There were many wins for the Edward Little boys’ basketball team this year, but it was the losses that really drove the Red Eddies.

Whether it was the three-game losing streak early in the season, or all the losses in previous seasons that prevented Edward Little from winning a state championship over a span of 72 years, the Red Eddies were fueled by those defeats, according to senior Darby Shea.

“A big moment in the season was at the beginning stretch when we caught those first couple Ls,” Shea said. “It fueled our win streak toward the postseason and helped us gain our focus. (It also) helped our mindsets focus on the team numbers and not just individual.”

The Red Eddies won the Varsity Maine award for Winter Team of the Year, and Coach Mike Adams said the players “very much so” bought into the concept of team.

“We trusted each other, and we knew that the other guy had our back, and they cared about us, and I think that it was a really close group and that was a big thing,” Adams said.

That was important not only to help them snap out of that three-game losing streak that dropped the Red Eddies to 4-3, but also because Adams and assistant coach Craig Jipson, who joined Adams’ staff this season after stepping down as Edward Little’s girls’ coach, stressed defense so much.


“The biggest thing was definitely our intensity on defense,” senior Terrell Thomas said. “This year we brought in Coach Jipson, who is a mastermind on the defensive end, and we worked extremely hard in practice, which paid off in the end.”

“We challenged each other in ways to make any situation in a game a known one,” Shea said. “My teammates liked to show me a lot of double teams and face-guard me to help me constantly work on getting open.”

After its early losing streak, Edward Little won 14 of its last 15 games, capped by a 41-36 win over Scarborough in the Class AA state championship game. The Red Eddies pressed all season – until the playoffs.

“We pressed all year long because we were athletic and fairly strong and we’d just get after people,” Adams said, “but through the playoffs and even in the state game we pressed very rarely, but our kids still had a pressing mentality in the quarter court and they were very aggressive defensively.”

Stout defense in the state championship game against Scarborough – which beat Edward Little during its losing streak – led to a struggle on offense. Adams said the Red Eddies just made maybe one more play, or had one more bounce go their way.

They certainly had playmakers. The offense was led by a three-headed attack of Shea (”a great shooter,” according to Adams), Ibn Khalid (”an electric slasher”), and Wol Maiwen, who Adams called “the most athletic player in the state” and who “can just do anything, in terms of posting in the paint, or rebounding, or running.” Senior point guard Tyler Morin was the “general” who rarely made mistakes and who always knew where to get the ball.

It all added up to Edward Little’s first state title since 1946, a fact that the players had known since they were in kindergarten. Winning that elusive title “meant the world,” according to Adams.

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