WHO: Gorham (20-0) vs. Oxford Hills (19-1)
WHEN: 6 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Augusta Civic Center
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Gorham – seeded first in South – defeated Maine Girls’ Academy (53-23), South Portland (46-44) in playoffs; Oxford Hills – seeded first in North – defeated Bangor (69-36), Deering (46-41, OT) in playoffs.
KEY PLAYERS: Gorham – Emily Esposito, sr. G (19.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 3.9 steals), Mackenzie Holmes, so. C (19.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.6 blocks), Kaylea Lundin, sr. G (7.3 points, 3.5 assists, 2.1 steals), Kristen Curley, sr. G (3.2 points, 4.3 rebounds), Michelle Rowe, jr. F (5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists); Oxford Hills – Julia Colby, fr. G (11.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals), Jadah Adams, so. C (10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds), Erin Morton, sr. G (9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists), Maighread Laliberte, jr. F (9.4 points, 4.1 rebounds), Erin Eastman, sr. G (6.0 points, 2.0 rebounds).
WHAT GORHAM HAS TO DO TO WIN: The Rams have to play good man-to-man defense. Oxford Hills has a very balanced offense with shooters at every position and the Rams cannot afford to lose track of any of them. Gorham typically uses its defense to jump-start the offense, often leading to long scoring runs. Offensively the Rams have to be patient, run their offense and go to the offensive boards. In Esposito and Holmes they have two of the state’s top scorers and will look to get them the ball in good position to score. But there’s more to this team than just those two. You can bet at some point Lundin is going to make two or three plays in a row that will change the momentum. She will get the team running when it’s available and set up the offense when the Rams need to.
WHAT OXFORD HILLS HAS TO DO TO WIN: Defensively the Vikings have to somehow slow down Gorham’s Esposito and Holmes, the state’s best inside-outside duo. Adams is strong inside and will likely try to play Holmes with some help. Oxford Hills is going to have to rebound well defensively to keep the Rams from getting second and third shots. Offensively the Vikings are going to do what they always do. They don’t rely on any single scorer and they spread the ball around quickly. They are not afraid to take the 3-point shot, especially when Eastman comes in off the bench. If Oxford Hills gets into a rhythm and hits its outside shots, it’s going to be right there with the Rams.
– Mike Lowe