BARRE — Blue Mountain’s run is over.
Second-seeded Proctor used balanced scoring and relentless pressure defense to run to a 52-32 victory over the third-seeded Bucks in a Division IV semifinal Wednesday night at Barre Aud.
Maddie Flanders and Lyndsey Elms had 12 points apiece, while Allie Almond and Rachel Stuhlmeuller each added 10 for Proctor, which advanced to its first state final since 2015 and ended BMU’s bid for a spot in its third straight championship game.
The Phantoms, active and athletic in their full-court press, jumped out to a 13-4 lead after one, built a 24-10 advantage at halftime, then opened the third quarter with a 10-0 blitz to get a stranglehold on the game.
“We missed a few shots, lost our confidence, their press rattled us a little bit, we had too many early turnovers and dug too big a hole,” said Bucks coach Scott Farquahrson, who was trying to guide his program to a third straight title game and first championship since 2002.
The Phantoms advance to Saturday’s title tilt against No. 4 Mid-Vermont Christian, slated for a noon tipoff at the Aud.
Senior Lauryn Alley, the Bucks star forward and 1,000-point scorer, netted 22 points for BMU. Down 34-10, Alley rattled off 14 of the Bucks’ next 15 points, including 12 straight as the Bucks gave it all they had to the final whistle, getting the deficit down to 44-30 with 4 minutes to play.
It was quite the run this winter for the Bucks, who returned to Barre despite graduating three senior starters from last year’s runner-up club. They were hit with some tough luck recently when sophomore starting wing Kolby Nelson tore her ACL playing pickup hoop a day after the regular season ended.
“No excuses, but she was a big loss for us,” Farquharson said. “She’s a great defender, she’s fast, she’s one of our primary ballhandlers and she’s the flyer who can get back. It’s a loss, but we were ready and we have a strong enough team to play a better game than we did today.”
Lauren Joy (four points), Antonia Munson (three) and Alivia Crum (three) were the only other scorers for BMU.
The Bucks never could get comfortable on Wednesday.
Up 13-4 after the first quarter, the Phantoms pushed the lead to 19-6 on a bucket from Stuhlmeuller. BMU found a little life, getting buckets from Alley and Joy to trim the deficit to 19-10 with 4:10 left in the half, but it was short-lived.
Almond canned a 3 and Stuhlmueller hit a pair of free throws as the Phantoms carried a 24-10 lead to break.
It was a tough shooting half for BMU, which got some good looks but couldn’t get the shots to fall. Proctor was the aggressor, getting a number of loose balls and turning Bucks turnovers into points.
“We had opportunities to hang with them and not let them get away,” Farquharson said. “We missed some easy ones, didn’t get back in transition, next thing you know you’re in a big hole and playing a different strategy than you wanted too.”
Proctor opened the third in a full-court press and buried the Bucks with a 10-0 run for a commanding 34-10 lead.
It was the final game for BMU seniors Alley, Munson, Crum and Brookelyn Dennis.
“Lauryn and this senior class have helped changed the mindset of our program,” Farquharson said. “We win a whole lot more than we lose now.”
BMU (16-6): Lauren Joy 2-0-4, Antonia Munson 1-1-3, Lauryn Alley 8-6-22, Alivia Crum 1-1-3. Totals: 12-FG 8-17 FT 32.
PROCTOR (19-3): Maggie McKearin 2-2-6, Allie Almond 3-3-10, Lyndsey Elms 5-2-12, Hope Kelley 1-0-2, Maddie Flanders 6-0-12, Rachel Stuhlmeuller 4-2-10. Totals: 21-FG 9-14-FT 52.
BMU 4 6 10 12 — 32
PHS 13 11 14 14— 52
3-Point FG: P 1 (Almong). Team Fouls: B 17, P 14.