June 24, 2018
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Bangor boys ‘bomb’ way past Edward Little

By Kalle Oakes, Lewiston Sun Journal, Sun Journal

AUBURN, Maine — Three-pointers were contagious in the Bangor boys’ basketball camp Friday night.

If you didn’t believe it after Alex Campbell and Xavier Lewis combined for three in the final 94 seconds of the first half at Edward Little, maybe the message was delivered when Campbell’s father sank a half-court shot at intermission and went home $123 richer.

Garrett Johnson rained down three more in the third quarter, and Bangor buried 11 bonus bombs in all, storming off with a 68-48 KVAC victory.

“Realistically you’re not going to shoot like that very often as a team,” Bangor coach Ed Kohtala said. “We hit some 3s there in the last couple of minutes of the half, and a couple of them were questionable shots, but they came from senior guards who were playing well. They felt it, and they stepped up and hit it.”

Campbell carved up EL’s half-court defense for 25 points. Johnson added 19. Each hit five from beyond the arc for Bangor (2-1), which shot 57 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 40-24 advantage.

Andrew Middleton topped EL (1-2) with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Salad Sheikh added 10 points.

“One of these teams was going to leave here 1-2, and I think we’re both pretty good,” EL coach Mike Adams said. “Hopefully we can figure out how to make ourselves better, and if we do, we’ll be OK, and if we don’t, maybe we’ll just be average. We’d prefer to be better than average.”

Campbell and Lewis’ marksmanship crafted a 17-3 run at the end of the half. It answered a 9-0 surge that brought the Red Eddies within two, 23-21, with 4:41 to go.

Middleton concluded that stretch with a steal and transition layup, but it was EL’s final field goal of the half.

Bangor missed its first six shots of the quarter before Campbell (four assists, four steals) found Connor Adams down low for a bucket.

Johnson’s steal and coast-to-coast drive kept the Rams rolling. After one Thomas Cedre free throw briefly broke the spell, Lewis knocked down the 23-footer that didn’t draw Kohtala’s approval until it found the net.

The run continued with a Lewis lay-in, a Campbell trifecta, and a Johnson steal and layup. Two Sheikh free throws appeared to steady the Eddies until Campbell knocked down another 3-pointer inside the horn.

“We got right into our offense and the shots just fell,” Campbell said. “We were pretty hot.”

And even though the third quarter was EL’s best, Johnson stole the show. He had nine of Bangor’s 11 points in that period, all on 3-pointers with generous space in front of him.

“Even on a team that’s playing as hard as Edward Little was defensively, all of us give up something,” Kohtala said. “As the defense tightened and did a much better job on Lewis and taking away his driving lanes, and a nice job on Alex getting out on him, what that did was open up that jump shot for Garrett. He had a nice little run there and made me look smart.”

EL’s closest approach was 48-38 with 1:30 remaining in the third, with a drive and two free throws by Middleton punctuating a 10-3 run.

Johnson jolted the home crowd back to reality, swishing a 3-pointer from the left corner.

The Red Eddies were 18-for-55 (33 percent) from the field and committed 20 turnovers.

“We just put pressure on them,” Campbell said. “We have a fast lineup and a small lineup. We get into our defense pretty quickly.”

Bangor never trailed after answering Sheikh’s opening basket with nine straight points — a two and a three from Campbell, and buckets by Adams and Ben Hughes.

“Every time we made a run, we’d turn the ball over, and it was bad turnovers. Turnovers have been a problem for us for three games now, so we have to do something different, because what we’re doing right now isn’t working,” Coach Adams said. “The bad part is it’s not like the teams we’re playing, it’s their pressure causing turnovers. These guys have played way too much basketball with us and in the summertime and year-round to have this kind of self-destruction.”

Luke Sterling had six rebounds and five assists for EL. Kaleb Main and Lew Jensen added seven points apiece.

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