WINDHAM — Windham couldn’t have received a better present heading into Christmas break than beating the defending Class AA champion.

It appeared visiting Edward Little was going to play the Grinch when it jumped out to a 12-0 lead to start the game. But the Eagles didn’t panic and led for the entire second half to record a 54-40 victory.

Windham, which is off until Dec. 29 when it travels to Bonny Eagle, improves to 5-0 with the victory. The Red Eddies dropped to 3-2.

“We went into this game and we really wanted to win,” Windham senior Meghan Hoffses said. “(Coming out with a) 5-0 (record) is a real confidence-booster for us going into the break.”

Hoffses — who finished with a game-high 15 points, three rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot — contributed in numerous ways, especially during a second-quarter comeback when the Eagles outscored EL 19-11 to lead 30-27.

First her steal at the foul line led to a fast break layup attempt that resulted in two free throws to make the score 25-19 — part of a 10-0 run that eventually gave the Eagles its first tie at 25-25.

She punctuated the momentum-shifting quarter when she stole an entry pass attempt under her own basket and as she crossed midcourt she hoisted a shot at the buzzer that went in for a 3-pointer and a 30-27 advantage. It was the team’s first lead, one it wouldn’t relinquish.

“Meghan is a special player because there really are not many players out there like her,” Windham coach Brody Artes said of the 5-foot-2 guard. “She’s so quick and gutsy.

“She really is our engine. And when she’s running at full tilt (then) we are playing well. She’s been like that for four years. She’s a fantastic leader for us.”

Windham took the momentum from Hoffses’ buzzer-beater into the third quarter with a 6-0 run in the opening 2:49 to stretch the advantage to 36-27. Tara Flanders had an offensive rebound put-back, Kayla Gorman converted a 2-on-1 fast break layup off a pass from Hoffses, and Hannah Talon scored on a runner in the lane.

EL twice whittled the Windham lead to four points — the last time at 38-34 on Chantel Ouellette’s runner in the lane with 1:20 left in the third. But Hoffses nailed a 10-foot jumper and assisted on Talon’s layup to give Windham a 42-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“We had momentum (in the second quarter), but to add to it in the style like Meghan did (on the 3-pointer), that was definitely something we brought into the locker room,” Artes said. “But it was real important for us to continue to progress and make sure we continued to put pressure on them.”

The inside play of Flanders (12 points, seven rebounds) helped complement the outside scoring and drives to the basket by Hoffses and Hannah Talon (12 points, five rebounds).

“We talked all week how (Windham) is one of the most improved teams and one of the best teams with lot of pieces returning and tough to defend. And they showed that today,” Red Eddies coach Chris Cifelli said. “They have a nice inside-out game and relied on a lot of people. I thought we did a nice job on (Hannah) Talon in the first half, but they had other people step up.

“Certainly, now with wins over Portland and us, they aren’t going to sneak up on anyone now. Maybe the spotlight is on Windham a little bit now.”

Jade Perry’s 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots paced EL. Grace Fontaine added nine points and five rebounds.

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