Hancock sets new school record in Lakers-Falmouth game

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer

For sophomore point guard Sydney Hancock, her job changes nightly.

On some nights, she is a distributor — pushing the ball and finding the open shooter, be it inside the lane or outside the 3-point arc.

Other nights, she is a scorer. She has a good sense when to take her defender off the dribble and head to the basket or when to simply pull the trigger from downtown.

Friday, the Lakers needed a scoring spark after a sputtering first quarter that saw them record just two field goals and trail Falmouth 13-5.

Syd the Kid came out gunning in the second quarter, scoring nine straight points as the Lakers erased a 10-point deficit to lead 23-21 at the half. Hancock was hardly done. Bombing away from 5 to 10 feet behind the 3-point arc, Hancock set a new school record converting on six 3-pointers in a game-high 22-point effort as the Lakers (14-2) bounced upset-minded Falmouth 49-33 at Nutting Gym. The previous record was five.

Hancock drained two 3-pointers in each of the final quarters. The Lakers put the game on ice with a 9-1 run to end the third quarter. It proved to be an impressive turnaround as the Lakers appeared out of synch early on.

“I knew fatigue was going to be a factor. We talked about it at the beginning of the game, and talked about playing a number of kids, so kids needed to be ready to come off the bench. I didn’t expect us to come out quite that flat, but I am so proud of the kids,” LR Coach Paul True said. “We showed composure in a different light tonight. Our composure was not quitting, staying in the game. Once we got going, we did some great things.”

Knowing a win over the tourney-point rich Lakers could propel them into the playoffs, the 10th-seeded Yachtsmen (8-8) erased an early 5-2 LR lead by scoring the quarter’s final 11 points as senior guard Jessica DiPhillipo (10 points) scored 5 points. LR shot poorly, and turned the ball over seven times.

“We were a little too stagnant, and we were holding onto the ball a little too long. So when we started to make crisp, quick passes, I thought things opened up,” Coach True said. “In the first half, I did some poor coaching because I put Ti (LR center Tianna-Jo Carter) on the high post and she just stood on the high post, so we made some adjustments. We wanted to get her on the block, and we had better movement after that.”

The 1-2 combination of Hancock and Carter rallied the Lakers in the second. LR guards were finally able to get the ball inside to Carter, who scored the team’s first 4 points. With 2:59 left in the half, Carter made a nifty bank shot off the glass and then converted a perfect lob pass from guard Rachel Wandishin for another hoop. A foul shot evened the game. LR’s defensive energy rose, and with 58.2 seconds left, guard Kasey Huntress came up with a steal and scored a lay-up for a 23-21 intermission lead.

“We’ve had that kind of defensive effort all year long. On a night when you’re not shooting well or the offense isn’t clicking, if you play that kind of defense, you’ll still be in the game,” Coach True said.

Hancock kept the Lakers’ engine clicking in overdrive. On a fast break, junior guard Abby Craffey dished the ball back out to Hancock, who drained a 3-pointer. Hancock later threaded a pass through traffic to senior Hannah Cutting for a lay-up. Hancock connected on another deep 3-pointer as the Lakers closed out the quarter with a 7-1 run.

“That’s the way Sydney needs to play — with some reckless abandon. She’s grown up a lot this week, I’m really proud of her,” Coach True said. “It’s difficult. For her, as our point guard and leader, Sydney does so many things that help us out. This week, she has totally demanded the basketball in pressure situations. She had 10 points against Gray in the fourth quarter. Even if she isn’t shooting the ball well, she is the floor leader. Tonight, she shot the ball well and it was her night on the perimeter. So, as long as we keep the mentality that the next night might be my night, we’re going to be in good shape. We have a lot of players that can do that.”

Friday, Sydney Hancock was on fire.

“I don’t really look down to see where I am. If I have an open shot and I am feeling it, I let it fly. When I shoot best is when I don’t think about it. I just let the shot go. I was feeling really great,” she said. “I look at what we need. Some games, we’re trying to get the ball inside, so I try to make good post passes. Some nights, I am able to drive to the basket and get shots off. It depends on the team. I need to be aware what is going on.”

Echoing her coach, Hancock felt it was the Lakers’ defense that turned the game around.

“We were a little fatigued from the game yesterday (Gray-New Gloucester, a 42-33 win on the road). We made some big defensive plays at the end of the second quarter that seemed to pick us up. It seemed help us regain our composure,” she said. “Coach told us it was their one chance to make it to the playoffs and we needed to play our game.”

Once ahead, the Lakers kept the heat on Falmouth. The Yachtsmen failed to reach double digits over the final three quarters, and were held to just 12 points in the second half.

Hancock feels the Lakers are coming together and playing their best basketball as the playoffs loom in just another week.

“We’ve gained a lot of experience with each game. We’ve learned that when the game is close, we have to keep our poise and somewhat relax. We’ve definitely grown up. These past games have shown us what we can do in the playoffs,” she said. “I really believe that if we put our minds to it and play as hard as we can, anything is possible for us. We have the talent and drive to make it happen.”

For the Lakers, Tianna-Jo Carter finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Other scorers were: Savannah Devoe 2, Hannah Cutting 2, Kasey Huntress 4 and Kelsey Winslow 2.

Stat Line

Turnovers: LR 199, FAL 23

Free Throws: LR 3-5, FAL 2-6

Rebounds: LR 26, FAL 14

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