GIRLS BASKETBALL: No. 1 Lake Region takes the sting out of the Leavitt Hornets

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PORTLAND – The No. 1 Lake Region girls basketball team, with the help of five 3-pointers by Abigail Craffey, managed to knock of the defending Class B champs, the Leavitt Hornets, 59-54 in overtimein a semifinal game on Thursday afternoon. The Lakers’ win earned them a trip to the conference finals on Saturday where they will square off with the Greely Rangers.

When a team never trails in a contest, the outcome is usually never in question. Thursday was not the case however as the Hornets refused the to allow the Lakers to run away with the contest.

Leavitt’s Kristen Anderson and Adrianna Newton combined for 49 points, Anderson with 22 and Newton with 27, to help their team overcome a 30-27 halftime deficit and force overtime.

After Newton tied the game for the Hornets with less than 2:30 to play in the fourth quarter, the defense for both teams took control until overtime.

The Hornets had one chance to grab the win after calling timeout with 10.4 seconds to play, but Anderson was smothered on the inbounds pass and was unable to get off a clean shot at the buzzer allowing the Lakers to a chance at redemption in overtime.

Lake Region was the first to strike in overtime thanks to a Tiana-Jo Carter offensive rebound that allowed her to get to the free throw line. Carter made 1 of 2 with 3:19 remaining in the extra session to put her team up 46-45.

What ensued in the following 1:41 was stuff of legend.

Craffey drilled a 3 after Leavitt was unable to score following Carter’s free throw to stretch the lead to four, 49-45. Leavitt’s Newton would respond with a 3 of her own at the other end.

Lakers’ freshman Sarah Hancock would counter with another 3 from the top of the key only to be outdone by Anderson who promptly countered with another, making it 52-51.

Craffey would then net her fifth and final 3-ball of the game, giving her 19 on the night on the Lakers’ next trip up the court, earning both teams standing ovations with 1:31 left in the contest.

This time, the Hornets had no answer as they failed to score on their next three possessions.

Despite a 3- pointer by Anderson to draw her team within two, 56-54, in the final minute, the Lakers were able to close the game out from the line thanks to two free throws by Kelsey Winslow making it a four- point game.

On the ensuing possession the Hornets tried to force an inbounds pass to Anderson for a quick score but the Lakers read it and forced a turnover.

Sydney Hancock would hit on one of two free throws to close out the game and the Hornets’ season.

Lakers’ Coach Paul True gave praise to his team’s resilience following the game.

“We heard you can’t run with Leavitt, you can’t play their pace, and we just believed differently. We’ve got some quick kids and an inside presence, obviously that came together tonight,” he said.

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