Vinalhaven Vikings take Girls Class D Championship and make history for the island
BANGOR – The Vinalhaven Vikings girls basketball team took top honors Saturday, March 4, by capturing the Class D Girls Championship game and claiming the State Championship in Bangor at the Cross Insurance Center in a 55-44 victory.
Filling half the arena, it was as though the whole island turned out to see its team bring home the gold ball. It is the first basketball state title in the school’s history.
Not since 1984 have the Vikings found themselves in tournament play. Now they will forever be in the histories of Vinalhaven High School, the Island and the Midcoast.
Vinalhaven defeated Highview 71-37 in quarterfinal play before defeating Temple 66-49 in the regional semifinals.
The Vikings took on Shead High School Tigers from Eastport for the championship.
Viking Coach Sandy Nelson said she's been proud of the girls since day one and that started three years ago.
"When I came back to the island, they were the freshman and it was like, ohhh, we have this maniac as a coach," she said. "Since then, we've grown together and you can see the bond. I'm so proud of them and I just love them. They are absolutely wonderful kids."
Nelson has much to be proud of. Her girls played great ball, taking an early lead and keeping it for the entire game.
Early third quarter saw some sloppy play with three turnovers, but the Vikings bounced back and didn't look back.
"I knew they wouldn't run out of gas," said Nelson. "I was worried at half time, but they brought it back and this is just amazing for the Midcoast."
Junior Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in play helping to lead the team to a win.
Vinalhaven's Deja Doughty added six points, five assists and five rebounds, while Paige Dennison had five assists and Cheyenne Bickford four rebounds with each posting six points apiece. Ashlyn Littlefield added five points, six assists and a steal.
Vinalhaven scored 13 point in the first quarter, 11 in the second, 17 in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth to earn their 55 final tally.
Shead scored 9 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second, 10 points in the third and their game high of 14 points in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings received a police, sheriff, ambulance and fire escort from Lincolnville through Camden, Rockport and finally to the Ferry terminal in Rockland. Emergency services from the four towns participated.