Hall-Dale’s Rita Benoit, right, blocks a shot by Traip’s Emme Hale during a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — The Traip girls basketball team Tuesday night had the quickness advantage, and it showed.

Hall-Dale, however, had the depth advantage. And eventually, that did too.

Hayden Madore’s 14 points led a spread-out attack, and top-seeded Hall-Dale remained undefeated with a 50-36 victory over No. 8 Traip Academy in the Class C South quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Bulldogs, who also got eight points off the bench from Aubrey Gilbert and seven points, including the go-ahead baskets, from KK Wills, improved to 19-0. Traip, which jumped out to a 17-13 lead but couldn’t keep up the pace late, got 15 points from Emme Hale en route to finishing at 11-9.

“We knew coming in that as an eighth seed and as a southern Maine team, they were probably a little better than that,” Hall-Dale coach O.J. Jaramillo said. “It was the first team this year we’ve seen that has two or three guards that can match our quickness, so we had an expectation that it could start out kind of the way it did.”

The way it started had the look of a brewing upset. The Rangers sealed off looks in the half-court, and Hale and backcourt partner Molly Sawtelle (four steals, 11 rebounds) were effective at turning over the Bulldogs and generating scoring opportunities for Traip. When Hale finished on the fast break with just under five minutes to go in the second quarter, Traip led by four and seemed to have the upper hand.


In addition, Hall-Dale was hurting itself with unforced turnovers and missed high-percentage shots, and players acknowledged that nerves were playing a part.

“It’s the Augusta Civic Center,” said Madore, who also had 10 rebounds. “We’re all nervous. I think it was excited nervous, but we all just kept calm and talked to each other throughout the game.”

The momentum turn happened moments later. Hall-Dale tied the score at 17 on an Iris Ireland three-point play, and then went ahead when Wills stole the ball and went in for a layup with 1:45 to go in the half. On the next possession, Amanda Trepanier corralled a rebound and found Wills behind the line, and the senior knocked down the three for a 22-17 lead.

“They were really fast, I will admit. We haven’t really played that fast before, and I think we were just trying to catch up,” Wills said. “It was good, because then we extended it a little further. We kept chipping away.”

Hall-Dale’s Aubrey Gilbert, left, Lucy Gray and Averi Baker grapple with Traip’s Molly Sawtelle during a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Hall-Dale scored four of the final five points of the half to cap a 13-1 run and go into the break with a 26-18 lead. Given a cushion, the Bulldogs didn’t let it shrink, with Madore scoring seven of the team’s first 11 points of the second half to get Hall-Dale out to a 37-25 lead. The Bulldogs never led by fewer than 11 points the rest of the way.

“I think what helped us was just tempo. We didn’t stop running the ball, and that really helped us,” Madore said. “We tried not to slow down the ball because they were getting tired, so we just kept pushing and pushing and it paid off in the end.”

It’s been a strength of Hall-Dale’s all season, and it was again Tuesday. Few teams match the Bulldogs’ depth and balance, with Gilbert, who scored six of her eight points in the third quarter to help Hall-Dale pull away, Ireland (seven points) and Trepanier (six points) all contributing key points and giving players like Madore, Wills and K.J. Greenhalgh chances to spell themselves and stay fresh for the later quarters.

“To get the Rita Benoits in there for three or four minutes and the Lucy Gray in there for three or four minutes, to give KK and (Hayden) and (Averi) Baker and some of these girls a rest (is big),” Jaramillo said. “To be honest, going into the tournament our rotation has been a little bit smaller. We’re not playing 11, 12 kids a night, we’re probably playing nine.

“But there’s no real letdown when I go to the bench. When Iris Ireland, a two-time all-conference player, is coming off the bench, you’re in a pretty good spot.”

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