With a larger-than-the-score-indicates 5-2 win over St. Dom’s in their last meeting the Lewiston Blue Devils will enter this weekend’s second showdown with the Saints … as underdogs?

“They’re in first place, and the last time we played them in a playoff game, they beat us,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “So, certainly we have to come ready to play, and I think that’s all we really need to say. They’re first place in the East right now. If we need any more motivation than that, then we’re going to struggle to get to the place this program wants to get.”

The Saints aren’t buying into the hype of being the top dog in Eastern A, though.

“We’re sitting there, but it’s only because we’ve played an extra game,” Ouellette said. “Let’s be realistic about it.”

That said, Oullette is happy about the start his team has put together.

“It’s nice in the sense that, it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten off to a 6-1 start,” Ouellette said. “In that regard, it’s nice.”

The Saints defeated Falmouth and Edward Little on the road last week to extend their streak of wins to three since losing to Lewiston for their lone loss of the campaign.

Both teams lost what would essentially have been a tune-up game Wednesday due to the snow, but neither coach felt that missed game would hamper efforts to prepare for Saturday.

“If we want to play well and get to the next level, we have to be able to face some adversity,” Belleau said. “This is no different. We have a snow day, we don’t have our warmup game, so to speak, and the kids know we have to go to work at practice and get ready for a big game on Saturday.”

“Everybody’s dealing with the same thing, everyone has the same situation,” Ouellette said. “I don’t think it affects either one of us. We both know who we’re playing Saturday, and it’s one of those days you know you have to bring your best game.”

New Look Leavitt

The unbeaten Leavitt girls’ basketball team unveiled a new look Tuesday night against Nokomis. The Hornets played a zone defense. That’s quite a new wrinkle for a team that likes to play an aggressive, trapping man-to-man.

“They had some size,” said Leavitt coach Tammy Anderson, whose team beat the Warriors 66-61 in a battle of two of the top teams in KVAC B. “We wanted something that could help us cover their shooters and help keep us out of foul trouble.”

Anderson also hoped the more stationary zone defense might helped keep her girls a little more subdued at the start.

The zone had mixed results at times. The Hornets still got into foul trouble and still were over-anxious to start the game. Leavitt, however, did manage to neutralize the Warriors inside game and did a decent job covering shooters at times. The Hornets also forced a fair share of turnovers that hampered Nokomis and lead to fast break opportunities.

It was a change for Leavitt but one they adapted to and even found ways to experiment with. The Hornets still were able to trap out of the zone defense and didn’t make it easy for the Warriors to handle the ball.

“Once we know what we’re doing, we can adjust to anything,” said senior guard Courtney Anderson, who lead Leavitt with 29 points. “We’ve been together for so long, it doesn’t take much.”

Steady Eddies

As winners of the last two Eastern Class A titles and three of the last four KVAC championships, Edward Little is used to having a bull’s eye affixed to its maroon-and-white jerseys. Rival coaches such as Brunswick’s Todd Hanson point to the Red Eddies as a benchmark for their own teams.

“EL is a premier team in Eastern Maine,” Hanson said after his team took EL to the wire in a 64-63 Red Eddies win Monday. “EL right now is a measuring stick for teams like us.”

Eddies coach Mike Adams prepares his team to expect the best from every opponent they play.

“When teams look at the schedule and what they have for Heal Points, we’re one of the biggest ones around,” Adams said.

But the key for the Eddies, Adams added, is to not believe the hype.

“We’re good, but we’re not so good that people look at you like they might look at Bangor some years or Hampden and say ‘We can’t beat them,'” he said. “Brunswick grew up playing the Auburn kids and beat them in seventh and eighth grade, so they don’t have this fear of who we are.”

The Red Eddies beat Mt. Ararat Tuesday to improve to 8-1 and are currently second in the Heal Point standings behind Hampden, the only team to beat them. If the playoffs started today, Mt. Ararat and Brunswick, both of whom have one game remaining with EL, are the only other KVAC South teams that would qualify. The Eddies also have a game with one other team currently in the playoff field, Brewer.

The remaining schedule also includes several teams who could virtually guarantee themselves a tournament berth if they upset Edward Little — Lewiston, Cony, Oxford Hills and Messalonskee.

Rematch

The rivals from Jay and Livermore Falls reunite Thursday night at 7 p.m. The Andies (8-1) won the first contest 34-27 and are ranked No. 1 in Western C. The Tigers (7-2) are ranked fifth after losing a close one to Dirigo on Monday.

Jay and Livermore opened the season against each other in December. The Tigers led that matchup 21-20 entering the fourth. The Andies scored eight straight to take the lead and held off the Tigers late in the game. Jay shot just 2-for-8 in that fourth quarter while hitting just 3-of-11 from the free throw line in the game.

Marissa Welch led the Andies with 14 points in the win while Jay got 12 from Alexis Blodgett and 10 from Beth Moore.


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