Oxford Hills’ top-seeded girls basketball team has always reached the Class AA North championship game ever since the division was formed in 2016.
The trend will continue as the Vikings from South Paris received a game-high 19 points from sophomore center Ella Pelletier — including 11 in the second half — and they pulled away for a 48-35 win over No. 5 Hampden Academy in their AA North semifinal at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Wednesday.
Oxford Hills, 19-1, will face second seed and defending state champ Cheverus of Portland, 18-2, in Saturday’s 2 p.m. regional final at the Cross Insurance Arena.
It will be a rematch of last year’s game won by Cheverus 52-35.
Oxford Hills will be seeking its fourth regional title.
Hampden Academy wound up 11-9.
The Vikings beat the Broncos 70-41 and 54-36 in their regular season meetings but the Broncos gave them more of a battle on Wednesday, trailing by just seven at the half and after three quarters as well.
But senior guard Sierra Carson, who was in foul trouble and spent a good portion of the game on the bench, poured in 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Vikings pulled away.
Molly Corbett had eight points for the Vikings, Gabbie Tibbetts had five and Maddie Miller scored four points.
Providence College-bound senior guard Bella McLaughlin capped her outstanding career at Hampden Academy with 18 points. Freshman Grace Laster added nine points and Lucy Wiles had four.
“Pelletier played out of her mind,” said Hampden Academy coach Nick Winchester. “She took over when Carson got in foul trouble. Her determination rubbed off on all of her teammates. She must have had five or six offensive rebounds. She was relentless.”
He also said the Vikings got some quality minutes from Corbett and Tibbetts.
“Corbett hit a pair of threes for them [in the second quarter] that were back-breakers,” said Winchester.
He said McLaughlin turned in a terrific performance in her final game.
“Bella was fantastic,” Winchester said. “She did everything she could to keep us in the game.”
He also lauded Laster for her performance.
Winchester said his team was able to cut the lead to four but they missed some important foul shots and the Vikings were able to come up with key baskets when they needed them.
“They’re a good team,” said Winchester, noting that they have the best scoring balance in AA North with four players who are shooting at least 34 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.