Lewiston’s Nathan Donnell takes a shot as teammate Breck Gagnon sets up for a rebound and Edward Little’s Mahlady Mata comes into the play during Thursday’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

AUBURN — Nerves and excitement were high in the season’s first Unified basketball game for both Edward Little and Lewiston on Thursday afternoon.

The first-game jitters quickly subsided as the game progressed, especially for the Blue Devils, who were able to come away with a 64-32 win over the Red Eddies in front of a large and electric crowd at Edward Little High School.

In the first half, Lewiston jumped out to a 22-6 lead behind a balanced attack led by Breck Gagno’s eight points and four apiece from Logan Flewelling and Za’Mond Smith.

“It went good,” Gagnon said. “I was trying to get my teammates involved. There were a little bit of nerves, but I just put my mind to the game and just had fun.”

Gagnon also seemed to grab every rebound, offensively and defensively, totalling seven in the first 20 minutes alone.

The Blue Devils received at least one field goal from seven different players in the first half.

Edward Little was led by Gage Cloutier in the first half. He scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds. Simon Hayes and Hailey Smith each scored a basket and recorded five rebounds between them in the half.

Down 30-12 at halftime, EL had some ground to make up.

The Eddies scored more in the second half, paced by eight points from Hayes.

“First half, they shot a lot, but when we got to the second half I thought we were going to act like the Patriots and we did, we scored a lot of baskets,” Hayes said. “Even though we didn’t win, I think we did good.”

Hayes shared the ball in the second half, which led to baskets from four other players in the half.

“I scored a couple times,” Hayes said. “I didn’t need to because I play rec basketball and I score a lot there, too. I plan on passing more than shooting.”

Another player who was active on both sides of the ball was Melady Mata of Edward Little. Mata scored four points and also recorded two offensive rebounds and two steals. Even though there were opening-game nerves, Mata was confident in herself.

“It’s stressful when you’re on the court because you really want to get the ball and get the score,” Mata said. “I feel amazing and I’m proud of myself. I’m a beast on the court.”

Lewiston had some strong fire power in the second half from many different players. Gagnon scored 12 more points to finish with 20, while Edwin Rivera and Nathan Donnell each scored eight points in the final 20 minutes.

Other scorers for Lewiston in the second half were Fleweling with six, and two points from Hawa Doorow.

Edward Little also received baskets in the second half from Smith, who scored four points, and two points apiece from Caleb Bisson and Anthony Seddon.

Both Lewiston and Edward Little ran plays that featured cuts to the basket, 3-point shots and everything in between. The partners from each school helped find players in good spots for efficient shots at the basket.

Those in attendance got to see a game full of big plays and high-competition. Both coaches credited more schools recognizing the sport as to why the turnout was so large.

“I think through the years, with Unified being recognized by a lot more people, we have a lot more fans knowing it’s for these kids,” Edward Little coach Sandy Whiting said. “It’s great their peers can come in and be with them and work with them and see that side. Through the years, getting them out here and getting everyone excited about these games. The kids had fun and I think pretty much every one of our kids scored.”

Lewiston head coach Bill County was happy with how excited the players were to get out and perform on the big stage.

“I think Unified basketball has been a great program for us,” County said. “To watch some of these kids get their first basket ever in a real, live basketball game. They’re just thrilled and I think the people that come out really appreciate the game and I see it continuing to grow.

“It’s just a really neat thing. It’s the funnest thing you could ever do coaching.”

Edward Little’s George Kamstra shoots the basketball during Thursday’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Edward Little’s Caleb Bisson and Mahlady Mata reach for the ball together during Thursday’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Lewiston’s Hawa Doorow takes a shot as Edward Little’s Anthony Seddon comes trails on the play during Thursday’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Lewiston’s Edwin Rivera goes up for a layup during Thursday’s game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.