Lewiston’s David Omasombo drives to the basket while being defended by Cheverus’ Nolan Sanborn, right, during a game in Lewiston in December. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Like many coaches, Lewiston’s Ronnie Turner worries sometimes about giving his players too much to think about in the flow of the game.

“I don’t try to put limitations on our players. I don’t try to make them think too much,” Turner, in his first season as Lewiston’s head coach, said. “Maybe I need to do a better job with that, because I think a lot of times in the games we were thinking too much and not playing basketball.”

Taking the reins off of sophomore guard David Omasombo, the Blue Devils’ leading scorer, is one of the reasons the 4-4 Blue Devils have already eclipsed last year’s win total.

“I’ve said nothing to David but, ‘Go. If you’ve got it, I trust you,'” Turner said. “Sometimes he hesitates, and I wonder if he’s hesitating because of me. So, I’ve told him he’s got a green light: ‘If you see a shot you want to take, take it. If you see a drive you’ve got, drive it.'”

One of Turner’s top priorities as a coach is to encourage his players to set big goals for themselves and help them realize those goals by pushing them to take the necessary steps to reach them.

“David’s done really well,” Turner said. “I’ve put a lot on his plate from day one, and I have to remind myself all the time that he’s 15 or 16 years old.”

“He’s got a lot to improve on, but the future’s bright for him, for sure,” Turner added.

Edward Little coach Mike Adams said Omasombo gives the Red Eddies and Lewiston’s other opponents plenty to worry about in the present after he made five 3-pointers en route to 17 points in EL’s 72-47 win in Saturday’s Battle of the Bridge.

“He’s worked really hard. He’s in the gym every day. He’s quick and crafty and he knows how to play. Once he gets going, then he’s even better,” Adams said.

FOR RED EDDIES, PAINT STILL WINS

Basketball may be trending towards perimeter scoring and 3-point shooters, but that hasn’t changed the Edward Little boys basketball team’s mantra of success.

“Paint wins.”

The Red Eddies won a state title and reached two more regional championship games over the past three years by winning the paint. They are 6-1 this season thanks in large part to their ability to control the paint at both ends.

EL coach Mike Adams said he understands why offenses are moving farther and farther away from the basket over the past decade or so. The reality for his and many other teams in the state is that there simply aren’t enough shooters, or enough players putting in the work to develop into good shooters, to justify making low-percentage shots the means to the scoring ends.

“The NBA wants to make it about 3s, but until we get a guy that’s going to say I’m going to make 500 3s every day, then you’re going to put the ball in the paint,” Adams said. “Our guys have bought into that and done a really good job.”

Adams expects opponents to pack their defenses in to crowd the paint, but he believes the Eddies’ guards and wings will have an answer.

“We do have shooters so that when teams start to sag in, that will be the next phase of what we’re going to be able to do, hopefully,” he said.

PHOENIX GRINDING WITHOUT GRONDIN

Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey is trying to be patient as he waits for injured junior forward Lorne Grondin to return to action.

The Phoenix’s 6-foot-2 big man has been MIA after he suffered a serious injury.

“Second quarter of the first game of the season, he broke his fingers,” Bessey said. “He has got two pins in it right now. They (doctors) are saying end of January, hopefully before tournaments, but what a difference he would make.

“I am paper-thin right now. It takes the flu, it takes a rolled ankle, it takes one thing and it is going to be a lot tougher. Cam Cain was home with flu a couple of days ago. That’s all it takes. Now I have someone in the game with zero varsity experience, and especially in big, tough games. The margin of error is so small for us right now”

Bessey added that putting Grondin back in the rotation would mean brief breaks for his players.

The lack of depth is an issue Bessey has dealt with all season, and yet, the Phoenix are 8-1 and remain one of the top boys basketball teams in the Mountain Valley Conference.

“They are playing a ton of minutes,” Bessey said. “I have never been through something like this, where I am lacking depth this much. Every game that goes by and we are able to gut it out, I am just so proud of them.”

SHOCK AND AWE

It is no secret that the Oxford Hills girls basketball team’s defense can be overwhelming.

The Bangor Rams, who had the height advantage, found that out Friday night.

The Vikings triggered 11 first-half turnovers and headed straight for the basket. Bangor’s Abby Fleming scored 16 points, but her sister, Libby, didn’t score, and a lot of that can be chalked up to the Vikes’ big D.

BUILDING BLOCK FOR BLUE DEVILS

On a snowy Saturday evening in the beginning of January, fans filed into Lewiston High School by the dozens to fill the stands to watch the Blue Devils (2-5) take on Edward Little (0-8) in girls basketball. 

Before the game there was one win between the two teams, but the gym was nearly filled. 

Lewiston started out fast and pulled away in the second half in front of loud cheers from the Lewiston faithful. The Blue Devils defeated the Eddies for the first time since 2005. 

“I kept preaching 2005,” Lewiston coach Lynn Girouard said. “Pregame we were in the game and it was nice to finally get one. It’s been a long time and for the girls, how great is that? I remember when I played it would get that loud, but for our girls to get that support from the community was really great.”

Maddy Foster, a senior forward who led all scorers with 24 points, hadn’t felt that type of atmosphere in her career. 

“Not for any girls game ever. We were definitely feeding off the crowd,” Foster said. 

Maddy and her sister, Lauren, were the leading scorers for Lewiston, while the rest of the supporting cast helped chip in. Lewiston now is sixth in the Class AA North Heal point standings and have momentum heading into the future.

Sun Journal sports writers Randy Whitehouse, Tony Blasi and Adam Robinson contributed to this report.


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