Lakers turn quarterfinal against Oak Hill into track meet; advance to Class B semis

Shauna Hancock

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — As Coach Paul True watched game tape of Oak Hill, he felt his Lakers needed to do three things:

One, Laker defenders had to “lock down” the Raiders’ key shooters.

Two, Coach True believed that if his club could turn the game into a track meet, “it would be to our advantage.”

Three, simply — move the basketball to search out open shooters.

Fourth-seeded Lake Region checked all three boxes, unloading a barrage of 3-pointers to spark a 40-14 run in the middle frames as they pounded fifth-seed Oak Hill 52-28 in the Class B quarterfinals Tuesday at the Portland Expo.

The Lakers (14-5) advance to the semifinals today, Feb. 22, against top-ranked Gray-New Gloucester (15-4) at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland. Game time is 2:30 p.m.

Aisley Sturk

The other semifinal pits second-ranked Poland (15-4) against third-seed Freeport (15-4) at 1 p.m. The Knights waxed Mountain Valley 59-29 behind Nathalie Theriault’s 21 points, while the Falcons squeaked past Wells 46-42.

The Lakers split the season series with the defending Class B champion Patriots, winning on opening night 38-34 as Chandler True scored 15 and Lauren Jakobs added 13 points.

In the rematch in Game 11, the Patriots exploded in the first quarter building an 18-7 lead, but just managed to hold off the Lakers, 42-41. Shauna Hancock had a big night for the Lakers, scoring 15 points. Forward Jordan Grant torched the Lakers for 21 points, while Brianna Jordan added 12.

What will be the keys for the Lakers as they look to spring the upset?

“I think it is just a matter of executing what we do. We match up well. It will come down to executing, moving the ball and making shots,” Coach True said.

Taking care of business

When a team is hot, a coach wants to just keep playing.

The Lakers, however, were banged up physically and tired mentally as the regular season came to an end. A week’s rest was just what the club needed to get a bounce back in their step and a renewed focus.

Brooke Harriman

“We haven’t a lot of stretches where we could have a lot of practices consecutively. I thought we did a lot of good things this week. We revisited some fundamentals, and the kids responded today,” Coach True said.

Oak Hill, which missed the playoffs a year ago, started quick as junior forward Abigail Nadeau sank a pair of foul shots and then showed off her range by knocking down a 3-pointer for a 5-0 Raider lead.

After a few misses, senior Chandler True righted the Laker ship with a 3-pointer and made 3-of-4 foul shots as the Lakers took a 8-5 lead after one.

LR would not trail again.

“I think it was a little bit of nerves. We had a couple of good looks, but just didn’t convert. I felt it was just a matter of time once we put the ball in the basket, we could then get into some pressure and play our game,” Coach True said.

In the second quarter, the Lakers ran their offense with precision. Passing was crisp, and shooters fired without hesitation. Back-to-back 3-pointers by seniors Rachel Shanks and Lauren Jakobs pushed the Lakers to a 16-5 lead.

Chandler True

Oak Hill (14-5) ended a nearly six-minute scoring drought as Sara Moring sank a pair of foul shots with 5:53 on the Expo clock. The Raiders were a dismal 3-of-14 from the field, and trailed 28-16 at the half.

“Defensively, we were very disciplined, for the most part, and just did a really good job locking down on their better players,” Coach True said.

LR was 8-of-14 in the second quarter as four different players scored, including senior Melissa Bonenfant, who drained a 3-pointer with 1:24 left until halftime, giving the Lakers a 27-11 lead.

“Good ball movement has been a focus for us. Especially in transition before the defense could set up, we did a really good job moving the ball and finding open players,” Coach True said.

If the Raiders felt a bit demoralized at halftime, they had to be stunned by the heavy artillery the Lakers unleashed in the third quarter.

While Oak Hill managed just one bucket — an offensive putback by Nadeau in the early seconds of the third quarter.

“By our stats, they had four offensive rebounds in the first half, two were on air balls. I was very pleased how we were getting a body on their people and boxing out,” Coach True said. “We took the ball out of their better shooters’ hands, and forced other kids to try to make a play. That worked in our favor.”

Lauren Jakobs

The period opened with two soft jumpers by junior forward Brooke Harriman, who rebounded nicely after suffering an ankle injury in the season finale against Yarmouth.

Then, the Lakers put on a 3-point shooting clinic.

Off a turnover, Chandler True swished a 3-pointer. Oak Hill promptly turned the ball over as LR continued to press. The ball bounced off a couple of players and found its way to True, who canned another trey. Jakobs joined the party, netting a 3-pointer from the right corner. Seconds later, the ball moved from Shauna Hancock to True to Jakobs to Shanks out on the wing, who nailed the 3-pointer.

It nailed down the win. LR was up 44-19 and never felt threatened again in this one. Spunky senior Aisley Sturk came up with a steal that resulted in Jakobs landing a trip to the foul line, where she buried both shots. Sturk closed out the 20-4 burst with a layup.

“They looked a little bit uncomfortable and timid. As the game wore on, our kids took advantage of it,” Coach True said. “We had such a tremendous third quarter building a big lead that enabled us to get a number people into the game. I thought everyone that went into the game continued to play great defense, so as long as they couldn’t score, we were in good shape.”

Both teams went deep into their respective benches as the Raiders got the better of the LR reserves, 8-4.

“It was a great opportunity for all of our kids to get into the game and enjoy this atmosphere. I thought they did a good job,” Coach True said. “The seniors have had quality time on this floor and in these types of games, so they were comfortable. It certainly showed in that third quarter.”

The Lakers left no doubt Tuesday that when they are rested, pass well and knock down open shots, they are a dangerous crew to contend with.

Stat Lines

LR scorers: Chandler True 16, Lauren Jakobs 14, Rachel Shanks 6, Shauna Hancock 6, Brooke Harriman 4, Melissa Bonenfant 4, Aisley Sturk 2.

OH top scorers: Desirae Dumais 9, Abigail Nadeau 8, Julia Noel 5.

Rebounding: LR 21 (Jakobs 10), OH 29

Turnovers: LR 14, OH 21

Free Throws: LR 8-13, OH 9-11

Field Goals: LR 18-46 (39%), OH 8-38 (21%)



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