AUGUSTA – Seve Deery-DeRaps swished her first 3-pointer from the wing early in the third quarter. The Rangeley sophomore guard buried her next one about 20 seconds later from the top of the key.
“I hit that first one and it was like, ‘OK, let’s go,’ ” Deery-DeRaps said.
And go the Lakers did Thursday morning.
Deery-DeRaps scored 14 of her 18 points in a decisive third quarter and Taylor Esty finished with a double-double to carry top-seeded Rangeley past No. 4 Forest Hills 59-43 in a Western D semifinal game at the Civic Center.
“We made some big shots and we played good defense,” said Esty, who scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Rangeley (19-1) will meet No. 2 Richmond (16-3) in a highly anticipated Western D championship game Saturday morning. The teams split their two regular season meetings.
“They don’t invite you back to Western Maine, you earn it,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “No it’s not shocking we’ll both be there Saturday but we both had to work at it.”
The Lakers had to work at it Thursday after struggling to gain separation in the first half.
The Tigers, who finished 16-4, closed the second quarter on a 7-2 run to pull within 23-21 at the half.
“I wasn’t really happy with how we ended the half, obviously,” Deery said. “I felt like we had built the lead and we let them back in.”
The Lakers wasted little time putting the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Deery-DeRaps sank three 3-pointers in about 1 minute, 30 seconds early in the quarter.
Her last one, which came on the wing with a little more than five minutes left in the quarter, gave Rangeley a 36-24 lead.
“Those were pretty big,” Deery said. “Sometimes a kid gets into a zone and you have to let go.”
Forest Hills opened the second half in a 2-3 zone, but coach Mike LeBlanc switched up the defense after Deery-DeRaps got hot.
“We had to go man and put pressure on them,” he said. “But I also knew if we went man we could get destroyed in the post.”
And that’s just what happened. Deery-DeRaps followed her 3-pointers with a pair of easy layups, and Esty got her inside game going as well.
The Lakers opened the third on a 17-6 run to break open the game.
“I thought there’s going to be runs (and) we’re going to have our runs,” Deery said. “I felt potentially our runs could be more devastating to them.”
Added LeBlanc: “We didn’t have a lot of adjustments to make. They made their’s at halftime but there wasn’t much we could do. We just ran out of gas.”
Kori Coro scored 14 points and Anna Carrier added nine for the Tigers, who kept it close throughout the first half by answering every Lakers run with one of their own.
The Lakers used a 10-0 run early in the first quarter to erase a 5-0 deficit and threatened to pull away.
But Coro scored four points on drives to the basket to pull Forest Hills within 12-9.
Esty score deight points in the second quarter, including six on offensive rebounds, and the Lakers threatened to pull away again. Her last putback gave Rangeley a 21-14 lead with a little more than two minutes left until halftime.
But Taylor swished a 3-pointer with 1:30 left and Carrier made two layups in the final minute, her second right at the buzzer, to pull Forest Hills within 23-21 at the half.
“At the end of the first half we had to come out with intensity,” Deery-DeRaps said. “I came out with more confidence. Once I started hitting the threes, Blayke (Morin) and Taylor (Esty) had their good looks inside.”
Bill Stewart – 621-5640