AUGUSTA — Whatever rust Edward Little may have gathered from an extended layoff, and all of the momentum Lewiston carried over from an exciting quarterfinal win over Bangor, were gone in the second quarter of the teams’ Class AA North semifinal on Tuesday.

The Eddies shut out the Devils in the second quarter, scoring 15 unanswered points, and never looked back in a 58-23 win.

“It was a little nerve-wracking because they played a game at the Civic Center and we’ve just had 12 days of practice,” EL senior guard Emily Jacques said. “I think it turned out great.”

The regular season ended almost two weeks ago, and the Eddies were anxious to get playing again. After finishing the regular season losing three of five, EL was hoping for a strong start in the Class AA North tourney against rival Lewiston, the No. 6 seed that was coming off an upset win over third-ranked Bangor.

The Eddies got what they wanted.

With the win, EL advances to Friday’s AA North final against Oxford Hills, a rematch of the 2014 Eastern A final. The Vikings won that one. The teams split during the regular season.

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“We have not shot well all year,” EL coach Craig Jipson said. “Lewiston was brilliant to fall into the 2-3 zone. This has not been a great shooting team the entire season, but what we’ve done very well this year is take care of the ball. In 11 years, we do that better than any team I’ve ever coached. That’s a good basketball team. To beat Bangor twice this season, Lewiston is a good basketball team and to hold them to 23 is an exceptional effort defensively.”

Jacques led EL (15-4) with 15 points while Jordyn Reynolds, Karli Stubbs and Piper Norcross each had 13. Lewiston (10-10) got seven each from its two seniors, Kristina Blais and Alasia Branche.

“These kids all do their jobs,” Jipson said. “It’s not the deepest team I’ve had but we’re going to the regional for the third time in six years. Hopefully, we’ll bring our defense with us that night.”

EL averaged just 34.9 points against and held teams to under 40 points 12 times in the regular season. Monday was the seventh time EL has held a team to 30 or fewer.

“Our defense has been great the whole season,” Jacques said. “That’s what we’ve been working on because we have a lot of great defensive players. That really helps us up the tempo on the offense.”

Lewiston hit three of its first four shots while EL started cold. The Eddies still managed a 13-9 lead after the first thanks to an 8-2 run. 

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In the second, EL ran off 15 straight while holding Lewiston without a point. The Blue Devils had just three shots from the floor and turned the ball over nine times. Lewiston went over nine minutes without a point and over 12 minutes without a field goal. Meanwhile, EL’s offense came to life.

“We’re the type of team that supports each other so much that if one person hits a great shot, we all get excited about it,” Jacques said.

EL’s run began with a three-point play by Norcross. Stubbs hit a pair of shots to make it 20-9. Jacques hit four free throws and Reynolds put back a rebound. Jacques finished the half scoring off a steal at the buzzer.

“Jordyn Reynolds had a couple of huge offensive rebounds,” Jipson said. “That steal and basket by Emily was outstanding.”

Lewiston got a free throw by Harris to open the third and a Branche steal and basket was the first field goal for the Blue Devils since 4:56 remained in the first quarter. EL answered that with eight straight points and build a 45-17 lead after three.

EL had defeated Lewiston 46-26 and 52-32 during the regular season.

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“I think it’s hard not to play for 12 days,” Jipson said. “With Lewiston, we had played well against them. So I think our girls felt really confident, but we’ve got to get better and the next round only gets tougher.”

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