Oxford Hills’ Cassidy Dumont brings the ball up court during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game against Bangor. (Brewster Burns photo)
PARIS — Bangor had the opportunity to take the last shot of the first half, but it didn’t happen the way the Rams originally planned.
Oxford Hills sophomore guard Julia Colby stole the ball while Bangor was holding it near midcourt, then made two free throws at the other end. The Rams then had enough time for a desperation runner that missed, and they went into halftime down by 13.
Colby going the other way with a stolen ball was a recurring theme for the Vikings, who used a full-court press to run away with a 69-49 victory in a Class AA North girls’ basketball game Tuesday.
“We focus on what we feel is going to help us per team we play, and we felt like putting a little pressure on the guards against Bangor was going to help us, and it definitely did in this game,” Vikings (4-2) coach Nate Pelletier said. “There are teams where we don’t press at all, but we definitely have the group of girls that can press if we need them to.”
What helped the Vikings was getting out to a fast start. Colby drained a couple early 3-pointers to help put Oxford Hills up 13-4 in the first quarter.
“During warmups I made sure I shot a lot of 3s,” Colby said.
That was all the offense Colby provided in the first quarter, but Maggie Hartnett added all eight of her points and the Vikings led 24-11.
“Any time you can get ahead, you’re able to implement more things, give different kids more reps,” Pelletier said.
The Rams (2-5) chipped away at the deficit, and a drive to the hoop by Rowan Andrews with 3:03 left in the second quarter forced Pelletier to call a timeout with the score 29-20.
“Our biggest problem today was just defensive rebounding,” Pelletier said. “Every time they were scoring it was on a second- or third-chance opportunity, and we just really focused on getting rebounds, defensive rebounds, because it will also help us on the offensive end. Really that’s all the timeout was about. It was, ‘Hey, we got to get on the boards, we got to clean up the glass.'”
Once that was taken care of, the Vikings were able to go back to focusing on their full-court press. Colby stole a pass and went the other way for a layup to make it 36-25 with just more than a minute to go before halftime, then came her pick-pocket of the Rams’ last-shot try.
“I just thought that they couldn’t get the last shot, and we had to get the last shot and not them,” Colby said.
More of the same happened to start the third. A Vikings steal on the Rams’ first possession led to a Maighread Laliberte layup, Colby had a transition layup of her own, and another steal ended with a Cecelia Dieterich layup to make it 48-27 less than three minutes into the second half.
“I thought that sealed the game for us,” Colby said.
The lead grew to 54-34 by the end of the third quarter, and Pelletier said he was happy that there was a healthy margin for the fourth.
“We just knew coming in that if we played this team halfcourt, they battled with a lot of teams, and we didn’t want to get into that situation where it was a six- or eight-point game in the end,” Pelletier said.
Colby led all scorers with 20 points, while Laliberte added 15 and Dieterich and Jadah Adams each had 10 for the Vikings.
Andrews paced the Rams with 13, and Sarah Hollis pitched in with 10.