Bill Goodman knows a little bit about winning state championships, earning three of them while coaching at McAuley High.

Now in his third year as the girls’ basketball coach at Cheverus, Goodman has the Stags on a championship track, too.

Second-seeded Cheverus took control in the second half Saturday afternoon to turn back top-ranked Oxford Hills, 52-36, in the Class AA North championship game at Cross Insurance Arena. In ending the Vikings’ two-year reign as state champions (2019, 2020), the Stags advanced to a state final for the first time.

“Cutting down the net was like a dream come true,” said Cheverus sophomore Maddie Fitzpatrick, who led the Stags with 19 points and hit all six of her foul shots in the final minutes to secure the title. “Especially for Cheverus. It’s the first one for Cheverus. We’re building a legacy here with Coach Goodman. And this is the first step of that legacy.”

Cheverus (17-3) will play South champion Gorham at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena. Oxford Hills finished 18-3, two of the losses to Cheverus.

Sophomore Emma Lizotte added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Stags and was named the winner of the Edward “Red” McMann Award, given to the tournament’s outstanding player/sportsman.


“This means a lot,” Lizotte said of the regional championship. “We’re all excited and ready for one more game.”

The Stags started slowly, with five missed shots and a turnover on their first six possessions, and quickly trailed 7-0. But they soon climbed back into the game, and it was tied at 18 at the half.

Goodman let his players know at halftime that their effort in the second half needed to be better.

“Our third quarters haven’t been great all year,” said Goodman. “And I just find my team does better when I yell at them, so I found a way to yell at them. And they just responded.”

Maeve Kelly opened the second half with a 3-pointer to give Cheverus a 21-18 lead that it would never relinquish. The Vikings did not hit a field goal in the third quarter, missing all 13 attempts, and scored just three points to trail 30-21 entering the fourth.

“In the end, you’ve got to make baskets if you’re going to win the game,” said Oxford Hills Coach Nate Pelletier. “We just could not buy a basket.”

Cheverus kept the pressure on to make sure the Vikings couldn’t come back. The Stags went up 40-26 on a three-point play by Lizotte with 4:15 remaining. Oxford Hills used its press to pull within 42-34 on a three-point play by Ella Pelletier with 3:03 left.

The Vikings, who got 16 points from Pelletier and 10 from Brooklyn Alexander, had a chance to get closer but missed a shot that Fitzpatrick rebounded. She then threw an outlet pass to Lillian Singleton, who scored a layup. Another Oxford Hills miss led to another Singleton layup, and the Stags were in control again.

“Obviously, Cheverus is a great team, all the credit to them,” said Pelletier. “They capitalized on the momentum when the time came and we weren’t able to stop them.”

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