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Scarborough junior Nick Fiorillo takes off his signature headband as he leaves the floor in disappointment while Edward Little celebrates its 41-36 victory in Friday night’s Class AA state championship game. The Red Eddies won a Gold Ball for the first time since 1946, while the finest season in Red Storm history ended at 17-5.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
EL- 10 9 7 15- 41
S- 13 5 8 10- 36
EL- Khalid 8-0-16, Shea 3-4-12, Morin 2-2-7, Maiwen 3-0-6
S- Fiorillo 6-2-16, Seme 2-4-8, Austin 2-0-5, Lagerquist 2-0-4, Pratt 1-0-2, Kirk 0-1-1
EL (3) Shea 2, Morin 1
S (3) Fiorillo 2, Austin 1
PORTLAND—Scarborough’s boys’ basketball program is on the map.
But the Red Storm are still chasing the Gold Ball.
Friday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena, Scarborough and Edward Little both managed something a long time in a coming, as the Red Storm appeared in a state game for the first time, while the Red Eddies did them one better and won their first championship since the Truman Administration.
In a highly anticipated Class AA state final, two of the most exciting, high-flying teams around were expected to put on an offensive show, but instead, it would be the defenses carrying play, as every point was at a premium for 32 minutes.
Scarborough got off to a great start, as 3-pointers from junior standout Nick Fiorillo and sophomore Brian Austin sparked a 9-0 run and a 13-10 lead after one quarter.
Edward Little hung tough in the second period and when senior Tyler Morin hit a late 3, the Red Eddies’ lone shot from beyond the arc in the first half, it held a 19-18 halftime advantage.
The third quarter would feature four lead changes and ended in a 26-26 tie.
Something had to give in the final stanza and it would be Edward Little’s ability to make one more clutch shot and hit enough free throws to swing the tide.
The game would be deadlocked at 28-28 and 30-30 before Red Eddies senior Darby Shea buried a 3 off an inbounds set with 3:33 on the clock to put Edward Little ahead to stay.
The Red Storm crept within a point on a pair of free throws from senior Jaquan Seme, but senior Wol Maiwen got a jumper to drop and Shea added two free throws for a 37-32 advantage.
Morin added two more foul shots for a 39-33 lead and while Fiorillo made a contested 3 to keep a glimmer of hope alive, an offensive rebound by Maiwen proved enormous and Shea clinched it with two free throws as the Red Eddies held on to prevail, 41-36.
Senior Ibn Khalid had 16 points, Shea added 12 and Edward Little wound up 18-4, ended Scarborough’s season at 17-5 and won the program’s third championship and its first in 72 years.
“I can’t even say how much it means,” said Red Eddies coach Mike Adams. “To be as close as we’ve been and to have so many great players, to finally win it, it’s rewarding.”
“I’m extremely proud of the young men on my team,” said Red Storm coach Phil Conley. “They’ll be able to look back at a special season. They won a regional title, they were first in AA in the regular season. it’s a credit to how hard they worked.”
Scarborough’s arrival this winter as a basketball power closed the circle on the school’s absolute dominance in all sports.
The Red Storm had never advanced beyond the semifinal round prior to last week and it’s likely we haven’t seen the last of them playing into late-February and early-March.
After losing to South Portland in last year’s semifinals, Scarborough set its sights on dethroning the Red Riots this winter and after a triumphant regular season, the Red Storm did just that (see sidebar, below, for previous stories).
Scarborough opened with a 76-46 home win over Sanford, then lost at Falmouth (54-50). After a 52-34 win at Bonny Eagle, the Red Storm fell at South Portland (60-46). Scarborough then caught fire, downing host Gorham in overtime (60-54), visiting Edward Little (61-56), Noble (83-35) and Cheverus (55-50), visiting Deering in overtime (58-53) and visiting Gorham (56-50). The Red Storm’s six-game win streak ended with a 68-39 loss at Biddeford, but Scarborough responded by downing visiting Massabesic, 61-45, edging visiting Portland for a statement victory (69-66), beating host Sanford (66-63), visiting Kennebunk (66-61) and host Lewiston (71-55) before letting a late lead slip away in a 55-50 setback at Windham. The Red Storm closed with a 52-41 home win over Thornton Academy and earned the top seed in Class AA South.
Scarborough had no trouble against eighth-ranked Noble in the quarterfinals, 71-31, then downed No. 4 Bonny Eagle, 61-35, in the semifinals, before slaying No. 2 South Portland, 55-43, in last Friday’s regional final.
Edward Little got to the AA North Final a year ago before losing to Portland and entered this winter on the short list of teams likely to end the Bulldogs’ two-year title reign.
The Red Eddies raced out of the gates with four wins in a row, over Oxford Hills, Lewiston, Cheverus and Mt. Ararat, but they were then defeated by Windham, Scarborough and Portland. Edward Little got back on track by beating Bangor, Morse, Deering, Lewiston and Gorham before dropping a four-point decision to Oxford Hills. The Red Eddies closed the regular season by beating Thornton Academy, South Portland (in an overtime thriller), Messalonskee, Brunswick and Bangor to earn the No. 2 seed in Class AA North.
Edward Little ousted No. 7 Cheverus, 59-47, in the quarterfinals, defeated No. 3 Oxford Hills, 55-33, in the semis, then ended Windham’s run with a 50-35 victory in the regional final.
Edward Little had played in five previous state finals (see sidebar, below). The Red Eddies beat Bangor in 1942 and downed Bangor again in 1946, but they hadn’t won since, losing to Old Town in the 1957 state game, to Thornton Academy in 2009 and to Cheverus the following year (the Stags later vacated that title after using an ineligible player, but Maine Principals’ Association doesn’t recognize a champion for that season).
The last year Edward Little won a championship, World War II was less than a year in the rearview mirror, the United Nations had its initial meeting, the bikini went on sale for the first time, tupperware first appeared in stores, “Song of the South,” “Duel in the Sun” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” were top grossing movies, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were top entertainers and a diverse cast of characters which included eventual President George W. Bush, Cher, Jimmy Buffet, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Tommy Lee Jones and Ted Bundy, were born.
A new house, if you could afford it, went for $5,400. A new car went for $1,120 and a gallon of gas for that car was a mere 15 cents.
The Boston Red Sox would win their first pennant in 28 years, but have their heart broken by Enos Slaughter’s mad dash in Game Seven of the World Series, as they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. Ben Hogan and Sam Snead still ruled the golf world. Army’s Glenn Davis won college football’s Heisman Trophy. The National Football League was an afterthought and barely resembled today’s colossus. The National Basketball Association didn’t yet exist.
It was a different world in so many ways.
Flash forward to this past Dec. 29, host Scarborough got 19 points from Austin as it held off Edward Little, 61-56.
The teams had no playoff history prior to taking the floor in front of a large and vocal crowd for the final basketball game of the season in this part of the state.
The Red Storm struck first, as senior Morgan Pratt fed Seme for a layup.
A driving layup by Khalid tied it and Shea’s first points, a layup off a feed from Morin, gave the Red Eddies their first lead.
After a long jumper from Pratt tied the game again, Morin set up Maiwen for a layup, but Fiorillo gave Scarborough the lead with a 3-pointer and Austin added another for a 10-6 lead, forcing Adams to call timeout.
It didn’t help, as Pratt fed a cutting Fiorillo for a layup and Seme added a free throw to cap a 9-0 run.
With 1:27 left in the quarter, Morin knocked down a jumper to end a 3 minute, 43 second drought and just before the horn, Khalid stole the ball and made a layup to cut the deficit to 13-10 after eight minutes.
In the second period, neither team could gain separation.
Khalid started the frame with a jumper and after Austin banked home a tough-angle shot, Maiwen brought the house down with a dunk after a steal to cut the deficit to 15-14.
Seme answered with a leaner, but Khalid stole the ball and made a layup.
After a Seme free throw, Edward Little retook the lead with 55 seconds to go on a Morin 3 and the Red Eddies clung to a 19-18 advantage at the half.
Khalid led all first half scorers with eight points, while Seme paced Scarborough with six.
The Red Storm made half of their 14 field goal attempts, including 2-of-5 shots from 3-point range, while Edward Little was 9-of-20 from the floor.
Little changed in the third quarter, as both teams continued to battle for every point.
Fiorillo tipped home a missed shot to start the second half, but Khalid answered with a driving layup.
After Scarborough senior Reece Lagerquist scored on a leaner, Shea made his first 3-pointer, but a pair of Fiorillo free throws tied it, 24-24.
A floater from Khalid put the Red Eddies back on top, but Lagerquist passed to Fiorillo for a layup to tie it again, 26-26, heading for the fourth quarter.
There, Edward Little did just enough to be the last team standing.
Khalid opened the final stanza with a driving layup, but after Maiwen picked up his fourth foul, Lagerquist scored on a putback to tie it again.
A Khalid putback gave Edward Little the lead with 5 minutes remaining, but Fiorillo tied it again with a bank shot 32 seconds later.
The, with 3:33 remaining, in the night’s pivotal play, Shea took a pass from Morin off an inbounds set and buried a clutch 3.
“I was struggling, but I found an open shot I didn’t think twice. I had to shoot it,” Shea said.
“It’s not like we’re looking for a 3 from Darby specifically, but whenever Darby catches it, it’s certainly a possibility,” Adams said.
“We were in man situation there and they made a good play,” Conley said.
Seme countered with two free throws, but with 2:44 to go, Maiwen got a jumper to rattle in to restore the three-point lead.
The next two minutes saw Scarborough have ample opportunity to answer, but to fail to so do.
First, Lagerquist had a shot that missed. After Shea missed a the other end, Fiorillo’s 3, which could have tied the score, was blocked by sophomore Austin Brown.
After an Edward Little turnover, the Red Storm had another chance, but Maiwen stole the ball back and with 44.2 seconds on the clock, Shea went to the line for a one-and-one.
Shea calmly sank the first attempt, then buried the second for a 37-32 lead.
After Pratt missed a shot, Scarborough junior Paul Kirk got the rebound and was fouled. Kirk missed his first attempt, but sank the second.
The ball was then inbounded to Morin, who managed to run six seconds off the clock after a nice crossover dribble before being fouled.
With 24.9 seconds showing, Morin came up huge, making both free throws for a 39-33 advantage.
Scarborough refused to go quietly, as after Fiorillo missed a 3, Pratt grabbed the rebound and got the ball back to Fiorillo, who was blanketed by a defender, but managed to sink a 3 to keep his team on life support, down, 39-36, with 8.8 seconds showing.
Out of a timeout, Edward Little inbounded the ball to Morin, who was immediately fouled, but this time, Morin missed the front end of a one-and-one and for a split second, the Red Storm entertained dreams of forcing overtime.
Until Maiwen swooped in and grabbed the rebound.
“We work every day on boxing out, but we missed a checkout and he made a great play,” Conley lamented. “That was tough.”
The Red Eddies then ran several seconds off the clock until Shea was fouled with just 1.3 seconds showing.
Shea made the first attempt to ice it, then drained the second as well and at 9:27 p.m., Edward Little finally completed its quest and celebrated its 41-36 victory.
“It really hasn’t set in yet,” Shea said. “It will be 12:30 a.m. and I’ll be unwinding and I’ll be thinking about winning a state championship. I’m going to wake up (tomorrow)… Well, I won’t be able to sleep.”
“It’s a dream come true,” Khalid said. “Every little kid wishes for this.”
“I’ve been an emotional wreck all week,” Adams added. “I know how hard it is to win it. This doesn’t define me as a coach, but I wanted the kids and the community to experience it. We said before the game we had to get easy baskets and not give up easy baskets. I think we had a game where there were two well-coached teams where we took each other’s strengths away and forced other kids to do what they didn’t want to do. It was an ugly game, but it was a beautiful ending.”
The Red Eddies were paced by Khalid, who was the most confident player on the floor most of the night, with 16 points. Khalid also had four steals.
“My teammates did a nice job finding me when I was open and I’d just rip and went through and tried to draw contact when I could,” Khalid said.
Shea had 12 points and four rebounds. Morin added seven points and five assists and Maiwen had six points and five rebounds.
Edward Little had a very respectable 12 turnovers, made 16-of-35 field goals, hit 3-of-9 3-pointers and made 6-of-7 free throws.
Scarborough’s effort was paced by the dynamic Fiorillo, who had 16 points, to go with six rebounds.
“Nick has been outstanding,” Conley said. “He gets double- and triple-teamed and he keeps his composure and hits big shots for us. He’s special because he can take it outside, he can hit the mid-range jumper, or you can post him up on the block.”
Seme bowed out with eight points, Austin had five, Lagerquist four, Pratt two and Kirk one.
The Red Storm enjoyed a 28-19 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over 14 times and just couldn’t make shots like they were used to, finishing 13-of-38 from the field, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range, and 7-of-13 from the foul line.
“It could have gone either way, but we fell a little bit short,” Conley said. “It was a great defensive battle. There wasn’t a lot of offense. They made a couple shots and made their foul shots late. If you told me we’d hold them to 41 points, I’d be happy. We normally get shots to fall, but we didn’t tonight. That’s a credit to their defense. One of our strengths is how hard we play defensively. You saw that last week against South Portland. I thought this would be a tight game possession by possession, which it was. Our outside shots flowed last week, but tonight, they were in-and-out. That’s how it goes sometimes.
“This has been really meaningful for me. Scarborough has been wonderful. Mike LeGage, the athletic director, and the whole administration believes in me. I’m glad I’m there.”
Scarborough says farewell to Lagerquist, Pratt, Seme, Sam Gorey and Zoltan Panyi.
“I’ll miss the seniors,” Conley said. “They had a great career. Morgan, Jaquan and Reece had solid seasons for us. I told them in the locker room, they put Scarborough basketball on the map.”
The Red Storm won’t be a one-hit wonder. With a burgeoning youth system likely to provide a pipeline for many years to come and the likes of Austin, Fiorillo and Kirk returning, Scarborough playing meaningful games in February and March will become the rule, not the exception.
“We have a strong travel program with over 180 kids playing right now,” Conley said. “The young guys will work hard in the summer because we want to get back here.”
Sun Journal staff writer Randy Whitehouse contributed to this story.
Scarborough sophomore Brian Austin has a shot blocked by Edward Little sophomore Austin Brown.
Scarborough senior Jaquan Seme goes up with the left hand.
Scarborough junior Paul Kirk shoots over Edward Little sophomore Austin Brown.
Scarborough junior Nick Fiorillo gets past Edward Little senior Ibn Khalid.
Scarborough senior Morgan Pratt launches a shot.
Scarborough senior Reece Lagerquist muscles his way to the basket.
Scarborough junior Nick Fiorillo celebrates a basket.
Scarborough junior Nick Fiorillo, left, senior Jaquan Seme and senior Morgan Pratt receive the runner-up trophy.
For the first time since the Truman Administration, Edward Little is state champion in boys’ basketball and the Red Eddies have the Gold Ball to prove it.
2010 Class A
Cheverus 55 Edward Little 50 (Cheverus later vacated title)
2009 Class A
Thornton Academy 54 Edward Little 52
1957 Class A
Old Town 75 Edward Little 69
1946 Class A
Edward Little 50 Bangor 35
1941 Class A
Edward Little 37 Bangor 29