Emily Esposito learned how to shoot a basketball playing against her brothers Chris and Matt.

With both in the stands Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena, there to watch her play in the Class AA girls’ basketball state final, she wanted to show them she still knew how to do it.

Esposito scored 22 points and hit arguably the biggest shot of the game as Gorham High defeated Edward Little 46-36 to capture the first Class AA state title.

The Rams outscored the Eddies 11-2 over the final six minutes, with Esposito getting seven points.

“This means so much to us,” said Gorham junior Kristen Curley. “Everyone’s really happy about it. And it’s definitely better to be the first AA champion.”

The Class AA division was created with the Maine Principals’ Association’s realignment into five classes from the traditional four this year.

Gorham finished 21-0 to win the school’s first state title since 1999 and its seventh overall. All other championships came in Class B. The Eddies (16-5) were playing in their first state title game.

Gorham used an 8-0 run to take a 19-15 halftime lead and slowly extended it in the third quarter. With Curley hitting two open 3-pointers, the Rams built a 35-23 lead late in the quarter. Edward Little then came back.

A 3-pointer by Piper Norcross started an 11-0 run that ended with a Karlie Stubbs basket that brought Edward Little within 35-34 with 6:43 left.

“I felt they were getting some second-chance points,” said Gorham Coach Laughn Berthiaume. “When we stopped their second-chance points, finishing off defensive possessions, we did a little better.”

Gorham slowed the pace and Esposito missed a jumper. But Mackenzie Holmes got the offensive rebound and kicked the ball back to Esposito.

Not hesitating, she swished a step-back 15-footer from the left wing and Gorham was up 37-34.

“I was just glad it went in,” said Esposito, who will have surgery on her right wrist Tuesday with a recovery time of 3 to 6 weeks.

Berthiaume expected nothing less from Esposito, who also had eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

“When we need a big shot, she’s ready to take it. She’s not scared of the moment,” he said. But, he added, “It wasn’t just the scoring. The defending. The rebounding. The ballhandling. There’s really no aspect of her game that’s not valuable.”

Eddies Coach Craig Jipson said that was the biggest possession of the game. “One big play,” he said. “They missed a shot and we just didn’t get the rebound. That was a back-breaker.”

After an Eddies miss, Danasia Fennie scored her only basket on an inbounds pass from Kaylea Lundin and it was 39-34. The Eddies went cold, missing two shots and Esposito, who found holes in the zone for mid-range jumpers, hit two foul shots to make it 41-34.

The lead hit 45-34 before Emily Jacques (15 points, four assists) scored for Edward Little, breaking a 6:06 drought. By then it was too late.

“Amazing,” said Esposito.

Jipson said Gorham’s inside edge was too much for his Eddies to overcome. The Rams had a 32-22 rebounding edge with nine offensive rebounds. “When they miss you can’t give them another opportunity,” he said. “I just wish we could have limited their second and third chances … They’re just too good to give them more than one shot.”

Holmes added 10 points and six rebounds with two blocks, for Gorham. Curley’s 3-pointers were crucial and Fennie added nine rebounds.

And now the Rams have the distinction of being listed first among AA girls’ champions.

“Any time you get an opportunity to do something nobody has done, it’s certainly special,” said Berthiaume. “That definitely wasn’t the focus but it’s something that’s very special for us to look back on.”