Edward Little’s Hannah Chaput goes up between Lewiston’s Jordyn Rubin and Lauren Foster for a basket during Thursday night’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

AUBURN — The Edward Little girls’ basketball team is starting to find its stride, and it showed Thursday night against Lewiston.

Grace Fontaine opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, followed by a quick steal off the inbounds pass that the EL senior turned into a layup for a quick five-point lead. From that point on, the Eddies dominated with a pressing defense and an efficient offense to take down the cross-river rival Blue Devils 51-28.

Edward Little (9-5) shut out Lewiston (3-11) in the first quarter 16-0 behind Hannah Chaput and Fontaine’s offensive outbursts. Chaput scored five points and Fontaine seven, but EL also gained multiple second-chance opportunities from Jade Perry’s five rebounds and the team’s seven offensive boards in the opening period.

Lewiston’s leader and calming presence Cecelia Racine re-injured her ankle on the Blue Devil’s first possession. Racine had been working herself back into the lineup after injuring it the first time Lewiston played EL on Dec. 11.

“Slowly, she has been creeping back into the rotation and she’s been feeling good in practice, then the first trip down the floor she just jammed it,” Lewiston coach Lynn Girouard said. “She plays so hard all the time. She gives me 110 percent. To lose her in the first minute was hard, and she settles everybody down. She’s a leader on and off the court.”

It was more of the same in the second quarter for both teams. Chaput began the period with an old-fashioned three-point-play to go up 19-2. Chaput finished with 16 points. She said that offensive changes implemented by EL coach Chris Cifelli has helped her and her teammates believe in themselves more.

“Our confidence has increased a lot as we’ve been playing together,” Chaput said. “We are getting more used to playing with each other, so we are sharing the ball more and trusting each other more. We have a new offense where we are dribbling and driving more, not just passing and cutting. That’s where it benefits us more because we all like to drive to the hoop.”

On almost every possession, EL had someone cutting to the hoop or driving to the hoop looking to score or dish to an open shooter. The second quarter featured a lot of layups, which is exactly what Cifelli hoped for.

“What I like is, and it’s very subtle, but we are seeing assists creep up and I am watching more, after made baskets, people clapping and giving high-fives and a quick point,” Cifelli said. “I think they are starting to buy in, and I think we made a few adjustments in the offense to make it more user-friendly for the kids that we have. I just think that they’ve really had faith in the changes we’ve made on offense.”

Edward Little dominated the boards in the first half, and it was the same story in the second half. Perry recorded two of her 12 rebounds in the third quarter, while Fontaine grabbed four boards and scored five points. Fontaine finished with a game-high 18 points.

Right after Perry found Chaput on a long outlet pass for an early layup, Chaput tallied three steals in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the third to keep the offense rolling.

“I’ve been working on trying to watch where the players are looking, and maybe jump and get the steal for an easy layup and just getting pressure,” Chaput said.

Lewiston’s Lauren Foster hit two treys in the third to go along with a block and a couple rebounds.

Overall, though, Girouard was disappointed in the kinds of shots her team was taking.

“We took our shots way too quickly, we didn’t make them work defensively,” Girouard said. “And, you know, we are young. But, we have to learn to handle adversity a little better. We took quick shots that weren’t really great shots.”

What Girouard saw happen was exactly the game plan for the Eddies and it worked perfectly. Cifelli even thought that the Eddies could have scored more because of how well they executed the plan.

“We talked about, before the game, really trying to be patient on offense and making them play a little faster than they wanted to, and I think those worked,” Cifelli said. “Some of the kids maybe beat themselves up about the shots they missed, but at the same time we got a lot of good looks. I think it’s hard to tell a kid that it’s a matter of getting the shots because they’ll eventually fall and they did.”

In the fourth, Emily Strachan hit two 3-pointers for six of her eight points on the night. Myah Nicolas also hit a 3 in the fourth, but for the most part the two sophomore guards were held in check.

“One of the big things is Strachan and Nicolas do so much on dribble penetration, so we try to be early in help and also get out to shooters,” Cifelli said. “We were just really trying to find ways to make them uncomfortable and I think we were able to do that with our press.”

Edward Little’s Jade Perry takes the ball down the court while being closely followed by Lewiston’s Jordyn Rubin during Thursday night’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Edward Little’s Mikaela Scott, sandwiched between Lewiston’s Myah Nicolas and Emily Strachan goes for a basket during Thursday night’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Edward Little’s Grace Fontaine goes up for a basket during Thursday night’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Edward Little’s Chantel Ouellette gets a hand on the ball as Lewiston’s Maddy Foster goes up for a basket during Thursday night’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)


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