Edward Little’s Max Creaser, center, is fouled by South Portland’s Geremi Baez, left and Shippen Savidge during the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball game in Auburn. Savidge was called for the foul. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

AUBURN — No one expected Max Creaser to get the ball, not even Creaser himself.

But when the Edward Little forward found the ball in his hands, he knew what to do with it.

Shoot.

Creaser’s 3-point shot went in, beating the buzzer, to allow the Red Eddies to escape with a 46-45 Class AA boys’ basketball victory Tuesday that they nearly gave away at the end.

“I didn’t even expect it coming to me, so the nerves weren’t even really there, but I just put it up, hoping,” Creaser said. “I didn’t think it was going to go in. But I got lucky I guess.”

The Red Eddies (13-2) led from the start, but the Red Riots (9-6) tied the game at 43-43 with 1:05 left on Pamba Pamba’s long 3-pointer. Two free throws by Hunter Owen with 2.3 seconds left gave South Portland its first lead.

Between Owen’s foul shots, EL coach Mike Adams used his final timeout to draw up one last play for the Red Eddies. Owen converting the second free throw allowed EL to inbound the ball and run the set play, though it didn’t go as planned.

“That’s kind of not exactly how it was drawn up, obviously,” Adams said. “We hoped to get it a little higher to Wol (Maiwen) on the rim. But then we had our guards in that position to be able to do something.”

“I thought we did a good job on Maiwen,” South Portland coach Kevin Millington said. “We knew they were throwing it to him, and we were trying to defend him, and the ball bounced in the wrong direction.”

Millington said he put a defender on the inbounder earlier in the season, but that freed up a shooter for the opponent, so EL’s Ethan Brown got a free look for the inbounds pass in Tuesday’s game. Brown’s heave didn’t make it to Maiwen, but a pair of Red Riot players swatted the ball right into the hands of Creaser, who got the open look for the win.

It was Creaser’s first make from behind the arc after missing his first two attempts from long-range earlier in the game.

“Part of it’s law of averages, too,” Adams said. “I think he missed some shots early on. And what you try to tell shooters is, ‘Shooters shoot.’ You know, if I miss four shots in a row, I’m going to shoot the next one because it has to go in. And just you’ve taken enough shots in your lifetime that that one has to go in.

“But, I mean, he did. He caught it, squared up, and one-two stepped into it. And everything looked good. He’s a really good shooter from the 3-point line, so that would be a shot that we would want to get, and by luck we got that one. But I was glad when Max shot it, and glad when it went in.”

Creaser and the Red Eddies couldn’t miss at the start, making their first five shots to take a 10-2 lead, but the Red Riots drew within 14-9 by the end of the first quarter.

“You know, early in the game, to be up 8-0, it was nice, and obviously we needed them all, but we knew that South Portland was going to something at halftime, and make some adjustments,” Adams said. “And they did, they did a good job.”

“We’ve struggled this year offensively, and we just need to settle down,” Millington said. “With Maiwen around the basket, I thought we were rushing shots, and not just being under control. So we did, we settled down, and Pamba hit some shots for us and kind of got us going.”

Pamba scored eight of the Red Riots’ 17 points in the first half, which saw EL take a seven-point lead into the break. But South Portland outscored the Red Eddies 14-11 in both the third and fourth quarters.

“It was good to, actually we got some points off turnovers tonight. We average teams turn it over 20 times against us every game, and we haven’t done a really good job of turning those into points,” Millington said. “We’re a really good defensive team, we’re one of the better defensive teams, but we just got to find a way to get that offense from it.”

Adams said those turnovers nearly bit his team in the final two minutes after playing “really well for probably 30 minutes, moving the basketball and getting good looks.”

Maiwen scored a team-leading 15 points for EL, but none in the fourth quarter, and only four after halftime. Creaser added 14, and Cam Yorke had eight of his 10 in the second half.

Pamba poured in a game-high 18 points, including four 3s. Ryan Boles had 10, with eight coming in the final 11 minutes. The Red Riots were missing senior forward Scott Lewis and were on the second night of back-to-back games.

“To come up here in their gym … and to compete like that, it’s hard not to be really proud. But we’re South Portland, so we don’t collect moral victories,” Millington said.

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South Portland’s Shippen Savidge, right, fouls Edward Little’s Cam Yorke as he tried to drive past Savidge and Cade Carr, left, during the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen, center, grabs a rebound and prepares to put it back up while being defended by South Portland’s Geremi Baiz, left and Ryan Boles, right during the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Edward Little’s Cam Yorke, center, drives to the basket past South Portland’s Shippen Savidge, left and Tyree Bitjoka, right during the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen, left and Storm Jipson, right, team up to trap South Portland’s Tyree Bitjoka during the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball game in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)


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