February 22, 2013

Tournament Notebook: Lakers stick to a proven formula

From staff reports

Lake Region and Greely were two of the best defensive teams in the Western Maine Conference in the regular season. So it's no surprise that their Western Class B girls' basketball semifinal was ugly.

"I felt like I was swimming upstream for the entire game," said Lake Region Coach Paul True. "But we knew that's what Greely wanted to do. The difference for us was on the defensive end. I thought we competed on every possession."

Lake Region defeated Greely 42-27 to advance to its second consecutive regional final. The Lakers will play York at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Only three players scored for Greely: freshman Margaret Hatch (10 points), sophomore Ashley Storey (nine) and senior Jaclyn Storey (eight).

Lake Region's defense was geared toward the Storeys.

"We spent a lot of time paying attention to them," said True. "But we didn't want somebody else to step up and be a factor, and I thought our kids did a good job with that."

Under True, the Lakers have always prided themselves on defense.

"The bottom line is if we play solid defensively for 32 minutes and are holding teams under 30 points, then I like our chances," said True.

GREELY SHOULD be back in contention next year.

In Ashley Storey, the Rangers will have one of the top returning players in the Western Maine Conference. And Hatch showed her mettle against the Lakers. She wasn't afraid to take shots, and she hit two jumpers in the fourth quarter to keep the Rangers within striking distance before Lake Region pulled away.

"She was one of the freshmen we keyed on," said Coach Joel Rogers. "As I said after the Leavitt game (in the quarterfinals), she's our best defensive guard. And she's got a really nice jump shot, which you saw today.

"She's going to be a real prominent player in this conference."

FOUR WAYNFLETE players combined to make eight 3-pointers against Boothbay Region in a Western Class C semifinal win Thursday, after the Flyers were 3 of 24 from behind the arc in the quarterfinals against Dirigo.

"We stepped into our outside shots with a lot more confidence today," Waynflete Coach Brandon Salway said. "We got our (Augusta) Civic Center legs."

WAYNFLETE SENIOR Martha Veroneau certainly has the athletic talent and skill to play a sport in college. But Veroneau is headed to Boston College with her twin sister, Catherine, and doesn't plan to make intercollegiate sports part of her future. That means her competitive basketball career is drawing to a close.

"Every practice could be the last practice," said Salway. "That's not lost on anybody. They want to extend the season, that's for sure."

DON ABBOTT, coach of the Wells girls, reflected on his team's tourney run after the 11th-seeded Warriors suffered a tough 40-38 loss to No. 2 York in the Western Class B semifinals Thursday.

"We knew we belonged here," he said. "I told the team before the game that they earned the right to be in the semifinals."

Wells made big improvements from the regular season, winning a prelim game and a quarterfinal against higher-seeded teams. The Warriors led York for most of the game, only to fall short at the end.

"Over the past 48 hours, I've had a chance to match wits with Gavin Kane (Spruce Mountain) and Rick Clark (York)," noted Abbott. "They're legends in Maine high school girls' coaching, with a combined 900 wins. That was pretty cool."

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