WELLS — Wells High managed to take away Lake Region’s biggest advantage Wednesday night, and not a moment too soon.
Foul trouble ended the game early for the Lakers’ 6-foot-2 Tiana-Jo Carter, and Wells rallied from a nine-point deficit to a 44-36 victory in an up-tempo, physical Class B Western Maine Conference girls’ basketball game.
Alison Furness led the Warriors with 16 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot. Jordan Agger added nine points and five rebounds. And Nicki Moody had eight points, including two free throws with 3:47 to play that gave Wells (4-0) just its second lead, which it never relinquished.
“We wanted to take it at (Carter) because we knew we might get her into foul trouble,” Furness said. “She’s such a big, great player, it was a big lift up when she fouled out.”
“She’s the single most dominating force in our league,” said Wells Coach Don Abbott. “That’s a no-brainer (Carter’s foul trouble) changed the complexion of the game.”
Agger drove the lane for the Warriors’ only two field goals of the quarter and they then went 7 of 10 from the line in the final 1:44.
Carter dominated when she was on the floor, fighting through fouls on the low post to produce two three-point plays and score four of her 12 points on put-backs. She also had 10 rebounds.
She scored eight of the Lakers’ 15 points in the first as they built a 13-2 lead in the opening six minutes.
Down 15-6 after one quarter, the Warriors started to rally. Furness scored five of Wells’ 12 second-quarter points to match the Lakers’ total. It was in the second quarter that Wells started to get to Carter, who went to the bench with three fouls with 4:55 to play.
“It wasn’t just Tiana. We had trouble doing anything defensively, which completely took us out of any kind of flow on offense,” Lake Region Coach Paul True said. “Wells did a better job staying composed and attacking the basket. They deserved to win.”
Each team’s high-pressure defense took the spotlight in the second half, with Lake Region (3-1) led by guards Sarah Hancock, Sierra Hancock and Kristen Huntress.
Wells guards Moody and Stephanie Woods, and Agger down low on Carter turned up the heat on Lake Region.
Carter sat down after her fourth foul with about five minutes left in the third. Furness (six points) fueled Wells’ 11-5 run to close within 32-31 with two seconds left in the third.
“They’re the first team that’s been really up in our face like that,” Moody said. “We struggled a little before we adjusted to that. When we stay calm, we do our best.”
Forty-two seconds into the fourth, Agger drove the lane to give Wells its first lead. Three minutes later, Sarah Hancock answered, finishing a nice steal from Sierra Hancock for a 34-33 lead. About 30 seconds later, Carter fouled out to set up Moody’s 1-and-1 that regained the lead for Wells, 35-34. From there, Agger drove the lane again for a 37-34 lead, and foul shooting clinched it.