AUGUSTA — Charlotte Harper-Cunningham didn’t mince words.

“We were calling it our revenge tour,” the North Yarmouth Academy senior guard said with a smile after the top-seeded Panthers used depth and a stifling defense to stop defending state champion Hall-Dale, 47-39, in a Class C South girls’ basketball semifinal Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

The game was a rematch of the 2022 regional final, in which Hall-Dale rallied from an 18-point deficit to win 63-56 en route to the Gold Ball.

NYA (20-1) will play for the regional title Saturday night against second-seeded Old Orchard Beach, a 59-43 winner over Kents Hill in Friday’s other semifinal. The Seagulls handed the Panthers their only loss of the season, a 45-40 decision on Jan. 31. NYA won an earlier matchup against the Seagulls, 55-37.

“Old Orchard Beach is somebody we’re focused on, since they’re the only team we lost to,” Harper-Cunningham said. “I think it’s going to mean more to try to beat them and prove that we’re the better team.”


Hayden Madore scored 17 points for No. 4 Hall-Dale (15-5).

Friday’s game was a matchup of two tough defenses: NYA hasn’t allowed more than 44 points all season, and Hall-Dale had allowed more than 48 only four times. The Panthers’ 1-3-1 zone defense held Hall-Dale to 12-for-41 shooting and forced the Bulldogs to either aim from the outside or attempt awkward shots inside. Hall-Dale guard Amanda Trepanier was limited to five points; she scored 19 against the Panthers in last year’s South final.

“They did exactly what we expected them to do,” Hall-Dale Coach O.J. Jamarillo said. “They do their 1-3-1 and they do it very well. We missed a lot of shots. You can’t get into a game like this and shoot the ball like that.”

NYA held a 31-24 rebounding advantage, led by Harper-Cunningham’s eight.

Harper-Cunningham, one of seven NYA seniors, has been the point guard since the Panthers lost star Angel Huntsman to a torn ACL in her right in late January. Huntsman, who averaged 10 assists per game this season, was on the sidelines in a wheelchair Friday, cheering on her team.

The Panthers have compensated for the loss of Huntsman with a deep roster. Four players have led NYA in scoring over the last six games, and this time it was Sarah English’s turn with 10 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds. Ella Giguere scored eight points.


“When you’re without your point guard of four years, other girls have to step up, and I thought they did a great job,” NYA Coach Tom Robinson said. “We’re a very deep team; anybody can score in double figures for us, really. Ella played JV most of the year, but she came up with 10 points Tuesday (in a 72-26 quarterfinal win over Madison) and eight today, so she’s been doing a good job.”

Harper-Cunningham, whose right knee was bandaged and seeping blood after she reaggravated a cut during a second-half collision, noted that opponents can’t concentrate on just one or two players.

“A lot of the teams we play, if you take away one or two of their girls, then you can really shut them down scoring-wise, but you really can’t target somebody (on NYA), especially with Angel out now,” Harper-Cunningham said.

The game got off to a slow start, as no one scored until a Madore basket 2:03 in for Hall-Dale’s only lead of the day. NYA slowly stretched its lead as the game went on – 10-7 after one quarter, 24-19 at halftime and 36-25 after three quarters. Hall-Dale scored seven straight points, five by Madore, to start the fourth, but the Panthers responded with seven on their own, as Giguere sandwiched two baskets around a Harper-Cunningham 3-pointer.

Hall-Dale pulled within 43-37 on a Torie Tibbetts basket with 1:34 left but got no closer despite NYA going 4 for 11 at the free-throw line down the stretch.

“Most games, that comes back to haunt you, but we kept rebounding the misses, so that worked out for us,” Robinson said.

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