TOPSHAM — The Edward Little Red Eddies recovered in the second half to down a hungry Mt. Ararat Eagles team, coming away with a 58-43 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference boys high school basketball win on Tuesday.

Class A Mt. Ararat was looking to get its first win against the defending AA state champion Red Eddies.

The Eagles jumped out to a quick start on their home floor, led by the hot-shooting Will Kavanaugh, who finished with a game-high 19 points. Mt. Ararat pushed the lead to as high as 12 in the opening half.

“We beat them pretty good last year,” said Edward Little coach Mike Adams. “They’ve done a great job. The kids have worked hard, they’re better and they’re bigger. You can see they put the time in and they came out fired up.”

The Red Eddies opened the scoring as Max Creaser drove to the hoop for a layup. Mt. Ararat made it difficult from there for Edward Little’s offense, causing turnovers on the next two possessions.

With the game tied 4-4, Kavanaugh started firing. He hit a floater off the glass, and followed that up with his first trey of the game on the next trip down the floor. Kavanaugh added two more 3-pointers in the opening quarter, pacing the Eagles to a 17-6 lead after the opening frame.

“That was fun to watch,” said Mt. Ararat coach David Dubreuil. “That was absolutely fun to watch. He didn’t really miss.”

The Red Eddies pushed back with a 5-0 run to start the second quarter. Cam Yorke knocked down a jumper to open the scoring. Wol Maiwen was then fouled driving to the hoop. After Maiwen knocked down one of two foul shots, he found Storm Jipson cutting to the basket for an easy two on the next possession. The Eagles were forced to take a timeout after just 45 seconds with the lead cut to 17-11.

Mt. Ararat settled down after the timeout, finding success going inside to Jared Balser, who finished off a three point play as he was fouled laying the ball in over to Edward Little defenders to extend the lead to 24-17.

Kavanaugh and Edward Little’s Austin Brown traded buckets to end the half. Kavanaugh added two treys for the Eagles, while Brown scored the last seven points of the half for EL. Mt. Ararat took a 33-21 lead into halftime, with Kavanaugh going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc.

“That’s something our kids have to understand is that’s something we’re going to see all year,” said Adams. “Mt. Ararat had an awesome first half. They did everything they wanted to do. We did a better job in the second half of taking those threes away.”

“We hit a lot of shots in the beginning, created some turnovers which we were talking about tempo, limiting their shot opportunities and getting great shots for us,” said Dubreuil. “It was the opposite in the second, that 1-3-1 press kind of got to us and created some turnovers.”

The comeback

Edward Little turned up the pressure in the second half and it immediately led to points. Brown picked off a pass for an easy layup to open the scoring, sparking a 9-0 run to begin the quarter for the Red Eddies. EL started to work the ball inside to Maiwen, who chipped in eight points in the quarter. The frantic pace led to the Red Eddies regaining the lead, 39-38, with 50 seconds left in the third. It was the first lead for Edward Little since the game was 2-0.

“I think we came out pretty flat,” said Maiwen. “Coach just told us earlier it really starts in practice. Yesterday we didn’t have a good practice and it carried over to the game.”

“That’s a great team, Coach Adams had his guys ready,” said Dubreuil. “I’ve got to do a better job of preparing our guys for the second half I guess. The third quarter’s kind of been an Achilles heel for us all season so far.”

EL took a 41-38 lead into the third quarter and didn’t look back. Maiwen opened the scoring, taking a nice back-door pass from Creaser. The Red Eddies added seven points from the free-throw line as Mt. Ararat found itself in foul trouble. On the other end, the Eagles hit one field goal, a trey from Nathan Taylor. The Red Eddies pulled away for the 58-43 win.

Mt. Ararat fell to 0-4 and will look to bounce back at Lincoln Academy Friday (6:30 p.m.). The Eagles will take some positives out of pushing the Red Eddies.

“You get tons of positives, but the kids see 0-4,” said Dubreuil. “But, we’ve got some games coming up that I think we can get our first win. I think once we get that we can really take off and start doing what we can do.”

EL improved to 4-0. The Red Eddies were led by Maiwen with 19 points, while Brown chipped in 16, but more importantly the Red Eddies survived an early test on the road.

“Coach is always emphasizing a lot of people when they come to play us they’re not just coming to play Edward Little they’re playing last year’s Class AA state champion,” said Maiwen. “We’re a whole new team. We’re not playing to defend a championship, but everyone’s going to come out with a lot of energy.”

Comments are not available on this story.