Oxford Hills’ Cecelia Dieterich looks to get a shot off over Deering’s Victoria Garand and Elizabeth Drelich, back, during their game in Paris on Thursday. (Brewster Burns photo)

PARIS — Deering proved to be a tough eighth seed, but Oxford Hills is a deep one-seed, and that made the difference in the Vikings’ 55-40 win over the Rams in the Class AA North girls’ basketball quarterfinals Thursday night.

“That game for us, as coaches, was tough,” Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier said, “because Deering, to me, isn’t a typical eight-seed. They’re a very good team.”

The Rams hung with Oxford Hills for most of the first half, forcing the Vikings to settle for running one-handed jumpers while making enough shots on offense to trail 18-16 with about a minute-and-a-half left in the second quarter.

The entire game, though, turned over the next 90 seconds.

Brooke Carson made a long jumper, and then Cecelia Dieterich stole the ball and scored an easy layup.

Maggie Hartnett made a 3-pointer, then Dieterich stole the ball and scored an easy layup.

Suddenly, the Vikings’ two-point lead had ballooned to 27-16 at halftime.

Dieterich, Hartnett and Carson are all sophomores, and that 9-0 run was made with two of the team’s top players, Julia Colby and Jadah Adams, on the bench.

“We were in a situation where we just wanted to get to the half, and we had some kids step up defensively and hit some shots,” Pelletier said. “It was huge for us to go into half up 11.”

Deering’s Delaney Haines, Class AA North’s top scorer, opened the second half with five straight points, including one of her four 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 27-21, but then the Vikings went on a 10-0 run.

Colby drove coast-to-coast for a layup, Hartnett drained a 3, and then, once again, Dieterich stole the ball and scored an easy layup.

“My steals weren’t necessarily all me because they were tips that my teammates had, and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Dieterich said. “I got a lot of help from other people.”

Dieterich finished with a team-high 13 points to go along with her several steals.

Even before she was intercepting passes, Dieterich was aggressive from the tip, which Pelletier said went along with the Vikings’ game plan to maintain a fast tempo.

“We’ve been working really hard to get her to play like this,” Pelletier said. “She is one the most dynamic players we have, and she showed it tonight. If she can just keep that up throughout the tournament, it’s going to be awesome for us.”

Oxford Hills’ lead was up to 37-21 after the 10-0 run. Deering recovered and brought the gap back down to 11 points by the end of the third, but the closest the Rams got in the fourth was eight points.

“There was two minutes at the end of the half and couple minutes in the third quarter (that were) a big difference in the game, where we turned it over and they converted,” Deering coach Michael Murphy said. “Against a good team, you have to play all 32 minutes — we played 27, 28.”

Haines finished with 18 points, and Victoria Garant was was a force in the post with 13 points.

The Rams (7-12) have no seniors on the roster, and with every player back, they should have a much higher seed next February.

Oxford Hills (16-3) has only two seniors, Maighread Laliberte and Emmy Corbett. They left their final game on their home court to a standing ovation with 45 seconds left.

Hartnett hit four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.

“Maggie is a sophomore and still learning the game, but, man, can she shoot,” Pelletier said.

Colby and Laliberte each contributed nine points for Oxford Hills.

The Vikings next face Cheverus (12-7) in an AA North semifinal Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The No. 4 Stags defeated No. 5 Windham 56-60 in overtime Thursday.

Pelletier said one of his assistant coaches had a message for the team in the locker room after Thursday’s game.

“Coach said in there, ‘It’s not going to get any easier, you’re in the playoffs, you’re playing more and more difficult teams as you go,’” Pelletier said.

Oxford Hills junior Jadah Adams, right, celebrates with teammate Emily Corbett after the Vikings defeated Deering in Paris on Thursday. (Brewster Burns photo)Oxford Hills senior Maighread Laliberte goes up and over Deering’s Aviyonna Kim during their game in Paris on Thursday. (Brewster Burns photo)


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