AUBURN — Edward Little has exhibited for nearly a decade that it can win with star power.
The Red Eddies demonstrated Monday afternoon that they get ample mileage out of the stars being aligned, too.
With senior center Quin Leary taken out of the game by a combination of cozy Cony defense and foul trouble, four EL players put up double-digit points in a 78-54 KVAC boys’ basketball victory.
“They were just keying on Quin the whole time and made pretty much all of us wide open,” said EL senior Sean Ford, who finished with game-highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. “It’s nice to have a player like Quin who’s better than everyone and makes them key on him. It makes the rest of our team so much more dangerous.”
Leary was limited to two points, five rebounds and four assists in his rationed minutes.
Up stepped junior Nate Alexander, supplying 15 points, seven boards and four assists. And sophomore Ian Mileikis, with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Not to be outdone, Mileikis’ classmate Lew Jensen brought 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Throw in Mahad Mohamed’s eight points and seven caroms and the Eddies (12-1) flaunted far too much firepower for the undermanned Rams (4-9).
“Five times this year we’ve had five kids in double figures, which is crazy in high school basketball in Maine,” Alexander said.
Cony was missing 6-foot-4 junior Ben Lucas, who was home with the flu. The Rams went with a starting lineup that featured nobody taller than 6-1.
It provided the quickness and tenacity needed to hunker down on Leary, but it made EL’s expected edge in the paint even more dramatic. The Eddies out-rebounded the Rams by a staggering 65-29 margin.
“They went a lot smaller and tried to be more aggressive defensively,” EL coach Mike Adams. “We have some great players around Quin. People who think we’re just Quin, tonight they saw there’s a lot more to us than that.”
Ford furnished eight points in the first quarter, staking EL to a modest 17-12 lead.
Alexander’s free throw at the end of that period triggered a 17-4 run, led by six points from Jensen and strengthened by Cony’s 0-for-13 start from the field in the second quarter.
“It made us key in on Lachance a bit more,” Alexander said of Lucas’ absence, and it opened up a lot of lanes for our guards rebounding because Lucas is a big kid.”
Liam Stokes led Cony with 15 points, all but three coming in the second half. Ben Leet added 11, including nine from 3-point land. Both are sophomores.
EL held Lachance to five points, none after intermission.
Mileikis, Alexander and Ford each scored six in the third quarter to slam the door. The Eddies expanded a 35-22 halftime lead to 59-41 in that chapter.
“That was a good night for those guys,” Adams said. “We’ve been working with Nate a lot on finding his offense and getting a good shot. Tonight was great. We couldn’t have asked for a better time for that to happen.”