AUGUSTA — To reach the Class C South semifinals, the Hall-Dale girls basketball team had to survive the beginning of the game. To win it, the Bulldogs had to survive its ending.

An upset-minded Old Orchard Beach team put a scare into top-seeded Hall-Dale, rallying back from a 16-point deficit to get within a score with a minute to play, but the Bulldogs managed to extend their undefeated season into the C South final with a 48-42 victory Thursday afternoon.

“I’m extremely happy and proud. I don’t really have any words for it,” said sophomore Hayden Madore, who along with backcourt mates KK Wills and Amanda Trepanier led the Bulldogs (20-0) with 11 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. “I was definitely holding my breath there towards the end, I didn’t really know how it was going to shake out. But I believed in us all the way through, and just knew that we could do it if we really put our minds to it.”

Freshman Tessa Ferguson led the fifth-seeded Seagulls (16-4) with 16 points, while Elise MacNair scored 11 while grabbing 16 rebounds.

“Having the MacNair kid, that’s a good team. I expect them to make some runs,” Hall-Dale coach O.J. Jaramillo said. “I did not expect to have a lead of that significance fall down to three. That was a lot in one quarter. We pride ourselves on defense and our defensive pressure, and that was more than a run.”

After needing to shake off a second-quarter deficit the previous round against Traip, Hall-Dale seemed to be enjoying a rather uneventful trip into the regional final with a 42-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.


And then the Seagulls, ice-cold from the field for much of the game, heated up in a hurry. MacNair and Summer St. Louis (seven points) had threes during a 9-0 run to open the quarter, and after Sarah Davis finished a 3-point play and Ferguson knocked down a three, Old Orchard Beach found itself down only 44-42 with 2:14 remaining.

Hall-Dale, meanwhile, was sputtering. Wills, the team’s primary ball-handler, had fouled out, the Bulldogs had turned the ball over four times in the quarter, and they were only 1-for-8 from the field.

“I didn’t notice that they were really gaining until I looked at the board,” Hall-Dale’s Iris Ireland said. “I had confidence in the team. We stepped back a little bit, but we’ve done that before, and every other time we’ve been able to step right back up.”

Hall-Dale’s Averi Baker (5) celebrates beating Old Orchard Beach during a Class C South girls basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

After Madore hit a free throw with 1:57 left, Ireland got a steal but the Bulldogs weren’t able to capitalize. Two Hall-Dale travels allowed the Seagulls to have the ball still down only three with 30 seconds left, but Ireland came up with another steal with 16 seconds to go. A Madore free throw essentially iced it.

“I felt like we did a good job keeping each other positive,” Madore said. “I kept yelling ‘Keep our heads in it, composure, let’s go.’ Amanda and I were really positive with each other. … And props to Coach O.J., who was keeping our minds in it.”

Hall-Dale struggled from the field to start the game but warmed up during a 21-point second quarter, helped along by a trio of 3-pointers from Trepanier.

“I was just really hoping my shots were going to fall. On Tuesday night, they just didn’t fall at all,” Trepanier said. “It was good ball movement, good teammates picking me up and good coaches picking me up.”

Up 29-21 at halftime, Hall-Dale began to pull away in the third quarter, this time with Ireland (12 rebounds) making a difference with tough baskets underneath and rebounds on both ends of the court.

“I’m not that tall, but I’m technically a forward. I can be tough and inspire others to be tough,” Ireland said. “That’s what we need sometimes.”

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