FARMINGDALE — The Ramblers are learning how to win, just in time for the season’s stretch run.

After watching a 17-point halftime lead dwindle down to a two-possession game with 4:30 remaining, the Winthrop boys basketball team held its ground for a 66-59 Mountain Valley Conference victory over Hall-Dale on Tuesday night at Penny Gym.

Seniors Matt Beck and Brayden Stubbert scored 14 of Winthrop’s 16 fourth-quarter points, including eight from the free throw line, as the Ramblers claimed their third victory in four games to improve to 6-7.

“We spread the floor,” said Beck, who led Winthrop with 19 points. “They gave me the drives (to the basket). I got fouled, I made it to the free throw line, and on fast breaks I got layups. I just created space, and my teammates created space for me. It was mostly on them, to be honest.”

One of six Rambler seniors, Beck netted 11 points after halftime.

“He’s crafty. He finds his moments to explode to the rim, and he’s not flashy about it,” Winthrop head coach Todd MacArthur said of Beck. “His growth in the last month has been incredible. He’s definitely invested more into it. After things started out sour for us, it could have gone in a different direction. He’s vested in this season, and he’s starting to see the results.”


Hall-Dale (6-6) dropped its fourth straight contest despite pulling to within 54-50 with T.J. Wilson’s short jumper with 3:30 left in the final period. Wilson finished with a game-high 20 points.

But each time the Bulldogs seemed to have the Ramblers on the ropes over the final minutes, a turnover or poor shot selection hindered their bid to complete a comeback from a 37-20 halftime deficit.

“To bring it all the way back and then go back into the turtle shell, back into the crumble and be afraid of the big moment, to see guys that don’t want the ball — as a coach, it’s disheartening,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “We continue to play really, really hard… but we find ways to beat ourselves.”

Winthrop’s Cole Bard shoots as Hall-Dale’s Tayshaun Cleveland plays defense during a boys basketball game Tuesday in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Stubbert drove the lane for a layup with 1:35 remaining and hit four of six free throws in a span of 1:41 late in the contest to give Winthrop breathing room.

“The last couple of minutes, when we started hitting the foul shots when we needed them, I thought we’d gotten (the win),” Stubbert said. “This is very important. It helps both our playoff chances, and our confidence.”

That the game was close at all late was a surprise, given how the first half played out. 


Winthrop opened the night with an 11-0 run and scored 17 of the game’s first 23 points. Hall-Dale managed just one field goal — a Wilson layup — over the first 5:58 as the Ramblers finished off the first period with a 23-11 lead.

Sophomores Cole Bard (14 points) and Carter Rivers (11 points) each drained baskets in the second quarter for Winthrop to get out to the big lead at the break.

“We came out really strong and made our shots,” MacArthur said. “Unfortunately, the second half was probably the opposite of that, and we were able to hang on. One of the things we talk about internally is ‘just keep growing, just keep growing.’

“Hopefully, when the tournament rolls around we can find a way to get in. That’s what we want is to just keep getting better.”

After Bard opened the third quarter with an easy finish in the paint for a 39-20 lead, the Bulldogs — who shot just 22.6 percent (7 of 31) from the floor in the first half — responded with six straight points from Jackson Leach (11 points) and a 20-11 run to pull within 50-40 through three.

Three of Hall-Dale’s 15 turnovers on the night came over the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, however, to derail their chances at stealing victory.

“It’s been a variety of things,” Beck said of the keys to Winthrop’s current winning streak. “A big one is defense. We started out slowly with our defense, but as we’ve gone on we’ve started to pick it back up again. That’s definitely been helping us out.”

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