Collapsing two, three — heck, five — defenders on Andrew Fleming, leaving Cole Verrier wide open and daring him to stabilize those emotions long enough to knock down 3-pointers probably isn’t the craziest strategy in the world.

Didn’t work, though. Verrier buried six from beyond the arc on Tuesday night, five in the second half, to protect the Vikings’ early lead and polish off a 62-53 Class AA North victory.

“Everything was open for me, and my shot was falling,” Verrier said. “They were all over (Fleming).”

Verrier finished with 22 points. Fleming rolled up 16 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and four blocked shots for Oxford Hills (13-4), which solidified No. 3 in the playoff bracket with the win and will face Bangor in the quarterfinals next Thursday, Feb. 11 at Augusta Civic Center.

It’s nothing new for the junior, who was a shooting specialist and role player prior to this season. Verrier scored 20 in wins over Lewiston and Cony and 18 in a triumph at Windham, combining for 10 3-pointers those nights.

“I knew coming down here it was going to take an exceptional effort by somebody, and that was Cole Verrier. Andrew is Andrew,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said.

Oxford Hills hadn’t won at Edward Little (9-8) since 2004 and had never before swept a home-and-home series against the Red Eddies in a single season.

“And we played in the ’60s and ’70s and a little bit in the ’80s,” Graffam said. “For us, emotionally, psychologically, it was a huge win for us.”

The Vikings never trailed. Jake Beauchesne and Fleming scored consecutive baskets to start the game, and Oxford Hills sped to a 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Both teams were short-handed. Oxford Hills was without Fleming’s freshman brother, Matt, due to injury. Perhaps even more signficantly, EL coach Mike Adams issued Samatar Iman a one-game suspension due to a disciplinary issue.

Jarod Norcross Plourde and Tyler Morin led EL with 14 points apiece. Each scored eight in the fourth quarter.

“Our guys battled. Obviously missing a lot of our offense tonight didn’t help us. Guys stepped up. I’m proud of guys stepping into spots and giving huge minutes,” Adams said. “Just too many weapons for Oxford Hills. They had two guys who could really fill it up and get it going.”

With the exception of a 7-0 EL run to start the second period, Oxford Hills played lockdown defense in the first half and for much of the night.

Beauchesne scored to break that skid for the Vikings, and Verrier, in a sign of what was to come, drained his first 3-pointe, then another 18-footer.

Fleming was held to two field goals and six points in the half.

“They switched it up, just to give me a different look,” Fleming said. “Once I see something once, I try to pick apart where the hole is going to be, who’s going to be open and where I might have a lane.”

Darby Shea’s drive to the basket at the horn brought EL within five, 23-18. The Eddies nudged no closer.

After a bizarre play on which CJ Jipson was awarded four free throws for being fouled twice on the same shot — he sank them all —Verrier hit back-to-back 3s and Fleming threw down a dunk to make it 40-26.

Morin made both free throws after Fleming was cited for hanging on the rim, post-jam, but Verrier knocked down another bonus ball for a 15-point lead.

“The Fleming kid is phenomenal, and the Verrier kid shot the crap out of the ball in the second half,” Adams said. “He was incredible.”

EL closed the third period with a 6-0 surge to get it back to single digits — two Morin free throws, a Jipson jumper, and a Grant Hartley layup.

Verrier christened the fourth with his final bomb. Blake Slicer hit another, and Fleming later added an encore dunk for good measure. Oxford Hills shot 64 percent in the second half.

“We played really well defensively,” Graffam said. “Without Samatar, they don’t really have that second scorer, so they were limited that way. When we can put Andrew on Plourde, it’s a difference.”

Beauchesne, who added seven points for Oxford Hills, also kept Plourde under wraps.

Jipson added nine points and Shea eight for the Eddies, who will travel to Mt. Ararat before facing Cheverus in the regional quarterfinals.

“At least it won’t be Oxford Hills,” Adams said with a smile. “We’re just happy to be there.

“We kind of picked and chose what to do (against Fleming). It worked for a couple of minutes, and then their kid hit some big shots. That’s what the good players do.”

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