Oxford Hills sophomore Molly Corbett shoots over Greely senior Camille Clement during the Vikings’ 58-35 victory Monday. Courtesy Carolyn Clement

BOX SCORE

Oxford Hills 58 Greely 35

OH- 12 15 18 13- 58
G- 7 9 12 7- 35

OH- Kellogg 7-1-15, Corbett 5-0-13, Dumont 4-0-10, Sugars 1-4-6, Truman 2-0-5, Knowles 2-0-4, Derenburger 1-0-3, Alexander 1-0-2

G- Clement 5-3-14, Graiver 3-1-8, Ippolito 1-0-3, Obar 1-0-3, Dean 1-0-2, Delisle 1-0-2, Read 1-0-2, Small 0-1-1

3-pointers:
OH (7) Corbett 3, Dumont 2, Derenburger, Truman 1
G (4) Clement, Graiver, Ippolito, Obar 1

Turnovers:
OH-17
G- 19

FTs
OH: 5-8
G: 5-7

CUMBERLAND—Oxford Hills’ two-time Class AA champion girls’ basketball team won’t have an opportunity to go for a three-peat during this COVID-19-delayed and abbreviated season, but the Vikings demonstrated Monday night at Greely that if there was a tournament, the rest of the state would be hard pressed to prevent another Oxford Hill coronation.

After losing three straight games to the Rangers, including each of the past two seasons with chances to win it at the end, the Vikings trailed for all of eight seconds and took care of business with surprising ease.

A 7-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from senior Cassidy Dumont, closed the first quarter and put Oxford Hills ahead to stay, 12-7.

Greely, behind senior standout Camille Clement, tried to answer, but the Vikings, thanks to contributions from starters like Dumont, seniors Ella Kellogg and Viktoria Sugars, junior Brooklyn Alexander and sophomore Molly Corbett, along with sophomore reserve Skyler Truman, who scored five key points in the second quarter, extended their advantage to 27-16 at the half.

The Rangers never got closer than 10 the rest of the way and after going up, 45-28, after three quarters, Oxford Hills closed out its 58-35 victory.

The Vikings got 15 points from Kellogg, 13 from Corbett and 10 from Dumont as they improved to 5-0 and in the process, handed Greely its first loss in three outings.

“I didn’t really know what we’d get tonight,” said Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier, now in his 16th season. “We’ve stressed all year giving maximum effort all the time. We had kids step up. It’s a work in progress all the time, but I think we have a pretty good model right now and we’re going to try to stick with it.”

Bombs away

Greely and Oxford Hills have been two of the most exciting and triumphant programs in recent years and the teams have matched up in some thrillers the past few seasons.

The Rangers, who won Class A in 2018 and 2019, but lost a narrow decision to eventual state champion Marshwood in last year’s Class A South Final, finally started this season last Tuesday with a 76-41 win at Westbrook (behind 24 points from Clement and 20 from junior Chelsea Graiver). Two nights later, York paid a visit and Greely again made a statement, this time prevailing, 63-47, as Clement went off for 32 points and senior Mollie Obar added 13.

The Vikings, who beat Scarborough in the 2019 Class AA state final, then dispatched South Portland a year ago, graduated Miss Maine Basketball Julia Colby and several other top contributors, but not surprisingly, the juggernaut is up to its usual tricks, opening with victories over visiting Fryeburg Academy (69-18), visiting Mt. Blue (54-35), visiting Lewiston (56-53, in overtime) and host Lake Region (47-32).

Last year, in Cumberland, Greely eked out a 62-61 victory, as Katie Fitzpatrick scored 18 points and grabbed 20 rebounds and the Vikings missed a couple of potential game-winning shots just before the horn.

In 2019, host Oxford Hills nearly rallied from down 20 and again had a chance to win it at the end, but couldn’t convert and the Rangers prevailed, 69-67.

Greely also won at Oxford Hills in 2018, 46-39.

Monday, the gym was empty, but there was still plenty of excitement in the air and this time, the Vikings took care of business, leading almost throughout.

Corbett opened the scoring by banking home a 3-point shot 52 seconds in.

The Rangers got on the board on a Clement leaner and after Kellogg scored on a leaner for Oxford Hills, Graiver hit a 3 to tie it and a Clement coast-to-coast layup gave Greely a 7-5 lead.

That would prove to be the Rangers’ only lead of the night.

The Vikings closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run, as Dumont made a 3, Alexander scored on a putback and after a turnover, Kellogg pulled up for a jump shot for a 14-7 advantage after eight minutes.

Oxford Hills continued to stymie Greely’s attack in the second period and extended its lead.

Truman came off the bench to bank home a runner for the Vikings. Clement answered with a 3 and after two free throws from Sugars, Clement drove for a layup to cut the deficit to 16-12, but Truman answered with a 3, then Truman got a rebound and fed Dumont for a fastbreak layup and a 21-12 lead.

Greely coach Todd Flaherty called timeout, but the Rangers couldn’t stem the tide, as Kellogg drove for a layup, then Corbett made a layup to stretch the advantage to 13.

Clement ended the 9-0 run and a 3-minute, 47-second scoring drought with a layup, but Sugars countered with two free throws. A Graiver runner off the glass then pulled Greely within 11, 27-16, at halftime.

In the first half, Clement led all scorers with 11 points, but the rest of the Rangers only contributed five.

Kellogg had six points for the Vikings, while Corbett, Dumont and Truman all added five.

Greely senior Mollie Obar attacks the basket. Courtesy Carolyn Clement

In the third quarter, Greely hoped to make a run, but it wasn’t to be.

After Clement opened the second half with a free throw, Kellogg answered with a jumper.

Graiver set up sophomore Cassidy Dean for a layup to draw the Rangers within 29-19, but Kellogg drove for a layup before Corbett drained consecutive 3-pointers to open up a 37-19 advantage.

Sophomore Sophia Ippolito answered with a 3 for Greely, but Dumont made a 3 from the corner and Alexander fed Kellogg for a layup and Oxford Hills had a 20-point lead, 42-22.

Graiver countered with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) and after Kellogg made a free throw, Obar sank a 3, but in the waning seconds of the frame, a corner 3-point shot from Dumont rattled home and the Vikings were in command, up, 45-28, heading for the final stanza.

And there, Oxford Hills was never threatened.

Obar set up junior Kaiyla Delisle for a layup to start the fourth quarter, but Corbett scored on a runner and Sugars fed Kellogg for a layup.

After Clement got two points back at the line, Sugars made a layup, freshman Jazmyne Knowles made a jumper, freshman Tristen Derenburger sank a 3 and Knowles made another jump shot to account for the Vikings’ final points.

In the final minute, sophomore Allison Read hit a jumper for Greely and senior Emily Small made a free throw and that brought the curtain down on Oxford Hills’ 58-35 victory.

A strong commitment to defense paid off.

“We wanted to protect the 3-point line,” Kellogg said. “We’d rather they score a two than a 3. We wanted to stop them from the outside.”

“(The Rangers) have a couple kids who can really shoot the ball, so we focused on the 3-point line as much as we could,” Pelletier said. “We know we have kids inside who could clean up the boards.”

Kellogg led all scorers with 15 points. She also had six rebounds and five steals.

“It’s so fun this year playing a bigger role,” Kellogg said. “I feel like my role is to be strong on defense, try to block shot and do what I need to on offense. I was fired up for this game. I was looking forward to this because we hadn’t beaten them. I was nervous, but we looked forward to the good competition.”

Corbett added 13 points and Dumont also wound up in double figures with 10 points (to go with four rebounds, three assists and three steals).

Sugars added six points and nine rebounds, Truman had five points off the bench and Knowles wound up with four points, Derenburger three and Alexander two (to go with seven rebounds and three assists).

“I think that all of us together have individual special talents and we work really well together too,” Kellogg said.

“Cassidy is the rock of our team, but other kids come in and give us great energy,” Pelletier said. “We find a way to get it done with different kids. That’s how it’s been all year. It makes it hard to defend us because you can’t really focus in on one kid. We’re very unselfish. The kids we have right now, a lot of them didn’t get a lot of minutes the past couple years, but what people don’t realize is that they practiced against those (starting) kids and they know what they have to do to play at an elite level. What I really love is when the younger kids come in at the end and make shots, I get every one of my players cheering for them.”

The Vikings made seven 3-pointers, had a 34-30 rebounding advantage, overcame 17 turnovers and hit 5-of-8 free throws.

Lesson learned

Greely got 14 points from Clement, who also had three steals.

“Camille is a great player and you have to focus on her,” Pelletier said. “She’ll be focused on all year. She’ll become a better player because of it.”

Graiver added eight points and three assists, Ippolito and Obar both wound up with three points, Dean, Delisle (nine rebounds) and Read all had two and Small contributed one.

The Rangers turned the ball over 19 times and made 5-of-7 free throws.

“(The Vikings are) so solid,” Flaherty said. “That was a very impressive effort. They showed us what we need to work on. It’s great to have a game like that for that reason. You’d like to have that in the summer or preseason, but we’ll learn from it. They took our offense away from us. Give them credit.”

Busy week

Oxford Hills goes to Edward Little Tuesday, then plays host to Leavitt Saturday. Games at Mt. Blue and Lewiston and home tilts versus Edward Little and Buckfield also remain.

“We hope to play well and work hard,” Kellogg said. “We don’t have a state championship to go for, so it’s important to work hard and have fun.”

“We’re just trying to enjoy every single moment,” said Pelletier. “All of these victories are key moments for the seniors and they can have something to remember.”

Greely welcomes Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, then plays at the Capers Friday before going to Gray-New Gloucester for a playoff rematch Saturday. Two games apiece against Edward Little and Yarmouth and one versus Lake Region also remain.

“I told the girls to think about (the loss) tonight, then we’ll change some things that aren’t working,” Flaherty said. “We have three games in five days, so we’ll have to do it on the fly. We want to give the seniors a meaningful experience. At the same time, it’s almost like an extension of summer basketball, a developmental period.”

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

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