Poland pulls away from Oxford Hills

POLAND — In the regular-season final for both Unified basketball teams, it was host Poland that was able to pull away in the second half for the 62-49 victory over Oxford Hills on Monday.

Jacob Paradis was Poland’s lone player recognized on Senior Night before the game, then led the Knights with 20 points in the contest.

Paradis scored his final points near the end of the game, then was substituted out with a few seconds left so he could get an ovation from the Poland crowd. While Paradis is a force in the paint on the court, Poland coach Katrina Seeley said he is quite the musician.

“He’s very happy,” Seeley said. “He calls himself Joe Jonas, so we have the Jonas brothers and Demi Lovato on our team. He loves to sing on bus rides, he carries around his guitar with him and is always happy and willing to do whatever we ask of him.”

In the first half, Oxford Hills and Poland went back and forth, trading the lead with each basket for much of the stanza.

Logan Porier scored six of his team-leading 12 points in the first half and helped the visiting Vikings to a 22-21 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Paradis helped get the scoring going, hitting two layups to put Poland up 29-24 with 17 minutes remaining.

Oxford Hills’ Blake Smith drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Vikings within two, at 29-27, with 16:45 left in the half.

Smith said his favorite part of his game is his 3-point shot. After missing both Oxford Hills games last year due to being in quarantine, Smith is enjoying being with the team this year.

“I like how we work together,” Smith said. “We talk on the bus rides home and do things together. … We never played Poland before, so it is fun to play a new team.”

Oxford Hills coach Jenn Mocciola said she’s also seen the team chemistry come together.

“We had what I would call a normal season this year and they were excited to get back on the court,” Mocciola said. “There have been a lot of new players on the court this season, so just to see their progress from day one to now has been really amazing to see. To see the teamwork that’s developed, too.”

On the Poland side, the players have been asking Seeley for months about playing Unified basketball again. The Knights played just one game last season.

“They started asking about Unified basketball when we got back to school in September, and when I got back from maternity leave in November they asked when Unified was starting,” Seeley said. “They look forward to it, they enjoy basketball and coming to practice and the games. They’re always asking when we are going to have practice or a game because they enjoy it so much.”

Elijah Salley scored nine of his 14 total points in the second half to help the Knights pull away from the Vikings. McKayla Fournier added eight of her 18 points in the second half, as well. Kaylynn Cook and Hannah Michaud both tallied four total points for Poland.

For Oxford Hills, Brieana Smith scored six of her 10 points in the second half, while Mackenzee Cole scored all six of her points in the second half. Jacob Ellery O’Neil tallied eight points for the Vikings.

Oxford Hills will now prepare for its winter festival, where two other teams will travel to play in a round robin, followed by a pizza dinner.


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