MONMOUTH — Monmouth Academy’s cold shooting spells allowed Hall-Dale to open a clear path to the Bulldogs’ 45-34 victory in a boys basketball game on Thursday evening.

It wasn’t like the Mustangs didn’t have motive and opportunity to put the ball in the basket. Monmouth penetrated Hall-Dale’s defense at times, but the Mustangs’ shots didn’t fall.

There were times when Monmouth’s gym was as quiet as a library. The screeching of sneakers, players calling to each other and the constant pounding of a basketball disrupted the stillness. The roar of the crowd was certainly missing. Fans could only watch live streaming of the game.

“I think we’ve been in the cage a long, long time and this was our first time out,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “Our guys were really anxious to get out and kind of expend a lot of energy and fight off some of the aggression.

“I thought we came out and played hard and played hard enough to win. I am upset about some things, but I am happy with the result. You know everybody is going to make mistakes every time we play. We talked a lot about that.”

By the fourth quarter, Hall-Dale maintained healthy 10-point leads.

The Bulldogs’ height-advantage underneath certainly helped their cause, but they also made good on their inside shots. Carter Bourque, a 6-foot-5 sophomore center, dropped in 10 points and rebounded well. Sophomore point guard TJ Wilson’s stellar performance from the perimeter allowed him to ring up the team-high 13 points and knock down a pair of 3-pointers.

“It is my first game. It is exciting to be out here on the floor,” Bourque said. “A little bit of nerves, not too much, though, but I got what I wanted. I did what I wanted tonight. It was good.”

“Carter is 6-4, 6-5, but he is long and Jackson (Leach) is long, and in addition to height, we’ve got some length,” Ranslow said. “Even if you are 6-1, but you’ve got a span of 6-6. You play a lot bigger than you actually are.”

Monmouth’s workhorse — junior guard Hayden Fletcher — scored 18 of the Mustangs’ 34 points to make him the game’s leading scorer.

The first half also belonged to Hall-Dale, which built a slim 18-17 lead as Monmouth closed in toward the tail end of the second quarter.

For Monmouth coach Wade Morrill, the numbers tell the story of his Mustangs’ fate.

“12 for 44, 3 for 12 from the free-throw line. Shooting 25 percent from the floor,” Morrill said. “It is uncharacteristic of our boys. We had some good looks.

“Credit to Hall-Dale. They have a lot of good length. We don’t have a ton of that — size and length. So I think we just have to do better. That’s the bottom line.”


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