PORTLAND — Once its shots started falling, Oxford Hills took off.

The Vikings took over in the second quarter and pulled away in the second half to beat Gorham 62-25 and win the Class AA girls basketball state championship Monday at Cross Insurance Arena.

“The first half was iffy, but the second half is the best basketball I think we’ve played all season,” Oxford Hills junior Tristen Derenburger said.

The state title is Oxford Hills’ third, all of which have been won since 2019.

“Holy crap, I can’t even explain the words,” Vikings sophomore Ella Pelletier said. “It’s so amazing, especially watching this team grow up together and just wanting it so much. This is what we hoped for all season. It’s just awesome for our seniors and everybody.”

Derenburger made six 3-pointers — a Class AA state final record — and led all scorers with 18 points.


“Oh, my gosh. It’s amazing,” senior Sierra Carson said of Derenburger’s shooting. “We’ve seen it all season, but this is the most important game to hit them, and she did that. She did everything we wanted her to, and more.

“When she goes off like that, it’s hard (to beat us).”

Carson, a Miss Maine Basketball finalist, ended her high school career with 17 points, nine steals, seven rebounds and four assists. Pelletier and Gabbie Tibbetts also scored in double figures with 10 points apiece.

The Vikings’ 62 points are the most scored in a girls Class AA final.

Ellie Gay led Gorham with 13 points.

The Vikings struggled to score in the opening quarter, but still chased down rebounds, especially at the offensive end, and stole the ball several times.


Gay beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer and the Rams took a 12-7 lead into the second period.

Gay added another basket to push the lead to 14-7.

“That’s what we were talking about, we were down 14-7, but it didn’t really feel that bad because we were getting offensive rebounds, we were getting second-chance shots, they just weren’t going in,” Vikings coach Nate Pelletier said. “Luckily, they weren’t scoring at a rate fast enough for us to get a little frazzled.”

Then Oxford Hills blasted off.

Ella Pelletier drove for a basket and Carson did likewise to get the Vikings within three points.

“We were a little slow to start, we were down by like five or something,” Pelletier, the daughter of Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier, said. “So we had a timeout, I think, and my dad was like, we got to keep going, push the tempo, we got this.


“So, getting those drives and going into contact gets the energy really up for our team, and we thrive off of energy.”

Carson, who has committed to play college basketball at Dartmouth, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 14-14 about three minutes into the second.

Derenburger’s first 3 gave the Vikings their first lead. Tibbetts drove the lane for a bucket. Molly Corbett added a trey that pushed Oxford Hills’ run to 15-0 and its lead to 22-14.

Gorham’s Lauren Dunbar beat the second-quarter buzzer to end the Rams’ drought and cut the Vikings’ lead to 22-17 at halftime.

Oxford Hills was just getting warmed up.

“We came in at halftime and were like, ‘We went on the run that we needed, but we need to put them away now,” Derenburger said. “And then, we just went on a huge run, and it just never stopped.”


Ella Pelletier was fouled while making a basket. She missed the free throw, but Carson grabbed the rebound and passed the ball out to Derenburger, who drained a 3-pointer.

The next time down the floor, Carson pulled down another rebound and again kicked it back to Derenburger for another trey to push the Vikings’ advantage to 30-18.

“Tristen hit her 3s, like she always does,” Nate Pelletier said. “I’m glad she was able to do that on this stage, because we saw that all year from her. She’s just been amazing for us.”

Derenburger added another 3, her third of the third quarter, Pelletier scored again, Corbett swiped the ball and took it down the court for a layup, Carson and Tibbetts both converted three-point plays and Carson netted another bucket.

By the end of the third, Oxford Hills was up 45-20 and the result was all but decided. The Vikings were on their way to a state title.

“These kids put in so much hard work during the season, and then it all just came together at the right moment,” Nate Pelletier said. “In the third quarter, we knew we had to make a run, and we came out on a huge run that really put it away.”

Derenburger hit two more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and Oxford Hills added its lead, outscoring Gorham 17-5.

The Vikings held the Rams to 13 points over the final three quarters.

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