By Gary Hawkins CorrespondentFebruary 2, 2018
FARMINGDALE — The spirit in Penney Memorial Gymnasium jumped up a few notches Thursday night for a couple of reasons. First, tournament time is just around the corner and second, Dirigo, the team that handed Hall-Dale its lone loss to date, was in town.
Hall-Dale got meaningful contributions from all nine players who saw action and shot 23-of-26 from the line in pulling out a 61-48 victory in front of a packed, raucous house.
“It was a revenge game for us to get them at home after losing at their place,” said Hall-Dale senior guard Tyler Nadeau, whose Bulldogs lost by one point at Dirigo on Jan. 20. “We had a lot of extra energy in the building there for us. We just came with a little more grit than we did when we played them earlier.”
Hall-Dale is 16-1 and atop the Class C South standings with one regular season game remaining against Richmond on Saturday. Dirigo is 10-6.
The Bulldogs took an early lead and never gave it up although they never totally shook off the Cougars, either. Hall-Dale led 19-8 at the end of the first quarter and 34-20 at the half. Ashtyn Abbott finished with a game-high 17 points for the winners, while Alec Bryon added 16 points — including a perfect 11 for 11 from the foul line. Nadeau chipped in with 12.
The Bulldogs drew telling contributions from their bench including Jett Boyer, Austin Stebbins, Dean Jackman and Tim Cookson, particularly on the defensive end.
“I thought we really got a spark form our bench,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “We had a really balanced attack and we had nine guys out there who were really playing hard tonight.”
The Bulldogs held some of Dirigo’s big scorers in check. Alex Gorham led the Cougars with 14 points but high-scoring Cooper Chiasson finished with 12 and Jeremy St. Germain, who scored 20 in the first meeting, was held to five while battling foul trouble. Hall-Dale took a 43-29 lead in the fourth quarter when the Cougars rattled off seven straight points, culminating with Chase Clark’s three-point play to cut the lead to 43-36.
“Obviously Hall-Dale’s real good, they’re 16-1,” Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson said. “We made them work for stuff tonight, They’ve got great shooters, they do a lot of good things. Until the last three or four minutes everything was contested, which I love seeing our guys do.”
Hall-Dale stretched its lead to 47-36 as Abbott hit two free throws and Nadeau banked in a running layup.
From there, the Bulldogs extended their lead from the free throw line by going 12 for 12 in the fourth quarter, including 8 for 8 from Byron.
“For about 20 minutes each day we shoot five free throws each and keep rotating,” Byron said. “I know that down the stretch free throws can be really important. Along with intensity that’s one of our main focuses, knocking down our free throws.”