AUGUSTA — It’s too bad the Cony and Gardiner basketball teams no longer play in the regular season.

The next best thing is the Capital City Hoop Classic and the rivals showed Tuesday afternoon that they can still put on a pretty good show. In the end, Class A Cony prevailed over Class B Gardiner, 59-45, but there’s little doubt both teams will be around for the postseason.

“It’s the best team we’ve played so far this year,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “This is going to give us a good gauge.”

The Rams led 30-24 at the half and gradually pulled away in the third quarter behind their senior duo of Mia Diplock and Melanie Guzman and junior Josie Lee. Diplock finished with a game-high 28 points and added six assists.

“I think there’s still a little of the rivalry left,” Diplock said. “I think they made a comment that they could play with us so I think it was about us showing we were better than them.”

For the most part, the Tigers did play with the Rams, but they were beaten on the boards and turned the ball over a few too many times against full-court pressure. The Rams bumped the lead to 10 points early in the third quarter when Lee stole the ball and laid it in. The guard finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Guzman added 12 points and 10 rebounds and had three straight assists in the fourth quarter when the Rams pushed the lead to 54-40.

“I thought we played a great game,” Cony coach Karen Sirois said. “We played solid and got stuff we needed. They hit shots when they needed to. That’s a good team.”

The Tigers went nine deep, getting 10 points from Taylor Banister and nine from Kelsey Moody, who both came off the bench. Moody hit the first of three 3-pointers to close the first quarter and put Gardiner in front 19-16.

“That’s what I like most about our team,” Gray said. “I can put kids in who are going to contribute.”

The Tigers had no answer for Diplock, who overpowered her defenders on drives to the basket.

“She’s too big for the guards and too quick for the post players,” Gray said. “She’s a nice player.”

Gardiner (5-0) resumes its regular season at home tonight against Oceanside while Cony (5-0) plays at Mt. Ararat on Friday.

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Also Tuesday, Gardiner opened the tournament with a 59-36 win over Mountain Valley. Paige Pillsbury led the Tigers with 11 points.

Camden Hills split a pair of games, beating Boothbay 65-59 and losing to Oxford Hills 45-26.

In its first game of the tournament, Cony cruised to a 71-37 win over Mountain Valley. Diplock scored 18 points, Emily Quirion had 16 points and Lee 14 for the Rams.

Cony went on to win the championship, beating Oxford Hills 60-34. Josie Lee scored 15 points to pace the Rams.


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