The South Portland boys basketball team won its first gold ball in 30 years after a 58-44 victory over Oxford Hills to win the Class AA state championship at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday.
The Red Riots finish their season at 21-1.
J.P. Estrella led the team with 19 points, including two slam dunks in the game’s final minutes. Owen Maloney added 15 points and Jayden Kim had 10.
Oxford Hills’ season ends at 18-4.
Teigen Pelletier paced the Vikings with 18 points, while Cole Pulkkinen added 11 and Colby Dillingham and Eli Soehren added five points each.
It’s the first Class AA state championship for South Portland, which last made it to the state finals in 2017, falling to Portland 60-38, after losing to Portland 52-50 the year prior. South Portland previously competed in Class A, prior to the creation of AA in 2016.
The team last won a gold ball in 1992 as a member of Class A, beating Bangor High School 81-79.
Top seed South Portland dominated the competition at every stage of the tournament. The Red Riots beat No. 2 Thornton Academy 56-39 to win the Class AA South regional championship, after besting No. 4 Bonny Eagle 50-32 in the semifinals and No. 8 Noble 83-33 in the quarterfinals.
No. 2 Oxford Hills upset No. 1 Edward Little to win the Class AA North regional title via a dramatic rally in the final 27.8 seconds of the game to erase a five-point deficit and win 48-47.
Oxford Hills defeated Cheverus 59-46 in the semifinals and Bangor 43-42 in the quarterfinals.
Lindsay Putnam is a senior editor for sports and features at the Bangor Daily News. Lindsay previously worked as an editor and reporter at the New York Post. She's a York Beach native and Colby College...
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