RICHMOND — By the time the Rangeley girls’ basketball team settled in and looked comfortable Tuesday night, it was the third quarter.
Rangeley was finally playing its best basketball of the night, but it was too little, too late. Richmond had already built a double-digit lead and fended off any Laker hopes for a comeback in a 50-37 win.
“Richmond played,” said Rangeley coach Heidi Deery, whose team beat the top-ranked Bobcats 56-54 in overtime earlier in the year. “They outhustled us. They out-executed us. They’re a great team with a great coach. I give them all the credit tonight.”
The Lakers (7-1) struggled from the start in a battle of the two top-ranked teams in Western D. Rangeley had 11 turnovers in the first quarter and shot just 2-for-8 from the floor in the first. Richmond used its strong start to build a 15-7 lead.
“We’ve got five seniors and this is our house,” Richmond forward Jamie Plummer said. “We’re not going to let people come in here to walk all over us. So it means a lot for us to win.”
Plummer finished with 25 points while Alyssa Pearson added 10. Rangeley got 13 from Blayke Morin and 11 from Tori Letarte.
“They pulled it together,” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. “They were excited about this game. Everybody’s been sick. So it was kind of hard to judge their level of anticipation and how anxious they were. When they got on the floor, they were obviously ready to go and focused on what they needed to do.”
Richmond (9-2) started the game with an 8-1 run, including five points from Plummer, who scored 14 in the first half. Rangeley didn’t get its first field goal until a Morin basket with 3:22 left in the quarter.
“Our game plan is always to play tenacious defense and get up in people’s faces,” said Plummer. “We frustrated them, and it worked. So we were pleased.”
Richmond added to the lead in the second. The Bobcats hit six of its first nine shots while Rangeley shot 2-for-12 and hit just one of its first 10 tries. The Lakers also had six turnovers. The lead was up to 31-13 at the half.
In the third, the Lakers made a run. A 7-3 start cut the lead to 14. Morin had three points during that run while Jenney Abbott and Letarte also scored.
Then in the fourth, Rangeley cut the lead to 12 three different times but couldn’t get the lead below double-digits.
“That’s what I wanted,” said Deery. “I wanted to see what happened. You’ve got to take your hat off to Jaime Plummer. Every time we got close, she got a rebound or we turned the ball over.”
Plummer answered with baskets twice in the fourth while Pearson also responded to nix any Laker rally.
“They played the game,” said Deery. “That’s all you have to do is play, especially when your talking about the talent both of our team’s have. Whoever plays is going to win.”