There is no greater feeling than that of a small town when one of its sports teams achieves great things.
We’ve grown accustomed this year to the girls and boys basketball teams from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School having a great year. Both squads have demonstrated an uncanny knack for doing what it takes to be successful, in this case, going very deep into the state basketball tournament.
Both the boys and girls made it to the Eastern Division finals in Augusta.
The success of both squads is a testament to the tenacity and the temperament of the two coaches, Nate Pelletier for the girls and Scoff Graffam for the boys. Both men shepherded their teams through a difficult schedule, knocking off some really quality schools in the process. They are to be commended.
For the boys, a lot of people – and the opposition – focused on sophomore forward Andrew Fleming. They did so at their own peril. Fleming, whose unselfish play often led to others scoring a basket, often makes his teammates better with his deft passing and solid defense.
Players such as forward Dalton Rice and guard Matt Beauschesne provided the Vikings with the sort of supporting cast that it takes to advance so far into the playoffs. Other players contributed as well.
For the girls, a number of teams, rightfully, feared Mikayla Morin. A standout soccer player, Morin always seemed to use her range and court awareness to come up with a great defensive play just when the team needed it most. Her teammate, Anna Winslow, like Morin a junior, oftentimes displayed a special talent for making the big basket when all else seemed doomed.
Other players such as Tianna Sugars showed tremendous improvement over the course of the season. Sugars became the Vikings premiere defender under the basket, and a pretty good offensive threat on the other end. Crystal West, Claire Gregory and Brooke Murch provided the senior support a young team such as the Lady Vikings required. We do, at this time, take a little personal satisfaction with two players, Shannon Kriger and Riley Chittering. In addition to being standout basketball players, both are students in English teacher Pamela Chodosh’s journalism class. Each has written several stories for the Advertiser Democrat, both demonstrating a love for their sport while showing an equal passion for good journalism and good writing.
On a similar note, senior Jordan Schorr leads the cheer leading squad before and during every boys and girls game. We often forget that as much as the players, the cheerleaders are some amazing athletes themselves. And yes, you’ve also seen Schorr’s byline in the Advertiser Democrat.
We have to be honest here. This newspaper hasn’t always done the best job when it comes to covering high school sports. The reason is irrelevant. We hope, after this season and after putting images and stories from two of the girls team’s games on the front page, we’ve forever dispelled that notion.
Not because the teams won and it was convenient. We did it because it was right.