Trailing by 10 points is unusual for the Oxford Hills boys’ basketball team. Being in close games is not.

So when the Vikings were down 10 to Cheverus in the second quarter of their Class AA North semifinal Friday afternoon, they knew they had enough time to rally, and the experience to do it.

With junior Teigan Pelletier leading the way with 27 points and 14 rebounds, top-ranked Oxford Hills pulled out a 66-60 win over the Stags at Cross Insurance Arena. The Vikings (20-1) advance to Saturday’s regional final against No. 2 Portland (15-5) at 3:45 p.m. at Cross Arena.

No. 4 Cheverus ends the season at 14-6.

“The Cheverus kids played fantastic. We’ve fought through adversity before. We played just well enough to win,” said Oxford Hills Coach Scott Graffam.


Eli Soehren’s layup broke a 58-58 tie with 1:18 left. Cheverus standout Silvano Ismail, a Mr. Basketball semifinalist who led the Stags with 24 points, fouled out with 2:03 to play, taking Cheverus’ top offensive weapon off the table down the stretch.

“Silvano in foul trouble, that changes everything,” said Cheverus Coach Richie Ashley.

Pelletier went 4 for 4 at the free-throw line in the final minute, and his breakaway dunk with a second to go was the exclamation point on the Vikings’ comeback win. It also was an exclamation point for Pelletier, who picked up two fouls in the game’s first four minutes and sat much of the first quarter. With Pelletier on the bench, Cheverus was able to push the pace at both ends of the floor, holding Oxford Hills scoreless over the final 4:18 of the first quarter to take a 20-12 lead.

Cheverus led 26-16 on a Giovanni St. Onge 3-pointer with 6:39 left in the second quarter. A Pelletier 3-pointer began an 11-0 run by the Vikings, who took a 27-26 lead on a Soehren 3 midway through the second quarter.

The Vikings planned to work the ball inside to big man Holden Shaw to exploit his size advantage. With Pelletier in foul trouble, Oxford Hills leaned on Shaw even more offensively. He scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half, helping the Vikings stay close to the Stags, who led 35-33 at the half. Shaw finished with nine rebounds, five offensive.

“That was our game plan going in, pound it into (Shaw), because they have nobody who can guard him. He’s too big and too good. He has the best footwork I’ve seen from a big man,” Pelletier said.


Down 39-33 midway through the third quarter, Oxford Hills outscored Cheverus 18-4 the rest of the quarter to take a 51-43 lead into the fourth. Pelletier scored 12 points in the third.

“Our guys know where our bread is buttered. (Pelletier) and Holden have to touch the basketball. We talked about at halftime, those two touching the ball and getting the ball inside,” Graffam said.

Slowing down Ismail, who scored 16 points in the first half, also was a key. The Vikings tried man-to-man defense on Ismail, with Cole Pulkkinen and Tanner Bickford taking turns guarding him, and used more zone in the second half to try to keep Ismail from attacking the basket. There’s no way to stop Ismail, Graffam said, but the idea was to make him work harder for his points.

Soehren added 13 points for the Vikings, while St. Onge scored 15 for the Stags.

As the game ended, the teams had to be separated by the officials after St. Onge threw the ball at Pelletier following his last-second dunk, and Jake Carson of Oxford Hills shoved St. Onge to the court. Carson was ejected and must sit out the regional final. For Cheverus, St. Onge and assistant coach Adam Peters were ejected and must sit out the opening game next season.

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