Girls Basketball: Lakers hold on for thrilling, narrow win over rivals G-NG

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Chandler True drives up-court for the Lakers.

NAPLES—Chandler True led the Lady Lakers through the first half and Lauren Jakobs led them through the second when the Lady Patriots came to town on Friday night, Dec. 8. True and Jakobs combined for 28 en route to a hugely encouraging, 38-34 W over the defending State Champs.

“I really thought composure,” said Lake Region head coach Paul True, asked what the key was to pulling out a victory. “I thought it was going to come down to the very end, and making plays down the stretch, and we just made enough plays to win the game.”

“I expected, I guess, what we saw,” G-NG head coach Mike Andreasen said. “Teams played good defense; the team that made the plays down the stretch won the game – and they did. Their seniors, especially Lauren Jakobs, stepped up and played like a senior, and Chandler True did. That was the difference.”

G-NG dashed out front early on the hot hand of sophomore Jordan Grant, who hashed the team’s first seven points. Lake Region pulled within one at 7-6 when True knocked one down from the line, then immediately turned a steal and converted it into a layup.

Bri Jordan and Sam Fortin next bucketed for the Patriots, pushing them ahead to 11-6, but True drained a three and Aisley Sturk followed with a steal to close the first quarter on a couple Lakers high notes.

“As a team, we came out and we were a little bit nervous, and timid,” Chandler True said, asked about her efforts. “I tried to help the team get started up. Someone had to step up and score—and I think after that we all just came together, all stepped up to get that W.”

Melissa Bonenfant opened the second quarter with a Lake Region three, seizing a 12-11 lead for the home team – their first lead of the evening. Jordan quickly answered with a pair from the line, and Grant added one as well, to flip the advantage again; True then sank another three, putting the Lakers back on top, but Mikaela Ryan responded with a two for a 16-15 Patriots upper-hand.

The remainder of the second saw G-NG inch out front once more; Fortin, Jordan and Alexa Thayer all contributed as the Patriots built to 21-18. The visitors piled up a few more points to begin the third, moving to 23-18 on Madysen West and Eliza Hotham frees before Jakobs added a two and True a free for 23-21.

One factor working against G-NG through the middle of the game was foul trouble. In particular, Jordan found herself on the bench for very long stretch that included the entire third quarter.

“Bri Jordan didn’t play more than 10 or 12 minutes tonight,” Andreasen said. “She picked up a couple early [fouls] which I thought were legit. Her fourth and fifth ones were—well, I’ll make no comment. It was tough.”

“Obviously foul trouble played a huge part in this game,” Coach True said, acknowledging Jordan’s stint on the sidelines. “We understand that. Both Grant and Jordan are great players; we have a lot of respect for them. Again, it just came down to the end, and who was going to make plays down the stretch.”

A Ryan two and a Jakob three ratcheted the scoreboard to 25-24, and a Chandler True free tied things up at 25 apiece. The teams tied at 27 as well, and (early in the fourth) at 29. On a Thayer assist, G-NGer Abigail Michaud next made it 31-29.

That, however, is when the momentum finally settled in one squad’s hands – namely Lake Region’s. Jakobs hit a three for 32-31 and fellow Laker Emily Lake promptly stole from West, eventually knocking down a three of her own.

“Towards the end of the third quarter,” Jakobs said, “we were like, ‘Okay, we need to buckle down; we need to get this done.’ We came together really well, and the group that was out there made huge plays.”

With just over a minute to play, Grant turned an aggressive, diving steal; she shoveled over to Jordan, who wasted no time bucketing two. But True momentarily notched another pair of frees, shunting the Lakers ahead 38-33 with 50 seconds remaining. Hotham would ultimately add one more for the G-NG – but one more wouldn’t cut it, and Lake Region took the triumph.

“This was our first game in four years that I didn’t have the kids I had last year,” Andreasen said. “These kids have got to get their feet wet, and it’s tough to get your feet wet when you’re playing Lake Region first. It would be nice to play someone that’s a little softer. They’re going to be there at the end.”

Chandler True finished the night with 15 points, including 11 in the first half. Jakobs caught fire in the second half, when she scored all of her 13.

“I’m really proud of them,” Coach True said, asked about Chandler True’s and Jakobs’s contributions. “They’re two senior leaders for us; they work hard to prepare for these games, so whenever it shows in terms of their performances, I’m super proud of them. They really stepped up tonight.”

“Apparently not effective enough,” Andreasen chuckled, asked how effective his girls were in reining in Chandler True and Jakobs. “And it starts with defense. A year ago, we gave up more than 39 points once. So we’ve got to work on that end of it…We knew they’d be good spot-up shooters.”

“For sure,” Coach True said, asked whether the triumph was a particularly satisfying way to kick off the season. “They’re the defending State Champions; they’re going to be there at the end of the year. They’re extremely well-coached, and that’s a good team. So this is a good start for us—but there’s a long way to go.”

“It means so much, Chandler True said of taking down the reigning Class B Queens. “I think it tells what the rest of the season’s going to be like for us. We know that we can accomplish anything. I think we have a good shot this year.”

Jakobs echoed her teammate. “It means so much,” she said. “It gives us the confidence to go forward; we know that we can beat anyone, if we really try. This wasn’t our best game, and we still beat them.”

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

Chandler True drives up-court for the Lakers.

Jordan Grant cuts in on the attack for G-NG.

Bella Russo dishes for Lake Region in their narrow win over G-NG.

Laker Chandler True and Patriot Bri Jordan vie in midair.

Madysen West of G-NG tracks Emily Lake of (naturally) Lake Region as she drives toward the basket.

Lauren Jakobs lofts up an outside jumper for the Lakers.

Laker Aisley Sturk guards attacking Patriot Mikaela Ryan.

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