ORLEANS-The Lake Region girls came off their most emotional victory at Lamoille last Saturday, rallying to win after being down 14 late. That looked like a possible season changer for the Blue and White as they settled into a home stand. That never played out however as visiting Enosburg hit 18 of 24 free throws en-route to a 53-46 win.
The inconsistent Ranger girls started sluggishly in a foul filled sloppy first quarter.
The most consistent Ranger this season, Cailyn Gallup, dropped in a pair of charity tosses for an early lead but was exiled to the bench after picking up two quick fouls with over five minutes left in the first period.
Enosburg’s Charlotte Hartman, a mainstay from last season’s ball club that made a final four run, got loose inside for a pair of buckets. With the fouls at 7-2 against the Hornets, Enosburg coach Gary Geddes protested a little too much. Lead official Bruce James had heard more than enough and rifled a technical on Geddes. The ragged play continued with both teams playing hard, but sloppy. Combine that with poor foul shooting and un-forced errors, it was 7-6 LRU after one stanza.
Improved interior passing by the visitors got the Hornets going in the second. The Lady Rangers countered as Kylie Atwood drilled a twenty footer, restoring the Rangers’ one point lead. Gallup, back in the lineup after early foul trouble, knocked down a long three ball padding the Ranger margin. Lake Region’s Allie Hall scored off glass inside and a more cohesive LRU attack was in place.
Seniors Sarah Piette and Sarah Burnham picked up the defensive intensity and the result was a pair of interceptions. That led to an Atwood drive and kiss off glass in the lane. 5’5” junior Ashley Locke got into the act scoring from the low blocks.
Hartman made a great catch of a full court pass for two keeping Enosburg close. Atwood continued her inspired play weaving through the Hornet defense and finishing off a 180 degree move in the lane for the field goal. At the intermission horn it was 25-21 home team.
The third period was fast paced. Gallup hit on a corner twelve footer. Atwood hit Comins with a nifty pass for the lay up. Enosburg continued to get good play from Hartman as she powered her way inside against the shorter Ranger defenders. She had help from Hornet senior Shelby Sheridan who rained down a pair of long jump shots.
The Rangers’ slim lead could have been expanded. Cailyn Gallup made great passes inside to Ranger forwards who just could not finish, missing numerous golden opportunities.
Hartman gave her Hornet team the tie with a three point play, knotting things up at 30 a piece. Sarah Bedard returned the favor, scoring to put her team ahead. Ashley Locke hit one of two free throws for a 32-30 blue and white lead. A 32-31 lead was in place for the Ranger girls as the fourth period opened.
An omen of sorts for the Hornets occurred in the first minute. A high bounce of a three point shot appeared to hit the top of backboard and dropped down on the back of the rim, bounced again and dropped through for the three ball and a 33-32 Hornet margin.
The closely called contest saw both teams find some offensive firepower. Ranger junior Drew Neal was fouled from behind the three point line and cashed in on two restoring the Lake Region lead by one. Sheridan went coast to coast for Enosburg, scoring on the lay up. Ashley Locke scored on the turnaround inside for LRU. That made it 36-35 Rangers with just under six minutes to go.
A steady walk to the foul line ensued and Hartman made it work for the Hornets. She hit four in a row for a 39-35 visitor lead. After a Ranger free throw, junior forward Ashley Locke got loose again inside after a great entry pass by Burnham as she connected from three feet. A Sheridan long shot upped the score to 42-38.
Locke stole the ball at mid-court and then found Atwood with just over three minutes left. Atwood turned and squared up behind the three point line arching a deep jumper that found the bottom of the net for the three, making it a one point game at 42-41.
The Rangers had three straight possessions to score after a Hornet foul shot conversion. With 2:18 to go they trailed 43-41. Enosburg’s Chloe Longe got open for two, got fouled, and finished the three point play for a 46-41 margin.
Gallup answered with a strong move to the hole, was fouled for two, drawing Lake Region to within 46-43 with slightly over a minute left. The attempted free throw misfired. The Rangers would get no closer the rest of the way as Enosburg cashed in from the foul line to ice it. A final of 53-46 was somewhat padded as a basket scored by Enosburg after the horn was allowed for the final play of the evening.
A frustrated Head Coach Mark Tinker said afterward, “The foul shots were huge. The part that upsets me the most is that we shouldn’t be putting them there in the first place. We are constantly talking about the fact that we are up over 20 fouls a game every game. And against a club like this that steps up and hits 80%, you are going to pay. Against Lamoille the other day I reminded them that you can’t put these teams on the line. It will make the difference, and right here is an example. We just couldn’t make a transition basket even though we had the chances. We didn’t get the same performance. We got some plays against the Lamoille zone and we moved the ball well and got some easy baskets. We had momentum at times, but when you miss, the body language changes and the confidence changes. I’m motivated to make this group as successful as they can be and we’re still working on that. I told Gary before tonight’s game, ‘I never know who’s going to show up on any given night.’ It varies from game to game. You have a player who has a good game and you think they have it figured out but next game they are just not there. Then someone else has to step up. There’s just no consistency, no pattern, no group that plays together well for any length of time. Every night out it seems like a couple different kids who step up and shine previously don’t seem to have a good night. Obviously I felt we had picked up some good momentum from Saturdays game, I was kinda' hoping for that but I didn’t come away with that sense or feeling. It’s that consistency thing. Hopefully, we will correct some things and improve on some things for Thursdays game.”
Enosburg moves to 11-2 on the season. The win marked the Hornets first victory on Lake Region Hardwood in over seven years including the 28 point thrashing they took last season at Don Harter Gymnasium. Hartman had 20 while Sheridan added 11 in the win.
Enosburg’s 18 for 24 from the line proved to be the bottom line.
The Rangers stand at 7-6 and were paced by Gallup with 12 and the ever improving while returning from injury Atwood had 11. LRUHS hosts Peoples Academy Thursday with the varsity tip off at 7 pm. LRU had their chances from the line as well hitting on only 15 of 30 attempts.
Despite uncharacteristically cold shooting and being out-rebounded 42-28, the Lake Region JV Girls ran their record to 13-0 on Tuesday night, defeating Enosburg 47-30. The difference in the game was turnovers as the Rangers used team defense to force 36 while committing only 15 of their own. Tyrah Urie and Emily Lawson led the way for the Rangers with 13 points apiece while Brooke Breault pulled down 9 rebounds. The Rangers continue their homestand in a busy week with Peoples Thursday and Oxbow Saturday.