The schedule hasn’t worked in Cony’s favor this season. The Rams play in the southern division of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and three of their opponents — Brunswick, Lewiston and Erskine aren’t worth many tournament points. They play each team in their division twice and the one northern team they play twice, Hampden Academy, was winless going into Wednesday night.
That puts a premium on Friday night’s game at Oxford Hills. The Rams (7-6) lost to the Vikings (9-4) last month in Augusta, 49-41.
“They’re huge,” said Magnusson, who doesn’t have a player taller than 5-foot-8. “They’ve got all the parts. They have a great point guard, they’ve got shooters and they’ve got post players.”
Magnusson said the Rams will try to force a quick tempo and get the Vikings into a running game if they can.
“If the game’s in the 30s, that’s in their favor,” Magnusson said.
Cony also has a point-worthy game at home against Mt. Ararat on Feb. 1.
“All we need to do is get in and get to the (Augusta Civic Center),” Magnusson said. “It doesn’t matter where we are.”
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Maranacook has dealt with injuries and illness the past three weeks but has still managed to win five of its last six heading into Friday’s game at Morse in Bath.
“We’re hopefully starting to get it to click,” Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis said. “We’ve done it with kids out and sick.”
Senior Ashley Belanger returned to the lineup Saturday against Winslow after missing two weeks with a concussion but Jessie Smith, another senior starter, missed that game due to illness. The Black Bears are still awaiting the return of sophomore Sara Clough who has missed several games with a hyperextended knee.
“We’re hoping she’ll be able to play next week,” Paradis said.
In their absence, senior Mariah Vining and sophomore Kristen Hall each played well in the win against Winslow.
The Black Bears are 8-5 and in seventh place in Western Maine Class B which would assure them of a tournament preliminary game at home if the playoffs started today.
“We’re concentrating on these last five games,” said Paradis, whose team finishes against with a game at Nokomis and two home contests against Leavitt and Gardiner, all tournament-bound teams.
No matter what the situation, Paradis has her team press its opponents.
“We’re still young,” she said. “When I take off the press, we relax and we don’t get into the passing lanes as well. Even when we’re tired we still tend to play aggressively.”
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Kents Hill was a hard-luck 2-6 going into Wednesday night’s game at Rangeley and clinging to the 13th and final playoff spot in Western Maine Class C. Because of their extended Christmas break, the Huskies play only 14 games and are not in a conference.
Their schedule includes a mix of Class C and D teams, including three of the top teams in Class D — Rangeley, Hyde and Richmond. Many of their losses have come down to the fourth quarter, a fact coach Jim Smucker attributes to inexperience.
“We’re just basically learning the game, learning to compete and trust one another,” Smucker said.
Junior Sara Grenier of Oakland leads the team in scoring at 17 points a game while sophomore Emma Curnin of Topsham averages nine points and 10 rebounds a game. Senior point guard Caroline Tortorella of Manchester is the team’s leader while sophomore Marissa Tarrio of Augusta is the shooting guard. Sophomore Faith Forsythe, a transfer from Lawrence High School, is new to the game but picking it up quickly.
“She’s progressed big time,” Smucker said.
Junior Ashley Doyle starts at forward on a team that lacks depth.
“We’re one deep,” Smucker said. “That’s who we are.”
The Huskies have point-worthy games left against Waynflete and Richmond and will likely need to win one of those to make the tournament.
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Hall-Dale’s loss to Oak Hill at the buzzer Tuesday night was another in a string of close losses for the Bulldogs, who have lost a game by two points, another by a point and still another in overtime.
“We’ve been right there in a lot of games this year,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “My focus is just getting over that hump.”
The Bulldogs have two returning veterans in senior Natasha Brown — the only holdover from the 2011 state championship team — and junior Allison Crockett. Brown is the team leader as well as its top scorer, while Crockett averages nearly 14 rebounds a game.
“She can jump,” Terrill said of his 6-1 center. “She just doesn’t stand there, she can go and get it. And she doesn’t mind mixing it up.”
The Bulldogs, won three straight last week, while playing as many as 11 players a game and get at least a basket out of all of them.
“We play awful hard and we’ve got good depth,” Terrill said.
The Bulldogs will get a better idea of where they stand Friday night when they play at Madison, the top-ranked team in Western Maine Class C.
“They’re tough and physical,” Terrill said. “And they can rack up turnovers in a hurry if you’re careless with the ball.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638