The fourth-ranked Quakers stopped the No. 5 Eagles for the Metro League championship and top seed to the district tournament.
Jasen Thomas has a saying he has used with his Franklin girls all season.
“It gets greater later.”
But when the Quakers walked into Brougham Pavilion for the Metro League girls basketball title game, he focused on their faces and noticed the nerves.
Big lights. Big gym. Big eyes.
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Thomas told his players to settle down and enjoy the moment, because “you don’t know when you’ll be here again.”
The fourth-ranked Quakers listened, knocking off No. 5 Cleveland 43-36 Friday night to pick up their 14th straight win.
Franklin (18-3) advances to the Sea-King 3A District Tournament at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ingraham High School against Saturday’s Holy Names-Juanita winner. The Eagles (18-4) play the winner of Lake Washington and Bainbridge at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Bellevue College.
The league title is Franklin’s first since 2009, and while the Quakers have five seniors, guard Janee Lewis was the only one who played on that varsity team.
“We’ve been pushing since my freshman year,” said Lewis, the daughter of former Washington Huskies running back Greg Lewis. “We just had to rebuild it. The last three years we’ve been losing to Cleveland, and it feels wonderful.”
The Quakers trailed by a point after the first quarter but took control in the second, ripping off nine straight points. Once they overcame the moment, everything came together.
“Just playing together and believing in themselves, that’s half the battle,” Thomas said.
Jadea Brundidge and Jazmin Horne scored 10 points apiece for Franklin. Myzhanique Ladd scored a game-high 14 for Cleveland.
“I’m just so pumped up,” said Lewis. “It brought back memories from when we won last time and just pumped me up that much more.”