Lakers avenge loss to Clippers, stake claim to #1 seed in Class B South

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Jack Lesure raised his arms and pointed his two index fingers into the air.

With a 65-53 victory over Yarmouth Tuesday night, Lake Region (15-2) took a step closer to nailing down the top seed in the Class B South basketball tournament.

Since their loss in Game 2 of the season to the Clippers (12-5), the Lakers eagerly awaited for a rematch.

“Our last game (against Fryeburg), I didn’t think we played up to our potential. The guys didn’t think they played well. They want #1, and were geared up for this game,” Laker Coach John Mayo said. “This one has been marked on the calendar all year long. They came ready to play.”

With an electric atmosphere — almost playoff-like — Jack Lesure made his final appearance at “The Nut House” a memorable one, scoring a game-high 21 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 steals.

LR started fast with Lesure scoring 12 points, including some outstanding positioning inside to score two buckets to go along with a 3-pointer.

Forcing six turnovers, the Lakers had the game rolling at their desired pace. Nate Smith (14 points, 9 rebounds) drilled a 3-pointer and Marcus DeVoe (12 points, 5 rebounds) connected on a one-hand floater in the lane as time expired to give the Lakers a 23-14 lead.

“Unlike the first game when they tried to slow things down, tonight we were able to dictate tempo,” Coach Mayo said. “We played our game — fast. We kept attacking and looking for the open player.”

Yarmouth made a run early in the second quarter, holding the Lakers to four free throws as the Clips edged closer 27-24 on a Musseitt M’Bareck (19 points, 5-of-8 shooting from behind the arc) trey.

After a Lesure inside bucket and a pair of foul shots, Yarmouth tied the game on a strong baseline drive by Aleksandar Medenica (7 points, 11 rebounds) and another M’Bareck 3-pointer.

LR answered the challenge with a 8-0 run over the final 2:23 as Alex Langadas (6 points), who drew a couple of offensive foul calls, timed perfectly a step into the passing lane, intercepting the ball and converting it into a fastbreak layup. Brandon Palmer (8 points, 6 rebounds) scored on a baseline floater over the Yarmouth defense, and Langadas netted a shot on a determined drive to the rim to put the Lakers up 39-31 at the half.

The Lakers took control of the contest with a 17-7 run in the third quarter as DeVoe drained a 3-pointer and later added a pair of foul shots to open up an 18-point cushion. The run was sparked by high energy on defense as LR players’ scrambling effort held the Clips to two field goals (2-of-10 shooting).

“We’ve been talking about it all year — defense wins championships. We knew who their shooters are, who their three key guys are, and we needed to lock down on them,” Coach Mayo said. “I think we did that. They’re good players and are going to knock down shots. They’re a great team. We just need to keep defending well.”

Although LR made just one field goal in the final quarter — a Nate Smith second chance shot — the team closed out the Clippers with an 8-of-10 effort at the foul line with Lesure, who logged about 30 minutes of play, leading the way going 5-of-6. LR was 21-of-27 from the stripe to Yarmouth’s 7-of-13.

“We stayed with our pressure tonight. We didn’t get something out of it every time, but all of a sudden we forced some mistakes, our energy levels increased and our guys went for it,” Coach Mayo said. “We knew their guys were going to drive and spin, and we wanted our guys in position to make stops (offensive foul calls). We were ready for them. They’re a quality team and you need to bring your ‘A’ game to beat them. Having already played them, we knew what to expect. It was an exciting win.”

Nick Wandishin helped the Lakers win the rebounding match, 34-20. He added 4 points.

The Lakers close out the regular season with a trip to Freeport (2-14) tonight, Thursday, at 7 p.m. LR has a tourney-point index of 146.9136 followed by Maranacook, 15-2, 136.1111 and Yarmouth, 12-5, 103.8272.

UPDATE: The Lakers will open the playoffs with a quarterfinal game on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Portland Expo at 4 p.m. The team will also be featured in a special tournament special on WMTW Channel 8 at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 6.



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