Arlington’s Haley Mattison had a good look with her 3-point attempt in the final seconds but the ball hit the rim and the Mount St. Joseph girls basketball team escaped with a 33-30 win Thursday night at Martin McDonough Gymnasium.
The 5-4 Mounties might be putting something together. This was their third straight win.
“We’re on a little bit of a streak,” said MSJ’s Julia Lee, who had 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter.
Arlington (4-5) came into the Marty on a bit of a hot streak of its own, having won three of its previous four games.
But the Mounties had a strong first quarter, winning it 16-8.
Lee nailed the first of her two 3-point field goals in that period, giving the Mounties a 5-2 lead they never surrendered.
The second quarter belonged to the Eagles and they shaved the lead to 21-17 by halftime.
MSJ threatened to pull away midway through the third quarter, taking a 27-19 lead after Tiana Gallipo struck from the outside.
But the Eagles never went away. They got it all the way down to one (29-28) when Kierstyn Hess made both her free throws midway through the fourth quarter.
Hess was 7 for 8 at the line.
Lee had been quiet offensively after her prolific first quarter but she hit one of the biggest shots of the game, a baseline runner to pad the Mounties’ lead to three with 3:23 remaining.
Mattison scored on a putback to get the margin down to one again, 31-30 with 55 ticks left.
Then, it was Ella Paquin’s turn to deliver in the clutch for the Mounties. She stepped to the foul line for two pressure-packed free throws with 48.3 seconds to go and made them both, getting a fortuitous bounce on the first, to give the Mounties some breathing room.
Lee said the Eagles tightened their defense after that first quarter, extending their 2-3 zone.
“That might have helped us because we have got a lot of weapons,” Lee said.
This was arguably the best of the Mounties’ three straight wins because of the caliber of the opponent.
“They are a good and athletic team. We needed this win,” Lee said.
Arlington, like defending state champion MSJ, was one of the four Division IV teams that made it to the Barre Auditorium last year.
“We are a work in progress,” MSJ coach G.J. Garrow said. “We had some good interior passing at times.
“But we have got to take care of the ball.”
The Mounties did that during the first half, limiting their turnovers to five.
Garrow pointed to another deficiency. The Eagles won the rebounding battle.
Following Lee in scoring for the Mounties were Gallipo with nine and Sophie Markowski with six.
Hess led the Eagles with 13 points. Eighth-grader Schuylar Nolan, who handles the ball with skill beyond her years, added nine points and Mattison had six.
The Leland & Gray Rebels pay a visit to the Marty on Monday. That will be a special night, for that is when the state championship banner will be raised and many of the players from that team who graduated are coming back for the ceremony.