December 19, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL: Edward Little cruises past Messalonskee

Eddies start fast, win matchup of unbeatens.

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

OAKLAND — Edward Little girls basketball coach Craig Jipson was expecting a battle. The reason it wasn’t was because Jipson’s team was so superb.

In a matchup of unbeaten teams, Edward Little began the game with nine straight points, and led Messalonskee by 22 at halftime. The Red Eddies cruised to a 63-27 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A victory on Thursday night.

“That’s as well as we’ve played in a long, long time,” Jipson said. “Messalonskee’s a very good basketball team. I’m very impressed with my team’s performance tonight. That’s as well as we can possibly shoot it.”

The Eddies (4-0) shot 53 percent Thursday. Early on, it was Kory Norcross, Emily Jacques, and Tianna Harriman filling it up. In the fourth quarter, with the game long decided, sophomore Karli Stubbs set up some baskets with her nice passing. Norcross finished with a game-high 21 points, while Jacques scored 14 (on 7 for 9 shooting), and Harriman had nine. Jacques and Harriman combined for 21 of their 23 points in the first half.

“I think we were really hyped up tonight,” Jipson said. “They were 3-0. We only play them once. They’re going to easily win 12 games — they’re such a good basketball team. So for us to get a Heal point-worthy win this early in the season was so big for us. We came out really fired up for this one.”

Edward Little led 5-0 just 45 seconds into the game, and 9-0 barely 2 minutes in. Behind Mikayla Turner (11 points, nine rebounds), Messalonskee dug in, and cut the lead to 16-8 by the end of the first quarter.

The Eagles got within 16-11 on a 3-pointer by Kassi Michaud early in the second quarter, but then Jacques and Harriman took over. Jipson had used an almost unbroken flow of substitutes in the first quarter, but stuck more with his starters the rest of the half. Jacques bothered the Eagles with her height, agility, and moves, and Harriman’s leadership on the floor also led to easy buckets. After scoring 24 points in the second quarter, EL led 40-18 at the break, and was shooting 62 percent as a team.

“We’ve been shooting 31 percent through our first three games,” Jipson said. “So to come out and shoot the ball like that was incredibly impressive.”

Messalonskee had one more chance to make a run, as the Eddies were a little sloppy and comfortable at the start of the third quarter. But the shots didn’t fall, and the Eddies regrouped, outscoring the hosts 23-9 in the second half.

The Eagles have three more games before the end of December. They host Cony on Saturday, and play at Hampden on Monday and at Bangor next Friday.

“The good thing is, honestly, we don’t have much time (before our next game),” Messalonskee coach Keith DeRosby said. “So I’m hoping the short turnover allows us to just come in and refocus. I think we’ll be where we want to be come February. It’s just one of those bumps in the road.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243mdifilippo@centralmaine.comTwitter: @Matt_DiFilippo
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