Semis: Lakers rally to beat Greely

 

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HOLDING HER GROUND — Lake Region forward Miranda Chadbourne blocks the path of Greely's Moira Train (#3) during the Class B West semis. (Rivet Photo)
SEMIFINAL GAME       LAKERS (43)
Tiana-Jo Carter 3-0-6, Sarah Hancock 2-4-10, CeCe Hancock 3-3-11, Kristen Huntresss 2-0-6, Jordan Turner 3-1-7, Meghan VanLoan 1-1-3, Miranda Chadbourne, Lucy Fowler, Spencer True.
3-Pointers: S. Hancock (2), C. Hancock (2), Huntress (2).
Turnovers: 11
Free Throws: 10-18
Rebounds (28): Carter 10, Turner 5, Chadbourne 4, VanLoan 4, S. Hancock 3, Fowler 1, C. Hancock 1.
GREELY (32)
Molly Chapin 3-0-8, Jordynne Copp 2-0-4, Haley Felkel 2-0-4, Ashley Storey 3-3-10, Blais Tardiff 1-0-3, Moira Train 1-0-3.
3-Pointers: Chapin (2), Storey, Tardiff, Train.
Turnovers: 15
Free Throws: 3-8
Rebounds (26): Storey 9, Train 5, Tardiff 4, Haley Felkel 3, Copp 2, S. Felkel 2, Chapin 1.                               
QUARTERFINAL GAME LAKERS (58)
Tiana-Jo Carter 8-0-16, Miranda Chadbourne 1-2-4, Lucy Fowler 1-0-3, Sarah Hancock 3-2-9, CeCe Hancock 1-6-8, Kristen Huntress 2-0-6, Jordan Turner 4-1-10, Meghan VanLoan 1-0-2, Spencer True.
3-Pointers: Fowler, S. Hancock, Huntress (2), Turner.
Turnovers: 12
Free Throws: 11-22
Rebounds (35): Carter 15, Turner 7, VanLoan 55, C. Hancock 3, Fowler 2, Huntress 2, S. Hancock 1.
Blocked shots: Carter 4.
YORK (42)
Mia Briggs 3-0-7, Erin McCafferty 1-0-2, Paige McElwain 0-1-1, Chloe Smedley 3-0-6, Emma Thomson 2-0-6, Shannon Todd 7-3-20.
3-Pointers: Briggs, Thomson (2), Todd (3).
Turnovers: 24
Free Throws: 4-7
Rebounds (26): Todd 6, Briggs 6, Smedley 4, Leroux 4, McElwain 3, Donovan 2, McCafferty 1.

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — When Coach Paul True walked into the locker room at halftime of the Class B West semifinals game, he saw a lot of glum looks.

Lake Region trailed Greely, 18-17.

The coach’s message to his Lakers was simple — “just believe.”

“We played one of our worst halves of basketball this season and we were down one point. I felt our confidence was low. If we missed a shot, we hung our heads,” Coach True said. “At halftime, I told them to believe in themselves, believe in each other, and it will be doable. If we didn’t play with confidence, it would be an uphill battle.”

It would take a courageous effort by a reserve player and a barrage of 3-point shots during a minute span early in the fourth quarter to rally the top-seeded Lakers to a 43-32 victory over fourth-ranked Greely (15-5) at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

With 6:18 left in the third quarter and the game tied at 20, Laker senior center Tiana-Jo Carter was saddled with her third personal foul, forcing Coach True to take her out of the line-up. Junior Meghan VanLoan (5-foot-7) stepped in and held her own against Greely’s star 6-foot-1 center Ashley Storey.

“At first, I was really nervous because she (Ashley Storey) is way taller than me. Once I was in there, I knew I had my teammates’ help. I just took the approach I was going to work as hard as I could,” VanLoan said. “My teammates told me to stay calm and stay in front of her, don’t get behind. That helped a lot.”

Playing against Carter every day also paid dividends.

“I feel like practicing every day with Tiana really helped me to learn how to defend bigger players,” VanLoan said. “She is one of the best post players in western Maine, if not the state, so it really helped me get ready for this type of situation.”

In fact, VanLoan outscored Storey, completing a 3-point play to give the Lakers just their second lead of the game, 23-20.

“I couldn’t have been more proud of Meg. She works her tail off every day to prepare for this kind of opportunity. To be honest, she has been doing this night in and night out the second half of the year,” Coach True said. “It would be nice to be doing it with Tiana on the floor, but tonight, she had to play a big role and she stepped up and did that.”

Storey scored with 1:12 left in the third as the Rangers finally delivered the ball in close to the basket. A Molly Chapin 3-pointer with 34.2 left put the Rangers back on top, 25-23 entering the final quarter.

Laker shooters rediscovered their touch with the game on the line. After Storey scored to push the game to 27-23, the Laker bomb squad turned the game around. First, CeCe Hancock dropped a 3-pointer after Carter came up with a big offensive rebound. Seconds later, Sarah Hancock delivered a trey to put the Lakers up two points. Following a timeout, freshman Kristen Huntress sank another 3-bomb as the Lakers started to take control of the contest.

Senior Jordan Turner’s offensive rebound and score and a pair of Sarah Hancock free throws put the Lakers up 38-29 with 2:07 left.

There would be no fantastic finish for Greely as the Rangers turned the ball over four times during the final couple of minutes, and were relegated to hoping the Lakers would misfire at the free throw line. LR went 7-of-12 from the stripe to close out the Rangers and advance to their third straight Western Maine Conference finals.

“Give the girls credit, they didn’t play their best but they came up with big plays when they needed it,” Coach True said.

Indeed.

The Lakers were out of synch early as Greely’s Blais Tardif and Storey each swished 3-pointers to give the Rangers a quick 6-0 lead. With Greely packing the paint to stop LR’s main threat — Carter — the Rangers found success and led 10-6 after one.

“We were unable to create any tempo and we weren’t shooting with any confidence,” Coach True said.

Meanwhile, the Rangers started to get into a groove in the second as back-to-back 3-pointers by Moira Train and Chapin gave Greely a 16-9 lead.

The Lakers battled back as Carter banked a shot off the window and the Hancock girls each netted 3-pointers to cut the deficit to one at the break.

Words proved more valuable than warm-ups as the Lakers failed to return to the court until 1:00 was left on the clock. Coach True had sent a strong message, which Laker players certainly heard and responded to.

Nearly a cat fight

York Coach Rick Clark figured his club could spring a quarterfinal upset if somehow the Wildcats could get Laker center Tiana-Jo Carter into foul trouble.

Easier said than done.

Carter dominated the glass early, hauling down seven of her 15 rebounds in the first quarter as the Lakers erupted for a 21-4 lead and cruised past York 58-42 at the Portland Expo.

The Lakers came out of the opening tip smoking as Kristen Huntress buried two 3-pointers to spark an 11-0 run.

York had trouble with the Lakers’ pressure defense, turning the ball over 10 times in the first eight minutes. The Cats finally recorded their first score of the night at 3:03 left in the quarter on a Chloe Smedley jumper.

Carter closed out the Lakers’ impressive start with an offensive rebound and put back for a 21-4 advantage.

The Cats made a mini run in the second behind sophomore guard Shannon Todd, who scored 12 of her 20 points in the period as York chopped the deficit to 28-17.

But, the Lakers regrouped as Sarah Hancock sank a pull-up jumper in the lane, while Miranda Chadbourne sank a foul shot and CeCe Hancock went 2-for-2 from the stripe to end the quarter.

LR 33, York 17.

The Lakers appeared ready to close out the game midway through the third quarter as Lucy Fowler connected for a 3-pointer and Jordan Turner dropped in four points to make it a 42-19 game.

York, however, refused to quit. Nine straight points, including a Todd 3-pointer with 2:42 left, made it interesting once again. Emma Thomson left a few LR fans a bit jittery when she buried two 3-pointers to close the quarter.

LR 46, York 34.

Not scoring a point during the third quarter, Carter made her presence felt down the stretch. She scored six points and hauled down five rebounds as the Lakers fought off York’s rally with a 10-3 run to close out the game.

 

 

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