Laker girls hold off pesky Saints

Chandler True was on fire in the first half, and finished the game sinking five 3-pointers. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Facing a pesky St. Dom’s team that forced an uncharacteristic 27 turnovers, the Lakers needed an “in the zone” shooting night from Chandler True and energetic spark from reserve Aisley Sturk to avoid an upset.

True was on fire from behind the arc in the opening period, sinking three consecutive 3-pointers en route to a 23-point, 9 rebound night as the Lakers fended off the Saints 55-41.

The final score was hardly an accurate picture of this struggle. Despite eight turnovers against an aggressive SD’s full-court pressure defense, the Lakers built a 16-7 lead thanks to True’s 11 points and a trey by Shauna Hancock (10 points) off a turnover.

The Saints, coached by former LR junior varsity boys’ coach Chris Marston, closed to within 20-16 with 3:34 left until halftime as the Lakers were unable to score from the field (shooting just 3-of-15) before True ended the drought with a strong baseline drive the hoop. She then connected on another 3-ball to push the lead to 25-16. The Saints ran off six straight points, but LR dashed the momentum shift as sophomore reserve Nevaeh Stewart coolly pulled the trigger on a right-corner 3-pointer. LR 28, SD 22.

Aisley Sturk was a sparkplug at both ends of the court.

“It was a bit of a different defense than we have normally seen. Our kids were getting themselves buried in the corners or too close to the sideline, getting trapped and just not making good decisions,” Coach True said. “It was a struggle for the first eight minutes.”

While Coach True made some adjustments to counter the Saints’ pressure, as well as inside-the-lane offensive attack, Sturk provided the spark at both ends of the floor to enable the Lakers to take command of the game. The senior’s sheer hustle resulted in second shot chances, while at 5-foot-5, Sturk also hauled down some key rebounds off the defensive glass. Six of her seven rebounds came in the pivotal third quarter, while she also canned a 3-pointer, which had Coach True smiling.

Shauna Hancock played tight defense all night.

Coach True feels Sturk epitomizes what simple hard work can do for a player and a team.

“What do you say about a kid who is one of the most coachable kids I have ever had. She just comes to practice every day with a great attitude. She is super supportive. She never questions anything. She is just a pleasure to have around,” Coach True said. “Every time she comes onto the floor, she just gives her best effort. She makes things happen and she is so unselfish. We have been trying to get her to shoot all year long. To see her face light up when she hit that shot was priceless. It’s a moment I’ll remember all year long.”

The Lakers were a perfect 4-of-4 from the line and held the Saints to just 4 points in the third as the home advantage swelled to 43-26.

Brooke Harriman made it tough for the Saints to get the ball inside the lane.

While True sank just one trey in the second half, the senior guard showed off her entire game, making some incredible passes in tight spaces for easy points in the paint by teammates, including a layup by Hancock off a turnover to put the Lakers up 22.

“Our guard play was very strong tonight. Shauna prevented several fastbreak layups. She could have easily had two or three charges. She distributed the basketball, made some shots, and I was very pleased with the way they played,” Coach True said. “Chandler shot with confidence (18 points at the half). You could tell, because when she was open, the ball wasn’t in her hands long. I was equally proud of her on the backboard and she made some great passes in transition). It was a complete effort by Chandler tonight.”

For the Lakers, Lauren Jakobs had 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Melissa Bonenfant chipped in 4 points, Stewart 3, Sturk 3 and Jordan Weese 2.

Stat lines: LR was 10-of-14 from the foul line to SD’s 6-of-14; LR put up 49 shots, but made just 18, 37%; LR had 27 turnovers to SD’s 29.

Lauren Jakobs found plenty of resistance driving the ball to the rim.

Heal Watch: At 11-4, the Lakers are ranked fifth in Class B West, just a tourney point behind Oak Hill. It should be an interesting final week with the top four teams each playing each other, which could significantly change the final seeds.

LR has a big game this Friday, hosting third-ranked Freeport at 7 p.m. The Lakers close out with a home game against Fryeburg on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and at Yarmouth (ninth ranked) on Thursday.

Last week: Chandler True netted 15 points, six from the foul line, and Lauren Jakobs chipped in 11 as the Lakers used a 16-8 third quarter run to pull away from host Traip Academy, 47-39.

Brooke Harriman scored 9 points, while Rachel Shanks and Shauna Hancock had 6 apiece.

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