The Hall-Dale Bulldogs completed a perfect season on Saturday, defeating Stearns 57-42 to capture the Class C girls state championship at the Augusta Civic Center.
Hall-Dale finishes its season undefeated, with a 22-0 record. It’s the first state championship win for Hall-Dale since 2011, which also won state titles in ’75 and ’86.
The Bulldogs made it to the state final in 2012 but lost to Central, 40-39.
Sophomore Hayden Madore paced Hall-Dale with 16 points, while senior KK Wills added 12 and junior Amanda Trepanier had 10.
Stearns, the Class C North regional champion, ends its season 16-4.
Stearns senior Alisyn Alley, who averaged 13.7 points per game in the North Regional tournament and was the unanimous choice for the Most Valuable Player, was held to just four points due to an ankle injury sustained in the first half. Senior Makayla Anderson and junior Kelly Farber led the Minutemen with 13 points apiece, while sophomore Kennedy Emerson had five, senior Kasey Kenyon had four and sophomore Gracyn Sanders had three.
Hall-Dale jumped out to an early 8-1 lead before the Minutemen fought back to end the quarter tied 8-8.
But the ankle injury to Alley at the start of the second quarter proved difficult to overcome. Alley, the fourth sister in her family to score 1,000 points in her high school career, was temporarily forced to the bench and was visibly limping upon her return.
“My girls played hard,” said Stearns coach Nick Cullen. “Alisyn rolled her ankle in the second quarter. She tried to go back in but couldn’t [play]. She didn’t play most of the second half. We were hanging with them until then.
“The girls fought. Kenyon played hard. Anderson played well and Farber did as well but after losing Alisyn, we couldn’t get back into the game,” he added.
Hall-Dale led 23-17 at halftime but broke the game open in the second half.
The Bulldogs grew their lead to 22 points by the end of the third quarter.
The Hall-Dale program has had a dramatic ascendancy in recent years.
The Bulldogs were eliminated in Class C South preliminary round games in 2019-20 and 2018-19. In 2017-18 they were 17th in the Heal Points standings and didn’t even qualify for the tournament.
They were the 14th seed in 2019-20 and the fifth seed in 2018-19.
Meanwhile, the Minutemen had been inching toward a regional title in the three previous tournaments, losing to Central Aroostook of Mars Hill in the 2019-20 Class C North championship game after being eliminated by Penobscot Valley of Howland in the semis in 2018-19 and by Central of Corinth in the quarterfinals in 2017-18.
It was their first regional championship since the 1994-95 team captured the Class B title before losing to Marshwood of South Berwick in the state championship game.
Stearns brought an eight-game winning streak into the game and held its opponents to 27.3 points per game in its three C North tournament wins at the Cross Insurance Center.
Alley spearheaded the defensive effort with 4.7 steals and 2.7 blocked shots per game. She turned some of those steals into transition baskets.
Alley also averaged seven rebounds and three assists per game to go with her 13.7 points per game.
Hall-Dale trailed by as many as 18 in its 63-56 victory over North Yarmouth Academy in the Class C South regional final.
Trepanier’s 19 points fueled the comeback.