PORTLAND — A big run in the second quarter and a relentless attack in the third boosted Oxford Hills to its second consecutive Class AA girls basketball state championship with a 49-38 win over South Portland on Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Julia Colby led the Vikings with 22 points, Cecelia Dieterich added 11 and Cassidy Dumont finished with 10.

The Vikings (21-1) started four seniors this season, and another, Brooke Carson, was the first player off the bench.

“We’ve been working for this since fifth grade, and it’s so special,” Carson said. “It’s the best feeling.”

The second state title is especially sweet for Colby and her fellow seniors, Dieterich, Carson, Maggie Harnett, Jade Smedberg and Madison Day.

“It means a lot, especially because this is the last game I am playing with them,” Colby said. “This one feels 10 times better than last year’s win.”


Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier applauded the teamwork on both sides of the ball that helped earn the Vikings the title. On Saturday, the Vikings proved the benefit of the chemistry the veterans have developed.

“When you go back-to-back, it puts you in the record books,” Pelletier said. “There aren’t many teams that have done that. This team, I just love this team and I am going to miss these seniors.” 

Oxford Hills ended the second quarter with a 10-3 run — the offense coming from a Colby layup on a backdoor cut, 3-pointers from Dieterich and Maggie Hartnett and a pair of free throws by Dumont — to take a 27-24 lead into halftime.

Oxford Hills started the third quarter with an aggressive press defense. Possession after possession, the Vikings trapped South Portland (18-4) star Maggie Whitmore in the backcourt, which often led to turnovers.

“What you saw today was what we did all year: Press, press, press,” Pelletier said. “… At the end of the day, I thought the 32 minutes of press really wore them down and I thought we were able to build a bit of a lead in the fourth quarter, and that’s really where we belong. If we have a lead in the fourth then it’s hard to beat us.”

Colby hit a layup and a 3-pointer to start the scoring for the Vikings in the third. Dieterich followed with another trey. By the end of the quarter, Oxford Hills’ lead was 40-33.


Colby ended her accolade-heavy career with a massive performance on offense and defense. 

“She’s a gamer,” Pelletier said. “That’s what she’s done her whole career, it’s a great way for her to go out, two-time state champion, and she is the best player in the state of Maine, if you ask me.”

The Vikings’ pace wore down South Portland, which didn’t consistently get much going on offense in the second half. Whitmore scored 10 points in the first quarter, but Oxford Hills, using several defenders, limited her to six points over the final three periods.

“You’re not going to stop Maggie, she’s a great player,” Pelletier said. “Overall, it was switching players on her and trying to mix it up. When you get comfortable with someone guarding you, you figure things out. It was a team effort to guard her, and I thought our press slowed them down and they couldn’t get fast breaks.”

South Portland coach Lynne Hasson knew that the press of Oxford Hills wore down Whitmore, who like Colby is a Miss Maine Basketball finalist.

“Maggie is a tremendous player, but obviously they know that if you take Maggie out of the game then we are a different team,” Hasson said. “Certainly we have other good players other than Maggie and have a solid starting five, but things run through your best player. So I think Maggie played her heart out but played every minute of the game and she was exhausted.”


An important part of the Vikings’ defense was Carson, who came off the bench and grabbed rebounds, boxed out Red Riots forwards Kaleisha Towle and Hylah Owen (10 and three points, respectively), and brought energy on the defensive end to help wear down South Portland.

“I always try to go a million miles per hour and cause as much trouble for them as I can,” Carson said. “That’s also what we do as a team, we always try to go as fast as we can, and teams try to match our energy but they can never maintain it. That’s really our secret. We could tell they got a little bit fatigued. The wheels stopped turning for them.”

“Brooke is the best sixth man in the league,” Pelletier added. “She gives 1,000 percent. She’s not very big but she will box you out, she will battle and we wouldn’t have won without her.”

Colby also scored 10 in the first quarter and notched two steals to open the game. The Vikings trailed 17-15 after a period, but they seized a bit of momentum when Dieterich drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

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