North Yarmouth Academy senior Catherine Reid dribbles up the floor during the Panthers’ 51-17 home victory over Lake Region Monday night. Reid tied for game-high scoring honors with 13 points.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald photos.

More photos below.


North Yarmouth Academy 51 Lake Region 17

LR- 5 6 2 4- 17
NYA- 13 13 7 18- 51

LR- Hancock 3-1-8, Sargent 2-1-5, Harriman 1-0-2, Sheldrick 1-0-2

NYA- K. Larson 4-2-13, Reid 4-3-13, Mower 6-0-12, M. Larson 4-0-10, Hamblett 1-0-2, Downey 0-1-1

LR (1) Hancock 1 
NYA (7) K. Larson 3, M. Larson, Reid 2

LR- 24
NYA- 13

Free throws
LR: 2-6
NYA: 6-8

YARMOUTH—A year ago, the prospect of the North Yarmouth Academy girls’ basketball team playing perennial powerhouse Lake Region would have been improbable.

And the thought of the Panthers dominating the Lakers en route to a 34-point victory would have been absolutely inconceivable.

But it’s a dramatically different girls’ basketball landscape in 2018-19 and that’s exactly what happened Monday evening, as host NYA never trailed and downed the defending regional champion Lakers with ease to continue its fast start.

The Panthers took the lead for good, when they scored the final eight points of the first quarter, capped by six points from new additions Catherine Reid and Serena Mower of the former Maine Girls’ Academy, to go up, 13-5.

NYA extended its run to 14-0 and four quick points from Mower just before the half made it 26-11 Panthers at the break.

Junior Katie Larson opened the second half with a 3-pointer and NYA held Lake Region scoreless for nearly nine minutes before taking a 33-13 advantage to the fourth quarter.

There, the Panthers never looked back and went on to a 51-17 victory.

Larson and Reid each had 13 points to pace a balanced attack, Mower added a dozen points and senior Maggie Larson finished with 10 as NYA improved to 2-0 and dropped the Lakers to 0-2 in the process.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” Katie Larson said. “We’re not used to the attention, but it’s a nice change. So far, we’re doing really well. I had no doubts it would go well, but it’s even better than my expectations.” 

A new world

This season is unique in the history of the NYA girls’ program. The Panthers have had competitive teams through the years, but never was there a buzz around the team like there was in the preseason. For starters, NYA returned several key players from a team which had a winning record last winter. When MGA closed and Mower and Reid showed up on campus, that made the Panthers even more formidable and as a result, they opted to play a more challenging schedule. NYA, which also has a new coach this winter in Tom Robinson, opened with a 68-34 win at Old Orchard Beach Friday.

Lake Region, meanwhile, is very familiar with the spotlight and with expectations. Last year, the Lakers made a stirring run to the Class B state final, which they lost, 43-29, to Winslow. Lake Region has some holes to fill this season and it struggled in its opener Friday at Gray-New Gloucester, scoring just one first half point in a 44-15 setback.

Monday marked the teams’ first meeting since Dec. 14, 2009, a 46-20 Lake Region victory at NYA. 

This time around, the result was different, as the Panthers managed their first win over the Lakers this century.

Katie Larson set the tone 48 seconds into the game when she buried a 3-pointer.

Lake Region missed its first four shots and turned the ball over twice as well, but with 5:08 to go in the opening quarter, sophomore Shauna Hancock drained a long-distance 3 to tie the score.

After Mower scored her first points on a runner in the lane, senior Brooke Harriman answered with a jumper to pull the Lakers even, 5-5, midway through the frame.

And that’s as good as things would get for the visitors.

With 2:32 left in the quarter, on the fastbreak, Reid set up Maggie Larson for a layup and NYA was on top to stay.

Reid followed with a 3, Reid hit a free throw and after she missed the second, senior Helen Hamblett grabbed the offensive rebound and passed to Mower, who made a layup for a 13-5 advantage after eight minutes.

The Panthers extended their lead in the second period.

After Reid made two foul shots, she drove for a layup, then set up Maggie Larson for a layup and a 19-5 lead.

“I keep telling (Catherine), ‘You’re like Tony Parker out there,’” said Robinson. “She doesn’t know who he is but I tell her to Google him.”

The visitors snapped the 14-0 run and a 6-minute, 41-second drought when Hancock made a free throw with 5:20 on the first half clock and freshman Bri Sargent added a foul shot, but Maggie Larson countered with a 3 to make it 22-7.

Lake Region then got a driving layup from Hancock and a leaner from Sargent to apparently take some momentum into the locker room, but in the final 23 seconds of the half, Mower took a pass from Reid and made a layup, then banked home a runner for a 26-11 halftime lead.

In the first half, the Lakers turned the ball over 13 times and NYA got eight points apiece from Mower and Reid and seven from Maggie Larson.

The Panthers didn’t rest on their laurels when the third period began and a 7-0 run opened the game up further.

Katie Larson started the second half the way she did the game, with a 3-ball, Mower scored on a leaner and Hamblett’s jumper made the score 33-11.

With 28.5 remaining in the frame, a Sargent bank shot ended an 8:44 drought and pulled Lake Region within 20 heading for the fourth.

There, Reid and Katie Larson started with 3s and the lead was 39-13.

After a driving layup by Hancock, Katie Larson made two free throws, Reid scored on a runner, Reid stole the ball and fed Katie Larson for a layup, Maggie Larson buried a 3 and Mower pulled up and made a jump shot for a 50-15 advantage.

After freshman Shelby-Lynne Sheldrick hit a runner for Lake Region’s final points, a free throw from junior Carly Downey, another former MGA player, accounted for the 51-17 final score.

“We had really good ball movement, nice driving and dishing,” Katie Larson said. “Really good defense too.”

Reid finished with 13 points, eight assists, three rebounds and three steals.

“Winning definitely helps,” Reid said. “We’re still adjusting, but it seems like we’ve played together more than just a couple weeks.”

Katie Larson added 13 points and made three of NYA’s seven 3-pointers.

Mower scored 12 points and had four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“(Serena and I) know what it’s like to be under pressure,” Reid said. “There’s some pressure coming in here because people think we’re going to be a top team. We know how to deal with that.”

Maggie Larson finished with 10 points, Hamblett had two (to go with five boards) and Downey had one.

“It starts with unselfishness,” Robinson said. “Being heads up, looking for open teammates. I knew we had some kids who can shoot, but I love the way they move the ball and play for each other. It’s a good combination of shooters and bigs who were here with the new players. They’re up for the challenge.”

The Panthers made 6 of 8 foul shots and overcame 13 turnovers.

Lake Region was paced by Hancock’s eight points. Sargent added five points and Harriman and Sheldrick each finished with two.

The Lakers were hindered by 24 turnovers and made 2 of 6 free throws.

Lake Region did win the rebounding battle, 35-29.

“NYA is very solid,” said Lakers coach Paul True. “(Reid) is a very good player, controls tempo, is very unselfish. They have kids who can shoot it. They’re a well-balanced team.

“The positive is that nobody here is quitting, so we’ll continue to work and get better. I have a lot of young kids who need to learn how to compete and made each other better.”

No days off

Lake Region seeks its first win Thursday at Wells, then finally plays at home when it meets York Tuesday of next week.

“There are a lot of great teams and we have to accept the challenge and use it as an opportunity to get better,” said True.

NYA will get another test against a Class B South foe Thursday, when it goes across Route 1 to play the Yarmouth Clippers. Gray-New Gloucester pays a visit next Tuesday.

“We still need to work on our set plays and press-break,” Reid said. “This gives us confidence and shows us we can play with anyone, no matter what class.”

“We hope to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Katie Larson said. 

“Yarmouth had a big victory against York, then we get Gray,” Robinson said. “We need to work on rebounding because we’re undersized.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

NYA junior Serena Mower is defended by Lake Region sophomore Shauna Hancock.

NYA junior Serena Mower battles for a loose ball with Lake Region freshman Elle Hall, left, and sophomore Bella Russo.