AUBURN — Craig Jipson expected games like this.

In fact, the Edward Little girls’ basketball coach probably expected more of them. After losing an abundance of talent from last year, he knew there would be games in which his Red Eddies might struggle on offense.

Monday was one of those games. Yet, despite not having a hot shooting hand, the Red Eddies gutted out a 48-38 win over Cony.

“We will have nights that we don’t shoot well,” said Jipson, whose top-ranked team in Eastern A beat Cony 50-45 earlier in the year. “We lost 40 points per game on offense. We had two all-conference players graduate and an honorable mention kid transferred. I think with all we lost on the offensive side of the ball, it’s a huge testament to what they are as a group of kids.”

EL rallied in the fourth quarter and scored 12 straight points to go ahead. The Red Eddies then hit 15 free throws down the stretch to pull away.

“Over the first seven games, we couldn’t make a free throw,” said Jipson. “Now the last four games, we can’t miss. It just felt like it was money down the stretch.”

Ashlee Arnold led EL (10-1) with 15 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Frankie Lally added 13, with a trio of 3-pointers. Kate Sawyer and Kory Norcross each added seven. Cony (6-5) got 11 from Mia Diplock and 10 from Josie Lee.

Cony lead for most of the game and were ahead by as many as eight points in the second and third quarters. EL missed its first 10 shots from the floor and went 2-for-14 in the first quarter.

“I think we were playing too scared,” said Arnold, a sophomore guard. “We just had to relax and focus on our shots.”

EL wasn’t helped by its turnovers. The Red Eddies gave up the ball more than 20 times, and Cony openned up the lead after shooting 6-for-12 in the second quarter.  A 7-2 surge to end the half gave Cony a 26-18 lead.

“I thought we just hung in there,” said Jipson. “We’ve gotten to a point right now where we believe we can win.”

EL’s defense kept it close in the second half. Cony hit just one shot in seven tries from the floor in the third, but EL could only get within 31-26 after three. A Kelly Philbrook jumper to open the fourth cut the lead to three, and a Lally 3-pointer tied it with 4:23 left.

“It seemed like it was 31-28 forever,” said Jipson. “Frankie hit that 3, and it just ignited us. Then Arnold gets the big steal and the foul.”

The game wasn’t tied for long. On Cony’s next possession, Arnold stole the ball and had a breakaway hoop. She drew the foul for the three-point play to make it 34-31 with 4:08 left, and Cony never got any closer.

“It got us ahead, and we knew we couldn’t let down,” said Arnold. “We just had to keep focused and keep going.”

Cony had six turnovers in the fourth, nearly 30 overall, and missed its first five shots in the fourth. The Rams’ first field goal came with 2:27 remaining when Lee scored on a rebound. That was after four Arnold free throws had made it 38-31.

Cony got within five twice, but free throws by Arnold, Lally, Sawyer and Norcross finished the job. EL hit nine straight from the foul line and hit 15-of-19 in the fourth.

“I just knew we had to stay focused and stay relaxed,” said Arnold. “I felt like we were stepping it up a lot.”

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