NAPLES–The Patriots started a bit slower than they did in their last win over Lake Region when they dropped in to visit those long-time rivals on Tuesday evening, Jan.15. G-NG picked up steam in due course, however, dominating in the second quarter to establish thorough control of the Lakers – to the tune of 29-10 at the break. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Patriots had assembled themselves a workmanlike – but huge – victory: 53-21 the final.

Laker Shauna Hancock led all scorers with 15; Jordan Grant spearheaded the G-NG effort with 14, while teammate Eliza Hotham added 12.

“Anytime you escape Lake Region with a win, you’re okay,” Patriots head coach Mike Andreasen said.

Elle Hall bucketed the game’s first two, and it took G-NG a couple clunky minutes to log their own opening point, a Mikaela Ryan free-throw. Grant then added another two for the visitors, only to see Shauna Hancock retake a 4-3 lead for the Lakers with a drive up the key. A Hotham three put the Patriots out front again, though – and this time for the last time. Alexa Thayer, Ryan, Hotham and Bri Jordan all contributed further points for the team before the end of the first, securing a 13-7 lead – not to mention the evening’s momentum – for G-NG.

“It was clunkier,” Andreasen said of his girls’ first couple minutes, asked to compare to their first couple minutes in their season-opener with the Lakers. “In fact, we went to our second unit early. Our second unit picked us up – it was 9-4 or 9-6 when the second unit went in. When they came back out, it was like 17-9.”

Lake Region head coach Paul True noted his girls’ strongest efforts: “Shauna played really well, he said. “Elle Hall, freshman inside, did a great job, had quite a few rebounds tonight. Liz Smith, my other freshman, played tough inside. Nevaeh Stewart had some great minutes on the perimeter.”

The Patriots pulled further ahead in the second, going on a 13-0 run to kick things off. Grant began the push with a steal and a two, and Madysen West followed her up with a steal and a dish – to Grant – for two more. West, Thayer, Jordan and Hotham also added points in the stretch, during which the Patriots outscored their hosts 16-3. Eleina Sturk with a two and Hancock with a free earned the Lakers’ only points.

Infractions cost the Lakers during the second, and they were forced to swap some key girls off the court for a while. “Obviously foul trouble doesn’t help,” True said. “We’ve got to have Shauna and Brooke (Harriman) on the floor; so that hurt a little bit.”

“We used a lot of energy in the first half on the press,” Andreasen said of the first half. “We press pretty much on any dead ball or any basket. Our concern was, Bri Jordan and Jordie Grant play a lot of minutes for me, and so just to slow the game down and manage it.”

The third and the fourth proved to be more of the same. The Lakers’ take – by Hancock and Bri Sargent – came up far short of the Patriots’, by Ryan, Thayer, Hotham, Chelsea Davis, Sam Fortin and Grant, and the contest concluded at 53-21.

Part of the reason for the Lakers’ struggles is simply their comparative youth, a fact of life that hobbles every program now and again. Still, LRHS has a reputation for greatness, and they’re making gains each and every day.

“Yes, absolutely,” True said, asked if his girls – nevermind their defeat – had turned in an improved performance this time around vs. the Patriots. “I thought our effort, the whole game, I was very pleased with that. Obviously we’re playing against a much more experienced team. We’ve got a lot of young kids, but there was some improvement tonight for sure.”

Lake Region moved the ball quite well at times, but often struggled to penetrate the Patriots’ defense. “They’re very good, very solid team,” True said of G-NG. “At times, we played young and apprehensive, and we weren’t always confident and aggressive.”

“We knew they’d be better,” Andreasen said of the opposition. “They’d be more organized. They played us better. They’re not a deep team, as [Coach True has said]; having a key injury…kind of disrupted them.”

G-NG advances to 10-1. The Patriots occupy second place in B South at the moment. The team travels to Wells (eighth, 5-3) on Saturday the 19th.

Lake Region, now 4-7, is currently ranked 10th in B South. The Lakers host Poland 11th (2-9) on Friday the 18th.

Adam Birt can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Mikaela Ryan ascends toward the net.

Jordan Grant added double-digits for the Patriots.

Bri Jordan fires off a tough shot.

Abbey Michaud looks for a pass option.

G-NG’s Sam Fortin and Lake Region’s Liz Smith go shoulder-to-shoulder following a free-throw.

Eleina Sturk lofts up a shot for the Lakers.

Shauna Hancock managed 15 for the Lakers, leading all scorers. 

Nevaeh Stewart drives forward for the Lakers.

Laker Brooke Harriman surveys her pass options, under pressure on the G-NG perimeter.

Eliza Hotham logged a double-digit evening for the Patriots in their win.