The Oxford Hills girls’ basketball team looked like the strongest team in the state for most of the season.

And with a chance to make it official Monday night, the Vikings left no doubt.

Sierra Carson scored 17 points and notched eight steals as the leader of Oxford Hills’s suffocating defense, Tristen Derenburger hit six 3-pointers en route to 18 points, and the top-seeded Vikings won the Class AA championship with a 62-25 victory over Gorham at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

The Vikings, who also got 10 points and eight rebounds from Ella Pelletier, finished 21-1, earned their third AA title in four seasons, and did it all in emphatic fashion.

“It’s all of the positive emotions I could ever feel,” said Carson, who was named a Miss Maine Basketball finalist last week. “It was everyone contributing (in) their role, and more. What we started from the beginning of the season up until now, everyone did that in this game.”

Gorham (12-10), which rode a pair of upsets through the AA South tournament into this game, couldn’t muster a third. Ellie Gay led the Rams with 11 points, but the Vikings were too deep, too fast and too much.


“Their defensive pressure forces you into doing things you don’t want to do, so when they turned it up in the second half we were playing at a pace that made us uncomfortable,” Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume said. “Rebounding is key to what we do, and they really won that balance on the boards.”

It amounted to a state final runaway even the Vikings didn’t see coming.

“You work so hard all year to build these pieces to your team to make it successful in a tournament or a state championship game,” Coach Nate Pelletier said. “Today, it was one of those days where all of those pieces came together.

“We were able to play at the pace we wanted to, we were able to hit the shots we wanted to. That’s essentially what we were building toward.”

The game’s start looked the way the Rams would have wanted it to – Gorham held a 14-7 lead after a Gay basket at the start of the second, and Oxford Hills was 0 for 5 from 3-point range.

The Vikings weren’t worried.


“We just had to keep pushing,” said Ella Pelletier, a sophomore. “Even if it goes bad, we just have to push through it. Next play, next play.”

Pelletier followed with a drive to the basket, Carson had a layup and a 3-pointer to tie it at 14 with 4:54 to go in the quarter, and it was as if a fog cleared with the Vikings’ offense. Derenburger and Molly Corbett had 3s as Oxford Hills went on a 15-0 run en route to a 22-17 halftime lead.

The third quarter, however, was an avalanche. Derenburger, who tied a Class AA tournament record for 3-pointers in a game, hit three on consecutive possessions early in the third quarter, making it 33-18 Oxford Hills.

It was just the start as the Vikings ended the third up 45-20 and led by as many as 40 in the fourth.

“I was a little rough to start. I missed a couple, one of them really ugly,” Derenburger said. “And then I hit one, and I knew from there I could just keep hitting them. Once we got that run and we got up a little bit, I had full confidence.”

With the Vikings’ offense and defense operating at full tilt – Gorham scored eight second-half points – the second half became a countdown to a coronation.

“Having fun out there, that’s what also shows (with us),” Carson said. “We go out there, and it’s not all about scoring and winning. It’s about having fun while we do that. I think that really shows everywhere.”

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