AUBURN — Edward Little turned to a full-court press in the first quarter and it appeared to slow down a quick Deering team in a Class AA North girls basketball game Tuesday.

But, in the end, it wasn’t enough to contain the Rams, whose speed and tenacity led to a 51-39 victory over the Red Eddies.

Deering sophomore guard Maya Gayle led all scorers with 17 points and teammate Nyabhana Lia scored 10. Layla Facchiano scored a team-high 10 points for Edward Little.

Gayle, who was fearless when she took the ball to the hoop in heavy traffic, was surprised when she learned of her point total.

“I think my teammates really got me open,” she said. “I think, and honestly not to give myself credit, but I realized the (lane) was open, and I just had to take it there.”

Deering (3-9) coach Mike Murphy was also impressed with Gayle’s performance.


“She had a great game,” he said. “She knocked down some great shots, she rebounded and played tough defense when we needed it.”

Murphy said the difference in the game was the Rams’ defense.

“I thought our defense was the deciding factor and we took advantage of some breaks where we broke the press and did our thing,” he said.

Along with the effective full-court press, the Red Eddies’ (2-10) shooting heated up and allowed them to stay on the Rams’ heels. Edward Little’s passing and patience also paid off, and forward Jenny Chaput (nine points) gained a foothold inside the key and helped with rebounding.

“We knew that Mike’s teams always get better and so the first time we played them, he was dealing with some COVID issues and some injuries …” Edward Little coach Chris Cifelli said, referring to the Eddies’ 50-33 win on Jan. 4. “He had his full team there and they had just come off a big South Portland win.

“So, like I said, to be in a competitive game like that and both teams playing really, really well, it was good for both teams. Our press kind of kept us in the game. The other thing that I really liked is I think we showed some resiliency. They stretched the lead a few times and we were able to get back in the game. I thought the kids were really supportive of each other on the bench and on the floor.”


The Rams, though, found a way to get around the Red Eddies’ press and received some key baskets from Gayle and Nyabhana Lia in the second quarter to help build a 25-21 lead at halftime.

Facchiano jump-started the Eddies’ scoring in the third quarter, and Chaput turned a drive to the basket into a three-point play that tied the game at 27-27 midway through the third. But the Rams remained in front with a few key buckets.

The two teams started trading baskets, but Deering outrebounded the Eddies and opened up a 41-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Rams’ lead grew to 47-35 with just over five minutes left in the game, and they maintained that safe distance to earn the victory.

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