LEWISTON — The third time was the charm for Lewiston, which finally figured out Edward Little, this time with the stakes at an absolute high.

The third-seeded Blue Devils had lost to their rivals twice this season, but with their season on the line they defeated the sixth-seeded Red Eddies 57-31 in the Class AA North boys basketball quarterfinals Thursday.

“A lot like soccer. We tied with them once, lost to them the second time and then beat them the third time,” Lewiston junior Caden Boone said, referring to this past fall when the Blue Devils defeated the Red Eddies in the Class A North semifinal. “And basketball, our third time, this is the playoffs, win or go home, and we just didn’t want to go home.

“We gave it all we had on the floor, and it really paid off.”

Lewiston (14-5) advances to face No. 2 Portland (13-5) — which defeated seventh-seeded Windham 49-46 on Thursday — in the semifinals next Thursday at 2 p.m.

Lewiston’s Yusuf Dakane led all scorers with 28 points, including 21 in the first half.


“I was just having fun out there,” Dakane said. “I was getting my teammates involved, and then that made me more hyped.”

The Red Eddies (6-13) are the only team to beat the Blue Devils twice this season. Both regular season meetings were close — Edward Little won 61-59 in overtime on Dec. 15, and last week won 42-41 thanks to a last-second putback by Eli St. Laurent.

Dakane and the Blue Devils didn’t let Thursday’s game come down to the final seconds, or an overtime period. They seized control early and didn’t let up until the final few minutes, when both squads emptied their benches.


After trading baskets — two post buckets by Edward Little’s Landon Cougle, and a 3-pointer by Boone — early in the opening quarter, the Blue Devils scored 13 straight points to take a 16-4 lead. Dakane scored nine of those 13 points.

St. Laurent, who led the Red Eddies with 13 points, ended the Blue Devils’ run with a pair of free throws with two seconds left in the first quarter, and Lewiston took a 16-6 lead into the second quarter.


By that point, Boone said he recognized how well Dakane was playing, and he made sure the other Lewiston players did, too.

“I could tell that he was locked in,” Boone said, “and I was telling all the other starters, ‘You know what, this is Yusuf’s night right now. He’s going off. I mean, it’s a team win, but Yusuf’s going off. Just give him the ball and let him go,’ and he did exactly what he did.”

Marshal Adams hit a 3-pointer early in the second, but Lewiston then had an 8-0 run to push its lead to 24-9.

Dakane scored 12 more points in the second quarter, after which the Devils led 32-16.

Lewiston maintained that lead, rarely letting it dip below 16, throughout the second half.



Lewiston played fast from the start — “We really wanted to play our pace,” coach Elgin Physic said — but its defense also was effective, holding Edward Little to between six and 10 points in all four quarters.

“We were playing more as a team, getting everybody involved, playing really good defense — that was the big part, our defense was, like, electric,” Dakane said.

The Blue Devils used a different defense, a triangle-and-two, with Dakane focused on slowing down St. Laurent and Boone keying on Adams.

“I have to give him props, he’s very hard to guard,” Boone said of Adams. “He can really shoot the ball and dribble, so my goal was to not let him touch the ball, and if he did touch the ball, try to force him to get rid of it as fast as possible. And then we kind of did the same with Eli, who Yusuf guarded.”

The Blue Devils started working on the defense earlier this week, and its effectiveness Thursday exceeded their expectations.

“We really just wanted to disrupt the flow of their offense. I didn’t expect it to work this well,” Physic said. “I thought, as long as we can disrupt their offense, have them do something different — it just kept working, so we stayed with it.”


Physic also lauded the Blue Devils who played the zone part of the triangle-and-two — Eli Bigelow, Michael Klick, Jibril Holloman, Isaac Shannon and Caed Langley.

Shannon, a senior who came off the bench earlier than usual due to how well he played the new defense in practice, also scored six points.

“Isaac Shannon came in, gave us a big lift,” Physic said. “Gave us a real big lift on defense and scored some points for us.”

Bigelow also had six points for Lewiston. Holloman added eight, and Boone had five.

Senior Landon Cougle scored nine points for Edward Little. Adams, who missed much of the third quarter after falling hard from being fouled on a drive to the basket — he did return in the final minute of the third — finished with five points, and Diing Maiwen contributed four.

“I wish that we could have come out and played better today,” Mike Adams said. “Lewiston’s pressure forced us to settle a lot. We weren’t very patient.”


The Red Eddies have established themselves as one of the state’s top programs, so based on their record, this was a down year. But Mike Adams points out that they had a lot of close losses, losing six games by four points or less — many of those to some of AA North’s top teams. Despite those frustrating results, he said they never let up. In fact, he said, some of their best practices were late in the season.

Likewise, Adams was proud that the Edward Little players didn’t stop playing hard Thursday when Lewiston took a big lead and didn’t allow the Red Eddies to cut into it.

“I feel awful for the seniors,” Mike Adams said. “We’ve had a great run for a long time, and some of those guys feel like failures. I’m like, ‘You’re not a failure at all.’ I mean … playing hard in a 20-point game in the fourth quarter — other teams would just fold, and we didn’t. That’s what being a Red Eddie is. They’re going to be successful people after high school because of their work ethic and the character of men that they are.”

He added: “They gave me everything they could, so we had a good year.”


Lewiston won both regular season meetings with Portland, winning 56-47 in the season opener on Dec. 9 and 39-36 on Jan. 24.

The Blue Devils are confident, but Physic said that what happens in the regular season doesn’t guarantee anything in the postseason. For instance, Lewiston lost to Edward Little twice in the regular season, then won by 26 on Thursday. Physic also points to sixth-seeded Scarborough ousting third-seeded Gorham in an AA South quarterfinal earlier this week.

“It’s tournament time, anyone can get beat,” Physic said. “The regular season is over. There’s no easy games.  You try to take away the good things you did in your victories and then hopefully you can do some things to enhance it. It’s like college — March Madness — this is February madness. Anything can happen in February.”

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