LEWISTON – The Edward Little section began its “Un-de-feat-ed” chant with 25 seconds to go in Thursday night’s clash with rival Lewiston. A short time later, the unbeaten Red Eddies emerged as a team from the visitor’s locker room wearing t-shirts emblazoned with their 18-0 record on the front.

Edward Little secured its first perfect record since Bryan Lambert led the 2000 edition through a spotless regular season with a 70-53 win over the Blue Devils. And obviously, it’s not an accomplishment the Eddies (18-0) took lightly or tried to downplay.

“You can’t not talk about it. Everybody’s thinking about it,” said EL coach Mike Adams. “We just said, ‘You have a chance to do something really special.’ It doesn’t happen very often. We never, ever thought we would be in that position at the beginning of the year. But if you work that hard, and you get the opportunity, why not take it?”

Perhaps with that in mind, the Eddies were clearly a little tight in the early going, missing seven of their first eight shots and 10 of their first 14 to find themselves in an 11-11 tie after one.

“We didn’t want to lose our last game, especially to our arch-rivals,” said Troy Barnies, who went for a typical Barnies-like 29 points and 11 rebounds in his final regular season game. “There were jitters at the beginning of the game.”

“We tried to do too many things individually,” Adams said. “But once we settled down and played our style of offense, I think that the results were much more in our favor then.”

Lewiston’s guards sagged down to double and sometimes triple Barnies, but EL took off once its guards started hitting their open shots. After Keenan White drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Blue Devils within three early in the second quarter, the Eddies went on a 13-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from Josh Hartnett (11 points).

“(Drawing double- and triple-teams) allows our guards to get more open shots,” Barnies said. “The way that they’ve been shooting in practices and over the course of the year, I’m confident with their shots.”

Mason Giroux and Abdinassir Abdi (eight points) hit back-to-back 3s to pull the Devils within 10 at halftime, but the Eddies came out on fire to start the second half, hitting on seven of their first nine shots to pull away. They also kept Lewiston’s diminutive long-range threat, Jarrid Palmer, in check by having Barnies guard him.

The first time the two teams met this season, Palmer torched the nets for 24 points, including five 3-pointers. Thursday night, he finished with a team-high 12 points, but didn’t hit a shot beyond the arc.

“I was very happy to see that. You know why? Because it takes Troy out of the paint,” Lewiston coach Pat Blais said. “We were able to get Evan Gardner (six points) some open looks at the basket and get Travis Barnies in a little bit of foul trouble. But I don’t think Jarrid’s ever had a 6-7 guy on him. He may never see a 6-7 guy guard him again.”

“It’s a lot different when you have 6-7 with a 6-9 wing-span coming out at you,” Adams said. “And Troy’s obviously very good defensively. That just shows his versatility. He can guard a point guard or he can guard a big man. He can guard Palmer or he can guard (Gardiner 6-7 center Sean) McNally. Those are two opposite extremes and two great players.”

Next up for Edward Little is Saturday’s KVAC championship game, where the Eddies will host Bangor. They’ll also go into the Eastern Maine tournament as the top seed.

Lewiston finishes its season 3-15 and out of the tournament, but the Blue Devils will lose just two seniors off their roster.

“We played from behind a lot this year, and that’s what ended up hurting us,” Blais said. “But we proved we could beat good teams. We beat Gardiner. We were with Brunswick both times we played them. I’m happy to have kids that are willing to work hard and not put their heads down when things aren’t going well.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.