The rubber match never happened.
The Arlington and Pope Francis boys’ hockey teams went 1-1-1 against each other in three meetings in 2019-20, and were destined to settle things once and for all last Sunday on the TD Garden ice. But the COVID-19 outbreak, and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s decision to cancel the state championship games, meant the Spy Ponders and Cardinals go into the books as co-champions.
But the Globe’s Top 20? Based on the most recent result, Arlington gets the nod. The Spy Ponders ended the season unbeaten in their final 21 games, the last three in the winners’ bracket of the Super 8 tournament. They ended that with a 2-1 victory over Pope Francis on March 7, becoming the first public school team to reach the Super 8 championship game twice.
As was the case in 2017, Arlington ends the season No. 1 here, as well.
In 2017, a group of Wellesley freshmen learned what it felt like to fall in the postseason, after losing in the first round. The Raiders would never falter in tournament play again.
Backed by a strong senior core, Wellesley’s quest for a three-peat in Division 2 was all but finished — the only test ahead (and it would certainly have been a test) was a meeting with Canton at TD Garden. The road that led the Raiders to the Garden wasn’t an easy one, and they rightfully earned their place in the would-be state title game and atop the Globe’s final Top 20 with their best record in those three seasons (22-1).
The lone loss for the Raiders came at the hand’s of last year’s Division 1 runner-up, Austin Prep, back in December, a 1-0 battle that the Raiders avenged with a 3-1 victory the next month.
The Cougars, No. 2 in the final rankings, would have had the chance to try again in the title game, this time against No. 3 Woburn.
For Lynn English, it was another season for the ages.
The Bulldogs have won 34 straight games against Massachusetts competition dating to January 2019, and the defending state champs were ranked atop the Globe’s poll throughout a 23-2 campaign.
The Bulldogs were deemed Division 1 co-champions by the MIAA, further making up for the school’s 80-year drought.
English steamrolled the competition with an average margin of victory of 35.5 points against in-state foes. With weapons on the perimeter and twin towers anchoring the paint, the Bulldogs had little trouble in Division 1 North before showing their toughness by outlasting previously undefeated Lowell, 73-63, in overtime to win the section.
English would have had a tough matchup against co-champion Springfield Central (22-1) in the final, but the Bulldogs seemed destined to defend their title on the court, if circumstances allowed.
Not once did the Franklin girls budge from the Globe’s top spot, but the team remained unsatisfied until the final whistle.
After deposing second-ranked Cathedral and fifth-ranked Bridgewater-Raynham in the IAABO 27 Comcast Classic in February, senior center Ali Brigham said the mission was far from over. The Panthers were on their way to a perfect 25-0 record.
"We’re not going to take a day off from today, from when we first started the season," Brigham said at the time. "The day we take a day off is the day after the state championship game.”
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Franklin never got to achieve that goal, as the season was canceled just before the state championship matchup with Andover.
Nonetheless, the Panthers had a stellar season, finishing as the only undefeated girls’ basketball team in Massachusetts.
(Jenna Ciccotelli, Nate Weitzer, and Greg Levinsky also contributed.)