AUGUSTA — The Edward Little boys’ basketball team had to steal back a game it thought it already had won Thursday.

The Red Eddies had stifled Cheverus through three quarters of their Class AA North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center, only to find themselves trailing by seven points with a mere minute remaining.

“Samatar (Iman) put his arm on my shoulder and said, ‘We’ve got this, we’ve got this,’ ” guard C.J. Jipson said after an improbable 46-43 victory. “We looked the seniors in the eye and we just gave the best we could, and it worked out for us. Everybody started believing in each other.”

The fourth-seeded Eddies started pressing Cheverus, overplaying the passing lanes, and the Stags grew confused and passive. Jarod Norcross Plourde stole a pass under his basket and swiftly laid it in to cut the deficit to 43-42. After a missed free throw, Plourde got the ball again in the open court and rumbled for the go-ahead layup, the last of his game-high 20 points.

But it was Jipson who sealed the victory with a heady play and his only basket of the game.

With 6.9 seconds left, Cheverus tried to inbound the ball at halfcourt, only to have Jipson burst around Austin Boudreau to steal the pass and sprint for the layup that induced an impromptu jig from Coach Mike Adams and the Eddies’ bench.

“We saw (Jack) Casale inbounding it so we knew the ball was going to Boudreau. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got help behind me. This is a big game and you’ve got to take a chance.’ And I just took a chance on the play and it worked out,” Jipson said. “They ran the same thing earlier in the game. So I tried to go the other way, got through (the screen) and just got my hand on it. I was thinking, ‘just go.’ I just wanted to lay it in and send this one over.”

Cheverus (9-10), the fifth seed, had rallied in the fourth quarter behind nine points from Andrew Roberts to take a 43-36 lead after scoring only 25 points through three quarters. Casale led the Stags with 16 points.

But when Adams unleashed the pressure, his team responded.

“We knew we had to take chances,” Adams said. “We’re not really a pressing team a lot even though we’re fairly quick, and the boys just got up and made things happen. We got momentum going our way.”

Plourde, a 6-foot-2 junior, provided the bulk of it with 16 second-half points. He took 20 shots and watched five straight rim out at one point. But he made his last three.

The biggest was the penultimate one, after his steal of a routine inbounds pass.

“I just cut off the passing lane, stayed one step ahead of them,” Plourde said. “I just had to lay it in and I thought it was going to roll out when I shot it.”

Plourde was the hero until Jipson one-upped him.

“He’s one of our best defensive players, and he’s our energy and he made a play happen,” Adams said of Jipson. “Because if Casale or Boudreau caught the ball we’d been on our way home right now. They were going to make it. C.J. saved the game for us.”

It’s the ninth consecutive year that Edward Little (11-8) has advanced to the semifinals, this one despite a 1-5 start to the season.

The Eddies will face top seed Portland here at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.


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