The 235-mile trek north did not deter the No. 9 Oceanside girls basketball team against No. 8 Caribou in the Class B North prelim playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 13 as the Mariners and Vikings battled toe-to-toe through the first three quarters.

However, the Mariners, who have just one senior, struggled down the stretch to find the cylinder — and the Vikings got white-hot from the free-throw line — as the hosts pulled away to net a 51-40 victory.

With the win, Caribou (9-10) advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face top-ranked Hermon (16-2) on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 3:05 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Hawks bested the Vikings 56-41 on Dec. 9.

Oceanside’s season wrapped at 9-10.

In the prelim playoff, Caribou led 10-8 after the first quarter, while Oceanside rebounded to take a 19-16 halftime edge and clung to a 29-28 lead after three quarters.

Raechel Joyce led the balanced Oceanside scoring attack with a 10-point effort, while Hannah Moholland added eight; Hope Butler and Sara Dorr, six; Kalli Grover and Gabby Simmons, four; and Kassidy Robinson, two.

Moholland also grabbed seven rebounds, Robinson five and Abby Veilleux four.

Searra Herbert tossed in 21 points — including icing 8-of-9 (89 percent) from the foul line in the fourth quarter — to pace Caribou, while Paige Espling added 15; Gabrielle Marquis, 12; Alexis Rodriguez, three; and Taylor LaBreck, two.

The Vikings were 19-of-27 (70 percent) from the charity stripe — including 14-of-15 (93 percent) in the final stanza — while the Mariners finished 6-of-8 (75 percent) for the 32-minute game.

“I thought we played well,” said Oceanside coach Sam Bragg. “We got off the bus fairly well and for three quarters played our game. We struggled to score late and Caribou took advantage from the foul line when we fouled.”

Bragg said the turning point of the game came with four minutes to play when Oceanside was called for a loose ball foul — which was immediately followed on the play by a technical foul — which Bragg said was a case of some general frustration boiling over in a highly-competitive contest.

Herbert went to the line and hit all four foul shots — two for the loose ball foul and two more for the technical — and immediately hit another basket as the Vikings retained possession as Caribou’s lead swelled to double-digits in a matter of seconds.

Despite the loss, Bragg said “the girls fought hard until the final buzzer and I am very proud of them.”

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