A labor of love as Lakers go on
PORTLAND — The Lake Region girls´ basketball team has a simple formula for success:
"Our motto," said guard Sydney Hancock, "is that nobody works harder than we do for 32 minutes."
Then she added, "I think we proved that tonight."
That they did. Top-ranked Lake Region broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter Thursday to defeat Greely 42-27 in a Western Class B semifinal at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Lakers led by only four points heading into the final quarter.
"We were both working hard," said Hancock, "but we always pride ourselves in working our hardest for the whole span. And in the end we were able to push away and finish the game."
Lake Region (18-2) will play second-seeded York (18-2) in the regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Lakers beat the Wildcats twice in the regular season.
Both teams concentrated on taking away the inside. The problem for Greely (15-6) in the fourth quarter was the Lakers adjusted offensively against the man-to-man defense.
Lake Region moved center Tiana-Jo Carter to the high post, at the foul line, and had guards CeCe Hancock and Sydney Hancock look to drive. They would either score or find Kelsey Winslow uncovered for a layup. Sydney Hancock scored seven points, Winslow had six and CeCe Hancock, a freshman, added four in the fourth quarter.
Several of the baskets by the Hancocks were eye-opening flips against taller defenders.
"Those were nice finishes," said Greely Coach Joel Rogers. "I mean, what can you do? It isn´t like those were uncontested layups. They were falling out of bounds and flipped the ball up and it´s going off the glass."
Sydney Hancock chuckled when asked about the shots.
"I just try to keep my eyes on the target and hope to finish," she said. "And not focus on the girl plowing me to the ground."
But more than any offensive highlights, Rogers knew why the Lakers were advancing.
"Give credit to Paul (True, the Lakers´ coach), he was terrific," said Rogers. "Our game plan was if we can keep Carter from getting a double-double, we could win. That part worked out.
"But their defense was just better than ours. I ran everything. I tried adjustments. At times they looked like man-to-man, at others it looked like a matchup zone. I tried our man-to-man (offense), I tried our zone offenses. In the end we just couldn´t put enough baskets in the hoop."
The Rangers made early runs but Lake Region took the lead for good with 3:04 left in the half on a CeCe Hancock drive.
Greely trailed by one late in the third quarter before Winslow scored on a nice low-post move and Sarah Hancock drilled her only basket, a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left for a 23-17 lead.
"That was a huge shot," said True.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: