AUBURN — Mt. Ararat led for just one second of Thursday night’s KVAC boys’ basketball clash with Edward Little. That was just enough time for the Eagles, who got a go-ahead 3-pointer from Cole Guerin to come back and beat the Red Eddies, 48-46.

Guerin, the smallest player on the court, found himself all alone on the left wing because the Edward Little (6-6) defense converged on Eagles (8-3) star guard Shy Ulrickson. The junior fed his classmate for the game-winning shot.

“My hat goes off to Shy for setting it all up because … there were three or four or five guys on him, and he said, ‘No, this is how we win,'” Mt. Ararat coach Stephen Cox said.

Ulrickson led the Eagles with 17 points, but his final assist ended up being his contribution of the game. He was forced into being a passer when EL put Jarod Norcross Plourde — three inches taller than Ulrickson — on the Eagles’ top target in the final two minutes of the game.

“Jarod is our biggest, strongest athlete, and I thought he did a great job on (Ulrickson) that last two minutes,” EL coach Mike Adams said. “He kept the ball out of his hands and made him make some plays, but unfortunately we didn’t make the plays behind him.”

Norcross Plourde scored a game-high 20 points, but came up one shot short. His turnaround jumper from the left elbow at the buzzer after receiving a full-court inbound pass from Austin Cox fell short, and so did the Red Eddies.

Norcross Plourde opened the scoring in the game, draining a 3 from the right corner to finish a long opening possession for EL. The Red Eddies scored the first eight points of the game within the first two minutes before Alex LaFountain made a layup to put the Eagles on the board. EL rarely pulled farther away than that.

“Stopped getting the ball inside, settled for jump shots,” Adams said of not being able to expand on the early lead.” Kind of the story of the season.”

The EL lead was 19-14 after one — with the Red Eddies making four 3s — and 28-23 at the half.

The lead was trimmed slightly heading into the fourth quarter (39-35), but Cox extended the advantage with five straight points to start the period.

“I did have confidence in my team. Being up nine with the ball, I thought we’d make good decisions,” Adams said.

Instead, turnovers — both forced and unforced — doomed the Red Eddies and allowed the Eagles back into it.

Edward Little still held a two-possession lead when Guerin hit a 3 from the left corner with 27 seconds left. The Red Eddies ran 12 seconds off the clock before getting fouled, but Tyler Morin missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and the Eagles corralled the rebound, setting up Ulrickson’s pass and Guerin’s game-winner.

“We’ve got a cast of characters there that any one of them can step up at any time and make an impact on the game,” Cox said. “Cole has been out on concussion first six of games of the season, so we’re just now getting his impact to the game back. But it’s not just Cole. I’ve got five or six guys that I’d give that same shot to at any point in the game.”

Guerin scored 12 points for the Eagles, eight coming in the fourth quarter, and LaFountain added 10.

Cox backed up Norcross Plourde with 16 points of his own.

“He was huge,” Adams said of Cox. “In a tough game, it’s not a coincidence that our two hardest workers are our two best performers.”

Adams now must get his team ready to face Brunswick on Saturday. The Dragons beat the Red Eddies by 32 points early in the season.

“We have to regroup,” Adams said. “You can’t feel sorry for yourself. We have to get better.”

Good will gesture

Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle were donated to Mt. Ararat team manager Rusty Wilkins, who is heading his own fundraiser for a racing wheelchair. Both coaches made mention of the gesture after the game.

“There was a bigger thing tonight. Bigger than the win,” Cox said. “This Auburn, this Edward Little community showed unbelievable amount of class when they found out the story of our manager.

“We talked about that more in the locker room than we did this win. We’ve got another game tomorrow, and there will be games down the road, but a moment like that is really special to my players, that a community like this would that.”

Adams added: “We need more things like that in the world. As bad as you feel about the game, things like that make you feel good about who we are as a community.”

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