Thursday, April 24, 2014
Lake Region's girls' basketball team did almost everything right in a dominating 49-30 win over Greely in the Western Class B championship game Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
In the postgame net-cutting ceremony, standout junior guard Sydney Hancock had her left hand cut when someone handed her the scissors. She had the hand wrapped afterward.
"I'm all right,'' she said. "Just a little accident. I was just bleeding a little. I'll be all right.''
THIS WILL be Lake Region's sixth trip to the Class B girls' state championship game.
The Lakers won the state's first Class B title in 1975, beating Van Buren, 63-55. Van Buren came back in 1977 to beat the Lakers, 62-53.
Then, with Paul True as head coach, Lake Region made three consecutive trips to the state game, losing all three: to Presque Isle in 2006 (48-36), and to Waterville in 2007 (52-51 in overtime) and 2008 (54-35).
The two games against Waterville were played at the Bangor Auditorium, where the Lakers will play Presque Isle at 7 p.m. Friday.
True is looking forward to another trip north.
"I love going to Bangor and I think it's a great experience for the kids,'' he said. "I wish we could take this floor to Bangor. But it's a great experience.''
When asked about the three previous championship-game losses, True said, "As I've told my wife several times, that game is not the defining factor for me. Just the fact that we're there ... we've played in five Western Maine finals the last eight years ... I'm, just so proud of the kids. We're going to enjoy every moment of it and we're looking forward to going to Bangor.''
As for Presque Isle, True said, "An outstanding team and they have great athletes. We're going to prepare this week and give it our best shot.''
LAKE REGION wasn't lacking candidates for the Mike DiRenzo Award, given to the outstanding player/sportsman of the Western Class B girls' tournament. Senior guard Abby Craffey tied the tournament record with eight 3-pointers and had a couple in the first half Saturday to give the Lakers the momentum. Sophomore center Tiana-Jo Carter blocked everything in close and grabbed over 40 rebounds in the last two games.
It was junior guard Sydney Hancock who won it, with a marvelous performance in the regional championship game. She had 22 points, four assists and four steals.
"It's such an honor,'' said Hancock. "I didn't see that coming. I feel really proud to have won it.''
She's the fifth player from Lake Region to win the award, joining Kelley Kimball (1977), Samantha Allen (2006), Elizabeth Leighton (2007) and Renee Nicholas (2008).
LAKE REGION has always supported its teams, and Saturday was no exception. The Lakers' fans filled close to four sections of the Civic Center. They also brought a musical group with singers to provide entertainment.
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Tom Chard is a Portland native who has covered high school sports and golf for the Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram for 38 years. A three-sport athlete at Deering High, Tom's chief athletic pursuit is chasing the little white ball. He played in his 20th Maine Amateur Golf Championship in July.
Glenn Jordan came to Maine in 1994 to cover the nascent Portland Sea Dogs. After eight baseball seasons and three children – the last two within 18 minutes of each other – he became a part-time writer. Among the sports he covers are now are tennis, skiing, swimming and running. He has a degree in philosophy from Dartmouth, a decent forehand and a penchant for checkers.
Mike Lowe is a Massachusetts native who feels he's lived long enough in Maine (since 1982) to have roots here. He graduated from Boston University and has worked in New Hampshire and Maine, covering everything from the Little League World Series to the Olympics. When he has free time – Ha! – he likes to read, collect comic books and watch the grass grow from his hammock.