The Richmond girls basketball team saw this matchup coming.

In fact, coach Molly Bishop said, the Bobcats hoped they would see Rangeley again.

“We’ve been hoping for this for a long time,” she said. “We certainly expected it. They are the only team in our league that challenged us at all.”

Top-seeded Richmond (19-1) and No. 2 Rangeley (18-2) will meet today for the third time this season — and the Western D championship will be at stake this time around.

The teams will tip off at 1 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

“It’s just a great matchup,” Bishop said. “Size-wise and skill-wise, we pair up with each other pretty well.”

Added Rangeley coach Heidi Deery: “We certainly believed that although there were other good teams in the league there would be a good chance Richmond would be playing on Saturday. We worked hard to make sure we were the other team.”

Richmond enters the showdown coming off blowout victories over Buckfield and Seacoast Christian. The Bobcats outscored them by a combined 105-50.

The Bobcats should get a better game today, if the regular-season meetings provided a barometer.

Richmond won both games by a combined five points — 43-41 and 43-40.

Jamie Plummer proved to be too much for the Lakers to handle in the meetings. She scored 33 points to help the Bobcats rally from an 11-point fourth deficit en route to the 43-41 victory Dec. 20.

Plummer scored 18 points in the Feb. 6. rematch at Rangeley.

“I have nothing but respect for Jamie,” Deery said. “She is the real deal. She knows what she needs to do and most nights she does it. We don’t expect them to get away from their game.”

The Lakers will once again rely on 6-foot-1 freshman center Taylor Esty, who’s averaging 12 points a game in the tournament.

“They have size,” Bishop said. “Taylor Esty takes up a lot of space underneath. She’s certainly a solid player. Rangeley can also shoot from the outside.”

Chantal Carrier (14 points a game) and Emily Carrier (13) have also had strong performances in the Civic Center this week.

Deery said Jenney Abbott, who is coping with knee and ankle injuries, should be able to play today.

“We have to play great defense and we’ll have to work really hard to make any adjustments we need to,” Deery said. “There are no big secrets. Offensively, we’ll have to do the little things, like rebounding. Those little things are what I think this game will come down to.

“I think they have a lot to contend with as we have to contend with them.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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