Sarah Hancock nets 20 to sink Raider girls’ comeback try

SARAH HANCOCK of Lake Region pulls up for a jumpshot against Fryeburg Academy's Mackenzie Buzzell during Tuesday night's game in Naples. (Rivet Photo) LAKERS (51) Chandler True, Spencer True 1-0-3, Lauren Jakobs 2-0-4, Sarah Hancock 3-13-20, CeCe Hancock 3-4-10, Molly Christensen 1-0-2, Meghan VanLoan 1-0-2, Kristen Huntress 4-1-10, Melody Millett, Devin Langadas, Allison Morse, Alizah Thayer. 3-Pointers: S. True, S. Hancock, Huntress Turnovers: 9 FT: 18-of-30 FG: 14-of-46 Rebounds: 27, S. Hancock 7 RAIDERS (48) Sage Boivin 1-4-6, Kaylin Delaney 3-2-9, Mackenzie Buzzell 2-1-6, Julia Quinn 4-10-19, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 1-2-4, Nicole Bennett 0-4-4, Alexandria Fraize, Bridget Bailey 3-Pointers: Delaney, Quinn Turnovers: 12 FT: 23-of-40 FG: 11-of-31 Rebounds: 24, L’Heureux-Carland 7

SARAH HANCOCK of Lake Region pulls up for a jumpshot against Fryeburg Academy's Mackenzie Buzzell during Tuesday night's game in Naples. (Rivet Photo)
LAKERS (51)
Chandler True, Spencer True 1-0-3, Lauren Jakobs 2-0-4, Sarah Hancock 3-13-20, CeCe Hancock 3-4-10, Molly Christensen 1-0-2, Meghan VanLoan 1-0-2, Kristen Huntress 4-1-10, Melody Millett, Devin Langadas, Allison Morse, Alizah Thayer.
3-Pointers: S. True, S. Hancock, Huntress
Turnovers: 9
FT: 18-of-30
FG: 14-of-46
Rebounds: 27, S. Hancock 7
RAIDERS (48)
Sage Boivin 1-4-6, Kaylin Delaney 3-2-9, Mackenzie Buzzell 2-1-6, Julia Quinn 4-10-19, Lexi L’Heureux-Carland 1-2-4, Nicole Bennett 0-4-4, Alexandria Fraize, Bridget Bailey
3-Pointers: Delaney, Quinn
Turnovers: 12
FT: 23-of-40
FG: 11-of-31
Rebounds: 24, L’Heureux-Carland 7

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer
When it is time to close out a game, Coach Paul True wants to keep the ball in senior point guard Sarah Hancock’s hands as much as possible.
Hancock sealed Lake Region’s 51-48 victory over Fryeburg Academy Tuesday night at Nutting Gym by sinking 9-of-10 free throws en route to a game-high 20 points.
The victory pushed the Lakers to 4-3, and concluded a sweep over their rivals.
Unlike the first meeting, Lake Region struggled from the perimeter, making just 14-of-46 shots, including only three 3-pointers. In the first game against the Raiders, the Lakers blitzed the FA defense for eight treys.
It appeared the Lakers were picking up where they left off against Fryeburg as Spencer True connected for a corner three-pointer, Hancock dropped a trey from straightaway, and CeCe Hancock returned to the lineup after missing time due to a concussion with a layup off a Raider turnover to give the home team a 14-10 lead after one.
After falling behind 5-0, the Raiders settled in and got a nice lift from reserve guard Kaylin Delaney, who sank a pair of foul shots then netted a three-pointer to tie the game at 7-7. Mackenzie Buzzell also found the mark from behind the arc to make it a 12-10 game.
Lake Region was unable to shake a pesky Raider team as they shot 3-of-16 from the field and were 0-for-5 at the foul line. To FA Coach Sean Watson’s chagrin, the Lakers had a 10-7 rebounding advantage (seven different players figured in that total), which enabled LR to put up twice as many shots in the period than his Raiders.
FA junior point guard Julia Quinn erased a six-point LR lead by sinking four straight foul shots — she was an impressive 10-of-11 on the night — and added a layup off a nice pass from Buzzell to tie the game at 18-18 with 1:37 left in the half.
LR guard Kristen Huntress answered the Raider run with a three-pointer, but Sage Boivin made 1-of-2 foul shots with 13.7 seconds left to make the score 21-19 at the break.
“I think we kept our composure for the most part. We were a bit unsettled offensively trying to get the ball inside in the first half. I think we did better job in the second half,” FA Coach Sean Watson said. “Defensively, we were a lot quicker recovering to shooters after helping. I think we did a decent job when we switched it up to a zone for a few minutes.”
Showing patience and better passing, the Lakers opened up a 26-21 lead behind Huntress, who converted a slick pass from CeCe Hancock into a layup and later scored an old-fashioned three-point play.
Just when it appeared momentum was on the Lakers’ side, the Raiders roared back with their own run.
FA scored six straight points — a pair of Boivin foul shots, a Delaney layup and a jumper in the lane by Delaney — to give the Raiders their first lead, 27-26.
Lake Region snapped a nearly four-minute scoring drought as CeCe Hancock drove to the hoop, scored, was fouled, and made a foul shot.
After centers Nicole Bennett (FA, two foul shots) and Meghan VanLoan (LR, basket) traded points, the Lakers closed out the period with a 6-2 run.
The final eight minutes boiled down to a free throw shooting contest as three players headed to the bench with five personals.
While the Lakers went 10-of-13 from the stripe, the Raiders had a chance to make the game closer but failed to convert when given the opportunities — 10-for-19.
“If you get to the line 40 times you should win. I’m happy we got to the line that often. That’s a sure sign that you are doing things right,” Coach Watson said. “If we make four more free throws, we win the game. It is as simple as that.”
Sarah Hancock took valuable time off the clock by showing steady ball-handling skills, weaving through the Raider defense.
Up 49-43 with 29 seconds left, Laker Coach Paul True yelled out, “No 3s!” Right on cue, FA guard Julia Quinn drained a three-pointer near the top of the key, with 17 seconds left, to make it a one-possession game.
Unable to come up with a steal, the Raiders were forced to foul. Hancock ultimately sank FA’s comeback attempt by netting both foul shots.
“It is always hard to defend a guard-heavy offense when you are behind at the end of the game. Certainly the Lakers have a lot of experience salting games away. That showed,” Coach Watson said.
Buzzell added some suspense by scoring a quick layup and calling timeout with 1.6 seconds left on the clock.
Having turned the ball over twice on five-second violations, Lake Region’s sophomore guard Kristen Huntress called for a timeout when she was unable to get the ball in play.
Who was Huntress’ target on her next try? Who else, Sarah Hancock, who made a sharp cut toward the sideline and secured the ball as time ran out.
“Foul trouble is always a concern. However, we got absolutely great minutes off the bench. Every kid that came in the game off the bench gave us valuable and productive time,” Coach Watson said. “These kids are as resilient as you’ll find. That is why they are such a great group to coach. They never back down and they never quit. That’s an admirable trait in athletics, but it is an even more important characteristic for the world they will enter outside of athletics.”
Next: Lake Region (4-3) hosts Freeport tonight, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. and travels to Gray-New Gloucester Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. game. Next week, the Lakers go to Waynflete on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. contest.
Fryeburg Academy (3-5) looks to snap a three-game losing skid tonight at home against Falmouth at 6:30 p.m. The Raiders then host Poland on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Gray-New Gloucester on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Heal Watch: Victories over Poland and Fryeburg moved Lake Region up in the Heal Ratings released Wednesday to sixth. The Raiders, meanwhile, remain in striking distance of the playoffs, but presently reside in 13th.

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