AUGUSTA — Cony has shown that it can play with the top girls basketball teams in Eastern A for at least three quarters. On Friday night, the Rams finally got some Heal points to show for that.
In beating Skowhegan, Cony did everything it needed to do to win. The Rams took care of the ball, made their 3-pointers and got Skowhegan’s best inside players in foul trouble early. Those three factors spurred a 58-46 victory.
Cony (5-5) was coming off a 51-50 loss to Lawrence on Tuesday when the Bulldogs hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left. Against Skowhegan (5-5), Cony led 21-12 after one quarter and outscored the Indians 23-8 in the third quarter.
“We’ve had some tough ones,” said Cony guard Hayley Quirion, who scored 13 points. “So we were hoping to get at least a few of them. We know that we have to win more than half of them to get into the playoffs.”
Cony essentially plays five guards, while Skowhegan has two excellent inside scoring options in Morgan Buker and Adriana Martineau. But just 1 minute and 25 seconds into the game, Buker picked up her second foul and sat out the rest of the quarter. Before the first half was out, Martineau was on the bench with three fouls.
Buker finished with 12 points and four rebounds and limited minutes, while Martineau fouled out without taking a shot from the field or the line. Junior Andrea Quirion (eight points, 11 rebounds) absorbed some of the damage with her fine play off the bench, but Buker and Martineau combining for six field goal attempts was certainly not in Skowhegan’s game plan.
“You’ve got AJ (Martineau) on the bench and you’ve got Morgan on the bench watching because they’re in foul trouble, you’ve got to do some things that we weren’t prepared to do,” Skowhegan coach Heath Cowan said. “That’s play some kids out of position — we had to move Chelsey (Whittemore) to the block and she hasn’t played there. Andrea gave us great minutes. Both of (Cony’s) runs were started with some of our key players on the bench.”
Still, Skowhegan outscored Cony 14-4 in the second quarter to lead 26-25 at halftime. With Martineau on the bench to start the third quarter, the Rams quickly built a 10-point lead, sparked by Emily Quirion, Hayley Quirion, Alyssah Dennett (9 points), and Josie Lee (19 points, six rebounds).
“I thought we did a much better job pressuring, whether it was full-court or denying the wings and those things,” Cony coach Karen Magnusson said. “I think we did a good job of making them have to play at a quicker pace.”
Even more impressively, through three quarters the run-and-gun Rams had only six turnovers. Cony stretched its lead to 52-35 with 5:03 left in the game, but Skowhegan made one more move. With Cheyenne Malloy (11 points) leading the way, the Indians ran off 11 straight points to get within 52-46 with 1:26 left. But Hayley Quirion tracked down a key rebound and then made two foul shots to all but ice the game.
“I think what’s happening for us is we’ve been in every game, and they’ve been close ones, and we just haven’t been able to come out with them,” Magnusson said. “Sometimes, that does get to us. I think being able to close out a game like this — and close it out the way we wanted to — we have more confidence, obviously, going forward.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243