The schedule-makers weren’t necessarily kind to the Edward Little boys basketball team early in the 2022-23 season.

Edward Little’s Eli St. Laurent takes the ball up the court against Lewiston during Thursday’s game in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

The Red Eddies were some free throws away from playing in last season’s Class AA state championship game, but the core of that team is gone. This reloaded version of Edward Little needed to figure out how to win on its own, which wasn’t going to be easy with the opponents the Red Eddies had to match up against to start the season.

First up was Oxford Hills, which returned much of last year’s team that knocked off Edward Little in overtime in the regional final to advance to the state championship. Edward Little got behind early and never fully recovered in an 18-point loss.

“It’s game one. We’re a relatively young team,” Edward Little coach Mike Adams said after that game. “… You know, it’s 18 games. We knew that we’d have some ups and downs.”

Next came a road game against perennially strong Hampden Academy, which rejoined Class AA last season. The Red Eddies again fell behind early and lost by 21.

The hits kept coming when the Red Eddies had to turn around two days later and face rival Lewiston — which gave Oxford Hills quite a push when those two teams matched up Tuesday — on its home court Thursday night.


The Red Eddies finally put together a solid first half and took a one-point lead into halftime.

“For this young group of kids, with limited varsity experience, some of them, especially after starting the year the way we have, playing against two really good teams — and I put Lewiston as a third really good team — you know, there’s a lot of pressure on those kids because of the tradition and history in our program, and they feel like they’ve let themselves or people down,” Adams said after the Lewiston game. “And it would have been really easy to not come out and do what we did tonight. And I thought we had a great first half.”

The second half almost unraveled the Red Eddies, who fell behind by double digits only two minutes into the third quarter. But they clawed back, forced overtime and knocked off the Blue Devils.

“It got down 10, and at the game two days ago, when we got down to Hampden, the body language was that of we weren’t going to win this game,” Adams said. “Again, all the credit to the boys and my staff (for turning the game around).”

Eli St. Laurent, who survived playing the whole fourth quarter and overtime with four fouls and converted the clinching free throws, called the win “a turning point.”

“We’re going to turn some heads here,” he said.



The Oxford Hills (3-0) and Windham girls teams faced each other Thursday night, but they also teamed up for a good cause.

The Vikings wore special holiday-themed uniforms and the coaching staff was decked out in what might be best described as ugly sweaters in suit-and-tie form. But the real purpose of the festive evening was the team’s toy drive for Rightstart, Inc’s Christmas for Kids program, which provides Christmas for families that otherwise might have little or no gifts on the holiday.

Oxford Hills assistant coach Ryan Ricci said that when the Vikings were planning the event, they thought that Windham was the perfect opponent to assist with the toy drive because, Ricci said in an email to the Sun Journal, the teams “always battle, but they bond over the love of basketball.”

When the Eagles showed up at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School gymnasium prior to Thursday’s game, each player and coaches brought a gift to donate to the toy drive.

Ricci said that more than 1,000 presents were donated at Thursday’s game, which Oxford Hills won 52-22.


“Though a game was played last night, it was more than a game of basketball,” Ricci said.

Ricci praised the players on both teams for creating “an event that should be duplicated and done by everyone in the world.”


The Lewiston girls team has opened the season with three losses, but coach Craig Jipson is unfazed. The Blue Devils are young, with more than half of the roster underclassmen, and even some of the upperclassmen are inexperienced.

“There’s some kids that just haven’t played a lot of varsity basketball minutes, and the first half of the season, it’s going to be tough,” Jipson said after Tuesday’s loss to Oxford Hills. “But if we can just hang together and keep getting better, I’ve been through this rodeo before.”

Jipson is in his third season as the Blue Devils’ coach, but brought 20 years of varsity head coaching experience to the gig — 12 years leading Edward Little, six years at Oxford Hills and two seasons at Gray-New Gloucester.


He said the objective right now for the Blue Devils is to continue to improve so they are tougher and better in late January and February — and, since they only have one senior, better next season.

Following both of Lewiston’s losses this week, 75-34 to Oxford Hills on Tuesday and 40-38 to Edward Little on Thursday, Jipson praised the effort of the team’s less experienced players.

“I like how some of my inexperienced kids really battled,” Jipson said. “We’re throwing some kids into some situations they’re not ready for, and I thought those kids gave me everything they had. The Ayanay Hollomans and Gabby Roman, those kids were thrown into a tough (situation) and I thought they just gave everything they possibly had.”

During halftime at Oxford Hills, with the Blue Devils trailing 44-8, Jipson said he urged the players to keep battling and not hang their heads.

“One of the great things about sports, no one is going to feel sorry for you,” Jipson said. “You’ve got to come out, and I’ve been on the other side of that score a bunch of times, no feels sorry for you, so you’ve just got to keep fighting.”

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