Edward Little’s Max Creaser, left, is fouled by Deering’s Lokiron Anda during Saturday’s game in Auburn. Creaser scored 25 points to lead the Red Eddies to a 71-59 win. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Max Creaser scored 10 fourth-quarter points, including a pair of backbreaking 3-pointers, to lead Edward Little over Deering, 71-59, in a battle of one-loss boys’ basketball teams Saturday afternoon.

The Red Eddies were on top almost the whole way, but Deering pulled within six in the fourth quarter before a Creaser 3-pointer sparked a clinching 14-5 run.

Edward Little improved to 9-1, winning its eighth consecutive game to solidify its No. 1 ranking in Class AA North.

“We stuck to our fundamentals and really locked down on their athleticism and exploited how we play,” said Creaser, who led all scorers with 25 points.

Deering (8-2), ranked No. 2 in Class AA North, took early leads of 5-2 and 7-5, but three free throws from Austin Brown put the Red Eddies on top. In a sign of things to come, Daniel Milks drained a long 3-pointer just before the horn to make it 16-10 Edward Little after eight minutes.

“I was happy with our ability to run the clock down and get the last shot,” said Edward Little Coach Mike Adams. “Against a team like Deering, that can be the difference in the game.

Edward LIttle’s Jamaine Luizzo, left, and Deering’s Jesse Kamalandua battle for rebounding position under the basket during Saturday’s game in Auburn. Edward Little won a clash of the top two teams in Class AA North, 71-59. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Despite foul trouble, the Rams erased an eight-point deficit in the second quarter, tying the game at 27-27 and 29-29 as Jesse Kamalandua and Nick Langella provided a spark off the bench.

The Red Eddies then closed the half on a 7-1 run, capped by another buzzer-beating 3, this one from Creaser, to make it 36-30 at the break.

“That got us fired up for the second half,” said Creaser. “Anybody on our team can step up and score when we need them to.”

Deering tied it again at 39-39 on a 3-pointer from Max Morrione in the third quarter, but a Creaser fadeaway jumper gave Edward Little the lead for good.

The Red Eddies then saved their best for the end of the quarter again, closing on a 7-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from R.J. Nichols, to take a 50-43 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Despite being triple-teamed, Deering’s Askar Houssein sneaks through and scores a basket during Saturday afternoon’s game at Edward Little. Houssein scored 18 points in a 71-59 loss. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“The story of the game was the 3s at the end of the quarters,” said Deering Coach Todd Wing. “Edward Little’s a good team that exposes you the moment you break down.”

The Rams were within six early in the final quarter, but Creaser answered with a 3.

After Darryl Germain made two free throws to pull Deering within 60-53 with 3:55 to go, Creaser buried another 3, then made a layup. Cam Yorke sank two free throws and Brown added another to put it away.

“We’re pretty vanilla, especially after the last couple years with a guy like Wol (Maiwen),” said Adams. “We’re not high-flying or draining 3s. We’re more like a 1980s high school basketball team running a lot of motion and high-low and trying to get the ball in the paint. These guys are unselfish.”

In addition to Creaser’s production, Brown and John Shea each scored 10 points, and Milks added nine off the bench.

Deering, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, was paced by 18 points from Askar Houssein and 10 apiece from Germain and Morrione.

“The good news is that now in Class AA North we play each other twice, so we’ll take the film and we’ll learn from it and we’ll adjust,” said Wing.

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