With a minute to play in the Class AA North girls’ final Friday, Oxford Hills had the lead and the ball.

Edward Little had an answer.

“We knew it was going to come down to who has the ball on the last possession, and we didn’t have it,” Oxford Hills Coach Nate Pelletier said.

Instead, Grace Fontaine powered through the lane for a layup to give Edward Little the lead, then teamed with Grace Beaudet on a big defensive stop to help the Red Eddies edge the Vikings 48-45 at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The third-seeded Red Eddies (14-7) will take on Gorham (14-7), the two-time defending state champion, for the Gold Ball at 6 p.m. March 2 in Portland.

“We talk a lot about resiliency, and about that, until the final horn goes we’re going to keep playing,” Eddies Coach Chris Cifelli said. “And I think one of the things that I was really impressed with … there was that sense of urgency, but at the same time we weren’t anxious. So maybe inside there was churning but it looked like we were pretty calm about things.”

Fontaine drilled a 3-pointer with 2:17 to play to give the Eddies their biggest lead of the second half at 44-40. But the top-ranked Vikings (17-4) scored the next five points. Jadah Adams converted a three-point play to answer Fontaine’s triple, then, after a turnover, Adams made a layup to make it 45-44 Oxford Hills with 1:45 to play.

That score stood through three timeouts, the last with 45.8 seconds to play. But the Vikings committed a backcourt violation out of the timeout to give the ball back to the Red Eddies.

“I didn’t call (another) timeout on that play,” Coach Nate Pelletier said. “We had a layup available for us and I didn’t call it, and we get a backcourt call. So that’s on me, that’s not on them.”

Fontaine, the victim of unfriendly bounces off the rim earlier in the game, drove in for a layup, giving Edward Little the lead with 36 seconds left.

“I was just thinking, ‘I need to make this, I need to make this,’ and if not, I can’t go back and fix this, so it’s just, I had to make it,” Fontaine said.

Julia Colby tried to do the same for the Vikings but was called for a charge, giving the ball back to Edward Little with 27.3 seconds remaining.

“It was a big momentum change because Julia does such a good job of getting to the rim, and being able to really distort your defense by her dribble penetration,” Cifelli said. “So when we got those offensive fouls, I think not only did it take a little bit of wind out of their sails, but you just see your bench gets pumped up more.”

Fontaine missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 17.6 seconds left, but the Vikings turned the ball over again, this time along the sideline.

Piper Norcross of the Eddies then hit two free throws to end the scoring.

The Red Eddies last played in the final two years ago. Oxford Hills was the regional champion last year after getting knocked out by Edward Little in the 2016 regional game.

The teams had split during the regular season, with Edward Little winning on the road in the opener, and the Vikings winning the rematch in a blowout in Auburn in late January.

Maighread Laliberte of Oxford Hills had 20 points and was named the winner of the Red McMann Award as the regional’s most outstanding player.

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