AUGUSTA – Heidi Deery wasn’t sure whether showing her team the video of Rangeley’s 2004 state championship win was a good idea, but Tuesday night, she pulled it out and popped it into the VCR.

“I thought I could really be shooting myself in the foot with this one, or maybe a light will go on,” said Deery.

Her intent wasn’t to highlight the good of the Lakers’ victory that day. Her purpose was to demonstrate that her club didn’t have to be perfect to win.

“Why I did it was not only to get them pumped up, but to make them understand that as flawless a game as that was, we still made mistakes,” said Deery. “We didn’t turn them into three, four or five mistakes. We let it go and moved on. We kept playing. I keep saying ‘Play 32 minutes.’ If everyone plays 32 minutes with the mistakes, we’re going to be fine.”

The Lakers kept plugging away Thursday and shrugged off the mistakes to rally for a 38-27 victory over Richmond in the Western Class D semifinals. Rangeley advances to Saturday’s regional championship game against top-ranked Hyde, a team the Lakers split with during the regular season.

“We’ve been working for this since November,” said junior center Krista Jamison. “All we thought about in November was being here in Augusta. It’s all we thought about while running sprints or scrimmaging other teams. We worked all year for this, and it’s so exciting to finally be here.”

Despite graduating four starters, the Lakers earn a fourth trip to the regional final in this decade, but the first since the Lakers won the 2004 state title.

“We watched them win the Gold Ball and it gave us all goose bumps,” Jamison said of Tuesday’s video session, which included some Richmond game tapes as well. “It got us excited for this game.”

Rangeley (15-5) outscored the Bobcats 16-2 in the final quarter, when the Lakers shot 5 for 8 and Richmond hit just one field goal in eight tries.

Leading 25-24 in the fourth, Richmond’s fortune took a nasty turn when starting guard Amy Russell went down with an ankle injury. Russell, who finished with eight points, had scored all of the Bobcats field goals in the third quarter.

“It was absolutely the worst time it could have come,” said Richmond coach Molly Bishop. “She’s been a leader on the team all year. To have her go down, it kind of took the wind out of the sails of our other kids.”

Richmond (12-9) never recovered. The Bobcats watched Rangeley open the quarter with 12 straight points, turning a 25-22 deficit into a 34-25 lead. The Bobcats missed its first seven shots and didn’t get a basket until a Katie Cray drive with 1:18 left. Richmond also committed six turnovers.

“I had to refocus myself first,” said Bishop, who said she felt her club was the better team and would have won had it not been for Russell’s injury. “I had to carry the girl off the floor. I just tried to tell them that we can play our game and we’ve had practices where she wasn’t there or had times where she’s been in foul trouble and we’ve been all right.”

Jamison led the Lakers with nine of her 10 points in the final quarter. Haley White and Angela White also finished with 10 for Rangeley. Melanie Schanck had 11 for the Bobcats.

It was a game where Rangeley had to hang in there and battle back against a Richmond team that split with the Lakers in the regular season. Rangeley struggled from the foul line in the first half and were inconsistent on offense.

“That’s how we are,” said Deery. “We’re not going to come out here and run up and down the court and take over. We just want to stay in and keep battling.”

Richmond led the game for much of the first three quarters, despite having Cray and Stephanie O’Brien in foul trouble. Baskets by Russell and free throws by Schanck had the Bobcats up 25-22 entering the final quarter.

After an Angela White basket, Russell was hurt during a Richmond possession, rolling her ankle severely.

After a Jamison basket, Hayley White scored on a cut to the hoop. Jamison followed with a score off an inbound pass, and Hayley White hit a jumper. Two Jamison free throw made it 34-25 with 1:30 left.


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