AUBURN — Portland couldn’t shake short-handed Edward Little for the first two-and-a-half quarters Friday night in a rematch of last year’s Class AA North boys’ basketball final, so Bulldogs Coach Joe Russo called a timeout.

It was time for Portland to get back to basics.

The Bulldogs came out of that timeout and went on a 10-0 run that carried them to a 78-70 victory.

Terion Moss led the Bulldogs (7-0) with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Trey Ballew added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Simon Chadbourne also had 15 points off the bench.

Austin Brown, left, of Edward Little and Pedro Fonseca of Portland compete for a rebound during the first quarter. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Darby Shea paced the Red Eddies (4-3) with 24 points. Ibn Khalid added 20 points and seven rebounds.

Edward Little played without 6-foot-4 junior Wol Maiwen for disciplinary reasons.

After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, EL rallied to tie it at 41-41 on back-to-back hoops by Xzabier Weaver (nine points off the bench) with 3:52 left in the third quarter, prompting Russo to call the timeout.

“We went straight man-to-man and played solid in hopes of slowing them down,” Russo said. “They were on a nice little roll scoring.

“We’ve been holding teams under 50, so I know we can play better ‘D’ than we did tonight. But that little stretch was a time to say now is the time we’ve got to step up our defense. The energy came from the defense.”

Ahmed Abidir of Edward Little drives on Griffin Foley of Portland in the first quarter. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Portland got back-to-back 3-pointers from Chadbourne and Moss, an inside hoop from Ballew and a pair of Moss free throws that made it 51-41 with 2:20 to go in the third. The Bulldogs made their run with second-leading scorer Griffin Foley relegated to the bench after picking up his fourth foul.

“A bad shot, two turnovers … (Portland) is just that good,” Edward Little Coach Mike Adams said. “We had some great contributions from bench guys who came in and gave us great minutes. I was wicked proud of those kids. But we can’t make any excuses. We gave up 78 points.”

EL also had some foul trouble, as Khalid had to go to the bench after drawing his fourth foul midway through the third. Shea finally broke Portland’s run with a layup with 2:14 to go in the quarter, but the Eddies never got closer than seven points as the fourth quarter turned into a free-throw shooting contest.

Both teams struggled to find the range in a fast-paced first half. Portland got a boost off the bench from Chadbourne, who drilled a pair of 3s en route to 13 points in the first half, helping the Bulldogs build a 20-16 lead after the first quarter.

Grant Hartley of Edward Little competes for a rebound with Griffin Foley, left, Terion Moss and Benjamin Fisher, right, of Portland in the second quarter. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Chadbourne, who scored 12 points off the bench in last year’s regional final, kept it going in the second quarter with five points during an 8-0 run in which the Bulldogs extended the lead to 28-18.

“He loves playing against us,” Adams said. “He’s like, ‘Yes, EL’s coming. That means I get to hit corner 3s again.'”

“He’s been playing great this year, and he’s getting so much better with his rebounding and defense,” Russo said. “I don’t like taking him off the court because he’s such a threat (offensively).”

EL finished the half strong and trailed by only two thanks to a nice dribble drive and spinning layup by Ahmed Safi.

Russo thought his team counted on the Eddies rolling over because they were playing without Wol’s paint presence.

“I think it affected us for a couple of reasons,” Russo said. “One, we know how good he is and we had to game plan for him. And, I don’t know if the kids got a little lackadaisical because (EL) didn’t have him. We got a little bit of a lead and we got complacent, and EL played hard, focused and together.”