AUBURN — Bo Leary can pose matchup problems for opponents. If a team uses size and strength to defend the Edward Little senior, he’ll beat the opposing player with a quick step off the dribble. If a more nimble defender tries his work on Leary, he’ll overpower him.

Tuesday night, the Oxford Hills Vikings used an array of defensive tactics in a vain attempt to keep Leary in check. All it did was bring out the best in Leary who powered in 26 points while collecting 10 rebounds as Edward Little cruised to a 64-48 KVAC victory.

Leary scored 14 of his points in the first half as the Red Eddies (14-1) rode a 17-4 edge in the second quarter to double up the Vikings (5-10) 34-17 at the half.

The Vikings used a pair of physical players down low in senior Matt McVety and junior Josh MacDonald at the start of the game, but they weren’t alone. As Leary caught entry passes in the paint, the Viking guards closed in on him.

With the Red Eddies up 17-13 entering the second quarter, Leary slashed his way to the hoop for a lay in. Following a 3-pointer from the left elbow by Tim Mains, Leary’s strong inside move resulted in a conventional 3-point play as the Red Eddies began to pull away.

“You just have to keep working,” said Leary. “The collapsed down and tried to push me out of the paint. I’d feel a hand on my back and they’d push on me when I went up for a shot.”

“You pick your poison with them,” said Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam on the Red Eddies. “You double Bo up and they bury you with the three.”

Edward Little was successful from the outside as well. Between quick ball movement and the collapsing double teams down low, the home team was able to get open looks from beyond the arc and drain trey after trey.

The Red Eddies hit seven 3-pointers with guard Cody Nicholas hitting all three of his buckets in the decisive first half. The senior finished with 11 points.

“He struggled early on (this season),” said EL coach Mike Adams, “but he’s been shooting the ball well the last few games.”

While the Red Eddies were piling up the points in the first half, their defense was playing havoc on the Vikings. The Vikings had no players in double figures and only three starters had more than two points. MacDonald and reserve Derek Hanscom each had nine to pace the visitors.

“They can defend,” said Graffam. “They took us out of our offense. They were making us start our offense at half court.”

The game evened out in the second half, but the outcome had already been decided. The Vikings got no closer than 14 points after the intermission as the Red Eddies received balanced scoring from the field along with eight successful free throws by Leary.

The Red Eddies also received offensive contributions from Quin Leary who scored 12 points including a pair of 3-pointers.

“We may not be the biggest team,” said Adams, “and we don’t have phenomenal athletes, but collectively as a group we play well together.”

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