AUBURN – Four years ago, Edward Little High School started hosting the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game. But for EL fans, it was an odd sight watching two teams from out of town vie for the crown.

Today, the undefeated Red Eddies are finally going to take center stage when they host Bangor at 3 p.m., in a contest pitting teams who have dominated the conference this year with a combined record of 35-1.

“These guys have had playing in this game as a goal for the past three years,” said EL coach Mike Adams. “We’ve had some luck, and we’ve worked hard for it. Going 18-0 is the result of hours of lifting and thousands of jump shots and hours in the gym. They’ve worked so hard together as a team that they deserve this. They also understand, we’re a long ways from being done.”

Because Bangor (17-1) plays in the North division and EL in the South, the two teams never met during the regular season. But Adams and most of his squad were in attendance to witness the Rams’ only hiccup this year, a 54-46 loss to Mt. Blue back on Jan. 20.

Led by University of Maine-bound senior Troy Barnies, the Eddies posted their first 18-0 record since 2000 this season, and played some of their best basketball in the latter stages of the regular season. While Barnies, a Mr. Maine Basketball candidate, carried them at times, the Eddies displayed more balance as the season unfolded. Travis Barnies added some muscle in the paint and helped his brother on the boards. Guards Kyle Philbrook, Ben Hartnett and Eric Prue became more aggressive at both ends of the floor, while Josh Martin, Cam Leary and Mukhtar Sharif provided some valuable contributions off the bench.

Bangor has a Mr. Basketball candidate of its own in Alex Gallant, a 6-4 senior forward capable of muscling his way to points in the paint or pulling up from long-range. His supporting cast is huge up front, with 6-foot-7 junior Ryan Weston manning the post.

“That’s an awful matchup, isn’t it, in some ways?” Adams said. “They’re so big. But we’re just hoping that with our quickness, we’ll get after them. We’re hoping that our guards can take care of the basketball and we’re hoping that Troy can use his athleticism to create some mismatches.”

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