Boys Basketball: G-NG starts hot, blisters Lake Region

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NAPLES–G-NG standout John Martin both kicked off the action and led the scoring when he and his boys dropped in on the Lakers on Tuesday night, Jan. 15. G-NG opened hot and never looked back as they cruised handily to victory over Lake Region, 75-42.

“That was a key – we executed our stuff, early on,” G-NG head coach Ryan Deschenes said. “Obviously John hit some shots, (Matt) Johnson had a few big shots, the first quarter, too, that helped us. We played with good pace and were more prepared for what they were going to give us offensively in this game and were able to defend that better early.”

G-NG also bested the Lakers when the two sides faced off to begin the winter – but that outing proved much narrower than this one.

“They hit some shots early that they didn’t early in the first game,” Lake Region head coach John Mayo said. “So they get out to a little lead. They played a lot looser once they got that way, and we struggled scoring early. We missed some early ones and that spread the lead there a little bit.”

Eight different Patriots took the court over the course of the game, and all eight added points: In addition to Martin’s 23 (which included three threes), Wyatt Edwards had 12 (on four threes!), Zack Pomerleau had nine, Hunter Colby eight (two threes), Johnson seven (two more threes), Ryan Lachance and Nick Kariotis six apiece and Josh Michaud four.

Deschenes was pleased with his boys’ offensive spread: “We’re a tough team to cover when we’re running our stuff,” he said. “We’ve always said that; it’s starting to show show. Last week we had a big win at Yarmouth when John didn’t score, so it shows the quality of basketball players we have.”

The Lakers also got points from every boy who stepped onto the floor – they just didn’t get nearly enough points. Isaac Holland led the team with eight; Liam Grass added seven; Evan Willey six; Matt Mayo and Mark Mayo four each; Derek Langadas, Noah Neal and Jake Arey three each; and Dawson Smith and Anthony Thomas two apiece.

Martin opened with a three just 20 seconds into the first, then followed himself up with another three 20 seconds later. Colby hit the team’s next three, 9-0, before Holland put Lake Region on the board with a two. Pomerleau then hit a pair of free-throws and Matt Johnson one as well; finally, Johnson nailed a three and then another three for 18-2. Holland converted on a steal and Thomas drained a free to inch LRHS forward, but G-NG closed the quarter in style: Martin took a waning-moments shot, but it wouldn’t fall, so Kariotis trailed after him with an offensive rebound and a rim-rolling, buzzer-beating two.

20-5 after one.

“We’ve had some issues with that a lot,” Coach Mayo said of the Lakers’ stumbling in the initial minutes. “We haven’t started great or we’ve missed some early ones, and teams have gone up on us a little bit and then we’re all constantly playing from behind.”

The Patriots extended their lead in the second on contributions by Pomerleau, Martin, Lachance and Edwards. For their part, Lake Region turned in a much better tally through those eight minutes, with Grass, Willey, Holland and Mark Mayo combining for 14, but the team still lagged by a mile at the break: 40-19.

Deschenes applauded the Lakers’ determination, despite his boys riding roughshod over them: “They do not give up,” he said. “We got a good early lead and they scrapped. They played physical they forced us to turn it over a little bit in the half-court. We had a string of turnovers in the second quarter that enabled them to get a little bit of life…They’re certainly relentless for 32 minutes.

“They pushed us to play well for sure.”

Edwards owned the third quarter for the Patriots, notching three threes; meanwhile, seven different Lakers added points in the stretch, but the team’s total takeaway still trailed G-NG’s. 59-34 after three. The Patriots then pushed even further ahead in the downhill eight minutes, and the ending buzzer tolled on a 75-42 result.

Part of the reason for the Patriots’ dominance on Tuesday was no doubt their experience; the Lakers aren’t necessarily young, but nor do they have much varsity playing time under their belts.

“Not all of them are young,” Coach Mayo said of his boys, “but it’s inexperience-wise for the varsity level…We’re still figuring things out. We’ve got still plenty of games to play that give us a shot. Our goal is to to get a tournament spot, and that’s still there.”

But another aspect of G-NG’s strong play is simply their dynamism and their willingness to try new things. Colby and Lachance – the outfits two inside bigs – haven’t typically taken the court together, for instance, but as it turns out, they have great chemistry.

“Yeah, that’s something we didn’t do early on,” Deschenes said of Colby and Lachance pairing up. “But we started we started doing that the last five games, and that’s when we’ve been playing very well. They play well together and we’re better as team.”

When Lachance mans the boards for the Patriots, Colby can hang outside – where he can show off some different skills. “Hunter hit five threes against Waynflete, last game,” Deschenes said. “Obviously he’s best inside; you want to start inside and then play out. But when he’s got the good look, he’s got the green light for sure.”

G-NG – ranked second in B South at the moment – moves to 8-3 on the season. The Patriots welcome Wells (seventh, 6-3) on Saturday the 19th.

“When we defend and run our stuff,” Deschenes said, “ we feel, you know, we’re as good as anyone. But, hey, there’s a lot of good teams and we’ve got a long ways to go for sure.”

Lake Region, meanwhile, slips to 2-9. The Lakers currently sit in 11th place; the team hosts Poland (12th, 3-8) on Friday the 18th.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Laker Ryan Walker makes for the net; Patriot Zack Pomerleau defends.

G-NG’s Ryan Lachance squeezes between a pair of LRHS opponents.

Connor Myatt pulls the trigger.

Patriot Matt Johnson fires off a low-angle ball.

John Martin hashed 23 to helm the Patriots’ victory.

Wyatt Edwards had a big evening for the Patriots beyond the arc.

Isaac Holland rolls a shot toward the rim.

Evan Willey unwinds into a Lake Region shot.

Mark Mayo tries for two, getting air over a G-NG opponent.

Anthony Thomas drives for the Lakers.

Wyatt Kenney aims an inside jumper at the net.

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