LEWISTON – The best the Edward Little girls’ basketball team could hope for Thursday was to stay put.

With little upward movement expected for themselves in the final Eastern A standings, all the Red Eddies could do was take care of business in their regular-season finale and see how destiny plays out.

EL did its part with a 70-32 win over the Blue Devils and now wait to see how the dust settles on the final standings. EL will play a preliminary game next Tuesday but waits to learn where it might be.

“It’s Bangor or Mt. Blue,” said EL coach Craig Jipson, whose team was eighth in the latest standings but expect to draw a road game. “We’re going to be away. We know that. There’s some good teams in Eastern Maine. There’s going to be some battles on prelim night, but we’re one of those good teams. I honestly believe that on any given night, we can beat anybody if we put it all together.”

The Red Eddies built an early 18-9 lead in the first quarter as the seniors produced their first career win at Lewiston. Freshman Kirsten Prue led EL with 15 points. Brittney French, who was honored prior to the game for becoming the third Red Eddies female to surpass 1,000 points, had 14. Fellow senior Allie Forgues chipped in 13.

EL finished the regular season 11-7, which is an accomplishment considering the rash of illness and injuries the team faced early in the year.

“I’m so proud of them because they battled and battled,” said Jipson. “What I’ve liked is that we’ve been consistent this year. We never had a long winning streak, but we never had a long losing streak either. We’ve battled people. We played Skowhegan tough. We played Morse tough. We played Oxford Hills tough twice. We’ve been in so many games. I’m really pleased with them.”

If anything, the adversity the club faced only helped better prepare EL for the tournament ahead.

“I think it helped a lot of the younger people to step up their game,” said sophomore Katelyn St. Hilaire. “It let a lot of younger people and inexperienced people get experience.”

It sends EL into the tournament with much more confidence than a year ago, after an 8-10 regular season.

“We’ve definitely improved a lot more, and we can thank our seniors,” said sophomore Abby Downs. “They definitely stepped up in leadership roles and led us a lot of the way. We wouldn’t be here without them.”

After winning on the road at Lawrence last year, EL isn’t fretting about another playoff game away from home.

“I think it helped that we had an away game last year,” said sophomore Alyssa Levesque. “I think we’re more prepared to play on the road.”

EL was ahead 33-6 after one quarter the first time it played Lewiston, but the Blue Devils made it a little harder Wednesday. Lewiston was still plagued with 11 turnovers in the first quarter but did a better job defensively, forcing EL to work for its baskets. A 3-pointer by Forgues and a three-point play by Nicolas opened up an early lead. Lewiston (0-18) kept pace thanks to Danielle Willey. She had eight of her team-high 15 points in the first half. She and Amie Daniels, who finished with five, accounted for all of Lewiston’s first-half points.

“I told the girls that she was doing everything, and everyone was sort of watching, unfortunately,” said Lewiston coach Brian Laramee. “The offense was centered around her, and she played really hard. She hit some big shots.”

EL scored eight straight points to build a 26-9 lead in the second quarter. Lewiston was within 33-17 at the half but couldn’t get any closer.

“The big thing is the confidence piece with the girls,” said Laramee. “The first half, I think we had a little bit of confidence. Then as the score got more one-sided, we started losing our confidence and started thinking back to the previous 17 games.”


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