The shots weren’t falling early in the game, so Joel Rogers called a timeout. He felt his Greely girls’ basketball players needed to change the tempo of the game, to speed things up with their press.

“And I wanted to reassure them to keep shooting,’’ he said. “We were getting good looks, they just weren’t falling.’’

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The defense tightened, the shots started falling, and the Rangers were off and running Wednesday afternoon. After falling behind 6-0, fourth-seeded Greely scored 17 consecutive points to take control and go on to a 55-27 victory over No. 5 Lincoln Academy in a Western Class B quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

“We just started shooting the ball better, moving the ball better,’’ said Rogers.

Greely (15-4) will play top-seeded Lake Region in the regional semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Lincoln Academy, which failed to qualify for the tournament a year ago, finished 15-4.

Lincoln came into the game determined to contain Greely’s talented junior forward, Ashley Storey, double-teaming her every time she got close to the basket. That strategy worked – until the Rangers started hitting their outside shots.

Blais Tardif started Greely’s run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. She added a foul shot, then freshman Moira Train made two foul shots.

Train put the Rangers in front with a 3-pointer from the right corner, freshman Molly Chapin hit a jumper, Tardif scored another basket and Train drilled another 3, and it was suddenly 16-6.

The Eagles had five turnovers and four missed shots during a scoreless stretch that lasted six minutes and 17 seconds, and Storey blocked two shots.

“We really were in a situation where we wanted to contain Storey, and I thought we did a great job of that in the first half,’’ said Lincoln Academy Coach Kevin Feltis. “But they just hit the open shot, and you’re going to pick your poison a little bit there.’’

Lincoln regrouped and pulled within 24-17 on two foul shots by freshman Brie Wajer with 31.9 seconds left in the second quarter. But Haley Felkel hit a long 3-pointer from the right corner – on a nice kick-out pass from Tardif – to regain the momentum.

Greely controlled the tempo in the second half, getting the ball inside to Storey a bit more. She scored the Rangers’ first eight points in the fourth quarter – all on nice entry passes from Felkel or Jordynne Copp – to extend the lead to 46-25.

Storey finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocked shots and five steals. She said the Rangers’ defense was the difference.

“This was a good confidence booster for us,’’ said Storey. “We all just love to play defense. When you work together as a team, good things happen.’’

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH