Edward Little junior Wol Maiwen hounds Deering senior Nicsoni Bushiri during Monday afternoon’s contest. Maiwen’s 16 points and five blocked shots helped the Red Eddies down the Rams, 67-50.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
EL- 17 18 18 14- 67
D- 9 15 15 11- 50
EL- Shea 11-3-30, Maiwen 6-4-16, Khalid 3-2-8, Morin 2-2-6, A. Brown 2-0-5, Jipson 0-2-2
D- Onek 6-4-19, Germain 5-4-16, Martinson 2-0-5, Anda 2-0-4, Bushiri 1-0-2, Butera 1-0-2, Delano 1-0-2
EL (6) Shea 5, Brown 1
D (6) Onek 3, Germain 2, Martinson 1
PORTLAND—If you blinked, you might have missed it.
Edward Little’s boys’ basketball team is capable of putting on quite a show at quite a high rate of speed and the host Deering Rams learned that the hard way Monday afternoon.
Deering, which played the first quarter without junior standout Ben Onek, dug a quick 10-0 hole, as Red Eddies senior sharpshooter Darby Shea hinted at a big game to come with a layup and junior standout Wol Maiwen scored on a runner, a layup and a dunk.
The Rams got back within five points later in the frame, but a Shea 3 made it 17-9 Edward Little after eight minutes.
Onek came into the game in the second quarter and made his presence felt, but the visitors opened up a 16-point lead on a driving bank shot from Shea. Deering crept back within nine points before the Red Eddies went on top, 35-24, at the half.
When Maiwen scored on a floater, Shea hit a 3 and Khalid made a layup to start the second half, Edward Little had its largest lead of the day, 42-24.
Again, the Rams refused to fold, getting as close as 48-39 on a 3-ball from Onek with a minute left in the third period, but the Red Eddies got five quick points from Shea to push the lead back to 14 heading to the fourth quarter.
There, Deering made one final push to cut the deficit to 10, 53-43, on an Onek putback, but Edward Little gradually pulled away from there and prevailed, 67-50.
Shea led all scorers with 30 points, Maiwen added 16 and that was enough to overcome Onek’s 19 and sophomore Darryl Germain’s 16 as the Red Eddies improved to 7-3 on the season, handed the Rams their fifth consecutive loss and dropped them to 5-6 in the process.
“We’ve got to keep on going,” said Deering coach Todd Wing. “We knew it would be a tough stretch and we’re gaining experience. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.”
Deering started with a 71-43 victory at Sanford, then downed visiting Lewiston (73-42) and Gorham (66-53) before losing at defending Class AA champion Portland (53-34). After beating host Bangor (63-47) to end the 2017 portion of their schedule and downing visiting Bonny Eagle (55-28) to open 2018, the Rams started their skid with a narrow 40-37 loss at Oxford Hills, then they fell at South Portland (64-50), at home to Scarborough in overtime (58-53) and at Cheverus (53-52).
Edward Little, a regional finalist a year ago, has been up-and-down, winning four straight to start the year, then, after losses to Windham, Scarborough and Portland, beating Bangor and Morse.
Last year, Edward Little won at Deering, 62-54.
Monday, the Rams dug an early deficit and try as they might, they could never catch up.
The Red Eddies shot to a 10-0 lead, as Shea drove for a layup, Maiwen hit a runner, Maiwen blocked the ball at one end and dunked it at the other, Maiwen set up senior Tyler Morin for a layup and Maiwen made a layup.
The Rams settled down and got on the board on a 3 from Germain with 1:57 to go in the first quarter, but Maiwen countered with two free throws.
After a layup from sophomore Loki Anda, off a feed from senior Owen Martinson, senior Caleb Delano kissed home a runner to cut the deficit to five, but Shea banked home a shot.
On the play, Edward Little senior Xzabier Weaver was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim and Germain sank both free throws, but just before time expired, Shea buried a 3 to give the Red Eddies a 17-9 lead after one quarter.
“I tried to figure out a way to keep us within striking distance before we got Ben back in,” Wing said. “I thought we did a pretty good job until that late 3.”
In the second period, Edward Little threatened to pull away, but with Onek back on the court, Deering stayed within hailing distance.
A Morin jumper started the frame and sophomore Austin Brown added a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 22-9.
After Onek hit a jumper, Brown drove for a layup and Shea drained a 3 from NBA-range for a 27-11 advantage.
Anda got two points back at the free throw line, but senior Ibn Khalid countered with a putback.
After a floater from Rams senior Nicsoni Bushiri, Shea restored the 16-point lead with a driving bank shot.
Deering then got seven straight points, as Onek made two free throws, Germain shot over Maiwen for a long two-pointer, then he sank a 3 to cut the deficit to 31-22.
Edward Little answered right back, however, as senior Storm Jipson made two free throws and Khalid made a layup after a steal, but a jumper from Germain with 1:02 to go pulled the Rams within 11 points, 35-24, at the break.
In the first half, Shea led the Red Eddies with 12 points and Maiwen added eight.
Deering was paced by 12 points from Germain and six from Onek.
Edward Little built on its lead in the third period, as Maiwen hit a floater, Shea sank a 3 from the corner and a long Morin pass led to a Khalid layup and a 42-24 lead just 69 seconds into the half, forcing Wing to call timeout.
It helped, as sophomore Cole Martinson drove for a layup and Onek sank a 3, but Maiwen countered with a free throw and after Khalid laid the ball high off the glass for Maiwen to slam it home, only to have him miss, Maiwen did manage a dunk with 3:47 to go in the frame for a 45-29 lead.
Senior Junior Butera countered with a putback for Deering and Onek sank a 3, but after Onek’s bid to draw the Rams closer was blocked by Maiwen at one end, Shea hit a 3 at the other to push the lead back to 14.
That loomed huge, as Onek set up Anda for a layup and Onek added a 3 to cut the deficit to 48-39, but in the final minute, Shea banked home a shot at a tough angle and Shea sank a long 3-pointer for a 53-39 advantage heading for the final stanza.
There, Edward Little ended all doubt.
Germain opened the fourth with a driving bank shot and Onek scored on a putback to cut the deficit to 10, but the Rams would get no closer.
First, off a press break, the Red Eddies got an easy layup as Khalid set up Maiwen. Then, after another Maiwen block, Maiwen passed to Shea for a layup and a 57-43 lead with 5:51 to play.
Germain got two points back at the line, but Maiwen countered with one.
With 5:30 to go, Onek drove for a layup, but Shea answered with a floater while being fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play.
Deering’s final points came with 4:33 remaining, when Martinson sank a 3 from the corner, but Shea hit two foul shots, Khalid did the same and with 32.4 seconds to go, Morin added two free throws to bring the curtain down on Edward Little’s 67-50 triumph.
“Our goal coming out at halftime was to take small steps and get it to single digits, but every time we got within striking distance, EL, to their credit, made a big play,” Wing said. “They’ve got shooters, they’ve got athleticism, they’ve got defense. They’re obviously well-coached. We’re capable of more and our lapses allowed their runs. That’s our youth showing through. Through most of the fourth quarter, we had a senior and four sophomores on the floor. We sometimes stepped on our own tail. Those are correctable errors. We’re battling mistakes right now.”
Shea stole the show with 30 points. He also grabbed four rebounds.
Maiwen stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, five blocked shots, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Khalid added eight points (to go with seven rebounds and two assists), Morin had six (as well as eight boards and five assists), Brown five and Jipson two.
The Red Eddies made 13 of 15 free throws and only committed seven turnovers.
“We have such good pieces,” said Edward Little coach Mike Adams. “Darby is like an old school player. Wol is a freak athlete who has come a long way. We try to play to our strengths and we did a good job of that today.
“Todd’s a great coach and Deering is a great team. They have great pressure. No matter what you do, you know they’ll pressure. We knew we had to take care of the basketball and give ourselves the opportunity to score.
“We’ve struggled out to figure out who we are. No fault of the kids. We’re just not there yet. Tonight, we found out who we can be and hopefully we’ll build on that and keep going. We minimized our mistakes and took care of the basketball.”
Deering got a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds from Onek.
Germain added 16 points, Martinson had five, Anda four and Bushiri, Butera and Delano two apiece. Senior Junior Butera didn’t score, but grabbed five rebounds.
The Rams had a 31-28 rebounding advantage, hit 8 of 14 free throws and turned the ball over 14 times.
Edward Little is back in action Friday when Lewiston pays a visit.
“We could lose in the first round of the playoffs because AA North is loaded,” Adams said. “I don’t want to play Deering or Oxford Hills or Cheverus.
“We can be good. A lot can still happen. We’ll work as hard as we can to establish who we are.”
Deering, meanwhile, hopes to snap its skid Friday when South Portland comes to town.
“Our goal is to play better basketball in February,” Wing said. “We don’t like moral victories. We are what our record says it is. We’re a possession or a stop or a free throw away. We’re three possessions from being 8-3, but we’re 5-6. I don’t think anyone will want to play us in the playoffs. Our record might not be stellar, but this group will keep fighting and I expect we’ll have our best practice of the year tomorrow and we’ll take it from there.”
Deering senior Caleb Delano passes the ball.
Edward Little senior Ibn Khalid knocks the ball away from Deering senior Nicsoni Bushiri.
Deering sophomore Loki Anda goes up for a layup.
Deering junior Ben Onek launches a contested 3-pointer.
Deering sophomore Michael Randall goes up for a shot in traffic.
Deering junior Ben Onek shoots over Edward Little sophomore Austin Brown.