AUGUSTA — Second-seeded Deering scored the final 13 points Tuesday night, rallying to a 73-67 victory against third-ranked Oxford Hills in a Class AA North boys’ basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Malik White scored 23 points as the Rams (17-2) advanced to play top-ranked Portland (18-1) for the regional title at 9 p.m. Friday in Augusta.

Deering beat the Vikings 81-59 on Jan. 18 in Portland, but this time had to rally from a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes.

“This team never quits,” said Max Chabot, who hit three free throws with less than a minute left to give the Rams a 69-67 lead. “This team could be down by 20 and we’re still going to keep coming back.”

The Rams overcame a 28-point performance by Andrew Fleming, a 6-foot-6 forward who is heading to the University of Maine.

“Everybody was working really hard and playing their hearts out,” said Anthony Lobor, who scored 13 points for Deering. “Everyone just sprinted to every single spot they had to be in, and we just did our job.”

The Vikings (15-5) led 39-36 at halftime after hitting 9 of 12 3-pointers.

“They came out making 3s like nobody’s business,” Chabot said. “They have a lot of good shooters and they probably have the best player in the state to go inside-out with Fleming.”

The Rams made an adjustment in the second half to make it more difficult for Oxford Hills to get off a 3-pointer.

“We played three across,” Deering Coach Todd Wing said. “It wasn’t a box–and-one. It was more a 1-3-1 (zone defense) minus the top.”

The Rams limited the Vikings to three 3-pointers in the second half.

Still, Oxford Hills was able to stay with Deering.

“When we played them before, they beat us up and down the court,” Oxford Hills Coach Scott Graffam said. “They did that a little bit (tonight) but not as much. We got back and got into a man-to-man or zone (defense) in the half-court and made them take some time off (the clock).”

The Vikings seemed in control midway through the fourth quarter when Fleming drove for two points, hit a 3-pointer and passed inside to his younger brother, Matt, for a basket and a 67-60 lead with 3:21 left.

But the Rams came back with their game-ending run.

“Our whole style is to get them to speed up the game and get them tired,” Chabot said. “We just played hard.”

“We had two or three trips where we had missed foul shots or we turned it over and they took advantage of it,” Graffam said. “(Deering is) a good basketball team (but) for 29 minutes we were the better team.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: