In a span of just three minutes, the Edward Little girls’ basketball team forced five turnovers and jumped out to a double-digit lead. 

That start put Lewiston in an early hole and helped propel the Red Eddies to a 52-32 victory.

“What I’m so happy with is how defensively well we’ve played all year,” EL coach Craig Jipson said. “Defensively, we’ve just played really well the entire season. The other night we didn’t score much in the second half, but we still won by 11 against Brunswick. Tonight, we had 30 points at halftime, and we ended up giving up 32. I’m just so happy with our defensive effort.”

Defense has been a staple of EL’s game this season and it set the tone early against the Blue Devils. Lewiston got an early basket but turned the ball over five times in the first three minutes. EL scored 10 straight to build an early 10-point lead. EL has averaged just 33.6 points against this season and opponents have scored over 40 just once in the last 10 games against EL.

“The turnovers killed us,” said Lewiston coach Lynn Girouard, whose team was hoping to jump back among the top six playoff teams in Class AA North with a win over top-seeded EL. “We prepared. We were ready. I don’t know if it was the hype of the game, but we were doing things that we don’t normally do.”

Though EL hit Lewiston hard with defensive pressure from the start, some of the turnovers were unforced errors or errant plays in the halfcourt. The defensive stops fueled some early momentum for the offense.

“We work really well as a team,” said freshman starting guard Jade Perry. “We always work together on defense. We always have each other’s back and keep our heads high.”

EL (13-2) only had four scorers but the threesome of Emily Jacques, Jordyn Reynolds and Karli Stubbs did plenty of damage. Jacques was the leading scorer with 20 points while Reynolds was a force in the post with 16. Stubbs was an early catalyst and finished with 14. Lewiston (7-8) got 14 from Morgan Eliasen while Victoria Harris and Kristina Blais added nine and eight respectively.

“I thought some kids did some things really well tonight,” Jipson said.

While Lewiston shot just 2-for-10 and finished with seven turnovers in the first quarter, EL hit five of its first eight shots. Stubbs had six straight points during the 10-0 run that opened up the lead. Jacques then followed with back-to-back baskets. Lewiston made a little bit of a run to end the first. After Eliasen sank two free throws, Harris had a three-point play that cut the lead to 12-7. Jacques finished the quarter with a 3 for a 25-7 lead.

“We jumped on the ball real quickly and we worked together,” Perry said. “So we know if we go after the ball, someone’s got our back.”

EL maintained the double-digit lead in the second quarter. Jacques led EL with seven points while Reynolds had six. Lewiston got as close as 11 but could never get a run going to turn the tide.

“We kept going as hard as we possibly could,” Perry said. “We couldn’t let them get ahead of us. So we kept working hard.”

In the third, EL ran off eight straight points to push the lead to 38-18. Stubbs had six during that surge and Reynolds hit two free throws. Piper Norcross, Jacques and Reynolds combined for six straight to end the quarter up 46-22.

“We kept getting it to 14 or 15, but we just couldn’t get it to 17,” Jipson said. “They get it back to 13. At halftime, we talked about getting to that next level.”

Lewiston shot just 2-for-10 in the third and 3-for-10 in the fourth. The best run Lewiston had came late in the fourth when Blais hit a 3 and hit two free throws. Eliasen followed with a 3 for an 8-0 run.

“It was a little too late,” Girouard said. “We always seem to dig ourselves a hole and then we can’t get out of it. We need to learn how to start games better.”

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