Oxford Hills’ Cassidy Dumont (3) dribbles upcourt against Lewiston defenders Ellie Legare and Lauren Foster, right, during a game in Paris in February. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

A handful of key players from last year’s Oxford Hills girls basketball team ended their careers holding a second consecutive gold ball. Cassidy Dumont, though, wasn’t done. Instead, she was handed the keys and was left to answer the question of how much gas was left in the Vikings’ championship-caliber tank.

The answer was plenty, and Dumont proved that she knew how to drive the program forward.

The Vikings didn’t have a chance to win a third straight Class AA state title, since the abbreviated season was bereft of a state tournament, but they nonetheless flexed their muscles and their bona fides by going undefeated and rarely being challenged.

The carryover of Dumont from those title teams to this year’s turned-over roster was key to the continued success this season.

“She’s always been a key piece to both the state championship teams. But, obviously, when you lose the talent that we lost last year, with that many seniors, she’s now in a role where she’s going to have to step up and create some more points for us,” Vikings coach Nate Pelletier said. “… Which, she’s been the second-leading scorer the last two years for me. So I didn’t think that was going to be the hard piece — for her, (the question) was going to be, now she’s drawing every team’s best defender, and how is she going to react to that? Unfortunately with this season, we got what we could get out of it, but she did an amazing job and was a big reason why we were able to go undefeated.”

Dumont helped fill the shoes of both Julia Colby, last year’s Miss Maine Basketball, and Cecelia Dieterich, who was a Miss Maine Basketball semifinalist. Dumont was a semifinalist herself this season.

Dumont wasn’t able to bring the Vikings another title before her career came to a close, but she does keep Oxford Hills’ streak of Sun Journal All-Region Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors alive, following Colby’s consecutive awards by earning the recognition this year.

“There was definitely some pressure to try and fill Julia and Cecelia’s shoes. But I feel as the season went on and we were playing well as a team, a lot of that weight was lifted from my shoulders,” Dumont said. “I’ve always been really hard on myself when it comes to sports. And this year was no different. I pushed myself to play great so people would still take our team seriously, even if we lost four of our starters from the state championship teams.”

Pelletier said Dumont has been a varsity player since her freshman year, and after every season she would ask him what she needed to do to improve her game.

“I’d specifically tell her you need to do this, this and this, and every year she’d come back and those points that I talked to her about were always, like, huge improvements,” Pelletier said. “And you don’t always see that in a kid because it’s tough to really improve your game outside of the season when you’re sort of just working by yourself.”

Dumont couldn’t keep the Vikings’ winning ways going by herself, but Pelletier said this year’s team needed “more of what she does.”

“And it was easy, sometimes, over the last couple years, to just sort of be out there with Jules and Cecelia and let them sort of do some work, but we always knew the whole time that Cassidy could do pretty much everything that they could do,” he added.

Dumont became the team’s leading scorer this year, averaging 16.5 points per game, and made 37 shots from behind the 3-point line. Pelletier said she shot around 80% from the free-throw line for her career.

She did seemingly everything else, too.

Cassidy Dumont was team captain and starting point guard for the Oxford Hills girls basketball team. There was no postseason in 2021, but she helped lead the Vikings to an undefeated season. Brewster Burns photo

“I try to be the player that does whatever a team needs me to do to be successful,” Dumont said. “If that means I’m only in to play defense, that’s what I’ll do. If I need to step up and be the main scorer, I’ll work hard to do that, too. I hate losing, so I’ll do whatever it takes to put my team in a position to win games.”

There were numerous wins during Dumont’s career, and Pelletier said it was hard to single out and certain one, or any special moments, because Dumont always seemed to make a key shot. He said the coaches “sort of become immune to it” because she always made the big play in the big moment.

The final thing Dumont had left to accomplish this year was to finally beat Class A powerhouse Greely, something the Vikings hadn’t done during their two-year title run. They had come close both years during the regular season. This season, they won in dominant fashion, beating the rangers 58-35.

“Everybody was fired up and I was so proud of how the team played,” Dumont said. “I think it was the most complete game we played the whole season.”

Pelletier agrees that the Greely win stood out.

“We really wanted to get over that hump, and Cassidy was one of the leaders in that game and came ready to play,” he said.

Pelletier praised Dumont and fellow seniors Ella Kellogg and Viktoria Sugars for showing up every day to practice ready to work their butts off, knowing that there wouldn’t be a championship to chase.

Dumont said doing that was easy.

“My motivation was my teammates,” she said. “I wanted to play good for them so that I could push them and make them better for next year when they can hopefully have playoffs and win another gold ball.”

Dumont, meanwhile, will be moving on to Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, where she will continue her basketball career while studying chemical engineering.

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