PORTLAND — The Lakers got down early vs. rivals Yarmouth in the tournament quarters at the Expo on Tuesday, but clawed their way back on a volley of threes by Chandler True, Melissa Bonenfant and Kristen Huntress. Huntress would hash the game-high, 22, as Lake Region sailed away with the W, 45-30.
“We played Yarmouth twice during the regular year, and we shot 16 percent from the floor,” said Lake Region head coach Paul True. “So this was really about execution and making shots and playing with confidence. I thought our kids did a great job of that tonight … It was a complete team effort.”
“I haven’t played well when we’ve played against Yarmouth,” Huntress said, “so I kind of set a goal for myself to finally have a good game against them. But without my teammates, I wouldn’t have been able to do that; they were finding me when I was open and they were letting me get those open shots.”
Yarmouth got on the board first, Clementine Blaschke completing a three-point play. The Clippers quickly pushed ahead to 9-2 before Laker Lauren Jakobs hit a two and gave her girls a taste. Huntress added one from the line, then drained a three – the first of five in a row Lake Region would knock down. The next belonged to True, and tied the score at 11-11; Bonenfant hit two back-to-back to push the Lakers out front 17-13; and Huntress capped the flurry with another for 20-13.
“We kind of come off a little weak, we’re not hitting our threes at the beginning,” Huntress said. “We just know that we’ve got to keep shooting, and once we hit, we just keep going. I think that was a big part: to just keep shooting. We know they’re going to fall at some point.”
Lake Region never looked back. Their advantage still stood at seven – 22-15 – as the break arrived, and they only ratcheted forward in the downhill quarters. The Lakers’ output surpassed the Clippers’ 8-2 in the third on two Jakobs frees and two Huntress frees as well as a driving o-reb for two and a buzzer-beater for two more, both Huntress plays.
Lake Region led by as much as 19 in the fourth – Huntress at the line hit two for 39-20, then two more for 41-22 – but Yarmouth closed with a little run, Sara D’Appolonia hitting a three-point play and Cory Langenbach draining a three.
Four obvious keys allowed Lake Region to battle back and build a huge lead: defense, rebounding (specifically, defensive rebounding), shooting from beyond the arc (particularly in the late first and throughout the second) and shooting from the line. The Clippers eased Lake Region’s task to an extent – their own shots, all too often, just wouldn’t fall.
“Defensively, we’ve been pretty solid all year,” said True. “Obviously with a week and a half off, you have more time to redefine and tweak anything. Again, all the credit goes to the kids, because the execution was outstanding. Offensively, I thought we did a nice job of spreading them out and getting open looks.”
“Well, we shoot a lot of them,” said True of his girls’ success from three-point-land. “So I’m not sure what our percentage was tonight; we’ve been putting up anywhere from 20 to 25 threes a game. That’s typical, and we’ve got some great shooters … Whether it’s Kris, or Chandler, or Melissa Bonenfant came in the first half, hit some big shots. All those kids can shoot it if they get good looks.”
“That was definitely a big thing,” Huntress said of the Lakers’ work from the line. “We work on foul shots, and we were hitting our foul shots, luckily. For me, I knew they were going to come and foul me, so I tried to just hold strong and get to the line, because those are free shots. Those are big in games.
Jakobs finished the day with eight, Bonenfant and Brooke Harriman with six apiece, and True with three. The result was very much a reversal of the teams’ pair of regular-season meetings: The Clippers topped the Lakers 28-24 back on Dec. 13 and 32-23 on Feb. 7. Yarmouth entered the bracketing ranked fourth in B South at 12-6; Lake Region compiled the same record, but entered fifth. The Lakers face No. 1 Gray-New Gloucester in the semifinals on Thursday the 23rd, after the Lakes Region Weekly.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Laker Brooke Harriman vies in midair with Clementine Blaschke of Yarmouth.
Chandler True does what she can to squeeze through heavy Yarmouth defense on Tuesday.
Kristen Huntress, who finished the Lakers’ matchup with Yarmouth having posted the game-high, 22, pushes forward on the attack; Clipper Clementine Blaschke stands in her way.
Laker Lauren Jakobs battles toward the net, never mind a Yarmouth obstacle.