Oxford Hills’ Teigan Pelletier launches the jump shot that beat Edward Little in the Class AA North championship game on Feb. 26 in Portland. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

In a basketball season dominated by Maine players on the wish lists of some of the nation’s top college programs, Teigan Pelletier briefly stole the spotlight with his heroics at the end of the Class AA North final on Feb. 26 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

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

Pelletier, then a sophomore, and second-seeded Oxford Hills went to overtime with top-seeded Edward Little when Pelletier missed a shot at the end of regulation.

That was only a speed bump.

With 7.5 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Vikings trailing 47-46, Oxford Hills’ Tanner Bickford rebounded a missed free throw and threw a pass to Pelletier, who caught the ball about two-thirds of the court away from the basket.

Pelletier quickly dribbled up the right side of the court. He cut toward the middle, and toward the hoop, but was picked up by an Edward Little defender at the 3-point line and had to change his direction, again to the right. Pelletier bumped into the defender to create space, then planted both feet, jumped and squared up his body toward the hoop in mid-air before releasing a fall-away jumper that deflected off the back of the rim and into the net, putting the Vikings up 48-47.


“Tanner (Bickford) gave me the ball, and in my head I said, ‘I’m going to shoot this.’ That’s really all it was,” Pelletier said.

The buzzer sounded, and Pelletier bounced off teammate Cole Pulkkinen and then evaded the grasp of Bickford as he ran down the court. From behind, Eli Soehren wrapped his arms around Pelletier near half-court but couldn’t take him down until about the free throw line. A swarm of green jerseys joined the dogpile.

Technically, the game wasn’t over. Pelletier’s shot went in the net with 1.2 seconds remaining, and the Red Eddies quickly called a timeout, which then gave them the ball under the Oxford Hills basket with four-tenths of a second left. Their inbounds pass hit the scoreboard, and moments later the game was over. The Vikings were region champions and were going to the state championship game for the first time since 1990.

The clutch shot was Pelletier’s third in less than three weeks. But before he became Mr. Clutch, he had to step up and be The Man.

Pelletier was undoubtedly the Vikings’ best basketball player in 2021-22. But he was, as Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam pointed out, playing on a team full of good players and accomplished athletes: Soehren, one of the top quarterbacks in the state (his top receiver was Pelletier); Isaiah Oufiero, a great defender, a great football player and a great leader; Colby Dillingham, a 6-foot-10 and skilled post; and Pulkkinen, a sharp-shooting point guard.

So it was easy for Pelletier, especially as a sophomore, to be selective about the shots he took, despite the Vikings coaches urging him otherwise.


Pelletier, the son of Oxford Hills’ two-time state championship-winning girls basketball coach Nate Pelletier, said that in mid-January he realized he needed to be a more aggressive offensive player. Oxford Hills then won 11 consecutive games on their way to the Class AA title game.

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

If he wasn’t already, Pelletier’s more aggressive approach made him the no-brainer option to take big shots at big moments.

In the second-to-last game of the regular season, he made a go-ahead layup with 15 seconds remaining in overtime in the Vikings’ 41-40 victory over Bangor.

Eight days later, Oxford Hills trailed Bangor 42-40 with five seconds left in the AA North quarterfinals. On an inbounds play in front of the Vikings bench, Pelletier ran from the post to beyond the 3-point arc, caught the inbounds pass from Soehren, quickly turned around and launched a 3 that gave the Vikings a 43-42 win.

A semifinal win over Cheverus set up the third matchup of the season between Oxford Hills and Edward Little. The Vikings lost both regular season meetings with the Red Eddies. In those two matchups, Edward Little’s John Shea, who went on to be named Mr. Maine Basketball, scored 30 points each time — two of several times he surpassed 30 points in 2021-22.


In the AA North final, which was chosen as the Varsity Maine Boys Game of the Year, Shea was held to 15 points while Pelletier put up a game-high 24 points. The final two points, on the game-winning shot, made Pelletier the talk of the tournament for a few days.

If he wasn’t considered one already, Pelletier was officially one of the top players in Maine.

Shifting the conversation to Oxford Hills was no small feat in a season that featured Shea’s excellence and freshman phenom Cooper Flagg, who a few days later led Nokomis to the Class A state championship in front of his friend and mentor, Brian Scalabrine, and over the following few months was named one of the top prospects of his class in the entire nation, was a key player for the United States U17 national team that won the World Cup, and was the recipient of high praise from ESPN college basketball and NBA Draft analyst Fran Fraschilla.

In the Class AA championship game, Pelletier and Oxford Hills faced South Portland, which featured another of the state’s top players, J.P. Estrella, a 6-foot-11 versatile powerhouse who signed to play at the University of Tennessee in September.

Pelletier scored 18 points in the state final, but Estrella led all scorers with 19 and the Red Riots pulled away from the Vikings in the second half to claim the AA championship.

Pelletier and the Oxford Hills football team also fell in the Class A state championship game in November 2021. He finally earned a state title in the spring when he became Class A’s high jump champion with a jump of 6 feet, 2 inches.

This fall, he was again the top receiver for the Vikings as they won the school’s first football state championship.

The 6-foot-6 Pelletier, now a junior, has returned to the basketball court and has led the Vikings to an undefeated start to the season. Flagg, who is being pursued by the nation’s top college programs, has transferred to Montverde Academy in Florida, Estrella is playing his senior season at Brewster Academy, and Shea is on the University of Maine men’s basketball team.

That leaves Pelletier as one of the unquestioned best players in the state — if not the best — in 2022-23. His big moments probably won’t steal the spotlight, they will happen with it shining on him and the Vikings.

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