AUGUSTA, Maine — As her teammates took to warmups prior to the second half Friday night, Jordyn Reynolds sought advice.
A visibly frustrated Reynolds walked courtside and had a chat with her sister, Brooke. When the junior forward returned to action, the frustration turned to motivation.
“She lit that fire and got me to play harder,” Reynolds said. “She definitely got it accomplished to get it lit underneath me.”
Reynolds scored eight points in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 17 points to lead Edward Little to its first regional girls basketball championship, a 49-34 win over Oxford Hills at the Augusta Civic Center in the Class AA North final on Friday night.
Reynolds helped EL take the lead in a back-and-forth ballgame and put the Red Eddies in the driver’s seat down the stretch.
“In the first half, I wasn’t doing my all and I just needed that extra push to play harder,” Reynolds said.
Brooke Reynolds was a standout post player for the Red Eddies, and played on an EL team that lost a regional final.
“I thought (Jordyn) Reynolds had a tremendous game,” Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier said. “I thought (Karli) Stubbs had a great game. Overall, they had a good game plan against us. In the end, it was whoever had the lead in that fourth quarter was going to be the one that won.”
The regional crown is Edward Little’s first in seven tries. The Red Eddies play for the state championship next Saturday against Gorham at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
“As a program we were 0-6, and personally, I was 0-2,” EL coach Craig Jipson said. “To get our first regional championship is really big, especially after how many seniors we lost last year.”
Some current Eddies were on the team when it lost in the Eastern Class A final to Oxford Hills.
“It’s kind of revenge,” senior guard Emily Jacques said. “They beat us the last time, and we came back to get it back.”
Jacques added 13 for EL (16-4) and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Stubbs scored 11, and Piper Norcross and Jade Perry also scored.
“It’s a different feeling,” Reynolds said. “It’s definitely good. It’s a great feeling to be on the other side. Usually I’m crying because we lost and now it’s happy tears, tears of joy. It’s such a wonderful accomplishment.”
Tianna Sugars led Oxford Hills (16-4) with 12 points. Jadah Adams added eight and Maighread Laliberte had six, but the Vikings couldn’t score consistently down the stretch.
“We were down two to start the fourth,” Pelletier said. “Jacques had four fouls. I thought we were in good position. They came out and scored a couple of quick baskets. I felt like if we got a couple
quick baskets, we could play the basketball we wanted to play, but we got down so quick and we couldn’t fight back.”
Down 22-21 at halftime, Reynolds scored six in a row to start the third. The Vikings answered with Sugars free throws and a fast break hoop by Adams. After a Norcross free throw, Sugars tied it at 28-28. EL took the lead again with a turnaround shot by Reynolds in the post. Then Stubbs scored on a drive. Adams cut the lead to 32-20 entering the fourth.
“We got that four-point push and a four-point lead,” Jipson said. “That seemed huge at that point in the game. I thought we showed a lot of composure down the stretch.”
Jacques was playing with four fouls and Reynolds had three. Sugars also had four. All three stayed in the game. EL tried to keep at least one of them on the floor at all times, and the players off the bench played well.
“I think some kids really stepped up big,” Jipson said. “We have kids that will come in and play 45
seconds at a time and do the job.”
Stubbs opened the fourth with a 3 and that upped the lead to 35-30. The Vikings were battling to keep it close but that was a lead EL could work with. After a free throw by Perry, Reynolds scored inside to make it 38-30.
“It made me feel a little more relaxed,” Jacques said. “They came back, but we held them with our
The Vikings got a baskets by Laliberte and Adams to get within six twice. Reynolds answered with a score and then Stubbs scored on a leaner to make it 42-34. Jacques followed with a pair of three-point plays that pushed the lead to 48-34, finishing the game with nine straight.
“We haven’t been a great shooting team all year, but I liked the way we shot tonight,” Jipson said. “We got some good looks.”
Oxford Hills built the 11-8 lead in the first quarter with a 5-3 spurt that followed an 8-0 EL run.
The teams traded the lead in the second. The Vikings scored 10 straight points to build a 18-15 lead. Sugars had eight points during that run. Baskets by Reynolds and free throws by Stubbs got EL within 22-21 at the half.
Reynolds, meanwhile, now has an entry on her resume her sister can’t replicate. Still, Reynolds says her sister was part of this victory.
“The player I was as a freshman, fighting against her in practice, helped make me the player that I
am,” she said.