AUBURN – Troy Barnies spent the first quarter of the season trying to get his teammates involved in the Edward Little offense, and found great success doing just that, as the Eddies started the season 4-0.

Wednesday night, Barnies decided it was time to look for his own shot a little bit more, and Leavitt just happened to be the victim of circumstance.

The University of Maine-bound senior tallied a season-high 43 points, 10 rebounds and four steals as the Red Eddies broke away in the second half and pounded the Hornets, 72-41.

“I knew that later on in the season, starting now, that I was going to get more involved myself because other teams would start defending us as five, not just me,” Barnies said. “I feel that I kind of took advantage of that tonight because they thought I was going to do the same thing.”

He did a good job playing possum while Leavitt jumped out to an early 10-4 lead, but then he scored EL’s next 17 points, from the 3:07 mark of the first quarter, when he scored on a layup, until 3:22 remained in the first half, when Eric Prue hit a jumper from the top of the key.

Barnies did his damage inside and outside, pounding the offensive glass (eight rebounds) for second-chance points, filling the lanes in transition and drilling four 3-pointers.

“It was him being more aggressive and going after the ball, which is really what he hadn’t done sometimes before,” EL coach Mike Adams said. “After a lot of work with our ‘two-post’ offense, we’ve been able to get a little better feel for each other, and the guards made some better decisions passing the ball to him.”

Leavitt (4-2) hung around for about three-and-a-half quarters, but injuries, turnovers and Barnies took them out of it. Cam Angell (13 points), playing with the flu, got off to a strong start, sinking three successive turnaround jumpers as the Hornets took a 16-11 lead into the second quarter. But then Ben Hartnett buckled down on Angell, and the Eddies’ full-court pressure began to fluster the Hornets (25 turnovers), allowing EL to take a 28-24 lead into halftime.

“We knew that we were going to press them from the beginning, because that’s what we do. But we know that if we get up on them because they have such big guards, we could get a lot of easy turnovers,” Barnies said.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do – too many turnovers, too many second-chance points, way too many offensive rebounds, and we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, either,” Leavitt coach Mike Remillard said.

A 3-pointer by Angell midway through the third period pulled the Hornets within 39-33, but then senior point guard Matt Nash went down after being accidentally kicked below the left calf and never returned to the game. Kyle Philbrook answered Angell’s 3 with one of his own to spark a 14-0 EL run that put the game away.

Philbrook finished with eight points, while Prue added nine for the Eddies. Eric Berry had 10 points for the Hornets.

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