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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
With conference play wrapped up, the Wellesley High girls basketball team traveled to Westwood on Sunday afternoon for semifinals of the Reilly Winter Classic.
The Raiders (14-3, 11-2) entered having already wrapped up the Bay State Conference Carey Division and their eyes set on a top seed in the upcoming state tournament.
However, any question as to whether or not Wellesley was thinking ahead towards the postseason was answered with a loud no on Sunday afternoon, as senior point guard and captain Gianna Palli dropped a game-high 25 points to lead the Lady-Raiders to a 60-50 victory over King Phillip Regional. Senior guard and captain Brooke Guiffre also finished the game in double figures for Wellesley with 14 points.Wellesley jumped out to a 17-12 lead at the end of one quarter, but a 5-0 run by KP early in the second tied the game at 17. A 3-pointer by Palli gave Wellesley back the lead at 20-17. The teams exchanged blows with KP pulling ahead 24-21 with under a minute to play, but a layup and-one by junior Allison Goehringer (five points) with under 10 seconds to play tied the game at 24 for Wellesley at the half.
The second half was the Gianna Palli and Brooke Guiffre show, as the duo completely took over the game for Wellesley. A 3-pointer by Palli gave the Raiders a 27-24 lead early in the third. A 3-pointer by Guiffre extended Wellesley’s lead back to four points at 30-26. Palli went on to score 11 third quarter points including a layup at the buzzer, while Guiffre put home seven; allowing the Raiders to bring an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter at 43-35.Palli continued right where she left off at the end of the third, converting a layup and-one for a 3-point play to start the final quarter. The Raiders kept their feet on the gas and continued to hammer away, extending their lead to as many as 15 points at 59-44. When the dust had settled, Wellesley emerged with a 10-point victory to advance to Monday night’s championship against old friend Needham.
The Raiders will now wait to find out their tournament seeding.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.