The Franklin County girls varsity team proved that public schools have what it takes to play with the private schools, as they performed admirably at last week’s state tournament.

The girls finished 15th among Class 1A schools, seven strokes better than The Villages High School, which had outscored the Lady Seahawks by 10 on the first day.

That’s because all five girls improved from their Day One performance on the course in Howey-in-the-Hills Thursday. Seventh grader Ali Patrick stayed constant with a 124 both days, a personal best for the golfing newcomer.

Typical of the team’s stirring effort was that of senior Megan Collins, who started the first day with a 51 on the front nine, but shot a personal best and blistering 37 on the back to finish with a respectable 88.

She scored an 81 on the second day, for a combined 169, to finish tied for 51st in the field of 93, dominated by elite private schools in sunny central and south Florida.

Her younger sister Melanie Collins shot 85 the first day, and an 81 the second, to lead the team with an 166, good enough for 43rd.

Sophomore Alexus Johnson shot a 101 the first day, and then bettered it by four strokes, for a 196, good enough to tie her for 76th.

While her score didn’t count in the total, freshman Hollie Patrick shot a 139 the first day, and then sliced 15 strokes off her tally for a 124, and a total of 244.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls in the school’s first-ever team trip to the state finals,” said coach Scott Collins.