Boys’ basketball: Vikings’ defense, free throws close out Devils

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Or a bounce. Or a technical foul. Like the one that transformed a three-point lead to seven with 49 seconds remaining Tuesday night and launched Oxford Hills to a 62-51 victory over Lewiston.

“Patrick Macro got the defensive rebound that led to the whole donnybrook,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam. “That was a huge rebound for us. I’m very proud of how well we played as a team. That was a big win.”

In the ensuing action near halfcourt after Macro latched onto the second missed free throw by Quintarian Brown, Tykeem Gaines committed his fifth foul while battling Tyus Ripley for possession.

The technical was assessed for something said as Gaines walked away from the scene. With the Vikings (4-2) in the double bonus, Ripley drained all four free throws for a 58-51 lead.

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Blake Slicer also went 4-for-4 from the stripe in the final minute for Oxford Hills, which shot 17-for-18 on the evening.

“We’ve got to keep it together in the end,” Lewiston coach Tim Farrar said. “There’s going to be a lot more emotional games where you feel like there’s a razor’s edge difference, and you’ve got to be able to stay together. I think we will. I think we’ll figure it out.”

Ripley racked up 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Vikings. Slicer and Fleming each added 12 points, with Fleming adding 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots — one, a highlight-film denial of 6-foot-10 Trever Irish.

Slicer’s two free throws with 3:46 remaining put Oxford Hills ahead to stay after Lewiston erased a 14-point deficit to lead 43-42 at the end of the third period.

“We thought we could come back. Maybe we did it too soon,” Farrar quipped. “They made plays, too. That’s what it was.”

Isaiah Harris led Lewiston with 17 points. Gaines scored 10 of his 12 in the second half. Brown notched nine points and six rebounds, while Irish combined nine points with nine boards and three blocks.

Ripley scored 11 in the first half, when Lewiston (4-2) limited Fleming to a single field goal.

Jake Yates furnished six points off the bench in the first half, and Cole Verrier provided the exclamation point with a 3-pointer from Ripley for a 32-20 halftime advantage.

Ripley found Fleming slashing to the middle for an open jumper on the Vikings’ opening possession of the second half, and the 6-foot-6 junior found his offensive rhythm just as the Devils discovered theirs.

“In the beginning I was kind of forcing. I was taking shots that weren’t really needed,” Fleming said. “In the second half, I wasn’t really trying to shoot. I was just passing and just trying to get the team involved. Those shots were just there at the moment, so I took them.”

Gaines and Harris did all the damage during an ensuing 9-0 surge by the Devils.

Fleming threaded the needle to Ripley on a backdoor cut for two, and Jake Beauchesne scored his lone bucket of the night to restore a nine-point lead.

Brown’s 3-pointer and Gaines’ 3-point play, begun by Ryan Bell’s steal, highlighted a 14-2 Lewiston push. Irish beat the third-quarter buzzer with a putback to give the Devils the lead.

“I told them at halftime they were going to come after us,” Graffam said. “I was hoping it was going to take a quarter-and-a-half.”

Oxford Hills held Lewiston to 1-for-11 shooting in the fourth. The Devils also missed five free throws down the stretch.

Twice, Ripley sliced to the basket behind the Lewiston defense and cashed in passes from Fleming after the Devils narrowed the Vikings’ cushion to one on the previous possession.

“It opened up when he was hitting jump shots, because they were all collapsing on him,” Ripley said of Fleming.

Both Oxford Hills losses were by a single point to Edward Little and Brunswick.

“At the end of the game, these guys (Ripley and Fleming) showed what they’re worth and what we’re about,” Graffam said.

koakes@sunjournal.com

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