FARMINGDALE — Hall-Dale lost by 31 points to Oak Hill the first time the two teams met, on Dec. 11 in Wales.

Encountering the Raiders in the cozy confines of Penny Gym on Saturday, the Bulldogs wanted to show how far they’ve come.

Hall-Dale more than hung around with unbeaten Oak Hill for the first three quarters, then went on a 13-2 run in the fourth quarter to pull off a 49-46 upset.

“Astronomical,” senior forward Nicole Pelletier said when asked how big of a win it was for the Bulldogs. “It’s huge.”

“To see the kind of improvements we’ve made since then (the 63-32 loss), I’m really proud of the way we’ve worked hard, and the way we’ve kept our confidence,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said.

Pelletier and Dani Sweet led the Bulldogs (5-2) with 10 points and 10 rebounds each. Grace Sabine led Oak Hill (6-1), the lone Class B team in the Mountain Valley Conference, with 13 points, while Brianna Mulherin added 12.

Meagan Crosby’s putback of her own miss put the Raiders up, 42-36, with a little under six minutes to go. Then Pelletier sparked the game-changing run with a 3-pointer, Dani Sweet pulled the Bulldogs within one with a drive to the hoop, and twin sister Thea Sweet put them in front with a steal — one of eight Oak Hill turnovers in the quarter — and a layup with 4:49 remaining.

Sabine and Mulherin worked the give-and-go on an out of bounds play to put Oak Hill back up by a point with 3:13 left, but that would be the Raiders’ last field goal.

“We threw a little zone at them and were able to generate a couple of turnovers out of that, and then switched back to the man-to-man we had been running pretty effectively in the first half, but not so much in the third quarter,” Terrill said.

Hall-Dale reclaimed the lead with 1:04 remaining when Dani Sweet ripped the ball away from a Raider rebounder and laid it in. Not to be outdone, Thea Sweet cut through the trees in the rebounding action after she missed the back end of her 1-and-1 and grabbed the rebound with 18 seconds left to retain possession for the Bulldogs with a three-point lead.

“Dani and Thea are great. They may be small, but you never see them coming and they just go and go and go,” Pelletier said. “They’re so strong and so fast and they really give a lot of people trouble.”

Oak Hill fouled Eva Shepherd (eight points) with 11 seconds left, and the senior cooly made both of her free throws for a 49-44 lead.

Oak Hill’s Kayla Veilleux was fouled with four seconds to go and made both of her crucial free throws to make it a one-possession game again.

After calling time out to set up their fullcourt press, Oak Hill appeared to get the turnover it was hoping for near its basket. Coach Charlie Castonguay could be heard yelling for a timeout, but play continued and a Hall-Dale player knocked the ball away. The Bulldogs grabbed the loose ball and time ran out.

“We had the steal and asked for the timeout but didn’t get it with probably at least three seconds left on the clock. We asked for time out three times and they don’t grant you a timeout, and that hurt,” Castonguay said. “But, hey, I knew coming here that Hall-Dale was going to be strong. They’re an excellent club and they’ve got some real good perimeter players.”

Mulherin was the force on the perimeter in the early going, scoring the Raiders’ first eight points as the two teams battled to a 12-12 standoff at the end of one quarter.

In the second quarter, it was Madison Hallowell’s turn. Hallowell (nine points) drilled a pair of 3-pointers in a 9-0 Bulldogs’ run as they took a 23-20 lead into halftime.

Oak Hill’s 1-3-1 zone started to affect Hall-Dale’s ball movement and shot selection in the third quarter. The Bulldogs missed their first nine shots.

“We had practiced against the 1-3-1 and we knew what to do, but their length really bothered us,” Terrill said. “We really couldn’t zip the ball around like we can in practice with how long they are. There’s not much space in that 1-3-1.”

As a result, the Raiders started to get their transition game going in a 10-0 run. Mulherin found Sabine on the fastbreak for a three-point play that put them up 26-23. Danielle Samson followed with a pullup jumper and Sabine with another layup in transition to make it 30-23. Pelletier finally got the Bulldogs on the board 4:10 into the period

“We came out real well at the start of the third and played much better defense,” Castonguay said. “If we’d played the fourth quarter the way we played the third, we wouldn’t be walking out of here with a loss.”

Hall-Dale finally started making inroads against the zone late in the third quarter with better passing and Dani Sweet attacking the basket.

“We’ve been practicing (going against) zone for a while. We’ve practiced penetrating and different things like that, but most of is getting the ball across the basket line and keep making them move,” Pelletier said. “We always know if we’re patient, it will come. Even if we miss one or two times, it will always come the next time.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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