Rangeley coach Heidi Deery doesn’t buy into the picking a favorite in the tournament thing. Although her Lakers are the top seed in the Class D South tournament and are the defending regional champions, Deery is adamant her team has to play its best to win at the Augusta Civic Center this week.

“We’ve got to come and play. If not, they’d just mail the trophy to us, and that’s not how it works,” Deery said.

The tournament began on Saturday, when No. 7 Valley (9-10) upset No. 2 Forest Hills, 31-22, and Deery pointed to that game as an example that anything can happen in the tournament. On Monday morning, No. 3 Vinalhaven (14-4) takes on No. 6 Pine Tree Academy (10-8). On Tuesday, No. 4 Temple Academy (12-6) plays No. 5 Highview Christian (12-6) at 8:30 a.m. followed by No. 1 Rangeley (17-1) faces No. 8 Greater Portland Christian (6-12).

Rangeley and Greater Portland Christian played twice in the regular season, with the Lakers winning by 40 and 43 points. Rangeley’s last game was Feb. 4, but the time off was welcome, Deery said.

“I think the little bit of a break we’ve had is good,” Deery said. “We had a lot of nagging injuries.”

To prepare for the playoffs, the Lakers had a practice with Mountain Valley, the top seed in the Class B South tournament.

“That was a very good opportunity for us,” Deery said.

Rangeley is led by senior forward Blayke Morin, who scored her 1,000th career point this season.

While Rangeley is a regular participant in the tournament, Waterville’s Temple Academy is making its first appearance at the Augusta Civic Center. Temple rejoined the Maine Principals’ Association last season.

“We’ve worked hard all week. We’re excited. I’m not sure how they’ll react when they get on the court,” Temple coach Mike Gorman said.

Temple played quarterfinal opponent Highview Christian twice in the regular season, winning each game by at least 14 points. Defending Highview forward Cassidy Lessner is key, Gorman said.

“We’ve played them twice this year. If we let them set up in their halfcourt offense, they have a girl in the middle (Lessner) who is pretty tough to handle,” Gorman said. “Our whole scheme is focused on defense.”

Temple is led by 1,000 point scorer Kiara Carr.

Monday’s quarterfinal opponents, Vinalhaven and Pine Tree Academy, did not meet in the regular season.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

<URL destination=””>[email protected]

</URL>Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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