SOMERSET, NJ - The Watchung Hills girls basketball team upended two-time reigning champion Franklin, 51-47, in overtime in the semifinals of the Somerset County Tournament on Thursday night at Franklin.
Third-seeded Watchung Hills (20-4), which is ranked No. 20 in the latest NJ.com Top 20, won two of the three matchups between the schools this season with both victories coming in Somerset.
Second-seeded and No. 19 Franklin (19-4) led by three points at 21-18 at halftime before both teams held serve and scored 12 points apiece in the third.
In the fourth, Watchung scored 14 points to Franklin’s 11. It then outscored the home team 7-3 in the extra period to advance, including ending on a 5-1 run after Onoseta Ufuah for the Lady Warriors of Franklin tied it up at 46-46.
Watchung took a five point 40-35 lead in the fourth quarter after Bella Murray drained a 3-pointer and Scarlett Glasser-Nehls converted a bucket-and-one.
Ufuah came back moments later with a three-point play of her own to cut it to 40-38. In the waning seconds, Kyierah Dempsey-Toney made two free throws to knot the score at 44-44 and Watchung was then called for an offensive foul giving Franklin a chance to win it in regulation. But Kennady Schenck’s floater in the lane was too strong and rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
Watchung’s Mahogany Jenkins scored 15 points and finished with a double-double with 12 rebounds. She also had two steals. Glasser-Nehls netted a game-high 18 points while Alexa Santo recorded nine points and five assists and Jayden Baltuch had two points, seven boards, four assists and two steals. Murray scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out two assists.
For Franklin, which had won three in a row and 14 of its last 15 games coming in, Keona Schenck scored 14 points, Dempsey-Toney bucketed 12, and Ufuah had 11. Kennady Schenck ended up with six points while Morgan Jones and Gissell Gamble each had two points apiece.
Despite the loss for Franklin, its season isn’t over. The Warriors will now turn the page to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 state tournament as the third seed. They will take on 14th-seeded Newark East Side in the first round on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The winner of that game takes on either sixth-seeded Piscataway or 11th-seeded Hunterdon Central in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Franklin has won a sectional title in five out of the last six years including three straight. Franklin won the Tournament of Champions in 2018-19 and 2016-17.
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
TAPinto Franklin/Somerset is independently owned and operated by Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate.
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