FARMINGDALE. Maine — When you’re 6-foot-1 and can swish the 3-pointer as well as dominate the paint, you’re going to be pretty tough to stop.
That’s what the Dirigo girls’ basketball team discovered with Hall-Dale’s Taylor Massey on Thursday. The Bulldog senior scored a career-high 31 points to lift top-ranked Hall-Dale to a 48-41 win over the Cougars.
“It was exciting,” said Massey, who added seven rebounds. “It felt good. I like to shoot the 3-pointers, but they don’t always go in. When I do shoot them at the beginning of the game, and they go in, I just feel better for the rest of the game.”
Massey scored 10 of the Bulldogs 11 points in the first quarter, including a 3 and a three-point play. She also scored 10 in the final quarter as Hall-Dale pulled away.
“I’ve got Angela (Ronan) and she’s tall,” said Dirigo coach Reggie Weston, whose shorthanded club had a hard time guarding Massey. “I guess they misunderstood when I told them that she can shoot 3′s and we need to get out there on her.”
The Bulldogs got some key contributions elsewhere in the lineup as well. Carylanne Wolfington produced a hard-nosed defensive job on Dirigo’s Hannah Knight while guard Kristen Moody added five key points in the fourth quarter for the Bulldogs (15-1).
“We preach the intangibles,” said Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill. “We were able to execute them. We got the loose balls when we had to. We got the turnovers when we had to. We made the plays when we had to. I’m really proud of all the players and their effort.”
Dirigo (12-4), ranked fourth in Western C, produced a gutsy effort in defeat. Knight finished with 17 while Alyssa Wade had a fine outing with 15. Kayla Gaudin added seven, including four in the final quarter as the Cougars took the lead.
“They were in a hostile environment,” said Weston of his teams great effort. “We actually took the lead before we lost our composure. I’m real happy. Now we know that we can play with them.”
Dirigo was down by just one entering the fourth. That came after Wade sank three free throws to finish the third. Massey put the Bulldogs up by four, but a Wade 3-pointer and a jumper by Gaudin put Dirigo up 37-36 with 4:41 left.
The Cougars didn’t score again for over two minutes as Hall-Dale scored eight straight. Moody hit a jumper and a free throw. Massey scored in the post and added a three-point play to make it 44-37 with 2:48 left.
Dirigo was plagued by eight turnovers in the fourth.
“I tried to get them to calm down, especially when we got the lead,” said Weston. “I’m hoping they learn from this and take a step forward.”
Hall-Dale had tried various defenses to go with its press but decided to keep it simple in the fourth. That got the Cougars offense off track and helped fuel the Hall-Dale surge.
“We realized early on that the best thing was to man them up and play hard,” said Terrill. “The press late in the quarter, we got some big turnovers, but we didn’t do anything different. It was just a matter of effort — an all out effort all the way around.”
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