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Waynflete senior Yai Deng comes out to defend the shot attempt of Lake Region senior Tyler Walker during the Lakers’ 45-37 win Monday afternoon.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
LR- 11 8 14 12- 45
W- 14 7 7 9- 37
LR- Walker 7-0-14, Meyers 5-0-10, Mayo 4-1-9, Porter 3-2-8, Chaine 1-2-4,
W- Deng 5-0-10, Brooks 4-1-9, Meahl 3-1-7, Houssein 3-0-6, Saade 1-1-3, Rhoads 1-0-2
PORTLAND—Waynflete’s boys’ basketball team appeared to have a good thing going when it raced to a 10-2 lead over visiting Lake Region Monday afternoon.
But the Flyers threw it away.
Again and again.
Waynflete, due to a flurry of uncharacteristic turnovers, turned what could have been a pivotal midseason victory into a game that had an unhappy ending.
The Lakers pulled within three, 14-11, after one period and kept things close in the second period as well, as the Flyers clung to a 21-19 lead at halftime.
When Waynflete got the first five points of the third quarter, it appeared to have righted the ship, but the plucky defending Class B state champions kept the pressure on and behind a 6-0 run to end the frame, took the lead for the first time, 33-30.
The Flyers bounced back and tied the score, 37-37, when sophomore Burr Rhoads scored with 5:13 to play, but the hosts wouldn’t score again.
Lake Region junior True Meyers scored six straight points, the Lakers cranked it up defensively and they went on to a 45-37 victory.
Lake Region got 14 points from senior Tyler Walker, 10 from Meyers and improved to 5-6, handing Waynflete its first loss in seven games, dropping the Flyers to 8-2 in the process.
“We had some shots we usually make not go down and you could see the guys feel sorry for themselves,” said Flyers coach Rich Henry.
Lake Region enjoyed a magical season last winter, capturing the Class B state championship for the first time since 1985. The Lakers were then hard-hit by graduation and have been up-and-down in 2016-17.
Lake Region started with losses at Wells (60-47) and at home to Yarmouth (75-55) and Lincoln Academy (74-71) before getting on track with wins over visiting Traip Academy (52-44) and at Old Orchard Beach (54-48). After losing at Maranacook (61-58) and at home to defending Class A champion Falmouth (54-43), the Lakers defeated visiting St. Dom’s (65-13) and visiting Freeport (54-40) before falling at Cape Elizabeth Saturday, 54-45.
Waynflete almost joined Lake Region atop the basketball world last winter, but lost to George Stevens Academy in the Class C state game. Despite a lot of new faces, the Flyers have remained formidable this season.
Waynflete opened with wins over visiting Sacopee Valley (67-38) and Freeport (55-30) before dropping a hard-fought 45-43 decision at Yarmouth. The Flyers then downed host North Yarmouth Academy (53-44), host Wells (45-40), visiting Traip Academy (56-33), host Old Orchard Beach (57-39), visiting Greater Portland Christian School (57-29) and host St. Dom’s (60-32).
Last season, Lake Region beat Waynflete, 51-43, in Naples.
Monday, Waynflete hoped to down the Lakers for the first time since Dec. 13, 2012 (65-54), but instead, Lake Region made it four in a row in the series.
The Flyers got off to a fast start, then began to turn the ball over.
Waynflete won the opening tap and freshman Askar Houssein set up junior Christian Brooks for a layup just four seconds in.
After senior Yai Deng scored his first points, on a putback, Lakers sophomore Mark Mayo did the same, but Houssein hit a leaner, senior Jack Meahl made a layup and Meahl fed Brooks for a layup off an inbounds set for a 10-2 lead with 3:54 left in the first quarter.
The Flyers then turned the ball over on five straight possessions and the Lakers scored seven points in 37-second span to get right back in it.
Out of a timeout, Mayo made a layup, was fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play. Junior Tristen Chaine then stole the ball and made a layup and after another steal, Walker pulled up for a jumper to cut the deficit to one, 10-9.
“It looked like we were still on the bus when we started, but we came back,” said Lake Region coach John Mayo. “We battle hard and play good defense even when the ball doesn’t go in. We emphasize defense. We have to get in the paint because we don’t score much from the outside.”
Brooks set up Houssein for a fastbreak layup to end the run and Deng made a layup, but a bank shot from Lake Region senior Luke Porter cut Waynflete’s lead to 14-11 after eight minutes.
The game remained close in the second period.
Mark Mayo started the frame with a layup. After a Deng putback, Meyers made a layup. After a Meahl steal led to a Houssein layup, Walker hit a jumper in the lane, but Brooks made a free throw and Deng scored on a putback.
With 28.4 seconds left, Mayo’s layup pulled the Lakers within 21-19 at the break.
In the first half, Mayo led all scorers with nine points. Deng’s eight points led the Flyers, who committed a 12 turnovers.
As they did to start the game, the Flyers started the second half quickly, but eventually relinquished the lead.
The first five points went to the hosts, as sophomore Alex Saade set up Meahl for a layup, Meahl scored on a leaner and Saade made one free throw to extend the lead to 26-19.
Back came Lake Region again, as Meyers made a jumper, Walker drove for a layup and Porter sank two foul shots to cut the deficit to one, 26-25.
Off an inbounds set, Meahl fed Brooks for a layup, but Chaine answered with a pair of free throws to again make it a one-point game, 28-27.
Deng made a layup with 2:33 to go to stretch the lead back to three, but the Lakers surged to end the frame and took the lead for good.
In a 36-second span, Walker made a jumper, Porter made a layup after a steal to put the visitors on top for the first time and as time expired, Walker made a layup after a steal for a 33-30 Lake Region advantage with eight minutes to go.
A floater from Walker 17 seconds into the final stanza stretched the lead to five, but Meahl answered with a runner while being fouled and he added the free throw to make it 35-33.
After Porter scored on a floater, Brooks got a hook shot to drop and with 5:13 left, Rhoads, after saving the ball to keep possession, hit a jumper to tie it, 37-37.
Unfortunately for the hosts, they wouldn’t score again.
With 3:12 to go, Meyers scored on a floater to put Lake Region on top to stay.
With 2:43 left, Meyers went coast-to-coast for a layup and a 41-37 lead.
With 1;32 remaining, Meyers weaved through the defense and made a layup to give the Lakers their biggest lead.
Waynflete couldn’t hit a shot and with 48.6 seconds to go, Walker made two free throws and that brought the curtain down on Lake Region’s 45-37 victory.
“We’ve battled with everybody, but hadn’t been able to finish,” John Mayo said. “We finished today. We started believing. Meyers got to the rim and that made a big difference. We got it done in transition and we rebounded. We beat them down the floor and when we have momentum, we play better.
“It’s coming. We went from 11 seniors to one kid who played in the state game. We’re learning. We’ve played nine guys. Everyone contributes on different nights. We’ve been in every game. We can play with anyone.”
Walker led all scorers with 14 points and also had four steals.
Meyers added 10 points (and seven boards), Mayo had nine (to go with five rebounds), Porter eight and Chaine four (to go with eight rebounds and five steals).
The Lakers didn’t make a 3-point shot, but sank 5 of 8 free throws and only committed 12 turnovers.
Waynflete had a 35-29 rebounding advantage, but its 20 turnovers proved fatal.
“They were more physical than us and we didn’t respond well to that at all,” said Henry. “We’ve got skilled players, but they forget sometimes that it’s a team game and they try to emulate what they see on TV. I’ll give (Lake Region) credit because they played tough defense, but I’d like to see us pass more.”
Deng led the Flyers with 10 points, as well as 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Brooks added nine points (to go with 11 rebounds), Meahl had seven (and five assists), Houssein six, Saade three (to go with five boards) and Rhoads two (to go with five rebounds and two steals).
Waynflete made just 3 of 7 foul shots.
Both teams hope to be at their best in the postseason and both will be sternly tested down the stretch.
Lake Region is back in action Tuesday when Gray-New Gloucester pays a visit. Home games versus Wells and Sacopee Valley and trips to Poland, Fryeburg Academy, Yarmouth and Freeport also remain.
“The goal is to be in the tournament,” said John Mayo. “Anything can happen at the Expo or at the Civic Center. We’ve shown we can play with anyone and today was a big step. We have a big one tomorrow too against Gray.”
Waynflete looks to return to the win column when it welcomes NYA Tuesday. After a showdown at Falmouth Friday, the Flyers host St. Dom’s, Poland, Old Orchard Beach and Gray-New Gloucester, then close at Traip Academy and Sacopee Valley.
“The good thing is we have a game tomorrow,” Henry said. “NYA will look to come in here and make some noise .We just have to clean some stuff up. There was some pretty candid feedback in the locker room just now. I hope the kids absorb it and bounce back.”
Waynflete senior Jack Meahl soars in the lane.
Waynflete sophomore Burr Rhoads hits the floor to battle Lake Region junior True Meyers for possession.
Waynflete junior Abdi Mohamed leans in for a shot.
Waynflete senior Yai Deng goes up for two points.
Waynflete freshman Askar Houssein gets to the basket.