AUGUSTA — Bad luck has followed the Edward Little basketball team into the Cony gym the last couple of seasons. So even with a healthy lead in the fourth quarter, coach Craig Jipson implored his team to get out on Cony’s 3-point shooters.
The Rams made seven of their trademark 3s Tuesday night but it wasn’t nearly enough to knock off the top-ranked Red Eddies, who came away with a 52-40 win in which they led wire to wire in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Edward Little (17-1)will enter the upcoming Eastern Maine Class A tournament as the top seed while Cony (12-6) will likely go in fourth. The Rams never found their shooting eyes Tuesday, distracted by the fact that it was senior night for seven of their players.
“They were crying in the locker room during pregame, they were crying during warmups,” Cony coach Ted Rioux said. “It’s a group of seven seniors who have been best friends since the third grade.”
The Red Eddies defense had a lot to do with Cony’s dismal shooting statistics (14 for 52). The smaller Rams settled for 3-pointers and had a lot of trouble shooting over the EL defense.
“We’re going to have hit shots,” Rioux said. “Fifty-two points is not what I’m worried about, it’s (40).”
The Red Eddies had the Rams on the ropes several times during the game but couldn’t quite put them away. The Eddies led 16-9 at the end of the first quarter, then both teams went cold in the second period, which ended with Edward Little on top 19-13.
“They were missing some shots in the second quarter,” Jipson said. “We were just turning the ball over every time down. What was really frustrating was we were getting some steals and turning it over after the steal.”
Kory Norcross, Edward Little’s only senior, has been a witness to several Cony upsets of her team over the past two seasons and recognized the importance of coming away with a win against the Rams entering the tournament.
“It’s huge,” said Norcross, who scored a game-high 19 points. “Any time we play them it’s a great game. We always look forward to it.”
The Rams have pulled off a couple of last-minute wins against the Red Eddies the past two seasons and last year eliminated them from the tournament after they were seeded first. There would be no upset Tuesday, though. The Rams missed three layups in the opening moments and never got untracked. As three-pointers shooters do, however, they kept shooting. And after trailing by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, they cut the lead to 37-30 one back-to-back 3s from Allyssah Dennett and Emily Quirion. The Eddies had an answer in junior Brooke Reynolds (12 points, 10 rebounds), who converted a three-point play off an offensive rebound and followed with a foul-line jumper to restore the lead to 42-30. Calli Murray and Norcross followed with layups and the Rams never recovered.
Quirion finished with 12 points while Dennett added 10.