AUGUSTA — Nerves can play factor when you step onto the court at the Augusta Civic Center for your first playoff game, even if you are the undefeated Valley High School boys basketball team.

“It’s definitely nerve-racking, the first game,” Valley senior Cody Laweryson said. “You think about it all week. We hadn’t had a game since Monday when we had a scrimmage. It’s tough playing your first game out here and it kind of showed out here (Saturday). We didn’t play how we needed to play.”

Laweryson and the top-seeded Cavaliers got off to a bit of a slow start but hit their stride in the second half to pick up a 62-33 win over No. 8 Rangeley in a Class D South quarterfinal Saturday.

The Cavaliers (18-0) will next face No. 4 Greenville (14-5) in a semifinal at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday at the Civic Center.

“It’ll be a tough game,” Laweryson said. “They gave us a couple tough fights but we’re looking forward to it.”

Laweryson finished the game with 23 points, 17 rebounds and four steals for Valley, and also buried a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions midway through the third quarter that helped start a 19-3 run.

Collin Miller added 10 points and seven rebounds in the win. Kyle LaRochelle led Rangeley (8-12) with 10 points and six rebounds while Ricky Thompson had four points and six rebounds.

“We were in that in that third quarter. We just couldn’t get any baskets to fall. We got looks,” Rangeley coach Jeff LaRochelle said. “They beat us by over 40 up at their place and it was the press. You look at (Saturday) and (Valley coach Luke Hartwell) called it off.

“We’re building young men and turning them into basketball players and then building a program. That’s where we are.”

In the opening four minutes it looked as if the Cavaliers would put the game away early as a basket from Austin Cates sandwiched around 3-pointers from Luke Malloy and Nathan Ames gave Valley an 8-0 advantage.

Valley never trailed in the contest, yet could not completely pull away either and led 25-13 at halftime.

“They took us out of our rhythm. The way the game was played I thought they were smart the way they did it,” Hartwell said. “They played a box-and-one on us. Our team has seen box-and-one most of the season with Cody Laweryson and our boys were at first throwing the ball into him with double teams. We weren’t attacking with our other guys.

“All season long what we’ve talked about is using our other guys and having five options out there, so if they’re going to take a junk defense on Cody or Austin or whoever then options three, four and five will step up. Finally when we got our guys to hit some shots … it started to open things up.”

It remained a relatively close game until Laweryson got enough space for a 3-pointer on the right wing off a Malloy assist with 5:33 to go in the third quarter.

The triple sparked not only Laweryson but the Cavaliers as a whole as the University of Maine baseball commit canned another jumper from behind the arc just 23 seconds later on a pull-up in transition.

“Those two triples were huge. That was the game,” Hartwell said. “I thought when we hit those two it was like finally we had that sense of relief that OK, we’re going to win this game and pull away.”

The run stretched to 12-0 before Devon Clark halted the spurt, but Valley opened the fourth quarter on a 7-1 stretch to take a 49-20 advantage and effectively put the game away.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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