AUGUSTA — There were a lot of things that happened to make Monday’s Western D girls basketball quarterfinal between Rangeley and Greater Portland Christian much closer than people expected.

Rangeley has been battling illness lately, and that was probably why the Lakers looked lethargic early. GPC is also a much different team than the one that lost to Rangeley by 38 points two months ago.

It was closer, but Rangeley was still too strong, too tall and too talented. The Lakers wore GPC down, and advanced with a 65-43 victory at the Augusta Civic Center.

Chantal Carrier scored 20 points, and Emily Carrier and Taylor Esty (16 rebounds) each had 16 points for No. 2 Rangeley (17-2), which will play sixth-seeded Vinalhaven at 10 a.m. Thursday in the semifinals. No. 7 GPC finished 8-10.

Back in December, Rangeley pounded the Lions 62-24. But while the Lakers entered the tournament with a nearly full roster, they were not nearly at full strength.

“More than half of our team has not been in practice the last week due to the flu,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “My own daughter (Seve Deery-DeRaps) last night was up all night throwing up. I think we were just a little flat, and a little unsure of what was going to happen.”

The Lakers traditionally play an aggressive, in-your-face, fast-paced style. But for most of the first half, Rangeley let GPC dictate a slower tempo. The Lakers led 18-12 after one quarter, and even though GPC shot 1 for 13 from the floor in the second quarter, Rangeley led just 32-20 at halftime.

“I don’t think we thought for one second it was going to be easy,” Deery said. “I think we have young kids, and I think we needed to come down and settle in. I was not happy with our defense at all, but I also know that we can play defense with much more intensity.”

GPC stayed in the game in the first half behind center Suzanne Gonzalez (12 points, 13 rebounds), but did not have enough height to stay with Rangeley on the boards.

With 6-footers Esty and Blayke Morin (an eighth-grader who had nine points and eight rebounds) leading the way, the Lakers had a 45-35 edge on the boards.

Trailing 51-33 at the start of the fourth quarter, GPC made a run of six straight points led by junior Elaine Beech (15 points). The Lions put on a full-court press and forced some turnovers and confusion, but Beech was shaken up and GPC didn’t have enough gas left to get closer than 12 points.

“We knew if we went to our press, that we were going to get tired pretty quick,” GPC coach Keith Dawson said. “My starters were tired when we went to it at that point, but I just said, ‘Guys, we’ve got eight minutes left. We’ve just gotta try it.’ I think if we had started it earlier, we would have been exhausted in the fourth quarter.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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