Rangeley has one of the best girls basketball teams in Class D, and also one of the most unusual schedules. The Lakers play 17 games this season, but only seven of them are actually in Rangeley.

The Lakers face Islesboro twice this season, and both games are at Thomas College in Waterville. On Jan. 20, Rangeley plays Hyde at the gymnasium of the former Averill High School.

“Unfortunately, this year, we’re on the road a lot,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “Talking with our athletic director, Mr. (Charlie) Brown, we just threw around, how could we maybe not be home, but not so far away? When you play three island schools in one year, someone’s traveling a lot. Luckily, Islesboro was open to finding a neutral site, and Thomas was gracious enough to allow us to get the games in.”

Rangeley has cruised to a 4-0 record. After beating Richmond 46-26 on opening night, the Lakers won their next three games by 67, 66, and 64 points. Seve Deery-DeRaps (Heidi’s daughter) leads Rangeley in scoring with 15.8 points per game, while Rangeley’s opponents are averaging 13.3 points per game.

• • •

Pine Tree Academy is one of the better teams in Western D, but the Breakers aren’t on Rangeley’s schedule. Searsport is another strong team Rangeley won’t face during the regular season. So there could be more blowouts, which means the Lakers will face the challenge of improving while winning easily.

“A lot of good things, a lot of things we still need to work on,” Deery said before Tuesday’s 76-12 win over Islesboro. “More than anything, I think with us, it’s going to be consistency. We’re capable of doing a lot of things well, but we need to be more consistent, I think. That’s kind of what we’re focusing on tonight, and I think it’s really going to something that we continue to look at throughout the season.”

• • •

Messalonskee sits at 2-2, which is a nice start for a team with only three returning players this season. Naturally, it helps that one of those players is sophomore Sophie Holmes, who is averaging around 19 points and 13 rebounds per game.

“I think she was capable of doing those kind of things last year, but the team didn’t need her to do those things, so she just kind of fit in where she was needed,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said. “She’s capable of doing a whole lot.”

The Eagles opened the season with back-to-back wins over Mt. Ararat and Brewer, then lost to Mt. Blue and Hampden.

“I think I’ve seen how high we can go, but I’ve also seen, at this point, we’re still a young team coming together,” Derosby said. “My young kids are a couple from each class, so we’re still figuring each other out a little bit.”

One thing Derosby likes is that the Eagles have already shown some offensive versatility.

“I’ve seen the ability to not only put points on the board but put points on the board in different ways,” he said. “When we’re really going, we get those outside shots. We’re knocking down jumpers. But we’re also going to the rim and going to the line.”

The overall participation numbers aren’t great at Messalonskee, but one positive to that is that the varsity and JV teams can practice together. Messalonskee’s JVs scored 65 points in a win over Hampden on Tuesday.

“With our numbers, we have to swing a lot of our JV kids down,” Derosby said. “A lot of our JV players are really getting a varsity (practice) experience night in and night out. They’re really getting exposure to some of the up-tempo stuff we’re running on a daily basis.”

• • •

Mount View earned its first win of the season by outlasting Erskine 38-33 on Tuesday. Dinah Bilodeau scored 16 points, and the Mustangs had 38 free throw attempts.

“I think we finally started to use our post players,” Mount View coach Erica Gabbianelli said. “Dinah had 16 points in the paint. She did a great job of finishing her shots and getting to the line, which is something we haven’t done much this season.”

The Mustangs allowed only 10 points in the first half, and Gabbianelli said the key was better help defense than Mount View played in the first three games. She added that the Mustangs also took better care of the ball than they had previously.

Halle Reynolds and Megan Elkins have steadily improved at point guard, and Jenni Nadeau has become a consistent scorer for Mount View. The Mustangs play four of their next five games on the road, but Gabbianelli is hoping that pays off later in the season: Should Mount View win a couple road games, the players will probably have added confidence when facing the same teams a second time.

Mount View isn’t in a holiday tournament, but does have a game at Waterville two days after Christmas.

“We don’t typically play in a Christmas tournament,” Gabbianelli said. “I don’t know how we would have. Our schedule is tight. I think we have four games over Christmas break. It’s enough preparing for those without adding an exhibition.”

• • •

This season, two local teams will have the kind of scheduling tests you don’t see very often. Temple Academy of Waterville is involved in both cases.

Temple is in the middle of a three-games-in-three-days stretch. The Bereans lost 53-35 at Bangor Christian on Tuesday, lost 43-29 at Hyde on Wednesday, and come home to play Highview Christian on Thursday.

Not to be outdone, Forest Hills has a stretch in January of five games in five days, including three games in 24 hours. The Tigers boys and girls teams were supposed to play a double-doubleheader against North Haven and Highview Christian on Dec. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. That was postponed by snow, so it was moved to Jan. 13 at Thomas College. But in order to do that, Forest Hills had to move its games at Temple from Jan. 13 to Jan. 12.

So here’s what Forest Hills has now:

Jan. 9 — home against Richmond

Jan. 10 — home against Temple

Jan. 11 — off (it’s a Sunday)

Jan. 12 — at Temple, a girls/boys doubleheader at 6 and 7:30 p.m., which means the Tigers should get back to Jackman around midnight

Jan. 13 — two games at Thomas College: 11 a.m. against North Haven, and 4 p.m. against Highview Christian

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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