It was often basketball in a phone booth, called tightly and played within a few feet of the basket – and that suited Oxford Hills just fine. The Vikings knew that to beat Cheverus a third time this season, they’d have to use their size advantage and slow the Stags down.

That’s exactly how it worked out, with second-seeded Oxford Hills taking a 59-46 win in a Class AA North boys’ basketball semifinal Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Oxford Hills (17-3) will face No. 1 Edward Little in the regional final at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Cross arena. It will be the Vikings’ first trip to a regional final since 2013.

Cheverus, the sixth seed, ends its season at 9-10.

Playing their first game since beating Bangor in the quarterfinals a week ago, the Vikings came out hot, opening an 18-5 lead after the first quarter. The key was getting the ball inside to 6-foot-10 Colby Dillingham and preventing the Stags from scoring in transition.

Oxford Hills committed just five turnovers in the first half and led 39-22 at the break. After the Stags cut their deficit to 22-16 midway through the second quarter, the Vikings closed the half with a 17-6 run.


“When you get a week to prepare, you’ve got to be able to come out strong. We’d beaten (Cheverus) by 13 and we’d beaten them by 18, so we tried to make sure the kids understood we were better than them. There’s no guarantee. They’re high school kids,” said Oxford Hills Coach Scott Graffam. “We talk about single-digit quarters defensively. … We tried to limit their fast-break points, because they like to turn you over. They like to trap you in half court and then run out, but we didn’t turn it over in the first half very much.”

Dillingham scored the first five points of the game, and finished with 20.

“We planned on getting it to me early. As soon as they started doubling, I’d just kick it out,” Dillingham said. “We just focused on being really physical and fundamentally sound on defense.”

The Vikings’ size helped them to a 37-22 advantage on the boards.

“He’s 6-foot-10. Our guys battled. I can’t ask for anything more. Sometimes you just come up against a freight train,” said Cheverus Coach Richie Ashley. “You try to do as much as you can, but height is height.”

Defensively, Oxford Hills relied on Isaiah Oufiero, the AA North Defensive Player of the Year, to shut down Seth Huntington, who scored eight points. Tanner Bickford helped keep the Stags’ Silvano Ismail in check. Ismail had 15 points, with seven coming at the free-throw line.


“We were a lot deeper than they were, I thought. We put in our eight, nine guys, we don’t lose a lot,” Graffam said.

It was a tightly called game, with the teams combining for 44 fouls and 52 free throws. Oxford Hills went 16 for 24 at the line, while Cheverus was 19 for 28.

“It was a little bit more tightly called than I thought it would be, but that’s the tournament,” Dillingham said.

Teigan Pelletier added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Vikings, and Eli Soehren scored nine points.

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