SPRING VALLEY – Hall’s boys basketball team struggled to start games during a five-game losing streak toward the end of the regular season.
The Red Devils fixed that issued with a win in the regular season finale and then carried it into the postseason.
Behind hot shooting from Payton Dye, Hall built a nine-point lead after one quarter and pushed it to 20 in the second quarter.
That gave the No. 8-seeded Red Devils plenty of cushion to withstand a second-half run in a 67-54 victory over No. 10 Bureau Valley in a Class 2A Bureau Valley Regional quarterfinal Saturday.
“We had lost five in a row before we played Riverdale on Tuesday, and in all five of those games we just got off to a terrible start,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “We’d get down 12-3 or 10-4 where you’d have to call a timeout to try to regroup. Tuesday we did a really good job. We jumped out, I think it was 14-3, and that kind of carried us the entire game. Again today we had a really good start. You can see it in their confidence. We start the game better, we play better, and it just carried over. We got a big enough lead that we could make some mistakes, and we did.”
The Red Devils (11-19) advance to play top-seeded Princeton at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Manlius. The Tigers beat Hall twice this season.
“They’re good,” Dye said. “We have to work together as a team. We can’t be afraid of them and what they’ve done. We’ve just got to go out there and do what we do best.”
On Saturday, Dye made back-to-back 3-pointers to give Hall a 6-0 lead. He hit two more early in the second quarter to push Hall’s lead to 19-4.
“It just felt good,” Dye said. “If felt like it was my spot and I wanted the ball. I wanted to be able to shoot those. It felt good to go out there and have it work like that.”
A drive for a layup plus a free throw by Kyian Smith extended Hall’s lead to 29-9 with 3:09 left in the first half.
The Storm rallied to within 10, but a jumper by Mac Resetich gave the Red Devils a 33-21 halftime lead.
Resetich got hot after halftime, scoring 13 points in the third quarter to help keep Hall in front despite a strong Storm surge that cut the lead to five points.
Resetich finished with a game-high 25 points, while Dye, Smith and Austin Pecher each had 12.
“Mac got off to a slow start, but he didn’t have to do anything because Payton made all them shots,” Filippini said. “Payton’s four 3s carried us in the first half, and then Mac carried us like he usually does in the second half.
“We had four guys in double figures. Pecher had a good shooting night. Kyian had 12 points. To start the game they just stuck people in the middle. They were not going to let Mac dribble penetrate and drive and play at the rim. Mac did a nice job of not forcing it. He kicked it and we got some open 3s and we hit them.”
The Storm continued to push in the fourth quarter as Corban Chhim drained a 3 with 6:53 left to bring Bureau Valley within 54-50.
Hall quickly responded with a 3 by Pecher and a bucket by Smith to go up nine.
Bureau Valley never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
“Offensively, I think we just got stagnant and not certain where we wanted to go or how we wanted to attack,” Bureau Valley coach Jason Marquis said. “We got better in time, but we were just pretty flat for a do or die game.
“[When we rallied] we started to play harder. We ran through cuts instead of jogging. We jumped to the ball defensively instead of watching the ball. I think those small differences of things you do without the basketball make a big difference in what you end up doing with the basketball in terms of quality of shot.”
Chhim scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the second half for the Storm (7-24).
“We have wonderful young men,” Marquis said. “We went through an entire year with zero appearances on the D/F list. We had zero disciplinary issues and zero attendance issues. What that results in is a lot of improvement. From where we were when we were here [at Hall] for the Colmone in December to where we were today was better.”