The top-seeded Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School weathered two second-half surges by No. 4 Portland High school to claim a 47-36 victory and earn its fourth straight trip to the regional final — and its fifth in six years.
Despite their success, the Vikings only advanced to the state title game twice in that six-year run, losing to reigning champions both times — Gorham High School in 2017 and the now-closed Catherine McAuley High School of Portland in 2014.
Oxford Hills, now 18-2, will play No. 7 Deering High School Friday at 2 p.m. for another shot at the gold ball.
In Wednesday afternoon’s Class AA North semifinal game against the Bulldogs, the Vikings got scoring from a variety of sources. And although Portland’s Davina Kabantu put the de facto home team up first with a game-opening three-pointer, Oxford Hills scored the next two baskets and led the rest of the way, leading 30-20 at halftime.
The Bulldogs carved into the lead in the third period behind sophomore Gemina Motema, who scored seven of her 13 points in the quarter, including a layup with 4:05 to go to bring Portland to within five, 32-27.
Portland made another run at it in the fourth, with a Davina Kabantu runner in the lane cutting the lead back down to five, 39-34, with just more than seven minutes left.
But both times, the Vikings stopped the bleeding and rebuilt their lead, finishing the third quarter with a 39-31 advantage and the game with an 11-point win. Julia Colby led Oxford Hills with 12 points, followed by Cecilia Dieterich with 11 and Cassidy Dumont with 10.
Behind top-scorer Motema, Amanda Kabantu scored 12 for Portland.
The Bulldogs finish their season with a record of 10-10.