Eagles hang on to punch ticket to semifinals

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ARLINGTON — Last year in the quarterfinals of the Division IV tournament, the Arlington boys basketball team came up short in an overtime loss to Danville. This time around, the Eagles came out standing tall as No. 3 seed Arlington defeated No. 6 seed South Royalton on Saturday 52-45 to advance to the semifinals.

"It's great to see us advance to the semifinals," said Arlington boys basketball coach Chris Taft. "We made some big plans down the stretch to get win. The atmosphere surrounding the game in the gymnasium was great. It was a great basketball game to be apart of and its great that we came out on top."

Arlington began the contest on fire from the field, knocking down four three-pointers in the first quarter to take 17-10 lead over the Royals.

Senior Alex Paustian extended the Eagles' lead to nine in the second quarter, stealing the ball from a Royals' player and then racing down the court to knock in the layup.

Paustian scored all of nine for his points for Arlington in the first half.

The Eagles led 24-13 with under three minutes to go in the second quarter, before South Royalton went on a 8-2 run to end the half to cut the Arlington lead to five going into halftime.

South Royalton got the Arlington lead down to one when Dalton McDougall knocked in a layup midway through the third quarter.

Seeing its double-digit lead go up in smoke, Arlington got its offense clicking again as a Jack Lane three-pointer helped spark a 7-0 run to finish out the quarter, giving the Eagles a 37-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Lane knocked in three shots from downtown and finished with 10 points in the contest for Arlington.

Arlington took a 43-31 lead with five minutes left to play after Ben Fugener swished in both his free throw attempts at the strike.

Fugener was overall four-of-five from the free throw line in the contest and scored eight points in the game for Arlington.

Just like in the first half though, Arlington couldn't keep its double-digit lead intact and saw South Royalton battle back to make it a two point game with a little over minutes remaining.

Still up two as the clock ticked under 90 seconds left to play, Arlington caught a break when Darren Golden grabbed control of the loose ball and dribbled down the court to bank in a layup to extend the Eagles' lead to four.

South Royalton went on to come up empty on its next two possessions, allowing senior Jared Lacoste to seal the game up for Arlington by going three-of-four from the line in the final minute, sending the Eagles to the semifinals.

Lacoste finished with a team-high 14 points scored in the win for Arlington.

As a team, Arlington knocked in six three-pointers in the contest.

Nicholas Howe scored a game-high 28 points for South Royalton

With the win, the Eagles improve to 16-6 on the season and will play the winner of Proctor/Long Trail in the semifinals on Wednesday.

For more on the Eagles' win, check out Monday's Bennington Banner

Reach sports editor Steven Bassin at 802-447-7567 ext 112 or @SBassin_Banner




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