PORTLAND — Spruce Mountain and Oceanside went into halftime of Friday’s Class B South girls basketball regional final all tied up, but it was the top-seeded Mariners who grabbed the lead in the second half and didn’t let it go to stamp their place in next weekend’s state final.

In a rematch of last year’s regional final, Oceanside got revenge with a 44-33 victory at the Portland Expo.

Sophomore Renee Ripley scored two quick 3-pointers in the third quarter, pushing Oceanside (21-0) to a steady lead, which the Mariners maintained for the remainder of the game.

“It was just a big moment, knowing that those helped us extend that lead and secure this win,” Ripley said. “After last year, that loss really hurt us and motivated us, and we got our revenge this year and it feels great. We knew it was going to be a battle.”

Oceanside and third-seeded Spruce Mountain (18-3) faced each other one year ago in the B South final, and Spruce Mountain won 56-47. Phoenix coach Zach Keene said there’s been several on-court battles in playoffs between the two opponents, between last year’s matchup and the regional semifinals two years ago when the Mariners won the state title. He also noted that there’s an existing and growing rivalry between the two schools.

“When you want to really focus on taking something specific away, you’re open to the possibility of other players getting rhythm and getting open shots, and today they had them and they made them,” Keene said about the difference between this year and last year’s regional final game. “We didn’t make many shots, but last year, we made shots.”


Oceanside will face North champion No. 2 Old Town — which beat No. 1 and defending champ Ellsworth on Friday night — in the Class B state final Friday, March 1, at 6:05 p.m. at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Despite the disappointing result for Spruce Mountain, Keene said he’s “never enjoyed coaching more” because of how cohesive this year’s group was.

“They get along, there’s no drama and they play really hard,” Keene said. “They block out a lot of noise and they put everything they have into whatever goal it is they have.”

Oceanside coach Matt Breen said the Mariners have added three new starters to the lineup for the regional game: Sophia Daggett, Caitlyn Lamb and Ripley. He said all three players waited their turn and put in the time behind the scenes to earn their spot.

“That was their time to step up, and I’m happy with the way they did it,” Breen said. “I mean, they did a heck of a job.”

Going into the second half, Oceanside and Spruce Mountain were tied 14-14. Breen said the halftime adjustment was to shift the focus on defensive wins, and limit the Phoenix’s ability to shoot 3-pointers. While they achieved that goal, Spruce Mountain’s Avery Bessey was able to sneak two treys in for a total of 10 this tournament, breaking the Class B South all-time tournament record.


“Knowing Avery, I know she’d give up that record to have the regional title, but it was definitely a cool record to have that in the record books,” Keene said.

Oceanside held a 10-point lead for the majority of the third quarter, thanks to Ripley’s fast six points and Bailey Breen’s consistent grabs at the rim. Breen was given the Mike DiRenzo Award for the tournament’s most outstanding player following the game, after tallying a game-high 19 points — with 13 during the second half.

“Our team thinks of it as 0-0 when we get into the locker room at half,” Oceanside junior Aubrianna Hoose said. “The game’s not over, we knew we needed to come out strong.”

The key to the undefeated season has been the discipline the Mariners have had throughout games and practices, said Hoose, who scored nine points. She also said their coach makes them start over if they drop the ball in practice, and that level of perfection and repetition has challenged the team to continuously improve.

“We worked really hard. We knew we wanted to get back here and that maybe we could get back here,” Hoose said. “We knew we just needed to come and work every day.”

Ripley, who also totaled nine points, said this year’s team is “really tight, like a family,” and it’s been a great environment to be in and play for. She also said this year’s senior class has been strong leaders for the underclassmen and have always had their back.


Breen said this year’s senior class is “fun to be around,” and called them hard workers, while also quiet and quirky.

Keene said he was proud of the Phoenix’s rebounding, and noted how tough Bailey Breen is to defend.

“You know, we did a really good job with that in the first half, but in doing that, you kind of give some other things up that you take your chances with, and they had some players that took some shots late that kind of, or in the second half, they kind of solidified some things for them,” Keene said.

Jaydn Pingree closed out her Spruce Mountain career with a team-high 12 points. Bessey finished with eight points.

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