LEWISTON — In what is always a big matchup between two neighboring rivals, the spotlight matchup on the court Thursday night was between Edward Little and Lewiston’s standout bigs.

The Red Eddies’ John Shea and the Blue Devils’ Chiwer Mayen played a chess match in the post, and while Shea won the individual tussle, Mayen helped win the Battle of the Bridge for Lewiston, which rallied to come away with a 51-49 victory at Coach Masse Court.

Mayen missed much of the second half due to foul trouble, and went scoreless after halftime, but his denial of Shea with 23.2 seconds left forced a jump ball that rewarded possession to the Blue Devils (1-0) and played a big part in Lewiston sealing the victory.

“Chiwer Mayen, he answered the call,” Lewiston coach Ronnie Turner said. “He had the matchup of John Shea, who’s a first-team player, state champion, and I think he did that well. You know, he got into foul trouble a little bit, but he answered the call. He was ready to compete, and that’s just the identity of our team, we come to compete every night.”

The Blue Devils trailed 30-19 early in the third quarter. They cut into the deficit, but the Red Eddies (0-1) still led 49-45 with less than three minutes to play in the fourth before Lewiston finished the game on a 6-0 run. An Elijah Scales jumper tied it 49-49 with a minute left and then Donovan Jackson’s transition layup put the Blue Devils ahead with 40 seconds to play.

“What we like to do is we like to play defense and run,” Turner said. “So I thought we bought into that, and then we found our swagger, and then we closed it out.”

The Red Eddies had one last chance at a buzzer-beater to win it, but Pat Anthoine’s 3-point attempt was off-target.

“You got to hope it doesn’t go in,” Scales said. “But we made sure we boxed out, got the rebound.”

“A lot of these guys haven’t been in that situation before,” EL coach Mike Adams said. “During that situation where they’re in at the end of the game, and they have to do some things. But we got a good look at the end, and we made some good plays to get better shots at points in the fourth quarter. They’ll learn as we go along.”

Scales scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“Our leading scorer from last year, David Omasombo, he couldn’t be with us because of COVID, but guys stepped up,” Turner said. “Elijah Scales, first time on varsity, I put the ball in his hands and said, ‘Hey, go do it for us,’ and he really stepped up.”

Scales strong finish came after a less-than-ideal start.

“In the beginning of the game, none of my shots were falling,” Scales said. “I just had to make sure I stayed locked in.”

Mayen was the go-to scorer early for Lewiston, including the first points of the game, showing off his post moves against Shea in the opening minute of the contest. Shea then scored EL’s first points — about three minutes in, yet it still tied the game 2-2 in what was a slow offensive start for both teams.

Mayen’s weak-side dunk with less than 10 seconds left in the first quarter tied the game again, this time at 10-10, giving him six points to Shea’s four in the opening frame.

Shea assisted on Anthoine’s 3-pointer to open the second quarter for the Red Eddies. Anthoine later made a long 2-pointer and Shea converted a pair of free throws to stretch EL’s lead to 17-10.

A Malik Foster 3 and a transition layup by Scales — off a Mayen block of Shea — drew the Blue Devils within 17-15, but Edward Little stretched its lead back out to 25-19 by halftime. Shea was up to 10 points at the intermission, while Anthoine added seven in the second quarter.

Mayen, who picked up two fouls in the opening minute of the second half before sitting on the bench until 6:35 left in the fourth quarter, scored all eight of his points in the first half. Foster had seven of his 10 points in the third quarter, and Jackson eight of his 10 in the second half.

Shea led all scorers with 20 points, but only two came in the fourth quarter. Anthoine added 12 and RJ Nichols had 10.

“Lewiston’s one of the better teams in the conference,” Adams said. “They were missing some guys, we were missing some guys. We were in their gym, it was the first game. We’re going to get better, and we have a chance to do that, so we’ll keep working.”

The Blue Devils, meanwhile, know that a win over their rivals is an accomplishment.

“It’s huge,” Turner, a Lewiston graduate, said. “You know, I don’t think these kids have ever beat EL. Me, personally, when I was a sophomore in high school, we beat EL once, and then I never beat them again. And then last year they got us twice, the first one they got us really bad.

“So it’s huge. It shows the kids that if they believe it, they work hard, they can do anything. Beating a team like EL, and a coach like Coach Adams, they’re a great team, they’re always going to be well-coached, just believing that we can do it, and finally doing it is a relief.”

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