AUBURN — Edward Little coach Mike Adams was given a ceremonial basketball for his 300 victories before a game Saturday afternoon, but his Red Eddies honored their beloved skipper with a gift of their own — a hard-fought 60-52 victory over Oxford Hills.

You could see the pride in Adams face as he spoke about his 300-win accomplishment, which he reached earlier in the week.

“It feels good, but it is never about me,” Adams said. “It is all about the kids who played for us. There was a lot of good times — a lot of work— but it was a lot of fun.”

This was another rough-and-tumble affair between the two teams inside EL’s gym, with players frequently knocked to the floor and officials issuing warnings in a free-for-all filled with pain.

“That’s how we play,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said. “We are just not as good as they are, basketball wise, right now — and (EL’s John) Shea is a load. We did a decent job on their guards, which last time, hurt us a lot. I think (RJ Nichols) had 20 on us last time. We just couldn’t stop John. We are not physically strong to stop him.” 

“We both played very physical and they definitely tried to take some things away from us of what we were trying to do,” Adams said. “They are well-coached and tough kids. So yeah, it was physical game for both teams. I am sure a lot of those kids are going to be sore tomorrow.” 

The Vikings stayed right on the Red Eddies’ heels for over three quarters before Edward Little shook Oxford Hills late in the fourth quarter.

EL opened up a 10-point lead with 4:17 remaining in the game before turning to the charity stripe to finish of a tenacious and aggressive Oxford Hills. Nichols, a senior guard, went 8-for-8 from the foul line for the game and scored eight of his 16 points in the last stanza.

The immovable Shea, a junior center, was a menace underneath on offense and defense. He just wouldn’t budge and turned in an incredible third-quarter performance, scoring 11 of his game-high 24 points, which led to a crucial eight-point run for EL.

Shea said Oxford Hills junior Isaiah Oufiero always gives him a challenge.

“We go way back,” Shea said with a slight grin. “He is one of my good buddies. He doesn’t take me lightly and I don’t take him lightly. We always give each other a good game, a good battle. That’s what I like about Oxford Hills — you never get anything easy.

“Tonight, I thought we played well. We moved the ball well at times. My teammates did a really good job of when I had somebody at my back, they did a really good job of passing the ball to me down low. I am just really proud of the guys tonight.”

Adams liked what he saw from his Red Eddies.

“I thought we used our high post better than we have all year,” he said. “I thought that we were unselfish and shared the ball and found the open man. I thought we matched their physicality and aggressiveness. Sometimes, if you don’t do that with Oxford Hills, you are not going to beat them. …”

Freshman Teigan Pelletier was the Vikings’ point man, scoring a team-high 18 points and dropping in three of Oxford Hills’ four 3-pointers. Sophomore Elias Soehren was good for 13 points.

“I am proud of these guys,” Graffam said. “They worked hard. Edward Little has always been our nemesis and we always had a hard time with them, so you’ve got to move on. I am glad coach Adams got his 300th. That’s a nice milestone. I am glad we were here to see the ceremony.”


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