FARMINGTON — Oxford Hills girls’ basketball team has been working hard on defensive skills and techniques heading into the final days of the regular season. Saturday the Vikings hard work paid off in a 39-30 win over a red-hot Mt. Blue.

Oxford Hills (13-3) held Mt. Blue (7-8) to just five baskets and a single missed free throw in a decisive second half. The Vikings’ win also ended the Cougars five-game win streak while extending their own to eight.

“Defensively we did well, today,” Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier said. “We really focused on guarding (Eryn) Doiron and (Caitlyn) Kane, Mt. Blue’s top scorers, in practice this past week.”

The end result was Kane finished with nine points, all in the first half, and Doiron scored seven.

“We did struggle at times,” Pelletier said. “But we did play defense when we needed it.”

Both teams waltzed through the first half using a patient passing game while looking to the inside for cutters coming off screens. The lead changed hands ten times, finally settling at 17-17 at halftime.

“We worked hard on the defensive end,” Mt. Blue coach Gavin Kane said. “I really liked the way we played the zone. At times I think we had them frustrated.”

Oxford Hills’ defense proved extremely effective in the third quarter when Mt. Blue went five minutes and 33 seconds without scoring. Cougar Emilee Eustis drained a 3-point shot at 6:55 to give Mt. Blue a 20-19 lead. Mt. Blue would not score again until Doiron’s 3-pointer at 1:22.

Fortunately for Mt. Blue, the Vikings were finding it difficult to score as well. Erin Morton’s 3-pointer gave Oxford Hills a 29-23 advantage at the end of three quarters.

“We had a few opportunities,” Kane said. “We just couldn’t seem to knock down a shot.”

Slowly the Vikings built their largest lead of the game 35-26, off a pair of baskets by Jadah Adams and two free throws from Tianna Sugars (game-high 14 points) with 2:32 left in the game.

“Sugars did an exceptional job on the boards, tonight,” Pelletier said. “A number of times her rebounding limited Mt. Blue to a single shot on offense.”

Oxford Hills’ Jayden Colby (11 points) cashed in at the free throw line, hitting four straight in the final minute to help the Vikings secure the win.

Colby finished the game connecting on 7 of 8 from the free throw line, while Oxford Hills was 12 of 21. Mt. Blue took just three free throws in the game, making two.

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