AUGUSTA — Winnie LaRochelle and Emily Eastlack stepped up on both ends of the court as Rangeley turned a one-point halftime lead over Temple into a 59-44 victory in a Class D South girls basketball quarterfinal Monday at Augusta Civic Center.

LaRochelle scored 18 of her game-high 34 points and Eastlack 13 of her 21 points in the second half. The senior duo also helped slow Temple’s Ella Baker on defense.

Second-seeded Rangeley (11-3) clung to a 26-25 lead over seventh-seeded Temple at the half.

LaRochelle and Eastlack opened the third quarter trading baskets for the Lakers and spurred a 13-3 run in the first five minutes.

“A lot of the offense came off our transition,” Rangeley coach Brittany Russell said. “Some were off our set plays. I know they get the big numbers, but the passing back and forth, running down the court on the fast break was what led us to the win after the slow start. Credit to their teammates finding them the ball.”

With 44 seconds left in the third, Eastlack picked up her fourth foul and went to the bench. 

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After a strong first half by Temple (3-13) guard Ella Baker, in which the sophomore scored 10 of her 23 points, Russell told the Lakers during halftime that defending her was a priority for the second half. LaRochelle and Eastlack took turns guarding Baker in the third until Eastlack’s foul trouble made it LaRochelle’s primary responsibility.

“We focused on Ella and just said that we aren’t going to let one person beat us,” Russell said. “We took her away from their offense, and we said that when we get our defense working then it will help our offense. That’s what we came out of the locker room focused on. With Emily in foul trouble, we had to have Winnie play her and that meant on both ends of the ball she had to work hard. It allowed other people to get the ball, and Winnie’s focus was stopping Ella in the second half.”

Eastlack’s absence also changed LaRochelle’s offensive responsibility in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers, who led 41-30 after three quarters, still pulled away in the final eight minutes.

“Emily got in some foul trouble, so it made me bring the ball up and we got to do a lot of give-and-gos,” LaRochelle said. “That’s where our offense came into play, with the give-and-gos and pick-and-rolls while she was out.”

TIGHT FIRST HALF

Temple traded baskets with Rangeley early in the game, and held a 9-8 lead with 3:34 left in the first quarter. After the Lakers took a 16-11 lead into the second quarter, Baker made some big baskets, including a 3-pointer, to give the Bereans a 25-20 lead with two minutes left in the first half.

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“She’s definitely our leading scorer and is not only a great presence for our team, but she’s a captain,” Temple coach Lindsay Beaulieu said. “She does a great job of keeping the girls inspired, going, and she takes it upon herself to keep the team working. If the offense isn’t working, she really tries to get it going. I’m really proud of her today.”

LaRochelle scored six unanswered points late in the second quarter to give the Lakers a one-point halftime lead, but Temple kept the game a lot closer than the last matchup between the two teams (an 81-21 Rangeley win on Feb. 2). 

“We really worked on pinning down our offense,” Beaulieu said. “We knew what they were going to put up against us, we know their personnel, we’ve seen them before. The girls and I really prepared for what we were going to see. We tightened up our defense, we knew we would have to cut, move, and play a little bit smarter. Polish up our skills from the year.”

A week-and-a-half stretch of no games for the Lakers proved to be a momentary detriment in the first half. 

“I think we just came out really slow and our shots weren’t falling, and it kind of affected us on the defensive end, and we were saying, ‘Why aren’t our shots falling?’” LaRochelle said. “The score got to us a bit, but that second half we came out strong, focused on rebounds, getting a defensive stop and going from there.”

Rangeley will return to the Augusta Civic Center to play No. 3 Seacoast Christian (11-6) on Thursday at 10 a.m.

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