AUGUSTA — Charlotte Harper-Cunningham didn’t mince words.

“We were calling it our revenge tour,” the North Yarmouth Academy senior guard said with a smile after the top-seeded Panthers used depth and a stifling defense to stop defending state champion Hall-Dale 47-39 in a Class C South semifinal Friday at the Augusta Civic Center.

The game was a rematch of the 2022 Class C South final, in which Hall-Dale rallied from an 18-point deficit to win 63-56 en route to the Gold Ball.

NYA (20-1) will look to continue the payback tour Saturday night, when it faces second-seeded Old Orchard Beach, a 59-43 winner over Kents Hill in Friday’s other semifinal, for the regional title at the Civic Center. The Seagulls handed the Panthers their only loss of the season, a 45-40 decision Jan. 31.

“Old Orchard Beach is somebody we’re focused on since they’re the only team we lost to,” Harper-Cunningham said. “I think it’s going to mean more to try to beat them and prove that we’re the better team.”

Hayden Madore scored 17 points for No. 4 Hall-Dale (15-5).


The game was a matchup off two tough defenses: NYA hadn’t allowed more than 44 points all season, and Hall-Dale had allowed more than 48 only four times. But the Panthers’ 1-3-1 zone defense held the Bulldogs to 12-for-41 shooting and forced them to either aim from the outside or attempt awkward shots from the inside. Hall-Dale guard Amanda Trepanier was held to just to five points a year after she scored 19 against the Panthers in last year’s C South final.

“They did exactly what we expected them to do,” Hall-Dale coach O.J. Jamarillo said. “They do their 1-3-1 and they do it very well. We missed a lot of shots. You can’t get into a game like this and shoot the ball like that.”

NYA held a 31-24 rebounding advantage, led by Harper-Cunningham’s eight.

Harper-Cunningham, one of seven NYA seniors, has been the point guard since the Panthers lost star Angel Huntsman to a right knee injury in late January. Huntsman, who has averaged 10 assists per game this season, was on the sidelines in a wheelchair Friday, cheering on her team.

The Panthers have compensated for the loss of Huntsman with a deep roster. Four different players have led NYA in scoring over the last six games, and Friday it was Sarah English’s turn with 10 points. Ella Giguere added eight. English added seven rebounds.

“When you’re without your point guard of four years, other girls have to step up, and I thought they did a great job,” NYA coach Tom Robinson said. “We’re a very deep team; anybody can score in double figures for us, really. Ella played JV most of the year, but she came up with 10 points Tuesday (in a 72-26 quarterfinal win over Madison) and eight today, so she’s been doing a good job.”


Harper-Cunningham, whose right knee was bandaged and seeping blood after she reaggravated a cut during a second-half collision, noted that opponents can’t concentrate on just one or two players.

“A lot of the teams we play, if you take away one or two of their girls, then you can really shut them down scoring-wise, but you really can’t target somebody (on NYA), especially with Angel out now,” Harper-Cunningham said.

The game got off to a slow start, as no one scored until Madore’s basket 2:03 in for Hall-Dale’s only lead of the day. NYA slowly stretched its lead as the game went on – 10-7 after one quarter, 24-19 at halftime and 36-25 after three. The Bulldogs scored seven straight points, five by Madore, to start the third, but the Panthers responded with seven on their own, as Giguere sandwiched two baskets around a Harper-Cunningham 3-pointer.

22292# 01hoops AUGUSTA, MAINE February 24, 2023 h North Yarmouth Academy’s Madilyn Onorato (cq), left, tries to control the ball against Hall-Dale defender Hayden Madore during the C South semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine on Friday February 22, 2023. (Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel) Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Hall-Dale pulled within 43-37 on Torie Tibbets’s basket with 1:34 left, but got no closer as NYA overcame a 4-for-11 effort from  the free-throw line down the stretch.

“Most games that comes back to haunt you, but we kept rebounding the misses, so that worked out for us,” Robinson said.

Hall-Dale loses only two seniors, Benoit and Trepanier, from a 15-player roster.

“We’ve got the rest of the team coming back with a strong nucleus of starters and some great each players,” Jamarillo said. “We’ve got some kids like Lucy Gray, Torie Tibbetts and Sierra Gibbons that stepped up huge this year, a lot of great minutes. They were on the floor at the end of that game, and it matters. Take some of that experience into next year, and we’re in a real good spot.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story