PORTLAND — Near the end of the second and third periods of Tuesday’s Western Class B girls’ quarterfinal, No. 3 Lake Region threatened to pull away from No. 6 Oak Hill. Both times, the Raiders showed they weren’t going down without a fight.

The Lakers finally made the breathing room stick with patient offense and strong defense in the fourth quarter for a 54-45 victory at the Portland Expo.

Sophomore Sydney Hancock scored a game-high 20 points to go with five rebounds and four steals and freshmen Tiana-Jo Carter added nine points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lakers (17-2), who will face No. 2 Leavitt in the semifinals at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Senior Maggie Sabine finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds while Darby Beaulieu chipped in with 12 points, and Chassidy Hilchey added 10 for the Raiders (12-7).

“For a young group of kids, we held our composure. That was critical,” Lake Region coach Paul True said. “I felt we had a few really, really big possessions there in the fourth quarter.”

The biggest posession might have been when Hancock popped out behind a screen and drilled a 3-pointer to make it 46-40 with 4:12 left to go. That sparked a 10-2 LR run that put the game away.

“Lake Region really gets after it defensively,” Oak Hill coach Tom Morong said. “Right when you think you’re going to catch you’re breath, they’re right back in your face.”

The Lakers went on an 11-0 run sparked by 3-pointers from Hancock and Allison Clark to take a 22-11 lead with under a minute left in the first half. But the Raiders scored six straight to win the half on two hoops from Beaulieu and two free throws by Sabine.

“We absolutely addressed that (at halftime),” True said of the late hiccup. “You know what? They’re young. What I love about these kids is that there’s no quit in them. There’s no hanging their head and they came out and played a great second half.”

The Lakers opened up a seven-point lead late in the 3rd quarter, yet Oak Hill battled back again, even after Sabine picked up her fourth foul.

Hilchey scored on an offensive rebound and then Julie Morneault was fouled trying a 3-pointer at the buzzer. She swished all three to pull the Raiders back within two heading into the fourth quarter.

“I was really, really proud of my kids,” Morong said. “We actually cut the lead to two without (Sabine) on the floor and actually did some really good things.”

Nineteen turnovers against Lake Region’s full-court press proved costly. The Raiders tried to throw over the top of the defense to start the fourth, but Carter picked off the pass at half court then scored inside to make it 40-36.

Sabine mad it a one-point game by hitting a pair of free throws with 5:31 to go, but that was as close as they would get.

Oak Hill loses Sabine and Abby Goulet to graduation, but Morong hopes the remaining players learn from Oak Hill’s first quarter final since 1995.

“What I want to do with the 10 kids coming back, I want to just feed this to them,” He said. “You’ve really got to absorb the whole thing. Once you experience it you’re going to want to be back every year.”

Click here to view more photos of the Oak Hill vs Lake Region basketball game on Tuesday at the Portland Expo.

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