Young LR players show their skills

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer

Paul True is always keeping a close eye on his younger players to “see what they can do when called upon” in a varsity game.

Last week, the rookies had two great chances to show their skills set as Lake Region whipped Cape Elizabeth (48-20) and North Yarmouth Academy (61-41) to improve to 3-1.

“This was a definitely a great opportunity for everyone to get onto the floor, but also to settle down and truly show what they can do,” LR varsity girls’ basketball Coach Paul True said following the NYA victory Saturday at Nutting Gym. “The main thing for us is to work on weaknesses that we have shown over our first three games.”

The focus against the Panthers was to “play on both sides of the floor.” Coach True felt the Lakers were too “righty” in past games.

“We seemed to bring the ball down the right side every time. They did a better job at using both sides tonight,” Coach True said.

Another improvement was work on the backboards, at both ends. The Lakers dominated North Yarmouth Academy, holding a 42-24 advantage on the glass.

The Lakers trailed 5-2 early, but started to assert themselves late in the first quarter behind an Abby Craffey strong drive to the hoop and a 3-pointer in the closing seconds for a 13-9 lead. The Lakers dominated the lane in the second quarter to open a 32-16 halftime lead as Tianna Carter and Shannon VanLoan each scored 4 points. Craffey (team-high 12 points) displayed her playmaking ability by delivering well-placed passes to Rachel Wandishin (7 points) and Sydney Hancock (8 points) for fastbreak lay-ups.

The Lakers kept chugging along in the third quarter as junior guard Allison Clark torched the Panthers’ defense with two 3-pointers. Clark finished with 11 points. The LR lead ballooned to 27 points, enabling Coach True to play his bench extensively in the fourth quarter. NYA reached double digits in scoring over the final 8 minutes against the reserves, 19-12.

Another Coach True “concern” didn’t quite work out as well. The Lakers continued their struggles at the foul line, where they went 2-for-12 while the visiting Panthers were 15-of-22 — 10-of-12 in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously, we’ll continue to work on foul shooting,” Coach True said. “We need to get better.”

Coming off of two blowout wins, Coach True looked forward to yesterday’s match-up against a talented Falmouth squad.

“Historically, our kids have been pretty even-keeled. Our approach remains the same — it’s another opportunity to get better,” he said. “I know the kids will be ready to go.”

Moving forward, Coach True likes what he sees, but wants his players to be more aggressive on the perimeter.

“We have people around the basket that can deter easy basket opportunities (LR had 7 blocked shots against NYA),” he said. “Offensively, I want to play inside-out. When you have Abby Craffey on one side and Allison Clark on the other with Tianna and Hannah working the interior, and Sydney being able to attack the basket, we have a lot of options. I want to be able to play a diverse game so we’re more difficult to defend.”

Coach True cited how the Lakers’ shot blocking affected NYA players, who as the game went along, decided to attempt pull-up jumpshots rather than continue to the backboard for lay-up attempts.

“They had numerous 2-on-1 opportunities, and all of a sudden, they were stopping and shooting 14-foot jumpers rather than going all the way to the rim. That’s totally because of Tianna’s presence,” Coach True said. “A lot of the blocked shots she ends up with, she keeps it in play, which is really important. Possession of the basketball is the most important thing. The highlight video of a massive swat and the ball going into the stands really doesn’t accomplish much because it is still the other team’s basketball. Tianna’s been working hard on keeping the ball in play — it’s coming.”

Stat lines

Turnovers: Lakers 19, NYA 24

Rebounding: Lakers 42, NYA 24

Free throws: Lakers 2-12, NYA 15-22

3-Pointers: LR, Clark 3, Craffey 2, Hancock 1, Wandishin 1.

Other Laker scorers were: Tianna Carter 7, Rachel Wandishin 7, Shannon VanLoan 6, Kasey Huntress 6, Savannah Devoe 4.

Carter led the way with 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. Rebounders: VanLoan 7, Clark 4, Devoe 3, Hannah Cutting 3, Hancock 3, Huntress 2, Craffey 2, Kate Cutting 2, Wandishin 2.

For NYA, senior guard Blair Haggett scored a game-high 15 points while junior guard Morgan Scully contributed 13 points and senior Eliza Gendron had 11 points.

Inside presence felt

Laker freshman Tianna Carter and senior Hannah Cutting dominated the lane at Cape Elizabeth.

Lake Region’s post players combined for 32 rebounds in a 48-20 rout of the Capers. Carter was a force, scoring a game-high 12 points to go along with 19 rebounds and four blocked shots.

After a tight first quarter, the Lakers opened the game up with a 14-3 spurt to take a 27-12 halftime advantage. The LR defense proved stifling as Cape (2-1) was held to just 4 points the third and fourth quarters.

Sophomore Sydney Hancock chipped in 8 points while Abby Craffey had 7 and Kate Cutting 6 (both 3-pointers). Other scorers were: Allison Clark 5, Kasey Huntress 4, Hannah Cutting 2, Shannon VanLoan 2 and Rachel Wandishin 2.

Up next: The Lakers will take part in the Capital City Classic on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at the Augusta Civic Center. LR opens at 9 a.m. against Mountain Valley, and then takes on Deering at 2:30 p.m.

The Lakers return to regular season action on Tuesday, Jan. 4 against Gray-New Gloucester at 7 p.m. LR travels to Freeport on Thursday, Jan. 6 for a 6:30 p.m. game.

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