BY ADAM ROBINSONSUN JOURNAL
AUBURN — Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen met his match on Wednesday night against No. 7 Windham in a Class AA North boys’ basketball quarterfinal matchup.
It’s not often that the long-armed, athletic forward for the No. 2 Red Eddies finds himself matched up with a player taller, longer and heavier than he is, but he did when Dierhow Bol lined up across from him for the opening tip.
Maiwen and Bol went back and forth, trading rebounds, buckets and blocks, but in the end Edward Little made a couple more plays when it counted and came away with the 45-34 victory to advance to the AA North semifinals against Oxford Hills.
“Dierhow in the paint in the 4-1 (zone), I think that gave us a little bit of a bother,” Maiwen said. “We weren’t able to get into the flow of our offense and they had a lot of steals off that. He’s 6-6, a long wingspan and he’s got more weight on me, so that makes it a lot easier for him to box me out and get a lot of those rebounds and foul calls.”
Maiwen out-played Dierhow in the first quarter as the AA North Player of the Year grabbed three rebounds, blocked one shot, stole two balls and scored four points, capped off by a steal that lead to a ferocious tomahawk slam.
Cam Yorke also hit one of his three 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Eddies went up 9-3 after one.
Windham wasn’t going to let the Eddies run away with the game, though. Andrew Wing hit two 3-pointers for Windham while teammate Ivan Kaffel hit another and the Eagles stayed right with EL in the second quarter.
Maiwen scored eight more points in the second, four on free throws and two on an acrobatic layup under the hoop, as the Red Eddies held a 21-14 halftime lead. But Windham’s defense was causing a lot of problems.
“A lot of times, that first-round game is (tough),” Edward Little coach Mike Adams said. “We have a lot of respect for them because they’ve beat South Portland, Windham, and Chad has done a great job of using their size. Defensively, they took up a lot of space.”
Bol started to find his offensive rhythm in the third. He scored five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play in the middle of the period to bring Windham within two points.
The Eagles also stole the ball five times in the third, creating havoc as they crept back into the game.
EL kept plugging along. Creaser scored three points in the third and Wol five, including a three-point play to end the quarter.
Windham coach Chad Pulkkinen took pride in the fight his team gave for all 32 minutes.
“We have to play our butts off against them, and Wol is a great player so he takes a lot of the focus,” Pulkkinen said. “(Austin) Brown is a player we tried to take out of the game. Our guys just battled their butts off and we did everything we could. … I’m proud of our guys.”
Bol continued fighting in the fourth, scoring five points, all at the free-throw line, and grabbing four offensive rebounds.
“He’s big and athletic and has played varsity since sophomore year, at least,” Adams said. “We wanted to three-quarter him in the post and commit help-side, but what they really do a good job of is the back-door cut on that same side so Wol can’t help out. What killed us was that back-side three, they had a lot of those.”
Five different EL players scored in the final frame, including Maiwen, who had four points. Yorke hit his third 3 to finish with 11 points and on the defensive end. Maiwen blocked three more shots to finish with six blocks, nine rebounds, five steals and 21 points.
“I think it was another opportunity for other kids to step up and do something for us,” Adams said. “Like Cam hitting 3s, and Creaser came through at the end with some big cuts and some big baskets, and some guys came off the bench and gave us some big minutes. I think just the fact that we have grinded out a tough win against a team that has beat some great teams shows a lot about our toughness.”