Oxford Hills’ Julia Colby scored over 1,300 career points, but she always kept her teammates involved. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Basketball is more than just a sport to Julia Colby.

“I like everything about it,” she said. “I’ve been playing since the fourth grade and really like everything about it.”

You can tell when she’s on the court. Colby, a senior guard at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High, plays the game with a joy and intensity that few have matched. She earned a reputation as someone who would always make the big play, whether it was a dagger 3-pointer or a steal or a pinpoint pass to a teammate for a basket, as the Vikings won the last two Class AA girls’ basketball championships.

As a senior, she averaged 16.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.9 assists. She had 22 points, along with five steals and four assists, in a 49-38 win over South Portland in the state championship game. For that, she has been selected the Varsity Maine girls’ basketball player of the year.

“The one thing you should know about her, from the first day I met her, is that she is all about winning,” said Oxford Hills Coach Nate Pelletier. “She does not care about how many points she scores, she does not care if she gets her name in the paper. It’s all about (the team) being the best.”

Pelletier often said that he had to tell Colby, who finished with 1,315 career points, to be more selfish at times. “She always wanted her teammates involved,” he said. “Sometimes we had to tell her to take over the game. Sometimes our halftime talks or our in-game talks were to get her more involved.”

Colby, who will next play at the New York Institute of Technology (an NCAA Division II school located on Long Island), spent countless hours in the gym perfecting her shot. Earlier this season, when Portland played at Oxford Hills, the Bulldogs arrived early. When Coach Gerry Corcoran brought his players into the gym, an hour before the junior varsity game was to begin, there was Colby, taking shot after shot after shot.

“I stopped the team,” said Corcoran. “I told them, ‘This is why she is who she is.’ I’m a huge fan of hers. I called her over and introduced myself and told her I was her biggest fan.

“That was the night she was going for her 1,000th point. I was told she needed only eight points and joked with her that maybe we would delay it. She said, ‘Good luck.” A little over two minutes into the game, she had her eight. I think she dropped 27 on us.”

Colby said she always shot around before games. “I always want to make sure my shot is on for the game,” she said. “Usually, if I make a lot, it’s going to be a good night.”

She had a lot of those for the Vikings. “She’s been a pleasure to watch and coach,” said Pelletier. “She’s a great person, a great role model. She’s definitely going to be missed.”

She also going to miss playing for the Vikings.

“This was a pretty good way to go out,” she said. “Especially with this group of girls. They were all my best friends.”

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