AUGUSTA – It seemed that the Vinalhaven girls’ basketball team knew just how to bring the best out of the Rangeley Lakers Saturday.

Every time the Vikings got close in their Western D quarterfinal game, the Lakers responded with some of its best basketball. Rangeley answered the Vikings final push with six straight points to complete a sweep of Vinalhaven with a 48-35 victory at the Augusta Civic Center.

“We have a hard time sustaining what we want,” said Rangeley coach Heidi Deery, whose club meets Kents Hills in Thursday’s semifinal.. “We have to get our backs against the wall. From a coaching aspect, it’s a little frustrating, but these guys respond. They’ve been under pressure all year.”

The Vikings, who lost to Rangeley 40-33 and 45-40 in the regular season, were down by as many as 12 in the second quarter and 13 in the third quarter. Vinalhaven managed to chip away and get within six in the third quarter and within five in the fourth, only to watch Rangeley answer with authority.

Nicole Crupi led the Lakers with 17 points, five assists and four steals. Ashley Quimby added 13 while Angela White chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“There’s no real one person,” said Crupi, a senior guard. “They can try to shutdown me or Q (Quimby), then we can just dump it.Our freshmen have really stepped up a lot – the White twins, Angela and Hayley, and Abby (Madeira) played a big game. So there was no one person that they could stop.”

The seventh-ranked Vikings (11-9) got 11 points and 16 rebounds from Flora Drury and 10 points by Meagan Davidson.

Vinalhaven got within 31-25 late in the third on six free throws from Drury and a free throw by Meagan Davidson. The second-seeded Lakers (14-5) answered with free throws from Quimby and Angela White and a rebound basket by Madeira to end the quarter up 35-25.

“We just came into the game wanting to play our game and not self-destruct,” said Crupi. “We wanted to make them beat us and not beat ourselves. We wanted to be consistent and play our tempo and not theirs.”

The Vikings had another rally in them in the final quarter. A basket by Nikki Osgood and a rebound by Drury made it 36-31, but the Lakers sped away with six straight points, part of a 10-2 run. The Lakers offense had its ups and downs but the defense was a constant.

“We definitely know that defense is important,” said Crupi. “We know that what’s going to be big down the stretch. If you don’t play defense and rebound, you might as well go home.”


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