In a game in which Bangor and Edward Little traded defensive stops and occasional offensive sparks, it was a pair of Red Eddies spurts that opened the lead in a season-opening clash of two Class AA North contenders. EL held off the Rams in the final quarter for a 43-37 win.

“That’s a great win,” EL coach Craig Jipson said. “Bangor’s a really good team. “(Katie) Butler’s one of the best players. (Emily) Gilmore and (Sarah) Bragg are great senior athletes and players. (Olivia Sharrow) hit a couple of huge 3s.

“I think this is how our season is going to be. There’s no terrible teams on our schedule. Every night is going to be a war. We just have to get better and better.”

Emily Jacques led EL with 17 points while Karli Stubbs added 15. Those two combined for eight of EL’s 10 points in the fourth quarter, all from the free throw line. Piper Norcross added seven while Jordyn Reynolds chipped in four.

Bangor got 15 from Katie Butler and eight from Gilmore. Sharrow and Jenna Bishop each had six. The Rams shot just 2-for-8 in the third and 3-for-14 in the fourth.

“We’re not used to playing with each other,” Bangor coach Joe Johnson said. “We had a couple injuries to start the season. That was only the second time Katie’s been on the floor. When she gets in the flow, the ball will move a little easier and we’ll get some better looks at the basket.”

It was a hard-fought, back-and-fourth game through the first half. The largest lead was three, and the half finished with the teams deadlocked at 20.

Then, EL jumped out with a 6-0 run to start the third. The Red Eddies made some key steals and fed the offense on the other end to build a 26-20 lead.

“Coach always says to come out strong after halftime,” said Stubbs, a senior forward, who had four points during that run and six in the third quarter. “Emily Jacques had a really nice steal. We work well together.”

Reynolds scored the first basket, and Stubbs followed with a rebound hoop. After a Jacques steal, she fed Stubbs on a nice fast break. Bangor tried to rally and got a jumper from Butler, but that was the only field goal the Rams had through the first 6:52.

EL then ran off another seven straight. Stubbs hit a jumper. After a Jacques 3, she added a pair of free throws to build a 33-22 lead. Sharrow hit a 3 with 1:08 left to close the gap.

“It just felt really good,” Stubbs said. “We worked really well together tonight. We’re really young, but I think as the season goes on, we’ll get really better.”

Bangor got within four three times in the fourth and cut it to 36-34 on a Sharrow 3 with 3:17 left. EL managed to get some key defensive plays and timely offense to preserve the lead.

“We were up by 11 but they cut it to four,” Jipson said. “Luckily, we got a couple of big stops. Jade Perry, a freshman, made a huge steal.”

Bangor could never get a sizable run of its own. Perry had the steal. Jacques drew a charge, and Reynolds had a big block to keep Bangor at bay. After Sharrow’s 3, Stubbs opened the lead again with two free throws. Then she and Jacques finished the game off from the line down the stretch.

“We just had to stay calm,” Stubbs said. “We knew defensively we were going to make some stops and that would get us back into our offense.”

For a Bangor team that graduated standouts Mary Butler and Cordelia Stewart from a team that beat EL in the Eastern A semifinals last year, the deficit was tough to overcome for a team still learning to play together.

“We had a couple of wide-eyed kids that haven’t been in that situation before,” Johnson said. “I thought they responded well after they relaxed.”

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