Oxford Hills’ Cassidy Dumont goes up for a layup as Lewiston’s Arbay Aden applies defensive pressure during a girls basketball game in Paris in January. Brewster Burns photo

Cassidy Dumont called her jumper her freshman year “horrendous.” 

After a summer of working on her shot and her game as a whole, Dumont found herself being an intricate part of the Vikings’ Class AA state championship team last year. 

This year, Dumont averaged 12.9 points per game, third in AA North behind her teammate Julia Colby (17.4) and Windham’s Hannah Talon (15.9). The Oxford Hills junior also trails just Colby in 3-pointers per game in AA North (Colby 2.1, Dumont 1.8). 

It’s safe to say her shot is no longer considered horrendous. Her continuous work in the gym has put her on the radar of every coach that Oxford Hills comes in contact with. 

“There’s been a lot more talk between players and coaches about making sure I am covered and it’s kind of an eye-opener because I have always been an under-the-radar player,” Dumont said. “To get that recognition, it makes me feel like I’ve been doing my job.”

The Vikings are preparing for a showdown with South Portland in the Class AA state title game on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena, the same place the Vikings beat Scarborough a year ago for the AA title. 

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Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier said Dumont’s shooting this season has been because of her tremendous work in the offseason. 

“What’s really been impressive with Cassidy is that every year there’s been progression,” Pelletier said. “She’s just gotten better at certain things. As a coach you can say, ‘Hey, this summer you need to get better at this.’ Then, after summer she comes back and has gotten better at that. The big push this year was you need to get better at 3-point shooting and it’s been outstanding this year for us. She’s been very coachable.”

Adding a third lethal weapon to the already-dangerous combination of Colby and Cecelia Dieterich, both Ms. Maine Basketball semifinalists with Colby being named one of three finalists for the award, has made the Vikings’ offense flow that much easier. 

The Vikings like to run. A lot. Their pace of play is what they’re focused on the most on offense, trying to get the ball out in transition and scoring quickly, usually turning great defense into better offense. Oxford Hills starts three point guards, essentially, but the offense revolves around whoever is open for the outlet pass. 

“We are such a fast-paced team, it’s been really beneficial,” Pelletier said. “We can outlet it to any one of our players and get going pretty fast… It’s great to have the ability to move kids around.”

In the half-court, teams have to pick their poison. All three guards can shoot, and the emergence of Dumont over the last two seasons has opened the floor for her senior teammates. 

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“Last game we saw she was being face-guarded,” Dieterich said. “In many ways, to have multiple players being face-guarded it helps out our team because it gets to a point that they can’t face-guard everyone.”

Pelletier has tried to capitalize on the ways Dumont helps the offense. 

“She could obviously be a starting point guard on any team in the state, we just happen to have three of them, so as a coach it is a great feeling,” Pelletier said. “Obviously, she takes a lot of pressure off of Julia and Cecelia. They have to pick and choose who they have to guard on any given night, which makes it less stressful on each of them.”

Dumont is obviously a year behind Colby and Dieterich, but has grown up playing with, and against, her teammates her whole life. The chemistry they have on the court, and off as friends, has translated to nothing but success. 

“They’ve been crazy-helpful,” Dumont said. “Most teams don’t have three players to guard us and we are so interchangeable that any night anyone could be the high scorer or the star player in that game, and we all know that it might not always be me or Cecelia or Julia, it could be one of the three of us. It keeps them on their toes.”

Creating good looks at the basket off of the team’s defense has been Oxford Hills’ M.O. all season, with Dumont averaging a couple assists a game and also getting to the hoop and drawing fouls. The junior leads her team in free-throw percentage at 84%, third-best in AA North. 

“Defense is always top,” Dumont said. “We need to make sure we play the best defense as we can, but also making sure we get teammates open. When our offense is closed off then it’s so much harder to score and we need points to score to win because we like to run, and if we aren’t getting the tempo we want then it’s so much harder for us to score.”

Dumont will be the leader in a lot of categories next season when the Vikings’ seniors graduate, and she knows it, but right now all of her and her team’s focus is on South Portland. 

“I try not to think about it because I want to keep myself in the moment because we obviously have one more game left, but I think I’ll take it in stride and try to help our younger teammates as much as possible,” Dumont said. “I think I’ve learned how to keep my cool and not let as many things bother me. It’s not always going to come easy and you have to actually want it more than your opponent because no matter who you play they’re always going to give you a fight in the playoffs.”


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