AUGUSTA, Maine — Blake Hart led a balanced attack with 12 points as Mt. Blue of Farmington outlasted Edward Little of Auburn 52-49 in an Eastern Maine Class A semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday night.

The win advances the third-ranked Cougars (16-4) to the regional championship game for the first time since 1997, the last time coach Jim Bessey’s club won an Eastern Maine crown.

Mt. Blue will play top-ranked Hampden Academy, a 47-37 winner over Bangor in the nightcap, in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. final.

Seventh-seeded Edward Little, seeking to return to the regional final for a fifth straight year, ends its season with a 12-8 record.

Cam Sennick added 11 points for Mt. Blue while Steven Yardley and Eric Berry scored 10 points apiece.

Omar Haji-Hersi led Edward Little with 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter as he tried to spark a rally by the Red Eddies. Quin Leary added 14 points and Sean Ford nine for coach Mike Adams’ club.

Edward Little held a 26-25 halftime lead behind 12 early points from Haji-Hersi, seven in the first quarter.

The Red Eddies had used a halfcourt zone defense to prevent Mt. Blue from getting inside, but Cougar guards Berry, Yardley and Chris Malone combined for 18 first-half points, with Malone making a 3-pointer with three seconds left in the second quarter to make it a one-point game at the break.

Mt. Blue went on a 9-1 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to build a 43-36 lead, but Haji-Hersi made two 3-pointers to help fuel Edward Little’s comeback, and the Red Eddies ultimately had two chances to tie the game in the final seconds but Leary missed a pair of long 3-point attempts.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...