PORTLAND, Maine — One mistake led to another, then another, then another, and those all took wind out of the Yarmouth Clippers’ sails long before a controversial ending ever did, coach Christina Strong admitted.
The sixth-seeded Clippers nearly pulled off the upset against No. 3 Lake Region, but one too many mistakes — and one Lakers free throw — were the difference in a 32-31 Lake Region victory in a Class B South girls basketball quarterfinal on Tuesday morning at the Portland Expo.
The Lakers’ Chandler True drove to the basket and was fouled with 3.3 seconds to play. She made one of two free throws, and Yarmouth’s Jess Kirk desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed the mark as the buzzer rang.
“She either had an open look for a shot, or attack the rim, and she made the right play,” Lake Region coach Paul True said.
But should the play have even had a chance to exist?
A jump ball a little more than 10 seconds earlier should have kept possession with the Clippers (9-10), but a mistake at the scorer’s table resulted in the Lakers getting the ball for a final play, their second consecutive possession on a jump ball.
“To have it end in that fashion is really hard,” Strong said. “Just a tough pill to swallow for sure.
“As far as we came and as well as we played, to have that determine the game is devastating,” she said.
Even coach True felt for Yarmouth.
“They failed to change the possession arrow, but the rule is, once the ball is put in play and play resumes, it’s a noncorrectable error,” True said. “I just want to say, my heart breaks for Yarmouth. That’s a terrible situation in a tournament game.”
The Lake Region defense forced the jump ball, which started a downward spiral for the Clippers.
“We were going to try to get a basket, try to get a two,” Strong said of Yarmouth’s final possession. “Coming out of that timeout I felt really good about it. We had trouble getting the ball in, and then it got tied up.”
Both teams had trouble getting the ball in the hoop all game. Yarmouth shot 27.5 percent from the floor, the Lakers just 23.4 percent. Yet three made 3-pointers in the first quarter gave the Clippers an 11-5 lead after one period.
The Yarmouth lead was 17-13 at halftime, but the Lakers came storming out of the gates to start the third quarter, scoring six straight points to take their first lead.
“We knew the third quarter was going to be important,” Strong said. “It did startle us a bit, so we had to make some adjustments.”
Yarmouth rallied back to take a 26-23 lead after three quarters and still led 31-27 with less than four minutes to play.
Lake Region scored the final five points of the game to get the one-point win.
“The kids just kept battling,” True said. “We all know that in tournament games you got to knock down some free throws, and I thought our team did that.”
Lauren Jakobs led the Lakers with nine points, including making all four of her free throw attempts in the fourth quarter. She battled back from first-half foul trouble to help even out the rebounding for Lake Region in the second half.
“Jakobs, she’s solid underneath the basket,” Strong said.
Cory Langenbach led all scorers with 11 for Yarmouth.