WALES, ME – JANUARY 4: Oak Hill High School’s Sadie Waterman gets a shot repulsed by Hall-Dale High School’s Averi Baker during a basketball game on Monday February 4, 2019 in Wales.

WALES, ME – JANUARY 4: Oak Hill High School’s Sadie Waterman and Hall-Dale High School’s Grace Begin grapple for the ball during a basketball game on Monday February 4, 2019 in Wales.

WALES, ME – JANUARY 4: Oak Hill High School’s Sadie Waterman blocks Hall-Dale High School’s Averi Baker during a basketball game on Monday February 4, 2019 in Wales.

WALES — Oak Hill entered Monday night’s game with Hall-Dale with just a single win on its resume.

The Raider’s defense has been spectacular, but their shooting has been lackluster and the Bulldogs took advantage with a couple of different zone defenses.

It worked for Hall-Dale (12-6) as it earned a 47-38 victory over Class C South’s top-team Monday night in girls’ basketball.

“I think we finally played some really good defense,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “That’s a really good basketball team and they are very well-coached. I thought we did a really good job of playing a good halfcourt game because we struggled with that this year. We pick our spots to get into transition but I thought we played really good halfcourt defense.”

Hall-Dale jumped out to a 12-6 first quarter lead even as Oak Hill controlled the boards. The Raiders grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the first quarter with Abby Nadeau accumulating six total in the quarter.

Averi Baker was the leader on offense for Hall-Dale in the first quarter as the freshman scored nine points, outscoring the Raiders team by three.

The Raiders pulled down double-digit rebounds in the first quarter but trailed by six as Hall-Dale ran a 1-3-1 zone defense.

“We are not a great shooting team so we really have to get the ball inside and move the ball,” Oak Hill coach Mike Labonte said. “Sometimes you get a little antsy and nervous. They played really well and Jarod had a good game plan set up and we had stretches where we did ok but we had stretched where we didn’t do well.”

The Raiders found some offense in the second quarter behind eight team free throws and a 3-pointer by Desirae Dumais to trail 18-17 at halftime.

Hall-Dale controlled the third quarter with Iris Ireland scoring six of her eight-total points in the quarter. The Bulldogs threw as many bodies as they could at Nadeau in the post to try to slow down her production down low. Olivia Bourque grabbed seven second-half rebounds and earned a block.

“We wanted to negate some of their size and make them shoot from the outside,” Richmond said. “If they shoot a bunch of threes and make them then we will live with that but we wanted to shut stuff down inside. I thought Abby was phenomenal for them inside rebounding. She was an animal.”

The game plan worked for Hall-Dale in the third as the Raiders made just two field goals in the quarter.

Hall-Dale’s freshman KK Wills started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and then two made free throws to go up by 10. Wills was held to just three points in the first half, so when she saw openings in the second half, she took them.

“Just keep shooting if it’s there,” Wills said. “They weren’t letting me in the first half so when I was open I took the shot and didn’t hold back.”

The momentum swung in Oak Hill’s favor in the final frame as the home crowd started getting more involved, and so did its offense.

Desirae Dumais hit a layup and a three for a total of nine points to make it a one-point game at 39-38 with 2:30 left.

Ireland then answered with a layup of her own, followed by a steal which led to a three by Wills, who finished with a game-high 15, to go back up by six points.

Dumais’ 3-pointer was the final score for Oak Hill as the Bulldogs’ defense buckled down and pulled off the win.

“I didn’t really think we were going to pull that out but I think our defense really flipped the switch and it really showed us who we are,” Wills said. “We play a lot of defenses and I find it really fun.”

For Richmond, Monday’s win, coupled with wins against Dirigo and Richmond before this, is a huge confidence boost for his squad heading into the playoffs.

“It’s a big confidence boost,” Richmond said. “We’ve won our last three games and so we have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. But like I just told the girls there’s no safety net. Everything we’ve done up to this point is great but we need to take the next step as a program.”

The defensive shift worked for Hall-Dale and proves a weak point for an Oak Hill team that struggles to shoot from the floor consistently.

“Obviously, when someone is playing a zone, when you take shots on the outside then it makes things a little easier,” Labonte said. “We’ve just got to be more patient and be stronger with the ball. When we have an open shot, make sure you hit it.”


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