Laker girls rally in a big way after first hoop loss

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TIANA-JO CARTER of Lake Region drives to the basket against Falmouth. The LR senior center scored 35 points and hauled down 23 rebounds in the win. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Tiana-Jo Carter wanted to make amends for what she considered a bad performance the night before.

Carter played with a vengeance Thursday, scoring 35 points and hauling down 23 rebounds to lead Lake Region to a 56-45 victory over Falmouth.

“Tonight’s game was really important because we were down on ourselves having lost at Wells (Wednesday). We just felt like we weren’t working as a team and lost our momentum. Our goal was to come together and regain that team chemistry that we have shown,” the senior center said. “I really wanted to come out and play well for the team because last night I fouled out and really didn’t think I played as well as I can.”

Carter dominated Falmouth’s frontcourt, scoring 13 points in the first quarter as the Lakers built a 19-2 lead. LR point guard Sarah Hancock was the trigger for the quick start, often fitting the ball through tight passing lanes to Carter, who was in prime position to score close to the hoop.

“In practice, we have been working on offensive moves, not always doing the same things,” Carter said. “The guards are doing a really good job finding the inside players.”

It can be difficult to find enough space to get Carter the ball since many teams are attempting to jam the lane.

“We know that every team that we play is going to double or triple team Tiana. In practice, we put people on her and work on getting passes to her. If teams double or triple team, we then have open shots on the outside,” Hancock said.

LR Coach Paul True has commented several times how Hancock has taken a bigger leadership role on the court this year, a stabilizing presence that has helped guide the team to a 5-1 mark at the holiday break.

“Sydney (Hancock) is not with me any more. She was the big leader on the court. I knew that as soon as she was gone, I had to step up as a leader and as a point guard. I had to make some changes in the way I play to fill her shoes and be a leader on the court,” Sarah said. “I try to go with the flow.”

The loss to Wells could help the Lakers in the long run, Hancock believes.

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SARAH HANCOCK of Lake Region puts up a floater over a Falmouth player during first half action against the Yachtsmen.

“For our team, we don’t know what to do if we get down. We need to play our game and not let them get into our heads,” she said. “It was definitely frustrating. We weren’t on our game. We learned so much from that game. We need to stay composed during situations that aren’t going our way. To pressure without fouling. To adjust on how the officials are calling a game. Just play our game and not get caught up in the emotions.”

Thursday, the Lakers were eager to get back to work.

“Today, we had a meeting before our game and put closure on last night’s game — totally put it out of our minds, everything was erased,” Hancock said. “Tonight, we were ready to go.”

And go, they did.

Falmouth (1-4) managed just two field goals in the first quarter against the Lakers’ aggressive full-court pressure, which forced nine turnovers.

The LR lead swelled to 24 with three minutes gone in the second quarter as Carter scored eight straight points.

Freshman Kristen Huntress continued to show confidence from behind the arc, sinking consecutive three-pointers to push the LR lead to 35-10.

Falmouth cut into the lead before the half, sinking five of six foul shots to trail 37-17.

Foul trouble sank the Lakers the night before, and nearly opened the door for a Falmouth comeback. With three players tagged for four fouls each, Coach True juggled his lineup. Jessica Burton scored 10 points in the third quarter to help Falmouth cut the deficit to 17.

The “hand-check” foul has been a particularly tough one to avoid for the overly-aggressive Laker defenders.

“It’s especially hard when new rules come out and you try to get used to them. We’re learning to play with our feet more than reaching, which is good, in a way. We really need to get into the mindset. We haven’t got there yet. I hope it will come,” Hancock said. “The last foul I picked up was a stupid foul. I should have just let the girl shoot the ball. I needed to adjust how I was playing — just play good, solid defense — not try to steal it, just play solid.”

Carter delivered a big offensive put-back and foul shot to return the lead to 20 at the start of the final quarter. Although the Lakers missed six straight foul shots, Falmouth turned the ball over three times, thus stealing chances to narrow the gap.

With 2:20 left and up 17, Coach True pulled his starters. Falmouth was able to cut the deficit to 11 by leaving two starters on the floor against LR reserves.

For the Lakers, Huntress finished with 6 points, Lucy Fowler had 5, CeCe Hancock 4, Jordan Turner 4 and Meghan VanLoan 2.

“We’re learning how to work together better on offense. Ball movement has been one of the key points in our game so far. Especially against Wells, we didn’t move the ball well like we needed to — around the perimeter, into Tiana and back out. We did a better job this game,” Sarah Hancock said. “We didn’t take shots that we didn’t need to. We were more composed.”

Lakers knock off Patriots

Clutch hoops and free throws powered Lake Region to a 43-36 victory Saturday at Gray-New Gloucester.

Coming off a huge win over previously undefeated Wells, the Patriots looked to make it two straight against the league’s top contenders. GNG started well, building a 15-11 lead. But, the Lakers took control of the game in the middle quarters by outscoring the Patriots 10-4 and 12-5. Down the stretch, the Lakers iced the game at the foul line, finishing the afternoon with 14 points from the charity stripe.

Tiana-Jo Carter and CeCe Hancock paced a balanced Laker attack each scoring 10 points. Jordan Turner chipped in 9 points while Meghan VanLoan had 5, Kristen Huntress 5 and Sarah Hancock 4.

Maria Valente of GNG (3-3) led all scorers with 14 points.

The Lakers (5-1) climbed in the recent Heal Points, moving up to second place behind Spruce Mountain (6-0). Wells (4-1) is tied with the Lakers. Gray-NG and Greely (4-2) round out the Top 5.

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