NAPLES—Lake Region never found a groove against visiting Poland on Friday night, Jan. 19: The Lakers spread their offense around well, they simply couldn’t muster much offense to begin with, as shot after shot stubbornly refused to fall for them. Meanwhile, a trio of Knights broke double-digits – including Nathalie Theriault, who tallied a game-high 20 and thus led her girls to a big, 52-36 W.
“Rotation wasn’t great,” Lake Region head coach Paul True said. “We were slow to rotate, we were slow to step up; I don’t know what else I can say, other than it was not a good night for us.”
The No. 6 Lakers move to 9-4. They met the second-ranked Knights for the first time this season only recently – back on Jan. 6, to be specific. Poland won that bout by a much slimmer margin, 53-52. Asked about the difference between the two contests, True said:
“This has been a grinding and difficult game, obviously, for our kids. We had a great game with Gray; last night, we had a great game here with Yarmouth. So we were fatigued.”
“That’s not to take anything away from Poland,” True stressed. “They were the much better team tonight, and I thought they played great.”
The Lakers built a small lead early, going to 8-4 midway through the first quarter on a pair of frees by Chandler True. From there, though, Poland broke into a long run, a 15-2 streak that carried over well into the second. Lexy Grondin, Theriault and Jessica Seeley hit back-to-back-to-back twos for the Knights before Laker Shauna Hancock missed a pair from the line and teammate Aisley Sturk traveled underneath, beginning a string of LRHS bad luck, sloppy ball-work, or maybe a little of both.
“Fatigue leads to tired legs,” Coach True said. “I haven’t looked at the final tally, but in the first half, we had 13 turnovers, and were making some silly mistakes, and shots just weren’t falling for us tonight.”
Down 19-10, LRHS began the long climb back: Lauren Jakobs hit one from the line and Melissa Bonenfant hit two; Jakobs curled up the lane for a bucket. 19-15. In the mix, Seeley turned a steal and converted it for two, but Harriman and Hancock knocked twos as well, bringing Lake Region oh-so-close. 21-19.
“Our kids do a good job of sharing the basketball and playing unselfish,” True said, asked about the Lakers’ offensive spread. “Hopefully, that leads to more people scoring.”
Unfortunately, the Knights added the last five points of the second, and the first three – on a Sophie Vallee down-towner – of the third, opening a 10-point lead. 29-19.
Bonenfant drained a two and a three to inch Lake Region a bit closer to the Knights at 32-24, but the Lakers’ woes then kicked into high-gear: Even as their passing improved – grew sharper and better-targeted – their shots still refused to fall. While Poland hashed 11 more before the third expired, LRHS managed just two – one free by Bonenfant, and one by Hancock.
43-26 and eight minutes to go – eight minutes in which Lake Region outpaced Poland, but not nearly by enough to stage any kind of comeback. Hancock with a three, Jakobs with a two and Harriman, Hancock and Chandler True with a battery of frees posted a total of 10 Lakers points before the axe ultimately fell; meanwhile, the Knights dropped in just nine.
Still, Poland had heaped up enough of an advantage to lock up a comfortable, 52-36 W.
“We need to have short-term memory,” Coach True said. “Two days off, that the kids are going to enjoy, and then we’ve got to get back in the gym on Monday.”
Harriman, Bonenfant and Chandler True each finished with eight for LRHS. Hancock added seven and Jakobs five.
“All of our kids tried to the best of their ability,” Coach True said, asked which of his girls played well. “But I can’t really single out any one player. We definitely had moments where kids played hard; this just wasn’t our night.”
The Lakers traveled to Traip (8th in C South, at 5-7) on Wednesday the 24th. The team hosts St. Dom (11th in C South, 6-5) on Friday the 26th.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Laker Shauna Hancock ascends toward the basket.
Chandler True works through the paint, battling against a Knights stalwart.
Laker Melissa Bonenfant drives toward the basket.
Lauren Jakobs fires off an LRHS jumper.
Laker Brooke Harriman wards off a Knights defender.