Lake Region forward Lauren Jakobs goes up for a shot during a home game on Friday against Gray-New Gloucester. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)

NAPLES — Mike Andreasen, the girls’ basketball coach at Gray-New Gloucester High, knows all about senior leadership. He had it last year when four seniors started on a Class B state championship team.

This year, however, he has no seniors on his roster. And in the season opener, he watched as Lake Region’s seniors stepped up to deliver a victory.

Chandler True scored 15 points and Lauren Jakobs had 13 as the Lakers rallied past Gray-New Gloucester 38-34 in Friday night’s Class B South season opener. Jakobs scored six points in the third quarter, her 3-pointer with 4:41 remaining giving the Lakers the lead for good, 32-31.

“They have two seniors who really stepped up,” said Andreasen. “You need your elder statesmen to make plays for you. And they did.”

The Patriots led 29-27 entering the fourth quarter after Jordan Grant (12 points, 11 rebounds) hit two foul shots with 3.5 seconds remaining in the third. That Gray-NG held the lead was impressive considering its best player, Bri Jordan, was in foul trouble and played only about nine minutes in the first three quarters. She would only score six points.

But Lake Region took control, asserting itself on the defensive end with a 2-3 zone that took away the Patriots’ inside game and finally showing some confidence on offense.

“I think that we were just really nervous at the beginning,” said True. “They’re the defending champs and we had a lot on our shoulders. But we knew we had to step up and become the team that we can be to beat them.”

The Patriots led 31-29 after a fastbreak lay-up by Abby Michaud. But then Jakobs took a pass from Isabella Russo on the right wing and swished a long 3-pointer for a 32-31 Lake Region lead with 4:41 left.

Jakobs, who didn’t score in the first half, said she had to overcome her own early-game nerves “Knowing we could do it and had the potential, I just gained confidence in myself,” she said.

Paul True, coach of the Lakers, wasn’t surprised that she stepped up: “Lauren is a senior leader for us. She works hard. I’m proud of her effort and that kid deserves every big moment she gets.”

After stopping Gray-New Gloucester twice defensively, the Lakers got a huge 3-pointer from freshman Shauna Hancock – her only basket of the game – with 3:04 remaining. Her hoop brought the whole Lake Region bench to its feet.

After that, said True, “our intensity went up, and the crowd, and we knew we could do it.”

Jakobs hit a foul shot with 1:56 left, then True hit two with 57 seconds left to make it 38-33 and give the Lakers a comfortable lead.

“They’re very quiet leaders,” said Paul True, of Jakobs and his daughter Chandler. “They lead by example and they stuck with it and really provided some leadership for us tonight.”

This was a very satisfying opening win for the Lakers, who have been eliminated from the regional tournament by Gray-New Gloucester each of the last two years.

“This was the outcome we wanted,” said Chandler True. “We’ve had a bad history with them.”

And Gray-New Gloucester?

“We’ll learn,” said Andreasen. “We’ll learn from this.”

Lake Region guard Chandler True passes to teammate Lauren Jakobs during a home game Friday against Gray-New Gloucester. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)Gray-New Gloucester guard Alexa Thayer takes a jump shot against Lake Region on Friday. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)Lake Region forward Lauren Jakobs blocks Gray-New Gloucester guard Alexa Thayer as she drives to toward the basket. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)Lake Region guard Chandler True takes a shot while Gray-New Gloucester forward Eliza Hotham blocks. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)

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