CUMBERLAND – In the end, there was only one number Greely girls’ basketball coach Bill Goodman could talk about. And it wasn’t on the scoreboard.

“Twenty-seven,” he said. “Twenty-seven turnovers. You’re not going to win any games with 27 turnovers.”

At the least, the Rangers didn’t win on Friday.

Lake Region’s defense rattled Greely all night, and Sydney Hancock hit four foul shots in the final 30 seconds to lift the Lakers to a 33-30 comeback win over Greely. The victory improved the Lakers to 16-2, securing the No. 3 spot in Western Class B. Greely (14-4) will go into the tournament ranked fifth.

“Turnovers have cost us all year,” said Goodman. “And it’s not that we can’t do it, it’s that we don’t do it consistently for 32 minutes.”

And on a night when neither offense ran smoothly — Greely’s defense forced 18 turnovers and Lake Region didn’t get a point from a starter until the third quarter — the game came down to two defensive stops by Lake Region.

With her team trailing 30-27, Lake Region’s Rachel Wandishin stole the ball at midcourt and went in for a layup to pull the Lakers within one. After Goodman called a timeout to settle his players, the Lakers forced a travelling call.

Hancock, a dead-eye shooting sophomore, drove to the basket and was fouled with 29.8 seconds left. She calmly hit both shots to give the Lakers a 31-30 lead.

The Rangers came down and missed, with Lake Region’s Tiana-Jo Carter getting the rebound. She quickly passed to Hancock, who dribbled for about 10 seconds before she was fouled. Again, she hit both free throws.

“I just had to focus and shoot my shot and not let the pressure get to me,” said Hancock. “I practice foul shots thousands and thousands of times in the gym, so I just have to pretend no one’s there and block it out.

“It’s not easy. But you’ve just got to do it.”

Greely could have secured this game early. Lake Region scored only 10 points in the first half — eight by Kelsey Winslow, who had a game-high 12 off the bench — but Greely’s inability to control the ball hindered the Rangers. They had only 13 points.

“We let them off the hook in the first half,” said Goodman. “I told the girls, we could have been up 10, 15 points.”

Lake Region Coach Paul True wasn’t entirely surprised that the game played out like it did. The teams are rivals and it was Senior Night for the Rangers.

“There are times when you’re in such an emotional game that things are moving about too fast,” he said. “Hitting that pause button to take a deep breath is hard.”

Somehow the Lakers did that in the second half. They slowed the offense, went hard to the basket and scored the first 11 points of the third quarter.

Greely rallied to go ahead 24-23 on a 3-pointer by Caroline Hamilton (10 points). Lake Region responded and took a 27-24 lead on a Winslow basket.

Then Greely answered with a 6-0 run.

“This is a very big win for us,” said Hancock. “I think if we put our mind to it, we can get anyone in the tournament.” 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]