BOX SCORE

Greely 62 Oxford Hills 61

OH- 11 14 18 18- 61
G- 11 14 19 18- 62

OH- Dumont 9-3-23, Dieterich 4-1-10, Colby 4-9-9, Hartnett 3-0-9, S. Carson 2-0-5, Smedberg 1-1-3, B. Carson 1-0-2

G- Fitzpatrick 7-3-18, B. Obar 6-2-17, Clement 5-0-12, Graiver 3-2-9, M. Obar 3-0-6

3-pointers:
OH (8) Hartnett 3, Dumont 2, S. Carson, Colby, Dieterich 1
G (7) B. Obar 3, Clement 2, Fitzpatrick, Graiver 1

Turnovers:
OH- 13
G- 15

FTs
OH: 5-9
G: 7-12

CUMBERLAND—It was a battle of defending champions who each put forth a championship effort and if you love good basketball, Greely High School’s gymnasium was the place to be when the defending Class A champion Rangers hosted reigning Class AA champion Oxford Hills in an entertaining and thrilling girls’ showdown Tuesday evening.

Greely, which hadn’t lost a countable game in over two years, shot to a 7-0 lead, but the Vikings, who last lost on the same floor nearly a year ago, countered with 11 points in a row before the Rangers closed the first period with four of their own to forge an 11-11 tie.

The second quarter was more of the same, as Greely wasn’t able to knock down shots in customary fashion, but unheralded senior Katie Fitzpatrick kept the Rangers in the game with eight points and 11 rebounds in the first half. Oxford Hills got 10 points from junior Cassidy Dumont and seven from senior Cecelia Dieterich, but that only kept the Vikings even as the game went to halftime deadlocked, 25-25.

Greely, which missed 13-of-15 3-point shots in the first half, began to find its range in the third quarter, as senior sharpshooter Brooke Obar hit a pair of long-range bombs and Fitzpatrick added another, but despite opening up a momentary eight-point lead, the last seven points of the third went to Oxford Hills, which pulled within 44-43 on a runner from Dumont.

The Vikings twice led the game in the fourth period, but with the score tied and 5:11 to go, Fitzpatrick’s old-fashioned three-point play gave the Rangers the lead for good and Obar followed with a 3 for a 58-52 lead

Twice, Oxford Hills drew within two, but with 38 seconds to go, Fitzpatrick set up Obar for a layup and a 62-58 advantage.

The Vikings wouldn’t quit and after Dumont cut the deficit to one with a 3-pointer, the visitors had a couple great chances to win it, but the ball didn’t fall and Greely held on to prevail, 62-61.

The Rangers got a whopping 18 points and 20 rebounds from Fitzpatrick and 17 points from Obar as they improved to 8-0, won their 46th game in a row and dropped Oxford Hills to 8-1, snapping the Vikings’ 19-game win streak in the process.

“It was a great game,” said Greely coach Todd Flaherty. “We were very fortunate. My wife asked me if I was nervous and I said I wasn’t because we have nothing to lose. We were going to come out of here a better team and we certainly are after that. The girls want to win and they do winning things when they have to.”

Best of the best

Oxford Hills roared to the Class AA crown a year ago, downing Scarborough, 55-45, in the state game, as then-junior Julia Colby went off for 34 points.

The Vikings haven’t missed a beat this winter, starting with a 65-28 win at Deering, then downing visiting Gorham (74-59), visiting Portland (60-32), host Cheverus (50-38), host Lewiston (74-36), host Edward Little (67-35), visiting Bangor (57-38) and visiting Windham (54-36).

Greely, meanwhile, was a perfect champion last winter, punctuating its 22-0 campaign with a 54-42 victory over Hampden Academy to take the Class A crown for the second year in a row. While the Rangers miss departed standout Anna DeWolfe (who is now playing at Fordham University), their winning ways have continued this winter.

Greely opened with wins over host York (70-53), visiting Falmouth (79-41) and visiting Fryeburg Academy (75-37). After eking out a 48-47 victory at Class AA South powerhouse South Portland, the Rangers won at Freeport (58-45) and Yarmouth (65-56), then handled visiting Freeport, 72-44, Saturday.

Last year, the teams met once and it was a thriller, as Greely held on for a 69-67 home victory. Oxford Hills almost completed a comeback from 20 points down, but a last-second Colby 3 was off-target.

Tuesday, in front of a large crowd, the teams played a similarly thrilling contest, which again saw the Rangers do just enough to win.

Greely launched 10 3-pointers in the first quarter, but made just one of them, as junior Camille Clement converted 52 seconds in.

A layup after a steal from Obar and a putback from Fitzpatrick gave the Rangers a quick 7-0 advantage.

The Vikings then came to life, as Dieterich scored on successive leaners and after Colby tied the game with a 3-point shot, senior Maggie Hartnett set up Dumont for a fastbreak layup, then Colby found Dumont for another layup and an 11-7 lead.

In the final minute of the frame, Obar made two free throws to snap an 11-0 Oxford Hills run and a 5-minute, 18-second Rangers’ drought, and Fitzpatrick added a putback to make the score 11-11.

“Katie stepped up today,” said Obar. “She was what we needed. Our shots weren’t falling, but she got rebounds, put it back in and kicked it out.”

Junior Mollie Obar put Greely back in the lead with a bank shot 11 seconds into the second quarter, but Dumont countered with two free throws.

After a Fitzpatrick putback, Dieterich made a free throw, but Mollie Obar made a short jumper for a 17-14 Rangers’ lead.

Hartnett sank a 3 to tie the game, but Clement answered with a 3-pointer to put Greely back in the lead.

After Dieterich drove for a layup, Brooke Obar countered with a runner off the glass, but Colby drove for a layup and Dumont made a layup after a steal to give the Vikings a 23-22 advantage.

Sophomore Chelsea Graiver tied the game with a free throw for the Rangers, but Dumont made a runner before a Fitzpatrick spinner in the final second tied the score, 25-25, at halftime.

In the first half, Fitzpatrick had eight points and 11 rebounds for Greely, while Clement and Brooke Obar each added six points. Oxford Hills was paced by 10 points from Dumont.

After shooting so poorly in the first half, the Rangers began to find their range in the third period.

A 3-ball from Brooke Obar 27 seconds in opened the second half scoring. Graiver then drove for a layup and a five-point advantage, but the Vikings answered with a runner from senior Brooke Carson and a foul shot from senior Jade Smedberg.

Fitzpatrick then made two free throws after being fouled on an offensive rebound, Fitzpatrick took a pass from Brooke Obar and made a layup and with 4:59 remaining in the quarter, Clement got a contested runner to bounce in to make it 36-28 Greely.

After Dumont countered with a runner while being fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play, Clement made a shot in the lane, but freshman Sierra Carson’s 3-point shot pulled Oxford Hills within 38-34.

Brooke Obar answered with a 3 and after Sierra Carson banked home a runner, Fitzpatrick, who isn’t known for her shooting prowess, took a pass from Brooke Obar, didn’t hesitate and buried a 3 for a 44-36 advantage.

“I saw an opening and Coach gives us the green light, so I thought, ‘Why not?,’ so I just threw it up there and it worked out,” Fitzpatrick said.

The rest of the frame belonged to the Vikings, however, as Dumont made a 3, Colby scored on a putback and Dumont hit a runner to make it 44-43 Greely with eight minutes to go.

With 6:56 to go, Colby set up Dieterich for a 3-point shot in transition and Oxford Hills had completely erased its deficit, but 18 seconds later, Graiver converted a three-point play to put the Rangers back in the lead, 47-46.

With 6:28 to go, Hartnett buried a 3 in the corner, but the Vikings’ final lead only lasted 18 seconds before Clement made another contested runner to tie it.

With 5:36 to go, Graiver hit a 3, but 10 seconds later, at the other end, Hartnett took a pass from Colby in transition and buried a 3 of her own to tie the game for the eighth and final time, 52-52.

Greely would roar right back and with 5:11 on the clock, Fitzpatrick put home a miss while being fouled, then added the and-one free throw to put the Rangers on top to stay.

But the road to victory would be long and full of twists and turns.

With 4:37 remaining, Fitzpatrick set up Brooke Obar for a 3, but again, Oxford Hills answered, as Dumont got a runner to roll in and with 3:48 left, Semdberg’s putback cut the Vikings’ deficit to 58-56.

After a Clement miss, Oxford Hills had a chance to tie or take the lead, but both Smedberg and Dumont were off on 3s.

After Dieterich failed on a shot to tie it, Mollie Obar hit a short jumper with 2:32 to go, but a Colby runner 16 seconds later kept Oxford Hills within two points, 60-58.

Clement and Dumont then traded misses and Mollie Obar and Colby did the same and with 1:20 left, Clement went to the line for a one-and-one.

She wasn’t able to extend the lead, however, missing the front end, and Dumont got another look at a 3 for the lead, but the shot was off the mark.

Finally, with 38.2 seconds left, as the Rangers were milking the clock, Fitzpatrick was double-teamed, but spotted a cutting Brooke Obar, fed her the ball and Obar finished with a layup for a 62-58 advantage.

“Everyone was scrambling around and their defense did a good job double-teaming Katie, but she remained calm and found me,” Obar said.

Greely wasn’t quite home free, however, as with 28.6 seconds showing, Colby caught the defense napping and found Dumont for an open 3, which again made it a one-point contest.

Graiver had a chance to extend the lead when Graiver went to the line with 20.2 seconds to go, but she missed the front of end of a one-and-one.

Hartnett then had a good look at a 3 for the lead, but missed, only to see Dieterich keep possession alive with an offensive rebound.

Oxfrod Hills coach Nate Pelletier called timeout with 6.6 seconds to go, but the Vikings couldn’t muster a shot for the lead, as the inbounds pass was thrown away.

That gave the Rangers a chance to ice it, but Mollie Obar’s inbounds pass was intercepted by Colby, who found Dumont alone up top.

Dumont lined up a 3 to win it, but it rimmed out and in the final seconds, Clement, Mollie Obar and Colby battled for possession before the horn sounded, ending the 71-minute epic in Greely’s favor by the slimmest of margins, 62-61.

“I saw Mollie throw it up and thought, ‘Oh no,’, then, Cassidy missed,” said Brooke Obar. “I told Mollie, ‘I think it’s the first time I’ve seen you dive on the floor.’ Everyone worked hard for the win.”

“It was nerve-wracking, but we love close games,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is going to prepare us for the tournament. They were a good team, well-coached.”

“They had some really good looks at the basket the last 30 or 40 seconds and so, but we got lucky there,” added Flaherty.

Fitzpatrick led the way with the game of her life, 18 points, 20 rebounds and three assists.

“I pride myself on rebounding,” Fitzpatrick said. “We don’t have a lot of size. I try to match the physicality (of the other team) and exceed the physicality for my teammates. I like competition.”

“That was a fantastic effort by (Katie),” Flaherty said. “They’re a good sized team. It was so pleasing to see her get the results. It’s the best game I’ve seen her play and I’ve seen her play some good ones.”

Brooke Obar added 17 points, five assists and four steals.

“Our fans were great and my teammates had my back every shot I took,” Obar said. “They did a good job finding me.”

“Brooke hit some big ones,” Flaherty said. “She just has to keep shooting. She’s been in a bit of a slump, but we have confidence in her to hit the big shot.”

Clement (12 points and eight rebounds) also managed double figures, while Graiver was huge off the bench with nine points and three assists. Mollie Obar had six points and three boards.

The Rangers wound up 7-of-24 on 3-point shots, held a 39-35 rebounding advantage, overcame 15 turnovers and sank 7-of-12 free throws.

Oxford Hills got a strong effort from Dumont, who led all scorers with 23 points. Dieterich added 10 points (to go with seven rebounds and four assists), Colby (nine rebounds, five assists and three steals) and Hartnett scored nine each, Sierra Carson had five, Smedberg (seven boards) three and Brooke Carson two.

The Vikings hit 5-of-9 free throws and committed 13 turnovers.

“We had multiple opportunities, but at the end of the day, the shot didn’t fall that we needed to fall,” Pelletier said. “I give my girls a lot of credit for battling to the end. I thought (that last shot) was in, but it just rattled out. Greely’s a great team. They shoot the ball tremendously. It’s tough to defend them.

“We need more of these games. I’d love to play them all the time. We’re trying to find more of them. This game was hyped up to be one of the best games and it looked like it was one of the best games. Greely shoots well, but we went punch-for-punch with them the whole game and if one of our shots fell in the end, it would have been a different story.”

Back to business

Greely and Oxford Hills can now focus on returning to their respective pinnacle.

The Vikings host winless Deering Thursday, then have a state championship game rematch at Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

“We’ll build from this and hopefully get another streak going like we did last year,” Pelletier said. “We have to fine tune what we do. We like to push the ball and be up-tempo.”

The Rangers’ tough road continues Thursday, when they meet another defending champion, Class B champ Gray-New Gloucester, in Gray. Greely is home versus Wells Saturday and goes to Kennebunk Tuesday of next week.

“This was a good game for us,” said Fitzpatrick. “We handled it well and it shows how far we can go. We’ve focused in practice on talking on defense and I think that kept us in the game tonight. We’re going to continue to talk and do what we do. When we’re on, we’re on.”

“Win or lose, this was huge for us,” Brooke Obar said. “They’re one of the best teams we’ll play. For us to handle the type of pressure Oxford Hills showed us gives us a bright future.”

“I had prepared a speech in case we did lose to not lose two in a row because we have some tough competition coming up,” Flaherty added. “It’s a great stretch for us to get better. This is a good sign of where we’re at right now, but we still have some sloppy stuff we can clean up.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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