LOWELL — Her bold prediction — one year ago — that the Andover High girls would be back to win the state title hung squarely in the balance.

Anna Foley held the ball, the game and the season in her hands. At least, it felt that way here at Tsongas Center with 4,000 fans — all of them standing and frenzied — as Bishop Feehan closed in on the most improbable of comebacks.

Foley just would not be denied. She couldn’t be. The lefty drove from 40 feet away, carved through three Feehan defenders and broke free for a lay-in and a 53-48 Andover lead with 45 seconds left.

“We were getting a little sloppy with our passes down the stretch, so I decided to go, trust myself and I knew I could get to the basket,” Foley said. “I saw the lane, and I didn’t second-guess it. It was the most open shot I had all game. I was surprised.

“I knew it was a close game. I knew we needed a bucket. I just went with everything I had.”

The much-needed heroics — and then some extreme guts from junior Michaela Buckley, who knocked in two game-icing free throws with 4.2 seconds left — yielded the Golden Warriors’ sixth Division 1 girls basketball state title with the wild 55-51 win on Friday night.

Andover finishes off the perfect season at 26-0, the top-rated team in Massachusetts from the first dribble to the last.

For Foley, who led the way with 20 points, it was a dream ending. Remember, as the Warriors walked off this same floor on the losing end of this game a year ago, she made one heck of a prediction.

“Anna said, ‘We’ll be back and we’ll win this next year.’ That was the headline last year,” said Warriors coach Alan Hibino.

His Quinnipiac-bound superstar, the reigning Eagle-Tribune MVP, backed up those words with a command performance.

For three-plus quarters, it looked like the Warriors were in solid control.

In a word, Foley and frontcourt running mate Amelia Hanscom (18 points) were unstoppable.

But the whistle was the great equalizer.

Andover led 17-12 after one quarter and 38-25 at the break. We turned for home with the Warriors up 47-37 headed to the fourth.

But the worst three seconds of Hibino’s and the Warriors’ season changed things. With 4:03 left in the game, Hanscom was whistled for her fourth foul and by 4:01 she was done, nailed for her fifth.

Without her, Feehan pounced, going on a 9-0 run to turn a comfy 51-39 advantage to a 51-48 nail-biter.

Lost in that run, though, was some amazing work on the defensive end by Ari White, Kathleen Yates, Buckley, Ella Vidoni and an absolutely gassed Foley.

Feehan had momentum and fire on their side. The Warriors made the Shamrocks earn every point, shaving such valuable time on the clock.

“It takes everybody,” said an elated Hibino, a rare two-sport (tennis) state championship-winning coach. “You don’t have success like this without everybody.”

That defense made Foley’s dagger so impactful, because the clock was Feehan’s enemy.

Without senior Marissa Kobelski (shoulder) available, Andover’s role players were huge.

Buckley finished with six points, as did Yates. Vidoni had five.

And like Buckley’s final, game-clinching two, all of those points came at monumental points in the game.

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