Arlington comeback falls short against Colonels

ARLINGTON — The Arlington girls basketball team would like to forget the first half of Monday's game against Brattleboro.

But they definitely will want to remember the second half, because it proved they can play with anyone.

Trailing by 15 at halftime, the Eagles outscored the Colonels in the final 16 minutes, but came up just short in a 34-29 loss in the championship of the Leland & Gray tournament.

"It showed we're not going to quit," said Arlington coach Larry Andrews. "They could have rolled over but they didn't. I think we were a little nervous in the beginning, Brattleboro coming into our house."

Down 29-19 heading into the fourth quarter, Arlington's Gracie Smith and Katie Berger each hit a pair of free throws to cut the Brattleboro lead to six.

The Colonels finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with 2:36 left when Rachel Rooney scored for a 31-23 lead, but Xandria Hoyt buried a triple with 1:43 to go to make it 31-26.

Hailey Derosia made both free throws on the next possession, part of a night where she filled up the stat sheet with nine points (the leading total for the Colonels), 13 rebounds, seven steals and a pair of blocks.

"Hailey's only a junior, but she has the most experience and the skills," said Brattleboro coach Paul Freed. "She calmed us collectively and took charge at the end. We wanted the ball in her hands. I think she took us under her wing, settled us and helped us finish."

But Arlington was not done. After Derosia's pair from the charity stripe, Mattison came back down to the other end and buried her fourth three-pointer of the contest to make it a 4-point game, the closest it had been since the start.

Brattleboro missed a chance to seal it with a pair of missed free throws, but a three from Arlington was off the mark and Brattleboro ran out for the win.

"We're still trying to figure out how to score," Andrews said. "We don't have any scorers, we have a lot of athletes who are figuring it out. [In the second half] we switched our offense. We want to get the ball in the post, but in the second half we went a little smaller and I thought we did a good job without having any practice time with it."

Arlington was led in scoring by Haley Mattison for the second straight game, as she scored 12 points, all on three-pointers.

Xandria Hoyt added nine for the Eagles, who drop to 1-1 on the year. Derosia led the Colonels with nine and had six from sophomore Rachel Rooney.

"It's a good confidence booster, they left here knowing we can play," Andrews said.

The first half was all Brattleboro as they started the night on a 14-0 run, capped off with a three from Nicole Norcia (five points). Mattison made a three to get Arlington on the scoreboard, but in the second quarter, the Colonels kept up the pressure with a three from Julie Hendricks and a pair of baskets from Lauryn Sargent, her first varsity points.

Seven of the nine players on the roster were on the scoresheet in the first half.

"We were fortunate. Hats off to Larry and his team," Freed said. "We did whatever we wanted to in the first half, but [Arlington] chose not to let that be it. We got complacent in the second half and I warned them that Arlington wasn't going away. We'll take the win and learn from it and work on playing more consistently."


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