Lane, Eagles headed back to quarterfinals; defeat Whitchester

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MANCHESTER — Having a home game away from the friendly confines of Arlington Memorial High School did not bother the No.5 seed Arlington girls basketball team on Tuesday night, with the Eagles defeating No. 12 Whitchester 42-29 in the first round of the Division IV tournament at Burr and Burton Academy.

"We played very well tonight," said Arlington girls basketball coach Larry Andrews. "We ran our offensive pretty well tonight and played great defense. It was a good win for our team."

A back-and-forth first quarter saw the Eagles gain the upper advantage thanks to the play of senior Riley Lane.

Lane knocked in two three-pointers and dishes out two assists in the first quarter to help the Eagles grab a 13-10 lead going into the second quarter.

The senior continued to stay hot from downtown in the second quarter, knocking in two more three-pointers to extend the Arlington lead to five.

Whitchester cut the Arlington lead to one in the final minute of the first half, but Erin Murphy was able to corral the loose ball off of Lane's blocked shot and knock in the layup as time expired in the second quarter to give the Eagles a 21-18 lead going into halftime.

Defense, which has been the Eagles' bread and butter this season, began to play a factor in the second half.

Arlington held Whitchester to zero points in the third quarter. That allowed the Arlington offense to get going again as Jamie Keel and Gracie Smith both knocked down jump shots to make it a 25-18 game.

With its lead now 30-18, Arlington saw another buzzer-beater go in for them when Smith stole the ball from a Whitchester player and passed it up to Xandria Hoyt who knock in the layup right before the buzzer, extending the Eagles' to a game-best 14-points.

"We really turned up our defensive pressure and defensive intensity tonight," Andrews said. "We started playing defense the way we were playing at the beginning of the season."

After not scoring a point in the third quarter, Whitchester knocked in back-to-back baskets to cut the Eagles' lead down to 10.

Whitchester got the Arlington lead down to eight before Keel stopped the run with a jumper.

A few possession later, Keel extended the Arlington lead back to 12 with strong move to the basket to knock in a layup.

The junior finished with 8 points and a team-high three steals on the night for Arlington.

With double-digit lead in hand with a little over a minute to go, Arlington was able cruise to its 12th win of the season.

Lane finished with a game-high 17 points for Arlington.

Smith had a team-high three steals as well for the Eagles.

Arlington forced two Whitchester five-second violations in the game.

"This was a really great win for us," Andrews said. "We're feeling really good about ourselves right going into the quarterfinals."

The Eagles will play the winner of Cabot/Blue Mountain in the quarterfinals on Friday.

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


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