Eagle girls’ basketball is headed to D-II semifinal

BRISTOL — Ashlie Fay and Meghan Livingston each scored 13 points to lead the No. 1 Mount Abraham Union High School girls’ basketball team to a 46-16 win over visiting No. 8 Lamoille in a Division II quarterfinal on Friday.
The Eagles (21-1) took a 16-4 first-quarter lead thanks to their patented pressure defense and nine points from Fay, who Mount Abe Coach Connie LaRose described as “the engine” that powers the team. Lizzie Huizenga added three points and Jordan Emmons and Isabel Brennan chipped in two each in the period.
Mount Abe extended its lead to 26-6 at halftime, led by Livingston’s five points in the second quarter and another bucket by Fay. The second and third quarters saw many turnovers by both teams that were the result of miscues and aggressive defense.
LaRose acknowledged after the game that the Lancers’ zone defense frustrated the Eagles’ offense.
“I thought at times we looked good, at other times we clearly struggled – primarily struggling to be patient against their zone,” LaRose said. “We’re used to getting a lot inside, but we weren’t getting it. Then we started bombing away. Fortunately, as it does so often, defense kept us in it.”
Lancer senior guard Casey Machia scored six points in the third quarter, but the Eagles kept pressing on defense and killed clock with crisp passing to enter the fourth with a 33-14 lead. Jessie Martin led Mount Abe with four points in the period.
Livingston made her presence known in the fourth quarter, scoring six points on some nifty moves. Samantha Driscoll tossed in a three-pointer on her way to five points in the final stanza, and senior Chelsea Rublee added a bucket as the Eagles pulled away from the 11-10 Lancers.
Fay was the Eagles’ top rebounder, with eight. Emmons logged four assists, while Huizenga and Livingston had seven and six steals, respectively.
The Eagles move on to semifinal in Barre. They will play No. 4 seed and defending champion Hartford (19-3) on Monday at 8:15 p.m. That game will be a rematch of the 2012 final, won by the Hurricanes. The teams have not met this season. U-32 (21-1) and Lake Region (20-2) will meet on Wednesday in the other semifinal.
 LaRose will be looking for the Eagles to step up their game if they are to bring home the program’s first title since 1997.
“We have to execute our half-court offense much better, and we’ve got to do a better job on the boards,” LaRose said.

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