Julia Colby, a Miss Maine Basketball finalist, leads an Oxford Hills team that’s seeking its second straight Class AA state championship. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

WHAT: Class AA girls’ basketball state final

WHEN: 7:05 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Cross Insurance Arena, Portland


South Portland: Maggie Whitmore, senior guard/forward (17.1 ppg, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.8 steals), Kaleisha Towle, senior forward/center (7.2 ppg, 5.8 rebounds), Ashlee Aceto, senior guard (9.7 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists), Hylah Owen, sophomore guard/forward (7.9 ppg, 4.5 rebounds), Cora Boothby-Akilo, junior center (6.6 ppg, 6.1 rebounds).

Oxford Hills: Julia Colby, senior guard (17.4 ppg, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.6 steals), Cecelia Dieterich, senior guard (11.3 ppg, 4.4 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 steals), Cassidy Dumont, junior guard (12.9 ppg, 2.1 assists), Jade Smedberg, senior center (6.6 rebounds).

OUTLOOK: Oxford Hills is the defending state champs and displayed its championship pedigree in winning the North again. The Vikings, who get unheralded contributions from Maggie Hartnett and Brooke Carson, are considered one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the state, and they use their aggressive full-court defense to force their opponents into mistakes. They feast on errors, scoring points in transition. “They are so incredibly aggressive,” said South Portland Coach Lynne Hasson. “We have to be mentally tough and survive those runs.” … In Colby, Oxford Hills has one of the state’s top players – the AA North Player of the Year and a two-time winner of the regional outstanding player award. She rises in big moments. … South Portland counters with Whitmore, the SMAA Player of the Year and the outstanding player in the South regional. … South Portland, with Whitmore, Towle, Owen and Boothby-Akilo, has a size advantage. All of them can run the floor, too, putting pressure on Oxford Hills defense to get back. “You have to watch out for everyone,” said Oxford Hills Coach Nate Pelletier. “They’re in the states, and it’s not because of just one player, it’s because they’re a great team.” … This will come down to which team can impose its will, and tempo, on the other. … South Portland hasn’t won a state championship since 1986. This is the Red Riots’ first trip back to the state final since then.

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