AUGUSTA — Sometimes, you’ve just got to get the first one out of the way.

“Man, it’s a good thing we got that one out of our system,” Hall-Dale junior Torie Tibbetts said following the second-seeded Bulldogs’ 45-26 win over conference rival Winthrop in a Class C South quarterfinal Tuesday night at the Augusta Civic Center. “It’s just one of those games. Now that it’s over you just flush it, and you move on to the next one.”

Hall-Dale (18-1) survived a slow start and an uncharacteristically sluggish performance to advance to the regional semifinals Thursday against Richmond. Tibbetts led all scorers with 13 points and nine rebounds, while K.J. Greenhalgh added 10 points while Hayden Madore chipped in with nine .

But the point totals were secondary to the bigger picture — that Hall-Dale used a lengthy, full-court defensive game to hold No. 7 Winthrop (13-7) to single digits in each quarter, including just 10 second-half points.

“That’s the longest team I’ve seen in a while,” Winthrop coach John Baehr said of Hall-Dale. “We’re so focused on defense, sometimes we forget to play offense in games like this. Against the longer teams, against the top-tier teams, we struggled to score a little bit this year.”

Armed with a 33-21 lead after three quarters, the Bulldogs never let the Ramblers get any closer than 10 points the rest of the way. Hall-Dale’s defenders forced five fourth-quarter turnovers and out-rebounded Winthrop by a 10-2 count over the final eight minutes.

In total, the Bulldogs pounded the glass to a 28-20 advantage, including a 12-6 edge on the offensive glass.

“Our team, we’re very good at rebounding,” Tibbetts said. “Marie Benoit, great rebounder. K.J., great rebounder. We work on where the shots are going to go. We practice rebounding every day in practice. It’s one of our strong suits, and our defense is (good). It picked up in that second half.”

Each time Winthrop tried to get back into the game — with a Kylee Mansir 3-pointer early in the second quarter, via a pair of Madeline Wagner free throws in the third or through a second Mansir try with 2:30 left in the fourth — Hall-Dale had an answer.

Hall-Dale fans cheer on their Bulldogs during a Class C South girls basketball quarterfinal game Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Madore scored just 15 seconds after Mansir’s first three-ball, Greenhalgh grabbed an offensive board for second-chance points in the third, and Tibbetts converted an old-fashioned 3-point play in the fourth to give the Bulldogs a 38-26 lead with 2:16 remaining.

Hall-Dale scored the final 10 points of the contest to close out its quarterfinal round victory.

“They did lock in at periods of time, but we just need a whole game when they’re locked in,” said Hall-Dale head coach Laurie Rowe, who lamented Winthrop’s ability to handcuff the Bulldogs’ otherwise prolific offense. “Today wasn’t that whole game. Hopefully we can get a quick practice in (Wednesday), and get back at it and really lock ourselves back in.”

Wagner led Winthrop with 12 points, while Mansir finished with six and Haley Williams chipped in with four more.

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