A horrible first half doomed Class 2A top-ranked Dale to a 54-44 semifinal setback to Rock Creek Saturday at the Kingston New Year’s Classic.

Rock Creek led 29-17 at the half. Dale couldn’t get closer than four points in the second half.

Gabe Gouge was Dale’s only double-figure scorer with 17. Logan Woodruff added seven. Gouge scored 13 points in the second half.

Rock Creek was 10 of 15 from the line while Dale was 5 of 8.

“We got off to a terrible start and dug ourselves a hole,” Dale coach Jeff Edmonson said. “The kids played hard the second half.”

Rock Creek is ranked eighth in 2A.

Dale, 11-3, will challenge Atoka at 5 p.m. Saturday in the third-place game.

Note: Report compiled by contributing writer Fred Fehr.