Barnies’ brothers combine for 50 points for Edward Little

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AUBURN – When Travis Barnies explains it, it’s pretty simple.

“They’re triple-teaming him, I just cut through the lane,” the 6-foot-4 Barnies said. “I’m wide open.”

Barnies was explaining his quick start in Edward Little’s game with rival Lewiston. The “him” he referred to is his 6-foot-7 brother, Troy, who drew a lot of attention from Lewiston’s defense early and allowed Travis to score 16 of his 19 points in the first half as EL picked up a tougher-than-it-sounds 82-62 win Tuesday night.

Troy Barnies, who is heading to the University of Maine, still dominated, finishing with 34 points and 13 rebounds. But getting his brother started early was a key to the Eddies establishing their dominance in the paint.

“When Travis gets going, we feel like we can get everyone else going,” said Troy Barnies, who became the first two-time winner of the Gordon “John” Gillette Award as the game’s top player. “Travis happened to be there for me in the first and second quarter, scoring all the points, forcing them to guard him more than me, and then I started to get more opportunities.”

“I don’t think anyone can stop us in the paint, me and my brother,” Travis added.

The Blue Devils certainly couldn’t. The Red Eddies (9-0) shot 64 percent from the floor for the game.

“Close shots help, and we finished,” EL coach Mike Adams said, explaining his team’s accuracy. “And Troy and Travis did a very good job asking for the ball and being big in the post and finishing at the rim.”

The Blue Devils (2-8) didn’t have an answer for the Barnies brothers in the paint, but led by Jarrid Palmer (24 points, five 3-pointers) and Abdinassir Abdi (14 points, two 3s), they were able to hang around for much of the night. They made nine of 17 3-point attempts and were a couple of bombs away from making it a tight game again midway through the fourth quarter.

The Red Eddies seemed to put the game away when Eric Prue lobbed to Troy Barnies for an alley-oop that electrified the EL partisans and made it 63-43 with 6:45 to go. But Palmer hit back-to-back 3’s, then a two-pointer, and then Jared Giroux followed with a 3-pointer of his own to pull Lewiston to within 10 with 4:21 left in the game. Adams called a time out and told his guards to do whatever they could to bother Palmer’s shot, and they succeeded, holding him scoreless the rest of the way. Ben Hartnett (14 points) led a 10-3 run to help the Eddies pull away.

“This was much closer than an 82-62 game,” Lewiston coach Pat Blais said. “We had some awesome flashes in the first half and then some flashes of bad basketball.”

Travis Barnies scored 10 of the Eddies’ first 13 points, but Abdi and Palmer had their shooting strokes going early, too, to make it a slim 17-15 EL lead after one. Troy Barnies took over the bulk of the scoring in the second quarter as his team shot 11-for-14 from the field and opened an 11-point cushion at the half.

Palmer and Abdi opened the second half with back-to-back 3’s to make it a four-point game, but Troy Barnies scored 10 points in a 14-3 Eddies’ run en route to an 18-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“In the 10 games we’ve played, we’ve been in nine of them,” Blais said. “There’s just a lot of little mental things that we’ve got to get better at, but that’s what happens when you play three sophomores, four juniors and one senior.”

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