FALMOUTH – The Lady Lakers and the Yachtswomen traded blows for four quarters on Thursday, Jan. 5, with Falmouth’s Adelaide Cooke tallying a game-high 13 and Lake Region’s Chandler True and Lauren Jakobs trailing just behind her at 12 and 11, respectively. In the end, the night favored Falmouth, who thwarted their guests’ last-second attempts to tie the action and secured the win 37-35.
“We knew that Cooke was going to be a major factor,” said Lake Region head coach Paul True. “I thought, for the most, we did a pretty good job on her. We knew that (Falmouth’s) Abby Ryan has the ability to knock down threes; we lost her a couple times, but I thought we did a decent job there. I just think it comes to making a few more shots and a few more free-throws.”
“We knew they had really good shooters,” said Falmouth head coach Dawn Armandi of the Lady Lakers. “So the plan was to stop them shooting the three-pointers, and then just handling their pressure. We knew they would press us full-court.”
Lake Region slipped to 4-3 in B South on the result. The Lakers travel to St. Dom (12th in C South at 2-5) on Jan. 10.
Falmouth, meanwhile, advanced to 5-4; the Yachtswomen rank eighth in A South at present. They travel to York (fifth in the same conference, 4-3).
Cooke put Falmouth on top to start, but Jakobs, with a free and a two, quickly stole the lead for her girls, 3-2. The action rolled back and forth like that all through the opening quarter: a Grace Soucy three made it 7-4, Falmouth; another Jakobs two made it 8-7, Lake Region; an Alaina Birkel three balanced the scoreboard at 10-all.
Neither team seemed to be shooting especially well; players often settled for shoddy looks, which in part explains the game’s relatively low score. “Execution wasn’t great for us,” True said.
True’s squad also failed to seize their opportunities at the line, a turn of events that inevitably makes a difference in such a tight tussle. “Obviously, free-throw shooting was a huge factor tonight. We’ve got to get better at that,” he said.
The majority of the second quarter unfolded quite differently than the first had. Natalie Birkel began the stretch with a two for Falmouth, and from there the home team determinedly inched ahead, and one point leading 21-12. Cooke led the charge, but Alaina Birkel and Maddie Rouhana added points as well. The Lady Lakers’ offense came from Jakobs, of course, but also from Brooke Harriman and Kristen Huntress. 22-17 at the break.
“We just kept pushing the ball up the floor,” said Armandi of her girls’ success in the second. “Trying to get it inside and have the ball come back outside; we were patient initially, and took what they gave us. I think we got a little tired there, on defense, kind of forgot what we were doing, in terms of matchups and things like that.”
The third quarter, on the other hand, belonged to Lake Region, who chewed through their entire deficit in the starting seconds. Harriman added two, Huntress followed her with three more and suddenly the action was all locked up again, 22-22. It ratcheted to 24-24 from there, before Chandler True grabbed the advantage for her girls at 26-24. The Lady Lakers then surged to 31-26.
“The last couple minutes of the second quarter was pivotal for us,” said Coach True. “We were down 10 and then cut it to five; we finished the half well, which led up to the third quarter. And the third quarter, again, we competed.”
“I think we did a great job covering their shooters,” Armandi said. “What kept them in the game was, we stopped communicating on d. We weren’t calling screens, and were getting trapped behind them a little bit. But once we got back on them, got back to the game plan of talking on d, we were able to make their shooters take a little bit more rushed shots, which is what we wanted them to take, if they were going to take any.”
Down by five, the Yachtswomen were far from cashing in their chips. Cooke added two and Grace Dimick four in a run that bled into the final quarter and culminated in an Abby Ryan strike to put Falmouth out front at 33-31. They wouldn’t trail again: Huntress evened things for Lake Region at 33-33 and Jakobs at 35-35, but Ryan concluded the scoring at 37-35.
The Lady Lakers did what they could in the waning moments to force OT, but their efforts came to naught. A Falmouth travel turned the ball over, but Huntress’s subsequent shot wouldn’t fall; a missed Falmouth free on one-and-one turned the ball over again, but the Lakers’ up-court pass flew out of bounds; with barely a second to play, Lake Region’s final, desperate inbounds attempt was intercepted. The clock expired.
“We had great senior leadership,” Armandi said of the evening. “With Adelaide, Alaina, Abby – they did a great job controlling the tempo and not getting crazy like they have in the past. They want it; they bring it every day. Grace Dimick had a great game; been waiting for her to kind of come out. She’s a junior. Just the upperclassmen taking control and making sure we won this game.”
“Again, execution wasn’t great,” True said, referring to his girls’ play in the game’s closing minutes. “That’s my responsibility. I’ve got to do a better job making sure we get to that point that, when we’re in those situations, we’ve got to execute better.”
Still, True expressed satisfaction with Lake Region’s energy level. “I was really happy with the way our kids competed and played hard. That’s all I ask of them, every night. Sure, at times, shots aren’t going to fall, or we’re not going to shoot well from the free-throw line, but if they continue to compete like that, that’s all I can ask of them.”
Laker Melody Millett manages to pass around Yachtsmen defender Candice Powers.
Lady Laker Brooke Harriman defends against an incursion by Alaina Birkel of Falmouth.
Laker Lauren Jakobs does what she can to split a pair of Yachtsmen defenders; Adelaide Cooke gets a hand on the ball nonetheless.
Chandler True curls in on the attack for Lake Region; Candice Powers defends.
Kristen Huntress jukes around Alaina Birkel for Lake Region at Falmouth on Thursday.
Brooke Harriman pushes along the edge of the key, looking for a shot.