PARIS — Edward Little erased a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to steal a 66-65 boys basketball victory over Oxford Hills on Friday.

After a first half of not sharing the ball, Edward Little started to get everyone involved and, in turn, free up star big man John Shea.

“(Assistant) coach Ian Mileikis put it great after the game: In (better) words, he said, ‘We let our offense work for us,’” Red Eddies head coach Mike Adams said. “We have a lot of guys that can do things that they do really well. In the third quarter, we looked for each other. In the first half, we were in the spots where we wanted to be offensively but everything was individualized. Everyone was trying to do their own thing.

“John is a focal point, but if you take him away we have other things, we just need to read it. In the third we did a really good job of reading things, and then that opens things back up for John. Everyone does something and everyone is going to get a turn if we just trust each other to share the ball.”

Led by Teigan Pelletier’s 12 points, Colby Dillingham’s 10 points and Cole Pulkkinen’s eight, Oxford Hills carried a 37-26 lead into halftime.

The Red Eddies, who won the most recent Class AA state championship in 2019-20, realized that they needed to make changes.

They started to move the ball around and find open shooters in the third quarter. Sophomore Marshal Adams hit three of his five 3-pointers in the period, while Pat Anthoine hit a 3-pointer and scored five of his 13 points.

“We had some questionable shot selection, but the biggest thing was that we talked about their 3-point shooters, and we didn’t get to Marshal or Pat Anthoine,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said. “Anthoine only had one, but Marshal had four 3s (in the second half), and that was the difference in the game.”

When the outside shots started falling, the post opened up for Shea, who followed up his 13-point, seven-rebound first half with a nine-point, five-rebound third quarter.

Edward Little began the period with an 11-point deficit and ended it with a two-point lead, 49-47.

The 6-foot-6 Shea said he had a game plan for going against the 6-foot-10 Dillingham. 

“I had to get in his body because he’s bigger than me,” Shea said. “He blocked a lot of my shots, but my biggest thing was staying with the ball, and a few times I had to go up three or four times on him and I got what I could get.”

Shea finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds.

EDDIES DON’T LET UP, VIKINGS DON’T CONCEDE

Dillingham stepped up in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points and blocking a shot, to help the Vikings stay in the game. The senior finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Edward Little took a seven-point lead early in the fourth after an Adams 3-pointer and a Shea bucket, but Oxford Hills battled to the final buzzer. 

Anthoine put the Eddies’ lead back up to six points, 64-58, with a pair of free throws with only 1:15 left in the game. Clutch shots by Pelletier and Isaiah Oufiero and timely rebounds by Dillingham kept the Vikings within reach.

Oufiero’s 3-pointer with 48 seconds left cut the deficit to 66-63. 

With 40 seconds left, Pelletier grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws to pull the Vikings within one point, 66-65. 

Oxford Hills made a stopped Shea under the hoop and had possession with 15 seconds left. The Vikings, though, missed two shots and the Red Eddies escaped with the victory. 

“In the third there was a five-minute spell that changed the tempo of the game, but in the fourth quarter we were down seven and battled back,” Graffam, who is in his 40th year leading the Vikings, said. “I have coached Oxford Hills for a long time, and the Oxford Hills kids have always had resolve, and that will take us a long way.”

VIKINGS START STRONG

Oxford Hills shot well in the first half and was able to build a double-digit lead over Edward Little.

The Vikings stretched a four-point gap, 15-11, at the end of one quarter to a 37-26 halftime advantage. Oxford Hills got out in transition often, and attacked the hoop while also draining three 3-pointers, two by Pulkkinen, in the second quarter.

Shea carried a large portion of Edward Little’s scoring load in the first half.

In the first quarter, he grabbed four rebounds and scored six points. He added seven more points and pulled down two more rebounds in the second. The Red Eddies’ next highest scorer at the half was Eli St. Laurent with four points.

“We were down in the first half, and in the locker room at half we talked about us facing adversity,” Shea said. “I felt like the guys did really well at composing ourselves.”

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