AUGUSTA — As impressive as Rangeley senior Blayke Morin was on defense Saturday — and she held one of the top Class D players in the state to 12 points — her offensive performance was dominant.

The forward was a force throughout the game, scored a career-high 34 points and led the Lakers to a 58-33 win over Vinalhaven in the Class D South regional final at the Augusta Civic Center. The regional win is the second in a row for Rangeley (20-1), who will face North No. 3 Shead in the state final Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

“It’s a different feeling because we’ve been here before,” Maddison Egan, a senior guard, said. “We’re ready for next weekend. It’ll be an exciting week of practice. There’s only two teams practicing this week. So we’re excited.”

The Lakers had to consider several different defensive strategies ahead of Saturday’s game, and their top priority was shutting down Vinalhaven’s top threat, Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes. Morin had no doubt about what defensive scenario she thought the Lakers should use.

“I wanted to guard her,” Morin said. “We heard stats of her that she had scored 20 in the second half, but didn’t really score in the first half. So I wanted to shut her down totally, and I think I did that okay.”

Morin blanked Davis-Oakes in the first quarter and held her to just four in the half and 12 overall.

And Morin was even more dominant on the other end, and earned tourney MVP honors. In addition to her defensive effort against Davis-Oakes, she finished two field goals shy of the record for most in a game (18) and was six shy for field goals in a tourney (32). She finished five shy of Kristin Baker’s record of 39 points in a game. Morin also had eight rebounds and three blocks.

“I told Blayke after the last game that if I could have written a script for the week and had somebody else score for us the last two games, I would have done it,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “They had to pay attention to other people. I don’t think they were able to think about running a triangle-and-two or a box-and-one because we’re multi-dimensional. And I hoped it would allow Blayke to do what she did today.”

Sydney Royce also scored 12 points and had five steals for Rangeley. Amelia McMillan added five points and six rebounds, while Egan had four points, six assists and five steals.

Vinalhaven got 12 each from Davis-Oakes and Deja Doughty, but the Vikings (16-5) managed just one field goal in the first and turned the ball over 13 times.

Rangeley’s press was a force from the get-go and had the Vikings reeling early. Vinalhaven managed just four shots in the first quarter and watched the Lakers build a 9-0 lead.

“We press every game and we never let down,” Egan said. “If we get the score up and put in the second string, we still keep it strong.”

Deery had contemplated using Royce or Celia Philbrick on Davis-Oakes. But Morin was the logical choice.

“I felt that Blayke’s physical presence with her and she’s really disciplined on defense,” Deery said, “so that’s what we stuck with and if we needed to change it, we would.”

Morin was able to take Davis-Oakes out of the game early. The sophomore forward had been a non-factor in the two opening halves of previous games. Both Pine Tree and Valley had done a decent job taking her out of the game until she came to life in the second half. In those matchups, the Vikings were able to hit shots. Against Rangeley, a Doughty basket midway through the first was all Vinalhaven could manage.

“My whole career, we’ve had to practice against tall girls that are good inside,” Morin said. “It was just second nature to defend her.”

Morin had 13 of Rangeley’s first 21 points in the opening quarter, and that was after Royce gave the Lakers a quick 4-0 lead. As Davis-Oakes got into foul trouble, she became even less effective defending Morin.

“It was easy to isolate with a shorter girl on me,” Morin said. “They couldn’t really defend it. The best part about it was that we had practiced that the last two weeks. So the passes inside, they were good passes.”

Rangeley only scored twice in the second quarter, both on Morin baskets. Vinalhaven had a bit of a run with a 10-2 spurt that helped get the Vikings within 25-12 at the half. Doughty and Davis-Oakes each had four points in the second.

“The first quarter we executed our game plan and to Vinalhaven’s credit, they were not going to lay down and give us this,” Deery said. “We had to regroup a little bit. I think the adrenalin of coming out the way we did in the first half and doing what we did, then we had to take a deep breath and suck it up and realize there was a lot more to play.”

Vinalhaven got some offense going in the third and got as close as 39-27. Davis-Oakes and Doughty each had six points while Paige Dennison hit a 3. The Vikings still couldn’t stop Morin, who had another nine points while Royce had four and McMillan had three. Baskets by Morin and Egan finished the third with Rangeley up 43-27. The Lakers finished the game with a 9-2 run, with Morin scoring eight more and Royce netting a couple. Philbrick and Natasha Haley padded the lead with free throws. Haley finished with five steals and five rebounds.

“I think things came together for us this week,” Deery said. “You always hope as a coach that they do that both offensively and defensively. Sometimes you don’t get both, but I think we had both this week.”

The Lakers have only two seniors and one junior on the roster, and those seniors are intent on next week’s state game. The win over Vinalhaven was a nice accomplishment, but just another step to the true goal.

“Last year was more exciting because we had gotten there so many times and it had never happened,” Morin said. “We were a tight-knit group and we’re a tight-knit group now, but we want to get one more. It will be a whole different ballgame and a whole different feeling.”

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