AUGUSTA — In their only regular-season meeting, Ashtyn Abbott torched Winthrop en route to a decisive Hall-Dale win.

The Ramblers made sure there would not be a repeat of their only loss of the season when the two teams met in the regional final on Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center. The senior 1,000-point scorer scored just 13 points as Winthrop rolled to a 61-41 win in the Class C South championship game — exactly half what he’d produced in a monster 26-point, 17-rebound effort against the Winthrop on Dec. 28.

“Like (Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow) said, they’re going to play Winthrop basketball and tonight they played it to a ‘T,’” Abbott said. “When we met them earlier in the season, I think they were off their game a little bit, which gave us the edge. Tonight they were on it, and they played it at 110 miles an hour.”

How the Ramblers essentially negated Abbott’s impact came from the decision to match big man against big man, letting their own 6-foot-8 center guard Abbott from the outset.

Wood finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds and earned the tournament’s most outstanding player nod. But that effort was overshadowed by what he did on the defensive end of the floor against Abbott.

“Ashtyn has killed us so many times, we decided to try something we’d never tried before,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “We put Cam on him. We’d never tried that. We just thought his length would bother (Abbott), and as long as he gave him space and used his length, he wouldn’t get beat off the dribble.”


It worked.

Abbott didn’t connect for his first field goal until there was 2:20 left in the second quarter. He only had three first-half points as the Ramblers raced out to a 34-18 halftime lead, and Abbott never really got going until late in the third quarter — by which time Winthrop’s lead had ballooned to as many as 27 points. After scoring 34 in the quarterfinals against Monmouth and another 17 in an upset of No. 2 Waynflete in the semifinals, it qualified as a quiet night for the Hall-Dale senior.

“It’s kind of hard to see it from the stands, but when you’re on the court everyone’s a lot wider and take up a lot more space,” Abbott said of Winthrop’s ability to use its noticeable size advantage. “When that space is being taken up, it’s a lot harder to get in your offense. You can’t get anything. … It was hard for us to get in our offense, and that was our kryptonite tonight.”

Defensively, it didn’t go much better for Abbott, who was routinely faced with the choice of guarding Wood or providing help-side coverage on Sam Figueroa (six points) or other Rambler players collapsing into the post.

At one point in the third quarter, Wood scored 10 consecutive points for Winthrop as the Ramblers pulled away.

“They kind of got me out of the flow when you have a kid that’s 6-8 and longer than can be (in Wood),” Abbott said. “That kind of took me out. They were just making everything. It’s kind of hard to defend that because you can take one thing away — but tonight was one of those nights where you take one thing away and they just hit you with another one.”


With Abbott limited, the Bulldogs didn’t get much in the way of help from other sources. Fellow 1,000-point scorer Alec Byron also finished with 13 points — after scoring all six Hall-Dale first-quarter points.

Ranslow thought his team needed a better effort to account for what Winthrop was doing defensively, particularly to disrupt Abbott’s potential impact.

“Just seeing it once live, I kind of felt like we weren’t really on balance,” Ranslow said. “We weren’t really ourselves. We were making a lot of decisions with the basketball that were distressed, and I didn’t think — whether the distress was real or not, I’m not really sure.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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