AUGUSTA — The top-seeded Rangeley girls basketball team roared out to a 14-0 lead and was never challenged by No. 8 Greater Portland Christian in a 76-29 win in a Class D South quarterfinal Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Rangeley, the defending regional champions, will face No. 4 Temple in a semifinal at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Sydney Royce had 20 points and Blayke Morin finished with 15 points, five assists and seven steals to lead the Lakers (18-1). Natasha Haley added 14 points. Clarissa Jones led Greater Portland Christian (6-13) with 14 points.

Rangeley hadn’t played a game that counted since Feb. 4, and had its return to action delayed by another day when the Maine Principals’ Association postponed the quarterfinal due to Tuesday’s storm. But it looked sharp from the start. The Lakers’ first two offensive plays were run through Morin, a 6-foot-2 senior center, who found open cutters Royce and Maddison Egan (seven points, six steals) for layups.

“It has been a long break and that’s a conversation for another day,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “What we wanted was to come right out and take charge, set the tempo of the game and defensively do that, too.”

The Lakers fullcourt man-to-man defense forced turnover after turnover early and held the Lions scoreless for the first four minutes.

“We work on our defense a lot. Defense wins games,” Royce said. “I love to play ‘100.’”

Rangeley continued to share the ball well throughout the first quarter. Five different Lakers scored and six picked up assists as they opened up a 25-6 lead.

“We moved the ball. We got a lot of different people scoring, which is great for us,” Deery said. “People think that we’re a one-man show, and I think we showed today that that’s not the case.”

Making that case stronger is Rangeley’s bench, led by eighth- and nine-graders Brooke Egan, Amelia McMillan, Lauren Eastlack, Olivia Pye, and Vanessa Bisson. They held the Lions scoreless for nearly six minutes in the second quarter while extending the lead to 48-8 at halftime.

“Our starting five, we’re strong all together, and our bench, they come in and nothing changes,” Royce said.

The quick start and the bench’s performance allowed Deery to keep everyone well-rested for the quick turnaround on Thursday.

“I think the most time anyone got was someone off the bench with 18 minutes,” Deery said. “Our first five were able to rest and be ready for (Thursday), so that’s great.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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