FARMINGDALE — The Traip Academy boys basketball team lost more games than it won this regular season. But the Rangers knew what they needed to do to win the one that mattered most.

Treshaun Brown scored 19 points and gave his team the lead for good, Frankie Driscoll scored 20 and No. 10 Traip defeated No. 7 Hall-Dale 58-57 in a Class C South preliminary round game Wednesday night.

“The kids just don’t ever quit. They just fight,” coach Ed Szczepanik said. “Give all the credit to (Hall-Dale). That team was tough. … We were doing all we could just to hang on.”

The Bulldogs (11-8) had a chance to force overtime when Patrick Rush, who scored Hall-Dale’s last 12 points, finished with 22 and carried the Bulldogs through a white-knuckle fourth quarter, went to the line with 1.7 seconds left. Rush hit the first attempt but missed the second, and the Rangers (9-10) snagged the rebound to ice the victory.

“I’m proud of the way we fought back,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “I thought we showed incredible resiliency, and we played with character and integrity. We fought until the very last horn, and we came up one point short. It happens sometimes, unfortunately.”

Traip was seemingly on its way to a runaway win when it took advantage of a mistake-prone Hall-Dale team and took a 39-26 lead into halftime, but the Bulldogs battled back, going on a 13-2 run of their own that tied the game for the first time at 43 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.


“We’re scrappy, man,” Rush said. “Coach has talked about all year throwing a punch when we come out of a locker room, and we had to be able to do that.”

Hall-Dale took a 51-49 lead on a Rush basket with five minutes left, but Driscoll tied the game with a basket on the next possession and Brown put Traip in front with a pair of free throws with 3:03 to play. Brown then scored on a floater, pushing the Traip lead to four.

“We just kept our composure once they closed the gap. We just kept playing hard,” said Brown, who scored six of Traip’s last seven points. “I love pressure, and I love the energy from our fans that came all the way up here to support us. I loved the energy from my team, my bench and my coaches. That just kind of fueled me.”

Hall-Dale wasn’t done. Rush knocked down a short shot, then made a free throw to bring the Bulldogs within one at 55-54 with 1:35 left. A pair of Brown free throws pushed Traip’s lead back to three, Rush countered with another basket, and Will Davis hit a free throw to make it 58-56 with 35 seconds left.

A traveling call seemed to doom the Bulldogs with 27.1 seconds left, but Driscoll missed the front end of a 1-and-1 after Hall-Dale fouled, and the Bulldogs rebounded to set up the final sequence.

“We haven’t been in a ton of really close games this year, so it’s one of the things you worry about with the experience,” Szczepanik said, whose team also got eight rebounds from Driscoll and 10 points and 13 rebounds from Isaac Henderson. “But we practice it, we run the situations in practice all the time, so I think they’re used to it. They handled themselves really well down the stretch.”


Szczepanik also had praise for Rush, who scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half and who Ranslow called the team’s “centrifuge” this season.

“When you’ve got a guy like that that’s that big and that solid, that’s exactly what it does for your team. You know you can go to him and you know you can get a good look at any time,” he said. “I think our guys really fought and did a good job of changing up the looks so he didn’t see the same thing two or three times in a row. But other than that, he’s just a rock.”

Josh Nadeau added 11 points and eight rebounds and Owen Austin had six points and seven boards for Hall-Dale, which tried to rally back after initially being buried by a 15-0 second-quarter run. The Bulldogs turned the ball over five times and went 0-for-7 from the field during the stretch, which saw Traip build a 33-20 lead, but Ranslow had his team change up its attack in the second half.

“I thought (we had) poor shot selection in the first half, and long rebounds off distant shots kind of fueled their transition,” he said. “It was all about making sure we shot the ball in tighter, so it was harder for them to break out.”

It worked, and set the Bulldogs up for a thrilling finish.

“We just threw punch after punch after punch,” Rush said. “And we just fell short.”

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