NAPLES – The Lake Region High girls’ basketball players always have prided themselves on their defensive abilities. Wednesday night, those abilities were on full display.

The Lakers held Greely scoreless for a stretch of 11 minutes and 34 seconds — including the entire second quarter — to beat the Rangers 40-27 in a matchup of two of the top teams in Western Class B.

The result likely will prompt a switch in the Heal point standings: Greely (5-2) was second entering the game and Lake Region (7-0) was third.

“We knew this would be our biggest game of the year so far,” said Sydney Hancock of the Lakers. “So we knew we had to come in and play hard.”

And they did.

After Ashley Storey gave Greely a 6-5 lead on a layup with 2:13 left in the first quarter, the Lakers’ man-to-man defense harassed and rattled the Rangers all over the court. Greely didn’t score again until Jaclyn Storey, who had a marvelous game with 15 points, put in an offensive rebound with 6:39 left in the third.

That made it 19-8. Lake Region forced 12 of Greely’s 25 turnovers in that 11:34 scoreless stretch. The Rangers also missed 14 consecutive shots.

“Defense is our game,” said Lake Region forward Tiana-Jo Carter, who led a balanced offense with 11 points. “We make sure it always comes first. This was a very tough game. We just played our game.

“We didn’t do anything different. We just know when to work hard and to play tough.”

Greely’s defense was almost as tough. But the Lakers got untracked in the middle two periods to pull away. Despite Greely’s offensive problems, it was still only 14-7 at the half.

Then Lake Region got into a rhythm against Greely’s zone, with Kelsey Winslow and Carter pounding inside, and Rachel Wandishin and Allison Clark hitting from the outside.

Leading 23-13, Lake Region went on a 14-3 run to open a 21-point lead. Jordan Turner got it going with a short jumper. After Taylor Readio hit a foul shot, Carter powered for a layup.

Savannah Devoe put in an offensive rebound and Lake Region led 29-14 at the end of the third.

Carter began the fourth by putting in an offensive rebound. Then Clark hit back-to-back 3s, sandwiched around a Storey layup, and it was 37-16 with 6:09 remaining.

“When we play patient (on offense) we can work the ball around to get some open looks,” said Hancock. “That’s what happened there. We know if we’re patient we’ll be fine.”

Despite the loss, Greely Coach Kim Hilbrich liked her team’s effort.

“This is a step for us, a good learning experience,” she said. “I think we realized we can play with anyone. It was a tough game, a tough loss, but we can learn from it and go from there.

“We’ll be able to take things from this game, work on them and not let them happen again.”

Paul True, the Lakers’ coach, said this was also a big step for his team, heading into an important stretch of games, starting Friday at Wells, which beat Greely in the season’s first game. He liked the contributions from his bench and, of course, he loved the defense.

“Even though we weren’t scoring in the first half, I think the tempo was in our favor,” he said. “We were getting up and down the court.

“I was really proud of the kids defensively. I thought fundamentally they were really sound.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH