AUGUSTA — The Western D girls regional final is today at the Augusta Civic Center, and the top two seeds will be watching from the stands.

No. 1 Richmond and No. 2 Vinalhaven were bounced in the semifinals, setting up a surprise regional final between No. 4 Rangeley and No. 3 Greenville.

Right?

Not exactly, says Rangeley coach Heidi Deery.

“I really felt at the beginning of the season we could get back here,” she said. “I really felt, knowing my players, individually we could get back here. It was a matter of if we could pull it together as a team.”

The Lakers did, rebounding from an 0-4 start to win 12 of its final 14 regular-season games. The Lakers (14-6) rolled right into the Western D tournament and promptly knocked off No. 5 Kents Hill and No. 1 Richmond.

Now the young Lakers — they don’t have a senior on the roster — are back in the regional final, where Greenville (16-2) awaits.

“We’re going to have to just really understand the game might go back and forth,” Deery said. “We have to play the game and not give up and not question ourselves.”

Greenville swept the two matchups, winning 31-28 in the season opener and 38-28 on Jan. 9.

Still, a lot has changed in the last month — the Lakers, for example, have grown up and are winning.

Greenville, which dispatched No. 2 Vinalhaven and No. 7 Seacoast Christian, is led by senior guard McKenna Peat and senior center Saige Weeks. Peat scored 17 in the win over Vinalhaven; Weeks added 14.

“Rangeley is scrappy,” Peat said. “And you have to be ready to battle teams like that.”

Greenville is trying to reach its first state title game since 1985, which also was the last time it reached a Western D final.

Greenville had gone 16-40 in the previous three seasons, including two losses in tournament prelim games.

“Rangeley has good height and they rebound well,” Greenville coach John Jardine said. “They are a pretty tough team.”

Rangeley, meanwhile, likes to play an up-tempo style. In the semifinals, Rangeley took Richmond out of its game by attacking the ball and forcing fouls.

Guards Chantal Carrier, Allie Hammond and Sierra Machacos lead the Lakers.

“We’ve come a long way,” Deery said.

Bill Stewart — 623-3811, ext. 515

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