Sophomore guard Sarah Hancock is often overlooked by her more high-profile Lake Region teammates Tiana-Jo Carter, Kelsey Winslow and cousin Sydney Hancock.
But Sarah Hancock has had a huge impact on the Lakers’ success all season. She again came up big in a 50-24 win over York for the Western Class B championship — the Lakers’ second in a row and fifth in eight years.
“I thought in the semis she was very much an unsung hero for us and I told her that,” said Lake Region Coach Paul True. “She came up with some great rebounds.
“Being the third guard a lot of the time, she’s matched up with a bigger, taller player. She hit a big 3 against Greely.
“She’s our calming influence many times on offense. She’s a smart player, and she’s very connected with the bench and coaches. I can’t say enough about what she does for us.”
Hancock hit another big 3-pointer against York. With Lake Region struggling early and trailing 4-2, she took a pass from Sydney Hancock and swished a long 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Lakers a lead they never relinquished.
She made another 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to complete a 14-0 run that carried the Lakers to a big lead.
York Coach Rick Clark said he was willing to let Hancock take those shots.
“That’s what we wanted,” he said. “If she was going to take it, we were going to let her.”
THE CLASS B girls’ state championship game Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center will be a rematch between Presque Isle and Lake Region. The Wildcats won a classic last year, 49-47 at the Bangor Auditorium.
“We wanted another chance to play them,” said Lakers guard Sydney Hancock, “and prove we can take it this time.”
Lake Region hasn’t won a girls’ state championship since 1975 — the first year the Maine Principals’ Association sanctioned girls’ basketball tournaments. The Lakers have won five of the last eight regional titles but have lost their previous four state championship games.
Twice those losses have come at the hands of Presque Isle. The Wildcats won 48-36 in 2006, also at the Bangor Auditorium.
ASKED TO EXPLAIN how his team could blow out York in the first regular-season game, get blown out in the second meeting, then do it to York again in the Western Class B boys’ final when most people expected a close game, Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan said: “It’s an emotional game. We got taught a lesson in the second game against them. Sometimes that happens.”
The Yachtsmen were ready for the third meeting and felt they had something to prove.
“It helped that we shot well. If we played 10 times, it would probably be 5 and 5,” said Halligan.
LATE IN THE GAME, Charlie Fay of Falmouth took a hard foul from Luke Claflin on a breakaway. Fay looked ready to throw down one of his dunks before Claflin knocked him down.
An intentional foul was called and Fay made two foul shots, but not before Grant Burfeind had words with Claflin.
“I was just trying to protect my player,” said Burfeind. “I want him to be ready for next Friday night (for the state final.)”
PRESQUE ISLE brought five buses filled with players, fans, bands and cheerleaders for the Eastern Class B girls’ final against Nokomis. It’s a three-hour trip from Presque Isle to Bangor.
WASHBURN HAS already won Eastern Maine titles this school year in girls’ cross country, girls’ soccer and girls’ basketball. Nine members of the basketball team were on championships teams in the fall, including seven who were on both the soccer and cross country teams.
HODGDON HIGH’S band added community members for the tournament. Five adults played along with the dozen or so students.
THERE ARE seven tarps high above the Bangor Auditorium floor – just in case there are any leaks in the ceiling. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed, hoping to get through one more tournament week without a leaky roof dripping water on the floor. The new Cross Center opens in the fall.