AUGUSTA — Usually when a 10th seeded team defeats a No. 2 seed, it’s considered an upset.
No. 10 Hall-Dale did knock off No. 2 Boothbay, 67-54, in Monday’s quarterfinal round of the Western Maine Class C boys tournament, but this was no upset.
The Seahawks played without six of their players, including three starters, all of whom were suspended for training violations. This was no fault of Hall-Dale’s, but the Bulldogs struggled in the first half and the absence of Boothbay’s players took a little luster off the victory.
“It was too bad that happened for them,” Hall-Dale senior Alex McPherson said. “But we knew not to take it lightly.”
Added Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow: “It was emotional. You play a team that beat you twice and now they’re undermanned. You have to emotionally get over it.”
The Seahawks played well in the first half. Freshman starter Jacob Leonard, who was called up from the junior varsity a few days ago, scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half which ended with Hall-Dale in front 26-22. The Bulldogs struggled in the first half as they tried to get the ball inside to junior center Brian Allen with limited success and shot just 10 of 26 from the floor.
“We came out pretty weak,” McPherson said. “We have games like that, but we knew exactly what we had to work on to come back out and have a strong second half.”
Hall-Dale, which plays Waynflete in Thursday’s semifinal round at the Augusta Civic Center, pulled away in the third quarter behind Bryson Camp, McPherson and a renewed defensive effort. Camp opened with a three-point play followed by a couple of jumpers from McPherson. Wesley Lapointe hit a pair of free throws — the Bulldogs went 16 of 20 form the line — and Camp followed with a putback and a 3-pointer from the right side and suddenly the lead was 40-28.
Camp finished with 12 points and seven rebounds while Allen scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The big surprise was McPherson, who finished with 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the floor.
“That was my best game this year,” he said. “My shot’s gotten better over the season but tonight I was definitely feeling it. It was a good crowd.”
The Seahawks never folded but with six inexperienced players on the bench, the pace took its toll on the starters. They eventually had to come out of their 2-3 zone and go full-court man-to-man and they could sustain that only so long.
“I think we got a little tired and I think that led to us missing our foul shots,” Boothbay coach I.J. Pinkham said. “We struggled scoring. The kids worked hard, they rebounded hard. They gave it everything they had. I needed about four more timeouts so I could rest them more.” Boothbay made a final push early in the fourth quarter when back-to-back hoops from Nick Gorey cut the lead to 53-45. But McPherson answered with a layup off a nice feed from Allen and hit his second 3 of the game to restore the lead to 13.