WESTTOWN -- Adashia Franklyn didn't want Wednesday's game against Neshaminy to be her last one played at West Chester Rustin, even though she knew that wasn't the case.
In fact, Franklyn used it as motivation for her second-half performance against the Redskins, especially since the Golden Knights were clinging to a one-point lead at the break.
"We were sluggish in the beginning and just wanted to prove ourselves,' Franklyn said. "I didn't want this for anyone else so I just decided we weren't going to lose. If I play hard, my teammates will follow and then it comes back to me. I just have to help my team and not cheat them by not working hard.'
That's exactly what Franklyn and the Golden Knights did in the second half.
Franklyn scored 16 of her game-high 25 points in the half as No. 7 W.C. Rustin outscored No. 10 Neshaminy by a wide margin after halftime en route to a 56-36 victory in the second round of the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs. The win clinched a PIAA Tournament berth for Rustin (22-4), which is the second consecutive year the Golden Knights accomplished the feat.
Clinching another state berth would not have been possible without the stellar play of Franklyn and Noelle Powell in the second half. Both 1,000-point scorers have been the go-to players in the Golden Knights' offense throughout the season and made sure they lived up to that reputation.
After Megan Schafer hit 1-of-2 shots from the line to tie the game 21-21, Powell took over. She drove for a lay-up and followed that with a 3-pointer to give Rustin a 26-21 lead with 5:21 left in the third.
"That three was really big,' Powell said. "I was struggling in the beginning and not making jump shots, but I told myself to keep shooting anyway. They fall eventually.'
Once Powell heated up, there was no stopping Franklyn. The senior scored Rustin's next five points to build the lead to 31-22.
Powell followed with another three to increase the Golden Knights lead to double digits. On Rustin's next possession, Franklyn hit two free throws to make it 36-22.
That 15-1 run ended any chance of the Redskins pulling off the upset. Head coach Leah Kim thought Rustin's skill and talent would take over the game in the second half.
With Franklyn and Powell being the two best players on the court, that theory was proven.
"That's been the story of us this year,' Kim said. "Our younger, inexperienced players have struggled a little bit, but they have carried Adashia and Noelle in plenty of games this year and got us to this point. We moved the ball much better in that second half which was due to their teammates. That even flow back and forth opened up the floor for them.'
The architect of Franklyn and Powell's dominance during that run was Casey Worley, who was able to get the ball out of her hands and spread the floor with precision passes.
"Even though she wasn't scoring, she kept her head in it even though it wasn't her game,' Kim said. "She played well and probably gets at least 10 more assists if things start falling.'
Rustin ended up outscoring Neshaminy 17-5 in the third. All the points in the quarter were scored by Franklyn and Powell.
Franklyn continued her dominance in the paint to seal the win for the Golden Knights. She ended up with nine points in the final quarter and finished with 10 field goals for the game.
Powell finished with nine field goals for 20 points, 14 of which game in that second half.
The Golden Knights will have the pleasure of hosting another home game Friday or Saturday when they play No. 18 Abington, which upset No. 2 Garnet Valley in its second round game.
Neshaminy (19-5) heads to the playback bracket as they will need to win two games in order to advance to the PIAA Tournament.
Rustin has clinched a state playoff berth before with this core group of players, but the feeling of qualifying for the big dance always lasts.
"It feels great,' Franklyn said. "Feels like we done it for the first time.'
"We're not ending it like we did last year,' Powell said. We're not stopping anywhere this year and we're ready.'
Wednesday was just another night at the office for Franklyn and Powell as they continue to leave their mark in the Rustin record books.
Three more wins and they'll leave a legacy in Westtown that could be unmatched in this generation.
West Chester Rustin 56, Neshaminy 36
NESHAMINY: Goldenbaum 3 2-4 8, Storms 3 0-0 6, Mullin 2 1-2 6, Oliviera 0 5-7 5, Murray 2 1-2 5, Donahue 1 1-2 3, Schaefer 1 1-2 3. Totals: 12 11-19 36.
W.C. RUSTIN: Franklyn 10 5-12 25, Powell 9 0-0 20, O'Hare 2 0-0 4, Ca. warley 1 1-2 3, Walls 1 0-0 2, Co. Warley 1 0-2 2, Zavitsky 0 0-0 0, Pitts 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 6-16 56.
Neshaminy 9 11 5 11—36
W.C. Rustin 11 10 17 18—56
3-point goals: Mullin; Powell 2.