PARIS — Oxford Hills’ defense possessed the energy of an old-fashion Nor’easter blowing in from the Gulf of Maine.

Besides the Vikings’ in-your-face defense, there was their passing, speed and key outside shots that fell like the snow from the past winter storm. Oxford Hills maintained its breath-taking intensity for most of Thursday’s girls basketball game and sailed away with a 57-38 victory over the befuddled Bangor Rams.

“We’ve prided ourselves on defense the last couple of years,” Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier said, “and this year it seems like we stepped it up another notch. The girls have really bought into playing hard and the rotations we are doing.

“It is more or less, ‘Let’s just make some chaos out there and see if we can play faster than you,’ and right now we have been able to do that. Everything we do in practice is, after steals, we are going on fast breaks. The kids need to recognize you need to score off those.”

The Vikings’ defense owned the first half, triggering 11 Bangor turnovers as they constructed a 34-14 halftime lead.

Junior Cassidy Dumont was devastating from the perimeter, dropping in four 3-pointers and scoring a team-high 14 points. Fellow senior Julia Colby contributed 13 points and senior Jade Smedberg helped with 10. Colby and Smedberg each knocked down one of Oxford Hills’ six 3-pointers.

“Cassidy really shot the ball well tonight,” Pelletier said. “Everyday, we seem to have somebody else step up and create some baskets for us. That’s what we are looking for.”

Equally impressive is the way the Vikings (7-0) stood up to Bangor’s formidable height advantage. 

“The one thing I really liked was that Bangor brought some size to us, and we haven’t seen that before this year,” Pelletier said. “Jade stepped up, battled inside. …We were able to box out and rebound.”

Smedberg, who confessed she was apprehensive going against the Rams’ tall players, handled them with poise.

“I just focused on rebounding and knowing I had to defend their post because they are strong players,” Smedberg said. “We worked on that in practice and it was really helpful.

“I haven’t had a great season so far, so it was nice to finally make some shots and work together with my team and have a good win. We pressed well and worked together and we all rebounded, which help me … get the ball easier.”

In the second half, the Vikings experienced a bit of a lull as the Rams (4-2) finally found a way to work around Oxford Hills’ defense and score some points.

Junior guard Abby Flemming was tough underneath and scored the game-high 16 points and Abbie Quinn turned in a 13-point performance for the Rams.

Bangor coach Jay Kimble said the Rams haven’t seen that type of pressure from a defense this season.

“Those are adjustments you make as we go through the season,” Kimble said. “We knew at some point that they were going to turn up the heat, and, you know, we learned from it. In the second half, when the pressure was put on, we had seen it before, and we able to handle it a little bit better. As far as a team atmosphere and being confident, the Vikings are really good.

“I thought our kids had grit, you know, in the second half, and in the fourth quarter, we got (the deficit) down to 14. I think we outscored them in the second half. They are a good club. There is no doubt about it.”


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