LR basketball: Smith hits big shots, makes big stops in win; LR girls declaw York

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SAM SMITH of Lake Region seeks a timeout after knocking the ball away from a York player and securing the ball late in the game last Saturday night. (Rivet Photos)


By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Sam Smith did whatever it took Saturday to land the Lakers into the win column.

He showed the confidence of a senior by sticking several big jump shots with the game in the balance.

He played with a lot of grit, knocking the ball away from a York ball handler in the closing minute, dove to the floor to secure the ball and wisely called a timeout.

And with determination, he drove the ball inside the lane, took a bump and made the shot and free throw to put the Lakers ahead to stay.

Smith scored 16 points, including three 3-pointers, as Lake Region notched its first basketball win of the season, a thrilling 51-50 victory over the Wildcats (1-2) at Theodore Nutting Gymnasium in Naples.

Jackson Lesure led all scorers with 19 points, including some big foul shots down the stretch for the Lakers.

“Defensively, we’ve been pretty good over the last four games. We are not giving up a lot of points. We can get about 10 points better with more consistent concentration,” Laker Coach J.P. Yorkey said. “We do have lapses. Fortunately, we were focused defensively down the stretch.”

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CAUGHT UP IN THE AIR — LR senior guard Sam Smith defends against a York shooter.

That focus resulted in two big Smith takeaways and a well-timed deflection of a pass to the corner by LR center Nick Hall, who chased down the loose ball.

Although the Lakers saw a five-point lead disappear in the final seconds as the Wildcats intercepted an inbounds pass and scored, they did not panic.

“We had a number of big plays down the stretch. It was great to see, especially because we were in foul trouble,” Coach Yorkey said. “Despite the fact that we are young, and have a lot of guys who are getting their first significant minutes on varsity, this group played together a lot in the off-season. Between the team camp we went to, our summer league games, and other off-season play, they’ve played about 30 games together. It makes a difference.”

Another key has been good leadership from the senior guards, like Smith.

“All this helps down the stretch when you need big plays,” Coach Yorkey said.

This one was tight from start to finish. The game was tied 8-8 after one quarter, and the Cats took a 20-19 lead at the half. LR took a 36-35 lead headed into the final eight minutes.

A big factor was the Lakers’ overall balance. Mark Williams provided a needed spark with his quickness at both ends of the court, scoring 7 points, including a trey. Senior guard Ben Chaine helped against the York press, and chipped in five points. Other scorers were Quinn Piland with 3 (he had several big rebounds) and Nate Smith had 1.

“We have a lot of like athletes, which allows for a fair amount of versatility and flexibility,” Coach Yorkey said. “I believe that over time, we will be a balanced and deep team — especially as some of our younger guys gain varsity-level experience as the season goes on.”

Next: The Lakers were scheduled to play Wells yesterday after the game had been pushed back a day due to Tuesday’s snowstorm. The Lakers travel to Falmouth tonight, Dec. 19, for a 7 p.m. game. — the first of a five-game road schedule. LR is at Gray-New Gloucester Saturday at 5 p.m., then LR is off for the holiday break.

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BEN CHAINE of Lake Region (right) takes the ball strong to the hoop against York.

Laker girls declaw York

YORK — When the York girls retreated to the locker room at halftime, they had to wonder what had just hit them.

Lake Region’s defense suffocated the young Wildcats to the tune of a 15-2 run to start the game and a 17-9 spurt to close out the half. York failed to reach double digits in scoring until the final quarter as the Lakers rolled to a 57-27 victory to improve to 3-0.

Coach Paul True had prepared his club for two key road contests, facing a talented but young Wildcat team minus their top scorer, Shannon Todd.

LR made quick work of the Cats, keeping their foot on the gas pedal in the third quarter with a 17-5 run. Sarah Hancock paced a balanced attack with a game-high 13 points, including two treys. Tiana-Jo Carter and CeCe Hancock each tossed in 8 points, while Meghan VanLoan added 7, Miranda Chadbourne 6, Lucy Fowler 6 (two 3-pointers), Jordan Turner 5 and Kristen Huntress 4 points.

No Wildcat reached double digits.

The next big challenge was set for Tuesday against undefeated Wells, but the game was pushed to Wednesday due to the impending snowstorm.

The Lakers host Falmouth tonight, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. and travel to Gray-New Gloucester Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. game.

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