AUGUSTA — Fourteen other schools play Class D West girls’ basketball, but Valley is the one least likely to inspire overconfidence in Rangeley.
The Lakers and the Cavaliers see each other twice every winter. Usually three times, if you count the regional tournament. No potential opponent in the draw knows Rangeley better.
“It was much easier because they knew we had to come and play,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery. “This year more than any, all classes, you’ve seen a team win by 20 and then lose by 20 to the same team. We’ve been watching that and using it to drive home the fact that we’ve got to play.”
No. 2 Rangeley did all the lecturing Monday, scoring a staggering 32 consecutive points after No. 7 Valley’s opening basket and cruising to a 69-24 quarterfinal win.
Led by Seve Deery-Deraps and Taylor Esty, the Lakers’ inside-out game was unstoppable.
Junior guard Deery-Deraps, the coach’s daughter, scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter, when the Lakers ripped open a 37-4 lead. Esty, a 6-foot-1 junior center, connected high and low on her way to 19 points.
Rangeley defeated Valley by 19 and 10 points during their East-West Conference regular-season series.
“We knew if we didn’t come out and play strong, Valley’s a good team,” Esty said. “We needed to come out strong and bring it to them.”
The win earned the Lakers (18-1) a semifinal date on the opposite end of the familarity continuum. Searsport (15-4), moved from East to West this season, took out three-time defending regional champion Richmond, 73-53, in the preceding Monday quarterfinal.
If Rangeley approaches Thursday with the same disarming calm that defined its game Monday, the Lakers will be fine.
“It’s just a game, and you don’t want to make it more than what it is,” Deery-Deraps said. “If you put a bunch more pressure on yourself, not only as a person but as a team, you’re not going to play your best game.”
Rangeley shot 14-for-27 (52 percent) from the field in the first half while smothering Valley to a 1-for-19 clip.
The Cavaliers’ lone basket from the field was Kirsten Mathieu’s layup for the short-lived lead. Teagan Laweryson later added two free throws to end the Lakers’ 32-0 binge.
Tori Letarte and Maddison Egan each had two baskets during the run. Blayke Morin and Michaela Shorey both added another. Letarte fueled the defense with four first-half steals, and Deery-Deraps added three assists to her team-high seven rebounds before the break.
“We had a game plan, I felt like if we executed it, we would have an opportunity to put the game away,” Deery said. “You know that doesn’t always happen. We came to play and got right down to business. Nobody looked shaky on the floor. Everyone was involved, I thought, offensively and defensively.”
Laweryson connected for 14 of her 16 points in the second half for Valley (9-11).
“We’ve played a lot here, so it’s nothing new to us. It’s like any other game, really. A few extra eyes,” Esty said.