AUBURN – Troy Barnies and Sean McNally probably will enjoy college basketball more than their senior high school hardwood seasons.

Next year at the University of Maine, the respective stars of the Edward Little and Gardiner boys’ hoop teams won’t be triple-teamed every time they get within a fingernail of the ball. Nor will they be hacked repeatedly with limited repercussions.

It was small wonder that the “other” guys in each lineup figured prominently in Friday night’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference clash, with the unbeaten Red Eddies putting four scorers into double digits and gutting out a 52-46 victory.

Barnies, Eric Prue, Ben Hartnett and Kyle Philbrook combined for eight 3-pointers. Hartnett hit the first big one to stop a 7-0 Gardiner run late in the third quarter. Prue dropped the final hammer, doubling a three-point lead to six on a 21-footer from the left corner with 1:40 remaining in the fourth.

“That’s how it’s been the whole season so far,” said Hartnett, one of three junior guards in the EL rotation. “We’ve had three or four guys step up in every game.”

Gardiner’s 6-foot-8 McNally and EL’s 6-7 Barnies weren’t going head-to-head most of the time, but they basically negated each other’s presence on the stat sheet.

With Maine coach Ted Woodward looking on, Barnies finished with a team-high 12 points, five blocked shots and four rebounds for the Red Eddies (3-0). McNally turned in 11 points, 12 rebounds and three rejections for the Tigers.

Prue added 11 points, while Hartnett and Troy’s vastly improved brother Travis Barnies each added 10. Travis Barnies also was responsible for a lion’s share of the successful defensive effort against McNally.

“Those two guys, Prue and Hartnett, each took 10,000 jump shots this summer. Just that repetition and dedication is going to make you better,” said EL coach Mike Adams. “And Travis has been huge for us. He has gone from not playing at all last year to being a really good big man in our conference.”

Gardiner (1-2) played its third straight game with McNally’s father, Pat, as its interim coach. Head coach Dana Doran resigned during the pre-season after Doran declined to modify his team rule regarding haircuts. His top two assistants also stepped down in protest.

Mike Lavallee led the Tigers with 12 points, including two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.


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