AUGUSTA — There won’t be a need for introductions Saturday when the two girls’ basketball regional finals take place at the Augusta Civic Center.
Both games feature conference rivals who know each other well.
In the Western D game at 1:05 p.m., the top-ranked and unbeaten Forest Hills Tigers take on the second-ranked Rangeley Lakers.
Rangeley’s only loss was to the Tigers last month in Jackman, 60-54.
The game features two very different teams. The Tigers (20-0) are a small, quick team. They thrive off turnovers, a fast pace and the outside shot. Forest Hills set a new Western D record Thursday with 11 3’s in the win over Pine Tree. Senior guard Kori Coro tied the individual mark with five of her own. The Tigers have a balanced lineup with seniors Dana McNally and Anna Carrier and juniors Keely Taylor and Haley Cuddy.
The Tigers averaged 60.7 points per game and allowed just 29.0. Few teams were able to keep pace with Forest Hills, which won games by an average of 31.7 points.
The Lakers were equally as dominant in the East-West Conference, winning their games by an average of 32.5 points and had only one win by less than 18.
Rangeley has the size that Forest Hills lacks with 6-footers Taylor Esty (15 ppg), a junior, and sophomore Blayke Morin (13 ppg). The Lakers also have experience in the backcourt with senior Tori Letarte (11 ppg) and junior Seve Deery-Deraps (12 ppg). Sophomore guard Maddison Egan is a relative newcomer but she’s also played well for a Lakers team that averaged 58.7 points and allowed 28.
The Lakers are also well-seasoned in this situation. This is the seventh trip to the regional final for the Lakers in the last nine years. Rangeley lost the previous six, winning its last championship in 2004.
Forest Hills last won a title in 1997. Prior to this year, the Tigers had won just twice in Augusta since 2000.
In the 7:05 p.m. evening game, the Western C title game is a rematch of Mountain Valley Conference foes — Madison and Carrabec. The Cobras defeated the Bulldogs 44-39, while Madison topped Carrabec in the other regular season game 46-37.
Though Madison lost one of its top players to injury in Bronte Elias, the Bulldogs still have a veteran group that is in the regional final for the fourth time in the past five years. Madison lost the past two Western C titles, including last year to Waynflete.
The Bulldogs are balanced. Kirsten Wood (7.8 ppg), Kayla Bess (7.3), Cristie Vicneire (6.6) and Alex Jarvais (6.1 ppg) are veteran players and work well together. While the offense is balanced, averaging 49.2 points per outing, the defense is solid, allowing just 37.3.
Carrabec is a newcomer to this dance. The Cobras have not been to the final since Dirigo defeated Carrabec in 1997. The Cobras have an exciting club that has won 12 of its past 14 games. Those two losses were to unbeaten Western B team Spruce Mountain.
Carrabec plays a fast pace and averaged 49 points per game in the regular season while allowing only 31.9. The Cobras hadn’t won in Augusta since 2002, but Carrabec showed little feared in Thursday’s impressive win over a good Maranacook club and the KVAC B Player of the Year, Christine Miller.
Guard Jessica Vaillancourt and Mercedes Welch (7.6 ppg), a future CMCC player, are two of the three seniors on the team while other key players like junior Emma Pluntke (8.9 ppg) and sophomores Hannah Atwood and Bailey Atwood lead a relatively young and promising group.