AUGUSTA — In the tournament, the only safe lead is when the score is final. A near-record performance wasn’t enough to extend the Hall-Dale boys basketball team’s season one more round.

The Bulldogs connected on 11 3-points — one shy of the Class C South regional tournament record — but it wasn’t enough as John Malcom hit a 3-pointer of his own with 26 seconds remaining to lift No. 4 North Yarmouth Academy to a come-from-behind 59-55 win over No. 5 Hall-Dale in a regional quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Panthers trailed by as many as 18 points in the second quarter.

“As I told the boys in the locker room, I’m so proud of this effort. These guys don’t give up,” NYA coach Jason Knight said. “We’re down 12 at the half, 18 at one point, and this team has been resilient all year long. We play hard from tip to buzzer.”

Malcom finished with 25 points, his fifth and final 3-pointer of the night handing the Panthers their first lead since the 5:02 mark of the first quarter. The shot opened when the Hall-Dale defense collapsed on Haven Cutko, who kicked the ball out to a wide-open Malcom.

“It was a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing. It felt right at the moment, and my team got me the ball. All I had to do was put it in,” Malcom said.

Te’Andre King added 20 points for NYA (14-5), which advanced to the regional finals against the winner of the late game between unbeaten top seed Winthrop and Wiscasset.

Hall-Dale’s best chance to win the game came from Jett Boyer, who scored a team-high 20 points. Boyer, who made six 3-pointers, including five in the first half, got a good look with under 10 seconds remaining from the left corner — but his attempt rolled around the rim and out.

“That was a good look,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “We’ve won several games on similar type action. I was watching it, as I’m sure you were too, and it was in and out.”

Hall-Dale (14-6), which led by as many as 13 points late in the third quarter, also got a 14-point effort from sophomore Ashtyn Abbott.

The regional tournament record for 3-pointers by a team is 12, set by Maranacook in 2014.

“We were playing space really, really well, we were using triangles in the first half, but then we started to settle (in the second half),” said Ranslow, whose team went on a 20-4 run in the first quarter and was ahead by 12 at halftime. “But we weren’t defending that spot within five or six feet vehemently enough. We didn’t have enough passion.”

The Panthers switched up their defense in the second half, going to a three-quarter court pressure, and trapping more in the halfcourt. That helped limit the 3-point opportunities of the Bulldogs and disrupted the flow of their offense, Knight said.

“I thought we actually played well defensively in the first half, despite the score. They were just on fire. I thought we closed out defensively. They didn’t really have a lot of open looks, so that was our message at halftime,” Knight said.

King picked up three fouls early in the first quarter and went to the bench. King returned some in the second quarter, but really found his offensive stride in the second half, scoring 12 points. King and Malcom combined for 13 of NYA’s fourth quarter points.

“We just wear you down, and we get our bigs, and Jake and Te’Andre were phenomenal in that fourth,” Knight said.

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