Each team in the Class D South girls basketball tournament heads to the Augusta Civic Center with at least three losses. By default, defending state champion Rangeley is the favorite as the top seed, although No.2 Vinalhaven also has an experienced, talented squad.

“Rangeley is the team to beat,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “They have the most Civic Center experience.”

“I still think Vinalhaven is the team to beat,” Temple Academy coach Mike Gorman said. “They’re well-balanced.”

The tournament began on Saturday with a pair of quarterfinal games. No. 2 Vinalhaven (15-4) cruised to a 71-37 win over No. 7 Highview Christian, and No. 3 Temple Academy (14-5) beat No. 6 Greenville, 42-40. The quarterfinals continue on Tuesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center, with No. 5 Forest Hills (10-8) against No. 4 Pine Tree Academy (13-5), and No. 8 Valley (4-14) taking on No. 1 Rangeley (15-3).

Forest Hills is coached by Amero, the longtime boys coach at the Jackman school. Girls coach Jill Demanski moved away when her husband was transferred to a new border patrol post.

“I’m sad to see (Demanski) go, because she was great with the kids, but on the selfish side of it, I’m happy to work with this group,” Amero said.

Forest Hills is led by senior center Caitlin Logston. Amero said the Tigers have worked on their perimeter offense to try to complement the inside game. Defensively, Forest Hills will be challenged by Pine Tree sharpshooter Alex Goodman.

“Goodman, she is the real deal. You have to guard her from halfcourt in,” Amero said.

Getting past quarterfinal opponent Greenville was big for Temple. With its size, Greenville posed a tough matchup for the Bereans, Gorman said last week. Beating the Lakers snapped a three-game end of the season losing streak, which included a one-point loss to Rangeley, for Temple. Next up for Temple is Vinalhaven, which has one of the top players in the tournament in Gilleyane Davis-Oakes. As with teams across the state, the recent run of bad weather prevented the Bereans from getting as much practice as they’d like.

“We’ve been working hard, when we’ve been able to practice,” Gorman said. “Defensively, we’re trying to make adjustments.”

Two of Rangeley’s three regular-season losses were to Class C Richmond. In Valley, the Lakers face a quarterfinal opponent it defeated twice in the regular season.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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