AUGUSTA — For the better part of four quarters, Rangeley matched defending state champion Vinalhaven hoop for hoop Saturday in the Class D South girls’ basketball final at the Augusta Civic Center.

The second-seeded Lakers were giving away size and experience to the top-seeded Vikings, who returned their championship team intact. And while Vinalhaven relied on its group of seniors, led by Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, Rangeley rode Winnie LaRochelle and Emily Eastlack, a pair of eighth-graders.

In the end, Davis-Oakes and the Vikings proved a bit too much, as they pulled away in the final three minutes for a 59-49 victory.

Vinalhaven (21-0) advances to play Southern Aroostook for the state championship Saturday in Augusta. Rangeley finishes at 18-3, with all three losses coming to the Vikings.

For the second year in a row, Davis-Oakes received the Patricia Gallagher Award given to the tournament MVP. The 5-foot-10 senior finished with 28 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots. She scored 12 points in the final five minutes after the Lakers took a 44-43 lead.

“I’m just a second-half player,” Davis-Oakes said. “Me knowing that the shots weren’t falling for me in the first half, I knew my team had my back.”

The Lakers held Davis-Oakes scoreless in the first quarter with a collapsing zone defense.

“We just wanted to make her work and I felt like we did,” Rangeley Coach Heidi Deery said. “She’s a great player and I give her a lot of credit, and her team. They kept their composure and just kept playing.”

The Lakers maintained their composure as well. After jumping out to a 13-11 first-quarter lead, they trailed 26-19 at halftime. The attention given to Davis-Oakes hurt at times, with Cheyenne Bickford (11 points) slipping behind the defense for layups.

The Vikings employed a triangle and two defense designed to stop senior Natasha Haley and junior Brooke Egan. It worked for the most part, as Haley was held to four points and Egan scored only six. But it opened shots up for their teammates. LaRochelle finished with 16 points, while Eastlack added 13.

“Honest to God, I didn’t know who was who and what was what,” Vinalhaven Coach Sandy Nelson said. “I knew 24 (Haley) and I knew 10 (Egan). I knew we had to stop 24.”

Haley scored 24 points in a semifinal win over Temple, but her touches were limited Saturday as she was shadowed by Deja Doughty. Haley did make contributions on defense and pulled down 15 rebounds.

The Vikings went ahead 38-27 late in the third quarter, as Davis-Oakes converted a three-point play and followed that with a pair of free throws. Rangeley came right back, though, as LaRochelle sandwiched a pair of jumpers around a 14-footer from Eastlack.

“They’ve had their time this year, but certainly not under this pressure situation,” Deery said of the eighth-graders. “Both of them are very matter of fact, and there’s not a lot of drama and emotion in them.”

Rangeley trailed 43-36 early in the fourth quarter before putting together an 8-0 run. Eastlack sank a foul-line jumper, then LaRochelle and Egan each hit 15-footers from opposite sides of the court. LaRochelle capped the surge with a baseline shot.

“Rangeley’s a tough team,” Davis-Oakes said. “They’re very aggressive, but we’re aggressive, too.”

Vinalhaven regained the lead on a putback by Davis-Oakes, which she followed with a nice spin move for a basket that made it 47-44. A steal and layup by Doughty and another hoop from Davis-Oakes enabled the Vikings to pull away.

Haley is Rangeley’s lone senior on an 11-player roster.

“I’m excited (about the future),” Deery said. “I thought it was a huge team effort. We wanted to come down here and compete. Vinalhaven’s the No. 1 team. They’re defending state champs. They beat us twice handily during the regular season.”