FARMINGDALE — The Traip Academy girls basketball team began the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Class C South preliminary round game with a 14-point lead over Hall-Dale. But as the Bulldogs chipped away at the Rangers’ cushion, Traip coach Scott Blake reminded his team the most important fact.

“I was like, ‘Girls, we’re still ahead. All we’ve got to do is keep the ball. They’ve got to make shots,'” Blake said.  “Once we figure out we don’t have to score, then our composure comes back a little bit.”

While Hall-Dale cut Traip’s lead to two points, the Bulldogs were unable to complete the comeback, and the Rangers took the 39-35 upset win.

No. 12 Traip, now 8-11, will face No. 13 Madison in the Class C South quarterfinals next week at the Augusta Civic Center. No. 5 Hall-Dale ends the season at 12-7.

“That’s a scrappy team. (Traip) play a tough schedule too, and they were well-tested. They were quick. They gave us a lot of trouble with their quickness, and things just weren’t falling for us,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “It’s a bummer. We really feel like we’ve come a long way.”

Traip led 14-10 after a low-scoring, turnover-rich, sloppy first half. The Rangers scored the last four points of the second quarter to break a 10-10 tie, then scored the first eight of the third to take a 22-10 lead. While Hall_Dale cut the deficit back to five points with a 7-0 run, Traip closed the third quarter with a 10-1 run to take a 32-18 lead in the final quarter.

“For us, it was a matter of keeping the tempo under our control. We struggled with that all season,” Traip guard Addy Hale said. “My fellow guards and I have a tendency to speed things up when it’s not necessary. First half we shot terribly. We were rushing things.”

After turning the ball over 27 times in the first three quarters, the Bulldogs settled down in the fourth, and that helped make the game close. K.K. Wills made a three with 1:10 left to cut Traip’s lead to 35-32. A three by Grace Begin with 26 seconds left pulled the Bulldogs within two points, 37-35. After Kiki Huntress (10 points) made one of two foul shots for Traip with 18 seconds left, a Wills offensive foul gave the ball back to the Rangers. Hale (11 points) made a free throw with 9.4 seconds to play to seal the win.

“I thought we were a little quicker than them, and they’re young, too. We stayed on their rights, and made them use their weaker hand. I thought with our quickness we’d be able to get a couple steals, and we did,” Blake said. “We had a lot of turnovers, though.”

The Rangers were able to overcome their own 25 turnovers, Hall-Dale’s 23 offensive rebounds, and foul trouble to hold on for the win.

“We’ve dealt with (foul trouble) all year, and we get them at the worst times. We’re guarding a girl at halfcourt, and we’re reaching for no reason. Mentality-wise, we’ve always tried to be aggressive, because we want to be aggressive. Unfortunately at times, it gets us in trouble,” Blake said.

Hall-Dale was unable to convert Traip’s fouls into points, going just 8 for 27 (29.6 percent) at the line.

“We got them in foul trouble and got to the line, we just couldn’t finish it,” Richmond said. “I thought our shot selection could have been a little better, but Traip was kind of forcing the issue for us.”

Hall-Dale started three freshmen, but Richmond didn’t think inexperience was as big a factor as simply not making plays.

“I don’t think it was just our youngness that was a factor tonight. It was a lot of everything. We fought hard at the end. We never quit. It was a lot of little things that built up to one big thing,” Richmond said.

Iris Ireland had 14 points and 14 boards for Hall-Dale. Wills added eight points, all in the fourth quarter. Olivia Bourque had 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM













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