FARMINGDALE — It’s a matter of time before the Hall-Dale girls basketball team begins to pull out some close victories this season. How long that takes, though, is tough to predict.

Wednesday night, the Bulldogs rallied from 13 points down in the fourth quarter and had two chances to take the lead in the final 13 seconds, but visiting Mt. Abram hung on for 45-44 win.

Hall-Dale is 2-4 in Mountain Valley Conference play and all four of its losses have been close. Last week it lost by a point to Dirigo.

“We’ve been right in these games,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “We haven’t been blown out this year by anybody and I don’t think we will. We’re young, we start three sophomores, and I think we’re going to be better in February than we are today.”

Mt. Abram (4-3) looked to have the game in hand after Mikayla Luce’s jumper to open the fourth quarter put her team up 41-28. But the Bulldogs rallied behind a man-to-man press that caused nine Roadrunner turnovers.

“It’s hard not to get nervous in that situation,” Mt. Abram senior Miranda Smith said.

Smith, who finished with a game-high 20 points, hit a couple of free throws in the fourth quarter to keep her team in front. But free throw shooting wasn’t a strong suit for either team as both went 5 for 13 from the line.

Hall-Dale sophomore Nicole Pelletier missed a pair with 13 seconds left that would have given her team the lead. Annie Dexter returned the favor for the Roadrunners, missing the front end of 1 and 1 with six seconds left. The Bulldogs grabbed the rebound but Natasha Brown couldn’t quite get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded.

“We’ve been struggling with our ballhandling,” Mt. Abram coach Doug Lisherness said.

The Roadrunners have played all year without injured point guard Tori Beane, who is expected back for Friday night’s game against Carrabec

“In the 30 years I’ve been coaching, she’s probably one of the best ballhandlers I’ve coached,” Lisherness said.

It was Pelletier who led Hall-Dale’s fourth-quarter comeback, scoring eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, including two 3-pointers. Her second 3, with 27 seconds left, drew the Bulldogs to within one, 45-44.

Hall-Dale also got four points each from Allison Crockett and Brown in the fourth quarter and everyone contributed on defense.

“It was a great effort to claw our way back into it,” Terrill said. “We had some chances there at the end.”

Brown finished with 12 points while Crockett scored eight and grabbed eight rebounds. The Roadrunners were stronger on the boards with the 5-foot-11 Dexter grabbing 14 rebounds and Smith pulling down nine.

“The one thing we did well tonight was rebound,” Lisherness said. “We didn’t shoot well, that’s for sure.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com