True’s late free throw sinks Yarmouth in quarterfinals

KEY TIE UP — Kristen Huntress (left) and Lauren Jakobs forced a tie up and jump ball call, giving the Lakers possession late in the game — a mistake later detected at the scorer's table.

KEY TIE UP — Kristen Huntress (left) and Lauren Jakobs forced a tie up and jump ball call, giving the Lakers possession late in the game — a mistake later detected at the scorer's table.

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — With opposing fans chanting her name, Chandler True’s facial expression quickly changed from focused to dejected when her foul shot attempt bounced off the iron.

3.3 seconds left.

Game tied 31-31

Hoping to add just a little more pressure onto the shoulders of the Laker sophomore, Yarmouth Coach Christina Strong called timeout.

It was the first trip to the foul line for Chandler.

“Chandler came off the floor, and said, ‘I can’t make it, I can’t make it.’ Then, Coach (Meghan) Craffey gets on her by saying, ‘Yes, you can make it.’ Her teammates were all over it. They told her, ‘Chandler, you can do this. We believe in you.’ That’s the kind of character this team has. They play for each other,” Lake Region Head Coach Paul True said. “What a great moment. I’m very proud of her.”

Coolly and confidently, Chandler sank the second shot and propelled third-seeded Lake Region (15-3) past sixth-seeded Yarmouth 32-31 in Tuesday’s Class B South quarterfinal playoff game held at the Portland Expo.

Once True made the game winning shot, Coach True called timeout, which he previously arranged with a game official.

Melody Millett LAKERS, 32 Scoring: Kristen Huntress 4, Melody Millett 5, Chandler True 6, Lauren Jakobs 9, Spencer True 8 Rebounds (26): Huntress 2, Millett 5, C. True 4, Jakobs 11, S. True 1, Brooke Harriman 3 Assists: Huntress 1, Millett 1, Jakobs 2, Harriman 1 Steals: Huntress 2, Millett 2, C. True 1, S. True 1, Kaylyn Jordan 1 FG: 11-47, 23.4% 3-Point: 3-15, 20% FT: 7-11, 63.6% YARMOUTH, 31 Scoring: Cory Langenbach 11, Claire Brady 9, Alison Clark 4, Johana Hattan 7 Rebounds (26): Langenbach 1, Jessica Kirk 5, Brady 2, Clark 8, Hattan 5, Isabel Bates 1, Clementine Blaschke 3, Sarah Kirk 1 Assists: J. Kirk 1, Clark 2, Hattan 3 Steals: Langenbach 2, Hattan 1, Blaschke 2 FG: 11-40, 27.5% 3-Point: 5-14, 35.7% FT: 4-10, 40%

Melody Millett
LAKERS, 32
Scoring: Kristen Huntress 4, Melody Millett 5, Chandler True 6, Lauren Jakobs 9, Spencer True 8
Rebounds (26): Huntress 2, Millett 5, C. True 4, Jakobs 11, S. True 1, Brooke Harriman 3
Assists: Huntress 1, Millett 1, Jakobs 2, Harriman 1
Steals: Huntress 2, Millett 2, C. True 1, S. True 1, Kaylyn Jordan 1
FG: 11-47, 23.4%
3-Point: 3-15, 20%
FT: 7-11, 63.6%
YARMOUTH, 31
Scoring: Cory Langenbach 11, Claire Brady 9, Alison Clark 4, Johana Hattan 7
Rebounds (26): Langenbach 1, Jessica Kirk 5, Brady 2, Clark 8, Hattan 5, Isabel Bates 1, Clementine Blaschke 3, Sarah Kirk 1
Assists: J. Kirk 1, Clark 2, Hattan 3
Steals: Langenbach 2, Hattan 1, Blaschke 2
FG: 11-40, 27.5%
3-Point: 5-14, 35.7%
FT: 4-10, 40%

“I wanted to make sure that we were organized and we weren’t going to get caught up in the moment,” Coach True said. “We thoroughly covered that we couldn’t foul in that situation (the Lakers had six team fouls, one more would have sent Yarmouth to the foul line) and we didn’t want to let them get much over halfcourt.”

Clipper guard Cory Langenbach, who was 1-for-7 from beyond the arc, weaved through LR defenders and launched a last gasp shot that was off the mark, sending the Lakers to the semifinals today, Feb. 18.

While the Lakers pulled out a fantastic finish, the outcome was marred by controversy.

After Laker forward Lauren Jakobs sank a pair of clutch foul shots with 40.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 31, Yarmouth looked to take the game’s final shot. With the clock working down to 16.8 seconds left, LR guard Kristen Huntress and Jakobs were able to double team Langenbach and forced a held-ball call.

The possession arrow at the head table pointed in Lake Region’s favor.

So, game officials handed the ball over to the Lakers.

When the ball went over halfcourt, the buzzer sounded.

A mistake had been made at the head table. The possession arrow had not been changed after a previous held-ball call, so Yarmouth should have retained the ball. Referees, however, noted that by rule, once the ball re-entered play, the possession call was no longer correctable.

“My heart is broken for those (Yarmouth) kids and those coaches. I feel terrible about it,” said Coach True, who noted that assistant coaches on his bench keep track of possessions, for accuracy sake. “The horn should not have blown and stopped play. That possession should have continued. So, they made a couple of mistakes there.”

Coach True has seen incorrect possession calls made before, “but not on the last possession of the game or in a tournament game.”

“It’s very, very unfortunate,” he added. “I feel awful for them.”

The Lakers, however, did their part to be in a position to pull off the victory. Not only did they hold Yarmouth to just five points in the final quarter, the Clippers failed to score over the final 3:47 after Langenbach (she tallied all of her team’s points in the quarter) drained a 3-pointer.

Down 26-23, the Lakers showed composure over the final eight minutes, moving the ball to find the best scoring option and also staying aggressive taking the ball to the rim, despite having several shots rejected by Yarmouth’s Claire Brady (four blocks) and Johana Hattan (three).

With Jakobs going 4-for-4 from the line, LR closed the gap when Huntress connected on a pull-up jumper in the lane and Melody Millett sank a bankshot off the glass to make it 31-29, Yarmouth with 1:28 left.

Chandler True earned her chance to win the game by taking the ball strong to the rim, and drawing a foul call.

It proved to be a long, challenging climb but the Lakers found a way to prevail and reach a playoff game at Cross Arena.

“It’s a group that plays for each other. They really bought into the fact that it’s a complete game. You don’t win a game after 26 or 28 minutes. They just keep battling. They’ve done it all year long. We’ve beaten this same team two other times when the chips were down. We weren’t playing great, but just kept battling. We did that today, as well,” Coach True said.

Just like the regular season games, this one was close throughout.

Knowing the Lakers would likely try to clog the lane to stop forward Alison Clark, the Clippers looked to spread the floor and create some operating room for their post players. They did so by connecting on three 3-pointers to build an 11-5 lead after a quarter.

“I give Yarmouth credit. They came out and hit a couple of quick threes, and I thought it deflated our kids just a little bit,” Coach True said. “But, the game lasts for 32 minutes and our kids kept plugging away.”

LR’s early offense came from Chandler True, who scored all five points.

Neither club was able to light it up offensively as the Clippers went into the break with a 17-13 lead. Spencer True netted a 3-pointer and added a strong drive to the hoop, while Melody Millett scored before the buzzer off a pass from Brooke Harriman.

Yarmouth hurt the Lakers with 10 second-chance shots, but managed to score just four points.

“We talked a lot about blocking out needs to be better; and we can’t be content with just inside position because bigger and longer players are still going to get rebounds,” Coach True said. “Obviously, foul trouble played a major role, as well. Kids were a little more tentative because they were afraid about picking up another foul. We were just trying to get deep into the second half. We made a little run in the third quarter because we could get out and run and press. A couple of fouls later, we were just trying to get back and play for a possession or two at the end of the game.”

LR seemed more energized when they returned to the floor following the halftime break than they were when the game started at 10:30 a.m.

Jakobs added some life to the Lakers’ steps with a 3-point play and Spencer True rattled home a 3-pointer to put the Lakers up 19-17.

“That’s the way we were hoping to play more of the game but it just didn’t work out that way. We had spurts that we put some points on the board and able to get it inside and attack the rim,” Coach True said.

As part of a couple of ties and lead changes, Chandler True scored off two drives to the hoop to put LR up 23-22.

Yarmouth closed out the quarter with an Alison Clark hoop and a pair of foul shots by Hattan for a 26-23 lead.

Coach True felt the play of inside players enabled his club to fight for a chance to pull out a victory. Jakobs collected a game-high 11 rebounds (six were offensive) and was 5-for-5 from the foul line. Paint partners Melody Millett had 5 boards and reserve Brooke Harriman hauled down 3.

“I thought Mel, Brooke and Lauren just kept playing. We weren’t as active I would have liked during the whole game, but those kids just kept playing. They’re great kids,” the coach said.

Another key was the play of leading scorer Kristen Huntress, who was blanketed by Yarmouth’s defense and held to just 4 points. But, her ballhandling and defensive pressure were difference makers.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her maturity and how much she has grown up. Kristen could have hung her head, she could have been really frustrated. In the first half, she wasn’t getting looks and was getting beat up,” Coach True said. “Yet, she stayed with it and stayed very focused.”

Now, the focus turns to the next challenge, second-seed Gray-New Gloucester. What will it take to beat a Patriot team that features a big front line?

“If we don’t rebound, we won’t have the same opportunity that we had today, plain and simple,” Coach True said. “We need to protect the rim and block out and play physical. They’re a very physical team.”

UPDATE: The Lakers lost to Gray-New Gloucester 53-47 in overtime Thursday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland in the Class B South semifinals. Full story in the next edition.

 

 

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