SOUTH PORTLAND — Darby Shea wasn’t about to miss twice.

After failing to cap a stirring comeback at the end of regulation when he missed a pair of foul shots with 17 seconds to go, Shea got another chance in overtime. His two free throws with 1:49 remaining put Edward Little on top to stay, then two more foul shots salted away a 66-62 victory over South Portland in a battle of Class AA title hopefuls at Beal Gymnasium.

“I wanted those (free throws in regulation) so bad,” said Shea. “I was so (mad). I wasn’t missing those (in overtime).”

South Portland held an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter before the Red Eddies roared back to set up a dramatic finish.

Behind eight points apiece from Scott Lewis and Noah Malone, South Portland (11-4) grabbed a 19-8 lead after one period and was on the brink of a double-digit halftime lead before Shea made a free throw and Austin Brown sank a desperation 3-pointer at the horn to pull Edward Little (11-4) within 34-26 at the break.

South Portland extended its lead to 45-27 with 5:13 to go in the third, but the Red Eddies battled back, closing out the quarter on a 14-2 run to pull within 47-41 on a short bank shot from Wol Maiwen with under a second to go.

The Red Eddies capped their comeback when Shea sank a long-range 3-pointer with 1:57 left, making it 53-51.

Riley Hasson tied it for the Red Riots with a driving layup, before Edward Little’s Ibn Khalid made a layup with 27 seconds to go.

After Shea missed the two free throws, Malone drove for a layup with 3.4 seconds left to send the game to overtime deadlocked at 55-55.

Tied at 57-57, Shea was fouled after an offensive rebound and his two free throws gave the Red Eddies the lead for good.

“(Darby’s) our best free throw shooter and we want him on the line,” said Edward Little Coach Mike Adams.

Khalid (22 points, seven rebounds) added a layup and Morin tacked on a free throw, but a runner from Malone with 16 seconds remaining made it a one-score game again, 62-59.

Shea, who finished with 21 points, then hit two clutch free throws, and even though Malone buried a desperation 3 with 10 seconds on the clock, Maiwen (14 points, 10 rebounds, two blocked shots) iced it with two more foul shots and Edward Little prevailed, 66-62.

“We practiced for this,” said Shea. “Coach Adams gets us prepared for every situation. We didn’t panic.”

“I might have been panicking a little bit, but the guys believe in each other,” Adams said. “We wanted to chip away and we got on a roll. We believe we have the players who can go on those stretches.”

South Portland got 31 points from Malone and 12 from Lewis, but it wasn’t enough.

“We made a few poor decisions with the ball and got tentative offensively, but they played hard and came back,” said Red Riots Coach Kevin Millington. “It was an excellent, playoff-caliber game.”

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