Just a minute into the fourth, Femino hit a huge layup to put Masco back by eight, but on the way down rolled her ankle. Femino stayed on the ground holding her ankle, before being helped off the court. She did not return.
“She doesn’t always dominate the scoring column, but she just makes plays happen,” explained Romeo. “Even that basket where she got hurt, we had nothing going. She was able to find an open spot and laid it in.
“It’s a huge basket, I’m looking at the defensive end and I hear a whistle. I see her laying on the floor. Nicole is a tough kid and when I saw her laying there not getting up, I knew it was bad. Nicole is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached, so for her to stay down it that situation I knew it was real bad.”
From there Central poured on the pressure, making jumper after jumper and hitting their free throws.
Senior Amanda Williams tied the game at 40 on a conventional three-point play with 3:33 left to go.
“It was huge, just a huge play,” Downer noted of Williams’ game-tying conventional three-point play. “She struggled a bit in the first half. She’s a senior and co-MVP of our league. We were waiting for her to make a play like that. It was huge emotional lift for the entire team.”
While there was still time for Masconomet to make another run, the Raiders’ momentum didn’t allow that to happen. Central held the Chieftains just six points in the final quarter, including Hannah Kiernan’s three-pointer to put the Chieftains within three with 30 seconds left.
The Raiders went 3-for-4 from the foul line to seal the win.
“It snowballed real quick,” said Romeo. “Even at the end, we got a couple good looks. To their credit, they’re (defending) state champs for a reason. They don’t fold under pressure. They make plays and stay with what they’re trying to do.”