She had to tell Esty something, and swore her to secrecy.

The two had discussed college plans together at times. They even had an overnight stay at the Central Maine Community College campus in Auburn together, but getting the final decision from each was slow going.

“Every time I asked her, she was, ‘Aww, I don’t know,'” Esty said. “Then one day she came up to me right before practice. She goes, ‘I committed to CM.’ I was so excited. I didn’t know what to say.”

The two longtime friends and high school teammates will continue those special bonds in college. Both Esty and Deery-DeRaps have chosen to attend the Auburn school.

“I wouldn’t want to go to CM with anybody else,” Deery-DeRaps said. “Taylor and I are so close. We’ve been together since preschool and have been causing trouble since then.”

The two have been integral parts of Rangeley’s success during their high school careers and both stepped into larger roles this season. They’ve each shown flashes of being leaders and go-to players for the Lakers, but this year’s run to a regional title showed how far they’ve come.


“Coming into the season, I knew I needed to be a leader and step up my game on the court so that way, I could be a threat on the outside,” Deery-DeRaps said. “Then we could get the ball inside.”

The Lakers graduated senior Tori Letarte, a leader and a steadying presence for Rangeley. With her gone, Deery-DeRaps inherited that role. She had younger guards around her in junior Maddison Egan and freshman Natasha Haley. 

“I think Seve’s grown up,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery — Seve’s mother — said. “Being the daughter of a coach is tough. She’s heard about all the great players. Some of them lived with us when she was a little girl. It put a lot of pressure on her, and I think she handled it very well this year.”

She’s become a driving force in the backcourt and a consistent shooting presence from the outside. She was the team’s second-leading scorer this year with 16 points per game to go with six rebounds and three steals. Many of her points came from her ability to hit the 3 from the outside.

“With two six-footers, teams would just try to pack in in,” Deery said. “Some teams just didn’t guard players on the perimeter. They’d double or triple-team the inside.”

What Deery told her guards on those occasions was that that was a sign of disrespect. Her guards had to make teams respect their outside presence. Deery-DeRaps’ outside shot proved to be a spark for the Lakers’ offense and another threat for teams to consider.


In the past, missing some of those outside shots caused Deery-DeRaps frustration, and her play would suffer.

This year, the opposite proved true. In the tourney, Deery-DeRaps wasn’t hitting the outside shot as frequently. She hit enough to make a difference and stayed patient when the shots didn’t drop.

“She just kept playing, and that helps,” Deery said.

Esty has been a versatile force for the Lakers during her career. She reached the 1,000-point milestone this season and led the team in scoring with 17 points per game (along with six rebounds and three steals).

Being a senior, she admits she was more focused on taking her game to a higher level this year.

“Last year, I took a lot of breaks,” Esty said. “This year, I tried making my shots better and keeping up with intensity and just focus on basketball.”


With her versatility, Esty is able to dominate in the post while also playing on the perimeter and in transition. She’d sometimes stray from the game plan because she could do so many things. With a size advantage in the post, Deery-DeRaps would stress that the Lakers needed to utilize the strength inside rather than have Esty shooting 3s.

When the games meant this most last week, Esty played a disciplined game and earned the Western D award for the tourney’s top player.

“She did exactly what we needed her to do,” Deery said. “She played it just right. The game really came to her. She was right there waiting for it. She’s shown a lot of growth this year, as a player and as a young lady.”

The two senior starters had talked about their future plans here and there, with CMCC on each of their lists. But each player made the choice independently of one another.

“I felt like I was at home,” Esty said. “It’s a small campus and I’m from a small town. I didn’t want to go to a big school right away.”

Esty committed first, and the current CMCC team attended the game against Buckfield during which she scored her 1,000th point. 


“We didn’t really talk about if we were going to go there together,” Deery-DeRaps said. “We were undecided if we were going to go there together. Taylor had said she wanted to go there. I knew that I wanted to go there, but I wasn’t sure. She decided and then I decided a couple months later.”

The decision surprised Deery, though she’s pleased that they both chose to attend a school with a successful and disciplined basketball program. After the grind of being one of Western D’s top teams in recent years, she wondered if the girls might want a break from that environment.

“I was really happy with the decision,” Deery said. “I was shocked that they ended up going to the same place. The way it worked out, I think it’s going to be great.”

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