PORTLAND — Windham suffered a setback early when Hannah Talon went down with an injury in the first three minutes of the game and never looked the same, falling to top-seeded Oxford Hills 54-31 in Thursday’s AA North semifinal. 

The Vikings will play No. 2 Portland (17-3) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. 

Julia Colby got the offense going in the first quarter, scoring seven points on perfect three-for-three shooting to give the Vikings a 15-2 lead after a quarter. 

Talon went down with a knee injury with over five minutes left in the first quarter, the same knee that kept her out last season. The Eagles had to face the 19-1 Vikings without a first-team AA North defender and a threat on the offensive end, making things difficult all game.

“It was huge,” Windham coach Brody Artes said of the loss of his senior. “She was a team leader for us all year and she was looking forward to this all year. A lot of what we wanted to do coming into the game was based around her. As soon as she went down it was difficult for us to kind of regroup. We were shell-shocked by it.”

Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier was saddened by Talon’s exit from the game. 

“It was unfortunate early in the game for Hannah Tallon, you hate to see that as a coach,” Pelletier said. “It was devastating and I hope she’s all right, my thoughts are with her. It’s scary stuff and you don’t want to see a great kid like that get hurt.”

Even after the injury, Oxford Hills continued with the offensive game plan, changing nothing except matchups. 

“We wanted to drive and get a foot in the paint because obviously they have some big players in there,” Cecelia Dieterich said. “We didn’t want to get blocked, so we wanted to get them to help so we could hit wide-open threes.”

The Vikings kept their foot on the gas and continued to attack the paint in the second quarter. Five players scored for Oxford Hills in the period, with Brooke Carson scoring four points. Cassidy Dumont hit two of her three 3-pointers on the night in the first half to give Oxford Hills a 28-7 lead at the half. 

Dumont has been shooting well this season and the junior said she got some more shots up than usual in the pregame, as it was the Vikings’ first game at Cross Insurance Arena this season. As a result, Dumont said she felt confident from the start.

“The one thing we expressed over the last year and a half was we wanted her to become a better 3-point shooter,” Pelletier said. “She’s a kid that works on her game constantly and she’s been shooting ridiculously from the outside for us. It’s been that way all year.”

Sarah Talon got her offense going in the second half, scoring 14 of her 17 points in the third and fourth quarters. Windham got some good looks in the second half but couldn’t get enough to fall.

“We had some decent looks and we started to move the ball around in the second half, and we had some really good looks in the paint,” Artes said. “If we could get inside and shoot a little bit better and make a couple of those outside shots, but it’s tough for our team to come into this gym for the first time and shoot. I like how our kids responded and we played hard.”

Still, Oxford Hills had too many weapons on the offensive end for the young Windham squad to handle. 

Dieterich scored eight points in the second half to finish with a team-high 13 on the night. Colby and Dumont finished with 11 points, as Colby didn’t play much in the fourth quarter. Colby missed her team’s quarterfinal win over Deering while nursing an ankle injury, and while the senior had a full practice on Wednesday there was no need for the Vikings to risk it late with the game in hand, with Pelletier adding that the Ms. Maine Basketball semifinalist would have played more if the game was closer. 

Windham’s Destiny Potter finished with six points in the loss.

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