Lawrence got off to a quick start in its only meeting against Edward Little this season and put the Red Eddies away, 67-53.
“We started the game 16-2 after one (quarter),” Lawrence coach Mike McGee said. “I’m not sure they really recovered after that.”
The teams meet again Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center in the semifinals of the Eastern Maine Class a boys basketball tournament, and although a repeat of that start would be nice, McGee isn’t expecting it.
“They’re tough to defend,” he said. “You almost have to double team (Quin) Leary.”
Leary, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A South Division Player of the Year, scored 13 points in Edward Little’s 67-51 win against Messsalonskee in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. But he had plenty of help as Lew Jensen scored 20 points, including six 3-pointers, Sean Ford had 15 and Nate Alexander 11.
Although the Bulldogs defended the Eddies well in the regular season, McGee was concerned that they gave up too many offensive rebounds and allowed 17 points on out-of-bounds plays under the basket.
“Lawrence is so big and strong at every spot,” Edward Little coach Mike Adams said. “They definitely won’t let you get by them. It’s going to take our best effort to beat them.”
McGee plans to start junior Xavier Lewis, who missed the final five games of the regular season with mononucleosis. The 6-foot-1 guard scored 13 points off the bench in Lawrence’s 52-41 win over Brunswick in the quarterfinals.
“We’ll watch him, but he’s had two good days of practice,” McGee said. “He seems to have his legs back. The amazing thing about him is he plays so hard on defense.”
Senior Spencer Carey scored 15 points for the Bulldogs against Brunswick while Mason Travers added nine. But to the key to the win was the effort on defense, led by the two players up top, Lewis and point guard Matt Saunders.
“I loved our defense in the first quarter,” McGee said. “Lewis and Saunders are just two tough guys to go against. And I like the way we’re moving the ball, kind of like a mini-Hampden.”
Top-seeded and unbeaten Hampden plays No. 5 Lewiston in the nightcap. The Broncos are an exceptional passing team with several scoring threats. They overwhelmed Mt. Ararat 78-35 in the opening round and are allowing less than 40 points a game this season.
Lewiston, which didn’t face Hampden during the regular season, beat No. 4 Bangor 69-59 in the opening round. The Blue Devils are playing without senior guard Donne Agossou who injured his knee near the end of the regular season.
Bill Stewart contributed to this report
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