PITTSFIELD — The Miss Hall's girls basketball team knew it was up for a challenge against Proctor Academy in the championship game of the Miss Hall's Tip-Off Classic.
The Hurricanes weren't able to get over the hump, but the girls showed enough fight to walk away feeling positive after a 50-33 loss on Sunday afternoon.
"I mean, just unbelievable effort [from my team today]," coach Brad Horth said. "Our girls, from top to bottom, show up and play hard from the first whistle to the last. It's something that we are really proud of, it's something that we take a lot of pride in, showing up and playing the right way, playing hard and letting the effort speak for itself."
After both teams went 2-0 over the first two games of the tournament, Sunday's finale ended up with a lopsided final, but the Hurricanes (2-1) stayed within striking distance into the second half.
Proctor (3-0) created enough separation for itself with runs to end the first half and another early in the second. After a Grace Guachione (22 points) 3-pointer cut Proctor's lead to 16-13 with 5:24 in the first half, Proctor closed on a 9-3 run to take a 25-16 lead into halftime.
Out of the break, Miss Hall's trimmed the deficit to five three times in the opening minutes, with Gabriella Keator scoring on two putbacks, the second of which made it a 31-26 game. But Proctor responded with authority, putting up a 10-0 run capped by an Amber Wilson (game-high 24 points) bucket that made it 41-26 and all but sealed the game.
"I think the first half, we were tired, we maybe overlooked Miss Hall's a little bit," Proctor coach Liz McNamara said. "We didn't come out ready to go. ... We were able to kind of settle it down and get our seniors and our older kids to control a little bit better."
Wilson was the straw that stirred Proctor's drink in the game. In addition to her 24-point outing, the senior added 20 rebounds and four assists.
"[She's] Just an incredible athlete," Horth said. "She's long and has the skills of a guard. She's a match-up nightmare. We tried to contain her as best we could, we went to a little box-and-one on her to try and keep her out of the paint, but they are so deep it's tough. You slow her down and two other people can step up and play."
Amanda Torres — the tournament MVP — was one of those players to step up, as she scored five points in each half while running the point for Proctor. Angelique Ngalakulondi added eight points and 12 rebounds for Proctor in the win.
Guachione was the driving force behind the Miss Hall's offense with her 22-point outing, while Keator and Sarah Wilson each added four points. Keator also hauled down seven rebounds to lead the Hurricanes on the glass.
The loss ended Miss Hall's weekend on a sour note, but Horth reiterated that he was happy with how his team played one of the better New England Preparatory School Athletic Council's Class C teams, and how much of a joy it was to host the tournament in the first place.
"Proctor is very talented, they are probably one of the top teams in Class C and we came out and battled them," Horth said. "That's where we want to get to, we want to get to that level. It's good to see them early in the season and know what we have to work on and go from there.
"Being my first year here, it was a lot of work but it was incredible. It's an incredible experience. The winter is a super short season, so to get three games in in 36 hours is awesome against some top-tier opponents."
Miss Hall's won its first two games by scores of 49-40 over Greenwich Academy and 54-46 over Vermont Academy. Proctor won its first two games 54-11 over Stoneleigh Burnham and 56-20 over Lincoln. Lincoln won the third-place game, 36-34, over Greenwich, while Vermont topped Stoneleigh, 60-30, in the fifth-place game.
Miss Hall's will be back in action on Wednesday with a home game against Westover School.