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Yarmouth senior Cory Langenbach goes up for a shot over Lake Region senior Melody Millett during the Clippers’ 32-23 victory Wednesday.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
LR- 4 1 10 8- 23
Y- 7 9 8 8- 32
LR- Jakobs 3-4-10, Harriman 3-1-7, True 2-0-6
Y- Langenbach 4-1-11, Clark 4-1-9, Hattan 4-0-8, Blaschke 1-0-2, D’Appolonia 1-0-2
LR (2) True 2
Y (2) Langenbach 2
YARMOUTH—You couldn’t have drawn it up any sweeter.
Yarmouth’s girls’ basketball team, led by four seniors who turned the program from afterthought to serious contender, played its final game on its home floor Wednesday evening and after being honored with their families, those seniors went out and helped produce another victory.
And not just any victory.
One over the team this group cherishes beating most, Lake Region.
A year after suffering an agonizing and controversial one-point loss to the Lakers in the Class B South quarterfinals, the Clippers had a chance to beat them for the second time this winter and they went out and made enough shots and played stellar defense to ensure that happened.
A putback from senior Johanna Hattan just 57 seconds into the contest put Yarmouth on top to stay. The Clippers had a 7-4 lead after one quarter, then allowed just one point in the second period and behind five points from senior Cory Langenbach, opened up a 16-5 advantage.
Yarmouth led by as many as 13 in the second half, but not surprisingly, proud Lake Region came back and behind a pair of 3-pointers from junior Chandler True, drew as close as five, before Yarmouth sophomore Clementine Blaschke and Hattan scored late for a 24-15 lead after three quarters.
Down the stretch, the Lakers drew within six, but Langenbach hit a key 3 and senior Alison Clark scored on a putback and the Clippers went on to close out a 32-23 triumph.
Langenbach led all scorers with 11 points, Clark added nine and Hattan finished with eight as Yarmouth improved to 12-5, swept Lake Region in two regular season meetings for the first time this century and dropped the Lakers to 11-6 in the process.
“It’s so nice to see the seniors reap the benefit of all their hard work,” said Clippers coach Christina Strong, who took over the program when the seniors were freshmen. “They’re invested and they’ve earned it. They’ve been the heart and soul of this program for four years, on and off the court.”
Lake Region owned Yarmouth for over a decade, winning 14 straight meetings, capped by last year’s 32-31 victory in the Class B South quarterfinal, a contest best remembered for a clock operator’s error which allowed the Lakers to get the ball at the end of the game and ultimately make the decisive free throw.
The Clippers finally got over the hump Dec. 13, when they held on for a 28-24 victory at Naples, their first over Lake Region since Feb. 25, 2005. That win was one of many for Yarmouth during a fine regular season.
The Clippers lost at home to Gray-New Gloucester in their opener, 46-35, then won at Lake Region and rolled at Waynflete, 55-23. After a 54-37 setback at Greely, Yarmouth closed 2016 with wins at Maranacook (51-15) and at home over Sacopee Valley (42-16), then opened the new year by rallying past visiting Poland (35-29) and Lincoln Academy (47-36). After a 65-41 home loss to Greely, the Clippers fell at home to Freeport, 43-30, in a game they were missing Clark and junior point guard Sara D’Appolonia, then returned to form by beating visiting Wells (42-30), host Poland (48-40), host Traip Academy (36-32) and visiting Cape Elizabeth (36-28). After a 31-27 loss at Gray-New Gloucester, Yarmouth got back on track Friday at Falmouth with a 29-24 triumph.
Lake Region went just 5-4 in the first half of the season, but to the surprise of no one who has followed the success of coach Paul True and his program, the Lakers had won six of their last seven outings.
Wednesday, on Senior Night, Clark, Hattan, Langenbach and Isabel Bates were honored with their families before the game, then that group helped open up a lead Yarmouth wouldn’t relinquish as it beat Lake Region at home for the first time since Dec. 21, 2004 (45-37).
The first quarter was a struggle for both teams.
The Clippers scored first, as Hattan scored on a putback and Clark did the same. Lake Region’s first points came on a putback by junior Lauren Jakobs, but D’Appolonia countered with a jumper for the hosts.
After sophomore Brooke Harriman made a layup for the Lakers (it proved to be their final field goal of the half), Clark made a foul shot for a 7-4 lead after eight minutes.
Lake Region was hindered by five turnovers in the frame.
In the second quarter, Yarmouth got its offense going and opened up its lead.
With 7:37 to go in the half, Jakobs made a free throw, but the Lakers wouldn’t score again before the break.
The Clippers got a jumper from Hattan, a Langenbach layup (set up by D’Appolonia), a Langenbach 3 and after a timeout by Lake Region, Clark scored on a putback to make it 16-5 at halftime.
In the first half, Clark and Langenbach led the way with five points apiece, while Hattan had four. The Lakers went scoreless the final 7:37.
Lake Region finally got it going on offense in the third period, but Yarmouth managed to retain most of its lead.
After Hattan scored on a putback to start the second half, Jakobs got a leaner to hit the rim and drop with 5:20 left to end a 10 minute, 17 second drought and the Clippers’ 11-0 run.
Clark answered with a jumper, but Chandler True buried the Lakers’ first 3-pointer, Jakobs set up Harriman for a layup and True made another 3 to cut the deficit to just five, 20-5.
The Clippers finished the quarter strong, however, as Blaschke hit a short jumper and Hattan got a jumper to rattle in for a 24-15 advantage with eight minutes to go.
Lake Region started the final stanza getting a driving layup from Jakobs, who was fouled on the play, then added the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play.
Langenbach then hit the biggest shot of the night, draining a 3 from the corner to extend the lead to nine.
“Whenever I’m open, I have to take it,” Langenbach said. “Coach always tells me to shoot. It was a nice pass.”
After Harriman made a layup, Clark countered with a hook shot for a 29-20 lead with 4:34 left.
Harriman got a point back at the line and after Yarmouth drained a couple minutes off the clock, Jakobs hit two foul shots to cut the deficit to 29-23 with 1:07 to play.
The Lakers had a chance to draw even closer after D’Appolonia missed the front end of a one-and-one and senior Melody Millett was fouled, but she too missed the front end of a one-and-one.
A Jakobs steal gave Lake Region another opportunity and senior Kristen Huntress had a look at a 3, but it was no good and D’Appolonia got the rebound and got the ball to Langenbach, who was fouled with 13.6 seconds to go.
Langenbach then made her first free throw to essentially ice it.
“We focus a lot on free throws in practice,” Langenbach said. “I knew I had to settle down and make it.”
Langenbach missed the second attempt, but the Lakers couldn’t score and as time expired, a long pass from D’Appolonia resulted in a layup by Langenbach at the horn and Yarmouth put the punctuation mark on its 32-23 victory.
“It can’t get much better than this,” Clark said. “Lake Region has always been a top competitor. It felt really good to beat them at home tonight in our last home game. It’s a huge win. It was bittersweet. We’ve grown up with Coach. Our senior class is so close. Coach has built such a great program here. We’re proud of where we’ve come. It’s been four great years. I think at this point of the season, we’re just having fun.”
“This year is the first time we’ve beaten Lake Region,” Langenbach said. “To sweep them means a lot. It feels good to beat them, especially after last year’s loss. Before the game, we talked about coming out with a ton of energy on defense. We wanted to pressure them around the 3-point line and we did that. They took a lot of 3s. We expected at some point that they’d start hitting, so we had to adjust our D.”
“I feel like we’re still not peaking,” Strong added. “Offensively, we’re still trying to put it together. We’re not quite there. Given that we’re having trouble finishing on offense, the fact that we’re holding our opponents in check is huge for us. They’re a great shooting team. We knew we had to pressure the ball and make adjustments. The girls are smart. They did it. We don’t get rattled. The girls know what it feels like to win now and they’re more confident all around.”
Langenbach had a game-high 11 points. She also had three assists. Clark added nine points and nine rebounds, Hattan eight points and four boards, Blaschke two points and five rebounds and D’Appolonia two points, three assists and three steals.
Yarmouth had a 24-20 rebounding advantage and overcame 16 turnovers and 2 of 7 foul shooting.
Lake Region was paced by Jakobs, who finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Harriman had seven points and True six. The Lakers made just 5 of 12 foul shots and committed 17 turnovers.
Lake Region (currently sixth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) closes the regular season Friday at home versus Freeport.
Yarmouth (fourth in Class B South) closes at Wells Friday. The Clippers still have a chance to move up and avoid Gray-New Gloucester’s side of the bracket.
“Last year, making it was nice, but this year, we want to make a run,” said Langenbach. “Our defense is solid, but we still need to work on our offense.”
“We’re looking to secure a good spot,” said Clark. “I feel like we’re ready to make a run. We think we can go really far.”
“Wells will be tough,” Strong added. “It’s a huge game. In order to take the No. 3 spot, we have to win. I’m so excited for the team. Their needs to be a light-bulb moment when they realize how good they are and they play up to it. They play with heart, they’re smart, they don’t quit. It’s going to be an exciting couple weeks. They’re ready and excited.”
Yarmouth sophomore Clementine Blaschke tries to steal the ball from Lake Region junior Chandler True, as Clippers senior Cory Langenbach also defends.
Yarmouth junior Sara D’Appolonia goes up for a shot over Lake Region junior Lauren Jakobs.
Yarmouth senior Alison Clark goes up for two as Lake Region sophomore Brooke Harriman defends.
Yarmouth senior Johanna Hattan fights Lake Region junior Aisley Sturk for a rebound.
Yarmouth sophomore Clementine Blaschke is defended by Lake Region senior Kristen Huntress (4) and junior Lauren Jakobs.