Edward Little’s Josh Dumont goes up for a basket during Thursday afternoon’s Unified Basketball game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Edward Little hung on by its fingernails to win last week’s Unified basketball quarterfinal against Gray-New Gloucester by one point.

The top-seeded and unbeaten Red Eddies finished the game with a 19-9 run to pull away with a 35-24 win over No. 4 Bonny Eagle in their South semifinal on Thursday.

Edward Little (10-0) advances to its first regional final, which it will host at 3:30 p.m. on Monday against No. 2 Westbrook (9-0), which beat Lewiston, 42-30, in Thursday’s other regional semifinal.

EL, which has relied on a strong defense and teamwork for its success, limited the Scots to one field goal in the final 6:54, widening a three-point lead to 10 in a little over four minutes thanks to two hoops apiece by George Kampstra, Gage Cloutier and Carter Culleton.

Cloutier led Edward Little with 12 points and bushels of rebounds, while Josh Dumont added eight points and Culleton five points, all in the second half.

Colbe Lewis led Bonny Eagle (8-2) with 12 points. Brandon Pierce and Arianna Bulger chipped in with four points apiece.

The Red Eddies emerged from a low-scoring first half tied at 10 and scored on their first three possessions of the second half.

“They listened to the game plan,” EL co-coach Elaine Derosby said of her team’s halftime adjustments.

Cloutier got it started with a hook shot, then another bucket inside. Kegan Kenny scored to make it 16-10, then added another bucket after the Scots scored the next five points in a row to make it 18-15.

The Scots kept it close, pulling within three three more times, only to have jumpers by Kampstra make it a two-possession game again.

Pierce’s basket made it 24-21 with 6:55 remaining, but that would be Bonny Eagle’s last points until the final minute.

Cloutier kicked off the decisive run with a pair of putbacks. Culleton added the Eddies’ only 3-pointer of the game and another basket to make it 33-21 before a 3-pointer by Lewis ended the Scots’ drought.

The game was like any other playoff contest — intense, emotional and physical. Unified coaches need to be a little more aware of the athlete’s emotions and coaches on both sides tried to manage their teams accordingly.

Edward Little co-coaches Derosby and Sandy Whiting reminded the players, and at one point Derosby reminded the fans, that the game was about the players having fun and learning, regardless of what was on the scoreboard.

“It gets intense at the end,” Whiting said. “(Derosby) said it correctly, that when athletes are out there, they hear their fans and it raises anxiety. We just need to get back to just having fun and what we have done as a team from the beginning.”

The Eddies have more fun in store, but the bittersweet element of the tournament is that one team’s season will end. For the Scots, whose only senior is Lewis, it was the second year in a row their season ended in the semifinals. They lost to eventual state champion Lisbon last year.

“They all play to have fun and that’s all that matters,” Bonny Eagle coach Paula Pettersen said. “They’re a great group of kids.”

Scots captain Aidan McGlone, a junior, said the team improved a great deal during the season, and was disappointed they wouldn’t have the opportunity to find out how much better it could become.

“We’ve definitely gotten way better in rebounding and defense, but I feel like if we had more time in practice, it would be so much better,” he said.

Edward Little’s Melady Mata takes a shot past Bonny Eagle’s Catherine Marean during Thursday afternoon’s Unified Basketball game in Auburn.(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Carter Culleton looks past Bonny Eagle’s Dale Kimball to pass the ball during Thursday afternoon’s Unified Basketball game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Gage Cloutier takes aim at the basket during Thursday afternoon’s Unified Basketball game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)


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