Barre-bound! Arlington reaches Division IV semifinal
After Friday night's Division IV quarterfinal against No. 5 Long Trail, the Eagles will have a new home for at least one game — the Barre Auditorium.
In what Arlington coach Ashley Hoyt called the "Eagles' Nest North" — Burr and Burton Academy — the Eagles used a strong third quarter to advance with a 49-38 victory.
"It's been a long season, driving a half-hour minimum every day, to practice and back," Hoyt said. "It's a testament to their dedication and how bad they wanted to get to Barre coming up with a win tonight."
Arlington led by six at halftime as each team started slowly, the only points coming from four free throws by the Eagles' Kolby Wilkins to up the lead to 10 points at 28-18 with four minutes left. But after Long Trail's Jackson Washburn hit a three-pointer, one of four on the night for the Mountain Lions junior, Arlington finished the quarter on a 9-2 run with baskets by Wilkins, Bailey Cross, Chase Hoyt and Matthew Ritchie — Ritchie's only bucket coming at the horn — to give the Eagles a 37-23 lead going to the fourth quarter.
Wilkins scored 12 points as second-high scorer for Arlington, behind Bailey Cross who had 14, seven in each half.
"They were getting into the middle for most of their points, we were sending them to the line," Hoyt said. "So we went to a 2-3 zone, they didn't hit their outside shots and we were able to press the ball after their missed shots."
Long Trail coach Seth Rice said they hit 10 3's against first-round opponent Blue Mountain, but they weren't able to keep it going against Arlington, only making six.
"Arlington is a tough matchup for us because they are as athletic as we are," said Rice, a former BBA coach in the familiar confines of E.H. Henry Gym. "They are a little more experienced as well. For the time and resources we put into it, I thought we performed admirably."
Long Trail hung around in the fourth. Cross hit his second 3-pointer of the game to keep the lead at 14, 41-27, but Long Trail's Levin Coe scored on a shot under the basket and Luc Carmel added a pair of free throws before Washburn, who had 12 points, hit the last of his threes to chop the lead to single digits.
In the end, time ran out on the Mountain Lions as the Eagles hit their free throws, going 7-of-11 in the final quarter.
"We never were able to get to the next level," Rice said. "We played hard every night, but we couldn't get to the next level to see the second or third option and against a team like Arlington you really have to be able to do that."
Jack Lane, who scored nine points, was 4-for-4 in the last 30 seconds of the game.
"We usually have three or four guys in double figures and every night it's someone else leading us," Hoyt said. "Other guys stepped up when Jake and the other perimeter players were being face-guarded."
Arlington improves to 14-8, while Long Trail's season ends at 11-9.
"We have great town support and they follow us really well. Hopefully we can head up to Barre and get them a win on Monday," Hoyt said.
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