No. 1 Mount Abe girls cruise into D-II hoop final

BARRE — The Mount Abraham Union High School girls’ basketball team on Monday took another step toward a second straight Division II title, throttling No. 4 BFA-Fairfax, 56-23, in a semifinal at the Barre Auditorium.
The 17-4 Eagles will play for the championship at the Aud on Saturday, with the opponent being the winner of a Wednesday semifinal between No. 2 Fair Haven (16-5) and No. 3 Milton (15-6). That game was played after the deadline for this edition of the Independent.
The Eagles have already defeated both those foes this winter. They knocked off the Slaters, 37-13, on Dec. 23 in Fair Haven, and crunched their Lake Division rival Milton, 61-26, in Bristol on Jan. 25.
Mount Abe’s Monday semifinal was a rematch of the 2013 title tilt, which the Eagles won, 44-28. But the Bullets were hit harder by graduation than the Eagles, particularly in the frontcourt, and Mount Abe — especially junior center Isabel Brennan — took advantage early.
Brennan — whose emergence in Barre a year ago helped spark the Eagles’ title run — scored 12 of her 16 points in the first quarter as Mount Abe took a 21-8 lead. Senior guard Meg Livingston (nine points, eight steals, three assists) also helped trigger the Eagles’ quick start with six points in the first quarter.
The Eagles’ offense slowed in the second quarter, but just as they had in their quarterfinal win over Otter Valley their defense clamped down after the first period. Against OV, Mount Abe allowed 11 points in the final three periods; vs. the 17-6 Bullets, the Eagles surrendered just six points in the second and four points in each of the third and fourth quarters.
In the second quarter, Mount Abe scored 10 points to lead by 31-15 at the half. Senior Ashlie Fay tallied six points; she would finish with a game-high 19, plus five assists and seven steals. Junior forward Jen Gordon came off the bench to score the Eagles’ other four points in the period.
In the third, Fay scored six more points, and senior guard Sam Driscoll added five, including the Eagles’ only three-pointer on the night, as the Eagles ended any hopes for a BFA rally by stretching the lead to 45-19.
Fay, Livingston, Brennan and junior Stephanie White chipped in points in the final eight minutes. Faith Sampson led the Bullets with eight, and Chace Carpenter chipped in with six. 

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