Laker Kristen Huntress marshaled her team’s attack all evening on Thursday, Jan. 7, and especially through the fourth, when visiting Freeport surged from a deep deficit in a low-scoring game. Lake Region held on, in the end, trumping the Falcons 42-37.

“I expected a hard-fought game,” said Lakers head coach Paul True. “Freeport’s well-coached; Coach (Mike) Hart does a great job.”

Laker Lauren Jakobs scored first, kicking off an astounding 14-1 run in which her squad held Freeport – which is having a solid season so far – without a field goal until the middle of the second quarter. Huntress, Kaylyn Jordan and Aisley Sturk also contributed during the stretch.

“I just think defensively we’re solid,” said True of his girls’ powerful start. “Defensively – for most of the game – I was very pleased. We pay attention to matchups and other players’ skillsets. I just thought we played very smart.”

Jessie Driscoll shattered the Falcons’ silence with just 5:23 to play before the break, draining a two; teammate Kayla Belanger followed her immediately with a pretty three for 14-6. Finally, Freeport awoke.

True described his approach to some of the game’s key matchups.

“Belanger is their best player, a great player and a lefty. We came out and played mostly zone; it’s just a matter of all five players being aware of where she is on the floor, and I thought we did a good job of that.”

“(Taylor) Rinaldi,” True said, “is their best shooter; I thought we took her pretty much out of the flow of the game tonight. And then, inside, we know that they’re big and athletic, so getting a consistent body on them inside was key.”

The Falcons soared alongside the Lakers for the next several minutes, and the score at halftime stood 22-16. A six point differential might not seem like much in basketball, but it’s obviously more significant in such a low-scoring affair; Freeport still had work ahead of them.

Lake Region outscored the Falcons in the third, 9-6, putting Freeport a bit further in the hole. Huntress, Jakobs and Melody Millett all knocked down buckets for the Lakers, while Rinaldi, Johanna Bogue-Marlow and Jess Wall did the Falcons’ honors.

Freeport needed a big fourth if they hoped to pull out a W. Things didn’t initially look good: Huntress opened the quarter with a pair of quick buckets to put the Lakers ahead by 13, 35-22. Driscoll then sank a two, but Huntress immediately matched her.

Midway through the fourth, the Falcons finally managed to pick up steam and break into a run: Rinaldi began it with a two, and Driscoll followed her up with another. A travel call on the Lakers handed Freeport the opportunity to maintain their drive uninterrupted, and they did: Rinaldi, Megan Cormier and Driscoll all added more points as time ticked away, pulling the team within five, 42-37, inside the final minute.

True saw some flaws in his girls’ play that allowed Freeport the opportunity to surge. “We were 5-for-25 from the foul line; it was horrendous,” he said. “I don’t know how many layups we missed, but to be perfectly honest, in the first half we should have extended a good-sized lead. Offensively, we just didn’t put the ball in the hole tonight.”

The Lakers kept their cool, however. The Falcons had no choice but to begin fouling, and though Huntress and teammate Spencer True couldn’t nail their frees, the squad as a whole continued to play admirable defense, halting Freeport’s impressive comeback attempt and claiming the victory.

“Freeport made it a game,” said True, “which good teams do. But our kids did enough to win in the end. Everybody competed and played their hearts out on the floor. I’m not sure anyone had a complete game individually, but as a team we played hard for 32 minutes.”

Freeport slipped to 6-3 on the loss. The Falcons hosted York on the 9th, dropping another close one 51-47, and Old Orchard Beach on the 12th. The team, now seventh in B South, travels to Fryeburg on the 15th.

Freeporter Regan Lynch gets air over a Lakers attacker on Thursday night.Freeport sophomore Jessie Driscoll spearheaded the team’s attack, including their late-game surge, at Lake Region on Thursday night.Freeporter Jess Wall sails over surrounding Laker opponents.Freeport’s Kayla Belanger drives toward the net at Lake Region on Thursday.

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