NAPLES — Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball coach Mike Andreasen knows all about senior leadership. He had it last year, when four seniors started on a Class B state championship team.

This year, however, the Patriots have no seniors on their roster. And in a season opener Friday night, Andreasen watched as Lake Region’s seniors stepped up to deliver a victory.

Chandler True scored 15 points and Lauren Jakobs had 13 as the Lakers rallied for a 38-34 win. Jakobs scored six points in the fourth quarter, and her 3-pointer with 4:41 remaining gave the Lakers the lead for good.

“They have two seniors who really stepped up,” said Andreasen. “You need your elder statesmen to make plays for you. And they did.”

Gray-New Gloucester led 29-27 entering the fourth quarter after Jordan Grant (12 points, 11 rebounds) hit two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining in the third. That the Patriots held the lead was impressive considering their best player, Bri Jordan, was in foul trouble and played only about nine minutes in the first three quarters. She finished with six points.

But Lake Region took control in the fourth, asserting itself on the defensive end with a 2-3 zone that took away the Patriots’ inside game and finally showing some confidence on offense.

“I think that we were just really nervous at the beginning,” said True. “They’re the defending champs and we had a lot on our shoulders. But we knew we had to step up and become the team that we can be to beat them.”

The Patriots led 31-29 after a fast-break layup by Abby Michaud. But then Jakobs took a pass from Isabella Russo on the right wing and swished a long 3-pointer to put Lake Region in front.

Jakobs, who didn’t score in the first half, said she had to overcome her own early game nerves.

“Knowing we could do it and had the potential, I just gained confidence in myself,” she said.

Lake Region Coach Paul True wasn’t surprised that Jakobs stepped up: “Lauren is a senior leader for us. She works hard. I’m proud of her effort, and that kid deserves every big moment she gets.”

After stopping Gray-New Gloucester twice defensively, the Lakers got a huge 3-pointer from freshman Shauna Hancock – her only basket of the game – with 3:04 remaining. Her hoop brought the Lake Region bench to its feet.

After that, said True, “our intensity went up, and the crowd, and we knew we could do it.”

Jakobs hit a free throw with 1:56 left, then True made two with 57 seconds remaining to stretch the lead to 38-33.

“They’re very quiet leaders,” True said of Jakobs and his daughter. “They lead by example, and they stuck with it and really provided some leadership for us tonight.”

This was a satisfying win for the Lakers, who have been eliminated from the regional tournament by Gray-New Gloucester each of the last two years.

“This was the outcome we wanted,” said Chandler True. “We’ve had a bad history with them.”

And Gray-New Gloucester? “We’ll learn,” said Andreasen. “We’ll learn from this.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

filed under: