Oxford Hills’ Teigan Pelletier shoots the game-winning shot that beat Edward Little in the Class AA North championship Saturday in Portland. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Oxford Hills sophomore Teigan Pelletier thrives with the ball in his hands and the game, and sometimes the season, on the line.

In the second-to-last game of the regular season, Pelletier made a layup with about 15 seconds left in overtime to give the Vikings the lead and, eventually, a 41-40 win over Bangor.

Eight days later, Oxford Hills faced a similar situation: Trailing Bangor with five seconds left in the game, this time in the Class AA North quarterfinals. In front of the home crowd, Pelletier drilled a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining to advance the second-seeded Vikings to the semifinals with a 43-42 victory.

In last Saturday’s AA North final, Oxford Hills trailed top-seeded Edward Little by a point in overtime. With seven seconds left, Tanner Bickford grabbed a rebound and threw an outlet pass to Pelletier, who drove down the right side and hit a pull-up jumper to give Oxford Hills a 48-47 overtime win.

“I really like taking the last shot, just the rush of it,” Pelletier said. “I feel like, ‘Who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t like to take the last shot of a playoff game?’ So I love it.”

Now, thanks to Pelletier’s clutch shots, the Vikings (18-3) are now preparing for the Class AA state championship game against South Portland (20-1).


Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said Pelletier, who has been averaging around 17 points and pulling down seven rebounds per game, needed some convincing before he started taking over on offensive.

“We told him every day that he needed to score, there wasn’t a light bulb that came on,” Graffam said. “We told him every day. We knew he could. Think about him, he’s coming into the basketball season and he’s a basketball nut, but he has arguably the best quarterback in the state (Eli Soehren) on his team. He’s got Isaiah Oufiero, who is a defensive basketball and football stud. And we have a 6-10 kid (Colby Dillingham), and also Cole Pulkkinen, so he’s looking around and saying, ‘I’ve got awesome talent on this team.’

“He had to figure out if he was going to be the guy or not, but I knew he was.”

Pelletier said that he decided that he needed to shoot more during Oxford Hills’ most recent loss, to Portland on Jan. 14.

“In the second half of the Portland game, I realized I needed to shoot more, and it didn’t matter if I missed because you can always hit the next one. It’s about having higher confidence,” Pelletier said.

The Vikings have since reeled off 11 consecutive wins.


Graffam said the biggest change he’s noticed in Pelletier is an increase in confidence. Pelletier attributes some of that to teammates encouraging him to take shots, even after he’s missed a few.

“Isaiah, he’s probably one of the greatest influences because he’s always in my ear saying, ‘Shoot more, keep your head up, we need you to shoot,’” Pelletier said. “He’s right in my ear giving me good advice.”

That confidence showed in Saturday’s regional final. Pelletier had a chance to win the game in regulation, but he missed a jumper.

That miss didn’t deter him in overtime. In fact, Pelletier said his success at the end of close games comes from not over-thinking.

“I really think it’s because I’m not really thinking of anything,” Pelletier said. “Instincts take over. When I think about stuff, it never goes well. When you catch a wide-open pass and sit there a little longer than you should, you always miss it. In those instances, you just take the shot and don’t think about it, and it usually works out.”

Following the regional final win over Edward Little, Pelletier said he “saw red” when he took the game-winner. He had little time to think, as Bickford’s outlet pass found him with about six seconds left and the Vikings down by a point.


In the playoff game against Bangor, Pelletier didn’t take long to think before he took the shot. The play was designed to go to Dillingham in the post but only if Pelletier was covered. Since he was open, he took the 3-pointer. 

“Teigan caught the ball, didn’t even hesitate, and that’s when he’s at his best, when he doesn’t have to think about it,” Graffam said. “He hit that 3 to win the game.”

“It was pure joy,” Pelletier said. “We were down six with very little time left, then we came back and won. The crowd was awesome. It was pure joy, basically.”


Graffam is Pelletier’s coach now, but Pelletier grew up learning from a different high school coach, his father, Nate Pelletier, who has led the Oxford Hills girls team to two state championships.

Teigan describes he and his dad as “stubborn” and “basically the same exact person.” Graffam is friends with Nate Pelletier and has watched Teigan grow up.


“They’re oil and water,” Graffam said of the Pelletiers. “I golf with them, and Nate is a really good golfer and Teigan is going to be a really good golfer. We were playing this summer, and Nate gives Teigan some advice and he takes it really well. I’m in the cart and I’m going, ‘So, Teigan, when your father gives you golf advice you can take it, but when he tells you your shot is too flat, or you need to follow through on your shot, you have a meltdown? He’s won two state titles and you can’t take it in basketball, but you can in golf?’”

The two Pelletiers do get along, but sometimes Teigan doesn’t take his dad’s coaching tips in stride. 

“When you get a teenager, they feel like everything you say is wrong,” Nate Pelletier said. “I would say that was more a year and a half to two years ago. We’re much better now. He’s learned to take advice from me, and I’ve learned when to give it.

“It’s a give-and-take. I’ve really enjoyed just being his dad this year. It’s one of those things where it’s hard to put your coaching hat to the side, but this year it’s been about, ‘Let me be a dad.’ He’s definitely asked me for help this year. He’s still got a long way to go but he’s had a great year.”

Nate Pelletier said that Oxford Hills Athletic Director Kevin Ryan was able to move the girls basketball games around enough that Nate could coach the girls team, which includes his daughter, Ella, and still watch 85% of the boys team and just “be a dad.”

“I think he said in an article that Ella takes the brunt of the coaching hat, but I get a lot of the dad hat and stuff like that,” Teigan Pelletier said. “He’s really good at taking the coaching hat off and being the dad. He’s also good at giving us pointers because he’s a great coach.”

Now Teigan is hoping to add a third state championship to the family’s tally. He and the Vikings are excited to play in the boys program’s second state title game — the first was in 1990, when Oxford Hills fell to Lawrence in the Class A championship — and, for Pelletier and a few other players, their second title game this school year.

“We’re on cloud nine right now,” Graffam said. “Most of these guys got to that championship game in football, and they’ve got a bunch of basketball players around them, so Oxford Hills is pretty excited right now.”

“We’re all absolutely ecstatic,” Teigan Pelletier added. “It’s an eye-opener. It’s pretty cool.”

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