AUBURN — Edward Little still isn’t completely satisfied with its team defense. The Red Eddies will need more stops and fewer foul difficulties to achieve their goal of an Eastern Class A girls’ basketball championship.

When the 3-pointers are tickling the net and the pick-and-rolls and backdoor cuts are leading to uncontested layups the way they were Friday night, though, EL leaves no doubt why it’s the top-ranked team in the region.

Kory Norcross rained down 19 points, Brooke Reynolds poured on 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Red Eddies never trailed in a 56-43 victory over Mt. Blue.

“I thought we shot pretty well. Defensively we’ve got to get better, and that’s been a problem all season,” EL coach Craig Jipson said. “Right now I don’t think there’s any doubt that Oxford Hills is the best defensive team and defensive teams win Eastern Maine. We’ve got to catch up to them.”

EL, which shot an even 50 percent from the field, is 15-1 with home games against Cony and Lewiston remaining in the regular season. One win likely would lock up the top seed in the regional tournament for the second straight year.

Miranda Nicely led all scorers with 20 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals for Mt. Blue (7-9). Caitlin Kane added 13 points and four steals.

“Miranda’s a special player,” Mt. Blue coach Tom Philbrick said. “We got the shots we wanted to have. We got inside on them. They have a good physicality and we didn’t knock them down.”

The Eddies used a pair of six-point runs in the second quarter to transform a 13-13 tie into a 33-19 lead at the half.

With post players Emily Jacques and Eraleena Hairston both in early foul trouble, Jordyn Reynolds came off the bench and triggered the first 6-0 push with a backdoor layup.

The freshman Reynolds also ripped down an offensive rebound to set up her older sister’s second-chance hoop, and Norcross drove to the left for two for a 23-15 lead with 4:58 remaining in the half.

“I thought Jordyn Reynolds as a freshman — there’s been games she hasn’t played at all this year — really stepped up and gave us huge minutes,” Jipson said. “For us to not only hold the lead but actually build it a little bit … There’s a lot of heroes during the course of a season.”

Tianna Harriman (seven points, six assists) sank a step-back 3-pointer later in the period. After a fadeaway response by Addie Brinkman, Norcross nailed another trey to spark another 6-0 run, this one to the end of the half.

Harriman found Brooke Reynolds down low for a bucket, and Norcross hit two free throws just before the horn.

And for all its concern about defense, EL held Mt. Blue to 1-for-11 from the field in the second period.

“Mt. Blue’s a good team,” Jipson said. “They’ve got seniors who are playing for the playoff life. This was a huge win for us.”

Brooke Reynolds and Norcross combined for 11 points in the third quarter, while the Eddies contained the Cougars to one field goal in the final 4:43.

Nicely’s hoop brought Mt. Blue within a dozen, but EL put it out of reach with two Brooke Reynolds free throws, another Norcross trifecta and a Hairston put-back.

“Kory and Brooke played great together. Hairston had a big basket down the stretch,” Jipson said. “Kory’s been money from the free-throw line. We still had some careless turnovers. We want to close out the season and be playing our best basketball come tournament time.”

Mt. Blue is currently eighth in the Eastern A Heal Points.

If the Cougars stay there, they would see a preliminary game and possibly a quarterfinal rematch with the Eddies.

“I’m fine with that,” Philbrick said. “Physically we can play with anybody. We’ve just got to play smart. We’ve got to knock some shots down. I thought they were correctable things.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.