FARMINGDALE — It was not the most aesthetically pleasing victory the undefeated Winthrop High School boys basketball team has recorded this season, but it is one the Ramblers will take nonetheless.

For the second time this winter Winthrop (9-0 Mountain Valley Conference) outexecuted neighboring Hall-Dale (5-4 MVC) down the stretch in an ugly game to emerge with a 55-52 win Tuesday night. Hall-Dale’s Bryson Camp got a half-court heave away before time expired, but his attempt only grazed the front rim to allow the Ramblers to hang on.

“They were tough, everybody is coming out and giving us their best,” senior Taylor Morang, who finished with nine points and seven assists, said. “It was a good win.”

It was Morang who helped give his team the lead for good with less than one minute remaining only moments after Camp had tied the game at 52-52 on a contested 3-pointer from the right wing with 1 minutes, 5 seconds remaining.

On the go-ahead possession Morang knifed his way into the lane from the top of the key, forcing the defense to collapse around him. After the Bulldogs’ weak-side defender stepped up, Morang dropped down a pass to Anthony Owens on the right block and the 6-foot-5 junior managed to finish over the top of a Hall-Dale defender with a layup with 36 seconds left.

“It was just kind of a drive and I reacted to it,” Morang said. “Anthony always does a good job of setting himself up for a pass so I knew he would be there if he was open.”

Hall-Dale went its next possession without getting a shot up as Dakota Carter drew an offensive foul on Camp, but sharpshooting sophomore Jacob Hickey — who led the Ramblers with 14 points — could only knock down 1-of-2 at the line after the Bulldogs were forced to foul.

After Hall-Dale dribbled the ball into the front court and called a timeout, it was left with 11 seconds to try and tie the game with Winthrop ahead 55-52.

“We were just trying to get some split action,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said of the play called in the huddle. “We had our best two shooters on the 45s, we were looking for an inbound rub screen and we didn’t execute.”

A shot did not materialize from the out-of-bounds play and what resulted was Ryan Sinclair stuck in the left corner. Sinclair was forced to chuck up a double-pump 3-pointer with the clock running down but the shot was on the wrong side of the backboard.

Hall-Dale managed to save the ball from going out of bounds and fling it to half court though, where Camp got one last attempt up that would have counted had it gone.

“The biggest thing — I think everybody knows — is that we hang our hat on our defense,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “I’d rather be in that situation than be on the other side. I believe that we’re going to get a stop over we’re going to get a score.

“That’s how we sealed the victory. It’s always nice to seal the victory on what you’re philosophy is built on.”

That commitment to defense was evident in the way the Ramblers played on that side of the court, as they forced the Bulldogs into 25 turnovers and held them to 17-of-42 shooting from the field. Nat Crocker had a game-high 16 points for Hall-Dale, while Camp finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Wesley LaPointe chipped in with a game-high 10 rebounds.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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