ORLEANSâ€“After finishing the first quarter tied at ten, the Lake Region Ranger boys increased their efforts throughout the rest of the game as they defeated Peoples Academy 59-50 in what ended as a fairly chippy contest.
"The boys are really pulling together, and it was a great team effort," said coach James Ingalls, "And the boys were able to hold their composure for the most part."
The first quarter was an evenly played eight minutes by both teams. Drew Gallup got the game going as he hit for two. Peoples answered with Eli Wilder's jumper to tie up the game. Caleb Weglarz then laid one in putting the Wolves ahead by a deuce.
The Academy and the Rangers would trade buckets throughout the rest of the quarter, with Peoples going up by two late on a Weglarz three.
With 3.7 seconds left in the first Alex Beauregard stepped to the line and calmly made both of his shots to tie the game heading into the second.
Said the coach, "Alex played a very solid game. He is a hustle player and he does all those intangible things that a team needs."
The fresh frame opened with Lake Region's passing game firing on all cylinders. Shaquille Urie found Seth Lawson for an easy two. Soon after, Beauregard made a nice strip and fed Gallup who went off glass and in as the Rangers were now up by four.
Ryan Davis dropped one in to cut the lead to two, but the Rangers went back ahead by four on another Lawson bucket, and then ahead by six when Gallup grabbed a defensive rebound and went the length of the court making the jumper.
Caleb Royer had a great play to set up the next basket. He made the save on the ball, jumping way out of bounds to get the it, and Derik Messier was the beneficiary of Royer's efforts as he consequently made the easy lay-up to put Lake Region up by eight.
Gallup paced Lake Region in the second, scoring eleven of the teams seventeen points and it was the boys in white up 27-17 as the cheerleaders hit the floor to perform their routine at half-time.
The final sixteen minutes became much more physical and sloppy for the Rangers. They still got their points, but some of the fundamentals went out the window.
The Wolves started to press more and were causing turnovers that weren't occurring in the first half.
"I think they got so regimented that they thought 'oh well, in practice we go to the middle' but everyone over-plays the middle. I think that if we could have been a little more patient we could have gotten it up the side lines, but we got a little frazzled at that point," said Ingalls of his teams' play in the second half.
A lot of these giveaways would occur on the second pass off of the inbounds pass. They got the ball on the court with no problems, but as soon as they tried to advance past mid-court Peoples pounced on the ball, creating the turnover, but thankfully for the home town boys they did not result in a lot of points.
Beauregard heated up for LR in the third, going for a team high of seven.
Weglarz was also becoming noticed in the third, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. He had just two points, but vocally he was making enemies out of the officials, and got a technical for the use of what I will call some strong language. Weirdly enough, Welgarz T came after he was fouled, so you had the rare sequence of a player making his two free throws only to watch the other team get them back (Gallup made both shots) and then get the ball back.
Lawson, Gallup, and Royer added the other points for the Rangers and it was 40-32 after three.
"Everyone was making shots for us, our free throws were going in and we were playing good defense, although it could have been better," said Gallup.
The Rangers had their highest scoring quarter of the game in the fourth, and it was a good thing they did because Peoples came storming back looking to make a game of it.
Seppe Angione knocked one in off the glass to open the quarter. Beauregard followed it up with a nice in-bounds pass to Lawson who laid it in uncontested. Next, Weglarz got the and-1and we were off to the races.
Every time the Rangers hit, so did the Wolves and it was on. It was in the fourth that LR's turnover situation reached a critical stage as they gave it away six times allowing for Peoples to continue to put points on the board.
Beauregard drew a great charging call and the large amount of Peoples fans in attendance became irate.
A minute later, another call sent one Academy follower into near hysterics as he berated the officials quite loudly, and was probably lucky to not have been asked to leave the Don Harter Memorial Gym.
"It was pretty funny," said Gallup of the Wolves' fans theatrics, "If you do it and you can ref... but half of them couldn't so... you know."
Lake Region went eight for nine from the line in the fourth, many of them in final half of the quarter, as they held the Wolves off to earn the victory.
The Rangers had a very balanced attack, getting points from all but two of their players, and those who did not score, especially Urie, contributed in other ways to the win. Drew Gallup led all scorers with nineteen points while Weglarz and Davis each had fifteen for Peoples.
The boys will head back out on the road next Wednesday as they travel to Hazen for a 7:00 contest.