There’s no question who the No. 1 seed is in the Class D South girls basketball tournament.

Since losing a 39-37 contest to Buckfield on Dec. 14, Rangeley (17-1) has not lost a game, a stretch of 14 consecutive contests.

But the run means little to Rangeley coach Heidi Deery.

“Honestly, we’re just looking at Saturday, and then look at Wednesday and then look at (next) Saturday, if that’s how it goes,” Deery said. “We’re really looking to execute our offensive and defensive plans on Saturday.”

The Lakers will play No. 8 Seacoast Christian in a D South quarterfinal Saturday morning.

Rangeley relied on a balanced offensive approach. The Lakers have had a combination of five different players who can put up double-digit points, including guards Brooke Eagen, Lauren Eastlack and Emily Eastlack, along with forwards Olivia Pye and Winnie LaRochelle. It’s a multi-player attack not often seen in the Class D ranks.

“Our offense is not set to go to any one player,” Deery said. “We’ve been working on this offense for two years. We really look to distribute the ball. It makes it pretty tough for other teams to try to scout us or shut somebody down when our offense doesn’t look to go to one or two of our players.”

Temple Academy finished  14-4, a surprise considering head coach Joe Rossignol lost six seniors off last year’s squad, and had a large mix of foreign exchange students coming from 10 different countries.

“We really only had three players that came back from last year,” Rossignol said. “The other (returners) were hurt and really didn’t play at all. It was really an unknown, but those girls stepped up really, really well…. (the foreign exchange students) have helped to really bond the team, they helped in practice. Not one of them knew anything about basketball, but they helped to bond the team, and that helped bring it together and the girls have been playing really hard.”

Junior guard Deleyni Carr, who is averaging 23 points per game, leads the Bereans. Temple played Rangeley twice this season, losing by no more than five points in each contest. The Bereans were able to take the Lakers to overtime in a 52-49 loss on Dec. 18.

“We play similar styles,” Rossignol said. “We looked back (at the regular season games) on how we lost or why we lost and we’re adjusting for that. I see our chances against them as good. I’m really excited to have that potential to see them in Augusta.”

No. 3 Greenville (12-6) won five its six final games. No. 4 Valley (9-9) got off to a hot start – 6-1 in its first seven games – but limped to a 3-8 finish to end the regular season, a result contributed to illness and injury, head coach Paul Belanger said.

“It was kind of a letdown going down the stretch,” Belanger said. “But I think this tournament’s wide open. We lost to Rangeley by two with 20 seconds left to go. We lost to Temple by two, they beat us with 10 seconds left to go. It’s right there, I think anybody in the top five can win this tournament.”

Valley is led by senior forwards Kennedy Savoy and Kendra Sweet. An added bonus has been the late season play of junior guard Jillian Miller.

“The last five games, Jillian has really stepped up,” Belanger said. “She’s averaged 12 points a game over the last five games. She’s coming around at the right time.”

Following Valley with the No. 5 seed is Forest Hills. Much like the Cavaliers, the Tigers (7-11) started the season strong, going 4-2 in their first six games, but went 3-9 in the final 12 games. The Tigers ely on senior guard Alexandra Lessard.

Rounding out the final three spots are No. 6 Pine Tree Academy, No. 7 Vinalhaven and No. 8 Seacoast Christian.

“I really believe that any team that comes to play and puts 32 minutes on the floor can win these games,” Deery said. “I have never seen, honestly, a class that you could say that about. There’s often years where there’s just blowouts in the quarterfinal and semifinals. I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year, I really don’t.”

 

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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