FAIRFIELD — It was the kind of win from which a young Lawrence High School boys basketball team hopes to build a successful season. It was the kind of loss Cony hopes doesn’t linger.

Down by 12 points midway through the third quarter, Lawrence errupted, building its own double-digit lead in the fourth. The Bulldogs then held off a late Cony rally to take a 74-66 win in their home opener at Folsom Gym.

“We knew we had to step it up in our home opener,” said Lawrence (2-0) senior Brad King, who scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

It was the second straight game the Rams lost after holding a double digit lead in the second half.

“Right now, when things start going against us, I think we kind of cave in. We’re not tough enough as a group. It’s more of a reflection of me not being tough enough in practice,” Cony head coach TJ Maines said.

Cony led by as much as 13 points in the first half, and led 45-33 with 4:58 left in the third when Liam Stokes sank a shot.

From there, it was all Lawrence. The Bulldogs went on a 26-3 run, and had a 59-48 lead with 6:43 left in the game when Cole Robinson (12 points) sank a pair of free throws. Defensively, Lawrence started to do a better job keeping the Rams from taking high percentage shots in the post.

“Our goal was to take away the paint, and I think in the second half we communicated better and were able to switch on their dribble handoffs a lot better,” Lawrence head coach Jason Pellerin said.

Offensively, the Bulldogs crashed the boards, creating second chance baskets with 21 offensive rebounds. King had eight offensive boards for Lawrence, while Taylor Slaney (10 points) grabbed seven.

“All practice, we just worked on rebounding. That’s the main part of our game,” King said.

“We’re not very tall, but we’re tenacious,” Pellerin said. “The kids play hard, and they crashed the boards really hard tonight.”

Cony cut Lawrence’s lead to 69-66 on an Alex Neill basket with 49 seconds left, but a King layup with 39 seconds left, and free throws down the stretch sealed the Lawrence win.

Stokes had 15 points for Cony, while Tyler Tardiff scored 16.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM