AUGUSTA — Rangeley’s girls’ basketball team attacked Wednesday morning’s Class D South quarterfinal as a time to share and play well with others.

The balanced Lakers moved the ball efficiently and shared the wealth in a decisive 76-29 win over Greater Portland Christian.

While sharing the ball well among themselves, the Lakers barely let the Lions do anything early. While swarming the Lions,  Rangeley built the quick lead and cruised from there.

“That’s exactly what we wanted to happen,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “It has been a long break. I think what we wanted was to come right out and take charge and set the tempo of the game. Defensively, we wanted to do the job, and I thought we did that. I think we moved the ball. We had a lot of different people scoring.”

While Rangeley clicked offensively from the start and scored 14 straight to open the game, the Lakers didn’t allow the Lions and connect many passes, let alone get a shot. GPC had nine turnovers in the first quarter and didn’t get a shot off until 4:31 remained.

“We work on our defense a lot,” said sophomore forward Sydney Royce. “Defense wins games. We love to play 100 (percent).”

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Royce finished with a game-high 20 points while Blayke Morin had 15 points, six steals and four assists. Natasha Haley added 14 points. Rangeley (18-1) had 10 different players score in the game.

“Our team is really strong,” Royce said. “Our starting five, we’re strong all together and off the bench, they came in and nothing changed. It’s nice to have them come in and participated and not have anything change.”

The Lions (6-13) got 14 from Clarissa Jones. Rangeley had won the two regular season meetings by substantial margins, and the Lions finished the regular season 1-10, losing nine straight at one point.

In the first few minutes of play, the Lions were plagued by fouls and turnovers. The Lakers took every mistake and turned it into quick points. Rangeley built a 25-6 lead in the first quarter and had six different players hand out assists.

“Everyone on our team is an offensive threat,” Royce said. “So if they’re open, they’re more than capable of making the basket. We have full faith and trust in our team.”

Morin had eight points in the first quarter while Haley and Royce each had six. Maddison Egan, who finished with eight steals, added three points in the quarter. Morin was able stand at the perimeter at times and either take the shot or find an open player for a closer scoring opportunity.

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“She can look right over them and Blayke is one of our best passers,” Deery said. “She’s unselfish with the ball. She can see and nod her head as if to say ‘Go’ to another player. She does a nice job on the floor for us in a lot of different capacities and not just scoring.”

The Lions didn’t get their first basket until 3:55 remained in the first quarter and shot just 3-for-9. To start the second, Rangeley ripped off another 21 straight to build a 48-8 lead at the half. Royce had eight in the second quarter while Morin added seven and Haley had six. 

The Lions shot 1-for-5 in the second quarter and finished  the game with over 30 turnovers.

From there, the Lakers utilized its bench for much of the second half. Brooke Egan did a nice job handling the ball for Rangeley while she, Vanessa Bisson, Amber Morrill, Amelia McMillan, Lauren Eastlack and Oliva Pye all chipped in offensively in the second half.

“Coming out strong like we did, it did allow us to play a lot of people,” Deery said. “The most time anyone got was off the bench and that was like 18 minutes. Our first five were able to rest and be ready for tomorrow.”

After having two weeks between the end of the regular season and Wednesday’s quarterfinal, which had been rescheduled from Tuesday because of weather, the Lakers now play Temple in the semifinals Thursday. It’s nothing new for the Lakers. Last year, weather changes forced Rangeley to play the semifinals on Friday and the regional championship the following day.

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“I can’t wait for the next game,” Royce said. “We’re excited. I think we’re pretty set. We played here and know how it feels. I think going into (Thursday) it will be a lot easier. We won’t be as nervous, and everyone will be able to play better.”

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