Lake Region Junior Hoops Championship: Irasburg and Orleans emerge as champs
copyright the Chronicle March 18, 2015
by David Dudley
LRUHS — The Lake Region Junior Hoops season came to an end Saturday at Lake Region Union High School. Irasburg defeated Glover 32-12 to win the boys division championship. Orleans squeaked past Irasburg to pull off a thrilling overtime win to take the girls championship.
Before squaring off with Irasburg for the boys title, Glover had to first get past Barton, which had defeated Glover three times in the previous three meetings this season.
Despite the trend, Glover center Kaleb Thaler, who led all scorers with 18 points, felt confident going into the game.
“We really wanted to win that game,” Kaleb said. “We knew that we could, because the last time we played each other, they won by two points. It was really close.”
Barton and Glover again found themselves in a tightly contested match, with Barton leading 10-7 at the half. But Kaleb came to life in the third quarter, scoring 12 points to give Glover a 19-14 edge going into the fourth.
Barton struggled to sink a shot as the fourth quarter got under way. On one trip they snatched three offensive rebounds, only to have each follow-up rattle out of the rim.
Meanwhile, Glover continued to put points on the board. Kaleb was indomitable beneath the boards, and it seemed that, each time he pulled one down, he complimented it with a put-back.
In the end, Glover knocked out Barton 27-17 to advance to the finals.
Kaleb Thaler won a sportsmanship award for Glover, and Ricky Dudley won the award for Barton.
The Irasburg team, though they dominated other teams in the league throughout the season, would first have to get past Orleans, and Orleans wouldn’t go without a fight.
Led by Andrew Hicks, Orleans kept it close throughout the first half. Irasburg led by two points at the break, but cracked the game open when they returned to the floor.
Irasburg stepped up their defense, making a number of steals that led to points in transition. They were not only running up the score, but they were also wearing down their opponents.
After holding Orleans scoreless in the third quarter, guard Logan Ingalls hit a spectacular layup at the buzzer to give Irasburg a 23-8 cushion going into the final quarter of play.
Irasburg ended Orleans’ bid for the title with a 27-16 victory. For Irasburg, Josh Cole contributed eight points. Andrew tallied 14 points and won a sportsmanship award for Orleans.
When Glover faced off with Irasburg for the title, the question on everybody’s mind had to be: Could Kaleb Thaler contain Josh Cole?
Irasburg benefited all year from Josh’s presence in the middle. From pulling down boards to blocking unwary shooters looking to score down low, Josh has made things difficult for his opponents.
Sure, Glover hadn’t won against Irasburg all year, but, as with their win against Barton, Glover was looking for the upset.
Irasburg opened up the game with an aggressive defensive strategy. They pressed and trapped their way to a number of turnovers. What’s more, they sent a message: Nothing comes easy.
With a sound offensive approach to complement their hard-nosed defense, they had built a 17-6 lead by the half. Josh, Logan, and Wyatt Gile proved to be too much. They cruised to win the championship, 32-12.
The girls division was equally competitive. Glover faced Orleans in the semifinal.
Though Orleans had Madison Fortin to hold down the middle, Glover’s Robin Nelson led all scorers with 14 points.
Madison pulled down a number of boards, and scored steadily from down low, to give Orleans a 10-8 lead at halftime. But Robin — who won a sportsmanship award — kept Glover in the game by pressuring the defense and hitting a number of key shots down the stretch.
While the teams were evenly matched, Orleans gained a slight edge in scoring, advancing to the final with a 22-18 victory over Glover.
With that, Orleans was set to face Irasburg in the final.
In the opening moments, both Irasburg and Orleans were jittery. They each missed opportunities on the offensive end, giving the opposing defense a boost in confidence.
Irasburg struck first and held Orleans scoreless through the first quarter and nearly two minutes into the second. Still, Orleans had put only two points up on the board by halftime. Irasburg led 8-2.
Though Orleans had arguably hustled harder than their opponents, they had nothing to show for it. But they opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run to claw their way back into the game. At the start of the fourth quarter, Orleans trailed Irasburg 10-8.
With their backs against the wall, Orleans rose to the occasion. After Irasburg missed on a number of attempts, Orleans finally tied the game, 10-10. Though each team would generate opportunities to take the lead, it seemed that neither team could buy a bucket.
The score remained knotted at ten as regulation expired.
With 1:05 left in overtime, Ashlyn Hicks hit a jumper from just inside the three-point line to give Orleans the lead, 12-10, the victory, and the championship.
contact David Dudley at [email protected]
For more free stories like this one, please see our Sports pages. For all the Chronicle’s stories, subscribe:
Annual online subscription
Short-term online subscription