York provides good playoff primer for Laker boys

QUINN PILAND heads to the hoop for an uncontested layup after coming up with a key fourth quarter steal. (Rivet Photo)

QUINN PILAND heads to the hoop for an uncontested layup after coming up with a key fourth quarter steal. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

York gave the Lake Region boys’ basketball team just what they needed on Senior Night.

The Wildcats pushed the Lakers to the limit, which should help them in their first tournament game this Saturday at the Expo.

And, the seniors Nick Hall and Quinn Piland played key roles in pulling out the exciting victory, enabling the Lakers to sound the victory bell in Nutting Gym one last time.

Hall converted a pair of key foul shots down the stretch and hauled down 13 rebounds to go along with six points, while Piland stole a pass in the closing seconds to lift the Lakers to a 52-48 victory over York.

Trailing 42-37 with 5:49 left in regulation, the Lakers clawed their way back into the game by converting 14-of-16 foul shots. Junior Nate Smith led the way, going 6-for-6, and later sinking a big pull-up jumper in the lane with 2:09 left to put the Lakers ahead to stay. Smith finished with a game-high 16 points.

“It was good to win on Senior Night and to finish the regular season on a positive note — we’ve won six of our last seven,” Laker Coach J.P. Yorkey said. “York was fighting to hold onto a tournament spot and coming off a big win over Fryeburg. They did a good job of staying in the game.”

The Lakers (13-5) showed good patience as they made their comeback, working the ball around the York defense until a good shot opportunity surfaced. Rather than settle for quick jump shots, the Lakers were rewarded for taking the ball to the rim. They had a huge advantage at the foul line — converting 21-of-24 chances, while York was just 3-of-5.

TYLER WALKER plays some tight defense against York. (Rivet Photo) LAKER PLAYOFF PICTURE • The fourth-ranked Lake Region boys (13-5) take on fifth-ranked Spruce Mountain (11-7) at 3 p.m. this Saturday at the Portland Expo in the Class B West quarterfinals.  The winner advances to the semis on Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland at 8:30 p.m. against the winner of the Yarmouth (#1, 15-3) vs. Gray-New Gloucester (#9, 9-10). LR’s last 10 games: 8-2 • The sixth-ranked Lake Region girls (11-7) take on third-ranked Greely (16-2) at 2 p.m. this Tuesday, Feb. 17 at the Portland Expo. The winner advances to the semis on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Cross Arena against the winner of the Gray-New Gloucester/Poland/Oak Hill winner. The Lakers dropped their regular season finale on the road against York, 50-42. LR was led by CeCe Hancock with 12 points, Sarah Hancock 11, Chandler True 8 and Kristen Huntress 7. Other scorers were Meghan VanLoan and Lauren Jakobs each with 2 points. LR nearly had another date with the Wildcats, but Greely beat York in their finale to move up to the third seed. The Rangers beat the Lakers 52-30 — LR’s worst loss of the season.  LR’s last 10 games: 6-4.

TYLER WALKER plays some tight defense against York. (Rivet Photo)
LAKER PLAYOFF PICTURE
• The fourth-ranked Lake Region boys (13-5) take on fifth-ranked Spruce Mountain (11-7) at 3 p.m. this Saturday at the Portland Expo in the Class B West quarterfinals.
The winner advances to the semis on Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland at 8:30 p.m. against the winner of the Yarmouth (#1, 15-3) vs. Gray-New Gloucester (#9, 9-10).
LR’s last 10 games: 8-2
• The sixth-ranked Lake Region girls (11-7) take on third-ranked Greely (16-2) at 2 p.m. this Tuesday, Feb. 17 at the Portland Expo. The winner advances to the semis on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Cross Arena against the winner of the Gray-New Gloucester/Poland/Oak Hill winner.
The Lakers dropped their regular season finale on the road against York, 50-42. LR was led by CeCe Hancock with 12 points, Sarah Hancock 11, Chandler True 8 and Kristen Huntress 7. Other scorers were Meghan VanLoan and Lauren Jakobs each with 2 points.
LR nearly had another date with the Wildcats, but Greely beat York in their finale to move up to the third seed. The Rangers beat the Lakers 52-30 — LR’s worst loss of the season.
LR’s last 10 games: 6-4.

“We found mismatches and converted. Nate had a big hoop on a post-up on the left block,” the coach said. “The guys have been shooting well from the free throw line for a while now. We are confident in our ability to close out games. This is certainly something that we have improved on this season. They had to learn how to do it on their own without Sam (Smith), Mark (Williams) and Ben (Chaine) out there.”

The Lakers rallied from a 6-3 deficit in the first as Tyler Walker (10 points) drained an open 3-pointer, while Smith and Jackson Lesure (13 points, 8 rebounds) converted on strong takes to the basket.

Lesure threaded the needle twice in the second quarter, resulting in two layups by Piland (7 points) to keep the Lakers ahead. Hall made a nifty defensive stop by taking the ball out of a York player’s hands as he prepared to take a shot, then zipped the ball to Smith, who found Lesure open for a score with 4:04 left in the half, putting the Lakers up 20-12.

But, York stormed back behind a pair of 3-pointers by Trevor LaBonte (11 points) and Spencer Cribby (12 points).

Walker answered with his own trey as the Lakers enjoyed a 23-18 lead at intermission.

The Lakers were unable to shake the Wildcats in the third quarter. York tied the game with 2:05 left as Mark MacGlashing (10 points) scored consecutive buckets. Lesure put LR back on top with a 3-pointer from the right corner, but York’s Liam Bonner sank a shot in the lane to make it a 36-35 game.

Playing for their playoff lives, the Cats kept the pressure on in the final minutes of the game when Zachary Gauthier and LaBonte each netted 3-pointers to close the gap to 49-48 with 20.2 seconds on the clock. York tried to double Lesure along the sideline, but a foul was called. Lesure coolly sank both free throws to make it a 3-point game.

With one last gasp left to make the playoffs, York saw their hopes end when Piland picked off a crossing pass.

Now, it’s on to play Spruce Mountain in the Class B West quarterfinals this Saturday. The Phoenix are one of three “unknowns” — the others being Morse (#3, 13-5) and Lincoln Academy (#6, 12-6) — in the tourney field.

“I’ve learned a lot about them over the last two days and will continue to study them as the week goes on,” Coach Yorkey said. “We need to play good team defense and execute in the half-court offensively.”

In the regular season finale, the Lakers did just that and picked up win #13.

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