AUGUSTA — The Class D South matchup most fans expected when the season began has finally arrived as top-seeded Vinalhaven meets second-seeded Rangeley in the regional title Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

The teams are set to tip off at 1:05 p.m.

A year ago, Rangeley held the top seed but was upset in the semifinals, opening the door for Vinalhaven to win the regional title and then its first-ever state championship.

The Vikings (20-0) return all their players from that team, including six senior veterans. Rangeley (18-2) has just one senior on its roster and often plays two eighth-graders at the same time. The Vikings won both regular-season meetings —53-39 and 51-32 — played on back-to-back days on Vinalhaven Island.

“The first game we trapped and our press was not effective at all,” Lakers senior Natasha Haley said. “We got close toward the middle of the game but couldn’t hold onto it.”

Haley scored 24 points in a tightly contested semifinal win over Temple Academy. She’ll need some scoring help from her teammates, but an even greater task will be on the defensive end. Not only do the Vikings have a go-to player in Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes — last year’s tournament MVP — but a number of good shooters who like to push the pace.

“Vinalhaven’s a great team,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “We’re going to have to bring our A game.”

The Vikings displayed a balanced attack in their win over Valley this week, getting 15 points from Ashlyn Littlefield, 13 from Davis-Oakes, 12 from Paige Dennison and eight from Deja Doughty.

“Our team is a lot more confident to shoot and the points are more varied,” Davis-Oakes said. “We’ve gotten a lot stronger. Everyone has their eyes on us but we’re confident. We know we can beat everyone. Just knowing that is reassurance.”

The Lakers battled to the closing minutes of the game before beating Temple in the semifinals. Haley took over in the fourth quarter, especially from the foul line where she made 14 of 16. Junior Brooke Egan has been a consistent scorer for the team while eighth-graders Emily Eastlack and Winnie LaRochelle have played well in the tournament.

Although Vinalhaven is a relative newcomer to championship games, Rangeley has played in several under Deery, winning four regional titles as well as state championships in 2004 and 2016.

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The Class D South boys final pits defending regional champ and top seed, Greenville (18-2) against No. 3 Gould (16-4) in a rematch of last year’s title game, which the Lakers won. The Lakers would like another shot at a state title after losing to Machias a year ago. They return the bulk of that lineup led by regional MVP Nick Foley. Gould’s roster, led by Ernie Lorange and Alex Shoureas, has turned over considerably and is a stronger one than a year ago, coach Chad Sturgis said.

“This team has a little more height and we handle getting down a lot better,” he said. “Last year’s team, we were just never down so we didn’t know how to handle that. This team’s been down several times and came back and won games.”

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