RED EDDIES' DAY — EL shuts down Windham to win AA North boys' title

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Edward Little celebrates their win of the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

PORTLAND — Edward Little’s boys’ basketball team didn’t want to be left out of the party the girls’ team has planned for next weekend, so it used its calling-card defense to make its own reservations.

The second-seeded Red Eddies limited No. 4 Windham to three points in the fourth quarter Friday night at Cross Insurance Center to pull away with a 50-35 victory.

It is the Red Eddies’ first regional championship since their second of back-to-back titles in what was then Class A South in 2010.

“We do it all for the alumni, and the family we have, and it’s just a great feeling to be able to go out there and get the ‘W,'” EL junior center Wol Maiwen said.

“I like where we’ve come (defensively),” Edward Little coach Mike Adams said. “We’re sort of Eastern Maine-balling it right now, (playing) halfcourt man and we threw in little triangle-and-two at times just to make (Windham leading scorers Mike) Gilman and (Nick) Curtis work.”

Maiwen led EL with 22 points and nine rebounds and was named the tournament’s MVP. Ibn Khalid chipped in with 13 points.

Curtis led Windham (15-6) with 16 points, and Gilman added 13 points.

Edward Little (17-4) will vie for its first state championship since 1946 against Scarborough, which defeated South Portland 55-43 in the AA South final played later Friday night. The state championship will be played at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at Cross Insurance Arena.

Windham handed visiting EL it first loss of the season, 69-54, on Dec. 22, in their only meeting during the regular season. The game wasn’t even a s close as the final score indicated, as the Eagles roared out to a 14-point first-quarter lead against the flat Red Eddies. 

EL entrenched itself defensively from the start Friday, however, and built an 11-8 lead after one quarter.

“We just came out to play today,” Khalid said. “It’s playoffs. You’ve got to come out to play. It’s either you win or go home.”

“We defended better, no question,” Adams said. “… We had to work really hard to limit what (Curtis and Gilman) could do. They’re great players.”

Adams called on Khalid and Tyler Morin, who were the primary defenders on Gilman and Curtis, respectively, to limit them. The Windham guards combined for 49 points in the first meeting, and 44 points in Windham’s semifinal upset of top-seeded Portland.

“(Curtis) is a great player,” Morin said. “He’s very good at attacking and he’s got a hell of a jump shot. I just tried my hardest to not let him get any 3s up and not let him get by me. I mean, every once in a while, he’s going to get by me, but help-side, they were there for me.”

“I had trust in my teammates. I knew that they had my back,” Khalid said. “I was just worrying about not letting (Gilman) catch the ball, and I knew my teammates had my back if they got by me.”

Curtis and Gilman combined to shoot 9-for-31 from the field, including 4-for-19 on 3-pointers.

Edward Little, meanwhile, enjoyed most of its success going inside to Maiwen (10 first-half points) and led 19-15 at halftime.

“We knew they couldn’t guard (Maiwen) down low, so we used him really big,” Khalid said. “We got him the ball every time and we knew he could do it.”

“We’re giving up a lot of size on Wol, and knowing that, our guys tried their best to keep it away from him,” said Windham coach Chad Pulkinnen, whose team was playing for the first regional title in school history. “He’s just an incredible athlete.”

Windham got even colder in the second half (6-for-26), while EL shot a scorching 11-for-18.

“Our kids executed. We just didn’t make shots when we needed to and had some costly turnovers,” Pulkinnen said.

EL led by as much as six in the third quarter, but Gilman drilled a corner 3-pointer at the horn to knot it at 32.

That would be Windham’s final last field goal for over six minutes. The Red Eddies started the fourth with a 13-1 run, sparked by a hoop from Darby Shea (nine points) that put them in front for good.

After an EL turnover, a steal, and a nice save to keep the ball on the Windham baseline, by Morin led to a transition drive by Khalid.

“It’s a play I work on a lot, trying to time going for the steal,” Morin said. “I didn’t know where I was on the baseline at first and I just saved it. It felt good to get that steal. It felt like we got a lot of momentum off of that.”

Back-to-back hoops lifted EL’s lead into double digits with 3:07 left. Windham missed its first seven shots before Curtis’ layup with 1:28 left.

By then, the Red Eddies had the sixth trip to the state championship game in school history sewn up.

“It feels amazing,” Morin said. “I’ve only heard about it, and I’ve seen it when I was a kid, and I wanted it bad. It feels awesome to get it this year.”

Edward Little’s Tyler Morin pushes past Windham’s Nicholas Curtis during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Austin Brown goes for a three point shot during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Darby Shea tips the ball to the basket during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Darby Shea drives towards the basket as Windham’s Cory Hutchison and Mike Gilman play defense during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen aims for the basket as Windham’s Dierhow Bol during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Darby Shea confronts Winham’s Nazari Henderson and Mike Gilman during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Tyler Morin and Windham’s Nicholas Curtis move down the court during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen looks to the basket as Windham’s Nathan Watson pressures him during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen drops the ball in the basket as Windham’s Cameron Brown looks on from below during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Ibn Khalid looks to the basket as Windham’s Cameron Brown pushes up from behind during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Ibn Khalid leaps up to shoot a basket as Windham’s Nazari Henderson and Cory Hutchison plays defense during the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Darby Shea and Windham’s Mike Gilman battle of control of the ballduring the Class AA North boys’ basketball finals in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena on Friday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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