BANGOR — Mackenzie Worcester played in four state championship games and never lost one. On Saturday, she had a special appreciation for what it took for her and her teammates to set Washburn apart from any girls team that has ever preceded it.

“I think this one had more of a sweeter feeling because it was a tough battle throughout the whole game,” she said.

Previously unbeaten Rangeley gave Washburn that tough battle in the Class D state championship, but it was Worcester who gave the Beavers the sweetest win of all with a record-setting 37-point performance in a 60-54 triumph at the Cross Insurance Center.

The title is Washburn’s fifth in a row, a new state record for girls teams. The Valley of Bingham boys hold the overall state record, winning six straight 1998-2003.

“We tried not to talk about five in a row. We really just took it one game at a time,” Worcester said.

The Beavers (22-0) had won its previous four titles by an average of 20 points, including 38 last year over Forest Hills.


But even though Rangeley (20-1) had several spurts in the second half where it threatened to make it a two-possession game, and even though Taylor Esty (30 points, 12 rebounds) was nearly as unstoppable as Worcester, Washburn never really was threatened in the second half.

Esty scored 10 points in the third quarter, six on putbacks, to keep the Lakers within range, 48-39, heading into the fourth quarter. But Washburn’s fullcourt pressure, which played a large part in its 27-10 advantage in turnovers, helped the Beavers push the lead up to 14 early in the fourth quarter on a Natalie Doody hoop courtesy of a Worcester steal and, off another turnover, Worcester’s bucket that broke the 34-year-old Class D record of 35 points.

Joan Overman added 10 points and seven steals for Washburn. Seve Deery-DeRaps had 14 points and Blayke Morin 10 points for Rangeley.

Rangeley exploited its height advantage with the 6-foot-1 Esty and 6-foot-2 Morin early. Each scored four points apiece in the first quarter. But their opportunities were limited by seven Laker turnovers.

“We wanted to go inside,” Rangeley coach Heidi Deery said. “I felt we executed that. When we got away from our game plan as far as taking care of the ball on the press-breaker, that’s what hurt us.”

It also didn’t help when foul trouble arose for Morin and Maddie Egan in the first half.


Worcester, meanwhile, struggled early, missing five of her first six shots.

“I honestly thought that I was going to have a rough game after missing those first few shots,” Worcester said. “I knew to take it to the rim when I was missing and then I would gain confidence off of making some easier shots.”

Worcester was bursting with confidence in an 18-point second quarter. After a free throw by Overman put the Beavers in front for good at 19-18, Worcester drilled back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a personal 12-5 run that gave Washburn a 31-25 lead at halftime.

“It wasn’t planned that the go-to was me, but with Joan’s high screens, it really opened me up,” Worcester said. “If they double-teamed me, I was able to hit Joan and she could get her layup.”

Thanks in large part to Esty, the Lakers shot 12-for-20 from the floor in the first half. But they had to earn every one of their baskets, even when they beat Washburn’s press past midcourt.

Overman, an athletic 5-foot-8 senior, fronted Morin on the blocks and was able to get a hand and occasionally pick off entry passes into the post. Otherwise, Esty might have matched Worcester point for point.

“I think our defense (won it), and keeping the ball from Esty’s hands,” Overman said. “(Fronting the post) was something we worked on in practice all week.”

Esty was able to make up for some of the missed post-up opportunities with putbacks.

“We talk a lot about taking care of the ball, and when you don’t take care of the ball, you lose that possession, and it’s key,” Deery said. “I really think, coming down the stretch, we needed a few more possessions. I think we had them, but we didn’t necessarily take care of the ball the way we could have.”

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