Defensive stops lead Laker boys over Raiders

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RYAN GULLIKSON helped push Fryeburg Academy to a halftime lead, scoring 17 of his 23 points. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Quinn Piland was up for the challenge.

After Fryeburg Academy’s athletic point guard Ryan Gullikson had torched the LR defense for 17 points to give the Raiders a 28–22 halftime lead, Laker Coach J.P. Yorkey decided to give Piland a crack at slowing down Gullikson.

It worked.

Gullikson would score just one field goal and six points before fouling out with 3:53 left in the game as Lake Region rallied for a 51–47 victory at Wadsworth Arena Tuesday night.

“I was proud of how our guys gutted it out.  They hung in there and we got the stops we needed and made some big plays in the second half,” LR Coach Yorkey said. “Quinn’s defense on Gullikson in the second half was a huge difference maker for sure. Quinn loves the challenge of guarding our opponent’s best player. He is unique in that way for a high school kid. He’s happy to play defense and rebound, and will score in the flow of things, but I really don't think he cares if he scores. Not too many kids like that. Gullikson obviously hurt us in the first half. Quinn held him to one field goal in the second half. Fryeburg Assistant Coach Charlie Tryder said that Quinn’s defense on Gullikson in the second half was the best he has been defended this season.”

As expected, the game was somewhat of a rollercoaster with each team making runs throughout the night.

Lake Region took the early advantage, 12–8, as Sam Smith drained a pair of three-pointers. The Raiders — who were again shorthanded with Alex Lazic and Ignnacio Calleja still away — shot ahead behind Gullikson’s seven points to take a 16–15 lead after one. LR was careless at times with the ball, committing 13 first half turnovers.

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JACK LESURE rallied Lake Region with big 3-point shots and key rebounds as the Lakers won their third straight game, beating Fryeburg Academy at Wadsworth Arena Tuesday night. (Rivet Photo)

“Overall we weren’t very sharp offensively. Having played on Saturday and no school/practice Monday due to the ice storm, we didn’t have any on-court prep time and I think that showed,” LR CoachYorkey said.

The Laker offense sputtered early in the second quarter as the Raiders scored nine straight points — seven by Gullikson and an offensive rebound putback by Jaquan Causer, to give FA a 25–15 lead.

Sophomore guard Jack Lesure provided a much needed spark for the Lakers. First, he hit a soft floater in the lane off a nifty spin move. Then, Lesure threaded a pass to Marcus Devoe on the baseline for a score. And, Lesure’s high-arching three3-point shot from the right corner trimmed the deficit to 28–22 at halftime.

Lesure stayed hot in the third, knocking down a straightaway three-pointer with 3:18 left to put the Lakers back on top, 33–32. LR had rallied by making 6-of-6 foul shots. LR showed better patience and ball movement on offense as Smith canned a mid-range jumper and Nathan Smith scored off his own miss to make it 39–36.

Gullikson made 4-of-4 foul shots in the closing minute to keep the Raiders close, down 40–38 entering the final quarter.

A Lesure three-pointer from the left corner and a steal by Sam Smith resulting in a lay-up gave the Lakers their biggest lead, 48–38 with 6:06 left.

Fryeburg’s comeback bid was dealt a major blow when Gullikson was tagged for his fifth foul on a drive by Ben Chaine. But, the Raiders would not quit. Henry Santana came up with a steal and score and Causer followed it up with a theft of his own, resulting in a pair of foul shots with 2:48 to cut the deficit to 49–43.

Sam Smith showed his veteran experience when he missed a jumper, but stayed with the play, coming up with a steal and score with 1:32 left to make it 51–43.

FA’s Alex Blake knocked down a three-pointer in the closing minute, but the rally fell short.

“Obviously, Jack (Lesure) made some big shots in the second half to help us regain the lead and extend it. He actually hadn’t yet made a three this season until tonight, and he made three,” Coach Yorkey said. “He is a good shooter and has been for us in the off-season. I knew his shooting would come around. He is very well-rounded — good defender and rebounder, ball handler, passer, and shooter. And, he has the poise of an older player.”

Coach Yorkey credited players with making big defensive stops with the game on the line.

“Sam (Smith) had some of the biggest defensive plays of his career down the stretch with a couple of steals/recoveries and a key defensive rebound,” Coach Yorkey said. “I was pleased with our ability to come from behind and make big plays when we needed them. I’d like to see us execute better offensively and do a better job on the defensive boards.”

Winners of three straight, the Lakers (4-4) climbed to Number 4 in Tuesday’s Class B West Heal Ratings. The Raiders fall to 4–3, and are ranked seventh.

Stat Lines

Turnovers: LR 22, FA 13

Free Throws: LR 13–22, FA 10–23

Rebounds: LR 29, FA 23

Leading rebounders: LR, Lesure 9, Piland 8, Hall 5; FA Causer 10.

LR scorers: Sam Smith 14, Jack Lesure 14, Mark Williams 8, Nathan Smith 4, Quinn Piland 4, Nick Hall 3, Marcus Devoe 2, Ben Chaine 2.

FA scorers: Ryan Gullikson 23, Alex Blake 10, Jaquan Causer 6, Henry Santana 5, Nicholis L’Heureux-Carland 3.

 

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