AUGUSTA — The Hall-Dale girls did something many people wouldn’t expect them to do. Then they did what you would expect from a defending state champion.

What you might not have expected the Bulldogs to do Thursday afternoon is hang on to a three-point halftime lead, even though star Carylanne Wolfington didn’t make a basket in the second half. But when Traip rallied in the final minutes, Hall-Dale played with poise and came away with a 46-41 victory in a Western C girls basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

“I think there’s no panic in us,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “We have a great group of senior leaders who have been through it all before. They know exactly what to do, and they aren’t going to get rattled by the moment, or the venue, or the environment.”

That poise carried the top-ranked Bulldogs down the stretch, and they held Traip without a point during the final 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

Hall-Dale (17-3) will now face No. 7 Waynflete (14-7) in the Western C final at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Fourth-seeded Traip, which lost to the Bulldogs in the semifinals for a second consecutive year, ended the season 11-9.

Wolfington scored 21 points for Hall-Dale, with 18 of those coming in the first half. With time winding down in the second quarter, Allison Crockett grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Wolfington at the top of the key. Wolfington buried a 3-pointer, and the Bulldogs led 27-24 at the half.

While Wolfington had 18 points at the break, Traip’s Selena Lorrey had 15 of her game-high 23 before halftime. Neither would score in the third quarter, and how their teammates played wound up determining the outcome.

With Traip using a box-and-one defense, Wolfington did not take a shot in the third quarter. But Wendy Goldman (11 points) hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to push Hall-Dale’s lead to 32-24. Traip shot 1 for 17 in the quarter, and the Bulldogs led by as much as 37-24 before Traip’s Katherine Volpe hit a 3 for the Rangers’ only points of the quarter.

“Wolfington is such an unselfish player, that if they’re going to go to a gimmick defense like a box-and-one, she’s not going to force anything,” Terrill said. “She’s going to draw the defense, then find teammates.”

Added Goldman: “When you’re playing someone like Carylanne, everyone has to be aware of where she is — and a lot of the time, that leaves other players open.”

“As the season’s progressed, we’ve become a lot better at making our open shots, and other players have stepped up.”

Lorrey got back in the act in the fourth quarter to lead Traip’s charge, and when Kendra Kaligiery and Alli Barrett hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Traip had closed within 42-41 with 3:30 to play.

“When you see you’re only up by one, your heart starts racing a little bit,” Goldman said. “But we’ve been in that situation, so we know what we have to do.”

The Bulldogs closed out the game from there with their defense (Traip wouldn’t score another point, and finished seven for 35 from the field in the second half) and rebounding. Crockett grabbed 10 rebounds, while Wolfington and Goldman each had eight.

“We missed a few too many down low,” Traip coach Paul Marquis said. “Sometimes they fall. Sometimes they don’t.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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