BREWER — Edward Little entered Tuesday night’s Class A schoolboy basketball game with a distinct height advantage over Brewer, and the Red Eddies from Auburn didn’t waste time putting it to good use.
Senior forward Bo Leary scored 10 of his game-high 28 points to spark a 23-3 first-quarter run and coach Mike Adams’ club cruised from there to a 65-47 victory at the Brewer High gym.
Leary, who also had nine rebounds, capped the Red Eddies’ first-quarter burst with a steal and one-handed thunder slam, and the Witches got no closer than 16 the rest of the game.
“Bo and his brother Quinn are pretty big and they use their bodies well,” said Adams, whose defending EM champion Red Eddies improved to 4-0 while Brewer fell to 2-4.
“Tonight was the best night our guards did of moving the basketball to set up those players and use their size advantage,” added Adams.
Quinn Leary, a sophomore, was the other EL player in double figures with 14 points and the Red Eddies held the Witches to three first-half field goals in taking a 39-12 lead after the first 16 minutes.
That erased any thoughts of a potential Brewer rally in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Maine championship game and quieted the Witches’ boisterous student section.
“We’ve had close games with them both last year and the year before here,” said Bo Leary.
All but three of Edward Little’s first-quarter points — a perimeter shot from Cody Nicholas — came within 15 feet of the basket.
“(Leary’s) really only 6-foot-3, but he’s so physically strong. He used his body so well to seal the (defenders) off to use that to his advantage,” Adams said.
The Eddies also did a good job defensively on Brewer star Ray Bessette, using a 1-2-2 zone trap to force the Witches into 13 first-half turnovers, while Brewer’s defense had a hard time neutralizing Bo Leary in the paint.
“He’s a very good player. It took us a while to settle in and figure out how we were going to guard him,” said Brewer coach Ben Goodwin. “But I thought we did a good job, we didn’t give up. We got down big in the first quarter and we played for the next three quarters.”
Goodwin felt that his team played better on both ends of the floor in the second half.
“It’s great because we are getting better, it is a long season, and I’m very proud of the guys because they didn’t stop playing, they continued to play hard,” Goodwin said.
Bessette did score 18 points for Brewer, but they were hard-earned as he constantly drew two defenders.
“He killed us four times last year. We have a lot of respect for him and the whole Brewer program, we know Ray Bessette’s one of the top players in the state, so we wanted to do a good job (on) him,” Adams said.
Bo Leary added, “In the first half we definitely contained him pretty good.”
Edward Little’s strong inside play was reflected in its shooting percentage as the Eddies shot a solid 29-for-54 (54 percent) from the floor.