Poultney clips Arlington


ARLINGTON -- Coming into Friday's night game with Poultney, the Arlington Memorial High School boys basketball team hadn't won a game this season, but trailed by only four midway through the third quarter.

But with a young team that starts a freshman and three sophomores, things can get very streaky.

Poultney finished the game on a 26-11 run in the final 11 minutes to keep Arlington winless, 70-51.

"We're obviously a young team and streaky," said Arlington (0-8) coach Chris Taft. "They see a shot go down and they think they'll make the next one, but when they miss, they [think they] won't make the next. It's about confidence."

Poultney's one-two punch of senior Sean Shepardson and junior Sam White contributed to most of the Blue Devils' offense, as the pair scored 43 of the 70 points -- 25 by Shepardson and 18 from White.

"Those two have come a long way," said Poultney (5-5) coach Alphonso Howlett. "Our offense runs through them and everyone feeds off that. They've been putting the pieces together a lot and getting us going on and off the court."

After an even first quarter ended 18-16 in favor of the Blue Devils, Poultney went on a 12-0 in the blink of an eye, capped off by a Shepardson basket. Arlington tried to claw back in it with two baskets each from DJ Jennings and Austin Hawley, but trailed 42-28 at intermission.

Jennings led the Eagles with 22 as he inches closer to the 1,000-point milestone, while the sophomore Hawley added 15, including four from 3-point range.

"We get it inside, then kick it out to get the outside game going," Jennings said. "We came out fired up ready to play in the second half."

In the second half, Hawley and Jennings scored the first 12 points of the third as part of a 12-2 run to pull Arlington within 44-40, the last a three-point play from Jennings where all the Poultney collapsed on him grabbing a rebound.

"I told them at half to expect that [run], we can't come out flat," Howlett said. "They'll be emotional and bring energy, but then we got the momentum back and starting going inside which helped a lot."

That's where the Arlington run ended, as White took over, using some strong drives to the hoop for layups and causing fouls. Jennings and Hawley and the rest of the Eagles were in foul trouble for most of the second half as Hawley fouled out with 2:50 left and Jennings got his fourth with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.

"Austin's a scrappy kid, it was a scrappy game back and forth," Taft said. "He plays with fire and sometimes it helps and sometimes it hurts, he's streaky like the rest of us."

The Eagles tried to make one more run in the fourth, pulling within eight after Nathan Mattison (5 points) scored on a three-point play with 4:14 left, but it was the final basket Arlington would make.

"They extended their zone, we have smaller guards and it's tough to get through that," Taft said.

Howlett said he was glad to leave Arlington with a win.

"We always know it's hard playing at Arlington, the energy, the fans are great and [Arlington] always fights," Howlett said. "It was a physical, tough game and we're putting things together."


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