AUGUSTA — This is our house.
It has devolved into the most overused rallying cry in sports. Student sections chant it. NFL linebackers scream it.
Edward Little didn’t waste words Saturday evening at Augusta Civic Center. The Red Eddies just went out and proved their point.
From the depths of a 15-point deficit late in the first half, No. 7 Edward Little rallied with the fortitude of a champion and the gusto of an underdog to knock out No. 2 Lewiston, 60-52, in the Eastern Class A boys’ basketball quarterfinals.
The team that missed 23 of its first 26 shots is the team that will return to meet No. 3 Mt. Blue at 7 p.m. Wednesday. EL (12-7) will aim for its fifth consecutive trip to the regional championship game.
“We haven’t hit shots all year,” EL coach Mike Adams. “What happened was the kids. They just didn’t want to lose.”
Sean Ford scored eight of his game-high 18 points and delivered a resounding blocked shot in a fourth quarter his grandchildren will hear about. Quin Leary also notched eight in the final period, finishing with 16 points and a dozen rebounds.
Ford and Nate Alexander each delivered a 3-point dagger. Ian Therriault parlayed his only points of the day into the go-ahead basket.
In short, the team that couldn’t do anything right for two-and-a-half quarters turned everything to gold in a few, frenzied minutes.
“It wasn’t exactly our game,” Leary said of the style that produced the comeback. “We got the points at the end off our pressure, just came up big.”
Corbin Hyde’s inside bucket beat the halftime buzzer to give Lewiston a 30-19 lead.
The Blue Devils (15-4) had won six straight, capped by a 58-53 triumph at EL eight days earlier. And they christened what looked to be a lengthy tournament run by shooting 52 percent while holding the Eddies to a paltry 21 percent before the break.
Probably that’s why Lewiston coach Tim Farrar didn’t panic as much as he wishes he had when EL found its footing in the third quarter.
Baskets by Erik Wilson protected the Devils’ lead on two occasions. Lewiston still was on top 36-33 after two Leary free throws in the final two-tenths of a second.
“I put the blame on two things. Me and EL,” Farrar said. “I should have called timeout sooner and settled us down and gotten the ball inside. You look up, still up nine, still up four, still up two. I felt like we were going to make our little run. We’ve done that all year. Teams have gotten back on us before. But it was just a sudden ba-boom.”
Leary answered Donne Agossou’s two free throws with two of his own, then stuck a turnaround jumper to make it 38-37.
Therriault’s steal and layup put EL ahead to stay at the five-minute mark.
“We knew coming in defense was going to be our thing,” Therriault said. “We needed to get stops if we were going to come back.”
Next, Therriault found Ford for a deep 3-pointer in front of the EL bench.
Hyde pulled Lewiston within a pair, but Ford’s drive for two and his dead run to make a rejection at the other end hinted at the exclamation point.
Nate Alexander provided that punctuation with another 3.
Long a co-favorite in this tournament, EL fit nicely into its new role of heartbreaker.
“We used to be one of the top seeds to come in here. Now we’re the underdogs,” Leary said. “We had a tough loss to them last week and all week we thought about that in practice. They were our rivals before, but even more (in this game) with the big stage and the playoffs.”
Luke Cote collected nine of his team-high 13 points in the first quarter for the Blue Devils, directing his team to leads of 6-0 and 15-8.
Shawn Ricker’s 3-pointer and a Jake Dumas putback pushed the advantage into double digits to start the second quarter.
Hyde (11 points) drained an uncontested trey and Ricker swished a foul-line jumper to crest Lewiston’s advantage at 25-10 with 3:34 to go in the half.
“We spent all week preparing, planning, figuring out what we were going to be able to do, and we didn’t do any of the things we worked on,” Adams said. “We were really hoping to get the ball inside better than we did tonight. We didn’t get any ball reversals in the first half.”
Lewiston shut out EL’s big three of Leary, Therriault and Omar Haji-Hersi in the second quarter. Ford’s six points and Alexander’s first 3-pointer made it a manageable margin at halftime.
“We played them two other times this year and there were multiple 10-point runs. That’s how it is. It’s so emotional and you look up and oh my goodness,” Farrar said. “We couldn’t have played any better in the first half. We probably couldn’t have played much worse in the second half.”