AUBURN — Edward Little’s defense smothered Bangor in some maroon-and-white wrapping paper in the second quarter of Monday’s Class AA North boys basketball clash, then spent the second half adding the string and ribbon before tying the bow on a 56-42 win.

The Red Eddies (5-1) ended the first half with a 12-1 run, then added a couple of more stretches of stinginess to pull away in the second half. At the other end, they relied on balanced scoring led by John Shea (15 points, seven rebounds) and Cam Yorke (11 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals), while shooting 10-for-19 from the floor in the second half.

Andrew Szwez led Bangor (4-1) with 17 points and seven rebounds.

In a game pitting the top two teams in the AA North Heal point standings, Bangor jumped out to a 12-9 lead after one quarter. But the Rams only managed one point in the final four-plus minutes of the half, while York sparked the 12-1 momentum-swinging run with a 3-pointer.

“I think the key was the players we matched up on (Westrich) and (Szwez), and then helping them on the help side helped out a lot,” Yorke said.

Dan Milks (nine points, six rebounds off the bench), Austin Brown (eight points, five assists) and Max Creaser (seven points) all contributed to the run, which ended with a turnaround jumper by Shea two seconds before the halftime horn, giving the Red Eddies a 27-18 lead.

For Yorke and Milks, Monday’s offensive bursts may have been a sign that they are rounding into form after battling offseason and preseason injuries, Edward Little coach Mike Adams said.

“The kids are getting better each week at exploiting some of our strengths,” Adams said. “Cam was injured in the preseason, his back was hurting, so he didn’t do anything the first two weeks. For him, it’s frustrating because he knows how well he can play and he knows how good we were playing without him, so he puts too much pressure on himself. When he just relaxes and plays, he can be, I think, real good.”

“It was good to see Dan Milks come in — again another kid (with injuries),” Adams added. “He had bone spurs in his foot all summer long and couldn’t do much. He just wanted to play. He had a good preseason and then kind of got lost in the shuffle a little bit the first couple of games. But he kept working and had a huge game tonight.”

The Rams started the second half with back-to-back buckets from Parker Noyes and an inside hoop by Sam Martin to pull within 27-24, but that would be their final field goal for the next five minutes.

“We work in practice a lot on deflections and getting tips and stuff like that,” said Milks, whose team forced nine turnovers in each half. “We got a lot of those tonight.”

“Defensively we played well, and we got other players in foul trouble,” Yorke said. “That’s, like, our best attribute, attacking people in foul trouble.”

On Monday night, it was Martin, a 6-foot-8 senior center, who found foul trouble. He sat on the bench for much of the game after being called for his second foul with five minutes left in the first half. He drew his fourth with 2:46 left in the third quarter and had to economize his minutes the rest of the way. He finished with six points, three rebounds and a block.

“I’m not sure we were ready to play when we stepped onto the court, and then a couple of calls went against us and we got into foul trouble,” Bangor coach Brad Libby said. “We talked in practice all the time that people have got to be ready to step up, and I think guys stepped up and did some good things.

“But at the end of the day, we just didn’t play with heart and with energy and kind of let Edward Little dictate what we did on our offensive side of the ball.”

R.J. Nichols (six points) and Yorke sank 3-pointers during EL’s 10-2 third-quarter run that made it 37-26. Cooper Khoury’s 3 pointer pulled the Rams within single digits for the final time with a little less than two minutes left in the third period. Milks answered with a drive to the hoop to send the cushion back to double digits to stay. Shea added a putback and Nichols drilled another trey just before the final buzzer to make it 44-31 heading into the fourth.

“Our team does a really good job of just moving the ball around and finding the open shot,” Milks said.

Bangor missed its first five shots of the fourth until Szwez ended the string with a little over two minutes left, but the Eddies had opened a commanding 54-39 lead by then.

“Defensively, we did pretty good tonight and we rebounded the ball well,” Adams said. “That was one of the keys, to limit them to only one shot.”

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