Playing with an injured knee, as she has all season, Sherman willed the Eagles to the title game, scoring 10 of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter as No. 6 Arlington upset No. 2 West Rutland, 59-49, at the Barre Auditorium.
"My adrenaline took over, I didn't think about my knee by then," Sherman said. "I just wanted to win, that's all that mattered. We dug deep and wanted it."
With Arlington (14-8) leading by as many as 17 early in the third quarter, a 14-2 run pulled the Golden Horde within five at the start of the fourth quarter. Brooke Raiche's jumper made it a four-point ball game with 4:54 to go and it seemed like a game where whoever had the ball last would win. But then Sherman seized control.
With 3:47 left, Sherman drove the length of the court for a layup and limped to the foul line after getting her knee hit on the shot. She made the free throw to give Arlington a seven-point lead.
"I know how tough she is, she wasn't going to stay on the ground," Arlington coach Larry Andrews said. "She's tough, dynamite, she's our workhorse."
On the next possession, Morgan Raiche got two back on a jumper, but Sherman connected on another three-point play to make it 52-43 with 1:25 to go, effectively sealing a trip to the finals against Proctor on Saturday.
After a fast-paced first-quarter ended tied, 15-15, Arlington's defense came up big in the second. They held West Rutland to two field goals in the frame and ended the half on an 11-4 run to take a 31-21 lead into the locker room.
Sherman had 10 at the half, while Julia Lacoste added eight for Arlington.
Lacoste finished the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Brooke Hawley chipped in with 10.
"Again, we had balanced scoring, the whole team was unselfish. With Jennah [Lacoste] and Molly [Elwell] off a bit, the others stepped up," Andrews said.
With West Rutland coming into the semifinal at 21-1, Arlington knew the Horde wouldn't go quietly. The Eagles extended the lead to 38-21 after a Julia Lacoste bucket with 6:19 remaining in the third, but they wouldn't score another hoop in the quarter.
Mikayla Dambrackas and Samantha Lacz combined for 10 in the period as the Horde cut the margin to 40-35 for the start of the final frame.
"We knew they were going to come at us one time and we just had to weather the storm and we did," Andrews said.
Overall, four West Rutland players were in double figures: Lacz led the way with 13 points, Brooke Raiche added 12, Dambrackas and Morgan Raiche each chipped in 10. Morgan Raiche also had 13 rebounds, gaining them in bunches against the under-sized Eagles.
West Rutland coach Carl Serrani said early foul trouble influenced his team's struggles.
"We dug ourselves a big hole, dug back to five," Serrani said. "But then we gave up a couple quick baskets and couldn't come back from that. [Arlington is] a good basketball team, they're well coached and they keep coming at you."
With the victory, Arlington reaches the final for the second time in three years.
The Eagles are the lowest seed to reach a D-IV title game since Danville did it as a 6-seed in 1994 -- an upset run that is extra-sweet for their two seniors.
"Ray had tears in her eyes at the beginning in the huddle practically begging the team not to let it be her last game," Andrews said. "And they're delivering for Rayleen and Jennah, the seniors."
"I get three more practices," Sherman said. "That's all I can ask for."