PARIS — Oxford Hills senior Hayden Paine played the role of the Vikings’ inside man against 3-point shooting Gray-New Gloucester in a basketball finale on Saturday afternoon.

Paine turned in a stellar, team-high 19-point performance inside the key, helping Oxford Hills close out the Patriots with a 67-59 win and finish the season on a high note.

“We knew coming into the game that we had a size advantage to them,” Paine said. “We knew they were going to come out with a small lineup because they are a great 3-point shooting team.

“I know that if we are able to shoot 3s and they come off the front rim, we are able to get the rebound. I know they were lookin’ to me in the first and second half, and once the double team started coming, we can get the ball back out.”

The Vikings did and also laid down a barrage of eight 3-pointers, with freshman Teigan Pelletier dropping in four of them and scoring a total of 14 points.

“It was just a great season,” Paine said. “I want to thank all my teammates, coaches and all four seniors — Cyrus Hooker, Keegan Watson, Ty LeBlond and myself — because this is their last game. I appreciate everybody else.”

The Vikings were unstoppable in the first half that amounted into a 38-26 halftime lead.

“Offensively, we ran the ball,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said. “We were really good in transition. That’s what we have been trying to do all year. Fortunately today, we got the ball up and down. We were disappointed with our ability to stop them from shooting 3s, but that is a good shooting team. We played well enough to win. That was good. 

“Gray is a good team. They are all young. I thought we did a decent job on their best scorers in the second half, but other kids stepped up. At halftime, they had two kids have 23 of their 26 points. So we wanted to make sure those kids didn’t hurt us in the second half.”

Oxford Hills quickly carved out a 20-7 first-quarter lead thanks to a key six-point run. There was a lull in the third quarter, but the Vikings’ damage was tough to overcome in the fourth quarter for the Patriots.

“We kind of played sloppy, but I feel like at the end, we stayed together as a team and played well,” Watson said. “They did  pretty good — rebounded, played good defense when it mattered. I really had fun this season and I am glad I could be apart of it.”

Gray-New Gloucester’s perimeter shooting could be devastating at times. The Patriots deposited 10 3-pointers, with junior guard Anthony Prescott (11 points) knocking down three of them. Senior guard Wyatt Kenney piled up the game-high 23 points.

“We battled back,” G-NG coach Ryan Deschenes said. “Oxford always plays extremely physical … and they have a lot of talent this year, too. We knew that coming in. We knew we had to play our best game of the year. We responded and matched their intensity. We made it a game. We chipped away, so I am really proud of them. Ten games in three weeks. We are really proud that we got something out of it this year.”


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