A Bangor High School player shoots the ball in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

The Oxford Hills girls used a dominating second half to edge past Bangor 50-45 in a thrilling Class AA North semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday afternoon.

The top-seeded and defending two-time state champion Vikings, now 18-2, will go on to play No. 2 Cheverus (16-3) in the AA North regional finals Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena. Cheverus defeated No. 4 Hampden 35-25 earlier Wednesday.

The No. 4 Rams ended their season at 13-7 and they are still looking for their first championship game berth after losing in the semifinals for the fourth time in the six years of Class AA’s existence.

Oxford Hills has reached the final all six times and the Vikings will be seeking their fourth regional title.

Bangor High School’s Amelia Quinn shoots the ball in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN
Bangor High School’s Emmie Streams takes the ball to the hoop in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Oxford Hills outscored Bangor 31-22 in the second half to rally from a 23-19 halftime deficit.

Class AA North Player of the Year Sierra Carson had a game-high 16 points for the winners although the junior went just 1-for-7 from the foul line. She had nine of her points in the second half.

Junior Molly Corbett had 13 points, 11 in the second half, to complement Carson and freshmen Gabbie Tibbetts and Ella Pelletier produced nine and eight points, respectively.

Senior Laela Martinez sparked Bangor with 15 points including 10 in the second half. Junior Emmie Streams, Class AA North’s Defensive Player of the Year, had nine points while junior Taylor Coombs and sophomore Mimi Quinn added eight apiece.

Abbie Quinn, Bangor’s leading scorer who averaged 13 points per game during the regular season, had just two points as she got into foul trouble.

Bangor High School’s Emmie Streams passes the ball in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Bangor had the momentum early, building a 13-7 lead in the first quarter until Oxford Hills’ Carson drained a long 3-pointer as time expired to end the quarter 13-10.

The second quarter remained scoreless for nearly the first three minutes. Oxford Hills tied the score twice at 15-15 and 17-17, but never took the lead outright.

Bangor’s Cassidy Ireland hit a 3-pointer to give Bangor a 20-17 lead and teammate Lily Chandler hit a three of her own at the buzzer to end the first half with Bangor up 23-19.

Momentum shifted in Oxford Hills’ favor after halftime, as the Vikings outscored the Rams 20-13 in the third quarter.

Bangor High School’s Abbie Quinn (right) takes the ball to the basket around Oxford Hills High School’s Brooklyn Alexander in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN
Bangor High School’s Emmie Streams dribbles through two Oxford Hills High School defenders in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Bangor’s Martinez hit a floater from the foul line at the buzzer to cut into Oxford Hills’ lead, 39-36 at the end of the third. Martinez then hit a three to tie the game at 39, but Oxford Hills quickly responded and never surrendered the lead again.

“We battled. It was a great game. It was a game of two very competitive and very even teams,” said Bangor coach Jay Kemble, whose team split recent regular season games with Oxford Hills.

“Both teams played hard defensively and both had opportunities to score. It came down to which team would make one or two more shots.”

Bangor High School’s Taylor Coombs (right) takes the ball up the floor through Oxford Hills High School defenders in a girls Class AA North semifinal basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Earlier this month, Oxford Hills edged Bangor 49-48 in Bangor on Feb. 5 with the Rams responding four days later with a 68-55 triumph in South Paris.

It was Oxford Hills’ only home loss of the season.

Bangor advanced to the semis with a 42-31 win over No. 5 Windham while Oxford Hills breezed by No. 8 Deering of Portland 63-30.

Oxford Hills came into the game with seven wins in its last eight games while Bangor had won five of six and four in a row.

Oxford Hills has been the top seed for all Class AA North tournaments but had faced Bangor only once previously in the tournament, ousting the fifth-seeded Rams 69-36 in the 2017 semifinals.

Oxford Hills High School girls basketball players celebrate their victory at the end of the Class AA North semifinal game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN