, a 5-foot-10 forward, contributed 14 points. The sizable Panthers swarmed B-R on the defensive end.
“It’s a shot of confidence in the arm of the other players,” Franklin coach John Leighton said. “We were really able to overplay and take some things away because Ali is our safety behind them.”
The contributions from others have opened up the game for Brigham.
“It’s insane, it takes so much weight off the shoulders,” Brigham said. “Lately, Quinn has been stepping it up. Then, there’s obviously a ton of other people on the team that can knock shots down.”
Franklin surged to an an 8-0 start over the first 2:30 of play. The Panthers took their first double-digit lead with three minutes left in the second quarter, and led 31-21 at the half.
B-R junior Kenzie Matulonis (10 points) made a steal and basket to cut the deficit to seven midway through the third quarter. That’s as close as it got in the second half.
“When you play teams of this caliber, you find out what you are,” Leighton said.
Brigham scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half, finishing from an array of angles.
Franklin shoots for a 20-0 regular-season finish in Monday’s final.
“I think honestly it’s going to be a little different of a game,” Brigham said. “They play one-on-one style a little bit, so I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes.”
Braintree 54, Hingham 48 — After being limited to 17 first-half points, the defending Division 1 state champion Wamps (10-9) found their rhythm and secured a crucial victory in a IAABO Board 27 Comcast Classic semifinal at Woburn High to qualify for the D1 South tournament.
‘‘I'm really proud of the girls for stepping up today and beating another quality team, and hopefully we can use that experience beating good teams when [the state tourney] comes around, said Braintree first-year coach Matthew Freeman.
Grace Bennis finished with a game-high 23 points for No. 9 Hingham, draining a pair of free throws early in the fourth quarter to cut Braintree’s lead to three. But junior forward Asiling Crowley (9 points, 8 rebounds) responded by knocking down a 3 from well beyond the arc. On the next possession, she finished off a layup assisted by Hailey Sherrick on the fast break. The back-to-back scores put the Wamps up 42-34, and solid shooting from the stripe pushed them through to the win.
‘‘That was a dagger, and [Adrianna Casanova] hit some big shots for us tonight which was huge,’’ Freeman said. ‘‘Overall it was good team play, the girls played a good floor game.’’ Hailey Sherrick scored a team-high 11 points for the Wamps.
Cathedral 59, Central Catholic 55 — Sophomore guard Ciana Gibson poured in 20 points to pace the fourth-ranked Panthers (16-3) past the No. 2 Raiders (17-2) in the semifinals of the Comcast Classic in Woburn. Seniors Kiara Ansley (13 points) and Ariana Vanderhoop (12 points, 10 rebounds) also contributed.
“Just battle tested,” Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter said of his young players. “Doesn’t know any better. Still babies, but experienced babies.”
Senior point guard Nadeshka Bridgewater (broken right hand) did not play for Central. Sophomore Clair Finney scored a team-high 13 points. Cathedral led for most of the first three quarters, but Central Catholic battled back and there were three ties in the final three minutes.
“It makes me lose my hair,” Lassiter said. “The little that I have left is gone.”
Hanover 60, East Bridgewater 50 — The Indians (11-9) received double-doubles from sophomore McKalah Gaine (23 points, 12 rebounds) and junior Claire Connolly (10 points, 12 rebounds).
Lynn Classical 48, Somerville 42 — Senior Amber Crayton helped the Rams (9-10) edge out the Highlanders (8-10) with a game-high 21 points.
North Reading 63, Everett 50 — Senior Ali Grasso scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Hornets (12-6) in the triumph.
Norwood 66, Concord-Carlisle 31 — Megan Olbrys produced 20 points, five rebounds and three steals to power the No. 9 (18-1) to the semifinal win in the IAABO Board 27 Comcast Classic tourney at Woburn High.
Arlington Catholic 64, Paulo Freire 56 — Senior center Cam Garber had 18 points and 23 rebounds for the Cougars (11-7).
Cardinal Spellman 63, Wahconah 45 — Senior forward Craig Faria scored 36 for the Cardinals (10-8) as they qualified for the Division 3 South tournament.
Quincy 60, North Quincy 56 — Senior guard Drew Polsgrove scored 15 points, including nine in the fourth quarter to power the Presidents (3-16) to the win.
Arlington Catholic 6, Duxbury 2 — Thomas Milne scored four goals for the Cougars (8-8-1), who coasted past the Dragons (11-6-3) in a Buddy Ferreira Classic quarterfinal. With the win, AC kept its postseason hopes alive and advances to face No. 10 Hingham in Monday’s semifinals. Carson Priante also scored twice for the Cougars.
BC High 5, Falmouth 1 — Five players scored for the second-ranked Eagles (12-3-3), who advanced the semifinals of the Buddy Ferreira Classic to take on Reading on Monday. In the loss, Nick Champani recorded the 99th point of his career for the Clippers with a goal in the third period.
Blue Hills 5, Bellingham 2 — Jake Curley had a hat trick and assist, and Chris Sarno added two goals and two assists as the Warriors (11-7-0) used a four-goal third period to rally past the Blackhawks.
Braintree 2, Canton 2 — Trailing by two goals with less than seven minutes left in a matchup with Braintree on Saturday at Zapustas Arena, Canton scored twice in a 1:19 span to ultimately came away with a huge tie.
Canton (15-1-3) was coming off its first loss in almost two years and looked doomed to repeat the same fate until senior Tommy Vaughan cut it to 2-1 with 6:18 remaining. With 4:59 to go freshmen defenseman Vincent Sica let a rocket go from the point to tie it at 2-2.
After a scoreless first the Wamps (11-4-3) led 2-0 after two thanks to goals from senior Mike Tierney and junior Matt Duane. Braintree junior goalie Ben Sullivan made 20 saves while Canton’s senior netminder Joe Cammarata made 30 saves.
Brookline 5, Cohasset/Hull 2 — Ellis Vish scored a pair of goals to lead the Warriors (11-7-1). Grayson Badger added a goal and three assists, and Aidan Chin a goal and two assists.
Hingham 3, Archbishop Williams 2 — Will Ham’s 5-on-3 goal at 8:43 of the third completed a comeback from two goals down for the 10th-ranked Harbormen (11-6-3) in the Buddy Ferreira Classic quarterfinals, leaving the Bishops (8-7-3) still a point shy of tournament qualification.
Hopkinton 4, Plymouth North 2 — Kyle Rogers had two goals and an assist, and Sean Walsh added a goal and assist as the Hillers (17-1-0) advanced to Sunday’s championship game of the Fairleigh Dickinson Tournament against host Martha’s Vineyard.
Marblehead 5, Swampscott 3 — Colin Hart and Zach Piersol had a pair of goals each to lead the Headers (13-3-3), who also got a goal and two assists from Will Shull. Drew Olivieri had two goals and an assist for the Big Blue (9-11-0).
Medway 1, Dedham 0 — Alex Infanger scored a shorthanded goal, and Evan Monaghan made it stand with 22 saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season for the Mustangs (11-3-5).
Milton Academy 6, Nobles 2 — Junior defenseman Will Vanderbeen notched a goal and two assists for the Mustangs (12-10-2).
Newburyport 4, Andover 1 — Ben Reynolds notched a hat trick to send the Clippers (8-10-1) into the Bresnahan Division championship game of the Newburyport Bank Classic.
Newton South 4, Newton North 0 — Eric Donlan scored twice and the Lions (10-8-1) secured their first-ever victory against their crosstown rivals. Lucas Maregni and Nathan Lacoste combined for the shutout.
Norton 12, Everett 2 — Tim Saunders and Jeremy Cross each had a hat trick for the Lancers (7-11-1).
Norwood 1, Westwood 0 — Junior Jake Russo’s second-period goal was the difference for the Mustangs (13-3-2).
Silver Lake 5, East Bridgewater 0 — Peter Bond posted his second shutout in as many games for the Lakers (10-9-1), who got goals from five different players.
Watertown 2, Essex Tech 0 — Freshmen defenseman Vinnie Wolff and sophomore forward Mason Andre both had goals, and senior goaltender Kevin Greene picked up his fifth shutout of the season on 15 saves for the Raiders (12-5-2).
Winchester 3, Woburn 1 — Michael Martignetti, Joey Falso and Angelo Mario each had a goal to lead the Sachems (4-10-5) to the Middlesex League Liberty victory.
Xaverian 4, Framingham 2 — Ryan Pomposelli netted a hat trick as the No. 9 Hawks (12-4-4) edged the eighth-ranked Flyers.
Austin Prep 3, St. Mary’s 0 — Sophomore goaltender Lauryn Hanafin backstopped the No. 4 Cougars (15-1-2) to the shutout win over the No. 2 Spartans (14-1-3), handing them their first loss of the season. Senior Felicia Zuccola scored the winning goal with 33 seconds left in the first period, and the Cougars scored twice in under two minutes in the third period to seal the key Catholic Central League win.
BB&N 4, Groton 0 — Eighth-grader Alexa Caron recorded her first career shutout for the Knights (18-4).
Bishop Fenwick/Essex Tech 6, Medford/Malden 3 — Lauren Diranian and Gabby Davern had a pair of goals apiece for the Crusaders (12-4-3).
Bishop Stang 6, Scituate 1 — Mikayla Brightman had two goals and an assist, and Destiny Arruda also scored twice for the Spartans (9-6-3), who qualified for the postseason.
Notre Dame (Hingham) 3, Milton 0 — Jules Connors had three goals for the Cougars (12-5-1).
Ursuline 2, Leominster/St. Bernard’s 0 — Junior Lucy Reardon made 18 saves en route to her fifth shutout of the season for the No. 19 Bears (13-3-3).
Waltham 1, Boston Latin 0 — Junior goaltender Kaitlyn Burke made 35 saves for the Hawks (11-2-5) en route to her seventh shutout of the season. Junior Jessica McPherson scored the game’s only goal in the first period.
To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email email@example.com.