LEWISTON – The names and faces seem to change, but the defensive intensity looks the same.

One constant for the Oxford Hills’ girls basketball team is its defensive play. It not only is the foundation of its game but its lifeblood. That hasn’t changed with various lineups or new coaches.

“It effects everything,” said senior guard Terry Bunce. “The way we play on defense, starts our offense. If we play bad defense, we’re guaranteed to play bad offense.”

The Vikings averaged just 45 points against last year and are well under that number this year after beating Lewiston Friday night 56-11. Oxford Hills (3-0) is averaging just 27 points against.

“We have some really fast players,” said junior guard Teira Durgin. “We know how to get people to turn. We’ve worked on it for like forever.”

The Vikings’ seasoned defensive attack feasted on a young Lewiston squad that has a backcourt built around freshmen and sophomores. Though Oxford Hills struggled to get its shots to fall early against the Blue Devils, the Vikings’ defense still took Lewiston (0-3) out of the game.

“Our defense can bail us out if we’re having a bad offensive night,” said Bunce, who led the Vikings with 16 points.

Lewiston turned the ball over on its first 10 possessions and finished with 18 in the first quarter. Though the Vikings missed its first eight shots, the defense bought time for the offense to start clicking. Lewiston didn’t get its first shot until 4:28 remained in the quarter and didn’t score until 4:25 was left.

“They just go out and work hard,” said Lewiston coach Brian Laramee, who has seen the same characteristics with the Vikings since was an assistant with the Gardiner program a few years ago. “Watching all three of their games, all their players play hard. They’re all over the floor and all over the boards. They hustle after loose balls. It’s definitely a program to emulate for us.”

Second-year Vikings coach Nate Pelletier has a balanced and athletic group. Bunce, Durgin, Kari Pelletier and Lauren Brett make for a formidable group in the backcourt while starters Katie Martin and Kyla Martin are excellent defenders in the post.

“We have three or four really quick guards that understand how to face guard,” said Pelletier. “Sometimes you can have guards that don’t get that concept. They can get right in front and face guard. It’s great when you have that opportunity, and I have a couple on the bench that are learning too.”

The Vikings got plenty of work out of its bench Friday. Megan Joyce provided 10 points while Melanie Cloutier and Durgin each had eight as the Vikings also maintained its defensive grip on the Blue Devils.

Lewiston got two points each from Liz Obie, Amie Daniels, Kristen D’Eramo and Ashlee Labonte.

“We’re a young team and we make young mistakes,” said Laramee. “What I liked about this game is that in the second half we didn’t stop playing. It didn’t translate on the scoreboard, but we worked real hard.”


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