AUGUSTA – It’s a memory that isn’t easily put to rest, but the Dexter Tigers put last year’s disappointment behind them Saturday night.

The Tigers lost the Class C state championship in Bangor a year ago, losing to Dirigo at the buzzer. It was a bitter defeat that was eclipsed by a 45-38 victory over Hall-Dale at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday night.

“This is what we’ve been working for all season long,” said senior forward Sabrina Cote. “We came into the tournament this year really hungry, and it’s an unbelievable feeling to get what we really wanted.” Dexter won the state title two years ago, beating Dirigo to become the first Eastern C team to claim victory at the ACC since 1994. Dirigo’s buzzer-beater nixed the hopes of a repeat last year, but the Tigers have been driven ever since.

“Every day in practice, we had that in the back of our minds,” said Cote. “We knew we had to come out here and get out to a good lead in case something like that happened at the end.”

Dexter raced out to the early lead and held off a late Bulldog charge. After being able to rally and win in its last two tournament games, Hall-Dale found a hole it couldn’t escape from. Between offensive woes and foul trouble, Hall-Dale struggled to erase a double-digit lead for most of the game.

“We ran our offense,” said Hall-Dale coach Sam Hayes. “We ran it well. We got good shots. We just didn’t hit them. If we’re not hitting the shots, it’s no big deal.”

Hall-Dale had a woeful start offensively and failed to find consistency. The Bulldogs shot just 8-for-42 through the first three quarters. Dexter, on the other hand, shot 15-for-26.

“To me, that was the definining moment of the game,” said Cote of the quick start. “When we start well, we’re a very confident team.” Cote led the Tigers with 16 points while Katie Poirier did a nice job inside with 12 points. Hall-Dale got 15 points from Caitlyn Laflin.

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