LR boys fueled up, capture first

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

SET TO BLOCK — Laker Mike Mageles (#3) prepares to block a shot, but Freeport’s Landon Easler passed the ball — a wise decision.

Maybe, Jeff and Rebecca Hall should invite the Lake Region boys’ basketball team over to their Casco home for a spaghetti dinner before every game.

Coming off a disappointing one-point loss to Waynflete last Thursday night, the Lakers bounced back behind a 23-point, 17-rebound night from senior center Alex Hartford to beat Freeport 73-63 Saturday night at Nutting Gymnasium.

Mike Triglione dropped 16 points while Cody Gibbons came off the bench to score 15 points and haul down 5 rebounds as the Lakers ended a three-game losing skid.

“It was very disappointing (the loss last Thursday), especially knowing that Waynflete is going to be worth a bundle of Heal Points. I was glad that the kids were disappointed. It shows that they care,” Lake Region Coach J.P. Yorkey said. “They bounced back real well. They had a very good practice. We had a great team dinner at the Halls’ house, which you could see that the kids get along very well. That team unity carried over to today. It was good to see that.”

Freeport started the game with a hot hand from the outside as Chandler Birmingham buried two jumpers while Matt Shulties (8 points) connected for three baseline shots as the Falcons jumped ahead 20-14.

Momentum shifted when sophomore Gibbons entered the game. His physical play silenced Birmingham on the defensive end, while his strong moves to the hoop eventually carved out more operating room for teammate Alex Hartford, who scored 8 points in the second to give the Lakers a 36-30 halftime lead.

“When Cody came off the bench, Birmingham (9 points) wasn’t much of a factor the rest of the way,” Coach Yorkey said. “Cody is a difficult match-up, especially when he is on the floor as a guard. There are a lot of skinny kids in our league, and Cody is tough to keep off the backboard. He leaps well. He was a little rusty coming into the season, but appears to be shaking that off. He has the potential to be a real good scorer.”

Gibbons’ presence helped offset the loss of center Erik Christensen, who was out of action due to a concussion suffered in the Yarmouth game.

“I think we wore them (Freeport) down some. Our kids played real hard defensively, extending the pressure into the backcourt,” Coach Yorkey said. “We rotated guys better than we have.”

BATTLING FOR POSITION — Lake Region’s Alex Hall (left) fends off Freeport’s Nick Wilson for position in the lane during Saturday’s game at Nutting Gym. (Rivet Photo)

Hartford keyed the LR comeback by playing big at both ends of the court. He had five rebounds and a blocked shot as the Lakers pieced together an impressive 22-10 second quarter charge.

“Alex keeps his hands high and is a quick jumper,” Coach Yorkey said. “He can help us in a lot of ways — as a ballhandler, rebounder and scorer. Alex had a good season last year (our second leading scorer and leading rebounder), so his experience has been very helpful. He’s a competitor. For a kid as slight as he is, he plays very tough inside.”

Freeport’s Drew Shane hit the Falcons’ first shot of the second half to narrow the gap to four points, but Gibbons answered at the other end with a power move that resulted in an old-fashioned 3-point play. Gibbons added four more points as the Lakers built a 45-35 lead with 5:27 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons climbed back into the game by scoring the last six points of the quarter, four by captain Mitch Loeman who scored 21 points to go along with 13 rebounds.

Up 51-45, the Lakers fought off Freeport’s challenge as Mike Mageles and Hartford each drained 3-pointers and Triglione sliced past two Falcon defenders for a lay-up to push the margin back to 10 points.

Down the stretch, the Lakers executed their offense well to produce some easy inside shots. If there was one glaring problem, it was free throw shooting. After a 7-for-8 run in the second quarter, the Lakers were 5-for-10 over the final two minutes.

“What was great about tonight was seeing our kids make basketball plays. They read the situation and made plays,” Coach Yorkey said. “We were much better in transition offense. Tonight was like watching some of the drills we run in practice. It was great to see them finishing.”

For the Lakers, Alex Hall tossed in 4 points, Sam Smith 2, Lewis Morton 1 and Ben Chaine had 1 point.

In the rebounding department, the Lakers held a 35-28 advantage. Other rebounders were: Hall 4, Mageles 4, Chaine 3, Triglione 1 and Morton 1.

Free throws: LR 21-32, Freeport 13-21.

Turnovers: LR 27, Freeport 18.

• The Lakers were issued a technical foul with 40.1 seconds remaining because the uniform number of a reserve entering the game had been incorrectly recorded in the official scorebook. Freeport’s Landon Easler made 1-of-2 shots.

In other action

Waynflete 41, Lakers 40: The Lakers were unable to hold onto a 3-point lead in the fourth quarter as the Flyers snatched a 1-point victory at Nutting Gym last Thursday night.

Junior Mike Triglione led the Lakers with 14 points, including two 3-pointers, while senior Alex Hartford chipped in 12 points. Other scorers were: Mike Mageles 9 points (two 3-pointers), Sam Smith 3 and Cody Gibbons 2 points.

Lakers 70, Gray-NG 47: Mike Triglione and Alex Hartford each scored a game-high 23 points as the Lakers hammered the Patriots (1-3) Tuesday night. LR (2-3) broke the game open with a 20-8 third quarter. The Lakers enjoyed first half leads of 15-12 and 32-23.

Other LR scorers were: Mike Mageles 9, Cody Gibbons 6, Ben Chaine 4, Alex Hall 2, Derek Douglass 2 and Erik Christensen 1.

Up next: The Lakers travel to Cape Elizabeth tonight, Dec. 22, for a 7 p.m. game.

During the holiday break, the Lakers will play at the Portland Expo on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. against South Portland, and on Thursday, Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. against Windham.

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