Rangers sink LR girls on late shot

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

CUMBERLAND — What a difference a month made for Ashley Storey.

In her first encounter against Lake Region, the Greely freshman was virtually a non-factor, scoring just 4 points in a 40-27 loss.

Friday night was a complete 180 turnaround. The 6-footer had a dominant night, scoring a game-high 19 points, hauling down 10 rebounds and blocking two shots as the Rangers (13-3) upset the Lakers 39-37 in Cumberland.

Ashley’s sister, Jaclyn, buried the game winner on a short jumper just inside the foul line with less than 10 seconds to go. The Greely captain finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds.

All night, Greely guards did a superb job getting the ball to the open Storey as the Rangers enjoyed a 14-8 lead after one quarter and 21-13 at intermission.

At the other end, the Lakers were stymied by the Rangers’ size, unable to finish some drives to the hoop while also missing some open looks from the outside.

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Greely 39

Ashley Storey 9-1-19, Jaclyn Storey 6-1-13, Haylee Munson 2-0-4, Courtney Nielsen 1-0-3, Caton Beaulieu 0-0-0, Caroline Hamilton 0-0-0. Totals: 18-2-39. Turnovers: 18. Free Throws: 2-of-5. Rebounds: (19) A. Storey 10, Beaulieu 2, Hamilton 2, J. Storey 5. 3-Pointers: Nielsen.

Lake Region 37

Tiana-Jo Carter 7-2-16, Abby Craffey 2-0-6, Sarah Hancock 0-2-2, Sydney Hancock 4-1-10, Rachel Wandishin 1-0-3, Kelsey Winslow 0-0-0, Savannah DeVoe 0-0-0, Jordan Turner 0-0-0, Shannon VanLoan 0-0-0. Totals: 12-5-37. Turnovers: 19. Free Throws: 5-of-13. Rebounds: (20) Carter 16, DeVoe 2, Wandishin 1, Sy. Hancock 1. 3-Pointers: Craffey (2), Sy. Hancock, Wandishin.

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“I was actually very surprised because here (at Lake Region), our big players did extremely well. So, I didn’t think that would be such a decisive advantage for them, as it was Friday night,” LR Coach Paul True said. “Movement inside continues to be a problem for us. On one occasion, they were doubling Tiana and we were able to get Kelsey (Winslow) the ball at the foul line. She did a nice job beating her defender with a quick first step and made a strong move to the basket. We didn’t do that enough.”

Carter was the lone inside threat all night for the Lakers (14-2). The sophomore center scored 16 points and collected the first 11 LR rebounds. She finished with 16 of the 20 team rebounds.

“One of the real dilemmas that they (Greely) present is that they can help with a 6-footer waiting inside. Most of the teams we play have just one big player and their help defender is a smaller player, which we beat to the hoop on a regular basis. They were helping with a 6-footer, and it made it tougher for our shooters,” Coach True said. “Some of our players had a difficult time finding shots.”

After being behind over the first six minutes, the Lakers tied the game when Rachel Wandishin came up with a steal and dished the ball to Sydney Hancock for a lay-up. But, Greely scored the quarter’s final six points as Jaclyn Storey scored a bucket off a strong drive, she later added a foul shot and Courtney Nielsen drained a 3-pointer on a second-chance shot with 42.2 seconds.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball in the second, combining for just 12 points. LR went nearly five minutes without scoring before Wandishin launched a trey from the corner, which bounced off the rim and fell through the twines. Greely enjoyed an eight-point halftime lead as Ashley Storey scored 5 of the team’s final 7 points.

Lake Region erased the eight-point deficit behind nine points from Carter, and some aggressive defense that forced some turnovers leading to a Hancock lay-up with 3:08 left, cutting the Ranger advantage to 29-26. Freshman Sarah Hancock sank two foul shots, and Sydney Hancock swished a 3-pointer with 2:21 left to tie the game, 31-31.

“I thought some of our offense later in the game was triggered by our defense, which at times we rely too much on,” Coach True said. “The game was starting to turn a little bit, but we couldn’t finish it.”

Jaclyn Storey restored order for the Rangers scoring twice to close out the quarter, putting Greely up 35-31.

Again, points were scarce over the final eight minutes, partly due to some tight defense but also due to some poor shooting. LR scored the first point of the quarter with 2:10 left as Sydney Hancock made 1-of-2 foul shots. The Lakers’ struggles at the foul line (5-of-13 to Greely’s 2-of-5) would ultimately be a difference maker.

Having sat out about six minutes, senior guard Abby Craffey returned to the floor in crunch time and delivered. Her 3-pointer from the top of the key tied the game at 35-35 with 1:49 left.

“At that time (earlier in the quarter), I went with a different line-up. A huge credit to Abby. I told her she was going in to hit a big 3-pointer for us, and she did exactly that. It was a huge basket, and a real credit to Abby who stayed in the game mentally and was ready when she was called upon,” Coach True said. “Abby has had a fantastic year, and I couldn’t be more proud of her, not only during games but in practice, she has been nothing but a pleasure to coach.”

After the Lakers missed two foul shots, Greely regained the lead as guard Haylee Munson connected on a foul line jumper with 1:04 left.

Playing on a sore knee, Carter tied the game with 28.9 seconds off a feed from Sydney Hancock. In crunch time, Greely went to its captain — Jaclyn Storey — who delivered.

“It comes down to being able to contain the ballhandler. We allowed dribble penetration on the baseline, one of our big kids stepped up to help which she needed to do, and that left Jaclyn (Storey) with a wide open 15-footer, and she buried it,” Coach True said. “They executed very well, we had to rotate down to help out, and left them with a wide-open look, which they found.”

After ripping off 13 straight wins, the Lakers dropped their second loss within eight days. Has the losses stunned the Lakers’ confidence?

“I’d like to think it wouldn’t. Unfortunately, it does. We’re not used to losing a number of games. When we do, we sometimes over-analyze instead of appreciating the moment and the venue that we played in, learn from it and move on,” Coach True said.

A growing concern is the health of two key Lakers — Carter and senior guard Allison Clark. Carter played the entire Greely game, but was injured in the second half. Carter wasn’t sure how the knee was injured, but said, “It really hurt.” She walked with a slight limp Monday night, and was held out of Tuesday’s game against Fryeburg Academy.

Clark missed the Greely game due to a knee injury. Her absence hurt the outside shooting game Friday night. In the previous meeting against Greely, Clark scored 9 points — all 3-pointers.

“We really don’t have a lot of answers right now. We’re going to wait and see. Hopefully, we’ll have everyone healthy for the tournament,” Coach True said. “We’re going to see some kids, who normally have smaller roles when they’re on the floor, have bigger roles and we’ll see what they are capable of. It will be their time to step up. I expect them to do that.”

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