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.’’

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:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH