AUGUSTA — Defense still wins championships. And the Greenville girls basketball team had plenty of it.

Using a mix of a 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone, the No. 3-seeded Lakers forced 26 turnovers to beat No. 1 Rangeley 41-20 in the Class D South regional final Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

It’s the first regional title for Greenville since 2010. The Lakers (15-6) will meet Southern Aroostook in the Class D championship game March 2 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Bangor.

The Greenville Lakers hold u the championship plaque after beating Rangeley to win the Class D South championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

“It’s just crazy,” Greenville forward Halle Pelletier said. “Because we knew we were good at softball, and decent at soccer. But we never thought we’d come here in basketball. Our new coaches, Maren (Mason), Dawna (Blackstone) and Tyler (Muzzy), we mold together so well, everyone loves each other and everyone loves playing basketball now. It’s awesome.”

Rangeley ends its season with a 19-2 record.

“I’m going to give all the credit to Greenville,” Rangeley head coach Heidi Deery said. “They played a great game. They were well coached. It wasn’t our day. I felt like we prepared for what they did, but didn’t necessarily execute it.”

Rangeley’s Brooke Egan tries to control the ball against Greenville during the Class D South championship game Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Up 14-11 at halftime, Greenville dominated the third quarter from both ends of the floor, outscoring Rangeley 17-0, and forcing Rangeley to go 0 for 8 from the floor in the period.

“Our defense won us the game,” Greenville head coach Maren Mason said. “We implemented a 1-3-1 a week or two ago, assuming we may see Rangeley in this game. It started well, then they figured it out by putting two underneath. Then we had to go 2-3, which is our base defense. And they just played amazing today, their defense was incredible.”

Offensively, Greenville was led by Pelletier, who was a force in the post. Using her size advantage (5-10), Pelletier scored points and drew fouls throughout the game down low, and finished with a game-high 17 points.

Greenville’s Tiegan Murray, left, defends Rangeley’s Emily Eastlack during the Class D South championship game Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

“I knew I had height on them,” Pelletier said. “So (passers) were finding me and I can seal and get the lob pass every single time.”

Morgan Noyes scored nine points for Greenville, while Bianca Breton added eight points.

Aside from the turnovers, Rangeley struggled offensively, making just three field goals in the second half. Olivia Pye led Rangeley on the offensive end in the first half, scoring eight of her team-high 10 points. Lauren Eastlack took over in the second half, scoring seven of her eight points during the stretch.

The game was the first meeting this season between the two programs. Rangeley will return the majority of its team back next season, as it was the final game for just two seniors, guards Brooke Egan and Kylie Collins.

“I just think, it certainly didn’t show today, but throughout the season, we had a lot of grit and discipline,” Deery said of her team. “For the most part, they stayed very coachable throughout the season. I think they were a little frustrated with our offense in the first half, and instead of coming out determined to make a change, they were looking to see who was going to change it. It really needed to be all of them.”

Dave Dyer – 621-5640
Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

Rangeley fans react to a referee’s call during Class D South championship game against Greenville on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

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