Boys' Basketball: Red Eddies survive Vikings' second-half surge

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Edward Little’s Darby Shea drives to the basket past Oxford Hills’ Colton Carson during the first half of Friday night’s opening game of the season. The Red Eddies went on to defeat the Vikings 58-51. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Edward Little could have made Friday night’s season-opening victory over Oxford Hills look a little bit better on the scoreboard if it had done better at the free throw line than 14–for-27.

No matter how well the Red Eddies did at the free throw line, though, they couldn’t, and wouldn’t, classify their 58-51 win over the Vikings as pretty.

Darby Shea led all scorers with 26 points to help the Eddies recover from a third quarter surge by the Vikings. Wol Maiwen added 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals.

Colton Carson led Oxford Hills with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Chris St. Pierre sparked the surge with by nailing three 3-pointers in a row to start the second half and finished with 16 points.

“We knew coming in no matter what it was a rivalry game, so those games are always going to be close,” Shea said. “We know we’re going to have to fight for everything. We just have to keep spreading the floor, moving the ball and forcing inside because that’s what we do best.”

Trailing 30-23 at halftime, the Vikings stressed getting more out of St. Pierre in the second half, and the senior guard delivered by sparking  12-0 Oxford Hills run that put them up 35-30.

“That was an interesting third quarter,” EL coach Mike Adams said. “We just tried to make kids understand, you can’t help off of (St. Pierre).”

The Vikings clamped down after that, holding St. Pierre to one field goal and two made free throws the rest of the way.

“We’re really good adjusting to players when they heat up because we can get our best defenders on them or we can get ready for the screens that are coming and get around them,” Shea said. 

Shea finally got EL around a horrid shooting start to the third quarter by making its first field goal, a 3-pointer, with 2:03 remaining in the period. That launched an 8-2 run to close the third, capped by a Maiwen jump hook that put EL in front to stay, 38-37.

The Eddies weren’t able to create any separation for most of the fourth, leading by as much as five on a Khalid three-point play. 

Oxford Hills battled back to within one on a Spencer Strong drive with 3:41 remaining and within two on a pair of St. Pierre free throws. But Edward Little always had an answer, finally allowing their fans to breath a sign of relief with Austin Brown’s steal with 25 seconds left.

“Edward Little is for real. They might beat Portland,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said. “I was very proud of my kids because they played them until the end.

Tyler Morin, Ibn Khalid and, off the bench, Storm Jipson, were able to contain St. Pierre in the first half, at the expense of allowing Carson, who had 15 points in the first half, room to operate inside.

EL more than matched Carson’s production by shaking off a slow start and closing out the first quarter with a 13-2 run. Khalid provided the exclamation point with a halfcourt heave at the buzzer to make it 15-9 Eddies.

Atreyu Keniston, who would later leave the game with an injury, got the Vikings going again with a couple of putbacks. But Shea scored nine points in the quarter to stake the Eddies to the seven-point halftime lead.

” “I think the kids just forgot how hard it is to be good on offense. There was way too much dribbling by our guards tonight without going anywhere and not enough moving the ball and passing,” Adams said.

Adams and Shea pointed out the Eddies have three new starters and a number of other new contributors, so the early rust isn’t anything to be concerned about yet, even with rival Lewiston up next on Wednesday.

“Last year, we had a really good team and we started out slow, just like this,” Shea said. “I’m not worried about it.”

Edward Little’s Darby Shea drives to the basket past Oxford Hills’ Colton Carson during the first half of Friday night’s opening game of the season. The Red Eddies went on to defeat the Vikings 58-51. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Edward LIttle’s Ibn Khalid is fouled by Oxford Hills’ Janek Luksza as he heads to the basket during Friday night’s game in Auburn. EL went on to win the game 58-51. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen steals the ball from Oxford Hills’ Trevor Goodrich during the first half of Friday night’s game in EL. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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