First-half struggles doom Long Trail against Proctor

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MANCHESTER — When a team fails to reach a double figure point total in a half, the chances of them securing a victory are depleted significantly.

A nine-point first half was too much to overcome, as the Long Trail boys basketball team fell 56-32 to Proctor Saturday night in a Division IV matchup at Manchester Elementary Middle School.

The first half was pretty simple, the Phantoms were finding open looks and knocking them down, while the Mountain Lions searched for some sort of rhythm and consistency that continued to elude them.

"Guys who make foul shots weren't making them and we had lapses where we didn't do the right things," said Long Trail coach Seth Rice. "Part of that is that we've struggled lately to get everyone at practice. They just were not on the same page."

A major reason for the first half struggles the Mountain Lions faced was the potent three-point attack that Proctor employed against them. When there was an open look from deep, the Phantoms were quick to pull the trigger and they executed those chances time after time.

The guard combination of Conner McKearin and Brennon Crossman did most of the damage from deep, combining for seven first-half 3's.

McKearin was particularly deadly from three-point range, racking up seven three-pointers for the day. McKearin dominated the second quarter with 12 points in the fram and his effort helped pace Proctor to a 17-3 advantage in the second.

McKearin racked up a game-high 24 points.

"We haven't played against a guy that has that kind of range. He was making them from quite a ways," Rice said. "We tried to make them beat us from outside and obviously they did."

Crossman scored 12 points on the day, while senior post-player Nate Greb added 10.

The Mountain Lions came out with a much stronger effort in the second half and started to lock in on both ends. While they were still outscored by two points after the break, the difference in their play was quite apparent.

"We changed our zone a little bit (in the second half). That might have helped some," Rice said.

Senior Jackson Washburn struggled a bit in the first half for Long Trail, only scoring three points. But Washburn put those struggles behind him coming out of the break and had a really strong third quarter, racking up 10 points in the frame.

Washburn was much more aggressive to the hoop in the second half and scored a team-high 16 points.

Rice knows what Washburn is capable of when locked in and pointed to the senior's second half play as the type of player the Mountain Lions need.

"I think he's one of the best players in Division IV in the south. He was off to a rough start," Rice said. "He had missed one foul shot all year heading into this game and then he missed three in the first half, which is totally unlike him."

"[The way he played in the second half] is how he plays. He has a complete game," Rice said. "He can go outside and go inside and he's a big part of our offense."

Long Trail falls to 0-4 and plays the Phantoms once again January 16 on the road.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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