Another state championship game heartbreak for Lake Region girls' basketball, this one inflicted almost exclusively by Presque Isle's Chandler Guerrette.
Guerrette erupted for 21 of her 33 points in the second half Friday, leading Presque Isle back from an 11-point deficit to a 51-44 triumph in the Class B title game at Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.
Presque Isle (22-0) beat Lake Region in the final for the second year in a row and won its 44th straight game. Guerrette's senior class was 71-2 in its career.
"The first quarter nothing was falling at all for me," Guerrette said. "I think it made it a little easier for me with the high screen Meredith (Stewart) would set. That's when things started to get open."
It was the fifth loss in the past eight finals for Lake Region, which won its only girls' state title in 1975, the first year the Maine Principals' Association sanctioned a female championship. The Lakers lost to Presque Isle 49-47 in Bangor a year ago.
Guerrette scored 14 of the Wildcats' 18 points in the fourth quarter, including the first dozen. Presque Isle trailed all night until Guerrette's 10-foot jumper with 6:22 to go.
"She's pretty good, isn't she?" Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson said. "She was incredible."
Sydney Hancock's 3-pointer pulled the Lakers within a point at the 2:37 mark, but the Wildcats finished on an 8-2 run.
Megan Ireland added 12 points for Presque Isle, which went 6-for-8 from the field in the final period. Hannah Graham also scored all four of her points in the fourth.
Tiana-Jo Carter, Lake Region's 6-foor-2 junior center, finished with 17 points, 21 rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots. Kelsey Winslow added 14 points, all but three in the first half.
Lake Region was held to 5-for-28 from the field after intermission.
"They were bigger than us. Their big people were just killing us, whether we played zone or man," Hudson said. "We started to rebound a little better and we just showed a lot of guts. We were not to be denied today."
Each team successfully smothered the opponent's 3-point prowess throughout much of the first half, leading to high-percentage opportunities in the paint.
Lake Region worked the ball inside to Carter and 5-10 senior Winslow, while Presque Isle picked up its points mostly off Guerrette and Ireland's penetration and pull-up jump shots.
Carter had 13 points and Winslow 11 at the half for the Lakers. Guerrette notched 12 and Ireland seven for the Wildcats. Each team shot 55 percent from the field. The Lakers' size and strength produced a notable 16-4 advantage on the glass.
Ireland's 25-foot swish at the horn made it a single-digit Lake Region lead, 29-21, at the break.
She hit another 3-pointer with five seconds remaining in the third period to bring the Wildcats within three at 36-33.