PORTLAND — The Lake Region High girls’ basketball team may have seemed vulnerable at times in the regular season. Tuesday night they were only dominant.
The top-seeded Lakers scored the first 13 points and played an intimidating defensive game to defeat No. 8 Freeport 65-29 in the Western Class B quarterfinals at the Portland Expo.
Lake Region (17-2) dominated inside as 6-foot-2 center Tiana-Jo Carter and 5-10 forward Kelsey Winslow each scored 17 points. Carter also had 15 rebounds and nine blocked shots, and Winslow had 11 rebounds.
“I think our team did great tonight,” said Carter. “We all worked great together again, room for improvement but we definitely came to play.”
Lake Region, the defending regional champ, will play Greely in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The teams split in the regular season.
“We just talked about it in the locker room,” said Freeport Coach Jim Seavey. “I told the kids, ‘You could have very well potentially have lost to the state champion.’ That’s a juggernaut.
“They’ve got so many weapons. And then someone like Carter with her presence inside just makes everything difficult. Even if she’s not blocking shots, she’s altering them. She’s making kids hesitant. And that’s part of our game. We want to attack the rim.”
Carter was up against Freeport’s top scorer, Nina Davenport, and blocked Davenport’s first shot. From then on it was a struggle for the Falcons.
Lake Region, meanwhile, came out fast and hard. Winslow got the first two baskets, both on inbounds plays, then Carter had the next three, twice scoring on offensive rebounds. A Winslow foul shot and a nice drive by Carter, who spun at the foul line and put in a left-handed shot, made it 13-0.
“Our focus was playing inside and out,” said Lakers Coach Paul True. “And the second half of the season we did a much better job with that. We’ve got to get the ball inside, we’ve got to get both (Winslow) and (Carter) touches. Not only are the very good around the basket but they’re very good passers.”
Freeport got within seven early in the second quarter on a three-point play by freshman Jessica Wall. But then the Lakers went on a 9-0 run and the suspense pretty much ended.
Nothing came easy for the Falcons. Davenport finished with 11 points but no one else had more than three.
Carter knew she was going to guard Davenport and was concerned.
“I was a little nervous because she does a great job driving to the basket,” she said. “But (True) said just keep calm, move your feet and stay straight, and you should be fine. That’s what I tried to do. I think I did fine.”
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: