Rangeley’s Olivia Pye pushes through a pack of Valley players during a Class D semifinal game Wednesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center. Also in on the play is Rangeley’s Emily Eastlack on the right. Valley’s Savanah K. Farmer, Jillian Miller and Rianna Davis provide defense. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

 

AUGUSTA — Rangeley had won its two regular season games with Valley by attacking the inside. In the rematch Wednesday — in the Class D South girls’ basketball semifinals — the Lakers found the outside more to their liking.

Top-seeded Rangeley used its perimeter shooting to spark an 18-2 run over the second and third quarters to pull away from fourth-seeded Valley, 51-29, and return to the regional final for the second consecutive season and for the seventh time in the past eight years.

Rangeley’s Emily Eastlack takes the ball down the court with Valley’s Jillian Miller sticking close behind during a Class D semifinal game Wednesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Rangeley (19-1) will face third-seeded Greenville in the regional final at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Olivia Pye led Rangeley with 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals, while Winnie LaRochelle added 11 points and six rebounds.

Kendra Sweet led Valley (10-10) with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

After shooting 3-for-12 from the floor in the first quarter, the Lakers warmed up on the perimeter and shot nearly 50 percent (15-for-31) the rest of the way.

“We talked about staying positive even when we miss shots,” Pye said. “We just talked to each other on the floor and everybody believed in their shot today.”

Rangeley’s Brooke Egan pushes past Valley’s Rianna Davis during a Class D semifinal game Wednesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

“As a team, we all have different strengths and we can attack different defenses with different strengths,” Rangeley junior captain Lauren Eastlack added.

Leading 7-4 at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers started to break away with a 7-0 run to end the first half.

After an Emily Collins hoop pulled Valley within 13-11, Pye drilled a 3-pointer and LaRochelle a jumper to make it 18-11. Pye beat the buzzer with a jumper to make it 20-11 at halftime.

“They didn’t shoot that well from the outside (the first two games), so we played a zone because they beat us on the inside with effort. After watching their first game down here, we figured that might work,” Valley coach Paul Belanger said. “They hit some shots early and we had to come out of that and match man-to-man.”

“I was really happy with our execution of our game plan today, and our discipline on defense,” said Rangeley coach Heidi Deery, whose team had beaten Valley by 21 and four points during the season. “They’re a good team and they’re well-coached, and we knew that if we didn’t play defense with intensity and discipline, sending them to the foul line and getting us in foul trouble would be something we did not want.”

Rangeley’s Winnie LaRochelle goes up for a shot past Valley’s Rianna Davis during a Class D semifinal game Wednesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

The Lakers were particularly effective flustering Sweet, Valley’s senior point guard. Eastlack and Brooke Egan were most often matched up on her, although holding her scoreless until late in the third quarter — when the game was well in hand — took a team effort, Pye said.

“We tried to give her some space because if we play right up on her, they pick-and-roll,” Pye said. “We gave her some space and we did this thing called hedging at the top, so we switch, and that really worked today.”

“We knew they’d be physical, so we had to come back and play physical but not foul,” Pye added. “Not reaching was a big thing for us because we need all of the players in the game without many fouls.”

Kylie Collins got in on the Lakers’ perimeter barrage with a 3-pointer to start the second half. Valley’s Kennedy Savoy responded with a hoop to end that run, but LaRochelle and Pye combined to score the next eight points to extend the Lakers’ lead to 31-13. They led 36-19 at the end of the third.

“The pressure, I mean, we just weren’t getting into our sets,” Belanger said. “We got flustered. When you get that kind of pressure, you just stop moving and that’s what we did.”

Rebounding was a concern for Deery after the Lakers’ 56-23 quarterfinal win over Seacoast Christian, but her team reverted to its usual form on the boards Wednesday, usually limiting the Cavaliers (four offensive rebounds) to one shot on each possession.

“Defensively, we were focused on boxing out and getting as many rebounds as possible,” Eastlack said.

“Throughout the season, we have rebounded very well and it has been a huge part of our success,” Deery added. “I felt like last Saturday, for whatever reason, we were not focused on rebounding. And I just said the team that rebounds is going to be there Saturday and have a very good chance to win. We can’t give up those opportunities and give teams second and third attempts.”

Rangeley’s Lauren Eastlack looks past Valley’s Kendra Sweet for a teammate to pass the ball to during a Class D semifinal game Wednesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center. Rangeley’s Ellah Smith stays active in the play on the right. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn


Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.