PORTLAND—When you play a fundamentally strong, smart and scrappy defending champion, you better play close to a perfect game.
The Waynflete girls’ basketball team wasn’t able to manage anything close to that Wednesday afternoon.
Hosting reigning Class B champion Lake Region, the Flyers were done in early by the sharpshooting of Lakers junior CeCe Hancock and strong all around play from senior Sarah Hancock, as well as poor ballhandling.
Lake Region scored the game’s first five points and raced to a 17-2 advantage. Waynflete tried to answer in the second quarter, as it held the Lakers to just three points, but 19 first half turnovers spelled a 20-10 deficit.
When Flyers senior Dana Peirce made two free throws to start the second half, the Flyers had comeback hopes, but they were dashed once and for all by a 26-5 Lake Region surge that made it 46-17 after three quarters, ending all doubt.
Waynflete played hard to the final whistle, as several girls came off the bench and gave their all, but the Lakers put the finishing touches on a 52-29 triumph.
CeCe Hancock had a game-high 15 points as Lake Region improved to 6-4 and dropped the Flyers to 6-3 in the process.
“I think it was really good for us,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. “I told the team before the game that it would be good for us no matter what the result, because I felt we needed to toughen up. Today was a clear demonstration of that. I think we did some good things, but we have to get tougher. These games, although it’s hard to watch at times, go a long way in helping you get tougher and realize where you need to get to.”
Waynflete opened the season by defeating visiting Greater Portland Christian School (66-28), visiting Sacopee Valley (42-24), host North Yarmouth Academy (63-12) and visiting Traip Academy (63-32). After a 72-45 loss at Old Orchard Beach, the Flyers held off visiting Wells, 44-37, but lost at Yarmouth, 36-32. Saturday, Waynflete bounced back with a 54-15 home triumph over NYA.
Lake Region, which graduated several key members from its championship team, has remained competitive, as its four losses have come by a combined 22 points. After opening with a 56-38 win at Fryeburg Academy, the Lakers lost at home to York, 54-41. A 45-33 home victory over Wells was followed by a 42-41 overtime loss at Falmouth and a 47-46 home loss to Gray-New Gloucester. After beating visiting Poland, 46-39, Lake Region beat visiting Fryeburg Academy (51-47) and Freeport (68-48), but Saturday, the Lakers fell at Gray-New Gloucester, 52-45.
The teams first played back in the 2007-08 season, when the host Lakers prevailed, 48-41. On Feb. 4, 2009, Waynflete beat visiting Lake Region, 47-45, its lone victory to date over the Lakers. Three years ago, Lake Region won at Waynflete, 45-36. In 2012-13, Waynflete’s title season and a year which saw Lake Region reach the Class B Final, the Lakers prevailed at home, 60-55. Last year, Lake Region dispatched the Flyers at home again, 62-37.
Wednesday, the Lakers made an immediate statement and didn’t look back.
CeCe Hancock made her presence felt just 41 seconds in with a layup. She then made a 3 for a 5-0 lead.
Waynflete got on the board with 4:54 to go in the first quarter, when senior Helen Gray-Bauer scored on a driving layup, but Lake Region erupted for 12 straight points, as freshman Lauren Jakobs made a layup, junior Spencer True hit a 3, Jakobs made a layup, CeCe Hancock made a 3, then drove for a layup for a commanding 17-2 advantage.
The Flyers ended the run with a 3-ball from senior Julianna Harwood and sophomore Annika Brooks added a free throw, but the Flyers were still down 11, 17-6, after eight minutes.
In the first quarter, CeCe Hancock had 10 points, while Sarah Hancock had four rebounds and four steals. Waynflete committed eight turnovers.
Offense went on a hiatus in the second period.
It took nearly three minutes for a point to be scored, as Gray-Bauer hit a short jumper. The visitors then got a putback from senior Megan VanLoan and Sarah Hancock added a free throw. Peirce countered with a leaner, but that would be it and Lake Region was on top, 20-10, at the break.
“When we got a lead, our shot selection wasn’t great,” Lakers coach Paul True said. “Our ball movement wasn’t great. We were stagnant. We did continue to defend. It was a matter of shot selection. We have to score in transition and we didn’t do that in the second quarter.”
The Flyers had a golden opportunity to get back in the game, but 11 turnovers, giving them 19 for the game, prevented a rally.
“If you told me we’d give up 20 points in the first half, I would have taken that,” Salway said. “We won the second quarter. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.”
Peirce made two free throws to start the second half, but Gray-Bauer was soon whistled for her third foul and things went downhill quickly for Waynflete.
By the end of the period, the game was essentially over.
Lake Region sophomore Kristen Huntress would have a huge quarter and got it started by knocking down on a 3. After Sarah Hancock made a free throw, then added another, Brooks converted an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw), but the Lakers would get a putback from VanLoan, a putback from Sarah Hancock and a Huntress 3 to make it 32-15.
Flyers freshman Ava Farrar set up classmate LZ Olney for a layup, but Lake Region would close the frame on a 14-0 run.
First, CeCe Hancock made a long 3. After Huntress made a layup, Huntress hit a jumper. Sarah Hancock then made a layup, CeCe Hancock made a layup after a steal and in the final minute, senior Alizah Thayer knocked down a 3 for a 46-17 advantage.
Early in the fourth quarter, Gray-Bauer made a 3, but Thayer countered with a layup and freshman Chandler True made a free throw. After Farrar knocked down a long 3 for the Flyers, Harwood hit a turnaround jumper and sophomore Ali Pope made a layup to cut the deficit to 49-27. Chandler True then hit a 3 for Lake Region’s final points before Waynflete freshman Lydia Giguere made a free throw and Pope did the same to account for the 52-29 final score.
“I was pleased with our effort right from the tip,” Paul True said. “Obviously, (Waynflete’s) extremely well coached and they’re athletic and they’re playing in their gym, which is a different setting, There are a lot of factors that go into a game here, but I thought our kids responded well.”
The Lakers were led by 15 points from CeCe Hancock. She also had five steals and four assists.
Sarah Hancock had seven points, nine rebounds, nine steals and three assists.
“When they play smart and aren’t in foul trouble, they’re extremely effective,” Paul True said. “Sarah is simply a tremendous leader. She does so many things for us, on and off the floor. CeCe is a tremendous talent, who only plays one way and that’s 110 percent.”
Huntress finished with 10 points, Thayer had five, Jakobs (seven rebounds, three blocks), Chandler True (six boards, two blocks and two steals) and VanLoan finished with four apiece and Spencer True added three.
Lake Region made eight 3-pointers and overcame 4 of 12 foul shooting and 22 turnovers.
For the Flyers, Gray-Bauer had a team-high seven points. She also had five steals and four rebounds. Harwood finished with five points (she also had nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals), Brooks (seven rebounds) and Peirce had four apiece, Farrar and Pope (nine boards) both had three, Olney two and Giguere (four rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block) one.
“I thought Ava showed good toughness,” Salway said. “Stats may not show it, but Lydia was tough the whole game.”
Waynflete had a 40-36 rebounding advantage and made 6 of 11 free throws, but was doomed by 31 turnovers.
“(Lake Region’s) really fundamentally good defensively,” Salway said. “They know when to double. They get their hands in there. They work together and they’re tough. They make things very difficult on you offensively. They take you out of what you want to do. They have so many perimeter players. If you don’t communicate, they’ll get open looks and they’ll bury them. I was looking for people who wouldn’t get the ball taken from them. I told the girls if they got the ball taken from them, they were coming out. We kept rotating people in there.”
Lake Region (seventh in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) is back in action Friday, when Falmouth visits. Monday, the Lakers go to Cape Elizabeth. While this team isn’t viewed as a title threat, the rest of the league would be wise to take Lake Region seriously.
“I really couldn’t be happier with our kids,” Paul True said. “We played without CeCe for most of the first half of the season, but our kids have been very competitive every night. They play hard. That’s all I can ask of them.
“There are things we need to do better and many times, when you get to the tournament, it’s about the teams who are playing the best and with the most confidence. With the guard play we have, if we’re shooting well, I feel like we can compete with anybody on a given night.”
Waynflete (10th in Western C) is eyeing another trip to Augusta, but still has work to do. The Flyers go to Poland Friday, then have a week off before playing at Traip and hosting Old Orchard Beach in a 24-hour span. Home games against Kents Hill and Greater Portland Christian School and visits to Hebron, Sacopee Valley and Kents Hill also remain.
“It’s great to pull off an upset against a team like this, but if you lose, it can still help you,” Salway said. “Heal Points are great, but they’re overrated. These games make you better and tougher. You find out what you’re made of.”
Waynflete sophomore Annika Brooks goes up for a shot.
Lake Region junior CeCe Hancock, who did plenty of damage on the night with 15 points, brings the ball up the court.
Despite the score, Waynflete freshman Ava Farrar was all smiles during her playing time.
Waynflete senior Julianna Harwood tries to drive on Lake Region freshman Chandler True.
Waynflete senior Helen Gray-Bauer pushes the ball up the floor as Lake Region senior Alizah Thayer defends.
Waynflete senior Helen Gray-Bauer, who led the Flyers with seven points, goes up for a shot.
Waynflete freshman LZ Olney is defended by Lake Region junior CeCe Hancock.
Waynflete freshman Kanha Stockford races up the court.
Waynflete senior Julianna Harwood and Lake Region freshman Chandler True battle for possession.
Waynflete sophomore Annika Brooks is stuffed by Lake Region senior Megan VanLoan during the Lakers’ 52-29 win Wednesday evening.
Ben McCanna photos.
More photos below.
Lake Region 52 Waynflete 29
LR- 17 3 26 6- 52
W- 6 4 7 12- 29
LR- C. Hancock 6-0-15, Huntress 4-0-10, S. Hancock 2-3-7, Thayer 2-0-5, Jakobs 2-0-4, C. True 1-1-4, VanLoan 2-0-4, S. True 1-0-3
W- Gray-Bauer 3-0-7, Harwood 2-0-5, Brooks 1-2-4, Peirce 1-2-4, Farrar 1-0-3, Pope 1-1-3, Olney 1-0-2, Giguere 0-1-1
LR (8) C. Hancock 3, Huntress 2, Thayer, C. True, S. True 1
W (3) Farrar, Gray-Bauer, Harwood 1