AUGUSTA — Call it opening-night jitters, poor shooting or strong Brunswick defense. But any way you cut it, Cony put itself in a first-quarter hole Friday night and never crawled out.
The Rams scored just one basket in the first eight minutes and never fully recovered in dropping a 52-43 decision to the Dragons in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A basketball opener for both teams.
“I’m mystified right now,” Cony coach Tim Bonsant said. “Three points in the first quarter killed us.”
After falling behind 12-3, Cony bounced back to trail 25-18 at the half only to score just five points in the third quarter and fall behind 39-23.
“That was our goal, to take it right to them from the start,” Brunswick senior Konnor Scarponi said.
Scarponi, one of three returning starters for the Dragons, scored 12 points along with teammate Blake Gordon while Ryan Black scored a team-high 13. Ben Lucas led the Rams with 13 points and nine rebounds.
“Our numbers are down right now,” said Brunswick coach Todd Hanson, who carries just 10 players. “But we’ve got a good core.”
The Dragons connected on three of their four 3-pointers in the first half as their guards did a nice job getting into the lane and kicking the ball to their shooters.
“Our goal against their zone was to hit the gaps,” Hanson said.
Derek Devereaux, Scarponi and Gordon opened the second quarter with three straight 3-pointers to push the lead to 21-7. The Rams got a nice lift off the bench from junior Mitchell Bonenfant to get back into the game. The 6-foot-1 guard scored seven of his nine points in the period, including Cony’s only 3 to draw to within five, 23-18.
“We were really pleased at halftime,” Hanson said. “We had one turnover.”
Cony went cold again in the third quarter, scoring just five points, but Brunswick’s solid man-to-man defense had something to do with it.
“They did a very nice job taking away our entry passes,” Bonsant said.
The Rams opened the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run, getting a three-point play from Alex Neill and two quick hoops from Kevin Kingsbury. But it wasn’t enough. The Dragons spread the floor, looking for layups or free throws and never allowed the lead to get closer than nine points.
“I think our team chemistry and communication (are our strengths),” Scarponi said. “We have the right 10 right here.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638