AUGUSTA — At times the Rangeley girls basketball team has looked simply unbeatable. Friday morning’s 39-35 win over Searsport was not one of those moments.

The undefeated, second-seeded Lakers may have survived their Western Class D semifinal contest against the Vikings at the Augusta Civic Center, but for the first time, Rangeley looked vulnerable. Its opponent for Saturday’s Western D championship at 10 a.m., Richmond, was on hand to witness it.

“We’ve seen them twice but when we went up there it was a pretty good game,” Richmond sophomore point guard Meranda Martin said. “We battled, we were up in the third quarter and I think we can put it to them if we keep our heads up and we’re excited.”

“We’re only getting better,” added Richmond coach Mike Ladner. “With a couple of adjustments, we should be able to at least compete with them and give them a good game.”

Rangeley won both regular-season contests against the Bobcats. The Lakers took a 46-26 decision on Dec. 5 in Richmond and scored a 51-34 victory over the Bobcats in Rangeley on Jan. 31.

“We had two of our closest games with them,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “We know that we have to come and play 32 minutes (Saturday) and that’s what we’re looking to do.”

While both teams feature some strong outside shooters, the game will likely be won and lost in the paint. Forwards Sydney Tilton (5-foot-8) and Kelsea Anair (5-foot-9) have paced the Bobcats this season, while Taylor Esty (6-foot-1) and Blayke Morin (6-foot-2) have anchored the interior for the Lakers.

Despite their size advantage, Rangeley is well aware Richmond is not about to back down.

“They’re definitely a physical team and they don’t back down,” Esty said.

Defending the paint will not be the only thing the Bobcats have to worry about. Senior Seve Deery-DeRaps is strong outside shooter who is capable of putting up points in a hurry. She canned a trio of 3-pointers en route to 11 points in the Lakers’ 46-10 win over Valley in the quarterfinals.

The winner of Saturday’s contest will face the Eastern D champion — either Washburn or Fort Fairfield — for the Class D championship Saturday, Feb. 28 at 1:05 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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