By RUSSELL JONES
PROCTOR — The girls basketball playoffs kicked off on Saturday afternoon for Proctor as the Phantoms took on the Arlington Eagles in second round action. Proctor took control early, never looking back and winning by a score of 42-28.
Proctor, who got a bye in the first round as a two-seed, was knocked out of the playoffs last season by Arlington in the second round, but were determined not to let that happen this year.
“We got rebounds today, which sometimes we struggle with,” Proctor coach Chris Hughes said. “Today we got an all-around complete game, both on defense and offense.”
Rachel Stuhlmueller, a sophomore, led the team in rebounds with 11 while junior Maddie Flanders grabbed seven.
Proctor led 8-5 after the first quarter and really turned up the pressure on the Eagles in the second quarter, taking a 20-9 lead into the halftime break. The Eagles made some adjustments and were starting to pick up some momentum in the third.
Proctor again grabbed control of the game with three minutes left in the third when Flanders broke it open on a fast break layup. She followed up by stealing the ball on the inbound pass under the basket and scored for her second time in four seconds.
On the next two possessions, junior guard Allie Almond sank two of her four three-pointers effectively leading Proctor to a 10-0 run.
Proctor led 35-20 at the start of the final quarter when Arlington’s Haley Mattison, who had left the game with a cut on her chin, came back in. Mattison began knocking them down from behind the three-point line, scoring two of her four three’s in the quarter, but it was too little too late.
“This was a great test because we had to execute with pressure and finish, and then close them out. They did a great job today,” Hughes said. “I’m really proud of them.”
Almond led the team in scoring with 21 points, freshman guard Maggie McKearin scored nine points, and Flanders added eight.
Proctor advances to the semi-finals in Barre on Wednesday at 6:30.
“It kind of validates your season,” Hughes said. “We would have had a good season, but now it kind of pushes it up to a great year and in Barre, everyone’s kind of even. It all comes down to who can execute better down the stretch.”