And One: Edward Little girls have difficult road ahead

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Edward Little’s Grace Beaudet, right, dribbles under the basket as Lewiston’s Victoria Harris moves in to defend during Friday night’s game in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

The Edward Little girls’ basketball team had to grind out a rivalry win over Lewiston on Friday night.

As tough as the Blue Devils made it, the Red Eddies’ 58-47 win was only the beginning of a brutal season-ending stretch.

The Eddies, who are ranked fourth in Class AA North, play at defending state champion Gorham on Tuesday, host Oxford Hills (9-3, third in AA North) on Thursday and are at Thornton Academy (4-7) on Saturday.

Next week, EL hosts unbeaten South Portland (11-0, first in AA South) and travels to Messalonskee (8-4, third in A North). Then the Eddies finish the season with a home game against another unbeaten, Brunswick (11-0, second in A South), and host Bangor (2-9) in the season finale.

Of course, games against all those teams mean that EL has the opportunity to rack up some Heal points in large chunks with victories.

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“I don’t think we’ve actually spoken about it, per se, but we’ve had moments where we’ve tried to emphasize resiliency — just refocusing, redoubling the efforts,” EL coach Chris Cifelli said after Friday’s win. “We have a tough stretch now … This was a good test to really get us kind of prepared for that.”

Devils believing

Cifelli said that he could tell during warm-ups that Lewiston was amped up to face Edward Little, which defeated the Blue Devils 56-36 in the second game of the season.

That excitement was evident in Lewiston’s active defense, its aggressive offense and even in its energetic bench, which was hopping and celebrating big plays most of the game.

“We were ready. We’ve been preparing,” Lewiston coach Lynn Girouard said. “We didn’t feel like they were 20 points better than we were.

“We’ve grown a lot as a team, a lot of players have improved,” she paused to sigh, “we were there, we were there.”

While lamenting that the young Blue Devils — of the nine who played, only two are upperclassmen — fell short Friday, Girouard also said the way Lewiston played should serve as a confidence-booster for the remainder of the season.

“Now I know how they can play,” Girouard said. “So now they better play like this for the next six games.”

The Red Eddies weren’t surprised by how well the Blue Devils played.

“We’ve always joked that the distance on the bridge is shortening every year,” Cifelli said. “And Lynn’s doing a very good job and she’s got some very talented players, and they do some things that are tough for us to match up with. So we knew that they would really want this game.”

Mustang muscles through

Monmouth’s Tia Day didn’t score in the second half of Friday night’s game. She uncharacteristically dribbled the ball off her foot and out of bounds, leading to turnovers when the Mustangs were losing grip of the game’s momentum. And yet Monmouth girls’ basketball coach Scott Wing couldn’t have been more proud of the senior guard after the win over rival Madison.

“She sprained her ankle real bad on Monday, didn’t play in our game (Thursday) night,” Wing said. “She only played in this game because it was this game. If it was probably anybody else in the conference we probably would have sat her again.”

Day gritted through the game, scoring 12 of her game-high 15 points in the second quarter, when the Mustangs grabbed hold of a double-digit lead. But after having her mobility tested by the Madison full-court press in the third quarter, she started the fourth by hurting her ankle again on the opening inbound.

“When Tia went down rolling her ankle … when I went out, I said, ‘Did you roll your ankle again?’ And the first words out of her mouth was, ‘I’m all right,'” Wing said. “You got to love kids like that.”

Day came back into the game 30 seconds later.

That’s a Morin

The Edward Little boys have some widely recognized players on their team, from Wol Maiwen to Darby Shea and even transfer Ibn Khalid. But don’t forget about senior point guard Tyler Morin, head coach Mike Adams said after Friday’s 75-39 win over Lewiston.

“I think he’s huge to our success,” Adams said. “He gets us into what we want to do, he gets the ball to where it’s supposed to go. We’ve been struggling rebounding, he had some big boards tonight. Last year we said he’s one of the best rebounding guards I’ve ever had, and this year he hasn’t had to, but we still need him to, and he came out tonight and did a really good job rebounding.”

Turnovers, and over, and over

Lisbon boys’ basketball coach Jake Gentile said after Thursday’s game against Mountain Valley that his team needs to score in the 50s and 60s to be successful. The Greyhounds finished with just 39 points in the loss.

More points could have been scored if not for all the turnovers the Greyhounds committed. The Falcons didn’t fare much better in that category.

Both halves started with five consecutive possessions ending in a turnover. The Falcons committed three while the Greyhounds had two to start the game, and the final Mountain Valley giveaway led directly to Lisbon scoring the game’s first points.

Then, to start the second half, the Greyhounds gave it away it three times, and the Falcons two before settling for a missed shot on their third. Mountain Valley righted the ship by committing nine turnovers in the final three quarters after having six in the first quarter alone.

Lisbon ended the game with 25 turnovers, including 10 in the third quarter alone. Some of that can be attributed to Mountain Valley’s up-tempo, full-court “run-and-jump” defense. 

“It takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort to play like that, but the boys did a good job with that tonight,” Falcons coach Tom Danylik said.

It helped that the Falcons used 11 players in the game.

Mittelstadt keeps home fires burning

Mt. Blue sophomore guard and captain Lexi Mittelstadt turned in a 29-point performance this past Monday night against Skowhegan, which dominated the game and marched off with a 70-44 victory. She had a banner night, hitting six of her seven shots at the free-throw line and dropping in three 3-pointers.

During the defensive battle against Leavitt Area High School on Friday night, Mittelstadt, like all players, struggled to score. But she still threw in the game-high 12 points and one of her two 3-pointers tied the game in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, where the Cougars bounced back to beat the Hornets, 27-23. Jacelyn and Jocelyn Daggett combined for seven key free-throws in that game.

B South is a Gray area, or is it?

The Gray-New Gloucester girls have owned B South in recent years, winning the past two regional crowns as well as the Class B state title last March.

The Patriots (9-3) are again at the top of B South, and no other team has a duo like Bri Jordan and Jordan Grant. But coach Mike Andreasen said their grip on the region isn’t firm at this point.

For starters, Poland (10-3) is less than a half-Heal point behind Gray-NG, and is coming off a 16-point win over Lake Region on Friday — the same Lake Region team that fell one point and possibly a second short of defeating the Patriots on Tuesday.

Freeport is right with Gray-NG and Poland, and Mountain Valley and Oak Hill are, as always, MVC wildcards, and the two young squads are positioned nicely for the postseason. Wells is 5-7, but proved its bona fides with recent close games against Gray-NG and Lake Region.

“It’s anybody’s (region). It really is anybody’s,” Andreasen said after the Lake Region win. “We’ve got to do a little something to separate ourselves.”

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