Jake Kraske from Buckfield blasts past Rangeley’s Devon Clark during a game at Buckfield High School between Buckfield and Rangeley last season.
Even though it matched the 7-11 record that earned them a tournament spot the previous year, Rangeley missed out on the Class D South tournament by the slimmest of margins last February (six-tenths of a Heal point).
The Lakers bid farewell to three starters but are determined to return to the dance. Coach Jeff Larochelle thinks improved defensive rotations and rebounding will be keys to making that happen because it will make the Lakers
“We’ve got pretty good speed, so this summer we were emphasizing using it and not walking the ball up the court,” he said.
Senior guard Kyle Larochelle, Jeff’s son and a four-year starter, will be the one charged with keeping his foot on the gas pedal. Freshman Will Brey, who started as a eighth-grader, joins him in the backcourt. Sophomores Nolan Boone, Ian Lillis and Levi Pitt return to a frontcourt bolstered by a pair who are back after playing as freshmen — senior Hunter Lowell and junior Cal Crosby.
Even if they reached the tournament last year, it’s unlikely the Lakers would have been able to stop Greenville, which rolled through the region and the state championship game. Those Lakers return virtually their entire roster, including star guard Nick Foley.
Class D South can always be a challenge to forecast with the prevalence of private schools in the region. But one team that should challenge Greenville is Forest Hills, which won 12 games last year and graduated just two seniors. Monmouth native Anthony Amero has had the Tigers in rebuilding mode since winning the gold ball in 2015 and should have his junior and sophomore-laden roster ready to take the next step.